Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Pro-Saudi Think Tank Arabia Foundation Shuts Down

Here is more from The National:

The board of the Arabia Foundation, a think tank based in Washington, has decided to shut down operations immediately.
The National was first to report the decision on Tuesday, and was told by a source that the think tank’s board members decided to shut down “due to differences of opinion among its donors".
Later on Tuesday, the institute's founder Ali Shihabi confirmed the news.
“It is with regret that I confirm that the board of directors of the Arabia Foundation decided today to close down the foundation," he tweeted.
"This is due to ongoing differences among our donors that made continued operations difficult.”
The Arabia Foundation was founded in 2017, with a goal of covering Middle East politics and socio-economics, with a particular focus on the Arabian Peninsula.

The Washington Times adds more juicy gossip to the news:
Concurrent to Arabia ceasing operations is a lawsuit filed by Ola Salem by her attorneys, Gerstman Schwartz LLP, alleging sexual harassment and other types of abuse while she was employed by Mr. Shihabi.
The lawsuit alleges slander and defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional emotional distress, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, retaliation and more. Salem even alleges she was prevented from gaining employment after leaving Arabia.

Here is more from the Middle East Eye.
After the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a number of think tanks who had been taking Saudi money were pressured to stop accepting those funds, and those with close ties to Saudi Arabia were scrutinized closely.