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Saudi-UAE’s role in Arab Politics: Is Political Islam a major threat to them?

Saudi-UAE's role in Arab Politics
Saudi-UAE's role in Arab Politics

The United Arab Emirates’ military capabilities and military ambitions are far greater than anyone else in the Arab world. They want to build a strong military-industrial complex so that they can defend themselves before the US or Israeli aid arrives in the event of a regional threat. Saudi Arabia and the Emirate are often seen working towards the same goal. But while there are many similarities in the goals and principles of the two countries, there are also many differences. Saudi Arabia considers Iran a major threat to itself, while the Emirate considers political Islam, or Muslim Brotherhood, a major threat to itself. The Brotherhood is an existential threat to them. And their main weapon in dealing with this threat is the regional military dictators. That’s why they always support the military dictatorship in the Arab world for the sake of their political stability.

When the Arab Spring began in 2011, the Emirate was in some conflict at the beginning. The Emiratis were outraged that why the Obama administration did not side with Mubarak even Mubarak was America’s longtime tried and tested friend. Even Emirate opposed NATO’s  (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) intervention in Libya in the backchannel. But realizing that the rebels are in a favorable position and that Qatar is handing over the future of the region to them by assisting the Islamist rebels in Qatar, Emarat also began to actively participate.

In defiance of UN sanctions in Libya, taking a stand against the UN-backed government, and going against Obama’s position, the Emirate had directly helped General Khalifa Haftar, still bombing regularly. In recent times, the Sudanese movement has taken the opportunity to stage a coup, backing the army in Algeria, and attempted a coup in Ethiopia. The entire Middle East and North Africa are the Emirates’ playing field.

For various reasons, the media reports are more against Saudi Arabia, and the anger of the people is more against the Saudi rulers. But in reality, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is still a child compared to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Emirate. Their relationship is like a guru-disciple relationship, where MBZ is a guru, and MBS is a disciple. MBS was not supposed to come to power; MBZ lobbied the Americans to support MBS. It can be said that MBZ has put MBS in power to impolitic. The Saudis are basically Western puppets. Once they were puppets of the British.

The emirate is much more aggressive in regional politics than Saudi. So far, the main feature of Saudi politics has been the containment of Iran. That’s why they started the war in Yemen. Apart from this, occupation in the Middle East is not a feature of their prey became puppets of America and Israel. The Emirates’ goals are clear: not to allow political Islam to stand in the Middle East, not to establish democracy, to keep its loyal military dictators in power, and to establish itself as an ally to Israel. Political Islam is a major threat to them because if Political Islamism enters into their state, their style of the dictatorial ruling system would be no more.

Written by Niaz Ahmed

The writer is PhD Scholar in Jamia Millia Islamia Univiersity in India. His study and research works concentrate on International Relations and other socio-political issues.

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