UAE pumping millions into 'vast and influential' US lobbying campaign
The report published by the Center for International Policy (CIP) claims that 20 US companies were paid around $20 million to lobby politicians and other influential institutions on foreign policy issues.
"Though the Emirati's influence operation differs notably from the Saudi's in many ways, both rely heavily on their FARA registered lobbying and public relations firms to brandish their image in the US, and to keep their transgressions out of the public consciousness as much as possible," the report reads.
The report is part of CIP's Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, which aims to elucidate the "half-billion-dollar foreign influence industry working to shape US foreign policy every single day".
The report added Emirati influence operation targeted legislators, non-profits, media outlets and think-tanks in an attempt to portray the UAE to the world in a positive light.
The report noted that the image of the UAE's key ally, Saudi Arabia, declined significantly after the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"Following Khashoggi's murder, several lobbying, public relations firms, and think tanks ended their relationship with the Saudis. Congress passed multiple resolutions to punish the Saudis", the report said.
"And, generally, the Saudis were seen as something of a pariah in DC. Yet, Saudi Arabia’s close ally, the United Arab Emirates, continues to be seen as a stalwart US ally by most in the nation’s capital."
Despite the attacks on human rights, "the UAE has a vast and immensely influential lobbying and public relations campaign in America, that has allowed the monarchy to exert considerable sway over U.S. policy while keeping the UAE’s indiscretions largely hidden", the report explained.