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Qatar's backing for Syrian rebels widely regarded as jihadist militants might appear a diplomatic liability at a time when global alarm about Al-Qaeda is on the rebound.The tiny but wealthy gas exporting country is under fierce pressure from some Gulf Arab neighbors to curb its support for Islamists of all stripes, principally the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and more radical rebel groups with Al-Qaeda ties in Syria.The two most powerful Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are incensed by Qatar's hosting of Doha-based Youssef al-Qaradawi, an influential pro-Brotherhood preacher whom they see as a potent political menace. They are also furious about Qatar's use of its Al-Jazeera broadcaster and Qatari television to promote Brotherhood views critical of other Gulf Arab states, and Al-Jazeera's airtime for groups with Al-Qaeda ties in Syria. At a time when Sunni militants are resurgent in the Mideast and North Africa, and thousands of foreigners are fighting with Al-Qaeda aligned groups in Syria, many Gulf Arab officials perceive Qatar's continued support of Islamists as reckless. A Gulf-based diplomat said Qatar was still backing Islamist groups in Syria, sending them financial aid and light weapons.An Arab diplomat said the front was created by Qatar and Turkey to try to check an increase in Saudi influence with the rebels detected in 2013 .
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