Saudi dissident’s murder roils Washington think-tanks


The murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi is causing ructions within the think-tank community.

As prominent investors, media organizations, and even lobbyists have begun to pull back from involvement in projects associated with the Saudi government, some of Washington’s most prominent think tanks appear to also be rethinking their relationship with Riyadh, writes Alexander Nazaryan, National Correspondent for Yahoo News:

On Friday, the Brookings Institution — the center-left think tank that is perhaps the capital’s most prominent — announced that it would sever its ties with Riyadh. “The Brookings Institution has decided to terminate our sole research grant with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, effective immediately,” the statement said.

The Middle East Institute, a prominent Washington think tank, said it would no longer seek donations from Saudi Arabia, but the Center for Strategic and International Studies said it was undecided, Buzzfeed’s Emily Tamkin adds.

“Saudi influence on the think tank world is deep,” said one expert associated with Think Tank Watch. “Think tanks don’t always report all of their funding sources, and thus, it is nearly impossible to get an accurate picture of how many think tanks they fund. Moreover, lobbyists and PR firms who represent foreign governments sometimes donate to think tanks, so there is also that gray area of funding,” added the expert.

The Project on Middle East Democracy, a partner of the National Endowment for Democracy, hosts an event on the Kashoggi affair (above).

A new analysis from the Institute of Modern Russia (IMR) reports that Russia is investing millions of dollars in think-tanks and other expert institutions to have its propaganda delivered to Western audiences.

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