Interest groups, pressure groups, or “lobbies” are among the most prominent civil society institutions or non-governmental institutions that have become so popular in the modern era.
It is a type of group that is formed or joined with the aim of influencing the policies of a particular political system or economic institution, in relation to a specific topic or issue of concern to that. The lobby specially.
The United States of America is considered one of the first countries that embraced these pressure groups, and allowed them to grow and flourish in their political cores, especially the Zionist lobby famous for its ability to influence major political decisions in Uncle Sam’s country. But the Zionist entity is not the only party influencing the policies of the United States of America in the Middle East, the Arab Gulf states as well, especially the United Arab Emirates, the new friend of Israel, has become an ally of the United States of America. The era of former US President Donald Trump. One of the reasons for the emergence of the UAE as a regional actor in the last decade was the active Emirati lobby in Washington and other European capitals.
Specifically, the Emirati lobby in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France is working tirelessly to mobilize support for their military interventions abroad that are usually limited and insufficient, especially in Yemen and Libya. Where the UAE carried out limited air strikes, with the support of the United States, in Libya. In addition to its interventions in Yemen, the area in which the UAE suffered the greatest military losses, especially in 2015, when 45 Emirati soldiers were killed in a single missile strike.
The Emirati lobby works to whitewash its systematic violations of human rights and the suppression of freedoms, whether at home or abroad, by supporting authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. The UAE has a wide history of using torture methods against those it considers a threat to the ruling regime.
The annual report of the US State Department on human rights in the world mentioned the involvement of Emirati government employees in torturing prisoners during their detention, and the UAE is trying hard to cover up these violations.
But the power and influence of the UAE in the most important capitals of the world, Washington, was sufficient to prevent the UAE from being targeted in the field of human rights, as Emirati officials formed part of the inner circle of former US President Donald Trump, where the Emirati ambassador Yusef al-Ataba was called “the most powerful ambassador in Washington.” . This is due in large part to his well-known lavish parties attended by business leaders and diplomats. He also has close ties to Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner. And that was how a Middle Eastern country like the United Arab Emirates was able to preview and edit one of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign speeches on the energy issue.
Squeeze by money
The Emirati apparatus of influence included 20 American companies that paid $ 20 million to act on behalf of Emirati clients in 2018, according to the report, published by the International Policy Center. According to the reports of the same center, the twenty companies operating with the United Arab Emirates reported carrying out 3,168 “political activities” on behalf of the Gulf state.
According to the report, half of the reported political actions motivated by the UAE in 2018 were directly related to the war in Yemen, with growing criticism of the involvement of both the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the years-long conflict there. Those actions included direct communications with 200 congressional offices, 18 think tanks, and most of the major media.
The Saudis and Emiratis have spent more than $ 30 million in the United States on lobbying and public relations in the past two years alone.
The UAE applies multiple types of pressure, some of which include pressure on governments through its embassies in London and Washington by legal and informal means. In the United States, informal activities are carried out covertly because they do not comply with US lobbying rules and regulations.
According to documents related to the UAE in the database of the US Department of Justice, since 2011 the payments of the Emirati lobby “declared” in Washington amounted to 132 million and 716 thousand US dollars. I paid for the services of political pressure, or public relations campaigns to achieve Emirati interests in Washington.
In recent years, it has accelerated its pressure to limit the influence of Turkey, Qatar and Iran in the Middle East, and to receive support from the international community for its political and military engagement in Libya and Yemen.
Click on search centers
Pressuring research and studies centers is considered one of the prominent methods practiced by the UAE to preserve its image in the international community and try to mislead public opinion about its illegal actions in many cases. The UAE lobby has contacted, in particular, with the Conflict Armament Research Center, which is concerned with issuing research studies on the use, transfer and quality of weapons in various conflicts around the world. In the event of the Yemen war, the center only spoke about the weapon used by the Houthi group, without any mention of the other parties to the war, and the UAE lobby worked to provide the center with information to be used in its research on Yemen.
He contacted various research centers and sponsored trips for researchers to visit Yemen, including the researcher Michael Knights, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who said that he went to Yemen accompanying the Emirati forces as a field observer, and wrote about the UAE and the importance of its role in Yemen.
As for there in Britain, andThe UAE has a wide network of lobbyists That includes academic institutions and think tanks. A good example of this is the Arab and Islamic Studies Program at the University of Exeter, which receives funds from the United Arab Emirates, and the amount of funding has reached 8 million pounds over the past twenty years.
But the UAE’s lobbying tactics and illegally spending money in order to gain influence, and facts that were revealed after emails of Emirati lobbyists were hacked, caused great alarm in both the United States and Britain. Despite all these efforts, the UAE’s pressure remains lacking in political or popular legitimacy, simply because it does not enjoy popular support and political welcome in the United States.
That is why it seems that the situation will change a lot during the Biden period, especially after several measures taken by his administration, the last of which was the re-imposition of customs duties on aluminum imports from the UAE, in early February 2021, nullifying the last decisions of his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, before leaving the White House.
The President’s administration has also temporarily suspended arms sales, including the deal to sell F-35 fighters to the UAE, which has been approved by the Trump administration.
Will this new situation affect the UAE’s influence in the United States and in the Middle East region?
- The story of the Emirati lobby in Washington during the Arab Spring decade, Politicians PostFebruary 17, 2021.
- Omar Ahmed, The UAE lobby in America lacks legitimacy, The Middle East Monitor, October 28, 2019
- Gokhan Ereli, How the UAE’s Lobbying Instrument Works Abroad, Politics today, March 10, 2020
- Report outlines UAE’s ‘immensely influential’ lobbying in US, Aljazeera, 16 Oct 2019
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