She described him as calm-tempered and formulated a more independent foreign policy.
Wall Street Journal: Mohammed bin Zayed is the most influential leader in the Middle East
The UAE wants to strengthen its ties with the United States. But not at the expense of other countries. Archival
The head of state has achieved remarkable success in relations with Russia. Archival
Mohammed bin Zayed began cementing ties with China years ago. Archival
The Wall Street Journal described His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the head of state, as "a quiet leader who formulated a more independent foreign policy, while witnessing the volatility of American politics during four administrations" and described him as "the most influential leader in the Middle East."
The newspaper published a report on the UAE's approaches, led by His Highness, to maintain balanced relations with all parties, especially in light of the great power competition and the war in Ukraine.
"His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UAE emerged as winners in terms of realigning geopolitical relations, and the strategy of dealing with everyone tested relations with the UAE's biggest ally, the United States," the report said, referring to the leadership role assumed by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the new Middle East, which it described as closer to Russia and China.
In rare press interviews, Emirati officials said that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan does not believe that the UAE's close relationship with the United States precludes relations with Moscow or Beijing, but that such relations can help Washington.
The newspaper quoted the diplomatic adviser to His Highness the President of the State, Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, as saying: "We will not allow the state of competition between the great powers to decide for us our orientations and positions."
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last October in St. Petersburg, where the UAE played a pivotal role in the prisoner exchange that included American basketball player Britney Grenner in exchange for Russian arms dealer Victor Bot.
According to a senior official in President Joe Biden's administration, the White House has been looking at His Highness the head of state achieving remarkable success in relations with Russia and China in recent years, adding that "some US officials have warned against the UAE cooperating closely with those countries on military and intelligence matters, as this could lead to jeopardizing relations with the United States."
The newspaper touched on a dialogue between His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and US officials on Russia and China, and quoted one of the officials that His Highness spoke with US and United Nations officials before and after his visit to Russia, and then called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan praised the UAE's de-escalation efforts in the region in a speech this month on the Biden administration's Middle East policy.
The United States sees the UAE as a key partner in the fight against terrorism and the stability of global energy markets, thanks to the huge investments made in the United States.
Over the past decade, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, described in the report as calm in nature, has drawn a fast line for economic expansion, openness and societal progress, and building ties in the Middle East, including strengthening ties with Iran and Syria. "In recent years, His Highness the head of state has been able to overcome a tense relationship with the United States of America," he said, "due to contentious issues over China."
Over the past seven months, the UAE has seen steps, including reducing oil production in coordination with Moscow, through the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, despite objections from the United States.
The newspaper quoted US and Emirati officials as saying that His Highness the head of state formulated a more independent foreign policy, while he witnessed the volatility of US policy during four administrations.
Dina Esfandiari, a senior Middle East advisor at the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank and author of a book on the UAE, said that "the nature of the U.S.-UAE relationship has changed," adding: "Emirati officials say they have felt uncertain about the U.S. commitment since the 2019 strikes on Saudi oil fields and tankers in Gulf waters, which were blamed on Iran and not publicly answered."
The report stressed that the UAE's economy is not only based on oil, but its status as a stable country in a turbulent region has made it an attractive market for money, logistics and tourism.
The Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, was quoted as saying: "The entire UAE model depends on the safety, security and stability of the people and the flow of goods and commodities."
In Abu Dhabi, messages poured in after the Houthi attacks from world leaders expressing their rejection and solidarity with the UAE, while President Biden did not call. Two weeks later, the United States sent fighter jets and a guided destroyer. When a large delegation of American leaders visited, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed refused to meet with him.
"Weeks later, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan did not call President Biden about Ukraine," she said.
U.S. officials say they have "neglected the threat the UAE has felt." One official cited the increasing use of U.S.-supplied weapons to defend against attacks as evidence of Washington's commitment to security. Speaking with President Biden last July on the sidelines of a regional summit, His Highness expressed his dissatisfaction with what he sees as "an American escape from the commitments of the strategic ally in security," as His Highness reminded President Biden of the participation of Emirati forces in fighting alongside the United States for 30 years, according to informed sources.
These sources added that His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, asked to clarify the position of the United States, so President Biden invited His Highness the President of the State, to visit Washington, where Washington is expected to pledge cooperation with the UAE in the fields of security, energy, business and religious tolerance.
The Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, said that "the UAE wants to strengthen its relations with the United States, but not at the expense of other countries," explaining that "it is about the United States, India, Europe, Russia, China and others."
He said: "His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, began to strengthen relations with China years ago, but the two countries converged during the (Corona) pandemic, when the UAE announced the opening of its borders, while many countries of the world closed them. The UAE produced face masks using machines sourced in China, other than DNA tests, in cooperation with one of China's leading gene companies, and produced vaccines in collaboration with China's Sinopharm, which was more willing than Western companies to cooperate with the UAE, UAE officials said.
Trade between the UAE and China exceeds $70 billion and is not only related to oil, but expands into financial, technological and cultural exchange. In February 2022, Abu Dhabi refused to vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Russia's war on Ukraine, in an effort to garner Russian support by voting in favor of another resolution classifying the Houthis as a terrorist organization.
The UAE's abstention hurt early U.S. efforts to isolate Russia. Nusseibeh said: "This decision came at a time when the UAE is preparing to chair the Security Council and seeking to mediate the conflict. On March 2 last year, the UAE voted in favor of a resolution at the UN General Assembly demanding that Russia stop the war.
Gargash said President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan "has been very patient in building this relationship with Russia."
Wall Street Journal:
• "The UAE's position as a stable country in a turbulent region has made it an attractive market for money, logistics and tourism."
"The United States sees the UAE as a key partner in the fight against terrorism and the stability of global energy markets."