The impressive string of world leaders visiting the UAE following the recent death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed made it clear that the UAE plays a huge role in regional and global affairs. The United States, in particular, has no interest in maintaining and strengthening ties with the new president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as an ally in diplomatic and military matters and as a partner in energy supply and current and future innovation.
The Cipher Brief talked about what it means and what follows from it Middle East Expert Standards Roulewho served as National Intelligence Manager for Iran at ODNI and since retiring, travels extensively across the region to meet with top regional leaders.
The short cipher: What are the prospects for the enlargement of US-UAE ties and what are the incentives and obstacles to stronger bilateral relations in the future?
Roulette: The rank and stature of the US delegation that traveled to the UAE following the death of UAE President Shaykh Khalifah bin Zayed was significant. The list of officials chosen to be part of this delegation tells us why the report is vital for Washington. The group included our highest officials on foreign policy, national security and energy matters.
The safety angle is easy to understand – the UAE is a trusted and valued partner and has earned that reputation. The enemies of the UAE are our enemies and Abu Dhabi has deployed personnel to fight with our forces on multiple occasions.
The energy discussions with the Gulf suitably focus on oil and gas. By the end of 2022, the UAE and Saudi Arabia will likely be the only remaining OPEC members with spare production capacity. But the UAE’s green energy efforts are respected for their ambitions and prospects, as evidenced by the presence of former secretary John Kerry. Secretary Kerry has made multiple trips to the GCC and, to my knowledge, was impressed with their investment in climate change technologies. The United States was also impressed by the Emirati commitment to interfaith and multicultural engagement and its role in developing the Abraham Accords.
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