- Inside the scramble to shape Syria sanctions; RNC finance vice-chair presses GOP on health law fix for US ally; Qatar beats Saudi Arabia at the WTO
1. Inside the scramble to shape Syria sanctions
Don’t miss our deep dive into one of the biggest remaining foreign policy fights of this year. With the coronavirus and the electoral calendar all but shutting down any chance of passing any more big new sanctions laws in 2020, outsize attention is being paid to the Donald Trump administration’s implementation of the strongest Syria sanctions to date. We go through all the different players, their agendas, and their spending in the almost four-year battle to turn the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act into reality.
2. Marshall Islands leverage coronavirus crisis to push GOP on health coverage
The government of the Marshall Islands is invoking the toll of the coronavirus pandemic to lobby recalcitrant Republicans for a fix to a decades-old US law that inadvertently cut off federal health benefits for tens of thousands of islanders living in the United States.
Marshall Islands lobby firm Akin Gump has dispatched a vice-chairman of the Republican National Committee’s finance committee to try to get Republicans on board. Geoff Verhoff, who has been registered to lobby for the Marshall Islands since 2017, emailed the office of Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) earlier this month asking him to “weigh in on and possible co-sponsor” the Medicaid fix. Read our story here.
3. Qatar beats Saudi Arabia at the WTO
Qatar scored a big win today against its much larger rival Saudi Arabia when the World Trade Organization found the kingdom responsible for television piracy. The ruling caps an 18-month legal battle between Qatari sports broadcaster beIN and beoutQ, an Arabic language network that the WTO concluded was illegally streaming beIN’s content with Saudi officials’ blessing. Sidley Austin has been lobbying the US Patent and Trademark Office and the Office of the US Trade Representative regarding intellectual property issues for the beIN Media Group since October 2018. Make sure to check out this Financial Times piece on how the ruling could hinder Saudi Arabia’s £300m ($377 million) takeover of the Newcastle United soccer club, which beIN is trying to block in its capacity as the British Premier League’s largest overseas broadcaster.
NEW FOREIGN LOBBYING FILINGS (FARA)
Nagorno Karabakh: Representatives of the Office of Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the USA held meetings with the offices of Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) during the six months through May. They also met with California State Sen. Andreas Borgeas and the office of Minnesota State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, as well as with the Office of Andrew Schofer, the US Co-Chair to the OSCE Minsk Group. The office received $66,500 from the de facto Republic of Artsakh during the period.
Dominica: The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Registry has added two new people on its account for the Commonwealth of Dominica. Sea-going Master Mariner Nicolae Lupsa and Marine consultant Andrew Corrie will provide “inspection and/or survey services for Dominica flagged vessels.”
NEW DOMESTIC LOBBYING FILINGS (LDA)
Guyana: The Cormac Group has retained Otto Reich Associates as a subcontractor on behalf of the International Center for Democracy, a New York nonprofit that supports the opposition in the Latin American nation’s ongoing election recount. Reich, an assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under President George W. Bush, is the sole lobbyist on the account. From 1983 to 1986, Reich established and managed the inter-agency Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, which according to the New York Times “promoted the contra guerrillas fighting Nicaragua’s Marxist government” during the Iran-Contra scandal.
In other news
Canada: The State Department approved an $862 million sale of 50 air-to-air missiles to Canada.