Bin Zayed grew up witnessing the rapid transformation of the UAE from huts to Hilton hotels and skyscrapers. Along the way, his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, elder brother Khalifa and he learned two valuable lessons: the UAE cannot survive without outside protection and they need to remain strategically significant to keep mainly their Western allies interested and on board. Moreover, the country’s geographical location puts it between two regional powers that historically have shown an interest in controlling it.
Results for Tag: Obama
For Russia, extending its hand to the region might indeed be useful; for Saudi Arabia, the decision appears more pragmatic as its once go-to allies for economic cooperation have been the US and Europe. However, the Saudis have several reasons to no longer trust the West and to seek support elsewhere.
Iran’s strategy following the US’ withdrawal from the JCPOA has focused on two objectives. The first is to push back against the maximum pressure policy with the aim of proving its irrelevance in bringing Iran to the negotiating table on US terms. The second is to drive a wedge between the US and its regional allies, especially Iran’s Arab neighbours.
The imbalance of forces between the US and Iran all but assures Washington of military dominance over Iran. Tehran knows this, and the country can hardly want to face an invasion. Plus, the apparent failure of explosives in the two seaborne attacks does not do much for the reputation of the Iranian military. However, both the ramping up of military rhetoric and the spectre of a long-time enemy looming large plays well politically for both the Trump and Rouhani governments.
Whatever the motivation behind the S-400 purchase, Turkey has made its pursuit of a new path very clear: away from past Western allies and into an unknown territory, unburdened by past alliances. What is certain is that US officials misjudged Turkey’s moves throughout this affair as a mere bluff when it appears the country was, from its early days, genuinely committed to the purchase. The result is perhaps the final nail in the coffin of good US-Turkey relations.