Lobbying Powerplay: UAE's Path to Shaping Policy and Perception

Lobbying Powerplay: UAE’s Path to Shaping Policy and Perception

The United Arab Emirates is employing multifaceted lobbying tactics to assert influence and reputation that military interventions have failed to secure. This approach includes inter-governmental lobbying conducted through embassies in London and Washington, utilizing both legal and illicit means. In the United States, covert activities are pursued to circumvent the regulations of lobbying acts. Meanwhile, in Britain, lobbying initiatives extend to the monarchy level, often coinciding with the travels of the Emirati ruling family members to the UK and the US.

Diverse Lobbying Dimensions

The UAE’s lobbying pursuits encompass diverse aspects, involving financial contributions to think tanks, academic institutions, and consultancy firms. This acceleration in lobbying efforts aims to curtail the influences of regional counterparts like Turkey, Qatar, and Iran. The UAE seeks international backing for its engagements in Yemen and Libya, often leveraging media manipulation as a tool for information dissemination to its advantage.

UAE’s Lobbying Endeavors in the US and Britain

Despite the existence of legislative regulations such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), gauging the exact magnitude of the funds dedicated to lobbying remains complex. The UAE’s lobbying initiatives in the US comprise meetings with Congressional members and engagements with journalists. However, a lack of adherence to transparency principles in certain companies collaborating with the UAE raises concerns. Notable among these entities are Harbour Group, the Harper Group, the Camstoll Group, and others. Similar lobbying efforts extend to Britain, where academic institutions and think tanks are targeted. For instance, the University of Exeter’s Arab and Islamic Studies Program and Chatham House have received UAE funding.

Lobbying Against Turkey: FETO and More

The UAE’s lobbying actions extend to supporting anti-Turkish organizations and seeking consultancy from former bureaucrats. The UAE’s cooperation with platforms associated with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETO), including funding through individuals like Mohammed Dahlan, underscores its involvement in anti-Turkish lobbying. Notably, UAE officials approached key figures to advocate sanctions against Turkey, reflecting its lobbying endeavors in response to Operation Peace Spring.

Role of Media and FDD

The UAE leverages media outlets as instruments for its anti-Turkish lobbying agenda. Notable platforms include Ahval, which receives UAE support through the Arab Weekly. This engagement is evident in interviews with YPG/PYD-PKK leaders. Collaboration with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and its pro-Israel stance has raised concerns over the UAE’s role in shaping anti-Turkish perspectives.

Challenges and Consequences

The UAE’s lobbying tactics and the illicit expenditure of funds to wield influence have garnered attention and discomfort, especially in the US and Britain. Issues such as the UAE’s involvement in Yemen and human rights concerns have triggered apprehension. The UAE’s advocacy for the removal of arms trade restrictions in Europe and its efforts to overcome consequences from its interventions underscore the challenges it faces in maintaining a coherent policy while pursuing short-term objectives.

The UAE’s extensive lobbying strategies encompass a range of activities aimed at enhancing its global influence and safeguarding its interests. These multifaceted efforts showcase the complexity and nuances inherent in the UAE’s engagement with international actors and its concerted attempt to shape both policies and perceptions.

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