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Qatar Hires Former AIPAC Liaison As New Lobbyist; Qatari Agenda To Remain The Same

January 26th, 2021 13:55

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.

Read the rest here. (Pay­wall)

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.