Friday, August 18, 2017

ما وراء الخبر-هل تضع السعودية حدا للدور الإماراتي بعدن؟

DNA - 18/08/2017 زيارة سورياز.رسمية ولو طارت

الوساطة العراقية


'F**in' coo coo': UAE envoy mocks Saudi leadership in leaked email

Yousef Otaiba ridicules Gulf ally in email exchange, betraying years of frustration at Riyadh old guard that coalesced into efforts to change it

The UAE's ambassador to Washington described Saudi Arabia's leadership as "f***in' coo coo!", in one of a series of leaked emails that suggest years of Emirati frustration with Riyadh's old regime that has coalesced into a clear strategy to usurp it by bolstering the rise of the young Mohammed bin Salman.
The messages, obtained by Middle East Eye through the GlobalLeaks hacking group, show Otaiba mocking Saudi Arabia to his Egyptian wife, Abeer Shoukry, over the Saudi religious police's 2008 decision to ban red roses on Valentine's Day.
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In another email Yousef Otaiba wrote that Abu Dhabi has warred for 200 years with the Saudis over Wahhabism and that the Emiratis had more "bad history" with Saudi Arabia than anyone else. In a third, he revealed that now was the time when the Emiratis could get "the most results we can ever get out of Saudi".
But the bulk of the exchanges add up to more than casual reflections and snipes by an Emirati ambassador.
They betray a clear plan by Abu Dhabi to paint Saudi Arabia as a dysfunctional, religiously conservative backwater whose best hope for reform was Mohammed bin Salman, the newly appointed crown prince.
Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, regards himself as MBS's mentor and the two have been known to hold up to three meetings a month, a source told MEE.
Cometh the hour
Otaiba is clear in his emails that the arrival of the 31-year-old MBS as crown prince earlier this year was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Emiratis to stamp their mark on their much larger neighbour. This is also corroborated by informed sources who spoke to MEE on condition of anonymity.
And the mosaic painted by Otaiba's leaked emails and multiple MEE sources confirm that the Emirati ambassador has performed the lead role in selling the 31-year-old Saudi prince to a sceptical Washington audience, while the Saudi embassy was almost totally passive.
Saudi ministers were cut out of the loop when MBS and his brother Khaled flew for a secret meeting to see Donald Trump at his Bedminster golf club just weeks before the US president's visit to Riyadh, MEE can reveal.
Local press speculated that Trump had spent the weekend merely indulging in golf. The venue was most probably chosen as a secret meeting site for his Saudi guests as the private estate shields journalists and their cameras from view, unlike Trump Tower or Mar-a-Lago.
While there, MBS and Khaled hashed out and agreed upon the pageantry that was to come for the star-studded Riyadh visit by Trump.
These high-level contacts, which Otaiba helped nurture, would no doubt cause him great satisfaction. On 21 May this year, Otaiba wrote to the influential New York Times columnist Tom Friedman: "Abu Dhabi fought 200 years of wars with Saudi over Wahhabism. We have more bad history with Saudi than anyone.
"But with MBS we see a genuine change. And that's why we're excited. We finally see hope there and we need it to succeed."
Mohammed bin Salman with military chiefs. Otaiba described him as a force for 'genuine change' (AFP)
In an exchange with Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress, Otaiba said: "MBS reminds (sic) of a younger, and yes, slightly less experienced MBZ."
A month earlier Otaiba wrote to Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel: "I don't think we'll ever see a more pragmatic leader in that country. Which is why engaging with them is so important and will yield the most results we can ever get out of Saudi."
In other emails Otaiba championed bin Salman as a reformer "on a mission to make the Saudi government more efficient" a man who "thinks like a private sector guy".
Otaiba wrote to Steven Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations: "Finally, just my humble observation. MBS is a reformer. He believes in very much what we in the UAE believe in. Empowering young people, making govt accountable. He is a result oriented person. 
MBS is a reformer. He believes in very much what we in the UAE believe in
- Yousef Otaiba, UAE ambassador
"And he has no time for incompetence. What's driving is the desire to get things done and to get things fixed. Not a palace coup or power play." 

Sowing the seeds of doubt

But Otaiba played politics inside the House of Saud itself. He was all too aware that the young prince faced overcoming his elder cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef.
Bin Nayef enjoyed a reputation in the US as a safe pair of hands on counter-terrorism - and so the Emirati envoy set about sowing the seeds of doubt.
More than a year before bin Nayef was sacked in June as crown prince, over an addiction to painkillers which they allege clouded his judgment, Otaiba started an influence campaign in Washington, running rumours about MBN's mental state.
In an email exchange on 14 December 2015 with David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and commander of coalition forces in Iraq, asks Otaiba whether MBN still wielded influence.
Otaiba replies: "MBS is definitely more active on most day to day issues. MBN seems a little off his game lately."
MBN seems a little off his game lately
- Yousef Otaiba, UAE ambassador 
Petraeus pushes back: "Need him in it too. MOI (bin Nayef's interior ministry) important to the kingdom. Needs to forge a pact with the younger member. Will encourage when there."
Otaiba writes back: "Agreed. This is a unique case where the success of Saudi Arabia depends on the success of MBZ and MBN working together. I think the bilateral relationship between them is much stronger than people here seem to believe.
"But I also think MBN's level of self confidence is not where it used to be."
Six months later, Otaiba wrote to Steven Cook that he would be "very surprised" if MBS tried to leapfrog MBN, but added: "I met MBN recently and to put it lightly, he was not impressive, much less lucid."
The role that Otaiba played as fixer for bin Salman is also shown in an exchange he had with Robert Malley, then senior director at the National Security Council, who asked for a meeting for a minister close to the prince.
In another exchange, a State Department official asks Otaiba to broker a meeting between MBS and Brett McGurk, then special envoy for the global coalition to counter Islamic State, and Malley.
Abdullah's demise sparked a battle for power inside the royal court (AFP)

Lightning strikes

The effect of this PR effort on MBS's career has been startling. In January 2015, he and his father Salman were a hair's breadth from losing the Saudi throne.
King Abdullah was in a coma in the hospital of the Saudi National Guard, which is run by his son Prince Meteb, for at least 10 days before his death. His real condition was kept a closely guarded secret. It was known to only two people in the Royal Court, his son Meteb and the head of the royal court, Khaled al-Tuwaijri.
MEE sources with direct knowledge of the events say that Tuwaijri and Meteb planned to forge Abdullah's signature on a decree removing the then crown prince, Salman, from the line of succession by claiming he was unfit for office. His dementia was evident in January 2015.
Had this decree been published, Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz, the then deputy crown prince, would have been promoted to crown prince and Prince Meteb would have become his deputy. It had been Abdullah's intention to install Muqrin as king, who was one of the few surviving brothers before the next generation of rulers could be selected.
For Salman and his ambitious son Mohammed, speed was of the essence. They made an unannounced visit to the hospital and demanded to see the king. They were met by Tuwaijri who attempted to turn them away, by telling them the king had been awake earlier but that he was now sedated and needed rest.
The pair persisted and unknown to Tuwaijri confronted one of the doctors. The startled physician admitted to them the king had, in fact, been in a coma for a number of days and that the prognosis was not good.
Bin Salman then charged down the corridor of the hospital to confront Tuwaijri. A crack was heard as he forcefully slapped Tuwaijri, sources told MEE.  
A stunned Tuwaijri was told that once his father was king, he would be history. As soon as the secret of the king's condition was known, the plan to forge a royal decree was dropped.
Once king, Salman used Tuwaijri's plan against the clan in the royal family who had just lost out. Tuwaijri was fired, Muqrin was removed as crown prince within a couple of months and bin Nayef was moved into his old position.
When the time came to dispose of bin Nayef and promote his own son bin Salman, the king used the same formula of accusing bin Nayef of mental incapacity.
This was not the first reported case when the young prince used, or threatened, physical violence. Years earlier when his father wanted a plot of land re-zoned and a judge refused, the prince went to visit him. He placed a bullet on his desk and told the judge: "Either you sign the paper, or I will put that bullet through your head."
Trump's first visit abroad as president culminated in this image in Saudi Arabia (screengrab)

Introduction to Trump

Before bin Salman could complete his rise to power and take over his elder cousin's role, he had to have Trump's backing.
On 13 March this year, there was an unusually harsh snowstorm in Washington, which prevented the arrival of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who was scheduled to start her state visit the next day.
Bin Salman, Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, and the Saudi delegation were already in town and scheduled to meet with Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon on 16 March.
Otaiba spotted the opportunity. He suggested that the White House take advantage of the opening in the president's schedule to get to know the young prince.
The meeting and lunch was hailed as a success although Trump told staffers he had been "grossed out" by sitting across the table from Saudis who have "cut off more heads than IS".
A few months later Trump's first visit was announced, although he was initially reluctant, and had to be talked into it. The Emiratis were the prime mover for the trip, and behind the idea to bring the leaders of all Arab states to attend, sources told MEE.
First bin Salman and his younger brother Khaled had to do business with Trump.
On Saturday 6 May, Trump tweeted that he was staying at his home in Bedminster, New Jersey.
"The reason I am staying in Bedminster, NJ, a beautiful community, is that staying in NYC is much more expensive and disruptive. Meetings!" Trump tweeted.
Trump was trying to allay criticism over how he had spent eight of this first 16 weekends away from Washington.
MEE can reveal bin Salman and his brother Khaled, now US ambassador, joined Trump in New Jersey at the time. No Saudi minister knew about it. They flew to Bedminster where a $40bn investment in US infrastructure was first mooted, along with an arms deal worth up to $500bn.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

ما وراء الخبر-مسؤولية التحالف العربي عن مقتل الأطفال باليمن

DNA - 17/08/2017 إيران تتنازل عن الانتصار النووي

UAE 'pumps millions of aid into Gaza' in bid to boost Dahlan

UAE has reportedly agreed to plough $15m a month into enclave, as it seeks more influence for Mohammed Dahlan


The UAE is to provide $15m a month in aid to Gaza, a Palestinian politician said on Thursday, in the latest report of the Gulf country and its ally Mohammed Dahlan seeking greater influence in the enclave.
Samir al-Mashharawi, an ally of Dahlan, said the money would be used to "alleviate the suffering" of people in the Gaza Strip, which has been subject to Israeli blockade for the 10 years it has been ruled by Hamas.
Dahlan has been based in exile in the UAE since being expelled from the Fatah movement by current Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. He has been improving relations with Hamas to the chagrin of the West Bank-based Abbas.
"Fifteen million dollars will be pumped monthly from the beginning of next month to the Palestinian Joint Liability Committee in support of relief, humanitarian and development projects in the Gaza Strip to alleviate their suffering," said Mashharawi.
The committee was established in the wake of agreements made between Dahlan and Hamas in early July in Cairo.
Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by the US, EUand Israel, could benefit from increased international legitimacy if it were to formally share control with Dahlan.
On Friday, Hamas leaders and Dahlan allies again met in Cairo to discuss easing the blockade of Gaza with Egyptian officials.
The Rafah crossing from Egypt has been largely closed in recent years due to disputes between Hamas and Cairo.
Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza for a decade.
Seeing his two longtime adversaries moving closer, Abbas has sought to weaken Hamas - reducing electricity funding for the strip and cutting salaries of state employees there.

Stephen Colbert Says There’s Just 1 Thing He’s Sure Of When It Comes To Donald Trump

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

عودة إلى ما قاله فورد

عودة إلى ما قاله فورد


سلامة كيلة


لم أستطع ألا أعلق على تصريح السفير الأميركي السابق في دمشق، روبرت فورد، في مقابلة صحيفة الشرق الأوسط معه، والتي يصل بها إلى ما نشر اليأس بين السوريين، حين قال ببقاء بشار الأسد. هذه هي النتيجة التي أراد أن يوصلها، عن قصد، كما أراد أن يوصل رسائل مهمة حين ذهب، في عزّ توسع الثورة السورية إلى حماة برفقة السفير الفرنسي.
بقاء الأسد مستحيل في كل الأحوال، وهذا ما يطيل الصراع، حيث لم تستطعروسيا، بكل جبروتها، أن توصل مقاومي النظام الذين صنعوا ثورة عظيمة إلى هذه النتيجة. وسيبقي بقاء الأسد الصراع قائماً، ولن يفيد هنا كل جبروت قوة روسيا، واستخدامها أحدث الأسلحة. بالتالي، ربما أن فورد يكمل ما بدأه حين زار حماة، أي التشويش على الثورة، ودفع الشعب السوري إلى حالة اليأس.

ما استرعى الانتباه في تصريح فورد قوله إن زيارته حماة جرى تفسيرها خطأً، حيث فُسّرت دعماً للثورة، وبالتالي استخدمها النظام لتشويه الثورة، ودليلاً على أنها مدعومة أميركياً. ومن جهة أخرى، فهمها من "الثوار" المعارضة دعماً أميركياً لهم، وهذا ما أطلق الأوهام حول "الدعم الأميركي". ويحاول فورد في تصريحه أن يقول إنه تصرّف كأنه ساذج، ومن تلقاء ذاته، أي من دون طلب من الإدارة في واشنطن. وبالتالي، كان الأمر "مصادفة"، لكنه فُهم خطأ من الطرفين: النظام والمعارضة. ولا شك أن في هذا الحديث عن السذاجة سذاجة، حيث لا يقوم سفير أميركي بخطوة من هذا القبيل بشكل عشوائي، وبلا قرار من الإدارة في واشنطن، ومن ثم بلا هدف تريده هذه الإدارة.

بالتالي، يمكن القول إن تصريح فورد يوضّح اللعب الأميركي منذ بدء الثورة السورية. هكذا بالضبط. وهو اللعب الذي لا يزال قائماً، فما أشار إليه السفير السابق لم يكن نتاج خطأ في الفهم، ولا نتيجة سذاجة، بل كانت الإدارة الأميركية تهدف إلى أن يُفهم موقفها على الشكل الذي أورده. أي أن يستغلّ النظام الأمر من أجل تشويه الثورة، وإلصاقها بـ "المؤامرة الأميركية"، ويكون لديه مستمسك واضح هو "دعم أميركا الثورة"، حيث زار السفير الأميركي الشعب الثائر و"دعمه". وأميركا تريد ذلك، بالضبط لأنها تريد تشويه الثورة، وتقديم المبرّرات للنظام لكي يسحقها، حتى وإنْ كانت التهمة هي الدعم الأميركي لها. فقد أرعبها توسّع الثورة من تونس إلى مصر واليمن والبحرين وليبيا وبلدان أخرى كان يمكن أن يتطور الحراك فيها، وكانت تحتاج من يسحقها، بعد أن فشلت مناورتها في تونس ومصر، حتى عملت على تحقيق تغيير سريع لكي تنطفئ.
بهذا كانت أميركا تقدِّم للنظام السوري ورقة مهمة، يمكن أن يستغلها ضد الثورة. تمثلت المسألة الأخرى في دفع المعارضة وراء أوهامٍ تجعلها تزيد في تخريب الثورة، حيث تعمل انطلاقاً من أنها تُدعم من أميركا، وتتصرّف على هذا الأساس، وتلقي التصريحات، وتزيد في المطالبات، بما يعزّز اتهام النظام لها بأنها "عميلة" لأميركا. وهذا فعلاً ما حدث، والمعارضة تعلي الصوت داعيةً أميركا إلى التدخل العسكري، ومراهنة على دورها بدل المراهنة على الشعب، وفهم أن الارتباط بأميركا يعني حصولها على رفض شعبي، وتخويف فئاتٍ شعبيةٍ هي مع الثورة.

للأسف، نجحت أميركا في "خطتها"، واستطاعت أن تقدِّم للنظام ورقة مهمة ضد ثورة الشعب السوري، سواء بإظهار أنها مع الثورة، أو في إظهار تبعية المعارضة لها، فقد كانت تريد أن تسحق الثورة، لا أن تنتصر هذه الثورة، وكانت عبر، ما فعل سفيرها، تحرّض من أجل أن تتأكد مصداقية النظام في اعتبار الثورة "مؤامرة". .. ونجحت نتيجة غباء المعارضة التي صدَّقت أن أميركا يمكن أن تكون مع الثورة.

الحصاد- السعودية.. جدل الوساطة مع إيران

"ما وراء الخبر"-ماذا تحمل زيارة رئيس الأركان الإيراني لأنقرة؟

The Guardian view on Donald Trump: beyond the moral pale

The US president has gone even further than before in condoning the racist right. He must pay the price, at home and abroad



In his angry and undignified press conference on Tuesday night, Donald Trump deliberately and shockingly crossed the line that separates the acceptable and the unacceptable in the conduct of an elected democratic leader in a multiracial society. Mr Trump must now face the consequences of this momentous and inexcusable decision. Those consequences should include the way that the leaders of multiracial European nations, including Britain, conduct their dealings with the US president from this moment on.
On Saturday, Mr Trump had already equivocated between America’s white racists and its anti-racists, after clashes in Charlottesville in which an anti-racist protester was killed by a car driven by a neo-Nazi activist. Mr Trump’s evasions drew widespread and instant condemnation, not least from within his own party. On Monday, he then read out a statement, clearly written by others, that sought to repair the damage. But the very next day, speaking with his own voice, he trashed his own retraction.
Mr Trump not only reasserted his view that the white supremacists and their opponents in the Charlottesville clashes were morally equivalent. He went further. He said that there were good people on both sides, thus implicitly lending at least partial presidential approval to a far-right rally in which swastikas were displayed, Nazi salutes made and antisemitic chants shouted. He also went out of his way to side with the supremacists against the removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee – the ostensible cause of last weekend’s clashes – suggesting this could presage similar action against memorials to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson since both were slave-owners. Mr Trump’s petulant and narcissistic demeanour made it clear that he is more outraged by criticism and with the American press than he is with his country’s racists and its neo-Nazis. He clearly cannot help himself. But that is no excuse.
This is therefore a moment at which America and the world need to display the moral clarity of which the US president is so embarrassingly incapable. There are not “many sides” to the arguments that came to the boil in Charlottesville and since. There is a right side and a wrong side. Racism, antisemitism, white supremacism and Nazism, new or old, are wrong. A leader who cannot bring himself to say this clearly and unequivocally is not just clueless. He also forfeits his claim to moral authority and much of his right to be respected as leader. Yet that is where Mr Trump has put himself.
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
 How Donald Trump emboldened the US far right
The question facing America in the wake of these events is how to get through to 2020 with its values, institutions and social decencies intact. America has plenty of resources to show that it is a better country than Mr Trump makes it appear. It will surely succeed. The most important test is for moderate Republicans. They must find the right way to turn away from Mr Trump before the next election. If they do not, they will lose, and they will deserve to lose.
There are some signs that moderate and independent Republicans grasp this. The two former Presidents Bushissued a strong statement against racial bigotry, antisemitism and hatred on Wednesday. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell did the same, stating “there are no good neo-Nazis”. House speaker Paul Ryan retweeted Mr McConnell’s remarks, and issued one of his own which said there can be no moral ambiguity about “repulsive” white supremacism and bigotry. Many other important Republicans made similar statements. Very few of them, however, called out Mr Trump by name. With all members of the house facing election in 15 months’ time – and a small cluster of off-year contests in November this year – Republicans will face many more demanding tests of their resolve well before 2020.
But Mr Trump’s behaviour poses questions for multiracial European nations as well. Politicians on this side of the Atlantic must show moral clarity themselves. British leaders responded well to Mr Trump’s remarks. Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable led the way on Wednesday. Others swelled the chorus, not least the communities secretary Sajid Javid with a “Neo-Nazis: bad. Anti-Nazis: good” tweet. Words, though, are not enough. Mr Trump is still US president, so governments must deal with him. But there is no place for special courtesies now. Mrs May was wrong to offer Mr Trump a state visit. This country does not want it. The Queen does not need it. It must not go ahead. We will all be better off without it, and Mrs May should now say so.

DNA - 16/08/2017 كتلة الوفاء لبشار الأسد

EXCLUSIVE: UAE sought Gaza war assessment from 'father' of Israel's Iron Dome system

Leaked emails show Yousef Otaiba contacted Uzi Rubin via top pro-Israel analyst, in latest evidence of growing ties between UAE and Israel


The UAE's top diplomat in America sought a battle damage assessment of Israel's 2012 eight-day war on Gaza from the "father" of Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system, according to leaked emails obtained by Middle East Eye.
Yousef Otaiba was introduced to Uzi Rubin by a senior pro-Israel analyst in Washington, although it was unclear if the two ever met. But the emails, obtained by the GlobalLeaks hacking group, show growing military and diplomatic ties between the Gulf kingdom and Israel.
Robert Satloff, the executive director of a Washington-based pro-Israel think-tank, wrote to Yousef Otaiba on 19 December 2012 to suggest a meeting with Uzi Rubin, a former Israeli brigadier general who led the Israel government's missile defence organisation. Within three days, Rubin and Otaiba were emailing directly.
The exchange came a month after Israel's Operation Pillar of Defence against targets in Gaza, which according to UN figures killed 174 Palestinians, 107 of them civilians including 33 children. There were six Israelis casualties, two of whom were soldiers.
I would be interested in hearing how it did in Gaza recently
- Yousef Otaiba, UAE ambassador
Rubin visited Washington to praise the success of Israel's Iron Dome system in defending against missiles fired from Gaza during the eight-day war. He told a forum of guests: "In strategic terms, the recent conflict was largely a 'push-button' war."  
Satloff, who hosted Rubin, wrote afterwards to Otaiba: "You were on my mind yesterday when I heard a compelling presentation by the father of Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, Uzi Rubin. 
"He closed his presentation with comments about the applicability of the system to Gulf states facing Iranian missiles. I assume your side has heard from him and his colleagues directly; if that's not the case, I can certainly set something up."  
Otaiba replied "I have not met with Uzi. I would be interested in hearing how it did in Gaza recently. I read the press commentary on its performance but would be interested to hear more specifically."  

'Let me know when you're in DC'

Satloff then sought permission to introduce Rubin to enable a future meeting, to which Otaiba agreed. The communications appeared to quickly pay off - in an email direct to Rubin on 22 December, 2012, Otaiba said: "Let me know when you're next in DC." 
Rubin replied that he had already returned home, and signed off: "Perhaps next time. Regards - Uzi."
Satloff did not deny his email exchange with Otaiba. In an email to the MEE, he said: "I do not know if the people in question ever met but I do not believe the specific meeting to which you refer ever happened.  
"And by the way, I don't 'broker' meetings. The Washington Institute, like other research organisations/think-tanks, regularly arranges meetings... that bring together all sorts of people, from all range of governments and backgrounds, in a wide variety of formats."
The contacts between Otaiba and Rubin are among a number of conversations captured between the diplomat and Satloff, who has long served the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a spinoff of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) pressure group whose analysts and scholars are almost exclusively pro-Israel. 
Satloff opened his note by thanking the UAE ambassador for "the generous new year's gift", without specifying what he had been given.
In his reply to MEE, Satloff said he did not recall what the gift was. He stated his institute's policy states staff can accept personal gifts from foreign governments worth less than $20.
Israel has trumpeted the Iron Dome system's effectiveness against rockets from Gaza (AFP)

Dinner with the ambassador

Satloff solicited Otaiba in February 2012 for an exclusive dinner, that he can feel free to pay for: "This is a bit presumptuous but would consider hosting our most important lay leaders - our board of directors - for dinner at your home? They (about 15 or so) will be in town for a meeting... on the evening of Tuesday, 6 March."  
Sensing opportunity, Otaiba replied: "That's a great idea. Happy to host such a powerful group on such a critical topic. My only request is we keep it off the record and discreet."  
WINEP's board includes such figures as Peter Lowy, the executive director of Westfield and son of Australian billionaire and right-wing Israel supporter Frank Lowy
It also includes its founder, Barbi Weinberg, a former AIPAC vice president. Weinberg, along with AIPAC's then-deputy director of research Martin Indyk, helped create WINEP as a separate entity in the 1980s to offer distance for their pro-Israeli policy ideas, a recognition of the "image problem" encountered by authoring US policy ideas on AIPAC letterhead. 
After the March 2012 dinner, Satloff wrote to Otaiba to inform him "you earned a houseful of friends last night", and heaped praise on the UAE ambassador for his "striking candour" with WINEP's board, "opening" their "eyes to the real anxiety UAE has re: Iran".  
Otaiba assured Satloff: "I truly enjoyed the conversation. My main message was the alignment of Israel and many of the Arab countries when it comes to Iran." 
Satloff would not disclose who attended the dinner, but told MEE such events with a "broad range of US and foreign officials" are a "regular occurrence" and that to "suggest or imply otherwise underscores the conspiratorial, rather than newsworthy tenor of your inquiry".  
Yousef Otaiba, the UAE's man in Washington (AFP)

High-level interactions

Satloff would continue to seek more engagements with his Emirati friend. Since 1996 WINEP has hosted a range of Israeli military and intelligence officers as visiting fellows in its Washington offices, partly to influence Washington's debate on matters including Palestine and Iran.  
Satloff asked Otaiba to consider allowing UAE officials to work at WINEP as visiting fellows, a sign of how closely regarded the Gulf country has become in the eyes of America's hawkish pro-Israel community.
Otaiba had earlier promised Satloff to "look into this one and see how our military folks respond".
In his reply to MEE, Satloff said he had made similar approaches to various governments, hosting Israeli, Jordanian and Turkish officers, and that WINEP had hosted a diplomat from the French foreign ministry as well as US diplomats and other government officials. He added: “Regrettably, we have not yet had the opportunity to host an Emirati officer.”
Otaiba later proposed to help WINEP "find some Emirati and perhaps non-Emirati speakers to discuss MB and radicalisation in the region", referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose affiliates have won popular elections in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Kuwait and which the UAE and Israel together demonise as threats.  
We have never solicited or accepted any donation from any UAE source
- Robert Satloff, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Otaiba also wrote Satloff to give WINEP high marks for an article by David Pollock, who wrote a January 2016 piece in "defence of the US-Saudi relationship".  
"I wanted to let you know," wrote Otaiba. "I think the piece [by] David Pollock on Saudi is arguably the best analysis I've seen so far... try to find a way to get it published in a mainstream publication because this piece needs as much exposure as possible!"
By return Satloff lamented trying "all the usual mainstream outlets but were rejected", which he saw as "a sad sign of the times".  
Otaiba, whose Washington connections apparently far exceed think-tanks, then brokered his own offer to help, which Satloff declined: "Not even Politico? I can pull some strings there if needed." 
In his reply to MEE, Satloff wrote: "By longstanding policy, the Washington Institute does not solicit or accept donations from any foreign source - individual, corporation, government or foundation. We rely solely on financial support from American sources. Specifically, we have never solicited or accepted any donation from any UAE source."
Uzi Rubin was in direct contact with Otaiba (screengrab)

UAE and Israel grow closer

The UAE does not have official diplomatic relations with Israel. However, in November 2015, the government of Abu Dhabi allowed Israel to establish a diplomatic office for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), based in the Emirati capital, though Israeli officials stressed it was to be accredited solely to IRENA, an intergovernmental organisation.   
MEE and Haaretz reported in 2015 that a private jet was flying at least twice a week between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi. A 2012 report by the French Intelligence Online website said AGT International had signed a contract worth $800m to provide Abu Dhabi's Critical National Infrastructure Authority with "surveillance cameras, electronic fences and sensors to monitor strategic infrastructure and oil fields".
The corporate intelligence website described AGT's owner Mati Kochavi as "the Israeli businessman most active in Abu Dhabi".
Politically, convergence on policy matters between the UAE and Israel have led to increased interactions, however, as the Emirates, along with Saudi Arabia, each adopt a more aggressive posture against neighbouring Iran, which Israel also considers a top threat.
Open relations with Israel would also provoke outrage among Palestinian factions, many of whom maintain as a "card" that normalisation of diplomatic ties between Israel and 57 Arab and Muslim countries can only occur after Palestinians are allowed to live free in a state of their own.  
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.