The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has discovered itself within the crosshairs of america and the European Union over its continued ties with Russia, irritating the West’s makes an attempt to strain Moscow economically in response to the battle in opposition to Ukraine. However now, some doable changes in Abu Dhabi’s overseas coverage may change the image considerably, amid rising considerations that Israel’s battle on Gaza may unfold throughout the area.
In early September, representatives of the UK, the EU and the US visited the UAE to specific their considerations concerning the Gulf nation’s ties with Russia.
Particularly, these Western governments have sought to stop the Russians from getting access to sure dual-use objects, corresponding to laptop chips and digital elements that could possibly be used to bolster Russia’s battle machine.
Earlier this yr, Washington warned the UAE, Oman and Turkey in opposition to evading sanctions and export controls imposed on Moscow final yr. Subsequently, in April, the US imposed sanctions on two UAE-based entities: Aeromotus Unmanned Aerial Automobiles Buying and selling LLC and Hulm Al Sahra Electrical Gadgets Buying and selling.
In response to the Ministry of Finance, Aeromotus had despatched a number of drones and robotic expertise to Russian importers after the outbreak of the continued battle in Ukraine.
Washington has sanctioned Hulm Al Sahra for allegedly sending about $190,000 value of semiconductors, sourced from the US and topic to US export controls, in addition to equipment, electronics and optics to Russian corporations within the second half of 2022.
Shortly after the Western officers’ go to to the UAE in September, Bloomberg Information reported that Emirati authorities have been contemplating introducing export licenses for sure applied sciences, together with semiconductors.
Abu Dhabi has not but imposed these measures. If such a step does happen, it won’t solely be the results of growing strain from the West, but additionally of the growing risk that the battle between Israel and Hamas will unfold to different elements of the Center East. In that state of affairs, the UAE would need to strengthen ties with its final safety guarantor, the US, in response to specialists.
“If the UAE introduces export licenses, it might be an indicator that they see the prices of not assembly Western calls for as outweighing the advantages of a minimum of a few of their commerce with Russia,” stated Mark Katz, a professor on the George Mason College. Schar College for Coverage and Authorities, in an interview with Al Jazeera.
“It might even be an indicator that the UAE doesn’t need to harm its relations with the US, particularly when the potential for a wider battle within the Center East, together with Iran, arises and the UAE would need US safety in opposition to Tehran,” he stated. .
With COP28 kicking off later this month, the UAE needs as a lot peace and quiet as doable within the space.
‘Below strain from the West’
Even when the UAE have been to introduce export management permits, it’s not clear what number of issues this might trigger in Emirati-Russia relations.
“Moscow will in all probability perceive that the UAE would take this step beneath strain from the West. Furthermore, this transfer may solely restrict, not eradicate, cooperation between the UAE and Russia. Moscow wish to keep cooperation with the UAE,” Katz stated.
Maybe such export licenses may assist advance Abu Dhabi’s pursuits – each by way of its fame as a buying and selling hub within the Center East and its nationwide safety considerations concerning the Russian-Iranian entente.
“Introducing export licenses would assist reinforce the concept the UAE is a dependable place to do enterprise,” Gordon Grey, a former US ambassador to Tunisia, instructed Al Jazeera.
“The UAE has robust political and financial incentives to take care of good relations with america and the European Union. The nation can be undoubtedly suspicious of the rising navy alliance between Russia and Iran, and wish to shield its nationwide safety by stopping dual-use items from ending up in Iranian fingers.”
UAE officers are involved about Moscow’s deepening partnership with Tehran – partly due to the non-state actors Tehran sponsors and partly due to its drone and ballistic missile actions – and are involved about their potential to exacerbate the safety crises within the Center East. -East to worsen.
Nonetheless, taking cues from the West on the subject of relations with Russia wouldn’t be with out sure dangers for the UAE.
Russia has reportedly sourced drones and different weapons techniques from Iran for its battle in Ukraine. From Abu Dhabi’s viewpoint, this dependence, mixed with a decrease stage of cooperation with the UAE, could lead on Russia to lean extra in the direction of Tehran on the subject of controversial points in Emirati-Iran relations, which could possibly be problematic for the Emirates.
“Moscow might not be above providing this as a chance to discourage the UAE from additional compliance with Western sanctions in opposition to Russia,” he stated.
Nevertheless, some specialists query whether or not Abu Dhabi would really implement such export licenses to curry favor with Washington and different Western capitals.
“The UAE and different Gulf states haven’t been too captivated with damaging their relations with Russia,” Imad Harb, Director of Analysis and Evaluation at Arab Middle Washington, DC, instructed Al Jazeera.
“If the UAE does certainly impose these controls, the choice could be for geopolitical causes, particularly to provide the impression that they’re adhering to the needs of the US and the EU. However even when controls are imposed, there are methods to avoid them by corporations and people most involved about their enterprise and industrial pursuits.”
In response to Harb, the introduction of those export licenses is unlikely to have an excessive amount of unfavorable influence on Abu Dhabi’s relationship with Moscow, as he pointed to the 2 international locations’ capability to avoid such controls.
“The UAE can all the time prepare for the expertise to be bought by means of Iran, which has good relations with Russia and is prone to be eager to assist Moscow keep away from any sanctions,” he instructed Al Jazeera.