Tiny Qatar Expanding Investments in US

Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 02:09 PM

By Elliot Jager

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The tiny Gulf sheikdom of Qatar, comprised of 250,000 citizens and 1 million foreign workers, is increasing its financial, economic, and media footprint in the United States.

According to the Washington Post, experts say Doha does not have a unified strategy behind its expansion into America other than to create strong cultural, political, and economic bonds with countries that could help protect its interests.

"You'll drive yourself mad trying to find an overarching plan behind all the Qatari moves," author David Roberts, told the Post.

Qatar previously invested in Britain. Europe's tallest building funded by Qatari investors is the 72-story Shard located near London Bridge. Qatar has a major stake in Heathrow Airport. It also owns Harrods department store. Since 2007, Qatar has invested $33 billion in Britain, according to the Post.

Qatar has established Al Jazeera America. The original media outlet Al Jazeera in Arabic has been influential in forming public opinion in the Middle East. In January, Qatar purchased Al Gore's Current TV for $500 million in order to secure access to cable television channels for Al Jazeera America.

Besides Washington, Qatar has real estate interests in Chicago's Radisson Blu Aqua hotel, and it is a majority owner of Golden Pass Products, a Houston-based importer of natural gas.
Qatar Airways is also a significant customer of Boeing, having recently purchased 50 Boeing 777 aircraft for $19 billion.

Through its Qatari Foundation, the country has donated $100 million to Hurricane Katrina relief and is investing $5 million to spread Arab language and culture in America, the Post reported Tuesday.

Like Saudi Arabia, which is controlled by the family Saud, Qatar is a family concern. The emir— who took over in June from his father— is Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, 33, who trained at Sandhurst, Britain's Royal Military Academy.

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