The Shocking Trigger Behind Today's Gulf Scandal: Qatar Paid Al-Qaeda, Iran $1BN In Hostage Deal

Tyler Durden's picture

The FT has unveiled what its believes is the key trigger behind the shocking overnight collapse in diplomatic relations between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors. According to the FT, the catalyst that forced the Saudis and their allies to unveil the cut in diplomatic and economic ties, is that Qatar allegedly paid up to $1 billion to Iran and al-Qaeda affiliates "to release members of the Gulf state’s royal family who were kidnapped in Iraq while on a hunting trip, according to people involved in the hostage deal"; the secret deal was allegedly one of the triggers behind Gulf states’ dramatic decision to cut ties with Doha.

The details of the payoff: "around $700m was paid both to Iranian figures and the regional Shia militias they support, according to regional government officials. They added that $200m to $300m went to Islamist groups in Syria, most of that to Tahrir al-Sham, a group with links to al-Qaeda."

A regional Arab official said the total paid to jihadi groups was closer to $300m. “So, if you add that up to the other $700m they paid to Iran and its proxies, that means Qatar actually spent about a billion dollars on this crazy deal,” he said.

* * *

The Iraqi Shia militia commanders in Iraq, all from hardline Iranian-backed groups, said that, to their knowledge, Iran had obtained around $400m after giving them a payment they would not disclose. They agreed to share some details because they were unhappy about their share of the payment.


“They [the Iranians] took the lion’s share,” said a member of one of the Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq. “That’s caused some of us to be frustrated, because that was not the deal.”

The "ransom payments are the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said one Gulf observer.

Not to be confused with the Obama administration secretly airlifting crates full of $1.7 billion in cash to Tehran to release five US hostages held by Iran, the FT writes that commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region told the Financial Times that "Doha spent the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari hunting party in southern Iraq and about 50 militants captured by jihadis in Syria."

By their telling, Qatar paid off two of the most frequently blacklisted forces of the Middle East in one fell swoop: an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria and Iranian security officials.

If nothing else, at least Qatar got a better bang for the physical buck, at $38 million per hostage, compared to the $340 million the Obama administration paid for the five US hostages released by Tehran.

While there is no official evidence, the FT adds that the deal, which was concluded in April, heightened concerns among Qatar’s neighbours about the small gas-rich state’s role in a region plagued by conflict and bitter rivalries, which however is at least somewhat confusing: after all it was well-known since the Podesta emails that even the US state department had confirmed that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar were the two primary funders of the Islamic State and various Jihidaist groups in the region. Recall from our October 2016 post:

In a leaked email sent on August 17, 2014 by Hillary Clinton to her current campaign manager, John Podesta, who back then was counselor to Barack Obama, she admitted that Qatar and Saudi Arabia "are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region."


The email, which was sent just days after the US launched it "temporary" air campaign in Syria, which has now extended over two years, represents an eight-point plan laying out ideas how to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Clinton’s email said that the United States should engage in "military operations against these very irregular but determined forces" by "making proper use of clandestine/special operations resources, in coordination with airpower, and established local allies" such as Kurdish forces.


Having confirmed the role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Hillary then states that "we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia" and recommends to step up US commitment to the Kurdish Regional Government or KRG. "The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious U.S. pressure.  By the same token, the threat of similar, realistic U.S. operations will serve to assist moderate forces in Libya, Lebanon, and even Jordan, where insurgents are increasingly fascinated by the ISIL success in Iraq."

In any case, last year's revalation appears to have been "news" to Saudi Arabia - the other named source of funding to ISIS, and on Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain took the extraordinary step of cutting off diplomatic ties and transport links to Qatar, alleging the country fuels extremism and terrorism.“

The FT further notes that "Doha denies it backs terrorist groups and dismissed the blockade by its neighbours as “founded on allegations that have no basis in fact”. It said it could not immediately respond to a request for comment on the hostage deal. But a person close to the Qatari government acknowledged that “payments” were made. The person was unaware of the amounts or where the money went."

Doha has a history of reaching out to all kinds of controversial groups, from rebels in Sudan’s Darfur region to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hamas in Gaza. Qatar touts itself as a neutral player that can act as an intermediary in regional conflicts. But its critics, notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, allege it also uses such interventions to play both sides and fund radical Islamist groups, most recently in Libya and Syria. And to Doha’s critics, the hostage deal was further evidence of that role.

In an amusing twist, one FT source - a Syrian opposition figure who has worked with an al-Qaeda mediator on hostage swaps in Syria. - adds that "if you want to know how Qatar funds jihadis, look no further than the hostage deal.... And this isn’t the first — it is one of a series since the beginning of the war."

Those who spoke to the FT said the deal highlighted how Qatar has allegedly used hostage payments to bankroll jihadis in Syria. But to its Gulf neighbours, the biggest issue is likely to be the fact that Doha could have paid off their main regional rival, Iran, which they accuse of fuelling conflicts in the Arab world.


This particular saga began when an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia, known as Kata’eb Hizbollah, kidnapped the Qataris in December 2015. Three Iraqi militia leaders say the hostages were held in Iran.


Kata’eb Hizbollah is an Iraqi group but it is seen as having links with Iran’s main regional proxy, Hizbollah, the Lebanese militant group. The latter is helping Iran back Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, in his country’s six-year conflict.

It gets better: the hostage transaction was also linked to a separate agreement, signed in March 2017, to facilitate the evacuation of four mutually besieged towns in Syria — two surrounded by jihadi forces and two besieged by Shia militias — according to the FT's sources: "Syrian rebels and diplomats." One western diplomat said the arrangement provided Qatar the “cover” to finance the hostage deal.

“Iran and Qatar had long been looking for a cover to do this [hostage] deal, and they finally found it,” he said.

According to two opposition figures with close contact with the groups paid, Qatar used the evacuation arrangement to pay $120-$140m to Tahrir al-Sham. Another $80m, they said, went to the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham. “The Qataris pay anyone and everyone, to what end? They have only brought about our ruin,” said a Syrian rebel commander, who gave details about the payments but asked not to be identified.

* * *

Going back to our analogy of Obama dumping crates of cash - anywhere between $400 million and $1.7 billion - in Iran, it appears this time was not that different:

Another confusing chapter of the deal is that Haidar al-Abadi, Iraqi prime minister, said in April his government had seized hundreds of millions of dollars, which Iraqi officials said arrived on Qatari planes “illegally”. It is not clear if this is money is part of the sums mentioned above, or an additional amount.

The punchline: “The money all came in suitcases, can you imagine this?” said one senior official.

And while Qatar has now been scapegoated for funding Al-Qaeda and ISIS, something most have known for years, a question emerges: does this mean that Saudi Arabia - another chronic supporter of terrorism in the region and around the globe - is now off the hook. That would be problematic in light of Saudi Arabia's own on the record admission that it itself created Daesh, or ISIS, which however it allegedly did only in response to Obama's disastrous policy in the region. From the Financial Times:

After the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to a lightning Isis offensive in 2014, even the late Prince Saud al-Faisal, the respected Saudi foreign minister, remonstrated with John Kerry, US secretary of state, thatDaesh [Isis] is our [Sunni] response to your support for the Da’wa” — the Tehran-aligned Shia Islamist ruling party of Iraq.

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are we there yet's picture

Hunting wild game I a war zone does sound like an exciting story. But it paints the hunter as genetically stupid, or an arab, or both, as they are mostly the same thing.


Royalty. Entitled. And it works! They are freeeee!

IronForge's picture

So IRN won't bomb Doha in the upcoming War...

LOL123's picture

Saudi arabia has tried to pull the plug on Qatar befor in a March 13, 2014 article online mentions how Saudi Arabia was trying to flush out muslim brotherhood (i.e. Huma abiden and Cli;nton connection through Humas mother) and globalists unless they were kicked out of Qatar.

"Now Qatar has three US military bases on its territory including camp As Sayliyah had been chosen to be the command headquarters for the impending war against Iraq".... I would suggest it is now Irans turn.

"After the Sept. 11terror attacks Qatar based Arab language Television network Al Jazeera emerged as major souce of information about Qatar and Taliban regime in Afghanistan." ( reminder Taliban were in Texas for training in San Antonio when 7 went awhol and Bin Ladins family members were allowed to fly out after 9-11 when all flights were grounded)... Just saying.

"Its irony that the seemingly impending US war against Iraq will ne fought from the very same locale where Al Jazeera broadcasts."

"Its very likely that both on the battlefield and at the trade negotiationating( 1st round called Kennedy Round after Pres.-2nd the Tokyo Round started in 1995 became known as Uruguay round, new round of world trade organization talks in Doha, the capital of Qatar the new round of wto talks which will focus on "liberalizing and promoting international trade in services was launched in nov 2001 and known as Doha round table, in the 21st century world in the tiny Gulf State will play a large role in shaping the FUTURE. - the globalist jan. 14, 2003.

There you have it... Nothing new, just pulling out the old plan of world economics under globalist agenda with all the little ducks in a row for expansion... 

"We need some global system of political decision- making. In short we need a global society to support our global economy"- george soros

And that's why Hillay and liberals can't let go of their symbiotic connection to globalism... Their international agenda is at serious risk under " America first with President Trump.


ParaZite's picture

Maybe that's why Obama was sending money to Iran?

thebigunit's picture

What the fuck is Congress doing holding hearings into "Russian collusion" and the thirty seven other reasons that Hillary Clinton lost they election when they SHOULD be holding hearings on Obama-Iran-Al Qaida-Isis cllusion?

Sh3epdog's picture

Having confirmed the role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Hillary then states that "we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia"

Even Hillary can make a sensible suggestion every once and a while. For Gov officials/Int community to oppose everything she says/recomends may not be in the US' best interests when even a bit of an untrustworthy snake can be right about some things some of the time.

When gov officials start simply dissagreeing with everything "the other side" suggests simply because "thier the other side" republicans, or democrats or whatever - nothing gets done, things stall and the country declines. Important for people to keep thier cool in the face of other's they may not agree with alot, or even necessarily like all that much so that people can actually give each other a chance and examine the merit of each other's comments/suggestions/plans etc.

Occams_Razor_Trader's picture

Seeing that her right hand woman Huma Abedin's mother and brother work (The Journal Of Muslim Minority Affairs) in the same building as the Muslim World League which a Saudi government funded NGO (figure that one out), me thinks you can Hillary's advice with a grain of salt- no matter what you feel.

Mahmood is Abedin's mother's maiden name.

Try not to by gilded to take the advice of the high treasonous.

markar's picture

Could it be Qatar has pivoted East and joined the Russia/Iran/China axis? Would make sense if by doing so, they get their natural gas pipeline through Syria only now in partnership with a victorious Putin/Assad/Iranian coalition. What a lit fuse for a major conflagation if this is the case.


Qatar owns a massive offshore gas field with iran. Partners, so to speak. It would seem someone knew that theyd payup. Habit? Seems hezbollah is taking over. The wahabis are not too happy about it.

Hapa's picture

markar:  yes, this is Ziad's (Syrper) take.  Add in the fact that Qatar bought 20% of Roseneft.  Qatar wants to join the winning team!!

vaft's picture

Well, this story conveniently allows the news media to mention Iran and Al-Qaeda in the same headline despite there being no connection between the two whatsoever. On that note, I'm calling bullshit.


deerhunter's picture

And I thought 16K for ten day Cape Buffalo was a pricey hunt ? I have to travel more evidently .

i poop pink ice cream's picture

A great big "thank-you" to the Rothschild-owned fake news Financial Times for this great explanation. 

However, I wanted to know what was really behind the Saudi-Qatari split so I read <>

Maxter's picture

Smells like bullshit to me

Sudden Debt's picture

A billion :)



perfect :) Now they should take all the rest of that family hostage and watch how the Saudi population reacts when Saudi Arabia needs to cut back on government handouts to the population.


ironmace's picture

This is one of those things; either a complete pile of horseshit that will amount to little more than a diplomatic kerfuffle.....

or the fuse is lit.

Hata Mari's picture

OH what a wicked web we weave,

When first we practice to deceive.

aloha_snakbar's picture

Didnt the faggot Kenyan pretend president we finally got rid of do the same thing last year?

Grandad Grumps's picture

Obama paid $600 million for a traitor... which was probably just a friendship gift. He probably did not need or want the traitor back.

Qatar probably wanted their family back and money means nothing to them.

nevertheless's picture

Oh please, Iran is NOT OUR ENEMY JACKASS, so how can giving Iran money be treasonous, especially when it was THEIR FUCKING MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


If you want to talk traitor is when Obama agreed to pay bribe money to Israhel, some $35,000,000,000.00 IN OUR TAX DOLLARS, what is all the money they rape from us through the Federal Reverse not enough...


So, in your oh so bias Zionist mind, paying Iran $6,000,000.00 of their own money is treasonous, yet you don't have any problem with Obama paying our real enemy Israel $38,000,000,000.00 of OUR FUCKING TAX DOLLARS, exemplifies why I Israel is our enemy, traitors like you in our midst.

gdpetti's picture

Remember that Iran under Shah1 was British, under Shah2, his son, American.... and Khomenini in exile went through NATO intel...Turkey, France... we did a regime change in Iran to set up the next page of the script... the so-called 'terrorists' are just mercs we setup, train, arm, transport etc.... elements of 'like-minded' people are involved in most every country.... Gladio style... be their from the left or right, psychos, pedophiles or just mafia wannabes, criminals as well as the usual upscale types in the MSM etc... all part of putting on the puppet show.... which is why we only attack countries we already control or that are small enough or weak enough for a nice easy exploitation show... to keep the  masses at home content in their seats in the audience... sheeple.

With this in mind... add in the whole CIA regime change of 'our guy' Batista... with our new guy, Castro... Ok, that didn't go as planned, but it was and is the same always... Diem in 'Nam... Central America,... etc. etc. All of it is 'fake'... we live in one level or dimension of "purgatory"..... 'dark side' rules here... so all of those attracted to the 'dark arts' find themselves in friendly company with all our Western led economic hitmen, jackals, regular or irregular military and intel types.. business types, religious types...

See the picture? Same pattern throughout history... Earth is a school for the 'evolution' or increase in self conscious awareness... it all makes sense when you start to understand WTF is going on... same with our Fed... central banking racket... same on Wall Street tied into it... same with Hollywood and all those willing to do the One Eyed Salute for the Satanist in the Jewish led Cabbalist club.... pedophiles, psychos are easy to bring on board, but they only count if they CHOOSE this polarity... this 'dark side'... this is the battle of one side of creation vs the other... the dark vs the light... negative energy flow vs positive energy flow... EM flow... EU theory, surrounded with the basic facet of gravity not as a 'weak force' but as the starting and end force that the EM flows out from.... the light show we know ... is it any surprise that our 'Gladio' type ops in Iran are still in business? do we think Russia doesn't have some of its own remaining after years of Putin's rule? Or China et al?

This is the puppet show in action... 'dark side' rules... an obstacle course in self conscious awareness.... the obstacles are everywhere, in everyone...that's what makes it 'fun'... and worth playing in... So, Iran, and all the others play the game... 'when in Rome'... it isn't as if they have a choice.. only to agree or disagree with the game as it presents itself... Love it or leave it... if you can.

nevertheless's picture

And as you said "History repeats itself", of course history itself can be some what of a mystery because those in power write it to their liking. 


I often wonder how many "villains or heroes" are actually reversed from their telling in history.


I often wonder if I would have actually supported the South in the Civil wars, sans the whole slavery canard. 


The fact that our stories are told through the lens of the tribe "Hollywood" should concern anyone who values accuracy in history, vs propaganda. 

Ms No's picture

They are full of shit.  They are staging for Iran.  They probably set Qatar up and took some VIPs and then nailed them when they paid.  The details would be nice but not necessary because we know they are heading for Iran via CFR, etc. 

I don't know the details about these "hunters" but you hear that type of thing a lot when spies are nabbed, sometimes "hikers", "fisherman", etc., that just happen to be wandering the desert. 

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Shakedown money.


Kiev and Ankara are gonna want another military handout soon.

Paracelsus's picture

  US Bigassed base in Turkey (Incirclik). Country unstable, Dictator present. Germans leaving.

  US Bigassed base in Qatar (Huge by all accounts). Directly in the middle of a shitstorm. (Iran,Russia).

  US Bigassed base at Bagram. Taliban own more than 50% of country. Opium harvested for CIA.

  I know the Pentagon needs some space to play with their toys, but think of the money we'd save!

  If you form a map in your mind what have the three bases in common? Encircling Iran...

  The country which is on the Med coast, treats Isis wounded in their hospitals, and is never mentioned in the

  press?  Ta Da! We have a winner! The ten ton elephant in the room is.....

  Oh, nearly forgot. Iran doesn't have a Western controlled central bank. Neither did Libya.

  Libyan gold went where? Ukrainian gold went where? If you smell a rat, you are not alone....


AlbertthePudding's picture

What is AlQaeda doing dealing with Shia is Sunni and the other is Shia..Like ISIS in bed with Hezbollah.

I don't buy this one at all. QATAR is going rogue on the Anglo American Empire and they are going to puniush it but they have very powerful friends so look out.

uhland62's picture

They wanted to destroy Syria because Assad had not signed up to the Qatar gas pipeline that the international gas companies in Qatar wanted.

If you want to see a country destroyed you feed both feuding parties to do the dirty work for you and they don't even notice how they are used. 

Whether this story can be bought or not has to wait a little while . Murdoch publications like FT do not qualify for a credible source. 

DavidFL's picture

I dont believe any of this story. First - Saudi Arabia loves ISIS. Second  - hunting in Iraq! Have you ever flown over that place. What would you hunt, jackrabits, rattle snakes. Give me a break. The whole story is a plant. The real reason is hidden from sight, but will reveal itself soon.

uhland62's picture

I believe the hunt would have been an outing for their falcons. They don't say that of course because that is largely no longer acceptable.

They border between Saudi and Iraq may not be terribly well defined and they might have entered Iraqi territory without even knowing. That's just  a theory, but needs to be explored if we consider Qatari issues worth our time. 

GracchusBrothers's picture


Could it be that the Arab Civil War will be to WW3 what the Spanish Civil War was to WW2?

Thom Paine's picture

In other news.

Australian company just struck 15 trillion barrels of oil in the outback.

Middle East now become irrelevant.

Arab Spring now in Canberra.


uhland62's picture

The ME could well be made irrelevant if the crisis in Venezuela could be solved or smoothed and we'd cooperate with Russia who is the lesser evil. Russians are generally rational although unfortunately religion starts leaving an emotional footprint. With a bit of preparation, soon before religion becomes more influential, that could work.

Russia can sell gas to Japan via nearby Vladivostok and Australia wouldn't have to experience a bit of STASIland where everything went into exports, nothing left for the locals. 

Qatari story is reall interesting but needs to be properly checked and verified because the Financial Times (FT) is a Murdoch publication and therefore not a creadible source. 

Haitian Snackout's picture

Too coordinated, too fast, too much coverage. Too likely just another BS story on a never ending shittrain. So now Quater is cut off from shipments of........sand, I guess.


Ms No's picture

They might have the Quats starving before long, like quick.  Just wait until they destabilize all of Africa.  That's when the fun really starts.  It does occur to me that it will become more difficult to identify Somalis at that point.  They'll all be skinnies then.  It's probably getting pretty hard to differentiate them from the Yemenis already.  And why the hell is Yemen going along with this?  It's all wrong.


nevertheless's picture

Exactly, when things run this smooth with getting out a story it is usually because it fits a narrative the powers that be desire. 


Ms No's picture

It's weird that Qatar isn't calling this out sufficiently, it's like they have them penned down pretty good.  Qatar seems to have pissed them off somehow.  They have done that numerous times, supporting Palestinians and doing deals with Iran, etc.  Why would it be that Qatar doesn't refute the accusations harder?  Shot in the dark, the Saudis catch some VIPs at the regular ISIS auction of captured 5 year olds, then Qatar has to pay ISIS to get their VIP pedophiles back.  ISIS being the middle man for the Saudis.  Now the Qatar pederasts can't say that they didn't pay ISIS at the Saudi pederast convention and slave show, because they did. 


dogismycopilot's picture

The rumor circling in Doha right now among expats is that President Trump is too blame. There is quite a large hate club sprouting up among the expats in Doha right now. Kathy Griffin should try her act there. CNN is already on the scene. 


Reaper's picture

Did God abandon those Qatar Wahhabis?

Hope Copy's picture

No, but it seems that they are trying to off load an excess of 'virgins' on Eurodate, Arabiandate, Yourtravelmate and Russianbrides..  My spam folder has been swamped begining only a few days ago.

x marx the spot's picture

This looks like an appendix to the Case For War With Iran, sure to be unvieled soon by the Trump administration. Why? Because plane-loads of cash to the Middle East started under Dubya, and are proof that the MIIA was and is firmly in control of Washington. Trump is no different, the way that Hillary would have been no different. War with Iran will send the price of oil back to wear Wall Street and the Saudis need it to be. This is just an early move in that game. Until that game ends, it's just another day.

iampreparedru's picture

Drill baby drill and stop all cash flow to the ME. The wars would stop in 2 yrs. they would all go back to being nomads. Its that god damn simple.

vietnamvet's picture

That treasonous terrorist cock-sucker Trump was whored out at only $100 million, a real deal!  The Art Of The Double Deal at work.

dogismycopilot's picture

Many people do not know it, but Qatar was supposed to be part of the UAE. When the various tribes got together in the early 1970s, they had plans to make Qatar part of their federation.

However, the newly rich Qataris became upset when it was proposed that Abu Dhabi be the capital and not Doha and so they threw their toys out of the pram.

In 1968, Qatar joined the other eight states then under British protection in a plan to form a federation of Arab emirates. By mid-1971, as the termination date of the British treaty relationship approached, the nine still had not agreed on terms of union. Accordingly, Qatar declared its independence on September 3, 1971.[8] In June 1995, deputy emir Hamad bin Khalifa deposed his father Khalifa bin Hamad in a bloodless coup.


Hope Copy's picture

and now it is pimp and Hooker central.

BustainMovealota's picture

What the fuck do you hunt in Iraq?  With about a million other worthwhile and safe hunting venues, why Iraq?   This is some bullshit.

I Write Code's picture

A fool and his monkey are soon intimate.

lake's picture

They're lucky to have walked away with their heads regardless of the intent. That is, if they were, really, there.