A former US congresswoman has been registered as a foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to lobby US officials regarding “export controls and sanctions, and foreign and defense policies.”
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s registration comes as the United Arab Emirates has managed so far to stave off US congressional restrictions on arms sales over its controversial role in the deadly Saudi war on Yemen.
The former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was registered as lobbyist to represent Abu Dhabi earlier this month.
She will "provide outreach to US government officials and counsel on policy issues,” according to a Justice Department filing.
According to the document, she will also be counseling officials on “human rights, trade policies, foreign media registration, and strengthening trilateral relations and regional security.”
Ros-Lehtinen, who is known as a pro-Israel hawk on Iran and Latin America, has passed her one-year cooling-off period for retired lawmakers and became eligible to lobby her former colleagues.
She was registered on Jan. 21 by US lobby firm — Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld — which is one of over a dozen lobbying firms the UAE has under contract, according to al-Monitor.
Akin Gump, which has been lobbying for Abu Dhabi since 2007, campaigned last year for more US sanctions against Iran, the UAE’s role in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen and arms sale.
The United Arab Emirates has been among the major buyers of US weapons, clinching a $1.8-billion arms deal with Washington last year.
Many countries, including Denmark, Finland, Germany and Belgium, have suspended arms exports to UAE either upon court orders or receiving evidence that the weapons were indeed used against civilians in Yemen.
According to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi war has claimed the lives of more than 60,000 Yemenis since March 2015.
The war has also taken a heavy toll on the Arab country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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