Update (10:54am EST, 7/8/2013): Yesterday I posted a report that the new Emir of Qatar had apparently broken with Sheikh Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood. My report was based on a broadcast from Al Nahar television in Lebanon and other blogs. "If true," I wrote, it could be a "devastating blow against radical Islam."
I've since attempted to further substantiate the story. Though the rumor is still making the rounds of Mideast newsrooms, according to Mary Fitzgerald of the Irish Times, the report has been denied by "Qatari sources and sources closed to Qaradawi."
If true, what may be a far more devastating -- and under reported -- blow against radical Islam than the killing of Osama Bin Laden was delivered by the new the emir of Qatar.
Its significance has been picked up by a few bloggers, like Joshuapundit, but, as far as major media is concerned, so far no one seems to be paying attention.
According to Al Nahar, a major Lebanese station, on the evening of July 2nd, Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa, who has just recently taken over the throne of Qatar from his father, ordered Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi to leave the country. He also withdrew his Qatari nationality, and, at the same time, closed all the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It's a remarkable move.
For years Qaradawi has been one of the most strident and widely listened to voices of radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Born in Egypt, with a reputation for Islamic scholarship, he is currently best known for his program "Shariah and Life" regularly broadcast Al Jazeera with an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide. He is also known as an apologist for the Holocaust.
Since Qatar funds Al Jazeera, one would assume that Qaradawi will no longer be given that global podium.
If indeed Qatar's new ruler has decided to change his country's policies, the impact of that move on radical Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood could be enormous. Over the past few years, Qatar has poured huge sums into bankrolling the Brotherhood and even more extreme Islamic causes across the Islamic world.
In the past two years in Egypt for example, they provided $8 billion to the Morsi government -- a sum many times greater than the $1.5 billion given each year by the U.S. to Egypt, primarily to the Egyptian military.
Qatar was also one of the main financial backers behind the overthrow of Khadafi in Libya, and the new Muslim Brotherhood government in Tunisia. It's also been funding some of the most radical Sunni groups in Syria's incredibly bloody civil war.
They've also become major supporters of the Palestinian group Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed Hamas's leader, Khaled Meshal, had recently moved from Syria to Qatar.
Ironically, all the while, they've also been home to a major U.S. air base.
Unfortunately for Qatar, its huge bets on radical Islam have yet to pay off.
Just the opposite. Libya remains a basket case. Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are out in Egypt. The catastrophic civil war in Syria risks destroying the entire country. Qatar's candidate to lead the coalition of Syrian opposition groups lost out to the Saudi candidate. Mobs in Tunis recently took to the streets to protest Qatar's interference in their affairs.
As the Al Nahar broadcast said, Qatar did everything in its power financially and diplomatically to encourage the Arab Spring, the revolutions and the Islamist revolts. "Now all the leaves have fallen, with no good results."
In justifying his move against Qaradawi, the new emir of Qatar is reported to have said that "We are all Muslims, but not Muslim Brotherhood, and in dealing with matters of state and government, we are not allied with any political faction.
Al Nahar also reported that the prince gave Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal 48 hours to leave the country.
If all this is true, it's an enormous blow to radical Islam. Delivered not by U.S. Special Forces or CIA Predators -- but by an Arab leader himself.
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