Friday, August 27, 2010

Qatar Islamic Bank: Charity Concerns "Baseless"

A story about the controversy of Islamic financing in Korea quotes the head of Qatar Islamic Bank in Malaysia regarding concerns of terror financing:
"There's not enough evidence to prove that" charities are being used to fund terrorism, Mohamed Azahari said in an interview from Kuala Lumpur. "The accusation is baseless."
Perhaps this is true, but even the appearance of a weakening charity oversight regime in the bank's home country will not add credibility to his argument.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Qatar Charities: A Question of Oversight

This recent article assures readers that funds given to Qatar charities do not wend their way into the pockets of extremists or terrorist-minded folk, citing receipts, "strict regulations" and the fact that "most charities are regulated by the government."

Hopefully this is all true. Qatar and its citizens have underwritten a tremendous amount of charitable work for people in need throughout the world - including here in the United States - and one wants to think only the best about such a considerable humanitarian effort.

But there are of course allegations and general atmospherics in today's world regarding charitable work in troubled areas (such as Gaza, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, and Indonesia) that cannot reasonably be ignored. And, unfortunately, some allege that a Qatar charity was a trusted cash mover by Osama bin Laden and, as a result, may have been involved in unpleasantness in Chechnya, as well as the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Africa and a failed assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Knowing already that the US is frustrated with Qatar's cooperation on counterterrorism issues, I was prompted to check out the US government's specific views regarding Qatar's anti-terror finance efforts which, for reasons known only to some horrible clutch of federal bureaucrats, can be found nestled deep in something called the International Narcotic Control Strategy Report (INCSR).

While the 2010 report is full of interesting information about what Qatar does (and doesn't do) to fight financial crimes, it includes no mention of charity oversight. But checking the 2009 INCSR report proved more fruitful:
Law No. 13 from 2004 established The Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities (QACA), which monitors all charitable activity in and outside of Qatar. Only officially registered organizations can collect and disperse money for charitable purposes. There are five officially registered charities in Qatar: Qatar Charity, the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association, the Qatari Red Crescent, the Jassim Bin Jaber Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association, and Reach Out to Asia (ROTA). Two additional charities are in the process of being registered. The Secretary General of the Authority approves all international fund transfers by the charities. The Authority reports to the cabinet via the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and has primary responsibility for monitoring overseas charitable, development, and humanitarian projects that were previously under the oversight of several government agencies. The IMF assessment found that domestic measures to prevent abuse of nonprofits go beyond FATF recommendations, and the QACA appears to ensure effective implementation of the requirements in place.
Sounds promising, though a report by the Congressional Research Service provides an important additional fact:
"....However, Article 24 of the law establishing the Authority allows the Emir to grant an exemption from QACA oversight to any organization at any time."
This would seem to set the stage for circumstances that jibe with the quote in the story about how "most" of Qatar's charities are regulated by the government, the exceptions of course being those that The Big Fella does not want regulated.

This was reported in a May article in The Peninsula about a meeting of charitable organizations from within the Organization of the Islamic Conference, where the authority's dissolution "raised several eyebrows" and was "met with astonishment." Some excerpts:
The additional absence of Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities, which was recently dissolved after gaining prominence in the Arab and Muslim world, also raised several eyebrows. It was particularly surprising to participants from the GCC, namely the delegations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE....

While some Gulf states are currently awaiting decisions approving the establishment of independent supervisory and regulatory work of assemblies and civil society institutions in their home countries in the forthcoming days, current news regarding Qatar’s dissolution of the Qatari Authority and distribution of its duties was met with astonishment. It is somewhat similar to a setback since Qatar is regarded as a leader in the region.....

Through the amendment of the Act a few days ago, the amount of capital required for the establishment of associations and private institutions was increased to a minimum of 10 million riyals, as well as the dissolution of the body responsible for planning, developing , and activating the role of civil society institutions, transferring its responsibilities to a mere department, rather than transforming it into a comprehensive, independent sector, otherwise known in today’s world as the Third Sector.
The report leaves the reader wondering exactly which governmental entity is now charged with overseeing Qatar's charitable organizations. Given the vast amount of charitable work that Qatar supports - sometimes even with the help of chili cook-offs held by their new friends from the West - such ambiguity seems counter to everyone's best interests, most importantly those in distressed areas who will benefit from a continuation of Qatar's robust charitable impulse.

Since I've been unable to find any other information that can fill in the blanks, I've begun simply asking people who might know, beginning with the Qatar embassy and the State Department (which still advises citizens to contact the defunct charity authority with questions). I'll update with any new information gathered, and of course welcome the views of anyone who may have insights on this matter at

Monday, August 23, 2010


Ahmadinejad sits down with editors from The Peninsula and Al-Sharq.

Qatar Charity's air bridge to assist those suffering in Pakistan.

More Qatari's matriculating at Texas A&M's Doha campus.

Athletes find something alluring about Doha.

Qatar Investment Authority raises its stake in China Ag bank.

Chili cook off supports Qatar Red Crescent.

Portugal takes its first shipment of Qatari LNG.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Qatar Lobbyist List: Patton Boggs

In my continuing effort to provide easy access to information about Qatar's US lobbyists, contained below is data culled from Patton Boggs' latest disclosure pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The sizable legal and lobby shop has a long history with Qatar's Emir - when deposing his father in 1995, the Big Fella turned to Patton Boggs for help in freezing dear old dad's bank accounts - and was the first US firm to be licensed to practice law in Qatar, which they do through their Doha office. During this reporting period, the firm also did work for Saudi Arabia, Angola, Cameroon, Ecuador, China, Sri Lanka, India, Cyprus, Malta, Albania, Nigeria, the Korean International Trade Association and the city of Heidelberg, Germany.

Below you'll learn how much Qatar paid Patton Boggs during the first half of 2010 ($358K), a vague description of what services were rendered in return, and a long, long list of all the US politicians who have taken money from Patton Boggs this year.





Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, Ahmadinejad meets with Ahmadinejad and says "It is clear for Qatar that the development of Iran's nuclear technology is no threat to the regional countries."

The Big Fella praised as "Emir of Resistance" in Lebanon.

Espionage case underscores Cairo-Doha tensions.

India's Petronet to buy some Qatari LNG next month.

Qatar seeks to improve its corporate responsibility standards.

Power problems over at the aluminum factory.

A report on Qatar Red Crescent's efforts in Pakistan.

American expat uses Qatar's blazing sun to bake cookies.

The Heir Apparent issues a decree "banning labourers from staying in groups in residential areas of families."

And a former American expat notes the tolerance he encountered in Qatar and his concerns about the damage that may be done by the Cordoba House political tempest.

Qatar Airways rep notes that if you walk the Qatari streets, "you’re safer than in Washington."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Tourists are virtually unknown in Doha"

I've been working through some State Department archives and recently happened upon an interesting little cable sent during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. In it, US Ambassador William Stoltzfus passes on word from his Charge d'Affaires in Doha to the head office regarding the type of environment American citizens in Qatar may be facing during this tense period.

According to the foreign service officer in Doha, it seemed unlikely that any travel warning or evacuation plans would be needed because, first of all, things seemed "completely calm and normal" and, secondly, because there were hardly any Americans to be concerned about. As you can see below, there were thought to be no more than twenty private American citizens in Qatar, and no more than five tourists.
Thirty seven years later, Qatar has thousands of American residents, and around a million visitors from abroad annually.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Meanwhile, the UK will likely see a rise in Islamic mortgages thanks to Qatari investment.

Qaradawi calls for construction halt during Ramadan.

Emergency preparedness in Qatar needs improvement.

The Al-Thani's play hardball in Cyprus.

A Qatari drilling company looks to ply its trade outside of its friendly confines.

Qatar: America's irradiated arsenal.

US-Qatar Business Council to host discussion of Sheikha Mozah education initiative in DC next month.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

State Department Report on Qatar & Human Rights

This isn't very new, but I wanted to get a post on the State Department's Human Rights Report on the record here. The whole thing is here, but below you'll find some noteworthy bits culled from the report that will give a sense of how things operate in Qatar. As you'll see, things seem most difficult in the emirate for foreign workers (of which there are many) who are subject to a sponsorship law that results in "forced labor activities and slavelike conditions."

From the report:
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

There were no reports that government officials employed torture.

Some prisons and detention centers, conditions did not meet international standards.

There were no reports of arbitrary arrest or detention.

The law empowers the minister of interior to detain a defendant for crimes related to national security, honor, or impudence.

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, but the emir, based on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, appoints all judges. They hold their positions at his discretion.

The law provides defendants the presumption of innocence; in practice, those charged with a crime carry the burden of disproving at trial the charge against them.

Although there are no separate Shari'a courts, the application of Shari'a denied women equal status in certain civil proceedings.

The judiciary is not impartial and independent in practice, and judgments tend to favor citizens.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press in accordance with the law, but the government limited these rights in practice.

Journalists and publishers continued to self-censor due to political and economic pressures when reporting on government policies or material deemed hostile to Islam, the ruling family, and relations with neighboring states

Although the seven daily newspapers are not state owned, owners are members of the ruling family or have close ties to government officials.

Al Jazeera and the government claimed that the channel was independent and free of government influence, but the government exercised editorial and programmatic control of the channel through funding and selection of the station's management.

The government restricted the peaceful expression of views via the Internet and censored the Internet for political, religious, and pornographic content through a proxy server, which monitored and blocked Web sites, e-mail, and chat rooms through the state-owned Internet service provider.

Adherents of other faiths may privately practice their religion without harassment.

Criminal law provides for prison terms of up to 10 years for individuals proselytizing for any religion other than Islam on behalf of an organization, society, or foundation.

Converting to another religion from Islam is technically a capital offense, but there were no executions or other punishments handed down or carried out for such an act during the year.

Christmas decorations were on display in many public places, including shopping malls and in the common areas of housing compounds. Such decorations were available for sale at stores throughout Doha.

In a January 9 sermon on Al-Jazeera, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi called for killing Jews "down to the very last one."

The government severely restricted in-country movement and foreign travel for noncitizens.Unlike previous years, local shopping malls did not prevent groups of foreign workers from entering entertainment areas in Doha on weekends and during certain periods designated as "family times."

The government occasionally revoked citizenship or passports for political reasons, thereby restricting freedom of movement.

According to the UNHCR, there were approximately 1,500 Bidoons (stateless Arabs with residency ties) in the country. They suffered discrimination based upon their lack of nationality. They were unable to register for such services as education and health care.

The constitution does not provide citizens the right to peacefully change their government through elections.

The influence of family and tribal traditions was strong, and the government did not permit political parties or opposition groups.

Nearly 50 percent of the fewer than 50,000 eligible voters participated.

Approximately 75 percent of citizens could not vote in the 2007 municipal elections, as this right was limited to families who were in the country prior to 1930.

The law forbids formation of and membership in political parties.

During the year local newspapers reported that a number of senior officials in various ministries had been dismissed for using their offices for personal gain but offered no details.

No international NGO or international organization focusing on human rights or humanitarian issues was resident in the country, with the exception of a major Western labor organization, which in March placed a representative in Doha to work on labor rights issues.

Although the influence of traditional attitudes and roles continued to limit women's participation in politics, women served in public office as president of the Permanent Election Committee, head of the General Authority for Health, vice president of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) with ministerial rank, head of the General Authority for Museums, and president of Qatar University.

In practice, custom heavily influenced government enforcement of nondiscrimination laws, and legal, cultural, and institutional discrimination existed against women, noncitizens, and foreign workers.

The legal system allows leniency for a man found guilty of committing a so-called "honor" crime against a woman for perceived immodesty or deviant behavior. There were no reports of honor crimes during the year.

In cases involving financial transactions, the testimony of two women equals that of one man, but courts routinely evaluated evidence according to the overall credibility of the witness and the testimony being offered, and not on the basis of gender.

The government provides for the welfare of citizen children, but not noncitizen children. The government funds free public education (elementary through university) and health care for citizens

Provisions of the Sponsorship Law create conditions that can lead to forced labor activities and slave-like conditions.

The country was a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation

Men and women from Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East travel to the country as laborers and domestic servants but often subsequently face conditions of forced labor and physical and sexual exploitation.

Most victims traveled legally to the country by means of recruiting agencies in their home countries but faced conditions of forced labor and trafficking after they reached the country.

Some workers were recruited for jobs in the country but then were abandoned by their recruiters upon arrival or by employers after the work was completed, making them even more vulnerable to trafficking.

During the year no antitrafficking or related cases against employers or labor recruitment agencies were prosecuted, and there was no indication that the government assisted with international investigations or that it extradited citizens who were accused of trafficking in other countries.

Although there was no evidence of institutional involvement by government bodies or officials, some officials may own or operate companies that subject their employees to forced labor conditions.

Noncitizens were required to pay for health care, electricity, water, and education (services provided without charge to citizens).

The law prohibits same-sex relations between men but is silent concerning same-sex relations between women.

Under the criminal law, a man convicted of having sexual relations with another man or boy younger than 16 is subject to a sentence of life in prison. A man convicted of having sexual relations with another man older than 16 is subject to a sentence of seven years in prison under section 285 of the criminal law.

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor. However, there were reports that such practices occurred. Foreign workers in many cases worked under circumstances that constituted forced labor. These conditions were found primarily in the construction and domestic labor sectors.

There is no minimum wage stipulated by law. The average wage of noncitizen workers did not provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family.

Government offices and major private sector companies adhered to this law; it was often not observed with respect to unskilled laborers and domestic and personal employees, the majority of whom were foreigners. Many such workers frequently worked seven days a week and more than 12 hours a day with few or no holidays, no overtime pay, and no effective means to redress grievances.

The rights of noncitizen workers continued to be severely restricted. Some employers mistreated foreign domestic servants, predominantly those from South Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, by withholding wages or paying wages late. Some cases involved rape and physical abuse.

Another foreign embassy received between 50 and 60 complaints a day, including sexual harassment, delay and nonpayment of salaries, forced labor, contract switching, withholding of passports, poor accommodations, nonrepatriation, termination and deportation without cause, physical torture or torment, overwork, imprisonment, and mistreatment.

Diplomatic representatives visited labor camps and found most unskilled foreign laborers living in cramped, dirty, and hazardous conditions, often without running water, electricity, or adequate food.


Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim talks with Yemeni President Saleh as Doha prepares for Yemen peace talks.

Iran still needs another $40 B to develop its portion of the North Field.

Qatar Charity helps 36,000 orphans outside of Qatar, and fuels hospital generators in Gaza.

Qatar Red Crescent to open hospital in Sudan.

India enters 25-year gas deal with Qatar.

Angry Arab sees significance in Qatar's investment deal with Israeli company.

The Dolphin pipeline to the UAE will be kept busy.

Qatar Holding's mergers & acquisitions guy named most influential expat in the Gulf.

Monday, August 16, 2010


The Big Fella meets with Abbas.

...and is headed for visits to Uruguay and Paraguay

The Atlantic
profiles the host of Al Jazeera's most popular talk show.

Qatar-backed Barclays fined by US for trying to conceal Iranian transactions.

Qatari work day limited to six hours during Ramadan.

India looks to cut Qatar in to its gas-run projects.

The Big Fella's son Khalid looms large in the US drag racing circuit.

Doha's Islamic Museum of Art clocks 400,000+ visitors.

Qatar growth may be slowing down, but it's still tops in the Gulf.

Qatar's health council finds the need to monitor private diet clinics "urgent."

$6 B being spent on Qatari road projects in anticipation of population growth.

Qatari affluence exacts a heavy price on young grooms-to-be.

The Interior Ministry isn't joking around about cracking down on beggars who "lie in wait" around mosques.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Ahmadinejad and the Big Fella chat about expanding Iran-Qatar ties.

A nice overview of Qatar's extraordinary boom notes that 1800 buildings are currently under construction in Doha.

Orphans enjoy iftar at the Ritz Ramadan tent courtesy of the Qatar Foundation.

Price of Qatar crude drops.

Is the Doha peace deal for Lebanon about to break?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Muslim Tents vs. "Diabolical" Tents

Asia News has an interesting little piece on two different kinds of tents that are prevalent in the emirate during Ramadan.

Excerpt (emphasis mine):

"Muslim tents" are erected in all cities during Ramadan by Muslim charitable institutions and public entities, to offer believers, especially those who are not wealthy, a measure of comfort, cultural activities and religious homilies. Food and drinks, obviously non-alcoholic, are offered only during iftar time, that is, the "breaking of the fast", which allows Muslim believers to replenish after dawn, or during suhur, breakfast before the sun rises. According to official data, during the month of Ramadan, 126,000 people use the services of "Muslim tents".

The "diabolical tents" are entirely different. In these, big hotels offer a luxurious environment for food, music and entertainment, including belly dancers and fortune tellers to predict the future.

One preacher said: "They are places of depravation, worse than heresy", and those who run them "even if they earn good money, are doomed to perish." He added: "These tents are a phenomenon foreign to Qatar's tradition. The true representatives of our legacy are cultural and preaching ones that try to resist this foreign invasion." However he admits that sometimes, religious homilies are "boring", so that they end up by pushing people towards "diabolical tents".


Qatar employees see biggest pay raises in the Gulf.

Qatar Investment Authority partners with an Israeli conglomerate.

Nakilat accepts delivery of another Q-Max LNG tanker.

Qatar doubles education funding as they work to diversify economy.

One million man hours logged without injury at Dohaland construction.

WSJ looks at Iran's diminishing hopes of big LNG export riches.

Qatar Interior Ministry ramps up efforts "to catch beggars who take advantage of the holy month."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Congress Offers Qatar A Belated Thank You

Just before Congress adjourned for the August recess, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) introduced this legislation (pasted below) thanking Qatar for providing $100 M in assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The picture above is taken from the Qatar Katrina Fund website which elaborates on how the Qatari gift has been used.


2d Session

H. CON. RES. 313

Expressing thanks to the people of Qatar for their assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.


July 30, 2010

Mr. BAIRD (for himself, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. BOUSTANY, Mr. CAO, Mr. DAVIS of Tennessee, and Mr. SCALISE) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


Expressing thanks to the people of Qatar for their assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Whereas the people of the Gulf Coast region of the United States were devastated by Hurricane Katrina; and

Whereas the people of Qatar provided $100,000,000 in direct assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina for projects not funded by other sources, focusing on housing, health care, and education: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress expresses thanks to the people of Qatar for their generosity to the people of the Gulf Coast region of the United States.


    The Atlantic eyes likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran within a year.

    Qatar Red Crescent sending $13.5 M to Gaza.

    Qatar's central bank sends a message to the market by cutting overnight deposit rates

    Qatar deal to build hotels in Monaco announced.

    Responding to an alarmingly high diabetes rate, Qatar offers a hotline to help diabetics during Ramadan.

    HSBC Qatar expects "a steady flow of financing deals in coming years."

    Qatar Pays Barbour, Griffith & Rogers $35,000 Per Month

    This blog will make a habit out of posting the disclosures filed by Qatar's lobbyists in the US. Today's focus is Barbour, Griffith & Rogers [BGR], a Republican-leaning firm which has lobbied for Qatar since 2005.

    Below are excerpts from their two most recent disclosures required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act, supplemented with some info from the Federal Elections Commission regarding BGR's campaign donations through its political action committee.

    As you can see, Qatar paid BGR $35K (plus expenses) a month from June through December '09.
    In general, BGR explains that they have "engaged in monitoring and advising on US policymaking processes with regard to the State of Qatar." More specifically, they disclose the following contacts (pasted below) on Qatar's behalf, which center primarily on a failed effort to secure First Lady Michelle Obama involvement in the World Innovation Summit for Education championed by Sheikha Mozah and sponsored by her Qatar Foundation. BGR also contacted Rep. Nick Rahall's (D-WV) office twice to discuss the Qatar Caucus. When compared to BGR's work for some some of its other foreign clients during this period (India, Kurdistan, Poland), this appears to be a fairly light workload.
    Here's a list of campaign donations by BGR employees (click to enlarge pages). Not surprisingly, the donations appear to trend Republican, but there is still a nice hunk of Democratic recipients in the mix as well. It is obviously a very long list, which suggests that BGR possesses the kind of political connectivity one would want in a lobbying firm.

    Many of the BGR donations obviously went to the BGR political action committee; information about politicians who received support from BGR PAC in 2009 and first half of 2010 can be found here, here, here and here.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010


    $300,000 horse headed to Qatar.

    "Believe it or not, Qatar is a very serious contender" for the 2022 World Cup.

    The US-Qatar Business Council has a YouTube page.

    Qatar growing less comfortable with this idea of men and women working out together.

    Bahraini fisherman face Qatari justice.

    The Big Fella's son Khalid is a drag racing hero in the US who knows "how to cope with pressure."

    China can put down about 26 tanker's worth of LNG over a six month period. Coincidentally, that's exactly how many LNG tankers are idling in UAE waters.

    BMW's priced to move in Qatar during Ramadan.

    ExxonMobil may or may not still be working with Qatar Petroleum on a $6B petrochemical project.

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Financial Times reports that Qatar's support for its banks during the 2008 dip "represented a higher level of support relative to the size of Qatar’s economy than the initial $700bn, via the troubled asset relief programme, in the US." The result: "Qatari lenders are among the world’s best capitalised financial institutions."


    The Big Fella discussed "distinguished fraternal relations" and "scores of issues of common interest" with Bashar al-Assad.

    Qatar has more citizens on the government payroll (88%) than any other GCC member.

    The lucky ones get to hang out in London.

    Incidentally, the roads around Harrods have become a speedway for luxury sports cars since Qatar purchased the store.

    The Government of Texas seeks participants for Doha Trade show.

    The Gulf Blog reminds us that LNG is more combustible than oil.

    Iran moves away from LNG.

    36% of Qatari residents use tobacco.

    Hubbly-bubbly on the rise.

    Foreign Policy looks at how much the US has spent on defending oil supply.

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    State Department: US "Strives for Increased Cooperation" with Qatar on Counterterrorism

    The State Department has issued its annual terrorism report. As with most government reports of this nature, there is much to be read between the lines (and much, much more that will never be read at all), though perhaps it is noteworthy in this instance that the State Department kicks things off by suggesting frustration with Qatar's cooperation on certain terrorism issues, specifically the all-important "information sharing." That notwithstanding, the account (pasted below) cites some positive developments, and is blessedly short on bad happenings.


    While Qatar and the United States cooperated on some counterterrorism issues, the United States continued to strive for increased cooperation – and particularly information sharing – with the Qatari government. There has not been a terrorist attack in Qatar since the March 19, 2005 suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack at an amateur theater playhouse that killed a British citizen. Cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities continued to improve during and after the investigation of this case. Press reports indicated that up to 19 people of various nationalities, including one Qatari, were apprehended during the ensuing investigation. There were no reports of criminal prosecution in the case; however, many of the third country nationals who were apprehended were deported subsequent to the investigation.

    The Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities was responsible for overseeing all domestic and international charitable activities, including approving international fund transfers by charities and monitoring overseas charitable, development, and humanitarian projects. The Authority reports annually to Qatari government ministries on their oversight and humanitarian activities.

    Cooperation with U.S. authorities on counterterrorist finance continued to develop. Qatar’s Financial Information Unit (FIU) resides in the Qatar Central Bank. Local banks worked with the Central Bank and the FIU on counterterrorist finance and anti-money laundering issues.

    Qatar was one of two countries in the Gulf with an attorney general independent of the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Justice and equivalent to a ministerial level position. The Attorney General independently controlled and oversaw public prosecutions and appointed attorneys within the Public Prosecutors Office.

    The United States provided law enforcement and counterterrorism training under various programs. Exchanges and training have had helped sustain a good relationship with Qatari law enforcement agencies and improved their counterterrorism capabilities.

    Saturday, August 7, 2010


    Turns out that Japanese tanker was attacked in the Strait of Hormuz by "an Omani suicide bomber in an explosives-laden motorboat" after making stops in Qatar and the UAE's Das Island.

    Qatar oil and gas revenues up a "staggering 63 percent"

    Doha "Fast-a-thon" will donate QR200 to Pakistani flood victims for every non-Muslim who fasts on the first day of Ramadan.

    A Qatar charity is hosting iftar programs in 33 countries "to maintain a link with Muslims around the world."

    Those Candy Brothers make the Big Fella "go mental."

    It's Doha Bank's third year in China.

    Qatar helping people get used to the idea of air-conditioned soccer fields.

    Qatari government planning "surprise raids" to ensure Ramadan meats are fresh.

    Qatar Diar has a "stronger negotiating position" in still-unsettled Cyprus deal.

    Thursday, August 5, 2010


    If you haven't already, check out the World Digital Library site for some incredible old maps of the Arabian Peninsula. There you will find, among other things, inaccurate renderings of a place called "Catara" generally somewhere near the Gulf waters. The snippet above is from a map created in 1578.


    Huffington Post looks at Qatar's World Cup bid.

    Archeologists putting a spotlight on Qatar.

    Qatar pioneers HIV research in Middle East/North Africa.

    Jet fuel made with natural gas nets Qatar Airways an environmental accolade.

    Presumably no natural gas in the airline's award-winning wines though.

    Qatar Charity setting up vocational school in Yemen.

    RasGas donates to program aimed at preserving Qatari traditions and heritage.

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010


    The Big Fella talks with President Obama about "bilateral relations between the two countries and the latest developments in the region."

    Nakilat's net profit down 7% in second quarter.

    Industries Qatar stock climbs.

    Qatar "very, very optimistic" about World Cup bid.

    Footage of the Emir in southern Lebanon.

    Monday, August 2, 2010


    The Big Fella in Algiers.

    Qatar Red Crescent sends aid to Pakistan.

    Qatar doesn't plan on banning Blackberry, but will consider it if telecom providers or national security departments suggest it.

    Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor does not like the idea of the US bombing one of Qatar's neighbors.

    Arabic children's books selling like hotcakes at Harrods.

    JEM not interested in the Darfur peace talks starting on Monday in Doha.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010


    The Big Fella walks on flower petals while greeted by thousands in south Lebanon.

    Iranian press reports that he praised Hezbollah while he was there.

    And he may yet meet with Nasrallah.

    A Candy Brother "apologised unreservedly" to Qatari leadership for suing them over Chelsea Barracks.

    Over 400,000 Facebook users in Qatar.

    Qatar LNG processing capacity continues to grow.

    Qatari banks report $824 M (3B QR) profits in second quarter despite "doubtful loans."

    Qatari hotel occupancy in the first half of 2010 slightly higher than first half of 2009, and there will be 42 new hotels opened in Qatar by the end of this year.

    Qatar Airways has an appetite for more airplanes.

    Friday, July 30, 2010


    About $2.4 M worth of baby blue Al-Thani sports cars get booted outside Harrods.

    Explosion on oil tanker in the Gulf may have US Central Command in Doha on high alert.

    Phone numbers in Qatar lengthened to accommodate growth.

    Qatar has invested $40 M in Australian agriculture this year.

    Qatar Pays Bud McFarlane $2.3 M for Sudan Services

    Former U.S. National Security Advisor Robert "Bud" McFarlane recently filed another disclosure with the Justice Department regarding his work on behalf of the government of Qatar.


    - Qatar has paid McFarlane Associates $2.3 M between May 2009 and March 2010. This seems to match up with a previous disclosure from '09 forecasting an annual budget of $2.473 M.

    -The latest disclosure shows $1.064 M in payments between December and March for "advisory services." Specifically:
    "We have engaged in regular consultations with representatives from the Government of the State of Qatar to advise on the Darfur Peace Process. We have also periodically met with tribal leaders from throughout Darfur to nurture unity among them and assist in the development of political, economic and security goals to be sought in the Darfur Peace Process."
    - While taking in $2.3M from Qatar, McFarlane laid out about $756K in related disbursements. $350K alone went to BKSH Associates, the lobbying firm led by Republican mega-lobbyist Charlie Black and currently owned by public relations behemoth Burson-Marsteller.

    -McFarlane discloses 12 personal contacts with the US government officials between December '09 and June '10 (10 emails and 2 phone calls), all of them to Scott Gration, President Obama's special envoy to Sudan. McFarlane's colleague Amanda Jane made 5 phone calls to Gration's deputy, Tim Shortley. Worth noting:
    (1) This Washington Post article reports that McFarlane discussed Sudan with National Security Advisor James Jones and Gration sometime during '09; we find no mention of Jones in any of McFarlane's disclosures and no mention of any contact with US government officials prior to December 2009, though it's possible that the meeting occurred before McFarlane entered into a contractt with Qatar contract.

    (2) The White House flickr feed shows McFarlane meeting with President Obama and Jones in March 2010. From what we can tell, one is not obligated to report contacts with US officials if their foreign client work is not discussed.
    - McFarlane made two political contributions while working for Qatar, both to Republicans with military backgrounds: Mike Pompeo in Kansas ($1388.75) and Lang Sias in Colorado ($500). McFarlane hosted a fundraiser for Pompeo at his Washington DC home, prompting Pompeo's opponent to remark that she was "pretty shocked to learn that the host of this fundraiser was someone who has been working with the governments of Qatar and Sudan."

    - The original signed agreement between McFarlane and Qatar was to expire at the end of April; work performed past that date suggests the agreement has been renewed.

    Payouts, disbursements and contacts with US government pasted below. All of this data and more can be found on the Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Act website.



    USG contacts: