On this edition of Parallax Views, a group launched over the summer called the Turkish Democracy Project appears to be pushing pro-Saudi/UAE policies with the potential backing of a dark money netowork say Eli Clifton and Murtaza Hussain in Responsible Statecraft and The Intercept. Interestingly, the Turkish Democracy Project has no Turkish people sans two figures who were removed from the site’s advisory board membership shortly after launch.
A number of notoriously hawkish foreign policy figure including Sen. Joe Lieberman, Frances Townsend, and John Bolton are involved with the project. But the figures of interest of most interest to Clifton and Hussain are Mark Wallace, a former George W. Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations, and Wallace’s close associate the billionaire investor Thomas Kaplan, the latter of whom has boasted of his business ties to the United Arab Emirates. In this conversation, Eli and I discuss the connections between Kaplan, Wallace, Electrum Group, United Against a Nuclear Iran, and the Counter Extremism Project. The story doesn’t end their though as a lawsuit was launched attempting to ascertain whether CEP was obtaining foreign funding. Then the government “an unusual invocation of state secrets as a third-party intervenor in a civil suit” claiming “that permitting the case to move forward would jeopardize U.S. national security”. Clifton lays all this out as well as discussing Kaplan’s over $800,000 to the UANI, a “treasure trove” of fascinating leaked emails including figures like the aforementioned Frances Townsend and UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al Otaiba, whether the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) pertains to this case, the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Sen. Norm Coleman (now a Saudi lobbyist), foreign lobbying and influence efforts, lack of transparency around funding rather the lobbying itself being the biggest concern for many, Qatar, the relationship between Turkey and the Gulf States, Turkish anger over the Turkish Democracy Project’s launch, geopolitics, the “Blob” and the foreign policy establishment, The Arab Lobby, AIPAC, the foreign policy establishment’s protesting that its critics are just populist Know-Nothings, and much, much more!