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Islamist Qataris visited S. Carolina, met Senator Lindsey Graham to lobby for spy plane project

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Qatar Finalizing Plans for Spy Plane Project in South Carolina
Erin Banco,
Adam Rawnsley

The Qatari military is finalizing plans to invest in South Carolina as part of its efforts to develop and produce surveillance aircraft, according to company documents and two sources with knowledge of the project’s timeline.

The project, led by Qatari-owned firm Barzan Aeronautical, has been in the planning stages for the last several years. Qatari officials have visited South Carolina, where the firm is registered, to meet with state and local officials to promote the idea of investment and to garner support for the project.

Barzan’s aircraft initiative corresponds to a new push by the Qatari government to invest massive amounts of cash into the U.S. in various different sectors, including real estate, technology and now, apparently, military aircraft and systems. The leader of the country’s sovereign wealth fund said earlier this year that the Qatar Investment Authority planned to increase its investments in the U.S. to $45 billion over the next two years.

Qatari officials visited South Carolina in 2018 to meet Boeing, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Gov. Henry McMaster to discuss Doha’s interest in investing in the state. Graham and McMaster’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Executives with Barzan Aeronautical did not comment on the record for this story.