Generals of sandy landscapes: Arab monarchies fed hundreds of US military officers

Greater Middle East (, - Hundreds of retired US officers, including former generals and admirals, have used their military background to secure lucrative deals by working for foreign countries, mostly among the Persian Gulf monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The New York Times and The Washington Post newspapers came to such conclusions following lengthy investigations, writes today, November 25, the information and analytical portal Middle East Eye (MEE, headquartered in London).

An investigation by The Washington Post (WP) revealed that 280 U.S. military retirees have applied for permission to work in the UAE as contractors or consultants in recent years.

The highest-ranking officer on the report was retired General James Mattis, who served as secretary of defense during Donald Trump's White House tenure. Mattis served as a military adviser to the UAE in 2015 before returning to the US, taking over as Secretary of Defense in 2017.

Robert Tyrer, co-president of Cohen Group, a Washington-based consulting firm where Mattis now serves as a senior adviser, told WP that the former defense secretary advised the Emirates on the "operational, tactical, informational and ethical aspects" of military operations, but "did not request or accept from the government UAE no payments other than reimbursement of travel expenses.”

Documents unearthed by leading US publications also revealed that 15 former US military generals and admirals worked directly with the Saudi Defense Ministry, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who unleashed the war on the Riyadh-led coalition in Yemen, MEE notes.

One of the former military leaders is retired Marine General James L. Jones, who was a national security adviser to former President Barack Obama. He started working in Riyadh in 2017. For his "Saudi project," Jones enlisted the support of "about a dozen former senior Pentagon officials," including William Cohen, who served as secretary of defense in the Bill Clinton administration.

Jones owns two consulting firms that have contracts to advise the Saudi Defense Ministry. He told WP that he was approached by the government of the largest Arab monarchy because Crown Prince Mohammed was looking "is there anything we could do to help them transform their defense ministry."

Generals of sandy landscapes: Arab monarchies fed hundreds of US military officers