The Most Powerful Arab Ruler Is from the UAE, Not Saudi Arabia

(New York Times) David D. Kirkpatrick - Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, 58, a British-trained helicopter pilot who is crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the UAE, is arguably the most powerful leader in the Arab world. His tiny country has fewer citizens than Rhode Island. But he controls sovereign wealth funds worth $1.3 trillion. His military is the Arab world's most potent, equipped to conduct surveillance and combat operations far beyond its borders. His air force includes 80 F-16 fighters, 30 Apache combat helicopters, and 62 French Mirage jets. His special forces are active in Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Egypt's North Sinai. Prince Mohammed has often told American officials that he saw Israel as an ally against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel trusted him enough to sell him upgrades for his F-16s, as well as advanced mobile phone spyware. By 2015, American diplomats say, Prince Mohammed was suggesting that the UAE and a new Saudi leadership could be crucial in bringing the Palestinians around to some new peace agreement - the so-called "outside-in" approach to a deal.

2019-06-03 00:00:00

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