Al Thani backed Houthi funding sharply increases, U.S. analyst confirms

By | Rachel Brooks

December 15, 2020

Above image: “180705 Al-Thani Qatar bij Blok” by Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Al Thani backed Houthi funding sharply increases, U.S. analyst confirms…

On December 15, Irina Tsukerman interviewed the U.S. contractor in Berlin who is set to testify on details of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani family funding Houthis.

The Al Thani family is supplying Chinese drones which Houthis use for targeting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Tsukerman revealed to Al Ain News that following the conversation, she had been able to corroborate the evidence to prove Qatar’s involvement in smuggling drones to the Houthis in Yemen. According to Tsukerman, Qatar has increased the rate of supplying the Houthi militia with drones in violation of Security Council Law 2216. Security Council Law 2216 prohibits the transfer of weapons to Yemen. 

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Tsukerman states that an international body and the U.S. federal government have launched an investigation into the information provided. The US contractor will be testifying before both shortly and is set to produce bank accounts, audio and video records, names of participating attorneys and shell corporations, and sworn affidavits by cooperating informants. The situation financed by the Al Thani family is dangerous. Al Thani’s arming of the Houthi rebels is escalating. 

Evidence has emerged that shows Qatari money has been funneled directly to Houthi leadership. There is a direct correspondence between the Houthi militias, Iran, and Qatar. Iranian officials are known to visit one another after conferring with the Houthi rebels. Tsukerman made a note of stating that the contractors had provided evidence certified by personnel who work close to the Al Thani family. 

Tsukerman’s report regarding Al Thani funding of Houthi rebels comes on the heels of renewed activity in the region. On December 14, an oil tanker owned by Singapore made an impact with an explosive-laden vessel in Jeddah.

The impact resulted in a massive explosion and an ensuing fire. Irina Tsukerman adds: “These latest events raise questions about the ongoing GCC reconciliation talks with the GCC summit slated for January 5th. How can KSA lift the blockade on Qatar, when Qatar will use this opportunity to smuggle more weapons which will then be used by the Houthis to attack the Kingdom again?

Advocates of the lifting of the blockades who claim that this will push Qatar away from Iran and will certainly deny Iran the funding from the highwayman tolls Qatar is forced to pay for using its airspace are ignoring the context. Qatar has been working with Iran closely for years before the rift with the GCC; it shares a gas field with Iran and will continue to propagate the same positions. Moreover, the sums that go into Iran’s coffers from this airspace toll are negligible compared to the costs of Qatar’s using maritime or land passageways of Saudi Arabia to smuggle fighters, ideologues, and arms through the country, and perhaps incite violence directly in Saudi Arabia.

Those pushing Saudi Arabia to reconsider its position should remember that Qatar’s funding of the Houthis goes back two decades. Snippets of previous Emir Hamad’s conversations with Muammar Gaddafi reveal that Qatar has been funding the Houthi leadership and had invested in various forms of aid during assorted clashes and conflicts which long preceded the Houthi coup leading to the civil war in 2015. Qatar came into the war with the Arab Coalition playing both sides, aiding Houthis through spies and saboteurs, and eventually betraying the Coalition which cost dozens of Coalition lives. Qatar’s intervention on behalf of the Houthis has happened repeatedly throughout recent history, and will not be stopped by the lifting of the blockade; on the contrary, this measure will only facilitate illicit operations and encourage Doha in its ways.

Saudi Arabia should worry about its own security before making one-sided concessions. Qatar’s commitment to real changes won’t happen overnight even in the best-case scenario and must be measurable and consistent before KSA and others even consider lifting the blockade or otherwise easing their relations with the Doha regime.”

Explosive incidents are becoming a common occurrence in the waters of the Gulf Region, as the IRGC continues to smuggle weapons via the shipping industry. Footage of “fishing” vessels that caught fire in the summertime was captured by Iranian news agency Tasnim News.

In reality, those vessels are automated speedboats reportedly used by the Houthis in this attack and previously used by Iran to smuggle weapons and fighters to Yemen and Oman. The agency stated that the blazing fire on no less than three vessels was the result of faulty electrical wiring. However, in the surrounding Gulf region, the IRGC has increased activity delivering weapons to Oman and Yemen.

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Incidents of increased accidents, as well the incident with the Jeddah tanker, followed the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon harbor on August 4. The Beirut explosion, linked to an abandoned Russian shipment of ammonium nitrate, was deemed an accident in official reports but was held under suspicion as the citizens of Lebanon had engaged in incessant protest of the Hezbollah controlled government to that date. Hezbollah likewise receives funding from the IRGC. The incident in Beirut added to the long list of reasons for neighbor states of the region to look on Iran with growing scrutiny. 

The US contractor interviewed by Tsukerman was the main source for the story and confirmed that the Houthis were the source of the attack on the fuel tanker near Jeddah. He further confirmed that Qatar had also been financing the weapons that ended up in the hands of the GNA-affiliated militias in Libya, as well as fueling unrest aimed at the anti-Islamist new government in Sudan.