Shortly after Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon left the White House, a company with close ties to him was hired by the United Arab Emirates to launch a social media campaign against its Arab neighbor, Qatar.
It was part of a multimillion-dollar effort by several Middle Eastern nations to isolate Qatar that received a boost when Trump criticized the country that for years had been a critical regional ally.
Bannon, who remains one of Trump’s closest advisers, has long had an interest in the region. He has huddled with UAE officials behind closed doors, visited the country as recently as last month and pushed for a group of Middle Eastern nations, including the UAE, in their bitter dispute with Qatar.
On Monday, Bannon is scheduled to speak at a day-long conference in Washington organized by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank and paid for by multiple donors, entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: Qatar, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”