The United States Of America and The United Arab Emirates have enjoyed a productive diplomatic and economic relationship since 1972. The UAE is a crucial component of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
The two countries conducted over $17.83 billion in trade in 2020. In addition, the UAE recently purchased over $20 billion in military defense equipment from the U.S. in a deal approved by the Biden administration.
The messaging from The U.S. Department of State would have you believe that the two nations share many of the same values, goals, and ideals.
There was a time where that was the case. However, recent behavior by the UAE on the world stage seems to be in heavy contrast to U.S interests both abroad and domestically.
The U.S. relies on the UAE to help stabilize the Middle East. However, recently Abu Dhabi has repeatedly used its military superiority and influence in the region to support authoritarian dictatorships and in opposition to establishing democratic governments in areas of conflict. Additionally, the UAE has been an active participant in many instances where human rights and war crimes violations have occurred.
For example, the UAE supported the coup of the democratically elected Egyptian government in 2013. The UAE also approved of Russian intervention in Syria to come to the aide of Bashar Al-Assad, who’s known to be responsible for multiple human rights violations in Syria’s civil war.
The UAE has also voiced approval of and participated in China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim population. China is accused of detaining over one million of the Uyghur in re-education and forced labor camps. In addition, it’s been reported that the UAE has been operating detainment centers at the behest of China to deport the Uyghur from the UAE back to China.
As if the multiple cases of human rights violations aren’t enough, the UAE’s friendly relationship with China places an increased strain on any U.S. and UAE ties going forward.
As recently as the past week, U.S officials have been working on getting construction halted at a suspected Chinese military installation in a shipping port near Abu Dhabi in the UAE. U.S diplomacy was successful in reaching an agreement to stop construction on the port. However, concerns remain over China’s ever-growing presence in the country.
Aside from foreign policy, another area in need of concern for the U.S. regarding the UAE is its recent attempts to infiltrate and interfere with U.S. domestic politics.
In September, three former U.S. intelligence operatives confessed to being cyberspies for the UAE. In addition, in July, Thomas Barrack was indicted as an unregistered agent trying to influence the Trump presidency in line with a UAE agenda.
These actions carried out by the UAE do not present a united front of cooperation and friendship that once existed between the U.S. and the UAE.
The U.S. will need to reassess its relationship with the UAE on an ongoing basis going forward. These actions taken by the UAE continue to threaten U.S. security around the world and democracy itself as we know it.
US foreign policy
US and Middle East