The SAUDIs in WASHINGTON – a brief candid history

26 10 2013

The last speaker told the story.  Not what he said, but rather the story of how and why he was there illustrating the extreme expense the Saudis go to promote themselves…yet with so little impact.

Earlier this week it was the 30th anniversary of a group the Saudis have funded, mostly through their many corporate sponsors and personal money men, ever since the early 1980s.

It was then that Prince Bandar (yes the same one in the news of late for threatening to go rogue from the Americans)  was Ambassador and then that he established a whole bunch of little p.r. outfits he could own and keep on a short Saudi leash forever.   That part was in fact a success!

These included then and now the Council for the National Internet (CNI), Middle East Policy Council (MEPC), Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA), and the one holding this conference at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, the National Council on US Arab Relations (NCUSAR).

Ever since these small “kept women-type”, interlocking, and oh so incestuous organizations have served the Saudi purpose of self-glorification and minor league, fully under control, public relations.

Even collectively they have however nearly no political influence in Washington.  Not even one single Congressman or political personality showed their face during the two-day conference.  One wheel-chair bound former Congressman from decades past — whom they bought long ago and also turned into their “columnist” — was flown in to get an award.

These Saudi-created-sponsored groups primarily serve to give awards and rewards to each other and to handle as contractors such things as Arab League Model UNs, organizing a few trips to The Kingdom, and sending second-rate and on-the-take speakers to usually minor universities.

Much more could and should be said, especially about the ways, motives and failings of the Saudis in Washington, but at the moment just this quick story about the last speaker at the NCUSAR conference this week — a “columnist” for one of the Saudi newspapers.

The Saudis went to all the trouble and expense to fly their “columnist” (a retired Commodore by the way) from Riyadh to the conference.  Once there, waiting much of the day in total obscurity, he spoke for some seven minutes, lavished praise on the hosts and the Saudi Royals, and took a few carefully screened questions from an audience of about 50.


(photo) “Columnist” Commodore (Ret.) Abdulateef Al-Mulhim (center) with a member of the Saudi Royal family sitting in front of him in traditional dress.

See MiddleEast.Org and daily