Qatar has been systematically investing into its intelligence gathering capabilities in Britain, something that prompted a group of Arab countries to question and worry about.
Qatar had been embargoed by the Arab quartet on suspected connections to terrorist funding and increasing alliance with Iran. However, Qatar has gradually tried to build its network of trust outside the quartet and has used all its financial standing and effective PR to win the trust of one and all.
Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East was warned by the quartet about the need of immediate action over Qatar’s expansion of intelligence activities in London, including surveillance operations as well as political and propaganda activity. They did say that if Britain did not do so, this would hamper Downing Street’s future ties with the Middle Eastern countries.
The quartet has needed to do so, because Qatar has used areas in Britain as its base to plan and implement operations against officials and prominent figures from other Arab countries, and also included attempts to create “defections” from other states.
It has been proven in the recent past that Qatar has used non-profit organizations and campaign groups with head offices in Britain as front faces, to carry out its terrorist funding operations. Doha has also known to be transferring huge sums of money to a range of front organisations operating in Britain. The funds are used to organize and promote propaganda which does not have a constructive purpose.
As to why Britain has kept quiet about this is explained in the statement made by the spokesperson from the Foreign Office who said, “We are not taking sides but would remain very concerned by the ongoing tensions in the Gulf.” No investigation or tips were ever picked by British Intelligence or reported to the British government until August, when Qatar Bank was found sending money via a branch in Britain to fund terror outfits in Libya.
But the warnings that came in 2018 were not taken seriously.