The United Arab Emirates Has Become a Force in the Middle East

(Economist-UK) The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, announced on August 13, was hashed out quietly by spies and sheikhs and unveiled largely on Twitter. Though long overshadowed by Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad bin Zayed, the UAE's de facto ruler, has turned his small country into arguably the most influential Arab state. Dubai is the region's business hub. Emirati money and media have backed coups and intrigue across the Middle East. A compact but capable army provides a sharper edge. The troops it sent to Yemen in 2015 were the most effective piece of a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis. Emirati drones propped up Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan warlord who tried last year to conquer Tripoli. UAE priorities differ from some of its neighbors: more pragmatic towards Iran and more hostile towards political Islam. Optimists hope "the Dubai model" - good governance, a vibrant economy, an admirable emphasis on religious tolerance - will spread across the Middle East.

2020-09-17 00:00:00

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