I recently returned from Washington, where I used to work in Congress, and from Qatar. As we know, Britain needs all the allies it can get in the Middle East.
A fresh twist to the ongoing debate on the living and working conditions of labourers in Qatar is beginning to create ripples and has the potential to turn the issue on its head!
A former British intelligence officer, on the condition of anonymity, has revealed the existence of a powerful bloc comprising UAE, Labour party of the UK, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a pretentious human rights group, Global Network Research and Development, dedicated to smear Qatar’s image. The British official pointed out: “Qatar is facing a potential foreign conspiracy to undermine its legitimacy as the host nation for FIFA 2022 World Cup in Doha.” He further added: “The link might be difficult to spot if you have not been following the case closely but for a keen eye, it’s an open and shut case.” He provided many documents to support the same.
The Middle East country has been the principle target of media and popular wrath because of the allegedly poor labour conditions that exist around construction sites. Reports carried out by the media have also highlighted hundreds of deaths due to sub-standard living and working conditions.
The tiny Gulf State is battling on multiple fronts and respite seems distant possibility. The ruling Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, has pledged to introduce new labour legislations by early 2015. The emirate’s sponsorship law, known as “kafala”, which limits the rights of movement of foreign workers and has allegedly led to widespread exploitation, will be replaced by new legislation that is “currently under review”, a statement from the country’s labour and social affairs ministry said.
However, promises to improve and usher in changes have so far fallen on deaf ears. The Briton says “the plot to destabilize the country is going on unabashedly and everyone seems to have joined the bandwagon.”
UAE and Qatar have for long been engaged in a cold war sort of a situation. They have differences over the role of political Islam in the Middle East periodically and don’t see eye to eye. The UAE has sought to shore up its image through the creation of a network of human rights groups and negatively influence international media coverage of the FIFA 2022 hosts. GNRD is regularly receiving funds from UAE and has office based out of UAE. The source also had receipts of payments.
Global Network Research and Development, a Norway-based human rights group with clear links to the UAE, is not a ‘recognized’ human rights group, rather a front organization for UAE. GNRD has heaped unwarranted praise on the UAE’s widely criticized human and labour rights record and is funded by anonymous donors to the tune of €3.5 million a year, according to the source. GNRD has in the last year taken partisan stands by seeking to thwart Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup, promoting the autocratic UAE as a model of adherence to human rights.
GNRD’s International Human Rights Rank Indicator (IHRRI) lists the UAE at number 14 as the Arab country most respectful of human rights as opposed to Qatar that lists at number 94. The ranking contradicts reports by human rights groups, including the United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) which earlier this year said it had credible evidence of torture of political prisoners in the UAE and questioned the independence of the country’s judiciary.
More recently, the New York Times and The Intercept revealed that the UAE, the world’s largest spender on lobbying in the United States in 2013, had engaged a lobbying firm to plant anti-Qatar stories in the American media. It also showed a pattern of conversations with journalists who subsequently wrote articles critical of its role in terrorist fund-raising.
“The point here is not that Qatar is innocent of supporting extremists… The point is that this coordinated media attack – using highly paid former U.S. officials and their media allies – is simply a weapon used by the Emirates, Israel and others to advance their agendas,” The Intercept said.
Founded in 2008, GNRD is headed by Loai Mohammed Deeb, a reportedly Palestinian-born international lawyer who also owns a UAE-based consultancy, and operated a fake university in Scandinavia, according to veteran Middle East author and journalist Brian Whitaker.
UK’s labour party has also urged the football nations to boycott the event in 2022. This clearly is an ill-informed opinion. Scores of Labour MPs, Labour parliamentary candidates, formers MPs and other key members of the labour movement have collectively sought to tarnish Qatar’s image. The political pressure applied reflects hidden agenda. According to the intelligence official, a few MPs have created a fund dedicated to fight against Qatar!
Former British PM Tony Blair, interestingly, appears to be part of the whole web of conspiracy. The former prime minister has sold his political and economic expertise to two countries, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, via his fledgling private consultancy firm and is seen as catering to UAE’s global interests. Servicing the highest bidder as a global business man, Blair is seen as UAE’s potential ally and has lobbied extensively against Qatar.
Blair has praised the UAE for millions of pounds of help for Palestinian community projects, and Sheikh Mohammed’s state investment fund, Mubadala, is said to have Blair on its payroll. Mubadala’s interests include oil exploration contracts in Libya. He has contracts with UAE foreign ministry and he personally earned millions from Iraq war contract, according to the ex-British intelligence person.
This is a lethal combination and could prove fatal. UAE, GNRD, UK’s Labour party, attacking Qatar at different level, is nothing short of a plot to wreck a nation’s interest and ought to be decried by international community.
I located every comment in Parliament over the past two years mentioning ‘Qatar’ and singularly the Labour Party has been critical of the country and Britain’s link to its ally – a very important ally in the war on terror.
Former British PM Tony Blair, interestingly, appears to be part of the whole web. The former PM has sold his political and economic expertise to two countries, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, via his fledgling private consultancy firm and is seen as catering to UAE’s global interests. Said the Guardian newspaper, ‘”Blair is a paid employee of Abu Dhabi because of his Mubadala contract,” said Christopher Davidson, a Gulf expert at Durham University. “He should not be regarded as representing UK national interests.”’
Attacks by Labour in Parliament on one of the Britain’s closest allies, Qatar, in a region where we need them the most smacks of them being puppets to a bigger puppet master and against British interests.