His name is Lorenzo Vidino, an Italian transplanted to America, and he dedicates his life to trying to convince the world that the Palestinians and their (very few) allies are part of a gigantic plot to overthrow the Christian world – with iron and fire. According to him, the tormented population of the Occupied Territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, overwhelmed every day by Israel’s military incursions, is at the centre of a theocratic organisation, led by Iran, that is bringing the planet to the brink of World War III.

It is a claim that, if it did not have powerful supporters and tragic effects, would be laughable. Democrats and tolerant people do not abound in the Muslim world, but professionals like Vidino have precisely that aim: since Iran’s theocracy is, objectively, a hellhole, a barbaric and bloody medieval regime, the best way to discredit pacifists and victims of ethnic persecution is to claim that the victims are allies of Tehran, and therefore deserve punishment.

The leverage Vidino uses to unleash the world against the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestine and those who support them is that of lobbying. Someone is paying him to do it, and that someone is a government (or several political forces) that has managed to put him on the list of accredited political commentators and official lobbyists in Brussels – the capital of the European Union, where corruption reigns supreme, control is comparable to zero, and the effects of interventions in defence of interests unrelated to those of the European people are more efficient – as demonstrated by the media campaign linked to the World Cup in Qatar and the simultaneous explosion of unprecedented violence against the Iranian people: a tournament, achieved thanks to corruption, that turned into the biggest state media self-goal of the new century.

An autogolo comparable, for its publicity effects, only to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Doha will need years to make this regrettable incident forgotten, and its enemies, in Dubai and Riyadh, will do everything to ensure that it is not forgotten. But this is not enough to explain the existence of this lobby: the American extreme right (i.e. the one most closely linked to Christian fundamentalism) and the Israeli extreme right (the Zionist one, which for years has been allied with the Persian Gulf monarchies) support Vidino and other influencers like him, because they are pushing for the end of democracy in the United States: a task that, only twenty years ago, would have seemed good only for a joke, and that now, after the attack on the Capitol on 6 January and the Trump presidency, seems close and possible.

A young neocon is born

From left: Rodrigo Ballester (MCC Budapest, member of the advisory staff of the European Commission), John Duhig and Marwa Farid (EFD), three of the most influential figures in the media campaign against Qatar[1]

In the blossoming of new extreme right-wing organisations, linked to nationalism, religion, or simply to a mystical and anti-democratic vision of society, the United States continues to be the leading country: the one that inspires, influences and obliges the rest of the world to follow its fashions, its whims, its mistakes. The most prominent figures in this trend are billionaires such as Elon Musk, Frank Thiel and Donald Trump, but around them flourish characters, such as Steve Bannon, who are something between the theorists of a new technocratic medievalism and the swords with which the aforementioned billionaires, at war with each other, fight each other in the newspapers, on the web and on television.

Lorenzo Vidino[2] is one of the most important among them: an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, fighting against Elon Musk, against cryptocurrencies, against the Islamic Brotherhood. These seem like things that have nothing to do with each other, but one of the characteristics of this new right-wing extremism is to be, like the theories enunciated by Adolf Hitler, totalising[3], and claiming to explain the whole world from a single assumption.

One of the main differences between these new gurus and those (such as Hermann Schmitz) of Nazism is that the enemy is no longer Judaism, but a fraction within the Arab world – that represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestine, the Arab Spring, Iran and Qatar: a cauldron of things that have nothing in common with each other[4]. A cauldron in which Israel and Zionism are perfectly at home, since they are part of the line-up led by Donald Trump’s neo-Cons (who are only a fraction of American right-wing extremism), Saudi Prince Bin Salman and UAE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan[5].

Born in Milan in 1977, Vidino completed his studies in his hometown and, in the end, obtained one of the most exclusive specialisation places in the world: that of the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Medford (Massachussetts)[6], which accepts 230 students of world excellence every year, and which for 90 years has been preparing pro-American diplomats, military officers and lobbyists working in the Middle East[7]. A school that teaches all the possible evils of Putin’s Russia[8] and corruption in sport, linking (rightly, I think) the spirit of the organisation of the 1936 Berlin Olympics with so many world-class sporting events (starting with the World Cup in Argentina in 1978).[9]

At the end of his studies, after also completing a period of education in the most important lobby of the American military industry (the RAND Corporation school in Arlington, Virginia, at the Pentagon[10]), Vidino chose to go to the EFD (European Foundation for Democracy[11]) to lobby for American national interests: a Brussels-based organisation, active since 2005, which finances the propaganda (within the EU Parliament[12]) of the American neocon theses, according to which there are ‘good’ Muslims (Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates) and ‘bad’ Muslims (the Islamic Brotherhood and a list of pacifist organisations linked to the democratic movements known as the Arab Spring, active mainly in England, Austria and Sweden) – which, according to the EFD, are linked to fundamentalist terrorism. A thesis belied by the facts, but functional to the alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates against all the adversaries of the monarchies of the Arab world[13].

A video conference of Jonathan Schanzer, one of the main collaborators of Israeli President Netanyahu, leader of the FDD[14]

The EFD is also paid for, as of 2011, with money from the EU budget (around €160,000 in contributions per year) and the US government (around half a million dollars[15]), and is headed by Roberta Bonazzi, who is also one of the founders of the organisation[16]. Bonazzi, who is known to be on the payroll of several extreme right-wing organisations that pay the EFD or one of its private consulting firms, such as Adelaide Consulting[17], is famous for her media fight against Hezbollah and her attempt to link this terrorist organisation to the Palestine liberation movement and to all young Muslims fighting for democracy throughout the Arab world[18].

Bonazzi’s main activity consists of directing pro-Arab and pro-American political propaganda in several European countries, first and foremost Armenia and Azerbaijan[19]. According to Bonazzi, behind those calling for democracy there is not the dream of a generation of Arabs who want the end of radical Islamic chauvinism, but precisely its opposite: the Iranian theocracy, which fights the Gulf monarchies, considering them (as the Americans like it) modern, libertarian and progressive. In this sense, Bonazzi works closely with the Ambassador of the Emirates in Washington, Youssef Al Otaiba[20], one of the main collaborators of Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan[21], the key man of Saudi and Emirati power in the world[22], arms trader[23] and influential friend and advisor of Donald Trump on Middle Eastern issues[24].

Apart from that, the EFD is closely linked (politically and organisationally) with the FDD (Foundation for Defense of Democracies[25]), which in the US works to procure money for the EFD[26]. FDD is one of the most radical organisations in favour of Israel and against Arab countries that do not have an agreement with Tel Aviv, first and foremost Iran[27]. FDD’s goal is to push Washington, based on unsubstantiated (and often openly false) claims, into military operations in Syria, Iran, Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries[28]. A favourite thesis of the FDD leaders is to consider Yassir Arafat, Saddam Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden as leaders of the same terrorist organisation responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 11 September 2001: the movement for the liberation of Palestine!!![29]  As is obvious, the FDD leaders (Clifford May, Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer) are open supporters of Donald Trump and his line on Middle East issues[30]. Already in 2009, the FDD paid almost half a million dollars to the EFD[31].

Breivik’s inspirer

The Norwegian maniac Anders Behring Breivik refers to Hitler to explain the massacre he carried out in 2012, but also quotes the texts of Lorenzo Vidino[32]

Meanwhile, Vidino has become a popular political speaker. His friend Al Otaiba introduced him to the UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed in 2017, after Vidino had worked extensively with Quiller Consultants, the London-based lobbying firm responsible for placing pro-Abu Dhabi articles in the British press[33]. In the quarterly magazine Middle East Quarterly, Vidino argued that ‘Europe has become an incubator of Islamist thought and political development’: according to him, the Muslim Brotherhood has built a ‘large and well-organised network of mosques, charities, and Islamic organisations’, the aim of which would be to extend Islamic radicalism throughout the West[34].

These theses are not surprising. His work as a lobbyist at EFD led Vidino to the next station in his career: that of associate at TRENDS Research & Security[35], an Emirati state agency with ambitious goals: (a) to analyse the military, media and cyber threats posed by the enemies of the Persian Gulf monarchies and to involve the United States in measures to respond to these threats; (b) to point out and index the Gulf monarchies’ adversaries (defined tout-court as ‘terrorists’), to exert diplomatic pressure for them to be prosecuted, to publish what it can to discredit them; (c) to identify, in each country, possible allies and to contact them d) prepare the Emirates for a military conflict, analysing its costs and benefits, and evaluate the steps necessary to secure a place at the table where lucrative reconstruction contracts are distributed; e) finance artificial intelligence and cybernetic projects that have useful military applications; f) annihilate the Muslim Brotherhood; g) identify economic and infrastructural investment projects in countries ready to receive the message of Islam as practised in the Persian Gulf[36].

TRENDS Research, financed by the Persian Gulf’s military and oil Gotha[37], is led by Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali, who for years worked as an academic advisor for ECSSR (Emirates Center for Strategic Studies & Research, founded in 1994 by Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the aim of justifying the massive rearmament of the Emirates and today led by the head of the Emirati lobbyists in Europe, Muhammed Al Nuaimi)[38]. The ECSSR works for Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Tawazun Holding. In August 2017, Tawazun had paid $20 million to the ECSSR, and the ECSSR paid it to the Middle East Institute in Washington: an association of former US military personnel, which in turn paid this sum to various generals and politicians to kick-start military contracts between the US and the UAE[39].

Put simply: TRENDS and ECSSR are two vehicles used to bribe Western politicians and military personnel, and Vidino works to suggest new ones[40]. Tawazun, in any case, has been implicated in several arms trafficking scandals[41] and the purchase of particularly cutting-edge spyware products, from Pegasus to DarkMatter[42]. The diligence with which Vidino and his colleagues (from associations linked to the United Arab Emirates) operate is such that even in the Persian Gulf, voices have been raised calling for an end to the lies, before those theses, put forward by Vidino, become the weapon used by some reckless person[43]. Too late: the Milanese lobbyist’s theses were taken up by Anders Behring Breivik[44], the madman who, in 2012, killed 77 people, including 69 participants in a summer camp of the Workers’ Youth League[45].

The STR-12, one of the most technologically advanced weapons developed in 2012 in Abu Dhabi through a collaboration between TRENDS Research and Tawazun Holding[46]

Of course, Vidino is not to blame for the massacre carried out by a psychopath. But this should also inspire caution in using the Milanese lobbyist’s advice. The opposite is true: in Italy, for example, the secret services brought him to the position of coordinator of the Study Commission on Radicalisation and Jihadist Extremism[47], which existed during the years of the governments led by Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni[48], and confirmed him in the current Security Commission[49]. A position in which Vidino is in a position to influence political decisions in diplomatic and military matters, but also policing individual Muslim residents in Italy. A similar position was also assigned to him in the UK, but was revoked shortly afterwards[50].

The issue is even more pronounced in Austria, where Vidino is a member of the advisory board of the Austrian government’s Observatory on Islam[51], on behalf of which he has written a report aimed at obtaining ostracism against the Muslim Brotherhood[52], and actively collaborates with the secret service, for which he has helped to produce a map of Muslim associations and places of worship in the country[53]. His writings against the Muslim Brotherhood led to a police operation in November 2020, the aim of which was to disarm what Vidino considers to be dangerous terrorist cells[54], and which did not yield any results: despite the efforts of hundreds of policemen and the blunt brutality used, all the accused turned out to be innocent[55]. One of those typical cases where, as the saying goes, the pen of the writers kills more than the sword of the soldiers.

All this should make European politicians think: the Brussels bribery scandal not only shows the weakness of the Union’s political system, but also points to a very dangerous way in which ‘dangerous’ countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia can provoke acts of police violence or criminal injustice in individual states, starting with Italy, Sweden and Austria – nations in which the EFD and Vidino not only have excellent contacts, but also now hold operational positions in the most sensitive ganglia of the state administration. Personally, this comforts me in my opinion: the EU has no allies – not Russia, not China, not the Arab countries and not even (and hardly anyone is aware of this) the United States of America.


[1] ;

[2] ; ;


[4] ;



[7] Robert S. Leiken, “Europe’s angry Muslims: the revolt oft he second generation”, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2010, pages 284-289



[10] ; ;

[11] ;


[13] Farid Hafez, “Muslim Civil Society Under Attack: The European Foundation for Democracy’s Role in Defaming and Delegitimizing Muslim Civil Society”, Bruxelles 2018:




[17] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on foreign interference of the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union”, Droit au Droit, Bruxelles 2022, pages 76-79

[18] ;



[20] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on foreign interference of the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union”, Droit au Droit, Bruxelles 2022, pages 76-79


[22] Le-Lobby-Anti-Qatar-1.pdf ( , pages 49/59, 66/67, 73

[23] Le-Lobby-Anti-Qatar-1.pdf ( , pages 49/59, 66/67



[26] Tony Smith, “A Pact with the Devil: Washington’s Bid for World Supremacy and the Betrayal of the American Promise”, Routledge, London 2007, page 38

[27] Christopher Bail, “Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream”, Princeton University Press, Princeton 2015, pages 70–71; Sarah Marusek, “The Transatlantic Network: Funding Islamophobia and Israeli Settlements”, in “What is Islamophobia?”, Pluto Press, London 2017, pages 189–206



[30] ; ;

[31] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on foreign interference of the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union”, Droit au Droit, Bruxelles 2022, pages 76-79


[33] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on foreign interference of the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union”, Droit au Droit, Bruxelles 2022, pages 76-79


[35] TRENDS Research and Advisory – Dr. Lorenzo Vidino

[36] TRENDS Research and Advisory – About Us

[37] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on foreign interference of the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union”, Droit au Droit, Bruxelles 2022, pages 82-88

[38] DIRECTOR GENERAL STATEMENT | Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (

[39] Weapons Money Intended For Economic Development Being Secretly Diverted to Lobbying ( ;

[40] Le-Lobby-Anti-Qatar-1.pdf (, pages 71/79

[41] UAE Armed Forces places Dh1.8bn weapons order with Tawazun ( ; Weapons-systems plant for Abu Dhabi ( ; Tawazun creates African partnership for UAE’s precision-weapon manufacture | Times Aerospace

[42] The UAE’s covert web of spies, hackers and mercenary death squads (



[45] DAD International, “Undue influence: an investigative Report on foreign interference of the United Arab Emirates in the democratic processes of the European Union”, Droit au Droit, Bruxelles 2022, pages 76-79


[47] ;




[51] ;





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