3 thoughts on “Exporting corruption from the Arab world”

  1. I suppose Western governments are innocent of any such activities. After all IISS, Chatham House, etc. are free of any UK government financing. So Saudi and other Arab journalists are not provided with free visits to Europe and American destinations. The recent disclosure of American cables refers to US government efforts to influence Aljazira.

  2. A great piece as usual, but “UN Watch, an independent human rights group based in Geneva”?
    UN Watch’s independence is debatable. Like the former BBC Watch and UK Media Watch (now completely part of CAMERA https://camera-uk.org/about-us/), UN Watch is usually regarded as having a pro-Israel bias. In the case of UN Watch “From 1993 to 2000, United Nations Watch was affiliated with the World Jewish Congress, and then in 2001 with the American Jewish Committee. As of 2013, United Nations Watch was no longer affiliated with any organization, and is fully independent.” (https://unwatch.org/about-us/mission-history/) Nevertheless, in 2017, it was described by the Economist as “a Geneva-based pro-Israeli monitor” (https://www.economist.com/international/2017/06/03/the-un-human-rights-council-will-be-weaker-if-america-leaves) “Hillel Neuer, executive director” is described as “A Zionist at the United Nations” and “an outspoken Israel advocate in an often unfriendly and biased environment” (https://www.jpost.com/In-Jerusalem/A-Zionist-at-the-United-Nations-451154)
    In other words, much of what Arab Digest describe above is similar to the long-standing Israeli / pro-Israel hasbara system of “think tanks”, legislative lobbies, media monitors, subsidised visits, sympathetic journalists etc. Many of the Arabs’ formal mechanisms – especially the think tanks – are relatively new. It would be interesting to know whether the Arab regimes developed their systems for shaping favourable narratives / suppressing unfavourable ones on their own initiative; through realising and copying the effectiveness of the pro-Israel system; or even with the advice of the Israelis.

  3. Thank you very much indeed for this. I have a Question down in the Lords next week asking for greater transparency in the funding of think tanks. I planned to flag flows of dark money from US PACs and Russian and Chinese sources, but can now confidently add Middle Eastern governments too.

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