The UAE seems to be switching from an aggressive policy in politics and intelligence to a more restrained diplomatic stance. The reality behind the shift might be of paramount importance.
This notion reflects a significant political development since the early months of 2021. Emirati rulers’ attempts has been to reinvent the country as a constructive, rather than destabilizing state in the Middle East in the Biden era.
When you look behind the story, it’s evident that Abu Dhabi is still a potent force in the area, eager to use whatever means at its disposal to achieve its goals. While more discrete and credible in the new era manner, UAE’s conduct is by no means less intrusive and disturbing.
The Al Maktoum’s strategic methods in the area keeps on combining all forms of political and security influence and intervention. Due to the country’s tiny small geographical and demographic volume, most observers continue to use outdated power measurements when attempting to understand Abu Dhabi’s forceful posture in the area.
The seven emirates federation may dismiss its regional aspirations apparently. Nevertheless, they maintain their assertive wield at all realms of influence and dominance in regions like Yemen, Libya, and the Horn of Africa to realize their broad ideological agenda.
Hide and Act
In the absence of a traditional military power, Abu Dhabi has mastered battleship via delegation. The monarchy has formed networks with neigbouring and similar assertive states to establish surrogate combat units or consolidate hired soldiers to project influence abroad.
In one case, Abu Dhabi has ignored Washington objections for funding Russian secret militia in Libya, a report released by the Pentagon’s Inspector General for counterterrorism operations in Africa said. The report also referred to US lambast for the monarchy’s partnering with China on creating AI technologies and destabilizing information.
The country’s rulers, encouraged by the smooth process of decentralization of western power in the Middle East during the past years, resolved to find themselves as entitled to replace the dominancy. Abu Dhabi’s geo-strategic stance might have reinforced the idea of connecting the east to the west in years flowing the grand wars in the region.
The Rule of Division
UAE has mastered the art of delegating combat to proxies, who take on the brunt of the struggle while insulating the country from face damage. Local militia organisations, mercenaries, and civic leaders can assist Abu Dhabi convert its oil wealth into physical and strategic authority.
Using a colonial tactic of “divide and rule”, the UAE deliberately builds up combat troops by leveraging local discontent. Abu Dhabi has aggressively backed the Somali separatists in Puntland, using breakaway desires to form a militia. These mercenaries help extending the UAE’s presence throughout the Horn of Africa.
The UAE founded the “Southern Transitional Council” in response to southern separatist aspirations in Yemen. The proxy group guarantees the country’s control over Yemeni waters.
Besides, the UAE has been, and is, an active party to the military intervention against yemen. The Saudi-led coalition has turned large parts of the country to ashes and instigated harshest humanitarian crisis in modern age.
Furthermore, the UAE has exerted influence in terms of how mercenaries may be used in battle. Abu Dhabi supports Haftar’s LNA in Lybia by funding Russian “Wagner Group”. It also supported a counter-piracy mission in Somalia.
Latin American militants covered in Emirati attire were the core of the country’s mission in Yemen. This is while American and Israeli unofficial militia, utilizing Emirati command, led murder teams in the country’s southern region.
Aspirations to become an A-level power in the Middle East has led the UAE to tune its intraregional and interregional policies based on hypocrisy, division and aggression.