The Ikhras awards committee is pleased to announce the Muntadhar Zaidi Ikhras Shoe-Of-The-Month for August, 2017 is awarded to the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba. Otaiba, who is proudly marketing himself as the new Arab face of the emerging GCC-Israel alliance, is proving to be a hawkish actor at the behest of Israel’s most aggressive lobbying groups. The UAE ambassador, son of the country’s first oil minister, avoids all mention of Palestine and centers his policy remarks around how the UAE can best serve the interests of U.S. imperialism and the usurping Zionist entity. What Otaiba’s actions and recently leaked emails further prove is not only is there a budding plot against Iran, Syria and the region, but that GCC actors will work tirelessly with the Zionist lobby behind closed doors in order to sacrifice the Palestinians and liquidate the Palestine cause.
Far from bring the powerful diplomat wielding influence in Washington, as U.S. beneficiaries (journalists, “think-tankers” and lobbyists) of his largess often describe him, Otaiba is little more than a filthy pimp-turned-mouthpiece for a tyrannical, repressive regime presiding over a mini-state with no real geopolitical influence.
In the grand scheme of International relations, the ambassador of any state does not determine foreign policy in the host country. He or she functions as the representative of his government and oversees official diplomatic relations. The interests of the U.S. ruling class, internal foreign policy determinants of the U.S. regime and the global balance of power remain the determining factors upon which U.S. foreign policy and bilateral relations can be analyzed and understood. When it comes to a tiny, subordinate Arab Sheikhdom like the UAE, which is entirely subservient and beholden to its imperialist masters, the alleged charisma and interpersonal skills of the ambassador become even less relevant.
Nevertheless, this has not prevented “Brotaiba”, as he’s known at the U.S. State Department, from spending lavishly on Washington DC “thinks tanks”, journalists, lobbyists, and extravagant dinner parties.
But if the power and influence of a country is measured by the number of parties hosted by its ambassador or the media attention he garners, the People’s Republic of China is an irrelevant city-state ruled by a single Arab family with no significant role or influence on the global stage.
The fawning media coverage of Otaiba in the U.S. resembles the coverage former Saudi Arabian Ambassador Bandar Bin-Sultan used to receive. But in contrast with Bandar, who came across as a rehearsed Arab buffoon mimicking the White Man, Otaiba has a natural American demeanor, speaks English with ease, and is far more comfortable among the political and media elites. Back in the UAE, his ability to oversee a well-funded promotional campaign for the Al-Nahyan family regime and host lavish dinner parties makes him a shrewd political operative. And for the ignorant royals that employ him, Otaiba’s mastery of American clichés, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies qualify him as an intellectual of the highest caliber.
Numerous Ikhras readers have nominated Otaiba for the Shoe-Of-The-Month. He has partly earned this award for coordination with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a thoroughly pro-Israel think-tank funded by Sheldon Adelson. In leaked emails authored by FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz, sent to Otaiba and FFD Senior Counselor John Hannah, who served as national security advisor to Dick Cheney, there is a discussion of how the UAE could target Iran by pressuring companies investing in the country. “This is a target list for putting these companies to a choice, as we have discussed,” the email read in part.
In numerous email exchanges to Otaiba there is talk of a larger campaign against Iran which would use “U.S./UAE policies to positively impact Iranian internal situation” in order to “contain and defeat Iranian aggression“. Hannah even complains to Otaiba, who is considered to be somewhat of a lavish celebrity in national security circles, about HAMAS after learning that members of the organization will be hosted in an Emirati hotel. Otaiba responds by throwing blame on the U.S. military base in Qatar, writing “How’s this, you move the base then we’ll move the hotel :-).”
The leaked exchanges between Otaiba and officials from the FDD show clear intentions as to destabilizing Iran in order to bolster both the U.S. and Israel’s hegemony in the region, with Gulf monarchs working as offense and, as usual, providing the funding.
Otaiba has also advocated for a direct, all-out U.S. war on Syria to topple the government and punish the fiercely independent and stubbornly anti-imperialist Arab state for refusing to accept the same subservient role the GCC regimes embrace and was on grotesque display during Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
Otaiba has also been emphasizing that new leaders in the GCC will work to liquidate the Palestine cause under the guise of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli “peace” settlement: “I think the region needs this,” Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Washington, said in an interview. “If we can make a breakthrough on this right now, it would be a game changer for the region.”
Otaiba and the royals that employ him do not speak for the Palestinians and the Arab world. And despite their delusions of power and influence, they will remain irrelevant vassals unable to deliver on the promises they’ve made to their American masters and Israeli allies. Otaiba has wholeheartedly accepted his role as a leading proponent of Arab collaboration with Israel and works tirelessly to foster close ties to the pro-Israel lobby on behalf of the GCC regimes, a role for which his previous experience as a pimp prepared him well and earned him the August 2017 Ikhras Shoe-Of-The-Month.
Ikhras awards the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe Of The Month to the House Arab or Muslim individual or organization whose behavior that month best exemplifies the behavior of what Malcolm X described, in the language of his own time, as the “house negro” (see video). The award is named in honor of the brave Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Zaidi who threw his shoes at war criminal George W. Bush at a time House Arabs and Muslims were dining with him at the White House and inviting him to their mosques. Arab dictators, political and religious leaders, assorted traitors and puppets of the empire are also qualified to enter the shoe of the month competition based on their own subservience to U.S.-led global imperialism and normalization with Zionism. Contest guidelines include the “James Zogby Rule” which prohibits any one individual or organization from winning the award more than three times a year. Ikhras encourages readers to submit their own nominations.