In an Alliance with the Dictatorship

BERLIN/DOHA |

BERLIN/DOHA (Own report) - The Prime Minister of Qatar, who is also the country's Foreign Minster, is arriving in Berlin today for talks on the war in Syria and on strengthening economic cooperation. Since some time, this Persian Gulf dictatorship has been one of Germany's closest allies in the Arab world. As in the 2011 war on Libya, it is supporting Islamist rebels today in Syria, who are seeking to topple a government combated by the West. Berlin's cooperation with Qatar on matters of foreign policy is being consolidated by economic cooperation. German companies benefit from lucrative Middle East contracts, while the Qatari ruling clan buys a significant amount of shares in major German companies, such as Volkswagen and Siemens. Qatar has been linking its financial support in France, to a large-scale public relations campaign in the suburban slums. German involvement in the war in Syria, will most likely also be a topic in these talks with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir al Thani in Berlin. A German Navy "reconnaissance" vessel is, currently, cruising again off the Syrian coast. Experts believe that Syrian insurgents are also profiting from information retrieved by this espionage.

Common Wars

Over the past few years, the Emirate Qatar, whose Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir al Thani is arriving in Berlin today, has become one of Germany's closest allies in the Arab world, particularly since the upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, wherein Qatar played a major role. During the upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the Emirate supported the Islamist forces, which are either in power today or have, at least, a major political influence. Qatar supported the Libyan insurgents with the deployment of combat aircraft, arms supplies and training for the militias, as well as, with various intelligence operations.[1] Qatar still supports the Muslim Brotherhood. Material support is supplemented by Islamist propaganda broadcast throughout the Arab world via the Qatari Al Jazeera TV station's Arab language program. All this is done in close cooperation with the West, which, during the Arab upheavals, had begun backing Islamist forces as a means of stabilizing its hegemony with their help. (german-foreign-policy.com has repeatedly reported.[2]) The West's close cooperation with Qatar and Saudi-Arabia engenders bloody consequences, particularly for Syria today. Both Gulf dictatorships have been arming the Syrian insurgents, for quite some time, some of whom, at least, belong to the terrorist Al Qaeda spectrum. As in Libya, Qatar and the West are united in their desire to overthrow the government, which is not complying with the West and is hostile to Islamist forces.

Strategic Information

Tomorrow's talks between Chancellor Merkel and the Qatari Prime Minister/Foreign Minister will focus on the war in Syria. Berlin has been supporting the Syrian insurgents -not only politically - for a long time. The intelligence expert Erich Schmidt-Eenboom had reported, already in October 2012, that the "BND is involved in various activities against Syria." The current BND President Gerhard Schindler "likes to take risks" and is trying to "regain its Western partner services' confidence, after its reluctance to become involved in Libya."[3] It became known last summer that BND employees, stationed at the Turkish Adana NATO base, were wiretapping telephone and radio communications inside Syria and passing this information on to their Western partner services. That this information is also finding its way to insurgent militias in Syria is considered a certainty.[4] A "fleet service ship" is currently again cruising off the eastern Mediterranean coast. It was recently located near the Lebanese port city Tripoli, which is considered to be a transit region for the insurgents' foreign supporters. The Navy has announced that its fleet service ships are equipped with "state-of-the-art (…) tracking devices" and had been deployed "several times previously" for "strategic intelligence gathering missions in crisis regions" - "with great success."[5]

Billions in Investments

Over the years, the foreign policy cooperation with Qatar, which has reached its culmination in the Syrian war, has been consolidated with a comprehensive economic cooperation. The "Mixed Economic Commission," formed in 2007 by the governments of both countries and the "German Business Council Qatar," established in the Emirate, in late 2002, by the German Chambers of Commerce (AHK) have contributed to the success of these efforts. German exports to Qatar are not the only aspect to play a role. For many years, they have ranged between 1 and 1.5 billion Euros per year - not a negligible sum, considering that Qatar only has 1.9 Million inhabitants. The Deutsche Bahn (German railway company) holds a significant number of shares in a major strategic project - the construction of the Emirate's railway system, with a total volume of US $35 billion. Above all, however, for years, Qatar has been supporting German companies with billions in investments. A Qatari sovereign wealth fund owns 17 percent of the shares of Volkswagen, 10 percent of Porsche's, 10 percent of the Hochtief construction company's and more than 3 percent of Siemens'. Economic relations will be intensified: Today, the German Chancellor and the Qatari Prime Minister will open the "Qatar Business and Investment Forum."

Interactions

A current scandal around the Volkswagen (VW) Company illustrates, the consequences of this close cooperation with the Gulf dictatorship. The company, with its 17 percent Qatari shares, has to defend itself against a lawsuit, brought by its former Qatari general distributor. He had successfully established marketing structures for VW and was awaiting significant profits, when, in mid 2012, the German company unexpectedly broke with him and appointed a new distributor, Sheikha Hanadi Nasser Bin Khaled Al-Thani of the Qatari ruling clan. The former distributor feels cheated out of his aspired profits and is suing Volkswagen, because the appointment of a member of the Qatari ruling clan - a major shareholder and therefore very influential in VW - probably can be a corporation law violation.[6] According to reports, Qatari sales have dramatically slumped under the aegis of general distributor al Thani, because the new business partner has failed to establish infrastructures for sales and maintenance. As a member of the ruling clan, VW obviously could not avoid accepting her - an indication that the Emirate's social structures have repercussions on their German cooperation partners.

Political Power Interests

Repercussions of close cooperation with Gulf dictatorships, such as Qatar, also are now being discussed, particularly in France. The Doha ruling clan is also involved in major French companies, such as Lagardère, Vivendi and Total. Qatar owns extensive real estate in Paris. The Emirate's ownership of the famous Paris Saint-Germain soccer club has received particular attention. Last fall, the French government agreed to an even larger project with the Gulf dictatorship: Qatar and the French government will establish a fund to provide economic development of the neglected slums on the outskirts of Paris. This project has drawn strong criticism. As the French media has noted, this offers a foreign country - a dictatorship that ignores civil rights and is known around the world for its support of Islamist forces - the possibility for public relations within France. This should be carefully monitored.[7] After all, like all other states, Qatar is not motivated by philanthropy, but by its own economic and political power interests - also in its cooperation with EU member countries.

[1] see also Die kommenden Kräfte
[2] see also Vom Feind zum Partner, Der Feind meines Feindes, The Islamization of the Rebellion, Not the More Liberal Order and The Muslim Brotherhood as Partners
[3] Westliche Geheimdienst-Aktionen in Syrien; www.dw.de 12.10.2012
[4] see also Spionageschiff and Verdeckte Kriegspartei
[5] Flottendienstboot "Oste"-Klasse (423); www.marine.de
[6] Händler wirft VW dubiose Geschäfte in Katar vor; www.welt.de 02.04.2013
[7] Antennes; www.liberation.fr 23.09.2012