April 4, 2019
Qatar Finances the Muslim Brotherhood in Italy. And in Return They Buy Our Arms
The book Qatar Papers, written by the French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, reveals the funding given by Doha in 2014 to mosques and Islamic centers in Europe: €72 million, of which €22 million went to Italy alone. The currency of exchange? The arsenal made in Italy.
The Italian press struggles to make the connections. Either it is not capable, or it is because it is in bad faith. That is demonstrated by the articles in Qatar Papers, the book written by the French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, which reveals the funding from Doha to mosques and Islamic centers in Europe in 2014: €72 million, of which €22 million went to Italy alone. This sounds the alarm of the newspapers on the links of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. None of them recall our furnishing of arms to the Emir Al Thani: In a little more than a year, €9 billion in ships and helicopters. Perhaps that way explains to us better how things are, right? Qatar, for Italy, is a small Sparta in the Gulf. We are arming the emirate to the teeth, which is under embargo by Saudi Arabia and their allies in the Gulf, who accuse Doha, along with Turkey, of protecting the Muslim Brothers and their leader, Yusuf al Qaradawi, with their political Islam considered a lethal trap for the absolute monarchies of the region.
In little more than one year we have sold Doha 7 Fincantieri warships for €4 billion, 28 NH 90 (formerly Agusta Westland) helicopters for €3 billion; in addition, an agreement has been signed for 24 Typhoon fighters from the Europefighter consortium, of which Leonardo-Finmeccanica has a share of 36%. Planes, more than anything else, have also been sold to Saudi Arabia after a visit to London by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon, who according to the CIA ordered the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Here are some of the many motives: the tensions in the Gulf and Libya, for the emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who for us has a relevant weight. We are a strategic ally. The emirate is a large producer of gas, in partnership with Iran — under American sanctions — and one of the largest foreign investors in Italy, where the Qataris have acquired fashion brands (Valentino), real estate, large hotels, and the Air Italy company, formerly Meridiana, of the Agha Khan.
The Qatar Investment Authority (Qia) is a colossus, whose assets are estimated at €335 billion. Italy certainly cannot be presumed to have treated it badly. Here it wants to proselytize among Muslims at the expense of the Saudis and other monarchies of the Gulf. It cannot shock; therefore, if, in the book by Malbrunot, a colleague and friend, kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 while we were together in Baghdad, a letter from Yusuf al Qaradawi is cited, in which the sheikh praises the Caim (Coordination of Islamic Associations of Milan) Monza and Brianza, and exhorts its recipients to donate generously to their representatives, Yassine Baradei and Davide Piccardo, noted promoters of Islam in Lombardy, to support their project to construct a large new Islamic center in Milan with a mosque and several educational centers.
Our relations with Qatar are not only economic but also political. With Doha and Erdogan’s Turkey, Italy supports the Sarraj government of Tripoli, which is opposed to the Cirenaica (Eastern Libya) general Khalifa Haftar, ally of Egypt, France, Russia and the Saudis, who is also the worst enemy of the Muslim Brothers of Tripoli. For Italy, it is also a brain-teaser: Rome supports a government held hostage by Salafist militias who have the Muslim Brothers as a political point of reference in the government and in the institutions. It is necessary to be frank. With the Emir of Qatar, while he was financing mosques, Islamic centers, hospitals and universities, buying our businesses, our brands, our arms, our managers, Italy puts itself happily in the cash box, closing an eye, and perhaps two, to the Muslim Brothers.