United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash never misses a chance to diss Turkey. However, the country now known as the "United Arab Emirates" was ruled by the British since the 1800s all the way until 1971. And before that, the Portuguese were calling the shots there.
The British united seven small emirates under the name of the "United Arab Emirates" in 1971. The UAE first came under the protection of the United Kingdom, and later the U.S. It quickly gained wealth after the discovery of oil after existing as poor sheikhdoms for so long. The UAE boasts a population of about 10 million, only 1 million of which are citizens. There’s a plethora of articles on the web describing how the UAE treats its migrant workers like slaves. This wealth, controlled by foreigners, contributes to the extreme impoverishment of the Arab world.
If you recall, U.S. President Donald Trump had told the Saudis, “You couldn't last two weeks without us” and asked them to buy more American weapons. The same rings true for the UAE. In the past few years, the United Arab Emirates has signed a $27 billion contract with American arms companies. The UAE used U.S.-made weapons in Yemen and deployed these weapons to gangs who wanted to overthrow the legitimate government in Libya despite the UN embargo decision. The U.S. Congress drafted resolutions to restrict the sale of American weapons to Saudis and Emiratis. However, Trump vetoed all these bills.
An Arab world where people’s voices are heard by their governments is the UAE’s worst nightmare. Therefore, together with the Saudis, they carried out a coup in Egypt and overthrew elected President Mohammed Morsi. They are behind Egypt's return to a military dictatorial regime under General Sisi. Now, they have tasked an old general, Khalifa Haftar, with a shady past to overthrow the legitimate government of Libya.
Turkey's support for the legitimate government in Libya has also thrown the UAE off balance. Anwar Gargash had tweeted that "Turkey should not interfere in the internal affairs of the Arabs." Then what about France and Russia which support Haftar in Libya? What have the U.S. and the U.K. been doing in the Middle East all these years?
All the key positions in the Emirati army are also being supervised by American and Australian officers. One of these names is former American colonel Stephen Toumajan who was nicknamed “Little Napoleon.” Napoleon Bonaparte, the larger of the two, was involved in the invasion of Iraq, occupied Egypt in 1798, and then laid siege to Akka, a port city in what is now known as Israel, but was defeated and repelled by the Ottoman Jazzar Ahmet Pasha.
The UAE is a safe haven for mercenaries. Eric Prince, the founder of “Blackwater”, which conducted atrocities in Iraq, also works for the UAE. Prince, whose sister is Trump's minister of education, had Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed meet with a banker close to the Russian government in the Seychelles. This secret meeting, which took place 9 days before Trump entered the oval office, was within the scope of the "Russia Investigation" conducted by Robert Mueller in the U.S.
The Emiratis used foreign mercenaries to seize control over southern Yemen. It recruited them from several countries, especially Colombia, Panama, El Salvador, South Africa and Australia to fight in Yemen. In 2017, a U.K.-based human rights organization filed a criminal complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the UAE, citing torture, assassinations and attacks on civilians. The fate of this process remains unclear.
The Trump administration had previously threatened the ICC against even trying to impose sanctions on U.S. personnel and allies, particularly Israel. Could this threat have played a role in blocking the complaint against the UAE at the ICC?
Last July, six Yemenis in France filed a criminal complaint against Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, the ruler of the UAE, on the grounds that he committed crimes against humanity. We will see what fate awaits this process.