December 9, 2020 | The Jerusalem Post

Amid terror finance allegations, Qatar lobbies for US F-35 fighter jets

"Given Qatar’s track record of financing and helping terrorists and its extraordinary links with Iran, giving it F-35s will undermine the advantage of the US, Israel and their regional allies"
December 9, 2020 | The Jerusalem Post

Amid terror finance allegations, Qatar lobbies for US F-35 fighter jets

"Given Qatar’s track record of financing and helping terrorists and its extraordinary links with Iran, giving it F-35s will undermine the advantage of the US, Israel and their regional allies"

Qatar’s regime, whose monarchy is already reeling from allegations that it finances Islamic terrorist movements, faced new criticism on Wednesday for its lobbying efforts in the US to purchase the F-35 fighter jets.

“Given Qatar’s track record of financing and helping terrorists – and given Qatar’s extraordinary links with Iran – giving Qatar F-35s will undermine the advantage of the US, Israel and their regional allies,” Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of the  London-based Cornerstone Global Associates, told The Jerusalem Post.

He said that “Selling F-35s to Qatar would be a strategic mistake that will have long-term consequences on the national security of the West. Qatar does not have the manpower to use the F-35s and the US and its regional allies should ask why Qatar wants them.”

Cornerstone’s risk reports on Qatar’s regime have been cited in the British media, including by BBC.

Nuseibeh’s comment on Qatar’s lobbying in the US was in response to a blockbuster Tuesday report on the website of ForeignLobby.com.

The article by Julian Pecquet, founder and editor of Foreign Lobby Report, said that “ Donald Trump‘s proposed sale of F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates is taking flak from another close US ally in the Middle East. Even as Israel now says that it’s ‘very comfortable’ with the proposed $10 billion sale of 50 of the advanced stealth fighters to the Gulf Arab state, UAE rival Qatar has been raising concerns behind the scenes.”

Foreign Lobby disclosed that “A new lobbying filing reveals that lobbyists with South Carolina-based Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough reached out to four key House Democrats in September and October regarding the proposed sale.”

According to the lobbying revelations, “former Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virginia) is leading Nelson Mullins’ lobbying on Qatar.”

Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar with the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told Foreign Lobby that “It’s been an opportunity for Qatar to harass the UAE, but they can’t block this.”

According to the website, “Qatar’s lobbying on the F-35 was disclosed in a semi-annual lobbying filing that covers the six months through October. During that time, Nelson Mullins disclosed $800,000 from the government of Qatar.”

Foreign Lobby, according to its website, is “the comprehensive news site tracking foreign influence operations in Washington.”

The Post sent media queries to Qatar’s Foreign Ministry in Doha as well as to its embassy in Washington.

During the summer, German, Israeli and American news outlets reported on Qatar’s alleged role in financing the Lebanese terrorist movement Hezbollah.

In August, according to the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel, “The United States has sent a team to Qatar to investigate” an allegation that “Doha is funding Lebanese Hezbollah militia.”

In 2014, German Development Minister Gerd Müller accused Qatar of financing Islamic State terrorists.

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal. FDD is a nonpartisan think tank focused on foreign policy and national security issues.

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Gulf States Hezbollah Jihadism Sanctions and Illicit Finance