Qatar, Al Jazeera and Islamists in Libya

Colle-and-McQuinn-final-for-web Another interesting nugget from The Libyan Revolution and Its Aftermath. One of the recurring themes of the first section, detailing the structure of the uprising itself, is the – at times – divisive role of Qatar. It seemed intent on establishing its own command centres as spheres of influence, working in competition with those liaising with the UAE, French and British.

The result was a deep tension within the revolution’s military forces, with Qatar fostering – very generally speaking – the more Islamist-minded in comparison with the more secular-leaning, former regime fighters that made up the backbone of the National Transitional Council’s force. A generalisation, as I say.

Anyeay, one particular aspect of Qatar’s role caught my eye in Mary Fitzgerald’s chapter, which details more completely the role of Islamists in the revolution and its aftermath. It describes how one Muslim Brotherhood leader was aided in getting around an Egyptian travel ban…

Alamin was sent by the Brotherhood’s exiled leader, Sulaiman Abd al-Qadir, to organise on the ground in Libya. Before crossing the Egyptian border on 1 March, Alamin stopped in Qatar to meet other Libyan Brotherhood figures, including Isma’il Gritly, who worked at Al Jazeera. He also met Sallabi, who had left the Muslim Brotherhood some years before but retained similar views and personal ties to leading Brothers. Alamin was concerned that his name was on Egyptian blacklists, then still enforced: Sallabi’s connections with the Qatari establishment facilitated Alamin’s travel with an Al Jazeera news team on a military plane taking humanitarian aid from Qatar to Egypt.

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