Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, pushed hard to persuade Hillary Clinton to meet an influential member of the Qatari royal family while Clinton was U.S. Secretary of State, emails released by the State Department late Tuesday show. The revelations cast yet more scrutiny on Clinton's controversial and often-criticized tenure at the State Department.
For a stretch of four months in 2009, even as she appeared to misspell the royal's name, Blair urged Clinton to meet Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, a wife of the former emir of Qatar. The Guardian has described her as "the enlightened face of a profoundly conservative regime. She also happens to be revered in high fashion circles.
“Sheika Moser [sic] has approached me privately saying they are keen to get their relationship with the USA onto a more positive footing and she was hoping for a ‘women to women’ one to one private meeting with you,” Blair wrote to Clinton in one of 19 emails that year, the Guardian reported. Blair cited joint philanthropic interests between the two women but also said, “I am sure the conversation would not be confined to these issues but would be about the U.S./Qatar relationship generally.”
Qatar is one of several Arab Gulf states to have donated millions to the Clinton Foundation, the family's sprawling philanthropic empire, during Hillary Clinton's stint as secretary of state, even as the Department of State approved billions of dollars in arms sales to countries it was also simultaneously questioning for crackdowns and violations of civil rights, a previous investigation by the International Business Times found.
The close examination of the web of ties between Hillary Clinton, her family's foundation and donations to that foundation from foreign countries has prompted a volley of criticisms that decisions Clinton made as secretary of state were improperly, unethically influenced by these donations. In February, officials for the Clinton Foundation revealed that at least one donation to the foundation violated an ethics agreement with the White House.