Next time you read about an auctioneer’s gavel coming down on a $150 million painting bought by some flunkey representing the ruling family of Qatar, don’t ooh or aah, but think of those monsters in Iraq and Syria who have their children pose on video while holding up the severed heads of innocents. And no, it’s not a stretch — without Qatar’s gold Islamic State would not exist, not even in the movies.
Let me put it another way: had Calvin Coolidge or Herbert Hoover given White House dinners for Al Capone, the outcry would have been heard all the way down to Patagonia. Yet, as reported in these here pages by Charles Moore, not only did the head of the family lunch with the Queen at Windsor, a cousin and his mother also lunched the next day at Windsor and caused a stir because they were not included in the Queen’s carriage. They sponsored Ascot this year, and Elizabeth Anson was their PR person. She burst into tears after failing to include them in the lead carriage. All I can say is shame on Ascot, more shame on Anson, and eternal shame on the stuffed shirts who forced the Queen to break bread with these characters.
They say Brits will do anything for money, but the rest of the Western world is just as bad. Just look at how a tiny Gulf nation of 250,000 goatherds managed to land the World Cup in 2022. To call the bribes Qatar must have paid to Fifa delegates colossal would be an understatement. But forget the 50-degree-Celsius heat and that football is unplayable in that hellhole, the scandal of modern-day slavery as practised by the Qataris is a far bigger depravity, overlooked by the West. In fact, calling foreign workers indentured servants is a euphemism; they are modern-day slaves. Foreign workers do not enjoy a minimum wage in Qatar, nor do they have any rights. They are not allowed to change jobs, however feudal the conditions, get a driving licence, rent a room or open a checking account unless they have their employer’s permission. Thousands have died while working in appalling conditions (hundreds of Nepalese alone), which provoked an investigation by the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development, which sent a researcher and a photographer. Last week the Qatari government confirmed that the two have been arrested and are in prison. So much for European influence in that sweaty hellhole.
In their craven search for money, Europeans have sold everything to these ghastly goatherds but their mother, because the Qatari gang is obviously not interested in the latter. Nothing is sacred, everything’s for sale. Qatar owns a share in Sainsbury’s, owns Harrods outright, owns a large share of Heathrow airport, large stretches of real estate in Knightsbridge and in the City it wanted to buy Claridge’s, has bought the French football team PSG and owns a share in Germany’s Volkswagen. Last but not least is the Al Jazeera TV network, one that poses as an unaligned network but in reality works for the gang called Thani.
So far so bad, but it gets much worse. In cahoots with the Saudis and the Kuwaitis, the Qatari ruling family allowed various so-called private businessmen to raise money for jihad. Saudi money funnelled through Islamic charities has been funding terrorism since the 1980s. Ditto the Kuwaitis. These private fund-raisers are an obvious charade. It’s the Kuwaiti, Saudi and Qatari ruling family’s money that ends up in terrorist hands. It’s called protection money. All three ruling ‘monarchies’ are basically illegitimate, and their power derives not from the people but from their oil and gas wealth and their ability to bribe Uncle Sam and other Western powers to keep them as heads.
The three desert satrapies had a falling out after the military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The Saudis stuck with Sisi, the Qataris and Kuwaitis stuck with the Brotherhood. Qatar allowed the Taleban to open an office, and openly finances the bloodthirsty Islamic State. No matter how bloodthirsty and extreme the IS murderers became, Qatar chose to keep on paying and will do so unless the US Marines land and force the head towel to Guantanamo, where he belongs.
How have we come to this? Big oil had a lot to do with the First Gulf War. Saddam was our friend and ally yet we chased him out of Kuwait, which was sort of a province of Iraq when it was still Mesopotamia. The Israeli lobby ‘ordered’ the Second Gulf War — no ifs or buts about it — and Israel is enjoying the slaughter going on in Syria and Iraq almost as much as it enjoyed crushing Gaza. (Only 6 per cent of Israelis were against the invasion and subsequent killing of innocent people.)
What is to be done? That’s an easy one, but it will never happen until money goes out of style. Reading the riot act to Qatar, the Saudis and the Kuwaitis is an exercise in futility. If I were Obama — and he’s been a very good president in resisting the Israeli lobby that has been at him to carpet-bomb Iran — I’d overthrow the Qataris ‘pour encourager les autres’. But don’t hold your breath. See you at Ascot next year.