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From The Guardian:

‘We will be

ready, inshallah’: inside Qatar’s $200bn World Cup

Can the richest country in the world buy its way to footballing glory? We joined the Qatar 2022 hopefuls to find

out

While Qatar takes in refugees from American Islamophobia (which, as we all know, is the worst thing in the world, except

perhaps for culturally inappropriate/appropriated Halloween costumes) like

class="s3">Clock Boy, the Persian Gulf state has been less enthusiastic about accepting refugees from the Middle East than Dr.

Merkel * has. After all, it has $200 billion to spend to get ready to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, so the last thing it needs is excitable

Syrians and Iraqis.

One problem facing Qatar, however, is that as host it automatically qualifies a national team in the World Cup in 2022. But

Qatari lads are few in number and tend to be lazy, unathletic, and more interested in going to the mall than practicing soccer. So the risk of,

say, Neymar Jr. scoring 7 goals in

a Brazil 11 – Qatar nil rout on global television looms.

Thus Qatar’s government is paying to fly in Pele and Maradona to inspire Qatari youths to get off the couch and play

soccer.

But look closer, and other parts of Qatar’s new football culture are a desert mirage. Sanchez’s team perform in

front of almost empty stands; so few people want to watch club matches that low-paid migrant workers from Africa and Asia are bussed in, in

their thousands, to fill empty seats. When I arrived at a match in the Qatar Stars League, the top-flight competition, the first thing I saw

was a Kenyan pulling on a traditional white gown. He and his friends said they were among hundreds paid the equivalent of £5 to dress up as

Qataris, fill a seat and have a stab at singing football songs in Arabic.

I used to get free tickets to “paper the house” for touring Broadway shows at a theater in the Chicago suburbs from my

father-in-law, the head of the musician’s union. But it would have been even more fun if, Qatar soccer crowd-style, we were issued with free

tuxedos to class up the joint.

—————

* A headline from the WSJ:

Angela Merkel ‘Deeply

Shocked’ by Paris Attacks

But probably not “shocked, shocked,” like Captain Renault in Casablanca , probably just genuinely surprised. Who could

have seen this coming?

And, more fundamentally, noticing patterns is wrong.

 
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From the Washington Post:

‘Clock kid’ Ahmed Mohamed and his family will move to Qatar

Less than 24 hours after Ahmed Mohamed met President Obama, his family decided it’s time to leave America for good.

The 14-year-old Texas boy who was arrested for bringing to school a homemade clock that authorities said resembled a bomb will soon be living in Qatar.

 
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You may have wondered why, outside of my repetitious drumbeat, there has been so little comment on how the Gulf Arabs aren’t spending their money to help their Muslim brethren in need. One reason is because they have better things to spend their money on, such as the American think tanks who provide the press with ideas and quotes. From the New York Times:

Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks
By ERIC LIPTON, BROOKE WILLIAMS and NICHOLAS CONFESSORE SEPT. 6, 2014

… More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

The money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington. And it has set off troubling questions about intellectual freedom: Some scholars say they have been pressured to reach conclusions friendly to the government financing the research.

The think tanks do not disclose the terms of the agreements they have reached with foreign governments. And they have not registered with the United States government as representatives of the donor countries, an omission that appears, in some cases, to be a violation of federal law, according to several legal specialists who examined the agreements at the request of The Times.

As a result, policy makers who rely on think tanks are often unaware of the role of foreign governments in funding the research.

Joseph Sandler, a lawyer and expert on the statute that governs Americans lobbying for foreign governments, said the arrangements between the countries and think tanks “opened a whole new window into an aspect of the influence-buying in Washington that has not previously been exposed.”

“It is particularly egregious because with a law firm or lobbying firm, you expect them to be an advocate,” Mr. Sandler added. “Think tanks have this patina of academic neutrality and objectivity, and that is being compromised.”

The arrangements involve Washington’s most influential think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council. Each is a major recipient of overseas funds, producing policy papers, hosting forums and organizing private briefings for senior United States government officials that typically align with the foreign governments’ agendas.

Most of the money comes from countries in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, particularly the oil-producing nations of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Norway, and takes many forms. The United Arab Emirates, a major supporter of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, quietly provided a donation of more than $1 million to help build the center’s gleaming new glass and steel headquarters not far from the White House. Qatar, the small but wealthy Middle East nation, agreed last year to make a $14.8 million, four-year donation to Brookings, which has helped fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world.

Some scholars say the donations have led to implicit agreements that the research groups would refrain from criticizing the donor governments.

“If a member of Congress is using the Brookings reports, they should be aware — they are not getting the full story,” said Saleem Ali, who served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar and who said he had been told during his job interview that he could not take positions critical of the Qatari government in papers. “They may not be getting a false story, but they are not getting the full story.” …

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — two nations that host large United States military bases and view a continued American military presence as central to their own national security — have been especially aggressive in their giving to think tanks. The two Persian Gulf monarchies are also engaged in a battle with each other to shape Western opinion, with Qatar arguing that Muslim Brotherhood-style political Islam is the Arab world’s best hope for democracy, and the United Arab Emirates seeking to persuade United States policy makers that the Brotherhood is a dangerous threat to the region’s stability. …

The tens of millions in donations from foreign interests come with certain expectations, researchers at the organizations said in interviews. Sometimes the foreign donors move aggressively to stifle views contrary to their own. …

Scholars at other Washington think tanks, who were granted anonymity to detail confidential internal discussions, described similar experiences that had a chilling effect on their research and ability to make public statements that might offend current or future foreign sponsors. At Brookings, for example, a donor with apparent ties to the Turkish government suspended its support after a scholar there made critical statements about the country, sending a message, one scholar there said.

“It is the self-censorship that really affects us over time,” the scholar said. “But the fund-raising environment is very difficult at the moment, and Brookings keeps growing and it has to support itself.”

The sensitivities are especially important when it comes to the Qatari government — the single biggest foreign donor to Brookings.

Brookings executives cited strict internal policies that they said ensure their scholars’ work is “not influenced by the views of our funders,” in Qatar or in Washington. They also pointed to several reports published at the Brookings Doha Center in recent years that, for example, questioned the Qatari government’s efforts to revamp its education system or criticized the role it has played in supporting militants in Syria.

But in 2012, when a revised agreement was signed between Brookings and the Qatari government, the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself praised the agreement on its website, announcing that “the center will assume its role in reflecting the bright image of Qatar in the international media, especially the American ones.” Brookings officials also acknowledged that they have regular meetings with Qatari government officials about the center’s activities and budget, and that the former Qatar prime minister sits on the center’s advisory board.

Mr. Ali, who served as one of the first visiting fellows at the Brookings Doha Center after it opened in 2009, said such a policy, though unwritten, was clear.

“There was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government,” said Mr. Ali, who is now a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia. “It was unsettling for the academics there. But it was the price we had to pay.”

It’s a little unfair of me to say the Brookings Institution doesn’t come cheap. Relative to how much money rich guys spend on sports these days, public policy intellectuals are an excellent bargain. I haven’t been invited to hang around many Washington think tanks in a while, but I visited several in the previous decade. At least back then, they usually weren’t super plush. The physical accommodations were kind of at the community college faculty office level.

In other words, Qatar can buy a lot of Washington think tank influence for many orders of magnitude less than the $200 billion it has budgeted to host the 2022 World Cup.

 
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Beverly Hills Ferrari mechanics are notoriously expensive.

From The Daily Mail:

Qatar driver caught in Beverly Hills street race involving Ferrari and a Porsche claims diplomatic immunity
Luxury supercars were filmed racing around the residential neighborhood
Witnesses said vehicles ran stop signs and narrowly missed other cars
The race only ended when the yellow Ferrari’s engine began smoking
Driver told police arriving shortly afterwards he had diplomatic immunity
When confronted by a video journalist he allegedly said ‘F*** America’
He then warned ‘he could have him killed’ and ‘flicked a cigarette at him’

By HANNAH PARRY FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 10:10 EST, 15 September 2015

… Others claimed the white Porsche 911 GT3, estimated to be worth $130,400, and bright yellow Ferrari LaFerrari, a hybrid supercar with 950 horsepower, were speeding at more than 100mph and said one of the cars even sideswiped the other.

The race only appeared to end when the engine of the Ferrari, which had a Qatar license plate, began smoking and pulled into the drive of the luxury $10 million, five-bedroom rented home.

A new LaFerrari is worth an estimated $1.4 million but California-based vehicle valuation firm Kelly Blue Brook told NBC4 it could fetch up to $5 million.

Several local residents also complained that the sports car driver had often used their streets as a racetrack – leaving them fearing for their safety.

Neighbors said the drivers were from Qatar and since they moved into area a few months ago, they had seen several sports cars on their driveways.

The people currently living at the 8,895 sqft home in Beverly Hills, which rents for $45,000 a month, where the cars pulled up on Saturday, declined to speak to reporters yesterday.

Video journalist Jacob Rogers said that a man – thought to be the driver – confronted him when he captured the incident on video.

‘He told me verbatim, ‘I could have you killed and get away with it,’ Rogers said.

‘I told him, ‘the press is allowed to be here on the sidewalk on a public street.’ He said, ‘F*** America’ and threw a cigarette at me.’

… ‘The BHPD has zero tolerance for this type of driving which recklessly endangers the public at large.’

It’s probably not a good idea to go out of your way to get the Beverly Hills Police Department angry at you.

It turns out that videos of supercars with Qatari diplomatic plates in Beverly Hills are almost a genre on Youtube: here’s that annoying yellow LaFerrari parked, a nice satin white LaFerrari parked, a Ferrari 458 Italia cruising, and here’s a Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Bugatti Veyron Vitesse Rembrandt Edition parked.

So you can see why, although no doubt the Qatari royal family and their friends would love to do more to help out tragic Syrians, they have to watch their bottom line closely: overhauling that burned-out engine on the yellow supercar isn’t going to be cheap. So maybe, instead, Iceland could be guilt-tripped into taking more refugees?

 
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From Wikipedia in 2013:

Qatar is sponsoring 42 Syrian refugees as ‘guests of the Emir’

From Time Magazine in 2013:

Why Qatar is Spending $200 Billion On Soccer
By Sean Gregory @seanmgregoryJuly 11, 2013

… According to a report released this week, from Deloitte, Qatar — population 2 million, with only 225,00 or so Qatari citizens — will spend $200 billion on the 2022 World Cup. That’s $100,000 per capita, compared $350 per capita for the Sochi Games, $73 per capita for Brazil, and $54 per capita for South Africa.

That $200 billion figure includes infrastructure like a new city, a new airport, a subway, lots of new hotels, and all new stadiums.

“Indeed, the numbers are amusing at first,” says Shaul Gabby, an international studies professor at the University of Denver, and a Qatar expert. “But the spending is deeper in its motivation and interest. The most important value in Arab culture and tradition is honor, which brings respect and the fear of possible adversaries. This is even more important in a time of turmoil and instability in the Middle East, where the basic legitimacy of old, traditional regimes are publicly and visibly shaking.”

The Arab world, says Gabbay, will enjoy a psychological lift if Qatar can successfully host the World Cup.

(MORE: Robotic Clouds Will Provide Shade During Qatar World Cup)

So Qatar is spending almost $5 billion to throw a party for itself per Syrian refugee admitted.

By the way, Qatar is one of the main funders of the bloodshed in Syria. From the Financial Times in 2013:

How Qatar seized control of the Syrian revolution
By Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding-Smith

As the Arab world’s bloodiest conflict grinds on, Qatar has emerged as a driving force: pouring in tens of millions of dollars to arm the rebels. Yet it also stands accused of dividing them – and of positioning itself for even greater influence in the post-Assad era. …

In the shell-blasted areas of rebel-held Syria, few appear to be aware of the vast sums that Qatar has contributed – estimated by rebel and diplomatic sources to be about $1bn, but put by people close to the Qatar government at as much as $3bn. …

To some extent, the fact that Qatar is so exposed reflects the reluctance of western governments to intervene in Syria. However, for Qatar, Syria is also the culmination of an opportunistic foreign policy which saw Doha become the unlikely backer of other Arab revolts in north Africa – and a friend of those who emerge as winners, in most cases Islamists.

Isn’t it about time to cancel the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

 
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And repurpose the $260 billion being spent on stadium construction in Qatar for shelter for refugee Arabs.

It’s the least the Arabs could do for their fellow Arabs.

Why should these poor Arabs have to live under the oppressive thumb of white racist Europeans when their Arab brothers have plenty of money to put them up in the Arab world?

Even after writing off the bribes to Sepp Blatter and his FIFA pals for assigning the World Cup to Qatar, there’d probably be $258 billion, maybe $259 billion left over

A single small Arab country has over a quarter of a trillion dollars to spend on an absurd vanity project, but Europeans must take in every Arab in the world who wants to move to Europe (and, in time, all their kinsmen)?

Really?

$260,000,000,000.00

 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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