Washington lobbyists for Arab nations find themselves in a precarious spot, as they try to stay a step ahead of the fast-changing events taking place in the Arab world. For many years, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt and other countries in the region have relied on Washington's top lobbyists and lawyers, paying them tens of millions of dollars. But some firms are now tacking toward a more progressive stance in light of what has happened , while others are dropping their clients altogether because of the tumult.

In Tunisia, where the earliest revolts energized the regional upheaval in January, a Washington public relations and communications firm, ended its $420,000 image-building contract with Tunis.

As a rule, leaders in the Middle East have paid consultants generously, even by Washington lobbying standards, with monthly retainers commonly reaching $50,000 or more, according to federal filings.

The United Arab Emirates spent $5.3 million in 2009 for lobbying American officials to seek greater access to American nuclear technology.

Morocco spent more than $3 million on Washington lobbyists, much of it aimed at gaining an edge in its border dispute with Algeria, while Algeria countered by spending $600,000 itself.

Turkey, which shares some interests with the Middle East countries, spent nearly $1.7 million in 2009 to lobby American officials on Turkish and Middle Eastern policy .

And Saudi Arabia, one of the most powerful foreign interests in the United States, spent about $1.5 million in 2009 on Washington firms, and it has a $600,000 annual contract aimed partly at fighting legislation and litigation that would challenge OPEC's influence over oil prices.

Today, it is not clear from federal records which Washington firms, if any, are still working with Colonel Qaddafi.


 Rate This1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars

Add new comment