Another meeting between the Trump campaign and a representative of the leader of the United Arab Emirates has been uncovered by the New York Times’s Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman, and David Kirkpatrick, this one in August of 2016.
The gathering at Trump Tower was arranged by George Nader, a Lebanese-American international fixer with ties to Israeli intelligence as well as to Erik Prince’s Blackwater mercenary company. In the past decade, Nader emerged as an adviser to Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, 57, of the UAE.
Donald Trump, Jr., attended, as did Joel Zamel, head of an Israeli psy-ops firm called Psy-Group specializing in manipulating social media. Zamel appears to have been offered to Trump by the UAE and Nader, and the connection suggests that Mohammed Bin Zayed of the UAE has been deploying Israeli companies for various purposes for some time and offered to let Trump in on the deal. Zamel and Psy-Group are denying working for the Trump campaign according to the Times.
Trump officials’ connection to Israeli media manipulation firms is a constant in the unfolding scandal. It has been alleged that when Trump went to Tel Aviv last year, his aides hired an Israeli firm named Black Cube to smear Obama-era officials who had worked on the Iran nuclear deal, as a way of undermining the deal itself. Black Cube wrote to Informed Comment to deny the allegation.
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven princely states along the Gulf littoral that had been trucial states with Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries to guarantee the security of British Indian shipping in the Gulf. Abu Dhabi, one of the seven, has emerged as hegemonic because of its vast oil wealth, sold mainly to Japan. The other six have largely been subordinated to Bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, whose official biography says:
- “His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is the son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ‘Father of the Nation’ and the first President of the UAE, and the brother of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. Sheikh Mohamed is married to Her Highness Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, and has four sons and five daughters.”
Nader was convicted in the US in the early 1990s of possession of child pornography, and served a year in prison in Prague in 2003-4 on ten counts of abusing minor boys.
The pedophilia angle on Nader needs to be unpacked. Did his activities in those circles in Washington, DC, in the 1980s and 1990s allow him to discover which American politicians and even foreign dignitaries were engaging in secret pedophilia activities, and then to pass that information to foreign intelligence agencies so that these individuals could be blackmailed? It is worth noting, though no one does, that at least allegations have been made against Trump by underaged girls. If Nader had files on “colleagues” in those circles, it might explain why he kept being picked up as useful even after the Prague year in jail. He was in Iraq with Prince’s Blackwater in the 2000s, and then around 2011 suddenly pops up in Abu Dhabi as adviser to Mohammad Bin Zayed, the crown prince.
Nader allegedly told Donald Trump, Jr., at the August meeting that the UAE and Saudi Arabia wanted to help Trump win the presidency.
Barack Obama had deeply disappointed the wealthy pro-American oil monarchies of the Gulf. He had decided, instead of backing them to the hilt against Iran or holding out a prospect of US military intervention in Iran, to play them off against Iran. He made the nuclear deal and got sanctions removed from Tehran, and was content for Iran and Saudi Arabia to check one another in the region. This strategy is one of several often lumped under the rubric of “offshore balancing.” Obama wanted to get out of the Middle East and focus on East Asia.
Obama also bucked the Gulf in its desire that he intervene in Syria against the al-Assad regime, as a way of dealing a blow to Iran and the Lebanese Hizbullah. Obama called his decision not to bomb Syria in September of 2013 a “declaration of independence” against the Gulf states. He was at that point pretty annoyed with their pressure on the US and their desire to use it against Iran for their own purposes and he was telling them to jump in a lake.
But the Gulf states are more powerful than they might appear. They have trillions of dollars in walking around money and small populations so that they don’t have to spend much of it locally. That is, Saudi Arabia’s GDP is similar to that of the Netherlands, but the Netherlands government has to spend a lot of money running the country, whereas the Gulf states can do that with a fraction of the investment.
This extra money can then be funneled into influence peddling. And it is.
Mohammed Bin Zayed also has a suspicious relationship with Vladimir Putin. The UAE has substantial Russian investments, and both the UAE and Russia are afraid of Sunni extremism (not only al-Qaeda and ISIL but they also lump the peaceful Muslim Brotherhood under that rubric).
The UAE and Saudi Arabia appear to have tried to hook Zamel’s Psy-Group up with the Trump campaign so that it could do a number on Hillary Clinton for them and suppress Democratic votes. At the same time, troll farms in St. Petersburg were engaged in the same sort of activity.
Mohammed Bin Zayed, having helped elect Trump, then slipped into the US incognito (highly irregular) in December of 2016, while Obama was still in office, for a meeting at Trump Tower with Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon. Kushner told the crown prince he wanted a back channel to Russia. Flynn had been communicating directly with Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak. Apparently the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency was so thick he did not realize that Kislyak was under NSA surveillance. Jared seems to have realized the danger of a direct communication, so he asked the UAE to set up a back channel.
In January of 2017 before the inauguration, Prince met with Nader and Kirill Dmitriev, an investment banker whose bank is under US sanctions and whose wife has long been best friends with and works for Putin’s daughter. Dmitriev, with whom the UAE has business, was being provided to Trump at Jared’s request as the back channel in place of Kislyak. Also at the Seychelles was Elliott Broidy, the co-chair of the Republican National Committee, who had done $200 million in arms sales with the UAE and is also close to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Elliott Broidy, w/ h/t to Lunapic
In February of 2017, after the inauguration, Broidy requested $20 million as a lobbying fee from a Russian firm under sanctions to try to get the sanctions lifted.
Broidy had been recruited by Nader some time before and was perhaps himself a go-between for Trump and Bin Zayed.
Broidy had ingratiated himself with Trump by using Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen to pay $1.6 million to a Playboy bunny who had had an affair and gotten pregnant, then got an abortion. Paul Campos has argued at New York magazine that Broidy was taking care of all this for Trump, who was the one who actually had the affair and arranged the abortion, and that Trump was afraid it would all come out and sink him with the Evangelicals. In essence, the $1.6 million may have been a bribe to Trump from Broidy, which then opened for Broidy the coffers of the Russian firms lobbying to get sanctions lifted. Trump seems to use Playboy magazine the way other people use online restaurant delivery menus.
The UAE’s Bin Zayed also had a reason to want sanctions lifted on Russian banks and firms, since he held shares in some of them.
So the plot had several angles:
1. Get Trump elected since he is corrupt and can be easily bribed and possibly blackmailed
2. Use him to lift sanctions on Russian firms in which the UAE had invested.
3. Use him to scotch the Iran nuclear deal and put downward pressure on Iran’s oil sales, which would help the UAE make more money from its own oil.
4. Offer lobbying money as bribes to Trump principals so as to reward them for past cooperation and to encourage future cooperation.
5. Enlist the US in a UAE/ Saudi raid on Qatar’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, while at the same time drying up funding for the Muslim Brotherhood.
I suspect getting the US out of Syria was also part of the plot, but I haven’t worked that out yet. Trump cancelled a CIA program that more or less supported Muslim Brotherhood rebels in Syria.
The June 5, 2017, attack on and blockade of Qatar, orchestrated by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Russian hackers, was also part of the plot.
So too was maneuvering Mohammed Bin Salman into being the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, which Bin Zayed succeed in last summer.
Obviously, there is a big Israeli angle to all this of which we so far only have intimations, but obviously Netanyahu wanted the Iran deal sunk and Trump was more likely to sink it, and while Hillary Clinton is insufferably pro-Israel, she wouldn’t have let Netanyahu get away with nearly as much as Trump does.
Keep one eye on Putin with regard to the collusion story. But keep the other eye on Mohammed Bin Zayed.
Featured photo courtesy kremlin.ru