Topic:

UAE

The UAE Withdraws from Yemen

| August 4, 2019

A UAE decision to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Yemen shines a spotlight on hard realities underlying Middle Eastern geopolitics. The pullback suggests that the UAE is preparing for the possibility of a US military confrontation with Iran in which the UAE and Saudi Arabia could emerge as prime battlegrounds. It also reflects long-standing subtle differences in the approaches of Saudi Arabia and the UAE toward Yemen.

Russia Joins Gulf States in Coaching Sudan’s Military

| July 9, 2019

Russia has emerged as Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s silent partner in assisting the Sudanese military’s efforts to weaken, if not defeat, a months-long popular revolt that has already toppled president Omar Bashir.

Soccer Emerges as the Potential Icebreaker of the Gulf Crisis

| July 1, 2019

June 5 was the second anniversary of the GCC boycott of Qatar. In a soccer-mad region, Qatar’s World Cup 2022 might turn out to be the catalyst to finally bring the boycott to an end.

Saudi-UAE Aid Puts Pakistan-Iran Relations on the Spot

| January 29, 2019

Pakistan is stepping through a minefield as it concludes agreements on investment, balance of payments support, and delayed payment oil deliveries with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth $13 billion. These deals are likely to spawn growing distrust in its relations with neighboring Iran.

US Troop Withdrawal from Syria Could Fuel Gulf Assertiveness

| December 30, 2018

President Donald Trump, in shrugging off allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman may have been responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, described the world as a dangerous place. Gulf leaders are likely to share that perception in response to the president’s seeming unwillingness to fully take their interests into account, particularly in the wake of his announced US troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. The vacuum created by Trump risks fueling greater Gulf assertiveness, with potentially messy consequences.

The Fragility of Middle East Alliances

| November 12, 2018

Competition among Middle Eastern rivals and ultimate power within the region’s various alliances is increasingly as much economic and commercial as it is military and geopolitical. Battles are fought as much on geopolitical fronts as they are on economic and cultural battlefields such as soccer.

Regional Players Maneuver to Reengineer the Israeli-Palestinian Landscape

| September 2, 2018

A possible ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, may be about more than ending the ongoing, escalating violence that threatens to spark yet another Gaza war. It could also be an attempt to pave the way for the return of Muhammad Dahlan as successor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Russian Hacking in the US and the Gulf

| July 23, 2018

The covert cyberwar that helped spark the 13-month-old Gulf crisis, which pits a Saudi-United Arab Emirates-led alliance against Qatar, may have just gotten murkier with the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Saudi Religious Diplomacy Targets Jerusalem

| July 8, 2018

A United Arab Emirates-backed Saudi effort to wrest control from Jordan of Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem signals a sharper, more overt edge to Saudi religious diplomacy. The kingdom’s quest for regional hegemony risks deepening divides in the Muslim world.

The 2018 World Cup Could Become the Middle East’s Latest Battlefield

| June 13, 2018

The simultaneous presence in Russia of the Saudi and Iranian teams for the 2018 World Cup is likely to shine a spotlight on the covert wars between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran as well as on a related dispute over 2022 World Cup host Qatar, which did not qualify for this year’s tournament. Tensions will be present even if the kingdom and the Islamic Republic fail to meet face to face on the pitch.