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US intelligence report claims UAE 'meddled in American politics'

Three anonymous sources told the Washington Post that the UAE exploited vulnerabilities in the US political system
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) participate in a bilateral meeting at the State Department in Washington, 13 October 2021 (AFP)

US intelligence officials have reportedly claimed that the United Arab Emirates attempted to manipulate the American political system, despite being a close political ally.

Three unnamed sources told the Washington Post that the National Intelligence Council compiled a document and briefed senior US policymakers on how the UAE had attempted to influence American foreign policy towards the Gulf state.

The National Intelligence Council compiled the intelligence report to guide US policymakers in their decision-making regarding the Middle East and the UAE.

But a report of this kind is uncommon as it focuses on how a close ally is attempting to influence the US political system.

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The three individuals who wished to remain anonymous told the Post that the UAE exploited vulnerabilities within the US governance system to ensure American foreign policy was favourable to the Emiratis.

The vulnerabilities the Post's sources mentioned include using influential lobbying firms and lax enforcement of disclosure laws designed to stop the interference of foreign governments.

Middle East Eye could not independently verify the claims made by the three individual sources in the Post's report.

US Justice Department records show that since 2016 the UAE has spent more than $154m on lobbyists.

Since 2012, Abu Dhabi has been the third-biggest buyer of US weapons, with the UAE's armed forces fighting alongside US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Abu Dhabi has also spent hundreds of millions of dollars on donations to American universities and think tanks, many of whom have produced policy papers favourable to the UAE.

The UAE's ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, told the Post that he was "proud of the UAE's influence and good standing in the US".

"It has been hard earned and well deserved. It is the product of decades of close UAE-US cooperation and effective diplomacy. It reflects common interests and shared values," Otaiba said in a statement.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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