UAE spends heavily on lobbying in US, UK

Published 20.07.2018 00:00

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has influenced decision-making both in the U.K. and the U.S. through powerful lobbying, a British media watchdog has reported.

The 50-page report released by Spinwatch provided the details of "a highly sophisticated, aggressive and clandestine political lobby" carried out by the UAE. The campaign "promises billions in return for influence in the U.S., infiltrating the British media to smear rivals, threatening to interfere in parliamentary select committee reports, buying politicians' loyalty with lavish trips, donating to think tanks and trying to influence them, aiming to deport political opponents, trying to influence BBC coverage and protesting against press freedom."

The report also highlighted the UAE's influence on British politicians through pushing narratives against the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar during the Gulf crisis. The anti-Brotherhood narrative spurred on by British media outlets helped give rise Islamophobia in the country, the watchdog said. It is highly believed that former British Prime Minister David Cameron launched an inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014 due to the UAE's lobbying, the Middle East Monitor reported.

During the crisis, the UAE – along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt – cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and their archrival Iran. Doha has denied the charges and has said the countries aim to curtail its sovereignty. The dispute pits key U.S. allies against each other.

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