Burma

Controversial Israeli-Canadian Lobbyist Cuts Ties With Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 15 July 2021

A controversial Israeli-Canadian lobbyist representing Myanmar’s military regime has cut his ties with the junta after he was unable to be paid because of international sanctions, according to Foreign Lobby, a media outlet that tracks the attempts of foreign governments to gain influence in the United States.

The Myanmar military hired Ari Ben-Menashe and his firm Dickens & Madson Canada in the wake of their Feb. 1 coup. Ben-Manashe, who is a dual Israeli-Canadian citizen, is a former Israeli military intelligence official with a record of representing controversial clients.

He and his firm signed a US$2 million agreement with the junta, pledging to “assist in explaining the real situation in the country”, which has been interpreted as trying to justify the Myanmar military’s actions to western governments.

The Washington-based Foreign Lobby reported on Tuesday that Ben-Menashe informed coup leaders last month that he would be stopping working for them, as sanctions prevented him from being paid by the junta.

Ben-Menashe has said in previous media interviews that he would receive a big bonus if sanctions against the military regime are lifted. 

But, since the coup, the United States has responded with a series of sanctions targeting the coup leaders and members of the State Administrative Council, as the regime describes itself, over the more than 900 pro-democracy supporters who have been killed since the junta ousted the democratically-elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government.

Ben-Menashe told Reuters that he arranged a visit by CNN to Myanmar in April as part of his plan to re-brand the regime. He also claimed in the Reuters interview that the military takeover was an attempt to prevent the civilian NLD government from drifting further into China’s orbit.

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