Welcome to Al-Monitor's series on Middle Eastern powers and their efforts to influence US policy.
Have you ever wondered why the U.S. would quickly resume arms sales to an unsavory ally after a bloody crackdown on protesters? Why Congress would side with a repressive regime in labeling the opposition as a terrorist threat? Or why an annual spending bill would mandate that foreign aid be spent on a desolate strip of the Sahara?
Sure, U.S. economic and strategic interests may be at play. But for every foreign policy decision our leaders make, it’s usually a safe bet that a small army of hired guns are working behind the scenes to make sure foreign governments’ best interests are protected.
Al-Monitor’s Julian Pecquet and Abigail Kukura have sifted through hundreds of lobbying and financial records to bring you the most comprehensive resource available on Middle East lobbying in Washington. The series reveals the who, the why - and the how much - discreetly guiding all aspects of foreign policy, from weapons contracts and foreign aid to trade deals and financial sanctions.
All that information would be pretty useless, however, without some way to measure foreign nations' success at getting what they want. That's why we've also pored over State Department budgets, Pentagon arms deals and more to reveal the quantifiable ups and downs in US bilateral relations beyond the political spin and diplomatic platitudes. Wherever possible we’ve presented that data in easy-to-read graphics just waiting to be shared on Twitter and Facebook.
And while numbers really can tell a story, it wouldn't be complete without Al-Monitor’s authoritative reporting and exclusive interviews with some of the key diplomats driving the conversation in Washington. So just click on any of the countries above, and find out just who’s helping shape US policy in the Middle East.