Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed is the most influential leader in the Middle East, reports US media
The US daily newspaper The Wall Street Journal said that His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, is the most influential leader in the Middle East.
In an extensive report published at the beginning of the week, the prestigious American newspaper recounted how the President of the UAE defined the role of the UAE in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine. The US daily newspaper The Wall Street Journal said that His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, is the most influential leader in the Middle East.
In an extensive report published at the beginning of the week, the prestigious American newspaper recounted how the President of the UAE defined the role of the UAE in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine.
The report indicated that Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and the UAE emerged as winners in terms of rearranging geopolitical relations, and that the strategy of dealing with everyone with the largest ally of the UAE, which is the United States, referring to the leadership role assumed by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed in the new Middle East that it described it as approaching Russia and China.
In rare press interviews, Emirati officials said: "The President of the State does not see that the UAE's close relationship with the United States prevents relations with Moscow or Beijing, but rather that such relations can help Washington."
The newspaper quoted Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President, "We will not allow the state of competition between the great powers to decide our directions and positions for us."
The report mentioned, for example, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last October in St. Petersburg, where he played a pivotal role in some issues of strategic importance to the United States, including the prisoner exchange process that included the American basketball player Brittney Griner, in exchange for the Russian arms dealer Victor Bout.
The White House look
The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior official in the Biden administration as saying: The White House was looking at Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed achieving remarkable success in relations with Russia and China in recent years, which led to what he described as tension in relations between the UAE and Washington.
He added that some US officials have warned against the UAE's close cooperation with those countries in military and intelligence matters, "because this may lead to jeopardizing relations with the United States."
The official, whose name the newspaper did not mention, added that in recent months there has been a dialogue between Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and US officials about Russia and China, explaining that "relations with the UAE are improving."
He pointed out that Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed spoke with US officials and the United Nations before and after his visit to Russia, and then contacted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He also reported that US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan praised the UAE's efforts to reduce escalation in the region in a speech he delivered this month, in which he dealt with the Biden administration's policy in the Middle East.
According to the report, the United States of America sees the UAE as a major partner in combating terrorism and stabilising global energy markets, thanks to the huge investments made in the United States.
The report shed light on building relations between the UAE and Israel, the first ally of the United States in the Middle East, according to the report.
Over the past decade, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, who the author of the report described as a quiet man, has drawn a rapid line of economic expansion, openness and societal progress, and building relations in the regions of the Middle East, including strengthening relations with Iran and Syria.
"In recent years, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed was able to overcome a tense relationship with the United States of America," the report said, "because of contentious issues over China."
According to the report, “During the past seven months, the UAE has witnessed steps, including reducing oil production, in coordination with Moscow through the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, despite the objections of the United States.” The report also mentioned the influx of Russian business into Dubai.
The newspaper said, quoting US and Emirati officials, "His Highness, President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, has formulated a more independent foreign policy, while he was a witness to the fluctuation in US policy during four administrations."
“The nature of the relationship has changed, it is no longer based on one-sided contact between Washington and Abu Dhabi,” said Dina Esfandiary, senior Middle East adviser at the International Crisis Group, a think tank in Brussels and author of a book on the UAE.
Esfandiary continued, “Emirati officials say they have felt uncertain about the American commitment since strikes in 2019 on Saudi oil fields and oil tankers in Gulf waters that were blamed on Iran, and were not answered publicly. Prior to that, Emirati officials complained about Washington's poor response to the drone and missile attacks launched by the Houthi militia in January 2022 against Abu Dhabi.”
The report continues, "The UAE's economy is not only built on oil, but its position as a stable country in a turbulent region has made it an attractive market for money, logistics and tourism."
The newspaper quoted Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, "The entire model of the UAE depends on the safety, security and stability of the people and the flow of goods and commodities."
The Wall Street Journal said, “In Abu Dhabi, messages poured in after the Houthi attacks from world leaders expressing their rejection and solidarity with the Emirates, at a time when President Biden did not call. Two weeks later, the United States sent in guided air fighters and destroyers. And when a large delegation of American officials visited, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed refused to meet with them.
The report stated that after weeks, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed did not contact President Biden about Ukraine.
American officials say they neglected the threat the UAE felt. One official cited the increased use of US-supplied weapons to defend against attacks as evidence of Washington's commitment to security.
In his conversation with President Biden last July on the sidelines of a regional summit, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, abandoned his official words for a personal proposition, as he expressed his dissatisfaction with what he sees as "an American escape from the obligations of a strategic ally in security," as UAE President informed President Biden that Emirati forces have been fighting alongside the United States for 30 years, according to informed sources.
These sources added that the UAE President asked for clarification of the position of the United States, so President Biden invited Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, to visit Washington, where Washington is expected to pledge to cooperate with the UAE in the fields of security, energy, business, and religious tolerance.
The Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, that the UAE wants to strengthen its relations with the United States, but not at the expense of other countries, explaining that the matter is related to the United States, India, Europe, Russia, China and others.
He said, “Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, began to consolidate relations with China years ago, but the two countries converged during the Coronavirus pandemic, when the UAE announced the opening of its borders while many countries in the world closed them.
The UAE produced facemasks using machines from its sources in China, other than DNA tests in cooperation with one of the leading genetic companies in China, and produced vaccines in cooperation with the Chinese company Sinopharm, which was more willing than Western companies to cooperate with the UAE, according to Emirati officials.
Trade between the UAE and China exceeds $70 billion and is not only related to oil, but also expands to financial, technological and cultural exchange.
The UAE's interests are also consistent with Russia's, as Abu Dhabi refused, in February 2022, to vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, in an effort to garner Russian support by voting in favour of another resolution classifying the Houthis as a terrorist organization.
The UAE's abstention damaged early US efforts to isolate Russia.
Nusseibeh said, "This decision came at a time when the UAE is preparing for the presidency of the Security Council and is seeking to mediate in the conflict.
And on March 2 of last year, the UAE voted in favour of a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly calling on Russia to stop the war.
Emirati investment funds have pumped billions of dollars into Russia, and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed has invested in personal relations with President Vladimir Putin, meeting him regularly over the past two decades.
Gargash explained that His Highness was very patient in building this relationship with Russia.