How Nicolas Beau turned into a staunch defender of Qatar from an archenemy
Abdel Rahim Ali
Two weeks ago, specifically in mid-May 2019, a senior Qatari official received a message from Doha.
In the message, the Qatari official was scolded for failing to do his job properly, having done nothing but cocktail parties, while Doha was scandalized and reports in this regard looked like a snowball that kept getting bigger and bigger.
The message especially mentioned the negative effect the book “Qatar Papers”, which was penned by French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, has had on Qatar’s reputation. It also mentioned the arrest by French police of a senior Qatari official on charges of corruption.
The Qatari official receiving the message was stunned. He was asked about the reason why Malbrunt gave his first interview after the release of his book to Abdel Rahim Ali, the head of the Center for Middle East Studies in Paris. He was also asked about the leverage the center enjoyed in France.
The Qatari official immediately requested a meeting with Nabil al-Nasseri, Qatar’s staunchest defender in Paris. The Qataris had previously openly severed links with al-Nasseri and prevented him from attending any gatherings sponsored by Doha against the background of his links with the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nonetheless, they insisted to revive their links with al-Nasseri, thanks to his strong ties with Nicolas Beau, the editor of the site Le Monde Afrique.
It is no coincidence then that there is a strong campaign against the Center for Middle East Studies in Paris now. The center had not been involved in any activities during the last two months. It launched a door knocking campaign two years ago to uncover the role Qatar plays in France and also the role of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in the most secular country in Europe.
These efforts had of course alarmed Qatar’s men in Paris. Consequently, they started acting against the center. In doing this, they focused on some of the mistakes committed, including the following:
First, they put some old situations under the spotlight. These include a press conference I held together with renowned French lawmaker Marine Le Pen at the French National Assembly in May 2018. In the conference, I talked about the dangers posed by the Qatar-backed Muslim Brotherhood presence in France.
Second, they kept repeating accusations I defended myself against several times in the past, including the accusation that I am obsessed with the conspiracy theory and the accusation that I am anti-Semitic. Sorry to say, they backed none of these accusations with evidence.
Third, the Center for Middle East Studies in Paris published Beau’s articles after getting approval from him on October 7, 2017, when he visited my office. We used to send Beau the printed edition of the articles every month.
Fourth, Beau used to read the articles posted on the website of the center and send us emails. I referred to some of these emails in the previous article. He did not object in any of these emails to the publication of his articles on the website of the center.
Fifth, on May 17, 2019, my colleague Ahmed Youssef received a phone call and then a voice message from Beau, in which he asked him to remove his articles from the website of the center, even without giving a reason for his request. We had been sending him the articles we published on the site for a year and a half before this, since October 2017. Beau’s last article was published in The Reference in October 2018.
We are not clear on the reasons for Beau’s change of heart toward the Center for Middle East Studies in Paris. Something must have happened between October 2017 and May 2019.
We will be trying to find this out in this episode of this series of articles. However, before this we need to throw light on Beau’s view about the dangers posed by Qatar to France before he radically changed this view. He now believes that Qatar does not pose any danger to France. He does not think Qatar’s ally, namely the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, poses any dangers to France either.
In his book, “Le Vilain Petit Qatar”, Beau dwells on the huge investments Qatar pours in France. Qatari leaders, he says, had bought most French politicians. He adds that Qatar had also watered the mouths of former French presidents, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande with these investments. Qatari officials also hired former French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin to work as a lawyer for them.
Beau also refers to French anger at Qatar after the discovery of dangerous networks of Qatari financing for jihadists and terrorists in Mali and other countries.
Beau attributed Qatar’s ability to influence French decision-making back in 2013 to a huge network of interests. He says Qatar had managed to buy everything, including the International Organization of the Francophonie. Beau notes in his book that Qatar also bought a large number of factories, real estate properties, and sports teams, which made the French angry and afraid.
Qatar and terrorism
Beau does not stop here in his book. He also focuses on Qatar’s attempts to divide countries and destroy them, using the stick of terrorist groups.
At the beginning of the Syrian uprising, he says, the international community had turned a blind eye to the ships carrying arms from Qatar to countries like Libya. He says the smuggling of arms into Libya via Syria and Lebanon had alarmed the Israeli intelligence agency, Mosad, which had alerted the United Nations force in Lebanon and the Lebanese army. This was why a ship, called Lutfallah, was seized on April 27, 2012. This forced Doha to practice more caution as it smuggled arms to the jihadists.
Qatar had also supplied the jihadists with advisors, including Abdel Karim Belhaj, a former senior commander of al-Qaeda. Belhaj then turned to politics in Libya, according to Beau.
Making hell of Libya
Beau may need to pay a million Euros as a prize for whoever can help him hide all copies of his book. In the book, he refers to Qatar’s funding of terrorists to destroy Syria.
The book dwells on the way Libya was occupied and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed. The book also refers to the mysterious killing of three of Gaddafi close associates who were aware of the financial support Gaddafi offered Sarkozy. These associates included Shukry Ghanem, the former oil minister who reportedly drowned in Switzerland.
Beau refers to what he describes in his book as “huge financial interests” behind the destruction of Libya. These interests, he says, included the huge financial deposits Gaddafi had in Qatar. He adds that Qatar also wanted to replace Gaddafi as a leader of the African continent.
Beau has turned from an outspoken critic of Qatar to one of its staunchest defenders. His change of heart started in January 2018 when he published an article titled “Crusades against Qatar”. In this article, Beau lashed out at Sheikh Hassan al-Shalghoumi for criticizing Qatar. He considered this criticism to be part of the campaign Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched against Doha.
Beau’s article against Shalghoumi had apparently made decision-makers in Doha like him. As of mid-2018, Beau totally changed his track and moved to the camp of Qatar, defending its policies. Since that date, he wrote eight articles, all defending Doha and its policies.
The strange thing still is that Beau removed a large number of the articles in which he criticized Qatar.
Egypt and the UAE
Beau, consequently, also started slamming Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and their leaders, specifically in March 2018. Since that date, he published 14 articles on the site of Le Monde Afrique, in which he unreasonably criticizes Egypt and accuses its president of being a “dictator”.
He also accused the UAE in November 2018 of planning a military coup in Tunisia in collaboration with the North African state’s former interior minister Lotfi Brahem. Brahem, as a result, filed a lawsuit against Beau, in which he accuses him of getting as much as 700,000 Euros to defend Qatar and tarnish his own reputation.
On April 4, 2019, Beau wrote an article on his site, in which he tried to defend himself against the accusations of the former Tunisian interior minister.
I will answer the question Le Monde Afrique asks at the end of its article:
Why a joint seminar by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Military School was called off?
The editors of Le Monde Afrique website said at the end of their article that they had written to attack me that the French military school canceled a seminar for Ali, which was scheduled on November 2018, in an attempt to prove all the lies they have thrown.
Here, Beau could ask his friend, Richard Labeviere, the terrorist expert who was one of the organizers and participants of the seminar, to explain to the editors of Le Monde Afrique Why the joint seminar in the Military School was called off.
In his article, published on November 12, 2018, Labeviere said a seminar entitled “New counter-terrorism actors” was to be held at the French military school on 22 November 2018. This day was organized to hold three seminars or round tables.
The first seminar, “On the Justice Front,” was supposed to bring together two former judges in the field of counter-terrorism, Jean-Louis Bruguiere and Michel Depak, and the second seminar on the intelligence front between Bernard Scorsini, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCRI) and Alan Schweet , The former head of the Security Intelligence Service of the Foreign Intelligence Service (DGSE), the third on the military front, the Egyptian MP Abdel Rahim Ali, and General Jean-Bernard, both experts on counterterrorism strategies.
The final outcome will be delivered by Alain Guele, the former intelligence adviser to the French prime minister.
What exactly happened? Labeviere added in his article an order was made to cancel this meeting directly from an adviser in the prime minister’s office. The decision was communicated to the senior officials of the military school without giving any reasons. They were only asked to cancel the meeting completely. So we were interested in conducting a small investigation to understand the mechanisms that led to this scandalous “censorship”.
“In fact, many weeks ago, many of our fellow journalists told us that there was a frequent and focused targeting of this conference by a group of activists on social networks. Not surprisingly, Who were able to cancel a seminar on the situation in Syria a year ago, which was to be held at the Peace Museum in the city of Kon, before being banned and transferred to held on the Sorbonne but being banded again and the organizer tried to hold it in the headquarters of the National Assembly (Parliament), but they did not stop their campaign, until the seminar was again banned in parliament, and the organizers eventually had to hold it in their only sanctuary, in a hall of the Russian Church.
Labeviere keep questing who are responsible for canceling the seminar “a false researcher whose mission is to protect Israeli interests in France and a journalist who was a former hostage in Syria, who has made himself an unrivaled expert in the affairs of the Middle East crises” he is also one of the former Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner’s followers, runs a magazine no one reads, a former jihadist (referring to Roman Kaye) and a number of other less-known Twitter activists.
“Under pressure from these people, it can be said that a soft digital dictatorship is deliberately being instigated in France, to intimidate administrations and state agencies … This is not at all reassuring.
I have a question: Is there in what Labeviere mentioned related about us as a person or as a center, and the answer is no.
But they falsely accused us, that we were the reason for the cancellation of the French military school seminar.
In the final episode: Call for constructive dialogue.