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Daily Read: The influence of Qatar on U.S. policy — and the legal loophole that encou

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Unread 09.22.14, 10:06 AM
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Daily Read: The influence of Qatar on U.S. policy — and the legal loophole that encou

09.22.14 07:51 AM

The U.S. is tough on campaign contributions from foreign governments — it’s a complete no-no. But there’s no similar restriction preventing foreign governments from funding nonprofit policy institutes in Washington, D.C.

The result, perhaps the most significant among many, is that Qatar — the “chief sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood” and the owner of Al Jazeera — has accrued immense influence over the think tanks that often marry ideas to government. It’s not the only nation to do so.

But as The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti wrote Friday, “the money Qatar has thrown around town in recent years has created an environment where the views of its government are considered congenial, normal, an “important perspective” worthy of consideration by noted policy analysts, who just happen to become key policy makers.”

Qatar and other would-be U.S. policy shapers are taking advantage of a gap in U.S. law that’s “being exploited to an extent that mocks the very purpose” of the ban on foreign campaign contributions, Continetti writes:
Think tanks can be the vehicles for revolutions in foreign policy. The Gulf state of Qatar, for example, is one of the most generous donors to U.S. nonprofits. It “agreed last year to make a $14.8 million, four-year donation” to the Brookings Institution, the Times reports. And Brookings, in turn, “has helped fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world.”

I have not been asked to participate in either of these initiatives. But let me take a stab at why “United States relations with the Islamic world” are so terrible. One reason is that radical Muslims have a habit of killing innocent men, women, and children in gruesome ways, and imposing their medieval vision of society upon unwilling populations. But I would not expect the Brookings Institution to focus too much on this angle, since one of the global engines of Islamic radicalism in our time — its financier, champion, and propagandist — is none other than Qatar.

Qatar is the chief sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, the global Islamist movement whose offspring include Hamas, al Qaeda, and Islamic Jihad. Hamas’ leader, Khaled Meshal, resides in Qatar’s capital. It is a financial and ideological sponsor of Hamas — whose charter demands not only the destruction of Israel but also the removal of Jews from an Islamic “Palestine” — as well as a supporter of the Taliban, the Al-Nusra front, militias in Libya, and other armed prophets throughout the Ummah. And Qatar is the founder and owner of Al Jazeera, which pushes the Brotherhood line, and whose anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism have reached our shores in the form of Al Jazeera America.

The Qatari regime is awful. And, of course, it is authoritarian. I don’t want its agents and proxies interfering in our intellectual or policy debates, period, especially without having to tell the law enforcement officers of my country what they are doing with their money and why. The current arrangement — by which one has to read closely between the lines to detect Islamist influence in Washington — is unacceptable.

Read Continetti’s full column at The Washington Free Beacon.

The post Daily Read: The influence of Qatar on U.S. policy — and the legal loophole that encourages it appeared first on Personal Liberty.



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