Did an Emirates-Israel alliance Help elect Trump more than Russia?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

One of the surprises thrown up by the Gulf crisis and by the Mueller investigation is how entangled the United Arab Emirates is with Israel, and how the lobbies of the two states in Washington powerfully shape American policy. While the Israel lobbies have received scholarly attention from John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt and Kirk Beattie, the Emirates lobby has remained in the shadows until recently.

The NYT reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into the Emirates’ role in the 2016 campaign. He has spoken to George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman and adviser to Abu Dahbi crown prince and deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, Muhammad Bin Zayed.

Nader has visited the White House many times in the past year and met with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and with extreme white nationalist and former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

One question is whether the prospect of money from the Emirates, in the form of investments in Kushner’s business for instance, affected US policy toward the June 5 Gulf crisis, in which Saudi Arabia and the UAE attempted to mount a hostile takeover of Qatar. Trump and Kushner strongly backed it initially, but were gradually beaten back by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, both of whom had their own professional interests in Qatar and who opposed a break-up of the Gulf Cooperation Council that had grouped the three countries with Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, often in opposition to Iran.

Another question, however, is the possible UAE role in the 2016 Trump campaign itself, a role which, if it existed, would be illegal. The UAE has been accused of hiring hackers to defame Qatar, and could have directed their energies in favor of Trump. I have no evidence of such an intervention, I underline, and am only speculating because Mueller seems to be investigating in this regard.

Also on Mueller’s radar according to the NYT and Israel’s i24News is Elliot Broidy, a Jewish-American businessman with vast UAE investments as well as investments in Israel, who is a strong backer of far right wing Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The UAE is a small country on the Gulf, with a citizen population of only about 1.5 million and 8 million guest workers, many of whom are cycled out of the country regularly and replaced by others. The citizen population is thus smaller than Houston, but as an oil giant the country punches far above its weight in world affairs. Still, there is no intrinsic reason for it to be more powerful than say the Netherlands (one of the biggest investors in the US economy with twice the GDP of the Emirates). Rather, it may be showing up in Mueller’s investigation because it is engaging in particularly corrupt practices.


Bonus video:

PBS NewsHour: “Jared Kushner dealings raise new questions about conflicts of interest”

13 Responses

  1. “Wow” now there’s someone else being blamed for the election of Trump. Surely those who think Trump got elected as a result of outside manipulation of the election, should be investigating the ordinary ‘Jo’ voters who exercised their democratic right to vote for Trump at the ballot box, because in reality, it was they who put Trump in office and no one else.

    • Ordinary Joe’s actions, i.e. voting, weren’t illegal.
      Whether or not something was effective, or in fact tipped an election one way or another, is a separate matter.
      The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether or not laws were broken.

    • What democratic right Kim? What about millions of people living in “blue states” whose vote didn’t really count due to the electoral college rules? And for the same reason, and the role money plays in our politics – one dollar, one vote – having a viable third party system is unimaginable . US is not a democracy in the sense of majority rule because of the way senators are elected and because of existence of electoral college. And in reality the situation is worse, as professor Cole is showing here; money and power plays and outsize role in elections. Poor US voters’ only influence is to choose between two representatives of two corporate parties to rule them for the next four years in two minutes time spent in an election booth. No wonder we can never hit more than 60% of eligible voters voting in any election. People know, they have very little power in national scene. They may fare a little better in local politics however even there candidates must belong to one of the parties if they have any chance to be elected.

    • Maybe we should investigate the ordinary Jo (sic) voters. Maybe they used their democratic right to end democracy like the voters of Weimar Germany because they’re a bunch of racist thugs.

      But then what do we do with that? Who gets to say what America is? Do we fight another civil war over that power? And while the voters of Germany got punished quite thoroughly for their hubris, who will do the same to America without nuclear weapons getting involved?

  2. The fact that Israel is now best buddies with Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, is very interesting. It was the UAE that organized that secretive meeting in the Seychelles:
    “The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.

    The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would likely require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.”

    The Palestinians have been thrown under the bus by their own.

    It is unbelievable that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have joined the zionists, in their efforts to bring the Qatari leadership down. Either that or Kushner is still sore that he did not get that gigantic investment from the Qatari’s.

    Shame on the UAE.

  3. It’s funny how American can dish it out, but they can’t take it! I still have images of them spiriting a wildly popular Aristide out of Haiti after his electoral victory!

  4. If anyone thinks ONLY the last Presidential election was rigged…you’ve NEVER paid attention.

  5. Do you really think Trump won on his own merits?

    Yes, it was the decisions of ordinary voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan who put the most unfit, unqualified, unintelligent man in that most important office. However, these decisions were influenced by millions of facebook postings based on completely false propaganda launched by both Americans and foreigners, by Major TV networks that gave Trump about 80% of their total TV “news” time starting in the primaries, and who always mentioned “emails” when they mentioned “Hillary,” and whose star reporters have still to this day never been able to look Trump in the face and say, “With all due respect, Mr. Trump, you are proven liar and con-man. Why should we believe anything you say?”

    And then there is the role of voting restrictions passed by Republican legislatures, especially in Wisconsin, and Black voters in Detroit who may have been influenced by Russian bots pretending to be black-issue activists urging not voting or third-party votes, and plain ordinary American wannabe ultra-leftists who chose, again possibly urged by Russian bots, to continued to advocate for Bernie after the convention.

    So yeah, perhaps a lot of the “manipulation” of this election may have had domestic Republican (and uninformed leftist)roots, but Mueller is developing plenty of hard evidence of foreign manipulation too (and it may have been going on for several elections, even if the “proper” candidate won, with the Republican’s insistence on allowing “dark money” in elections.) Mueller is doing the most important investigation, everyone else involved needs to examine their own actions and their own consciences, in helping bring America to today’s sad position.

    • So opposing Trump with the most flawed candidate possible had nothing to do with the outcome? Here’s a great idea, let’s run her again in 2020 and “hope” for a different outcome. Blame for the Trump presidency lies with all of us for nominating two horrible candidates as our choices. Let’s all set the bar a little higher next time.

  6. The Russians , FBI , UAE, and God only knows who else may have had some influence on easily influenced voters at the margins, but the main reason the Dems lost was Hillary. From the very beginning of the campaign she had the lowest approval ratings of any candidate in modern times (except for Trump) and the more she campaigned (mostly at big money soirées in the Hamptons and Hollywood with her Wall Street and 1% sponsors) the lower her approval ratings sank. Hillary was the only Democrat who could have lost to the idiot Trump, but she was chosen by Wall Street and the old guard establishment. Blame Hillary, not the stars.

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