Abdel-Aziz bin Fahd has reacted strongly to UAE Ambassador Otaiba’s announcement that the UAE seeks secular government to be installed throughout the Arabian peninsula, which was clearly aimed at pushing Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) to take yet another leap in the dark by distancing himself from the Wahhabi establishment. Ex-King Fahd’s son said that ‘… we will die before we will allow our religion to be sidelined’. Given the powerful hold Mohamed bin Zayed (MbZ) of the UAE has over MbS, Otaiba’s announcement was not only a brazen attack on the Saudi establishment but a clear indication that MbS seems helpless in the face of UAE machinations, which is extraordinary for someone holding all the reins of power in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, behind UAE Ambassador to Washington Otaiba’s statements about “secular” government, which upset Abdul-Aziz bin Fahd lies the influence of the UAE, or more precisely Abu Dhabi, in the US. Ziad Jilani and Alex Emmons discuss evidence of the shady relationships of the UAE with Beltway think-tanks: ‘One of the documents obtained by The Intercept [from ‘GlobalLeaks hackers of UAE Ambassador Otaiba] was an invoice from the Center for New American Security, an influential national security think tank founded in 2007 by alumni from the Clinton administration. The invoice, dated July 12, 2016, billed the UAE embassy $250,000 for a paper on the legal regime governing the export of military-grade drones. It was signed by Michele Flournoy, a senior Pentagon official under President Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton was widely expected to name Flournoy as her secretary of defense. Flournoy co-founded CNAS and, in addition to outside work as a management consultant, currently serves as the think tank’s CEO.’
They continue: ‘The UAE has one of the most repressive governments in the world. The Gulf dictatorship brutally cracks down on internal dissent and enables abusive conditions for its massive migrant labor force. It also plays a key role in the bloody war in Yemen, running a network of torture prisons in the “liberated” parts of the country. That makes it all the more shocking that the UAE is so rarely criticized by leading U.S. think tanks, who not only ignore the Gulf dictatorship’s repression, but give a privileged platform to its ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba. Otaiba is a deeply influential voice in U.S. foreign policy circles, and is known in Washington for using his pocketbook to recruit allies.’ Read their full article here.