World, Middle East

UAE crown prince part of problem in Middle East: Forbes

Bin Zayed using 'country’s military, financial resources to thwart emergence of democratic tendencies in region'

Beyza Binnur Dönmez   | 17.01.2020
UAE crown prince part of problem in Middle East: Forbes Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan ( Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout - Anadolu Agency )


A Forbes magazine article accused United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of being a "dictator" and part of conflicts in the Middle East. 

"The first thing to be noted is that to the extent that the future of the Persian Gulf and the broader Middle East look grim, M.B.Z. has so far been part of the problem, not part of the solution," said the article published on Thursday, using his initials.

The report said bin Zayed has used UAE's military and financial resources to "thwart the emergence of democratic tendencies in the region, all under the guise of fighting Islamic extremism."

On the $27 billion weapon sales from the U.S. to the UAE over the past decade, the article said it cracked the door open for its political and military role in Yemen, Libya, and Egypt, which has "too often been destructive and destabilizing."

"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) arbitrarily detains and in some cases forcibly disappears individuals who criticize the authorities ... [it] plays a leading role in the Saudi-led coalition which has carried out scores of unlawful attacks in Yemen, some likely war crimes. The UAE was implicated in detainee abuse at home and abroad," it said.

Stressing that the crown prince's influence extends beyond the borders, the article has accused him of joining Saudi Arabia "to promote the coup that brought Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power."

His government also has "armed and supported the forces of Gen. Khalifa Hafter against the U.N.-recognized government" in Libya.

The article added that although bin Zayed has a partially reduced presence in Yemen, the country allegedly continues to have close relationships with militias and separatist groups.  

Lobby in Washington

According to Forbes, the UAE has escaped "greater" criticism since it has "one of the most powerful" lobbies in Washington.

It showed that only in 2018, the country spent over $20 million on 20 separate lobbying firms, which engaged in over 3,000 separate lobbying activities -- including meetings with members of Congress, the media, and influential think tanks. And firms employed by the UAE made over $600,000 in political contributions.

It added that Obama administration was seeing him as "a dangerous rogue actor," however, during the presidency of Donald Trump he is seen as a "more pliant partner."

The article also predicted that although less known than his "infamous" Saudi counterpart Mohammed bin Salman, the Emirati crown prince is poised to have "more influence" on the future of the region.

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