Texas A&M pulls department out of Qatar, citing regional instability | EUROtoday

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DUBAI — Texas A&M University is shutting down its department in Qatar, citing “heightened regional instability” in an announcement from the college board. Qatar shortly issued a replycalling the transfer “misguided” and “influenced by a disinformation campaign.”

The college’s determination comes because the struggle in Gaza has escalated tensions throughout the Middle East, however it additionally follows elevated criticism of Qatar particularly for the nation’s ties to Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that Israel is at struggle with.

Qatari management says the United States helps its determination to host the Hamas political workplace in Doha, and the Biden administration has praised its function as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, facilitating negotiations over the hostages. During a pause in preventing partially brokered by Qatar, Hamas launched some 100 hostages.

In Gaza struggle, Qatar revisits function as regional mediator

Academics are an necessary a part of Qatari ties with the United States. Plenty of U.S. universities, together with Georgetown and Northwestern, have campuses in Qatar’s Education City on the sting of the capital Doha.

The Qatari authorities pays tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} in operations prices to the schools every year and in return the branches present elite larger schooling for tons of of Qatari college students in addition to others from across the area.

Qatar additionally hosts the most important U.S. navy facility within the Middle East, Al Udeid Air Base, which may home greater than 10,000 U.S. navy personnel.

Nonetheless, Qatar has obtained a gradual stream of criticism for its hyperlinks to Hamas in latest months from critics of the Biden administration within the United States and from Israeli management. Most not too long ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to as the nation “problematic” in a leaked audio recording.

Texas A&M University was attacked for its ties to Qatar in a January letter from an antisemitism watchdog group. The letter accused the college of involvement in a covert deal that gave Qatar management of nuclear weapons know-how and described Qatar as a rustic that helps Hamas and different armed teams.

“The misinformation campaign had no bearing on Thursday’s decision” to shutter the Qatar campus, college spokesman Mike Reilly stated in a written assertion. The dialogue about the way forward for the department “had begun before false information was reported about Texas A&M and Qatar,” the assertion added.

University President Mark Welsh, a retired Air Force basic, issued a rebuttal of the accusations on the time calling them “simply wrong” and “irresponsible.”

Texas A&M University has had a department in Qatar for over twenty years, throughout which era it has graduated over 1,500 engineering college students.

Alumni and college of the college stated they have been shocked and saddened by the information.

“It was a great community to be part of where I always felt excited and hopeful of what’s to come and what I can build,” stated Omar Barhoumi, 28, who majored in electrical engineers in addition to arithmetic and now works a cybersecurity analyst. He stated he heard rumors that college would shutter for years, however is “disappointed” with the way in which the choice was made.

A analysis fellow at Georgetown University in Qatar, Danyel Reiche, stated the closure of Texas A&M in Qatar finally means there may be one much less place for college students to get a liberal arts schooling within the nation.

“This education, the presence of these universities, makes students global citizens,” he stated. “They learn critical thinking and that makes a contribution to Qatar and the region.”

This week’s assertion from the college board stated the establishment started reviewing its determination to have a “physical presence in Qatar” in fall 2023 “due to the heightened instability in the Middle East.”

The college department might be shuttered by 2028, the assertion stated, however a workforce might be assembled to make sure college students can full their research.

He Chamaa reported from Beirut.