Qatar’s New Pearl: Al Jazeera America

by Michael Curtis

Al Jazeera every week airs its superstar, Muslim Brotherhood leader Yousuf al-Qaradawi, who is barred from entering the US and other Western countries. He has repeatedly called for the Muslim world to damage the U.S. economy by boycotting American products, as well as often rendering opinions such as, “Oh Allah, kill them [Jews] down to the very last one.” One can see why Qatar’s leadership would like to propagate “a Qatari sponsored narrative of events, and shape that narrative and how it is seen.” Most moving is to hear that Al Gore finds these opinions as “aligned with our point of view.”

Most disturbing about the sale of Al Gore and Joel Hyatt’s Current TV to Al Jazeera are the reported sanctimonious remarks about the character of the Current Network and the comparable frame of mind of Al Jazeera. Qatar’s leadership, according to Gulf analyst Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, would like to propagate “a Qatari sponsored narrative of events in the Middle East and elsewhere,” and be “able to shape that narrative and and how it is seen.” Al Jazeera regularly promotes its superstar, Muslim Brotherhood leader Yousuf al Qaradawi, who is barred from entering the US and other Western countries. He has for years said such things as : “The last punishment [against the Jews] was carried out by Hitler. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers,” and “Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them [Jews]. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one”. Given Al Jazeera’s record of backing the Islamist revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, one can see why Qatar’s leadership would “like to be able to shape that narrative and how it is seen.” Al-Qaradawi has also said, according to the peerless MEMRI.org, that Islam’s “conquest of Rome” will save Europe from its subjugation to materialism and promiscuity, and that Islam will return to Europe as a conquerer.

Al Jazeera has also, according to MEMRI, “continued to call for the Muslim world to to damage the U.S. economy by boycotting American products.” In justifying the sale, Gore apparently explained to the The Blaze: “the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with out point of view.” His partner, Joel Hyatt, added: “Al-Jazeera was founded with the same goals we had for Current,” and that the Qatari network intends to “invest heavily” in new programming. Got it. Most moving is to hear that Al Gore finds these statements as “aligned with our point of view.”

In a withering article, Amin Farouk disposed of the benign view of the activity of the Doha network and chronicled its Islamist agenda. Others, apparently already aware of it, responded accordingly: Time Warner, the second-largest cable company in the U.S., immediately refused to carry either Current or Al Jazeera.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani 2Qatar, the country and the political system which founded and controls Al Jazeera, has been dominated by the al-Thani family for almost 150 years, and is now ruled by Sheikh Hamad bin Khaalifa al-Thani, an absolute monarch who deposed his father in 1995 to become Emir. In 1995, Emir al-Thani established The Qatar Foundation, currently headed by his second wife, Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, “to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world,” according to a report by MEMRI’s Steven Stalinsky. The Qatar Foundation’s “Education City”, which the Qatar Foundation calls its “flagship project,” brings students to Qatar from Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth and Cornell to meet leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Partners of the Qatar Foundation include, among others, institutions from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Mexico, and institutions such as Microsoft, Cisco, Conoco-Phillis, Exxon Mobil, Rolls-Royce, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, Gartner Lee (Canada), as well as several additional universities in the U.S., Canada, Spain, France, and the U.K. Students who are U.S. citizens from American universities are eligible for federal student aid through the U.S. Department of Education, as well as scholarships “for prospective students” from the Qatar Foundation. In article in Texas A&M’s newspaper, April 24, 2009, the university’s assistant dean for Finance and Administration states, “Essentially all costs of A&M [at Education City] are covered by the Qatar Foundation” and suggests that “professors are given significant financial and U.S. Taxation incentives for working at A&M Qatar.”

Meanwhile, Al-Qaradawi, head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the International Council of Muslim Scholars, and who was voted number three on the list of the 100 Top Intellectuals worldwide by Foreign Policy magazine (July/August 2008), inaugurated the Islamic Studies program and also maintains a significant presence partly through the Al-Qaradawi Center for Research and Modern Thought, and the Sheikh Al-Qaradawi Scholarship program . Meanwhile, as he receives awards, he calls on television for boycotts of products from the U.S., for the “conquest of Rome,” and for another genocide against the Jews, this time at the hands of the Muslims.

Qatar was once a center of pearl fishing, as well as a British protectorate until 1971, when it became independent and refused to join the United Arab Emirates. Now it is one of the world’s richest countries, and its leader evidently wishes to to be influential. With a population of about 1.7 million, of whom only 300,000 are citizens, Qatar, which produces about 850,000 barrels of crude oil a day and has more than 15% of the world’s proven gas resources, and is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Thanks to the increase in oil prices, its GDP is currently about $175 billion, and per capita income is $100,000 — the highest in the Arab world, and almost double that of the U.S.

Emir al-Thani has not been slow in exerting the role of his country in world economic and political affairs. The small land of pearl divers has now become a global energy power, and al-Thani appears an ambitious political leader, playing a major role in enflaming, steering and then resolving regional conflicts, as well as being an important investor in European economies. In October 2012, the Emir visited Gaza, where he and made a pledge of $400 million to the terrorist group Hamas. Qatar’s international role can only be enhanced by its selection to be the host of the 2022 FIFA world soccer competition, the first of any Middle East country.

Read more at Gatestone Institute
Related articles

Obama Administration Oversaw Arms Shipments to Al Qaeda in Libya

imagesCAIT6D8TBy Daniel Greenfield

The real story, or the heavily sanitized version of the real story, is slowly dribbling out of the mainstream media. And there are a few things to keep in mind while reading through this New York Times piece.

1. Qatar has ties to Al Qaeda, runs Al Jazeera and was responsible for much of the Arab Spring.

2. The Qatari goal was to build up a network of Islamist states.

3. Qatar has a major financial presence in Europe and is turning into the a new and even more dangerous Saudi Arabia.

This situation is slowly leaking into the mainstream media, either because Obama Inc. is breaking with Qatar or looking to shift responsibility for actions that they knew Qatar was undertaking.

The United States, which had only small numbers of C.I.A. officers on the ground in Libya during the tumult of the rebellion, provided little oversight of the arms shipments. Within weeks of endorsing Qatar’s plan to send weapons there in spring 2011, the White House began receiving reports that they were going to Islamic militant groups. They were “more antidemocratic, more hard-line, closer to an extreme version of Islam” than the main rebel alliance in Libya, said a former Defense Department official.

And again, we are not talking about the Muslim Brotherhood here. According to DC, the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate. We are talking Al Qaeda militias, officially linked or not officially linked.

He said that Qatar would not have gone through with the arms shipments if the United States had resisted them, but other current and former administration officials said Washington had little leverage at times over Qatari officials. “They march to their own drummer,” said a former senior State Department official. The White House and State Department declined to comment.

The technical term for this is plausible deniability. The State Department at this point had every reason to know what Qatar would do. The terrorist ties there were well documented.

The administration has never determined where all of the weapons, paid for by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, went inside Libya, officials said. Qatar is believed to have shipped by air and sea small arms, including machine guns, automatic rifles, and ammunition, for which it has demanded reimbursement from Libya’s new government. Some of the arms since have been moved from Libya to militants with ties to Al Qaeda in Mali, where radical jihadi factions have imposed Shariah law in the northern part of the country, the former Defense Department official said. Others have gone to Syria, according to several American and foreign officials and arms traders.

How do you say Chutzpah in Arabic again?

So we’ve got Obama giving his blessing to Qatari arms shipments to Libya, which not only go to Islamist militias in Libya, but which are then used by Islamist militias in Syria and Mali. This makes Arms for Hostages look petty.

And the cover up had begun very early. This wasn’t clean at all.

American officials say that the United Arab Emirates first approached the Obama administration during the early months of the Libyan uprising, asking for permission to ship American-built weapons that the United States had supplied for the emirates’ use. The administration rejected that request, but instead urged the emirates to ship weapons to Libya that could not be traced to the United States.

“The U.A.E. was asking for clearance to send U.S. weapons,” said one former official. “We told them it’s O.K. to ship other weapons.”

If Obama had wanted to back the rebels, why not authorize the shipment of US manufactured weapons? The only reason to need plausible deniability, and this goes beyond mere plausible deniability, is that US officials expected that the chances were good that these weapons would be used to carry out attacks against Americans or against American allies.

The American support for the arms shipments from Qatar and the emirates could not be completely hidden. NATO air and sea forces around Libya had to be alerted not to interdict the cargo planes and freighters transporting the arms into Libya from Qatar and the emirates, American officials said.

So we’ve got American forces opening the way for arms being shipped to Al Qaeda. People will suggest this could have changed the election, but for that we would have needed a candidate who could have made use of it as a talking point. And we, in any case, basically knew this all along.

“Nobody knew exactly who they were,” said the former defense official. The Qataris, the official added, are “supposedly good allies, but the Islamists they support are not in our interest.”

When your “good allies” are also good allies with terrorist groups at war with America, it might be time to decide who they really are good allies with.

Now here is where it gets interesting for those people who have speculated that Stevens was involved in arms transfers.

During the frantic early months of the Libyan rebellion, various players motivated by politics or profit — including an American arms dealer who proposed weapons transfers in an e-mail exchange with a United States emissary later killed in Benghazi — sought to aid those trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi.

The case of Marc Turi, the American arms merchant who had sought to provide weapons to Libya, demonstrates other challenges the United States faced in dealing with Libya. A dealer who lives in both Arizona and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Turi sells small arms to buyers in the Middle East and Africa, relying primarily on suppliers of Russian-designed weapons in Eastern Europe.

In March 2011, just as the Libyan civil war was intensifying, Mr. Turi realized that Libya could be a lucrative new market, and applied to the State Department for a license to provide weapons to the rebels there, according to e-mails and other documents he has provided.

He also e-mailed with J. Christopher Stevens, then the special representative to the Libyan rebel alliance. The diplomat said he would “share” Mr. Turi’s proposal with colleagues in Washington, according to e-mails provided by Mr. Turi. Mr. Stevens, who became the United States ambassador to Libya, was one of the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11.

Mr. Turi’s application for a license was rejected in late March 2011. Undeterred, he applied again, this time stating only that he planned to ship arms worth more than $200 million to Qatar. In May 2011, his application was approved. Mr. Turi, in an interview, said that his intent was to get weapons to Qatar and that what “the U.S. government and Qatar allowed from there was between them. “

Two months later, though, his home near Phoenix was raided by agents from the Department of Homeland Security. Administration officials say he remains under investigation in connection with his arms dealings. The Justice Department would not comment.

Mr. Turi said he believed that United States officials had shut down his proposed arms pipeline because he was getting in the way of the Obama administration’s dealings with Qatar. The Qataris, he complained, imposed no controls on who got the weapons. “They just handed them out like candy,” he said.

The relevance of this story to matters at hand is shaky. So why include it and make it so large a part of the article? That’s an interesting question. And a trail worth following.