Hackers have released the first series of leaked emails from the account of UAE’s ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba.
The Intercept reported on Saturday that the emails released by a group called “Global Leaks” show the relationship between al-Otaiba and a pro-Israel, neoconservative think tank – the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).
The hacked emails, some of which date back to 2014, reveal a high-level of backchannel cooperation between the FDD, which is funded by pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Anderson, and the UAE.
The sample provided included several emails between Otaiba and Robert Gates, former US defence secretary in the administrations of George Bush and Barack Obama.
Otaiba is well-known figure in US national security circles – he has been called “the most charming man in Washington” – and has participated in Pentagon strategy meetings at the invitation of the defence officials.
Leaked emails include exchange in which FDD senior counselor John Hannah – a former deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney – complains to Otaiba that Qatar is hosting a meeting of Hamas at an Emirati-owned hotel.
Otaiba responds that the UAE is not at fault and that the real problem lies with the US military base in Qatar.
He writes: “How’s this, you move the base then we’ll move the hotel :-)”
The leak includes a proposed agenda for an upcoming meeting between the FDD and the UAE government scheduled for June 11-14.
The agenda includes in-depth discussions on Qatar, including Qatar-based Al Jazeera.
One item on the agenda is: “Al Jazeera as an instrument of regional instability”.
Attendees set to take part in the June meeting include former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Mark Dubowitz, CEO of FDD.
Other FDD emails ask for meetings with high-ranking figures including Mohammed bin Zayed – the crown prince who runs the UAE’s armed forces – as well as Mohammed Dahlan, a former strongman of the Palestinian Fatah group who now lives in the Gulf state.
A large portion of the emails focus on “U.S./UAE polices to positively impact Iranian internal situation” and to “contain and defeat Iranian aggression”.
Another email in the leak shows the FDD and the UAE looking to pressure businesses to pullout of Iran.
In early March, Dubowitz emailed Otaiba a listing non-US businesses operating in Saudi Arabia or the UAE “looking to invest in Iran”.
“This is a target list for putting these companies to a choice, as we have discussed,” Dubowitz wrote.