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UAE Standardization Issues – Middle East Monitor

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Three “breakthroughs” made by Abu Dhabi in recent months call for reflection:

The first was with Israel, as relations exceeded the normal level of opening embassies or exchanges of political visits, etc., reaching the level of joint military maneuvers in the Red Sea. It means that they have reached a covenant relationship.

The second was with the chemical weapon using the Assad regime, which went from simply opening the Emirati embassy in Damascus at the end of 2018 to the foreign minister’s visit to Damascus about two weeks ago. .

The third was with Ankara, who was visited by the strongman of the Emirates, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, where he was received with a protocol usually reserved for heads of state, and during the visit a package of investment in the amount of 10 billion dollars has been signed. .

What unites the three countries, despite their many differences, is that they are outcasts to varying degrees and degrees. Israel is an outcast in its Arab environment as a state (or rather, it was until before the Abrahamic Accords) regardless of which party governs it. In addition to being “hated” in many Western circles, it is viewed by public opinion as a heavy moral burden. While the United States is a strategic ally of Israel, regardless of political changes in Washington and Tel Aviv, the relationship between the two countries is not free from political tensions, which often result in intervention. Americans in Israeli domestic politics with the aim of getting rid of an undesirable government and replacing it, through elections, by another. Regardless of the Arab normalization campaign with Israel led by Jared Kushner during the presidency of former US President Donald Trump, the UN resolutions against him, in the Security Council and in the General Assembly, regarding his occupation of land Palestinian and Arab and its racist measures, still testify to its isolation and rejection, although they are not implemented.

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Bashar’s regime of chemical weapons use is today more isolated and ostracized than Israel, although this ostracism does not extend to the Syrian state, if it can be called a Syrian state in current conditions. Despite the “atmosphere of normalization” that has pleased the regime in recent months since the meetings of its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faisal Miqdad, with some of his Arab counterparts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, the project to transfer gas and electricity to Lebanon via Syrian territory, and the phone call with King Abdullah II of Jordan, the regime is still a long way from obtaining international recognition of its legitimacy. It also remains the main obstacle to any normalization with other countries because it is not “improving its behavior” as requested of it, that is to say it does not give to those who wish to normalize with her no justification that could obscure her criminal behavior. Arab “breakthroughs” in normalizing relations with the regime will remain black marks on the record of those who normalize, and there is no practical benefit for the regime or for Syria.

As for Turkey, its relative isolation from its NATO allies, the Americans and the Europeans, is linked to Turkish regional policies and, to a lesser extent, to Turkish internal affairs. Western governments, in particular the American administration, do not hide their dissatisfaction with the Turkish policy that President Erdogan is responsible for drawing, since he has put all the power and authority in his hands. As for its Arab isolation by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in particular, it is mainly linked to Turkey’s stance on Sisi’s coup in Egypt in 2013 and its aftermath. This isolation began to break down a few months ago during the Egyptian-Turkish meetings to settle the differences, which have not yet reached an agreement between the two parties, and the visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to Ankara. was the most significant breakthrough on this front.

This is not only because he is the highest official of the three anti-Erdogan countries, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but also because the atmosphere of hostility between Ankara and Abu Dhabi has reached levels that were hard to imagine surmounting. Ankara has continued to accuse the Emirati leadership, and the Crown Prince in particular, of financing the attempted coup in July 2016, and continues to hold him responsible for the murder of 251 Turks who were shot dead by the soldiers suddenly.

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However, the policy is not based on ideological or principle constants, but rather on “pragmatism and realism”, as one of the Turkish president’s advisers justified the visit in the face of government criticism for not having raised the issue of funding the failed military coup in the meeting between Erdogan and bin Zayed. As for Erdogan, he told reporters similar moves could take place with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Either way, whatever the Turkish motives for normalizing with the UAE, and with the clarity of Israel’s and Assad’s motives, the question remains over Abu Dhabi’s motives for the three campaigns of standardization mentioned above.

Initially, no one assumes that these are ideological principles on the part of the UAE, which they have overstepped in the aforementioned normalization campaigns, especially with regard to Israel, as normalization with Israel may have – to be the most consistent with its absolute pragmatism. As for its normalization with the regime of Bashar, one can read there that the United Arab Emirates bring the leader of the hostile coalition to the revolutions of the Arab Spring. From this point of view, she had to reward the Syrian killer for his violent “success” in burying the revolution of the Syrian people. Finally, regarding its sudden normalization with Ankara, this is the most important breakthrough, as the previous hostility with it was based mainly on ideological choices, i.e. hostility towards the Muslim Brotherhood, and towards political Islam, in general, United Arab Emirates and Turkey alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and political Islam.

The UAE, which has always been content with its economic and financial role, has been transformed by the Arab Spring revolutions and therefore has assumed a direct military role in Libya and Yemen, as well as regional political ambitions to compete with d other countries in the region. . The aforementioned normalization campaigns are only steps to strengthen this regional role towards arrangements that take into consideration the power vacuum left by the United States, the return of Russia and the Iranian expansion which has reached its peak. . This clearly shows that the competition is between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar for leadership of the Arab region, with the main regional powers remaining represented by Turkey, Iran and Israel.

The opinions expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.