The UAE-Saudi strategic alliance, especially in its economic aspect, represented an important development within the Gulf territory in the recent past. It has led to a reshaping the balance of power in the Middle East and filling the vacuum that prevailed in the first decade of this century.
This is known to the foes of the alliance, who are fully aware of strength of the strategic bond. They are now doing their utmost to dismantle the alliance, which also features Kuwait and Bahrain, by creating a rift between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Their malicious attempts will fail because this alliance is different from all previous ones, including within the GCC bloc itself.
Based on strong foundations, it depends, among other aspects, on the economic factor, which means that this alliance will even become more solid and deep through the interrelation of shared interests at the government and private sector levels. The economic interests constitute the biggest guarantee for its continuity and resistance to any campaigns of vandalism led by regional foes against this alliance.
A spike in bilateral investment activity
Recently, the UAE-Saudi Coordination Council approved the implementation of 44 joint economic projects, while the volume of Saudi investments in the UAE hitting $10 billion (Dh36.7 billion) and more than 3,200 Saudi companies registered in the UAE. This is apart from Adnoc’s plans to expand its activities in Saudi Arabia and the opening of more branches by Emirates NBD in the kingdom.
A year ago, the Saudi-Kuwaiti Coordination Council was announced, while Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced a coordination council last month. This is in addition to several such councils and joint committees set up by the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait, which will lead to a qualitative shift in economic and strategic cooperation among the four countries. These form a security guarantee for the protection of these countries and even for ensuring stability in the wider region.
Causing pinpricks for some
Perhaps, some fear that this alliance would constitute an alternative to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and both Doha and Tehran have contributed to sabotaging and abusing its components and approaches. The GCC, however, has reached a stage where it is facing many difficulties and requires a paradigm shift to thwart Qatar’s acts of sabotage.
This is mainly because the current structure of the GCC cannot deal with serious challenges surrounding it, making it all the more vital to find new ways to work and preserve the economic gains achieved over the past four decades. This is the idea behind establishing the coordinating councils by the four Gulf states. These councils complement the previous approaches by the GCC.
This will more than compensate for any failure by the wider six-member GCC bloc to adopt policies compatible with the general interests of the GCC states. Therefore, attempts to undermine the UAE-Saudi strategic alliance and coordination committees among the four GCC nations have been intensified by the Qatari and Iranian media. They do so because they realise the new horizons of such a cooperation, particularly in the economic field, will turn upside down the region’s power balance in favour of the alliance.
The four Gulf states are investing billions in artificial intelligence and all the other facets of a knowledge-based economy, which will contribute to remarkable progress in the future. In contrast, Iran and Qatar have spent on armaments and financing terrorist organisations at the expense of development.
This clearly means that differences between the two opposing blocs will vary significantly and in favour of the four Gulf countries. The smear campaigns and defamation attempts to undermine the Emirati-Saudi alliance will vanish with the end of Al Jazeera broadcasts and Qatar’s rotten gas money, while Qatar’s losses will continue to mount, from Libya in the west to Yemen in the east, and through their misadventures in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere.
Dr Mohammad Al Asoomi is a UAE economic expert and specialist in economic and social development in the GCC countries.