Qatar Is Funneling Billions into Washington and Elite Universities

June 21 2022

In recent years, the wealthy Persian Gulf state of Qatar has donated billions to top-flight American universities across the country, as well as a wide range of organizations in the U.S. capital. Much of this spending has gone unreported and appears to be a straightforward attempt to buy influence in the U.S., note Hussain Abdul-Hussain and David Adesnik. It also appears to be tied to alarming allegations about high-ranking U.S. officials having inappropriate dealings with Doha.

Earlier this year, the White House asked Congress officially to designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, a status that serves as both a political seal of approval and a key to securing additional training and weapons from the Pentagon. It’s an unusual honor for a country that once sheltered the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and now harbors the leaders of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. Doha also has a long record of turning a blind eye to terror financing while promoting its anti-Western and anti-Semitic brand of Islam.

And yet, inside the Beltway, taking Qatari money amounts to business as usual. In 2018, when the Washington Capitals were chasing the Stanley Cup, Doha picked up the $100,000 tab for keeping the Metro open for an extra hour, so fans could get home after Game 4 of the conference finals. The emirate has also donated tens of millions of dollars to leading Washington, DC think tanks.

The leading recipients of Qatari largesse are a small circle of top-flight universities, who acknowledged much of the funding they received only under pressure from the Department of Education. For decades, federal law has required universities to disclose when they receive $250,000 or more from a foreign source in a single calendar year. Amid signs of abysmal compliance, DOE launched a series of investigations that turned up $6.5 billion of unreported foreign funding. Among the worst offenders was Cornell, which failed to disclose $1.2 billion of foreign money, including $760 million Doha paid to finance the establishment of a Cornell satellite campus in Qatar’s Education City.

Given how many colleges seem to know the exact amount every alum has donated since he or she received his diploma, Cornell’s oversight does not exactly seem like an honest mistake.

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Academia, Qatar, U.S. Politics

The End of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and the Rise of the Arab-Israeli Coalition

Nov. 30 2022

After analyzing the struggle between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors since 1949, Dan Schueftan explains the current geopolitical alignment and what it means for Jerusalem:

Using an outdated vocabulary of Middle Eastern affairs, recent relations between Israel and most Arab states are often discussed in terms of peace and normalization. What is happening recently is far more significant than the willingness to live together and overshadow old grievances and animosities. It is about strategic interdependence with a senior Israeli partner. The historic all-Arab coalition against Israel has been replaced by a de-facto Arab-Israeli coalition against the radical forces that threaten them both. Iran is the immediate and outstanding among those radicals, but Erdogan’s Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, Syria—and, in a different way, its allies in the Muslim Brotherhood—are not very far behind.

For Israel, the result of these new alignments is a transformational change in its regional standing, as well as a major upgrade of its position on the global stage. In the Middle East, Israel can, for the first time, act as a full-fledged regional power. . . . On the international scene, global powers and other states no longer have to weigh the advantages of cooperation with Israel against its prohibitive costs in “the Arab World. . . . By far the most significant effect of this transformation is on the American strategic calculus of its relations with Israel.

In some important ways, then, the “New Middle East” has arrived. Not, of course, in the surreal Shimon Peres vision of regional democracy, peace, and prosperity, but in terms of a balance of power and hard strategic realities that can guardrail a somewhat less unstable and dangerous region, where the radicals are isolated and the others cooperate to keep them at bay.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Middle East, Shimon Peres, U.S.-Israel relationship