uae news: UAE’s newly elected ruler Iran sees Islamists as a safe haven in the Gulf

The UAE’s most powerful man, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was officially elected president on Saturday, has led a restructuring in the Middle East that has created a new anti-Iranian axis with Israel and fought the growing tide of political Islam in the region.

After years of working behind the scenes as de facto leader, Sheikh Mohammed, 61, transformed the UAE military into a high-tech force that has had an emirate influence internationally, including its oil resources and business center status.

Mohammed came to power at a time when his half-brother, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who died on Friday, was suffering from a stroke in 2014.

The MBZ, as he is known, was driven by a “certain fatalist ideology” that Gulf Arab rulers could no longer rely on the United States, their main supporter, according to Barbara Leaf, the former US ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, especially after Washington left Egypt. Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring 2011.

From his base of power in the capital, Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed issued a “calm and cold” warning to then-President Barack Obama not to support a revolt that could spread and endanger Gulf dynasty rule, according to Obama’s memoir, which MbZ described as “most conscious.” “Gulf leader.

A US State Department official working in the Biden administration, who has had close ties with the UAE in recent months, described him as a strategist who brought a historical perspective to the talks.

“He will not only talk about the present, but also talk about the trends of time, year after year, decade, in some cases,” the official said.

MbZ backed the military ouster of Egypt’s elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and championed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when he came to power in a 2017 coup d’tat, claiming he was the only person who could deal with Washington. Be able to open. Above the state

Encouraged by warm relations with then-US President Donald Trump, the two Gulf hawks lobbied for Washington’s campaign to exert maximum pressure on Iran, boycotted neighboring Qatar to support the Muslim Brotherhood, and launched a war to break Yemen’s Iran-allied occupation. Huthiras.

The UAE was embroiled in conflicts from Somalia to Libya and Sudan, and maintained Arab consensus for decades by establishing relations with Bahrain and Israel in 2020, in a US-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords that angered Palestinians.

One diplomat said the deals were driven by “shared concerns” over Iran, but also “benefits to the UAE economy” and the fatigue of the Palestinian leadership.

Tactical thinker
Although diplomats and analysts see the alliance with Riyadh and Washington as a pillar of the UAE’s strategy, the MBZ has not hesitated to move independently when it points to interests or economic reasons.

The Ukraine crisis has sparked tensions with Washington as the UAE abstained from voting in the UN Security Council, condemning Russia’s attack. As well as oil, OPEC producers

Riyadh, United Arab Emirates has rejected Western calls for further pumping.

Abu Dhabi has ignored other US concerns by arming and supporting Libya’s caliph Haftar against the internationally recognized government and its involvement with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

With Riyadh, the biggest deviation occurred when the UAE withdrew from Yemen in the wake of the unpopular war that left more than 100 people dead, leaving the country in a state of military stalemate.

When Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir withdrew from his promise to abandon Islamist allies, Abu Dhabi organized a 2019 coup against him.

Stability is paramount
Although he says he was attracted to their Islamist ideology in his youth, the MBZ has identified the Muslim Brotherhood as the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East.

Like Saudi Arabia, the UAE accuses the Brotherhood of treason after harboring persecuted members in Egypt in the 1960s, only to see them work to change their host country.

“I’m an Arab, I’m a Muslim, and I pray. And I was one of them in the 1970s and early 1980s. I believe these people have an agenda,” MBZ said in a 2007 meeting with U.S. officials, according to WikiLeaks.

Educated in the United Arab Emirates and at a military officer’s college in Sandhurst, Britain, Sheikh Mohammed’s distrust of Islamists grew after 2001, when two of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks on the United States were his countrymen.

“He looked around and saw that many of the region’s young generation were attracted to Osama bin Laden’s anti-Western rhetoric,” said another diplomat. “As he once said to me: ‘If they can do it with you, they can do it with us.'”

Despite years of animosity, MbZ has chosen to join Cowid-19 with Iran and Turkey and focus on developing increasing economic competition with Saudi Arabia, covering up political differences and pushing the UAE towards more liberalization.

Seen by many diplomats as a modernist and a charismatic man at home, MbZ has promoted the former low-profile Abu Dhabi, the owner of the UAE’s oil resources, through the development of energy, infrastructure and technology.

As deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, he is credited with making the UAE military one of the most effective in the Arab world, according to experts who say he introduced military service to awaken nationalism instead of entitlement among the rich.

“He doesn’t hit around the bushes … he wants to know what’s not working, not just what’s working,” said a source with access to Sheikh Mohammed.

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