If actions speak louder than words, then it appears Qatar may actually be planning on investing in Newsmax, the conservative news outlet linked with United States President Donald Trump. Part of the reasons may be the meeting between Trump and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the positive reception of Newsmax from Qatari authorities.
The Qatari government, of the same Persian Gulf state that owns Al-Jazeera, may actually be eyeing investments in Newsmax, the media company run by conservative Chris Ruddy. The media company owner is also known to be a friend of Trump’s.
News of the investment talks have come from two sources with “knowledge” of the negotiations, who have yet to be identified. However, Ruddy simply commented that “this is false,” and declined to address questions specific to the issue. A Qatari embassy spokesman also declined to make a comment on the matter.
According to the two sources, the Qatar-Newsmax talks were being spearheaded by the Emir’s younger brother, Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
It’s said the Qataris are eyeing as much as $90-million in investment, and would be delegated to help expand the television operations of Newsmax. This may help the company, given a recent change in corporate leadership, courtesy of former Fox News exec Michael Clemente being hired as the new Newsmax CEO.
More than just news
The sources also said the investment may be motivated by Qatar’s intentions to make ties with the United States, as Qatar had a hard time responding to a Trump-endorsed blockade courtesy of its neighbors.
The current status of the negotiations remain unclear, although positive results may mean Qatar will be making deals with one of the closest friends of the United States president. It may even boost Qatar’s image for the conservative end of United States media. This is interesting, as Trump had initially endorsed efforts by states in the Persian Gulf such as Saudi Arabia to isolate Qatar, as it’s a “funder of terrorism.”
Another potential “proof” of the possible talks was when Trump himself had the Emir over in the Oval Office, and even called him a “great friend.”
Kristian Ulrichsen, Baker Institute for Foreign Policy (Rice University)’s Gulf expert, said the Qatari move is just proof of their solidifying their network of economic and political partnerships since last June 2017 at the beginning of the Gulf crisis. These efforts may also be in part of a desire to overcome any misgivings Trump have provided supporters and media in early tweets of his.
Qatar’s problems don’t just end with the Gulf crisis, however, as while the Newsmax investment is an interesting move, it surely is a risky one. This is especially since Qatar is also at odds with Egypt, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and even Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, when asked to comment, Ruddy simply said the information was “unsubstantiated.” Ruddy can be remembered as a long-time player in US conservative media, and has had his influence grow during the elections. Trump has Ruddy among many others he apparently “consults” after-hours, and even had over at the Mar-a-Lago, which is a private club of Trump in Florida.
Mar-a-Lago was one of the locations where the talks have begun, said one of the two sources. Other talks have also happened in New York, and during April 2018, when Qatar Investment Authority had gone to Florida along with other members of the Qatari cabinet.
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