Arabia Foundation think tank shuts down in Washington

The institute was founded by Saudi writer and businessman Ali Shihabi in 2017

The Arabia Foundation think tank was founded by Saudi writer and businessman Ali Shihabi in 2017 and is headquartered Washington DC. Pixabay
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The board of the Arabia Foundation, a think tank based in Washington, has decided to shut down operations immediately.

The National was first to report the decision on Tuesday, and was told by a source that the think tank's board members decided to shut down "due to differences of opinion among its donors".

Later on Tuesday, the institute's founder Ali Shihabi confirmed the news.

“It is with regret that I confirm that the board of directors of the Arabia Foundation decided today to close down the foundation," he tweeted.

"This is due to ongoing differences among our donors that made continued operations difficult.”

It is unclear when and how the decision was made, but the staff at the headquarters in Washington were only told today.

Events, conferences and policy gatherings planned for the foundation this summer, including a meeting in Geneva, were immediately cancelled.

The Arabia Foundation was founded in 2017, with a goal of covering Middle East politics and socio-economics, with a particular focus on the Arabian Peninsula.

Mr Shihabi, a former banker, is known as a vocal defender of Saudi policy on Twitter and in the US capital.

“This in no way changes any of my opinions, particularly .my support for the programme of change and reform that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is spearheading,” he tweeted on Tuesday