The United Arab Emirates: From Empowerment to the Future

When we talk about His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE (may God protect him), we are talking about a leader who honed his leadership skills from a very early age. These skills were demonstrated recently, during the pandemic, when fears over potential medicine and food shortages saw people in countries around the world frantically race to stores, in a bid to hoard supplies. Many also rushed to cooperative societies to stockpile even more supplies; not out of a fear of potential price increases, but fearing goods would run out. In response, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed spoke to the UAE people, reassuring them with the phrase, “Don’t worry”. With these words, His Highness managed to calm the crisis, while proving that he is truly a leader who is able to deftly respond to challenges. Looking to the future, His Highness has a far-reaching vision that is underpinned by his expert ability to anticipate what lies ahead.
When we talk about the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul in peace), who was described by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in his eulogy to the UAE, and to Arab and Muslim nations, as the ‘Leader of Empowerment’, we are talking about a president who empowered the next generation of leaders. He also strengthened the role of women, who make up half of our society, to ensure their effective participation in political, social, economic and academic arenas. The ‘Leader of Empowerment’ played an integral role in guiding new leaders, assigning decision-making tasks to His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed when he was appointed Abu Dhabi Crown Prince. Sheikh Khalifa soon recognized the Crown Prince’s unique leadership qualities, such as sharp insight, sound viewpoints, courage and the ability to shoulder responsibilities. ‘Bu Khalid’ has affirmed his status as the country’s leader, not only because he was chosen by the Federal Supreme Council as UAE President following Sheikh Khalifa’s death, but also because of his track record of proven leadership experience and unique qualities.
The members of the Federal Supreme Council, the people of the UAE, and people all over the world, share deep respect and affection for His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The many visits from world leaders to console His Highness over the passing of Sheikh Khalifa is evidence of this. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed is an ambitious strategic planner, who follows a path of tolerance in working toward a bright future for the UAE.
May God rest the soul of our late leader in peace, and make Heaven his eternal abode with the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous; and excellent are those as companions. We also pray for His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE, that he achieves his ambitions, goals and objectives. May God guide His Highness in his endeavors.

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Prospects for UAE-US Relations in a New Strategic Environment

The war in Ukraine has highlighted tensions in the UAE-US relationship, but these tensions are the result of a long-running accumulation of factors related to the current US administration.

First, there is uncertainty in the UAE regarding Washington’s continued commitment to maintaining regional security, particularly the threat posed by ballistic missiles and drones operated by Iran-backed militias. Washington reopened negotiations on the nuclear deal with no guarantees that these concerns would be addressed. Second, Biden’s decision to reverse Trump’s approach to Iranian containment has contributed to a cooling in relations between both countries. Third, the US and UAE have different interests with regards to their relationship with China and Russia, which the Ukrainian crisis has highlighted. The conflict has exposed disagreement between the UAE and US on energy issues, as well as the UAE’s use of Chinese 5G technology and its engagement in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Ukrainian crisis, and the issue of energy supplies and prices, may offer an opportunity for the UAE and US to redefine their strategic relationship and develop a new framework able to deepen their geo-security partnership. Such an approach might better address the key points of contention, particularly regarding security threats and defense. This could be part of a bilateral or regional framework to reach a mutual understanding on relations with major world powers.

Regional and international systems are adapting to a new strategic environment that necessitates engagement in deep strategic dialogue to readjust UAE-US relations. This could strengthen and expand the partnership for a new era of deepened common interests, mutual trust, established governance and increased bilateral cooperation in addressing common threats.

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