Category: American interests
Last Thursday, President Obama met with the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, expressing his appreciation for the Emir’s leadership about democracy in the Middle East and the work that they have done to try to promote a peaceful transition in Libya.
Obama’s Words at the Meeting
As Obama said at the meeting, “Qatar is not only supportive diplomatically but is also supportive militarily, and we are very appreciative of the outstanding work of that the Qataris have done side by side with the other international coalition members. In addition to our efforts in Libya, we have a strong relationship between our two countries. It is an economic relationship. It is a military relationship. It is a cultural relationship.”
Obama also congratulated the Emir for having the World Cup coming to Qatar in 2022.
Obama’s Off-the-Record Words
Thursday evening, during a political donors event in Chicago, Obama has other words to say about the meeting. While meeting with the donors at the q-and-a session, Obama didn’t realize that he was speaking on an open mike.
As Mark Knoller of CBS News recorded, Obama said, that evening that, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was a “Pretty influential guy…”He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform — you’re seeing it on Al Jazeera.”
Obama went on to put his foot in his mouth when he said, “Now, he himself is not reforming significantly. There’s no big move towards democracy in Qatar. But you know part of the reason is that the per capita income of Qatar is $145,000 a year. That will dampen a lot of conflict.”