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UAE lobby's influence over France revealed in new report

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan during his tour of the Emirates pavillion at the Dubai Expo on the first day of his Gulf tour on 3 December 2021. [THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images]
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on 3 December 2021 [THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images]

The UAE has used an idealised self-image coupled with the courting of French members of parliament and the vilification of Qatar to strengthen its position on the international stage, a new report has said.

The investigation, published by the French OrientXXI website, said that through "an idealised self-image coupled with a systematic vilification of Qatar, accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, supposedly a terrorist organisation, the courting of French MPs … the Emirates deploy a multifarious strategy with an eye to strengthening their position on the international scene."

The UAE recruited some media companies in France such as the French Branch of a British firm Project Associates, Euronews, and think tanks like the Bussola Institute to help it achieve its aims, the study found.

It also won over a number of media and political figures, like Senator Nathalie Goulet, to express opinions close to those of the UAE.

It is through this lobby, the report says, that Abu Dhabi incited against Muslim imams in France under the pretext that they are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which it deems a terrorist organisation.

READ: France strikes energy deal with UAE as it moves to replace Russian fuel, gas

Among them is the Moroccan Imam Hassan Iquioussen, who is being deported after being accused of making anti-Semitic and misogynistic remarks.

The investigation stated "in France and elsewhere, it [the UAE] never skimps on the use of ways to promote its work, to appear in a positive light and deliver its geopolitical messages."

"To appeal to its international audience, especially France, Abu Dhabi tried to convince them that the Muslim Brotherhood constituted a danger," and not just a political danger. This was especially the case when it worked on besieging Qatar in 2017, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt.

The report said that Abu Dhabi worked systematically to create a simplified ideological association: Qatar = Muslim Brotherhood = terrorism, and that the UAE led a "cognitive warfare" against political Islam.

Europe & RussiaFranceMiddle EastNewsQatarUAE
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