The DC Political Whorehouse known as MEI

30 10 2017

Abuse and scandals are certainly not limited to Weinstein and Hollywood.  Indeed they are not limited to sexual matters.    Take the case of the Middle East Institute (MEI) in Washington DC for instance.

More and more in recent years MEI has become a political whorehouse trading “honors” and “favors” for big money.   Over and over royals from Saudi, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and beyond, along with business tycoons from Egypt and Jordan and beyond, have paid their way to getting awards at banquets and gatherings of one kind or another; and in some cases to kind of self-publishing their books with an MEI stamp of approval.

After decades of languishing in their aging N Street townhouse near Dupont Circle MEI is in the midst of a structural remake — largely funded by the largess of Arab royals and their cronies.   They claim to be raising funds from their dwindling and actually quite insignificant membership; but that’s just the cover story for all the big bucks which wreck of oil, blood, and weapons.

In some ways MEI is a kind of retirement home and reunion gathering place for State Department hacks, nearly always with a Former Ambassador — one already collecting government money for a cushy life in retirement — double-dipping with more salary and “expenses” from MEI.

But if MEI kept just playing that role one could overlook the rest and skip the nicknaming.   Truth be told many years ago I was personally asked by the then MEI President, Ambassador Dean Brown, to be on a year-long study group charged with issuing a major report about the past, present, and future of U.S. policies in the Middle East.   It was quite a prestigious group this very young journalist new to the ways of Washington joined back then for so many meetings with so many scholars and diplomats.   But even then I knew something was wrong with MEI; and so even then decades ago mine was the only dissent published in the major report issued jointly by MEI and The Atlantic Council.    Of course, lol, as I forecast in my dissent, they never invited me back.

In recent years, now under the frizzy leadership of Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain, MEI has started holding more policy meetings in order to use the internet to spread it’s largely U.S.Government/Arab States messaging and advocacy.  So that’s the reason for this little warning comment today to help people realize that MEI is both a State Department front organization — one using largely retired Foggy Bottom officials — as well as a kind of hired contractor for rich Arab regimes and those who hang out with them.

 

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