Washington still echoes of Yousef Al Otaiba’s lobbying for gulf ally, MbS.
When the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi took place in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, the whole world talked about one man – MbS. The involvement of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, was apparent. The history MbS shared with the Saudi-origin journalist and evidence discovered by Turkish officials post investigation, all pointed to the prince’s involvement. While outrage over Khashoggi murder almost engulfed Saudi Arabia, it overlooked a distant accomplice – the United Arab Emirates.
After putting Yemen through serial acts of devastation, Saudi crown prince recently silenced a prominent journalist for being a critic of his leadership. Just as in the case of Yemen, US President Donald Trump, is standing in firm support of its gulf ally despite Jamal Khashoggi murder case. On the contrary, the world has come together in opposition of the Saudi Arabian crown prince as well as Donald Trump, for his atypical stance in the case. Meanwhile, UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, who takes care of most of Saudi Arabia’s lobbying business in Washington is busy hosting a dinner party at his Virginia mansion.
Known as the most “sinister influence-peddlers in Washington”, Otaiba’s previous lobbying efforts in the favor of Saudi crown prince are still echoing in the DC. Resultantly, if not the US, Donald Trump continues to stand by its ally from the gulf, MbS.
In one of his interviews with Fox News, Trump even slipped out the fact unknowingly that the “Saudi Arabia has been a great ally to me”.
Pronouncing his personal interests linked with the gulf nation, Trump clarified his dubious stand favoring MbS in the Jamal Khashoggi murder case. Otaiba is best known as the right-hand man of MbS’ closest ally, MbZ or Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Decoding the Escape
Another identity of one of Washington’s most powerful man, Otaiba, is of the lobbying he did for putting Saudi Arabia prince, Mohammed bin Salman where he is today – in power. The crown prince continues to rule one of the biggest oil exporters and the biggest arms importer in the world despite being labeled the murderer of a journalist and as one of the biggest violators of human rights. Meanwhile, United Arab Emirates subtly escaped any scrutiny in the acts it allegedly co-conspired, directly or indirectly.
On top of the discreet escape Emirates advantaged amidst the raging controversy of Jamal Khashoggi murder, its favorite lobbyist Yousef Al Otaiba continues his ‘job’ as usual in the US. He recently signed up David Rothkopf as the new member to the UAE’s army of lobbyist in the US. Rothkopf personally signed a formal contract with the UAE on September 12, 2018. As per the contract, Rothkopf will be on a monthly pay of $50,000 for the next three years to – “provide day-to-day advice on the development of messages”; work on “media projects [and] outreach efforts”; and “prepare memoranda [and] talking points” for the “Embassy of the United Arab Emirates to develop and support specific programs and initiatives within the United States.”
Nonetheless, signing up as a foreign agent to the Emirates isn’t the only stunt Rothkopf pulled off, as the Daily Beast reporter even made comments on ‘Saudi Arabia’s relations with the US’. The commentary was entertained as Rothkopf was introduced as a “visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace” instead of being referred to as a foreign agent of the Saudi’s close ally, the United Arab Emirates.
The readers were clueless of Rothkopf’s conflict of interest in the entire matter and that they were in fact listening to one of the UAE’s foreign agent. David’s involvement proved former editor of Think Progress, Judd Legum right. Legum mentioned in one of his newsletters that “several prominent analysts commenting on Khashoggi’s death have a significant financial interest in maintaining a positive relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia”.
Consequently, the monthly paycheck of $50,000 given by the UAE to Rothkopf even justified how the gulf nation escaped any scrutiny in the controversy ignited by its closest ally, Saudi Arabia. Even though Yousef Al Otaiba lobbied excessively for the rise of Mohammed bin Salman to power, he ensured that his homeland didn’t receive the splatters of the neighbor’s malfeasance.