Global Affairs

U.S.-UAE Relations in Crisis After State Dept. Blasts Abu Dhabi for Suppressing Terror-Linked Political Party

The Daily Beast assessed yesterday that the alliance between the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was “straining after a rare outburst from the UAE,” which Abu Dhabi unleashed after an annual State Department human rights report criticized the Gulf nation for blocking the formation of a political party that the UAE insists is tied to terrorism.

This time around the UAE is angry that the State Department’s human rights report makes it appear that the founder of the Ummah Party, Hassan al-Diqqi, is just a regular democratic organizer…The Washington Post reported last year that al-Diqqi had appeared in a YouTube video as the leader of a jihadist militia in Syria appealing for donations. More recently, another senior member of the UAE’s Ummah Party, Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi was designated by the Treasury Department as a financier of al Qaeda.

One UAE official who is close to the issue told the Daily Beast, “The critical mischaracterization contained in the report would appear to point to the State Department’s inability to understand the dynamics of the UAE.”

Gulf states have taken to expressing open anger at the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, which they accuse of promoting destabilizing Islamist parties at the expense of Washington’s traditional allies. Arab leaders expressed open frustration at what they characterized as the White House’s haste to abandon the Egypt’s regime of Hosni Mubarak, and they vented with something close to disbelief at U.S. policies punishing the interim Egyptian government that formed after Mohammed Morsi’s subsequent Muslim Brotherhood-linked government was overthrown.

The anger extended to the top reaches of the UAE, and the Daily Beast noted that the “UAE’s rulers have quietly seethed at how President Obama has managed affairs in the Middle East and particularly his support for the toppling of America’s former client in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.”

[Photo: Stausifr / WikiCommons]