A number of emails belonging to the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States has revealed that Yousef Al-Otaiba has been collaborating with a pro-Israel think tank against Iran, a report says.
The Intercept published a report on Saturday, suggesting that the emails, sent by hackers to several US media outlets this week, were clearly indicative of close relations between the UAE and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a pro-Israel, neoconservative think tank also known for its influence on the administration of US President Donald Trump.
The emails, the authenticity of which has been confirmed by major news outlets, were first leaked by hackers who referred to themselves as GlobalLeaks. They show that the UAE envoy has established a growing correspondence with the FDD to find ways of hampering Iran’s ability to engage in business activities with major companies around the world.
In an email dated March 10, 2017, FDD chief Mark Dubowitz sent a “Target list of companies investing in Iran, UAE and Saudi Arabia” so that the ambassador could use the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s influence on those companies, which includes France’s Airbus and Russia’s Lukoil, to stop them from doing business with Iran. Also attached to the email is a memorandum that includes a lengthy list of “Non-U.S. businesses with operations in Saudi Arabia or UAE that are looking to invest in Iran.”
The correspondence between Otaiba and the FDD covers a range of other topics related to Iran, including how the UAE and Saudi Arabia could pressure President Trump to adopt its more hawkish line on Iran, or what policies the two Arab countries could adopt to impact the internal affairs of Iran.
The FDD belongs to Sheldon Adelson, one of the largest political donors in the United States and a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hacked emails show how deep the think tank and the regime in Israel have been cooperating with a Persian Gulf monarchy.
The Israeli regime and the UAE have no diplomatic relations. The United Arab Emirates does not recognize Israel and has, like many other Arab and Muslim countries, called on the regime to withdraw from the Palestinian territories it occupied in the 1967 War.
However, backchannel cooperation has increased between the two sides over the past year as the situation in the Middle East has changed dramatically.