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Leading policy and security experts recently called for greater enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as well as other measures to enhance transparency on foreign funding to counteract the wide-ranging “influence war” waged by Qatar against U.S. citizens and others around the world.
“Qatar: U.S. Ally or Global Menace?” — a conference on the Gulf state’s “malign influence” that was hosted by Middle East Forum think tank in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 6 — addressed the revelations in recent months of unprecedented Qatari lobbying, cyber espionage, and disinformation efforts on American soil, including a historically large government-led hacking operation that reportedly affected more than 1,500 people in 20 countries.
Money - Talks - Part - Qatar - Way
“Money talks. It’s part of Qatar’s way of hedging and influencing everyone, their soft power,” said counter-terrorism expert Ronald Sandee, a former senior analyst for the Dutch Military Intelligence and himself an alleged victim of Qatari hacking. “Qatar has no real power, so they need soft power. How do you get soft power? You invest, you bribe, you work with people.”
Sandee was joined on a panel discussion dubbed “Qatar’s New Influence War” by Oren Litwin, head of the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Money in Politics Project, and Jim Hanson, president of the Security Studies Group and a veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
Allies - Question - Friends - Ties - Things
“When you look at who our allies are, it’s not a question of ‘historically, have we been friends?’ or ‘do we have military ties?’ but rather ‘do we put those things ahead of the undermining of U.S. strategic interests around the world?’ There are plenty of other flat places in the Middle East where we could land planes,” said Hanson, in a reference to Qatar’s Al-Udeid Air Base, which hosts the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command and 10,000 American troops. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo...
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