The New York Times over the weekend published a frontpage expose on the regional cascade effects being generated by Qatari support for a range of Middle East Islamist groups, cataloging measures that Doha has taken to boost among others the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State. Doha has long been aligned with an identifiable extremist Sunni axis spanning the region - Turkey, the Muslim Brotherhood, and various jihadist elements are traditionally also grouped into that de facto alliance - that has triangulated opposite both an Iranian-anchored Shiite bloc and a camp composed of the U.S.'s traditional Israeli and Arab allies. Efforts by Gulf nations to bring Qatar back into the Western-oriented fold have, despite occasional declarations of success, failed to move Doha off a set of policies alleged to variously empower Sunni Islamists and Iranian hardliners. The Times outlined the situation under the headline "Qatar's Support of Islamists Alienates Allies Near and Far," describing it as one in which "Qatar is finding itself under withering attack by an unlikely alignment of interests, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel, which have all sought to portray it as a godfather to terrorists everywhere." The outlet more specifically noted that "some in Washington have accused it of directly supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria." Doha was widely blamed over the summer for backing intransigent elements inside Hamas and thereby deliberately extending this conflict between the Palestinian terror group and Israel. The end of the war then saw reports that Doha would take the lead in rebuilding the territory, including via a flotilla that would seek to break Israel's legal naval blockade of Gaza. The Times simply noted that Qatar "provides a base for leaders of the Palestinian militant group Hamas." Qatar has also been accused of undermining efforts by the U.S.'s regional allies to isolate Iran, and this summer went so far as to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Islamic republic aimed at boosting bilateral trade.
Doctors at the country’s northern hospitals are used to middle-of-the-night calls to come and treat wounded Syrians brought across the border for Israeli medical aid. The 12-year-old Syrian boy who arrived in serious condition over the weekend to the IDF border post was the first to make the trek by donkey from Damascus. The boy told doctors that he sustained serious injuries – to his arms, one of his legs, and loss of vision in his eyes – when a mortar shell exploded near his home in the outskirts of Syria’s capital city. The boy told Israeli doctors that his family had initially taken him to a hospital in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon where doctors amputated his right hand. He was discharged after being administered first aid to his other injuries but said the route home to Syria was blocked by civil fighting. He told doctors that his brother had the idea to seat him on the back of a donkey and cross the Syrian side of Mount Hermon to the Israeli border. IDF soldiers transferred the boy to the Ziv Medical Center. “The boy is conscious, he’s still in shock, but he’s communicating with us and understands what happened. His journey here was not an easy one,” said Prof. Alexander Lerner, head of the orthopedic department at the Safed medical center. Prof. Lerner said the boy will need to undergo a series of operations. He said the Israeli medical team is working to save the boy’s other limbs from amputation and “get them to function as much as possible.” The healing process will be a long one, Prof. Lerner said, “but the ultimate goal is to get him walking on his legs again and using his wounded arm. From the few stories we’ve heard so far, it seems we’re talking about a very brave boy who has been through a difficult ordeal and has survived. As such I’m optimistic and believe that he will once again stand and walk on his own two feet.” (via Israel21c)
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