Her name is Hannah Neumann and she is, since 2019, an influential member of the German Green parliamentary group in the European Parliament, where she deals with civil rights and espionage[1]. Specifically, she is part of the group of parliamentarians studying the collaboration between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in the Pegasus project – one of the electronic and spyware systems[2] used by the Gulf monarchies to spy on the political and economic leaderships of the West[3]. In the hours that followed the arrest of her Greek colleague Eva Kaili, Neumann went on a rampage on TV and Twitter to emphasise her contempt for those in Brussels who sell out the interests of European citizens for mere personal financial gain[4]. Her parliamentary group (EPP) has even called for a halt to Parliament’s work until the Qatari infiltration of the EU has been fully investigated[5].

What Neumann does not say, is that she herself has difficulty resisting the temptation to cultivate friendly relations in the Persian Gulf: in the picture, dressed in blue, we see her attending a conference in Dubai, at which the local monarchy has gathered MEPs willing to ‘redraft’ an EU resolution condemning the condition of women in that country[6]. The mere fact that she attended should be a worrying sign. Among his contacts in the Emirates is Ali Rashed Al Nuaimi[7], also pictured in the opening photo: he is a former intelligence officer[8], now head of Hedayah, an organisation that claims, in the name of the Abu Dhabi monarchy, that Qatar finances terrorism[9], and was involved in the kidnapping of a member of the Doha royal family[10].

Hannah Neumann is one of the MEPs most active in the defence of Dubai’s interests, so much so that she was the only one in her parliamentary group to vote against a resolution condemning the Emirati government following the torture of three human rights defenders: Ahmed Mansoor, Mohammed al-Roken and Nasser Bin Ghaith[11]. Especially the former, who had been fought for years with the use of military spyware such as DarkMatter and Pegasus[12], is now dying in prison, where he is serving a ten-year sentence for slandering the regime, and is on hunger strike[13]. Disconcerting, but true.

But if Pegasus helped the Belgian police to prove the corruption of Qatar’s friends[14], it did not do the same with the friends of Doha’s proudest adversaries: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates[15]. This is a well-known espionage system that is also used to settle intrigues and quarrels within the European Parliament, so much so that Brussels, in vain and with little conviction, has been fighting for years for the Israeli manufacturers of NSO to give up marketing this spyware[16].

The war between the Emirates and Qatar

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Abu Dhabi, left) and Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al-Saud (Saudi Arabia, right), best friends[17]

The cold war between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates has been going on for years, aimed at supremacy over the Persian Gulf and alliances with the West. Both countries spend colossal sums, taken from oil trade revenues, to gain supremacy over each other[18]. The strategy is similar: Qatar organises international sporting events and owns Paris St. Germain, while the Emirates own Manchester City[19]. Similar are the billions that are spent to support their propaganda in the West – with the particularity that in France this activity is regulated in two associations of parliamentarians, one openly close to Qatar[20] and the other linked to Abu Dhabi[21], while in the rest of the West these propaganda campaigns are unregulated and thus lead to sensational events such as Qatarargate. The only difference lies in the systematic use of the most sophisticated spyware and espionage systems, which is typical of the Emirates, which invest as many billions in military expansion[22], and cyberterrorist attacks against Qatar and its allies[23].

The World Cup turned out to be a tragic diplomatic own goal for Qatar. The media in most parts of the world went wild to prove that the decision to hold the tournament in a Persian Gulf country with no football tradition, in stadiums built only for the World Cup, erected thanks to the sacrifice of thousands of workers treated as slaves, 6500 of whom[24] died during the construction of the infrastructure, was only possible thanks to the corruption of FIFA officials[25]. In Germany, a report by the ZDF state TV clearly expresses the West’s conviction: whoever wanted or participated in the organisational part of the World Cup (e.g. former star Karl-Heinz Rummenigge) accepted gifts from the Qatari monarchy that certainly leave one in doubt[26].

Coincidence. Just a few days before the World Cup final, the Belgian judiciary had evidence in its hands that some members of the European Parliament, first and foremost the Greek socialist Eva Kaili, a highly successful woman with long-standing ties to Qatar, known for her feminist battles and thus capable of single-handedly curbing the accusations of homophobia levelled at the Doha monarchy – a woman who kept hundreds of thousands of euros in cash at home, which, according to the Belgian police, are bribes paid by the Qatari government[27].

At the latest, the World Cup has, in fact, turned out to be a tragic own goal, the consequences of which are still difficult to assess. In this way, the anger, outrage and dismay of the Western media have found a sacrificial victim: a woman who, for the sake of money, has rubbished years of political militancy for human rights, proving to be the pawn of a rigidly authoritarian and chauvinist country. So far the headlines. From here on, in order to be fair, and not turn truths into lies, one must take a step forward, and tell the whole story – not just what the propaganda of Qatar’s opponents offered as food for the hungry Western media.

The Kaili scandal proves two things. The first is that lobbying, in Brussels, has crossed a red line that goes beyond the mere exercise of protecting the particular interests of states and companies, and has turned into a system of unchecked power and corruption[28] that, as in the case of FIFA[29], moves billions of Euros to convince our European representatives to defend not the citizens of the Union, but the private interests of others – at any cost, even in the face of the danger of losing face and ending up in jail[30]. A system for which the newly elected have at their disposal consultants ready to insert them into the system of redistribution of bribes and gratuities[31]. A system that must be annihilated at the root, by voting very strict rules for lobbying in Brussels.

The second thing is that, in the war for supremacy in the Persian Gulf, which for years has pitted Qatar, Palestine, Iran and Turkey against the alliance of Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain, the second lobby is more powerful and efficient, and thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is now able to make its voice heard with the West and sabotage Qatar’s attempts to achieve similar results. In this battle, we Europeans should be on the side of the Europeans. Prevent our politicians, if corrupt, from continuing to operate undisturbed, and curb the shower of money that is being used to convince us to decide on important issues against our own interests. As I have written many times, Europe has no friends[32], and it is time it started to behave accordingly.


[1] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/de/pega/home/members

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasus_(spyware)

[3] https://gulfstateanalytics.com/pegasus-as-a-case-study-of-evolving-ties-between-the-united-arab-emirates-and-israel/

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Daz1g4-128I ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSZfQYQm_Wk ;  https://twitter.com/HNeumannMEP/status/1603069657216335874?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OF5Q7a4Wjs ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unclTLiHuu0

[5] https://www.eppgroup.eu/newsroom/news/epp-group-calls-to-stop-all-parliament-urgency-resolutions

[6] Climate Change, strengthening of women’s role in society and human rights: The DARP mission to the United Arab Emirates (hannahneumann.eu)

[7] https://wam.ae/id/details/1395303050959

[8] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on Foreign Interference by the United Arab Emirates in the Democratic Processes of the European Union”, Brussels 2002, page 80

[9] https://www.jeuneafrique.com/mag/649262/politique/affaire-khashoggi-la-guerre-des-lobbys-fait-rage-dans-le-golfe/

[10] https://www.jordantimes.com/news/region/qatari-sheikh-says-being-detained%E2%80%99-uae ; https://tribune.com.pk/story/1608899/qatari-sheikh-says-detained-uae

[11] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on Foreign Interference by the United Arab Emirates in the Democratic Processes of the European Union”, Brussels 2002, pages 134-138

[12] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/us/politics/nso-darkmatter-government-spies.html

[13] https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/04/12/uae-free-rights-defender-ahmed-mansoor

[14] وثائق تكشف ضلوع الإمارات فيما عرف بفضيحة الفساد القطرية في البرلمان الأوروبي – الإمارات ليكس (emiratesleaks.com)

[15] https://ibiworld.eu/2021/02/15/golfo-persico-la-guerra-dopo-larmistizio/ ; https://ibiworld.eu/2021/02/08/dalla-fantascienza-allincubo-lo-spyware-di-regime-per-il-controllo-totale/

[16] https://www.dw.com/en/eu-watergate-the-pegasus-spyware-scandal-keeps-spreading/a-63687981 ; https://www.reneweuropegroup.eu/news/2022-01-12/renew-europe-demands-a-committee-of-inquiry-on-the-abuse-of-pegasus-spyware

[17] https://www.trtworld.com/middle-east/the-plots-and-perils-of-the-two-gulf-crown-princes-21462

[18] https://ibiworld.eu/2021/02/15/golfo-persico-la-guerra-dopo-larmistizio/ ; https://ibiworld.eu/2021/02/08/dalla-fantascienza-allincubo-lo-spyware-di-regime-per-il-controllo-totale/


[20] https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/instances/fiche/OMC_PO733632?force

[21] https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/instances/fiche/OMC_PO733367?force

[22] Le-Lobby-Anti-Qatar-1.pdf (ibiworld.eu), pages 22-23, 48-57

[23] Le-Lobby-Anti-Qatar-1.pdf (ibiworld.eu), pages 58-68

[24] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOpOvMdEdl4

[25] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0EsOFDA6uM ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pesRWBLk5Gs

[26] https://www.zdf.de/dokumentation/zdfzeit/zdfzeit-geheimsache-katar-100.html

[27] https://www.politico.eu/article/eva-kaili-doha-panzeri-qatargate-what-just-happened-at-the-european-parliament/

[28] https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/12/12/calls-for-eu-lobbying-rules-to-be-reformed-grow-as-corruption-scandal-rocks-brussels

[29] https://www.ilpost.it/2015/05/28/fifa-corruzione-arresti-inchiesta/ ; https://www.internazionale.it/notizie/2015/05/27/calcio-scandalo-vertici-fifa

[30] https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/12/12/calls-for-eu-lobbying-rules-to-be-reformed-grow-as-corruption-scandal-rocks-brussels

[31] https://dr2consultants.eu/why-lobby-in-brussels-and-how/

[32] https://www.glistatigenerali.com/geopolitica_macroeconomia/leuropa-ha-solo-nemici/ ; https://ibiworld.eu/2022/11/09/leuropa-ha-solo-nemici/

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