News from the Arab Press

Has The UAE Adopted Trump’s Strategy?

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

January 2, 2018

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Al-Jazeera, Qatar, December 21

Is the United Arab Emirates adopting the political tactics and rhetoric employed by U.S. President Donald Trump? A series of events over the past week certainly suggests so. In true Trump fashion, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan launched a twitter attack on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing the latter’s “Ottoman ancestors” of stealing religious texts from the holy city of Medina and transporting them to Istanbul. As if this weird incident was not enough, a few days later the UAE’s national carrier, Emirates Airlines, prevented women from boarding a scheduled flight from Tunis to Abu Dhabi, citing “security concerns.” Male passengers, meanwhile, were allowed to board without any interference. While these are undoubtedly peculiar events they likely would have been forgotten had the Emirati government issued an apology. Instead, the lack of response spoke louder than words. Perhaps we should not be surprised by this type of behavior. After all, ever since the 2004 passing of founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, the UAE has been undermining the authority of other countries in order to promote its own goals. For example, Abud Dhabi has distanced itself from its Arab neighbors by siding with neoconservatives in Washington. This partnership brought extensive investment into the small country but also enabled its takeover by the American Jewish lobby. Meanwhile, the Emiratis have become involved in all sorts of conspiracies, including attempts to meddle in revolutions in other Arab countries by supporting various rebel groups. We have all heard rumors of the UAE’s funding of the Egyptian opposition and even its stirring of the pot in neighboring Saudi Arabia. This has been a huge gamble. While it might be paying off now, there is no guarantee that it will continue to in the future. The Emirati leaders, who have turned their backs on their own people, should be more watchful than ever before. – Osama Abu Arshid

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