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Qatar’s Growing Lobby Efforts

May 5th, 2021 13:32

US media has report­ed on the con­tin­u­ing increase in Qatari lob­by­ing efforts. Accord­ing to a Bloomberg report:

April 27, 2021 Qatar is ramp­ing up its lob­by­ing efforts in the U.S., eager to cul­ti­vate a clos­er rela­tion­ship with the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and Con­gress in order to avoid a repeat of 2017, when it was caught off-guard by a Sau­di-led boy­cott in the Per­sian Gulf. Since Jan­u­ary, Qatar has hired sev­en promi­nent firms to do lob­by­ing and con­sult­ing work in Wash­ing­ton at a com­bined rate of $186,000 per month, accord­ing to For­eign Agent Reg­is­tra­tion Act doc­u­ments. At least five of the firms have close ties to Democ­rats, includ­ing links with the House and Sen­ate for­eign affairs committees.=

Read the rest here.

The report also cit­ed the fol­low­ing com­ments by Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, the Qatari ambas­sador to the US

  • The year 2017 marked a piv­otal change for Qatar…Qatar was sub­ject­ed to an aggres­sive, vicious cam­paign and in response we defend­ed ourselves.
  • We hired lob­by­ists to cor­rect fac­tu­al errors and address the dam­age the dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign did to our reputation…Qatar will con­tin­ue its impor­tant work with the Unit­ed States on issues like Afghanistan, Iraq, Horn of Africa, or assist­ing in the region
  • Now what we are doing is proac­tive­ly engag­ing Con­gress, think tanks, and the media on what Qatar is doing in part­ner­ship with Unit­ed States.

The report details the names and affil­i­a­tions of Qatar’s lob­by­ists hired since Jan­u­ary 2021, rely­ing on For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act (FARA) documents.

Pre­vi­ous report­ing by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) on Qatari lob­by­ing efforts in the US has included:

  • A report from March 2021 that two advis­ers to Demo­c­ra­t­ic politi­cians were hired by Qatar.
  • report from March 2021 that a for­mer aide to a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor was reg­is­tered as a for­eign agent on behalf of a lob­by­ing firm hired by Qatar.
  • report from Jan­u­ary 2021 that Qatar had hired a for­mer Amer­i­can Israeli Pub­lic Action Com­mit­tee (AIPAC) liai­son close to the Biden administration.
  • report from Decem­ber 2020 that Turkey and Qatar were among the coun­tries vying to secure influ­ence in the incom­ing Biden administration.