Emails allegedly belonging to Yousef al-Otaiba, released on Wednesday in The Intercept, revealed that the UAE has been essentially covering the costs of a campaign to establish credibility for the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
In 2013, Egypt hired public relations firm Glover Park Group to counter negative press surrounding the military takeover led by Sisi.
According to correspondences dated to 2015, the UAE paid the firm $2.7 million out a total bill of $3 million for its lobbying on behalf of Egypt.
Other emails show Otaiba attempting to influence journalists critical of the Sisi regime.
“Labelling Sisi a harsh authoritarian dictator, without explaining the security threats that he’s up against, is simply an incomplete argument,” he told Politico‘s Michael Crowley after he wrote an article slamming Sisi’s crackdown on Islamists.
Sisi has led a brutal crackdown on political dissidents since he came into power in 2013 in a military coup that overthrew the country’s first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
As many as 60,000 political prisoners are languishing in jails after a clampdown on Morsi’s supporters.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have been chief backers of the military takeover, providing billions of dollars in support to Cairo.
In August, the US froze $195 million in military aid in response to Egypt’s poor record on democracy and civil liberties.
Otaiba’s emails were hacked and released in part in June, with several revealing stories emerging about the UAE’s covert operations.
The hackers, who go by the name “GlobalLeaks”, claim the full database shows a clear picture of the UAE’s lobbying arm and its detrimental effects on US interests abroad.
Top photo | President Donald Trump greets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as he arrives at the White House, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP/Andrew Harnik)
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