US media is reporting that Qatar has a hired a new lobbyist, described as a “veteran Middle East policy hand with deep ties to Congress and the incoming Joe Biden administration.” According to the Foreign Lobby report, Ralph Nurnberger of Gray Global Advisors has signed an indeterminate $10,000-a-month agreement with Qatar:
The Embassy of Qatar has added a veteran Middle East policy hand with deep ties to Congress and the incoming Joe Biden administration to its roster of lobbyists as it looks to continue pressing for regional policies at odds with those of its neighbors. Ralph Nurnberger, a 40-year veteran of the Washington political scene who served under both Democrats and Republicans, has signed a $10,000-a-month agreement with Qatar lobby shop Nelson Mullins to provide “strategic advice and tactical support … on outreach and engagement with key policy makers.” The contract was effective Jan. 11 and runs for an indefinite length of time. Nurnberger served as an aide to former Sen. James Pearson (R‑Kansas) and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before leading the “Builders for Peace” initiative established under the Bill Clinton administration to assist the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He was also the legislative liaison for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for more than eight years and lobbied for Morocco from 2009 to 2017.
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The report goes on to add that according to the firm Qatar “will continue to advocate on the opposite side of its Gulf rivals on a range of issues including support for the UN-backed government in Libya, US re-engagement with Iran and opposition to normalization with Bashar al-Assad in Syria.”
According to his bio, Nurnberger was also a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and has taught graduate level courses on Congress and international affairs at Georgetown University since 1975.
Relevant reporting includes:
- In 2017, US media reported that Nelson Mullins was among four US lobby firms hired by Qatar shortly following the blockade imposed on the country by the other Gulf states.
- In October 2020, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on what was described as the ‘unusual’ hiring of a Democratic lobbying firm by the Qatari government, after years of attempts to get closer to President Trump and other prominent Republicans, presumably on the assumption that Biden would become US President.
- In December 2020, we reported that Turkey and Qatar were among the countries using lobbyists in a bid to secure influence in the incoming Biden administration, using various lobbyists.