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FT: Qatar pays Syria mercenaries 50,000$ yearly

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Financial Times magazine published a report Friday that mentioned that Qatar has invested in Syrian insurgents, paying up to 3 billion dollars over the past two years to rebels.

“The tiny gas-rich state of Qatar has spent as much as $3 billion over the past two years supporting the rebellion in Syria, far exceeding any other government, but is now being nudged aside by Saudi Arabia as the prime source of arms to rebels,” the report stated.

In dozens of interviews with the FT conducted in recent weeks, rebel leaders both abroad and within Syria as well as regional and western officials detailed Qatar’s role in the Syrian conflict.

The small state is the biggest donor to the political opposition, providing generous refugee packages to defectors [one estimate puts it at $50,000 a year for a defector and his family] and has provided vast amounts of humanitarian support.

In September, many rebels in Syria’s Aleppo province received a one off monthly salary of $150 courtesy of Qatar. Sources close to the Qatari government said total spending has reached as much as $3 billion.

For Qatar, its intervention in Syria is part of an aggressive quest for global recognition and is merely the latest chapter in its attempt to establish itself as a major player in the region, the magazine reported.
“According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms transfers, Qatar has sent the most weapons deliveries to Syria, with more than 70 military cargo flights into neighboring Turkey between April 2012 and March this year,” FT said.

Moreover, the report stated that though Qatar’s approach is driven more by pragmatism and opportunism than ideology, it has become entangled in the polarized politics of the region, setting off scathing criticism.

“You can’t buy a revolution,” says an opposition businessman.

“Qatar’s support for fundamentalist groups in the Arab world, which puts it at odds with its peers in the Gulf States, has fuelled rivalry with Saudi Arabia,” the Financial Times remarked.

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