Qatar is a peninsula sticking out into the Persian Gulf. For its entire history, until the last few decades, it was a backwater. But it happens to sit on, or around, vast deposits of natural gas, and that gives it its claim on the world's attention. It sill is a cultural backwater, and always will be, whatever succursales of Western museums and universities the Al-Thani famiy manages to buy or rent. There are two milion people living in Qatar: 200,000 Qataris and 1.8 million non-Qataris, foreign wage slaves whose task is it to wait on the natives, to satisfy their every need, and to keep the little place running. Without those foreign workers, the place would collapse, and talk about "the end of the expatriates" makes Arabs in Qatar as nevervous as it does those in the Emirates or Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.
The Qataris have been buying up lots and lots of property in France.
They have recently bought the building in which Le Figaro is housed.
They have bought the Carlton, in Cannes, the center of the Cannes Film Festival.
They have bought the Martinez, a hotel right next door to the Carlton.
They are buying up companies, and buying shares in other companies, especialy French luxury goods.
They have managed to go around the strict rules regulating changes to historic buildings, and have been allowed to do all kinds of things to some of the most venerable and elegant structures in Paris.
A little slide-show about Qatar and its unmerited wealth, and what it does with it, can be seen at Le Figaro here.
This is not good. This is disheartening to French people, and to others in the West.
Qatar should be prevented -- by French fiat -- from buying so much of France.
It is not merely an economic transaction. Economic transactions so rarely are merely t that.
Qatar has been active politically. It was the main Arab power attempting -- successfully -- to inveigle the West into deposing Qaddafy, not becdause Qatar was morally outraged by Qaddafy, but because he was so openly contemptuous of the Gulf Arabs. Qatar is now sending aid to the Sunni Muslims in Syria who want to take over from the Alawites.
Can Qatar continue to be allowed to buy up so much of French real estate, and shares in French companies, and make France a little vacation spot for the Al-Thani family and their courtiers, and indeed for almost all of the 200,000 Qataris? What would be the result, in France, with the creation of another million or so people dancing attendance on these fabulously-rich primitives who do what they want, wherever they want, like the Saudis and seldom, if ever are subject to Western laws?
Those who profit from a Qatari connection -- real estate agents, lawyers,poules de luxe, the purveyors of the most expensive goods in the Faubourg Saint-Honore ---and those who want to get in on the action, are not likely to be in the forefront of those warning about the dangers of Muslim demographic conquest. They may, like their analogues in London, find it prudent to appear to be delighted with their Gulf Arab clients. Some of them may convince themselves it is all for the best.