How it works between UAE and US
Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and de facto United Arab Emirates (UAE) chief executive, has evidently determined that his main regional policies have not worked well and involve a basic reorientation. He is removing his nation from Yemen’s military involvement and attempting to tone down Iran’s conflict. The change of the UAE highlights some aspects in which the region’s present U.S. strategy could also use redirection.
The UAE is one of three nations to which the Trump administration has effectively subcontracted its Middle East policy, with Israel and Saudi Arabia being the other two. In overseas strategy as well as in house remodeling, a subcontractor can significantly complicate a project when he abruptly chooses to go in a distinct path on his own. The fresh route is not necessarily good and may be an enhancement (see below), but in the meantime the project’s proprietor is left with an incomplete bathroom’s foreign policy equivalent.
How Saudi Arabia is affected
If the Trump administration does not go in the same fresh direction, the United States in the Middle East will be even more isolated than it was before the change by MbZ. And of the two remaining partners, the crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), cannot rule out similar shifts. MbS cannot remove Saudi Arabia from the Yemeni conflict as readily as the UAE extracts itself, which is mainly its child. But he is facing some of the same setbacks and difficulties and is now facing them without his partner MbZ having as much assistance as before. If MbS reviews Saudi strategy, a Trump administration that adheres to its present course would do so on its own with the exception of its political partnership with Israel’s right-wing state, which, as always, for its own extremely parochial purposes, will have a connection.
Conflict divisions in the Middle East have always been far more complex than the image supported by the Trump administration, according to which the only thing that counts is relentless resistance to a Shia flag allegedly controlled by Iran. The Yemen war is a vivid illustration of the complexity. There started the Houthi rebellion over local grievances concerning inadequate attention from the central government to the northeast Yemeni interests. Iran has not started the war and has only started to see material assistance for the Houthis —who persisted to create their own choices, even if opposed to the advice of Iran — as an inexpensive manner for the Saudis to sweat and worry after MbS initiated its major war action.