Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Profile: Washington Institute for Near East Policy

1- Name of NGO:

Washington Institute for Near East Policy

2- Brief & Mission:

The Emirati lobby has achieved notable influence over U.S. foreign policy. Members of Congress who collaborate with Emirati foreign agents persist in advocating for U.S. military assistance to the UAE. Furthermore, Middle East experts, including some affiliated with think tanks that have received significant donations from the UAE, echo the messaging put forth by the UAE lobby. Notably, one of the think tank experts who received the most contact from UAE foreign agents was Michael Knights from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). Michael Knights is the Jill and Jay Bernstein Fellow at The Washington Institute, specializing in the military and security affairs of Iraq, Iran, and the Gulf states. He is a co-founder of the Militia Spotlight platform, which offers in-depth analysis of developments related to the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.These findings suggest that the think tank in question aligns with and defends the interests of the UAE.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

While the Washington Institute aims to foster an impartial and pragmatic comprehension of American interests in the Middle East and advocate for the policies that safeguard those interests, evidence suggests that the institute, based on its activities, defends and promotes the objectives of the UAE. Further, While it’s commendable of Knights to note on Twitter that he is “not an unbiased observer” because of his experiences with the UAE armed forces,60 the average reader of his work has little way of knowing of his ties to UAE lobbyists or that his work echoes propaganda distributed by UAE’s foreign agents. Knights, however, appears to have an extremely close relationship with Richard Mintz, the Managing Director of the Harbour Group. According to the Harbour Group’s 2018 FARA filings the two spoke or emailed about the UAE at least 18 times. One of the primary topics of these conversations was four separate trips to Yemen Knights made in 2018 to embed with UAE forces there. Knights wrote a series of articles in 2018 and late 2017 surrounding these trips, and summarized his experience following the UAE’s announcement this July that it was withdrawing its forces from Yemen

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

There have been claims asserting that this Institute actively supports and advances the foreign policy objectives of the UAE, given its closely aligned agenda with the policies pursued by the UAE.

5- Sources of Funding:

There have been allegations that NGO regularly receive funds from the UAE.

6- Activities:

On June 14, 2018, Michael Knights authored an article expressing support for the UAE’s efforts to retake the strategic Yemeni port of Hodeidah from the Houthi rebels. In this article, many of Knights’ arguments closely resembled the talking points provided by the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Both Knights and the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs criticized the alleged influx of “Iranian arms” through the port and emphasized the necessity of liberating the port to facilitate humanitarian aid to Yemen. However, conspicuously absent from their narratives was any mention of the United Nations’ and other organizations’ findings that the blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Yemen, including the port of Hodeidah, as well as their military operations in the country, were the primary causes for the urgent need for aid in Yemen.

7- NGO Leadership:

Robert Satloff currently holds the position of Executive Director at a think tank and serves as the Howard P. Berkowitz Chair in U.S. Middle East Policy.

8- Controversy:

Although Knights’ insights offer a unique perspective on UAE operations in Yemen, his analysis consistently presents a one-sided view of the UAE’s involvement, overlooking the serious transgressions committed by the UAE in the region. Despite expressing concern about the negative perceptions surrounding the UAE’s actions in Yemen, Knights never addresses any of these concerns directly. Throughout his writings, he fails to acknowledge critical aspects such as the UAE’s funding of a targeted assassination program in Yemen, the existence of secret prisons where prisoners were subjected to torture, or the instances in which UAE forces have supplied US weapons to al-Qaeda militants in Yemen.

9- Contact Details:

  • Website:https://www.washingtoninstitute.org
  • Address:USA
  • Email:press@washingtoninstute.org

10- Classification/Blacklist:

The institution has been labeled as blacklisted because of its associations with UAE government.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) Previous post Profile: The Center for American Progress (CAP)
European Center for Geopolitical Analysis Next post Profile: European Center for Geopolitical Analysis