President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Under pressure to demonstrate it is cracking down on the funding of terrorism, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani met with US President Donald Trump last year. Evan Vucci / AP

Qatar's protestations of innocence get more absurd by the day



Qatar’s strident claims that it is committed to fighting terrorism have struck a hollow note after senior members of the Qatari government were photographed at the wedding of one of the world’s leading financial backers of terrorism.

Ever since the quartet of Arab states imposed a diplomatic boycott on Qatar for its support of Islamist terror groups, Doha has loudly protested its innocence, claiming that it has implemented numerous measures to tackle terrorism.

Only last month the Qataris were publicly praised by senior counter-terrorism officials in the Trump administration at the inaugural US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in Washington, for the very strong steps they say they have taken in recent months to assist the international community and the US in their campaign against ISIS, Al Qaeda and other transnational terrorist groups.

Among the measures praised by American officials were the alleged steps taken by Doha to clamp down on the funding of terror groups by prominent Qatari citizens.

The Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim, later gave his personal pledge to Donald Trump that “we do not tolerate...people who support and fund terrorism". The commitment also drew praise from British ministers, who welcomed the “emir of Qatar’s commitment to tackle terrorism in all its manifestations, including terrorist financing.”

Now the Qataris find themselves in the embarrassing position of having to explain how, so shortly after receiving these public plaudits, their prime minister was photographed happily celebrating a wedding hosted by one of the terrorism financiers it is supposed to be taking action against.

The pictures emerged after Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa, the Qatar prime minister, attended a wedding hosted by Abdulrahman Al Nuaymi. The Qatari government had only recently designated Mr Al Nuaymi as a financier of terrorism, a move that was supposed to restrict his ability to support extremist groups. And yet here was the Qatari prime minister happily posing for pictures with Mr Al Nuaymi as they celebrated the marriage of his son.

Nor does the embarrassment for the Qataris end there, as the guest list for the wedding reads like a who’s who of Middle East terrorism. For also joining the wedding party was Khaled Mashaal, the former head of the militant Hamas terrorist organisation, which is banned by the US.

For a country that is supposed to be pursuing a so-called “zero tolerance” approach to terrorism, the presence of a senior member of the Qatari royal family at such an event raises some troubling questions about just how serious Doha is about changing its ways.

The Qatari government was quick to respond to the story, pointing out that it was a private occasion and that it was not sanctioned by the authorities in Doha. It stated that Sheikh Abdullah had been invited “personally” by the groom, whom it described as “a government employee of the state of Qatar, and upstanding young man”.

It does, though, raise questions about whether the Qatari government is serious about investigating the activities of the groom’s father, who has been the subject of an asset freeze and travel ban since 2015 over allegations concerning his links to terror groups. Mr Al Nuaymi was last month released after serving an eight month spell in prison having been acquitted due to "lack of evidence".

It will be hard, though, for the Qataris to persuade the outside world that the wedding pictures reflect nothing more than a harmless social occasion. For many in the Gulf and beyond, they will be seen as just the latest example of the Qataris' double standards in both their attitude towards sponsoring terrorism actions with regard to the security concerns of their Gulf neighbours.

Qatar's reckless approach to the safety of the citizens of other Gulf states was demonstrated last weekend when a Qatari fighter was reported to have flown within almost 200 metres of a UAE civilian aircraft, which was carrying 86 passengers, while flying over Bahrain on an approved route.

It is the fifth time a Qatari aircraft has flown close to a UAE plane, prompting Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, to denounce the incident as “the greatest form of terrorism: using military weapons against civilians. A fighter jet flying that close to a defenceless civilian aircraft is an act of intimidation and a show of power.”

Another example of Qatar's attempts to undermine the security of its Gulf neighbours has emerged in Bahrain, following the trial of three men charged with "hostile acts against Bahrain with the intention to overthrow the political system". The Bahraini public prosecutor has presented new evidence relating to the links between the accused and Qatar, including contacts alleged to have been made by Ali Salman Ali Ahmed, the head of Bahrain's largest opposition group, Al Wefaq, and the then Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, during the 2011 anti-government protests in Manama.

None of these actions are the work of a country that is serious about having a constructive relationship with its Gulf neighbours, and shows that, for all its protestations to the contrary, Qatar poses a threat to the stability of the Arab world.

And the Qataris need to understand that, by continuing to pursue such policies, they are putting their own survival at risk. For the moment, the Trump administration is taking Qatar’s protestations that it is fighting terrorism at face value. But this is not a policy the quixotic Mr Trump will continue to support if Washington decides Doha can no longer be trusted as a reliable and truthful ally.

Con Coughlin is the Daily Telegraph’s defence and foreign affairs editor

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylturbo

Transmission: seven-speed DSG automatic

Power: 242bhp

Torque: 370Nm

Price: Dh136,814

Important questions to consider

1. Where on the plane does my pet travel?

There are different types of travel available for pets:

  • Manifest cargo
  • Excess luggage in the hold
  • Excess luggage in the cabin

Each option is safe. The feasibility of each option is based on the size and breed of your pet, the airline they are traveling on and country they are travelling to.

 

2. What is the difference between my pet traveling as manifest cargo or as excess luggage?

If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet is traveling in the front hold of the plane and can travel with or without you being on the same plane. The cost of your pets travel is based on volumetric weight, in other words, the size of their travel crate.

If traveling as excess luggage, your pet will be in the rear hold of the plane and must be traveling under the ticket of a human passenger. The cost of your pets travel is based on the actual (combined) weight of your pet in their crate.

 

3. What happens when my pet arrives in the country they are traveling to?

As soon as the flight arrives, your pet will be taken from the plane straight to the airport terminal.

If your pet is traveling as excess luggage, they will taken to the oversized luggage area in the arrival hall. Once you clear passport control, you will be able to collect them at the same time as your normal luggage. As you exit the airport via the ‘something to declare’ customs channel you will be asked to present your pets travel paperwork to the customs official and / or the vet on duty. 

If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, they will be taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, their documentation will be reviewed by the staff of the ARC to ensure all is in order. At the same time, relevant customs formalities will be completed by staff based at the arriving airport. 

 

4. How long does the travel paperwork and other travel preparations take?

This depends entirely on the location that your pet is traveling to. Your pet relocation compnay will provide you with an accurate timeline of how long the relevant preparations will take and at what point in the process the various steps must be taken.

In some cases they can get your pet ‘travel ready’ in a few days. In others it can be up to six months or more.

 

5. What vaccinations does my pet need to travel?

Regardless of where your pet is traveling, they will need certain vaccinations. The exact vaccinations they need are entirely dependent on the location they are traveling to. The one vaccination that is mandatory for every country your pet may travel to is a rabies vaccination.

Other vaccinations may also be necessary. These will be advised to you as relevant. In every situation, it is essential to keep your vaccinations current and to not miss a due date, even by one day. To do so could severely hinder your pets travel plans.

Source: Pawsome Pets UAE

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

'Midnights'

Artist: Taylor Swift

Label: Republic Records

Rating: 4/5

Stormy seas

Weather warnings show that Storm Eunice is soon to make landfall. The videographer and I are scrambling to return to the other side of the Channel before it does. As we race to the port of Calais, I see miles of wire fencing topped with barbed wire all around it, a silent ‘Keep Out’ sign for those who, unlike us, aren’t lucky enough to have the right to move freely and safely across borders.

We set sail on a giant ferry whose length dwarfs the dinghies migrants use by nearly a 100 times. Despite the windy rain lashing at the portholes, we arrive safely in Dover; grateful but acutely aware of the miserable conditions the people we’ve left behind are in and of the privilege of choice. 

if you go

The flights

Emirates have direct flights from Dubai to Glasgow from Dh3,115. Alternatively, if you want to see a bit of Edinburgh first, then you can fly there direct with Etihad from Abu Dhabi.

The hotel

Located in the heart of Mackintosh's Glasgow, the Dakota Deluxe is perhaps the most refined hotel anywhere in the city. Doubles from Dh850

 Events and tours

There are various Mackintosh specific events throughout 2018 – for more details and to see a map of his surviving designs see glasgowmackintosh.com

For walking tours focussing on the Glasgow Style, see the website of the Glasgow School of Art. 

More information

For ideas on planning a trip to Scotland, visit www.visitscotland.com

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

List of alleged parties
  • May 15 2020: Boris Johnson is said to have attended a Downing Street pizza party
  • 27 Nov 2020: PM gives speech at leaving do for his staff
  • Dec 10 2020: Staff party held by then-education secretary Gavin Williamson 
  • Dec 13 2020: Mr Johnson and his then-fiancee Carrie Symonds throw a flat party
  • Dec 14 2020: Shaun Bailey holds staff party at Conservative Party headquarters 
  • Dec 15 2020: PM takes part in a staff quiz
  • Dec 18 2020: Downing Street Christmas party 
Financial considerations before buying a property

Buyers should try to pay as much in cash as possible for a property, limiting the mortgage value to as little as they can afford. This means they not only pay less in interest but their monthly costs are also reduced. Ideally, the monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 20 per cent of the purchaser’s total household income, says Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching.

“If it’s a rental property, plan for the property to have periods when it does not have a tenant. Ensure you have enough cash set aside to pay the mortgage and other costs during these periods, ideally at least six months,” she says. 

Also, shop around for the best mortgage interest rate. Understand the terms and conditions, especially what happens after any introductory periods, Ms Glynn adds.

Using a good mortgage broker is worth the investment to obtain the best rate available for a buyer’s needs and circumstances. A good mortgage broker will help the buyer understand the terms and conditions of the mortgage and make the purchasing process efficient and easier. 

What is a black hole?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

The specs

Engine: 6.2-litre supercharged V8

Power: 712hp at 6,100rpm

Torque: 881Nm at 4,800rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 19.6 l/100km

Price: Dh380,000

On sale: now


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