In recent years, Qatar has become aggressive in establishing its influence over international media and politicians. For the past few years although, Qatari money has been circulating almost everywhere – from media to politics. In the United States, Qatar’s media empire Al Jazeera, for example, operates a social media platform named AJ+, which has partnered with hard left-leaning American outlets such as the Young Turks. American left is under formidable control of Doha, while there are indications of Qatar investing millions of dollars during the 2020-presidential election in the US with the clear mission of defeating President Donald Trump. A number of Democratic Party’s possible candidates, such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris have already been approached by Qatari agents offering a huge amount of money for election expenses as well as for their personal spending. Opposition leader Nancy Pelosi also is having deep-covered connections with Qatar through one of her family members. Clintons had earlier received a significant amount of “donation” from their Qatari “friends”.
Qatar also is spending lavishly on buying thinktanks in Western nations. American thinktank Brookings Institution has received tens of millions from Doha. Brookings got $15 million in 2013, and at least $2 million in just the past year — perhaps much more. Such generosity has afforded Brookings a plush center in Doha.
In Britain, Qatar also is spending money on mainstream media as well as politicians. The same thing is happening in several Muslim nations while Qatar has massive influence over Indian media and politicians.
In exchange of such “generosity” of the Qatari rulers, media feels obliged in downplaying the kingdom’s patronage of violent Islamism and jihad and its ties to designated terror groups, such as Hamas, as nothing more than earnest attempt at dialogue, carried out in an attempt to acquire influence for the sake of benevolence.
In today’s world, most possible Iran and Qatar occupies the top positions as terror-patron nations.
Qatar is not only buying the media, politicians and think tanks in downplaying its active role in violent Islamism but also has been buying several Jewish groups and individuals as well as few Druze and Hindus with the desire of maligning anti-jihadist groups, individuals and media.
In 2012, Qatar paid an unknown amount of money to an individual named Larry Luxner and possibly Jewish Telegraph Agency for publishing defamatory article against internationally acclaimed anti-jihadist journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. Even today, after many years of that heinous attempt, Qatar is cautioning several Jewish groups and thinktanks, which are recipients of its “generosity” in refraining from extending any cooperation to Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury or his newspaper, Weekly Blitz, simply because, Mr. Choudhury and Blitz are causing much more damage to radical Islam and violent Islamism than many of the so-called anti-jihadist individuals, publications and organizations around the world.
To the regimes in Qatar and Iran, a newspaper like Blitz is a huge threat than many of those so-called mainstream media, because, ever since its journey back in 2003, Blitz has been very consistently confronting radical Islam and jihad and exposing those patrons of radical Islam. In 2012, Iran succeeded in buying an individual named Md. Shahid Uddin Khan, who later was proved to be a funder of Islamic State, to form a gang comprising Pakistani ISI agent M Sajjad Hossain and few others in lodging a false case against Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury and sending him into prison by unlawfully manipulating few influential individuals. Immediately after the arrest of Mr. Choudhury during odd hours on November 8, 2012, Md. Shahid Uddin Khan even made notorious bids of getting him murdered by bribing a junior police officer and with this agenda, Shahid sent that person inside the police station’s lockup. Blitz is having evidence of such nefarious attempt of Md. Shahid Uddin Khan. But due to the intervention of some influential people, this assassination plot was foiled.
Md. Shahid Uddin Khan’s key accomplice M Sajjad Hossain even made several attempts of abducting the younger brother of Mr. Choudhury from the court premises while there even had been the attempt of assassinating Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury inside the prison.
In 2012, Iran succeeded in assigning Larry Luxner in trying of character assassination of Mr. Choudhury. Tehran had used Md. Shahid Uddin Khan in inviting and hosting Luxner in Bangladesh. At that time, this racket had also hired another individual named Brenda West in writing against Mr. Choudhury. Being assigned, West went on writing extremely offensives contents filled with lies and misleading information.
In the very recent past, Qatar has instructed its terror-network Al Jazeera in tarnishing the image of Bangladesh government. The reason behind Doha’s anger on the Bangladesh government as well as intelligence agencies like Directorate of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) is because of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and DGFI’s formidable role in combating violent Islamism.
In addition to maligning anti-radical Islam individuals, organizations and even governments, Qatar is using its paid media outlets, thinktanks and politicians in leaving wrong impression on Saudi Arabia. Qatar relies on the longstanding, reasonable belief among conservative Americans that Saudi Arabia is the chief source of terror and extremism. Qatar advances the narrative that it is under siege from other countries in its region because they are opposed to Doha’s progressive, moderate beliefs.
But the very opposite appears to be true. Qatar, the world’s second most famous Wahhabi regime, has a long history of enabling terror and funding extremism.
In the recent months, Qatar has been actively pushing its agenda in putting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman into controversy centering the death of Saudi-born pro-jihadist journalist Jamal Khashoggi. According to credible sources, Doha has been offering money to American and Western media in exchange of running reports and op-eds against the Saudi Crown Prince.
Anita Mathur is a senior journalist and researcher