Center for American Progress says funding 'never impacted any CAP position', adding it's 'just the right thing to do'.
The Center for American Progress says it will no longer accept funding
from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), days after two staffers were
reportedly fired for leaking an email exchange that suggested improper
influence by Abu Dhabi over the Washington DC think-tank.
A CAP spokesperson told Al Jazeera on Friday that "funding never
impacted any CAP position or policy" after it said it was parting ways
with what it views to be anti-democratic governments across the globe.
"With a rising undemocratic tide around the world, and serious questions
about which side of that struggle our own president stands on, it
seemed clear that all Americans should take extra steps and leave no
doubt where they stand," the spokesperson said.
"This funding never impacted any CAP position or policy, but everybody here agrees it's just the right thing to do".
The move comes after the Intercept questioned whether CAP's response to
the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was shaped by the
think-tank's ties to the UAE.
According to the Intercept, the UAE was one of the top donors to CAP,
with Brian Katulis, a Gulf expert at CAP also helping organise
UAE-sponsored trips for American think-tank experts.
Katulis also holds close ties with the UAE's ambassador in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, it reported.
Otaiba is a well-known figure in US national security circles and has
been described by someas "the most charming man in Washington".
According to Politico, Otaiba played a key role in championing the rise
of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, also known as MBS, and
maintains "almost constant phone and email contact" with US President
Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
US intelligence authorities suspect MBS ordered Wasington Post columnist
Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.
Some US think-tanks have been embarassed by their financial ties with
the UAE, which brutally cracks down on dissent and has played a key role
in the war in Yemen, running a network of torture prisons in so-called
"liberated" parts of the country.
According to a previous investigation by the Intercept, the Center for
New American Security, an influential national security think-think,
charged the UAE embassy $250,000 for a paper on the legal regime
governing the export of military-grade drones.
The paper was signed by Michele Flournoy, who served as a senior
Pentagon official under president Barack Obama, and was widely expected
to be named by Hillary Clinton as her secretary of defence should she
have won the 2016 presidential election.
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