[26 Reuters]-The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is funding the leaders of armed forces trying to defeat the current administration of Libya, approved by the UN representative. For Qatar, despite the United States calling for resolution of disputes, it has become a flag for the federation of nations that put an economic blockade.
Furthermore, this year, a Reuters survey found that former US National Security Agency (NSA) staff were hired as hackers to participate in a spy program that included monitoring the US population.
Very unusually, however, three former CIA officials familiar with the matter testified to Reuters that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was not spying on the UAE government. Critics say that dangerous blind spots have arisen in US information activities.
The attitude on the CIA side is not new. What has changed is the nature of this small but highly influential member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) intervening in the Middle East and Africa. According to the above-mentioned information providers and foreign policy experts, actual participation in battles, execution of secret operations, induction of intra-regional policies that make use of financial power, etc., may be in conflict with the US national interest It's increasing.
Former CIA officials, apart from the three, say that the CIA's failure to adapt to a situation where UAE has increased military and political ambitions is equivalent to “abandoned duties”.
US intelligence agencies do not completely ignore UAE. According to two information providers who know the details of the NSA, the NSA conducts electronic monitoring inside the UAE with low risk but little results.
The CIA has a cooperative relationship with UAE information agencies and is sharing information on common enemies such as Iran and the international armed organization Al-Qaeda.
However, according to the three former CIA officials mentioned above, CIA is not conducting information gathering activities (Humint) through humans inside UAE. In other words, it does not collect the most valuable and difficult to obtain information about the dictatorship UAE government from its collaborators.
Reuters requested comments from the CIA, NSA, and White House about US information activities against UAE, but declined to do so. Responses from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi were not obtained.
The “non-interference” of the CIA has never been reported in the media. According to former intelligence agency officials, there are only a few other countries where the CIA takes a similar approach. For example, “Five Eyes” Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Canada, which have information sharing agreements.
According to four former CIA officials, the United States is collecting information on Humint in almost all countries important to the US national interest, including several major allies.
In contrast to UAE, the United States is also an important ally in the Middle East, an oil-producing country, and Saudi Arabia, which purchases weapons from the US
According to two former CIA officials and a former intelligence agency official in a Gulf country, the SIA was active in Saudi Arabia, unlike UAE. Saudi intelligence agencies have held several CIA operatives trying to scout government officials as information providers.
Saudi intelligence has not challenged CIA espionage at all. However, he met with a local headquarters in Riyadh and asked for a secret CIA operative to leave the country.
Former CIA operative and author Robert Baer points out that the lack of Humint in UAE is a “failure”. The United States needs to gather as much information as possible about domestic politics and family affairs in the Middle Eastern monarchies.
“If you are proud of being the world's leading information agency, this is a failure,” says Bear. “Information about royalty is essential”
<Is UAE "Rogue State">
Former Trump administration officials are concerned about the lack of information gathering activities in UAE. This monarchy in the desert has recently behaved as a "rogue country" in strategically important countries, from Libya to Qatar to Africa.
Sudan has invested enormous amounts of money over the years to support President Bashir, who established a long-term administration, but then he gave up on President Bashir and supported military leaders who seized the government in April this year. In June, the new administration's security forces killed dozens of protesters seeking civilian rule and elections.
Military bases are also being built in Eritrea and the internationally unapproved Somaliland.
“If you turn the rock around it in the so-called“ African Horn ”, there is a UAE footprint,” said the former administration.
According to Sara Lee Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch, Middle East and North Africa, UAE has become a financial and military power in a region "much beyond its immediate neighbors." They say they are self-identifying.
“Whether Somalia, Eritrea, or Djibouti or Yemen, UAE is acting ridiculously,” says Whitson.
In Yemen, UAE is at the head of the coalition with Saudi Arabia and fighting against the Husi faction of Islamic Shia armed organizations supported by Iran. However, UAE has recently started to withdraw from international criticism of air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians and humanitarian crises that have forced millions to starve.
The US Congress recently passed a resolution to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia and UAE, but President Trump exercised his veto.
According to the US Center for Political Funds Monitoring for Responsive Politics (CRP), the UAE government spent $ 46.8 million (about 5 billion yen) in lobbying in the US since 2017.
One of the three former CIA officials familiar with CIA activities in UAE says that information gathering on the UAE government is needed only because of UAE interference in the Middle East and Africa region.
UAE is also strengthening its ties with Russia and China, and last year signed a broad strategic partnership with Russia that stipulated cooperation on security, trade and oil markets. Last month, UAE's de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Emirate Prince Muhammad, visited China for three days for the UAE China Economic Forum.
On the other hand, some national security experts have not changed the view that there is a good correlation between the US and UAE national interests, which is why they do not spy.
Former CIA employee Norman Ruhr says, “I think their enemies are our enemies,” with Iran and Al-Qaeda in mind. “The UAE government's actions will continue to contribute to the fight against terrorism, especially the fight against Al Qaeda in Yemen.”
<Warning against democratization movement and Islamic political movement>
The UAE diplomacy, the Emirates in the desert, is divided by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince with a few advisors. He appointed a brother educated in the United States as a national security advisor. He is an enthusiastic enthusiast of various martial arts and possesses an Arab race horse stable. His son, Khalid Bin Muhammad, is in charge of operating a surveillance network that spans the country.
UAE interference in the Middle East and North Africa has been increasing since 2011. According to Jodie Bittouri, a former Air Force intelligence officer and now working at the Carnegie International Peace Foundation, UAE's court elite and others looked after the protests of the people calling for democratization called “Arab Spring” He said that he was worried about maintenance.
Like many kingdoms in the Gulf, UAE leaders viewed popular demonstrations as a threat to monarchy in the region. Since then, they have fought against the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood of the Islamic organization, which has gained power for a short time, in Egypt, where President Mubarak was defeated by the Islamic political movement and protests in 2011.
UAE ceased financial support to Egypt when Muslim Brotherhood Mohammad Morsi was elected president in 2012, and resumed multi-billion dollar support when the military dropped President Morsi one year later.
Carnegie Foundation's Vittori admits that there will continue to be a common goal between the US and UAE governments, but if the monarchy UAE is focused on maintaining power, the national interests of the two countries will diverge. It was stated.
“If the goal is to maintain the regime at any cost, it will not be consistent with the US interests,” he said.