H/t reader kevin a.
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H/t reader kevin a.
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Three weeks ago, when we first reported that Qatar had offered to pay the Clinton Foundation $1 million after a hacked Podesta email disclosed that the ambassador of Qatar “Would like to see WJC [William Jefferson Clinton] ‘for five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011”, we said that in this particular case, the Clinton Foundation may also be in violation of State Department ethics codes.
If you’re itching to go out clubbing in Qatar, make sure you keep your hand over your drink.
A 22 year old Dutch woman said she was drugged by a Syrian man during a party in March at the Crystal Lounge nightclub at the W Doha Hotel, and woke up in an unfamiliar apartment. Upon waking up the woman known as “Laura” realized that she had been sexually assaulted, and subsequently reported the incident to the Qatari police.
The police, in turn, arrested Laura on March 14 on charges of committing illicit sex acts, and have held her ever since.
As we never tire of reminding readers, it’s critical to understand that the conflict in Syria, as interesting and important as it is in isolation, is part of larger story. As we documented in “Mid-East Coup: As Russia Pounds Militant Targets, Iran Readies Ground Invasions While Saudis Panic,” an epochal shift is taking place in the region
– It’s Not Just Russia: Middle East In Freefall, Biggest Plunge In 6 Years (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2014):
Dubai’s Financial Market General Index is now down 40% since the peak in oil prices in June this year. For now, only Qatar is clinging to gains year-to-date as the rest of the Middle Eastern equity markets give up 30-60% gains from mid-year and tumble to negative. Dubai and Abu Dhabi alone are down over 8% since Friday. Saudi Arabia is down 7.3% today – the biggest drop in 6 years.
Saudi Arabia’s worst day in 6 years
– Petrodollar Panic? China Signs Currency Swap Deal With Qatar & Canada (ZeroHedge, Nov 10,2014):
The march of global de-dollarization continues. In the last few days, China has signed direct currency agreements with Canada becoming North America’s first offshore RMB hub,which CBC reports analysts suggest “could double maybe even triple the level of Canadian trade between Canada and China,” impacting the need for Dollars.But that is not the week’s biggest Petrodollar precariousness news, as The Examiner reports, a new chink in the petrodollar system was forged as China signed an agreement with Qatar to begin direct currency swaps between the two nations using the Yuan, and establishing the foundation for new direct trade with the OPEC nation in the very heart of the petrodollar system. As Simon Black warns, “It’s happening… with increasing speed and frequency.”
– Migrant workers in UAE abused, exploited under ‘kafala’ system – HRW (RT, Oct 23, 2014):
Domestic workers across the UAE have been subjected to horrendous physical, verbal and sexual abuse or passport confiscation in the abuse of the kafala, or sponsorship, system according to a new report by Humans Right Watch.
HRW estimates that some 146,000 domestic female workers have arrived to the UAE from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, India or Bangladesh. They come on promises of good working conditions, higher wages, and a chance to escape the poverty of their home countries.
However, the NGO heard complaints that workers are forced to labor excessive hours, or are even being subjected to physical violence or sexual abuse – while they cannot leave as employers confiscate their passports.
– First Syrian Rebels, Now Hamas: Qatar Once Again Emerges As “Mystery” US-Backed Sponsor Of War (ZeroHedge, July 25, 2014):
It was a little over a year ago when the “Mystery Sponsor Of Weapons And Money To Syrian Mercenary “Rebels” Was Revealed” as none other than the uber-wealthy Qatar (also known as the tiny but filthy rich state in the Persian Gulf that hosts the US Fifth fleet, better known as infinite leverage vis-a-vis the United States), which effectively had been pulling the US interventionist strings in hopes of taking out the Assad government and installing a puppet regime, one which would be helpful in facilitating the passage of a natgas pipeline beneath the country, which would then proceed into Turkey and all the way into Europe, as a means of bypassing Europe’s reliance on Russia (which as recent events have shown has all the leverage when it comes to Europe). It failed.
As a result it had to redirect its puppetmastery skills elsewhere. That “elsewhere” appears to be none other than Hamas, which is now embroiled in a landwar with Israel in a conflict that has claimed the lives of over 800 people. And while we did find the revelation reported by the Times of Israel as surprising, it is certainly not shocking in a world in which moneyed interests fund militants across nations in what has become an explosion of proxy wars around the globe (see Syria, Ukraine, etc).
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, shakes hands with Hamas leader
Khaled Mashaal, right, as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, center,
looks on, after signing an agreement in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Feb 6, 2012
(photo credit: AP/Osama Faisal)
According to the TOI, Israel president Shimon Peres “accused Qatar on Wednesday of becoming “the world’s largest funder of terror” due to its financial support for Hamas in Gaza.”
At a secret base in Qatar, the US military is training rebels to raid Syrian government troops and vehicles, as well as to “finish off the soldiers still alive after an ambush,” first-hand interviews in a Frontline documentary have revealed.
The documentary, scheduled to air Tuesday night on PBS stations, offers rare insight into how Washington is fostering the armed insurgency against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
It features interviews by journalist Muhammad Ali with Syrian rebels presented as members of a “moderate faction” who describe a clandestine meeting with their “American handlers” in Turkey, along with the receiving of weapons and ammunition and the subsequent travel to Qatar for training.
– Saudi Arabia tells Qatar to close Al-Jazeera (Al Bawaba, March 14, 2014):
Tensions continue to flare between Qatar and other Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia demanding that Qatar shut down Al-Jazeera, a source told AFP on Friday.
The demand came during a Gulf Cooperation Counil meeting on March 5th. After the meeting, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar.
Russia and Iran probably ‘coordinate’ how to NOT respond to a U.S. military strike, …
… am I right Senator McCain?:
– Syria: Iranian Minister travels to Russia for talks about US war threats (Syria News, Sep 8, 2013):
Iranian analyst: Zionists extort Obama for war on Syria.
The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, will travel to the Russian capital Moscow next week in order to talk with several Russian officials about the turmoil and conflict in and around Syria, but especially about the increased possibility of a US-led war on Syria and methods to prevent such a horrible escalation and to find a political and diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict and to decrease the possibility of a foreign military strike on Damascus.
While the prominent Iranian analyst and political commentator, Dr. Ismail Salami, said in principle that U.S. President Barack Obama is under a huge pressure by the Israel Lobby and the regime in Tel Aviv to launch the war on Syria while they even deceive the US administration, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has announced that the Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran will visit Moscow to discuss the Syrian issues and current turmoil in and around the Arab country with Russian officials.
– Qatar, Israel discuss plans to assassinate Syrian president: Report (PressTV; Nov 9, 2012)
– Qatari wealth fund plans $10bn gold buying spree (Telegraph, Oct. 2, 2011):
The Qatari Royal family plans to spend up to $10bn (£6.4bn) buying stakes in gold producers through their sovereign wealth fund, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
The fund is seeking to invest in a range of natural resources, but gaining access to physical gold is its top strategic priority.
On Sunday, Qatar Holdings, which controls the wealth of the Middle East state’s royal family, confirmed it would invest about $1bn in European Goldfields, a London-listed miner currently developing the largest gold-mining project in Greece.
Highly recommended article.
We turned off the main road to Awassa, talked our way past security guards and drove a mile across empty land before we found what will soon be Ethiopia’s largest greenhouse. Nestling below an escarpment of the Rift Valley, the development is far from finished, but the plastic and steel structure already stretches over 20 hectares – the size of 20 football pitches.
The farm manager shows us millions of tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables being grown in 500m rows in computer controlled conditions. Spanish engineers are building the steel structure, Dutch technology minimises water use from two bore-holes and 1,000 women pick and pack 50 tonnes of food a day. Within 24 hours, it has been driven 200 miles to Addis Ababa and flown 1,000 miles to the shops and restaurants of Dubai, Jeddah and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world with more than 13 million people needing food aid, but paradoxically the government is offering at least 3m hectares of its most fertile land to rich countries and some of the world’s most wealthy individuals to export food for their own populations.
The 1,000 hectares of land which contain the Awassa greenhouses are leased for 99 years to a Saudi billionaire businessman, Ethiopian-born Sheikh Mohammed al-Amoudi, one of the 50 richest men in the world. His Saudi Star company plans to spend up to $2bn acquiring and developing 500,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia in the next few years. So far, it has bought four farms and is already growing wheat, rice, vegetables and flowers for the Saudi market. It expects eventually to employ more than 10,000 people.
But Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture on an immense scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.
An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.
The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union’s insistence that 10% of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.