The UAE Is Testing Washington’s Red Lines on Russia

The UAE Is Testing Washington’s Red Lines on Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan shake hands during their meeting on the sideline of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, 2023 (Agency RIA Novosti photo by Ilya Pitalev).

The war in Ukraine has continued to test nations’ global allegiances, and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council significantly embody this trend. In particular, the United Arab Emirates has worked proactively to embrace Russian business while hoping to evade pressure from the United States and its Western partners. 

Yet amid growing scrutiny over Russian ties, Abu Dhabi may have to adapt. Despite narratives of the UAE and Saudi Arabia drifting from the U.S. orbit, the Gulf states continue to recognize their dependency on U.S. security ties.

In May, the UAE announced it would withdraw from the U.S.-led maritime coalition, a 34-nation force aimed at counterterrorism and anti-piracy in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. However, just days later, it confirmed its desire to continue working together with Washington on regional security. Indeed, Washington’s recently renewed naval activities in the Middle East may serve as a reminder to Abu Dhabi of the benefits of security cooperation with the United States.

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