Emirates Leaks

BBC: The UAE invested millions to gain influence in Washington

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A BBC report revealed that the UAE poured millions of dollars into gaining influence in the United States and covering its violations.

The report said that the UAE used pressure groups inside Washington and poured millions of dollars into pushing American foreign policies to support them, whether in the media or politically.

According to the report, the UAE’s influence in Washington prevented its targeting in the field of human rights, as Emirati officials formed part of the close circle of former US President Donald Trump.

It pointed out that the Emirati ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al-Arabiya, was called “the most powerful ambassador in Washington” thanks to the money paid to gain influence and the close relations he had with Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner.

Moreover, Al-Otaiba published articles in major American newspapers and prestigious magazines such as The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy, reflecting his country’s position on various issues and defending its policies.

In this context, the Center for International Policy (CIP), as part of its initiative to track the transparency of foreign influence in the United States, issued a study entitled The Emirati Lobby: How the UAE Wins in Washington.

The centre dealt with Abu Dhabi’s influence in the United States without addressing commercial interests between the two countries or the money the Emiratis spend on other influence activities, including the millions of dollars they spend on think tanks and American universities.

Abu Dhabi is considered one of the most influential investors in the American economy. Reports indicate that the value of the portfolio owned by the Emirates in Washington ranges between 250 and 500 billion dollars.

The UAE is also the third-largest customer of the United States of America in the arms and military equipment sector. Therefore the volume of exchanges and economic relations between the two countries makes confronting and antagonizing the Emirates a decision that was excluded by the administration of former President Donald Trump.

A few days ago, the US authorities arrested Thomas Barrack, a businessman and close advisor to former President Donald Trump, on charges of working for a foreign government–the UAE government–without declaring this activity, as required by US law.

Barrack previously served as an informal advisor to former President Trump’s 2016 campaign before being officially appointed as the organizing committee chair for Trump’s inauguration, the 45th president of the United States.

“Thomas Barrack is accused with two other people of trying to direct the foreign policy of Donald Trump while he was still a candidate for president, and influencing the foreign policy of his administration after he won the presidency,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security Affairs Mark Lesko said in a press release.

American media reported that Thomas Barrack and two other defendants, one of whom is an Emirati, are facing charges such as advancing the interests of the UAE in Washington, influencing the foreign policy positions of a candidate’s campaign in the 2016 US presidential elections, and campaigning in March 2017 to appoint a candidate who the UAE sanctioned as an ambassador to the United States in Abu Dhabi.

The indictment also includes conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to the FBI during a 2019 interview. A spokesman for Barrack denied the charges and maintained his innocence.

According to the New York Times, Barack was the link between Trump and the Emirates and Saudi Arabia rulers. He had long and strong friendships with the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba.