The New York Times has released a damning report detailing the intimate links and connections between a Lebanese-American businessman and backdoor diplomat working with the United Arab Emirates, and an American businessman and fundraiser for President Donald Trump. The report also provides details of the extent of their collusion.
George Nader and Elliott Broidy are both relatively shadowy figures who have been embroiled in a number of political and legal cases: Nader is a convicted sex offender who has close ties to UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and worked closely with him until his arrest in the US earlier this year; Broidy, a venture capitalist and wealthy businessman with a history of bribing politicians, was hired as a fundraiser for the Trump campaign.
What was not known about the two, however, was that they secretly and elaborately colluded in a campaign to influence the Trump administration's foreign policy decisions, secure contracts from some of the Gulf Arab governments, and finance the Saudi-UAE campaign against Qatar. US federal investigators have subsequently launched an investigation into the financial links between Broidy, the UAE government and Nader.
What the investigations have uncovered and are yet to uncover suggests a vast web of foreign collusion which reaches deep into the internal divisions of Middle Eastern politics, particularly in the Gulf States. Banking records, for example, have so far shown that Nader was paid millions of dollars by the UAE while he was working with Broidy to win security and intelligence contracts from the Saudi and Emirati governments and to fund the campaign in the US against the Qatari government and its activities.
Another controversial point was the fact that despite Broidy being under investigation earlier this year — it being public knowledge that prosecutors were looking into his activities — other banking records reveal that the UAE government continued to pay tens of millions of dollars into the account of Broidy's company, including a payment of $24 million as recently as late March.
During his employment by the Trump campaign and close ties with the Republican Party, including his role as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee before he resigned last year, Broidy forwarded payments to influential think tanks, lobbyists and non-profit right-wing media outlets which produced content advocating his clients' agendas and criticising their rivals.
While the investigations into Broidy, Nader and their intimate links with the Saudi and Emirati governments are still ongoing, the revelations have uncovered the extent to which the figures employed by both the US administration and the UAE government were linked in their efforts to undermine opponents both at home and abroad.
The Trump administration's stance on Gulf relations – particularly that of the Saudi and UAE-led blockade of Qatar – has long been a subject of speculation; some believe that he is firmly in the Saudi and Emirati camp, while others think that he is more neutral in the enmity between the two sides. The report and the ongoing investigations, however, provide staggering evidence of the intense financial and political links between the US and the Saudi-UAE faction through the back-door activities of figures such as Broidy and Nader.