20-10-2017 06:12 AM Jerusalem Timing

FT: Qatar Spends Billions in Syria, Pays $50,000 per Dissident

FT: Qatar Spends Billions in Syria, Pays $50,000 per Dissident

The British newspaper Financial Times published an investigation on Friday entitled "Qatar spent billions of dollars in the past two years to fund the Syrian opposition."

Syria: GunmenThe British newspaper Financial Times published an investigation on Friday entitled "Qatar spent billions of dollars in the past two years to fund the Syrian opposition."

"Qatar has spent about three billion dollars in the past two years to support the opposition in Syria, which far exceeds what provided by any other government. However, the Saudi Arabia competes now in leading the bodies providing Syrian opposition with weapons," the paper said.

"The cost of the Qatari intervention in Syria, which is the latest effort of the oil-rich emirate to support an “Arab revolution,” only represents a very small part of the international investment of Qatar," it added.

FT indicated that Qatari support for the Syrian opposition, which turned the situation into a devastating civil war, overwhelms the Western support.

The UK daily also noted that during scores of interviews it made with militant opposition leaders at home and abroad, along with senior western and regional officials, everyone stressed the growing role of Qatar in the Syrian crisis, and this has become controversial issue.

The paper pointed out that "the small state with huge appetite" is the largest donor of aid to the Syrian political opposition, offering generous grants for dissidents, amounting fifty thousand dollars per year for the dissident and his family, according to some estimates.

Sources close to the Qatari government told FT that the total spending on the Syrian crisis reached $3 bn, while the armed opposition and diplomatic sources said the amount of Qatari assistance reached one billion dollars at most.

“According to the Institute for Peace Research in Stockholm which tracks the arms supply to the Syrian opposition,” the paper added, “Qatar is the largest arms exporter to Syria, where it funded more than 70 cargo flights of weapons to neighboring Turkey between April 2012 and March 2013.”

The newspaper believed that despite the utilitarian interest behind Qatar’s intervention, the Arab emirate became stuck in the political polarization in the region.

“Qatar's support for Islamist groups in the Arab countries puts it in confrontation with the other Gulf States and provokes competition with the Saudi Arabia,” the Financial Times concluded in its report.