The Center for American Progress (CAP), a renowned Washington-based liberal thinktank, said it would no longer accept funds from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Guardian reported. The group wants no association with the anti-democratic governments in the world, to distinguish itself from the autocratic regimes, which are a close ally to the US President Donald Trump.
CAP spokesperson said, “With a rising undemocratic tide around the world, and serious questions about which side of that struggle our own President (Donald Trump) stands on, it seemed clear that all Americans should take extra steps and leave no doubt where they stand.”
CAP called on this move amid upraised public backlash over the transfer of funds by the autocratic governments to influential thinktanks in Washington. Earlier, CAP mentioned funds ranging between $500,000 and $1m from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates. However, the UAE funding was reviewed by the CAP’s foreign policy team.
Recently, the Intercept challenged CAP’s response to the killing of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, considering the group’s ties to the UAE – an ally of Saudi Arabia.
CAP claimed that its policies and decisions are not donor-backward, citing a bipartisan frustration with the UAE-Saudi coalition as part of its operating principle.
The documents obtained by the Guardian state that CAP’s decision to turn down funding from the UAE surfaced in June of 2018, which was before Khashoggi’s muder – and was implemented in December.
Apart from CAP, other leading thinktanks in Washington have also been slammed for having financial ties with the UAE, and its ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, who has built a strong reputation in the White House.
The UAE has always spent enormously in Washington for maintaining a friendly diplomatic setup while pursuing its own strategic objectives. However, the pitfalls of receiving funds from the UAE have become common nightmares for the US thinktanks, emerging from the Arab dictatorship’s poor human rights records.
Otaiba’s close connections with Jared Kushner has also helped the UAE to avoid criticism over its involvement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen – the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The critics have urged American thinktanks to take a “democracy pledge” and boycott Saudi and Emirati money.