November 25, 2012
Qatar Casts a Giant ShadowBy Ted Belman
Qatar is a small country with few people (1.87 million of which only 300,000 are citizens), yet it casts a giant shadow over N. Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. It has the highest GDP per capita in the world and the highest energy reserves per capita in the world. While it treats its women more liberally than S. Arabia does, it has been indicted for immigrant labor violations and human trafficking. It is notorious for how badly it treats its foreign workers.
The U.S. Department of State's 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report reports:
"Qatar is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution. [They] voluntarily migrate to Qatar as low-skilled laborers and domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude. These conditions include threats of serious physical or financial harm; withholding of pay; charging workers for benefits for which the employer is responsible; restrictions on freedom of movement, including the confiscation of passports, travel documents, and the withholding of exit permits; arbitrary detention; threats of legal action and deportation; threats of filing false charges against the worker; and physical, mental, and sexual abuse. In some cases, arriving migrant workers have found that the terms of employment in Qatar are different from those they agreed to in their home countries; businesses and individuals in Qatar reportedly promised migrants employment opportunities that never materialized."
Why would such a rich country treat its invitee workers so meanly?
The world's attention has been focused on Saudi Arabia whose attention has been focused on the U.S. It has built 80% of the mosques in America and has installed Wahhabi Imams in all of them. For almost a century, it has cultivated relations with the State Department and the White House making certain to reward diplomats and presidents, when they retire, with oodles of money for "good behavior". It also has made grants in the tens of millions to some high profile U.S. universities such as Harvard, Columbia, and Georgetown.(See "The Vast Power of the Saudi Lobby.")
Qatar, on the other hand, is a Mohammed-come-lately.
After the Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. opened the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
The Emir of Qatar is a Wahhabi fundamentalist. He founded Aljazeera in 1996 and it broadcast in Arabic only for many years. It enabled the emir to greatly influence the Arab masses and to radicalize them. It gained worldwide renown due to its coverage of the Afghan War.
In '02 the US signed a mutual defense pact with Qatar and began using the Al Udeid base for the US Air command Center in the Gulf. This base now serves as a logistics, command, and basing hub for U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At that time, the U.S. Army built the Sayliyah army base in Qatar. It serves as the world's largest prepositioned army equipment base.
Obviously the U.S. and Qatar are joined at the hip.
About half a dozen years ago,
1) Qatar built Education City and attracted many prestigious universities from around the world, including the U.S., with generous grants from the Qatar Foundation,
2) Al jazeera International began broadcasting in English 24/7 throughout the world
3) The Brookings Institution, the most respected think-tank in the world, opened up a service center in its capital Doha, known as Brookings Doha Institute.
Thus Qatar came of age.Qatar was positioning itself to become an international mediator.
According to an academic paper, "Mediation and Qatari Foreign Policy:"
"Since the mid-2000s, Qatar has become one of the world's most active mediators in regional and intranational conﬂicts across the Middle East and parts of Africa. The most notable of these have involved mediation efforts in Lebanon, Sudan, and Yemen, with similar though lower-proﬁle efforts undertaken in Palestine and in the border conﬂict between Djibouti and Eritrea. In the process, Qatar has actively cultivated an image for itself as an honest broker interested in peace and stability."
The object of the NATO-led war in Libya, according to Pepe Escobar in Asia Times, was
This was all made possible by the the US-Saudi Libya deal
"You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud."
Qatar was quick to join the fighting in Libva both with troops on the ground and fighter jets in the air. It also became the chief supplier of weapons to the rebels which included Islamists of all stripes. It became the first country after France to recognize the Provisional Transitional National Council of Libya.
David Roberts explains what's behind Qatar's intervention in Libya in an article published by Foreign Affairs.
"Qatar hopes to insert itself as the key mediator between the Muslim world and the West. Qatar sees its role as a highly specialized interlocutor between the two worlds, making -- from the West's point of view -- unpalatable but necessary friendships and alliances with anti-Western leaders, including the Hamas chief KhaledMeshaal, Hezbollah's spiritual leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and the Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, to name but a few recent visitors to Doha."
"Similarly, Qatar recognizes that Islamists are an indelible part of the political landscape in Libya and a potentially combustible one, given that, per capita, eastern Libya alone provided twice as many would-be jihadists as any other Arabic-speaking country to the Iraqi resistance in 2007 and 2008. Ignoring or marginalizing this demographic would not be prudent; but from the West's perspective, engaging with even reformed Islamist fighters is difficult. This is the niche that Qatar is trying to fill in Libya and elsewhere."
This is a facility President Obama is anxious to avail himself of.
A year ago, Qatar and Saudi Arabia set up a mobile intervention Sunni Muslim force out of al Qaeda-linked operatives for rapid deployment on the Turkish-Syrian border.
"A force of 2,500 has been recruited up until now, our sources report. The hard core is made up of 1,000 members of the Islamic Fighting Group in Libya-IFGL, which fought Qaddafi, and 1,000 operatives of the Ansar al-Sunna, the Iraqi Islamists which carried out 15 coordinated bomb attacks in Baghdad last Thursday killing 72 people and injuring 200."
"The new Sunni force, funded by the Persian Gulf oil states, is silently backed by the US and NATO members, with Turkey in the forefront of this support group."
James Lewis, in "Benghazi reveals Obama-Islamist Alliance," published by American Thinker asserted:
"For the last four years, the Obama policy has been to offer aid and comfort to violent Islamic radicals in the delusional belief that their loyalty can be bought."
Finally Qatar played host to representatives of the Syrian opposition recently and successfully arranged an agreement for a unified opposition.
To think that Qatar's investment in the overthrow of Assad has a humanitarian agenda is a bit of a stretch. Not only do Qatar and Saudi Arabia want to sever the Syrian's connection to Iran to weaken Iran, but they also want to end up controlling Syria so that they can build a gas pipeline from their countries through Jordan and Syria to the Mediterranean. That's also one of the reasons why Iran is fighting so hard to retain control of Syria.
Italian journalist Giulio Meotti has investigated Qatar's reach into Europe:
"Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who has cultivated the image of a pro-Western reformist, vowed to "spare no effort" to spread the teachings of Wahhabi Islam across "the whole world". Last December Qatari Emir inaugurated the "Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab" Mosque in Doha, dedicated to the founder of the most virulent, anti-Jewish and totalitarian Islamic school of religion.
"Qatar's octopus is working on three fronts: overthrowing despotic Arab regimes and replace these with sharia-based countries; destroying Israel by financing the terror groups (the emir just visited Gaza) -- and Islamizing the European continent through mosques and investments."
In addition to itemizing the enormous investments in Europe made by Qatar which affords her considerable leverage and influence, he highlights her agenda:
"Qatar is a bastion of anti-Semitism, which goes around the world along with the investments. A Qatari television show, based on a book by late Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani, shows a Holocaust survivor who resorts to prostitution and claims the Nazis did no wrong. "I didn't see any gas chambers", she is seen saying. An actor depicting former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin calls on Jews to murder Arab civilians.
'Qatar is also hosting many conferences which demonize the Jews. [..]
"In Doha's Friday sermons, Jews are called "parasites". [Back to the Nazis.]
'With an imperial flux of money and ideology, the former British protectorate of Qatar is discouraging Muslim integration in Europe in order to better dominate it, fomenting anti-Semitism and cultural separation, actively encouraging jihad against the State of Israel.
"Qatar's course of action is very practical: convincing Europe that the real name of Jerusalem is Al Quds, that the Koran replaced the Bible and that the Jewish Temple Mount is just a conspiracy."
This embrace is emblematic of a broader embrace. President Obama, from day one of his administration, has aided and abetted Islamists in Libya, Egypt and Syria to come to power. He has embraced PM Erdogan of Turkey, who is also Islamist, calling him his new best friend. Many have argued that he is undermining King Abdullah of Jordan in the expectation that the Muslim Brotherhood will replace him. All this represents extreme danger to Israel. But it also represents extreme danger to America. It is compounded by President Obama's embrace of Islamists in the US who now have undue influence in the FBI, The State Department, Justice, Homeland Security, and the Whitehouse. Except for a few lone voices in the Republican Party, Republicans have not challenged Obama's Islamist embrace. Silence is consent.
I worry for Israel. And for America.
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