Within the vast anti-Putin front, which the United States formed in reaction to the Russian offensive in Ukraine, three historical partners of Washington are missing, and not the least: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). None of these countries has taken any sanctions against Russia. The two Gulf petromonarchies are ostensibly reluctant to increase their production of black gold, contrary to demands from Washington, which is seeking to contain the surge in the price of hydrocarbons. And, in Dubai, the tax haven of the UAE, the Russian oligarchs have an open table, to the great displeasure of Westerners who track down their assets.
The refusal of the Jewish state to take sides in the conflict is mainly explained by tactical considerations, foreign to its American ally: to appear as a possible mediator between kyiv and Moscow and to preserve the capacity of its air force to intervene against the Iranian positions. in Syria, a country whose skies are controlled by Moscow. On the other hand, the defection of the Saudis and the Emiratis is a reflection of the deep discord which reigns between these two countries and their protector across the Atlantic.
The White House’s relationship with Riyadh, idyllic under the Trump administration, regained with Joe Biden the acrimonious tone it had taken at the end of Barack Obama’s term. « I don’t care » (“I don’t care”), recently replied Mohammed Ben Salman, the strongman of the Saudi crown, to a journalist from the American magazine The Atlantic, who questioned him on the persistent refusal of the current American president to speak to him. A measure announced in the wake of the publication, in early 2021, of the CIA report incriminating the son of King Salman in the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 in Istanbul.
As for the alliance between Washington and Abu Dhabi, the other great power on the Arabian Peninsula, “she is at the lowest point”, observes Hussein Ibish, an analyst at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. The reception with great pomp that Mohammed Ben Zayed, the regent of the UAE, offered, on March 19, to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, provided a striking demonstration of this. The arrival in Abu Dhabi of the executioner of Aleppo constitutes a snub to the Caesar law, passed by Congress in 2019, which threatens sanctions, any entity entering into relations with Damascus. “The Emirates are going through a phase of hubris, they think they are a middle power, when they are very vulnerable”continues Hussein Ibish.
You have 58.46% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.