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[Oct 11, 2017] The Sordid Double Life of Washingtons Most Powerful Ambassador

Something about real foreign influence in Washington corridors of power ... Bankrolling think tanks is pretty slick idea.
Notable quotes:
"... Close with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other top national security officials, Otaiba has bankrolled nearly every major think tank in Washington. ..."
"... The diplomat has worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to push Washington's defense and foreign policy establishment to adopt MBZ's hawkish ideas on Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other contentious policy areas. Otaiba has been a leading voice in Washington for the war in Yemen, where the UAE operates torture warehouses and funds death squads. The conflict has left more than 10,000 dead and countless more starving and stricken with a cholera epidemic of historic proportions. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | theintercept.com

Otaiba has become one of the most powerful and well-connected men in Washington, reportedly in touch with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, on a weekly basis. His spending on galas, hospital wings, dinner parties, and birthday bashes has become legendary. Close with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other top national security officials, Otaiba has bankrolled nearly every major think tank in Washington.

The Emirati envoy's cachet stems in part from his close relationship with Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who is widely considered to be the effective ruler of the UAE. The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, he is known in the region and in Washington by his initials MBZ. Since 2000, Otaiba has reported directly to MBZ as his head of international affairs, and then as the ambassador in Washington. "Before I was introduced to him, the way he was described to me was the guy MBZ trusts most on foreign issues and one of the smartest people in the UAE," said Kristofer Harrison, a former Bush administration official who worked closely with Otaiba.

The diplomat has worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to push Washington's defense and foreign policy establishment to adopt MBZ's hawkish ideas on Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other contentious policy areas. Otaiba has been a leading voice in Washington for the war in Yemen, where the UAE operates torture warehouses and funds death squads. The conflict has left more than 10,000 dead and countless more starving and stricken with a cholera epidemic of historic proportions.

A fixture among Washington society, Otaiba spent much of the last decade carefully constructing the image of an enlightened Persian Gulf diplomat -- forward-thinking on women's rights, secularism, and embracing the modern world. On International Women's Day this year, he published an open letter to his young daughter to drive the point home.

Otaiba's homeland, meanwhile, does not often live up to such values. The UAE has some of the most draconian sex crime laws of any place in the world. Just last week, a man and a woman were arrested for having a conversation in a car while being unrelated and unmarried. This week, two defendants were spared prison time for the crime of " indecent attire ," but fined and deported nonetheless.

[Dec 11, 2016] Are Saudis behind CIA "report" on Russian influence on elections?

Dec 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Stormcrow , December 11, 2016 at 7:38 am

What's behind the Russian Hack Propaganda? Two articles worth a read. I apologize if they've been posted before.

What Are The Hearsay Leaks About "Russian Election Hacking" Attempting To Achieve?
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/what-are-the-hearsay-leaks-about-russian-election-hacking-attempting-to-achieve.html

BEHIND CIA"S "REPORT" ON ELECTION: THE SAUDIS
https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/12/09/unpacking-new-cia-leak-dont-ignore-aluminum-tube-footnote/

UserFriendly , December 11, 2016 at 7:47 am

Well, At least Tillerson believes in Climate change and is in favor of a carbon tax
http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2016/06/30/exxon-yes-exxon-backs-a-carbon-tax/#1fbb193e4aea

Jim Haygood , December 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

Are we seeing a pattern here? Tillerson - a Putin counterpart and recipient of Russia's Order of Friendship - to Moscow; Gov Branstad - farmin' buddy of Premier Xi since the 1980s - to Beijing. And so forth.

Inside-the-Beltway folk are upset at the overturning of the established order, in which diplomatic posts go to the biggest bundlers, regardless of country knowledge. Lacking titles of nobility here in the Homeland, we need an outlet for the well-connected to purchase a prestigious sinecure and a black diplomatic passport. Otherwise a frightening Revolt of the Affluent could roil our streets.

Still angling for the Court of St James myself - got any witticisms I could share with the Queen?

Katniss Everdeen , December 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

Like it or not, Tillerson as secretary of "state" makes a fair amount of sense.

His appointment would acknowledge, pretty overtly, that american foreign "policy" is, always and everywhere, about energy.

We ignore human rights abuses in saudi arabia and overthrow Gadhafi when he proposes demanding payment for oil in a gold-backed currency. Iraq. Assad must "go" because of a pipeline. A biden boy gets a seat on the board of a Ukranian energy company after a u. s. backed coup. The clinton foundation in Nigeria.

And that's just the last decade or so of wars and "threats to american interests." Maybe it's time we just got honest about it.

Carolinian , December 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

Honesty would be a refreshing change.

Jomo , December 11, 2016 at 11:02 am

Don't say it's about "energy" 'cause it's about "oil."

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