The visit of US President Barack Obama to Saudi Arabia today is accompanied by a horde of questions and queries that have occupied the minds of the Arab people and governments in the region on one side, as well as the minds of the American administration on the other. All these questions lead to one major question: What do people in the region see as necessary to cement their partnership with the US? This article provides an Emirati vision in an attempt to answer this question. First of all, we would like to welcome Obama in the region and present him with the following recommendations, which embody the aspirations of its people and contribute in bolstering the strategic partnership between the UAE and member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council:
First, the need to review the prevailing vision of your administration, which is, that you are quite adept at diagnosing and pinpointing interests on behalf of the people and countries of the region. That is not entirely true, due to the inalienable fact that what suits your nation and its citizens does not necessarily suit us. Having said that, this misconception does not invalidate the rule of consultation between us based on the existing partnership.
Second, there is a need to review the geopolitical balance policy you have adopted in the Middle East. This assumed balance between Iran’s geopolitical project — which was based on doctrinal revolutionary pillars that do not recognise international order or sovereignty of states — and countries that recognise the existing international order and sovereignty of states endorsed by this order is doomed to fail.
Third, the US administration should review its policies of linking terrorism in the region with one sect, thereby promoting sectarianism. To add insult to injury, you have adopted Tehran’s project for partnership with the international community to combat terrorism, and you supplied the Iraqi government with weapons to fight terrorism without asking both governments in Tehran and Baghdad to stop sending militias to Syria to commit acts of terror and mass killings there. And while Saudi Arabia, with the help of the UAE, has issued a list of terrorist organisations and put into effect a counter-terrorism law, countries in the Iranian axis have settled for organising conferences and media propaganda against “Sunni terrorism.”
Fourth, the US needs to support economic stability in Egypt to achieve development there and to pave the way for a democracy that suits the social formation of the Egyptian people and its local culture. The US must cease its reliance on an exclusionary group with undemocratic bases (the Muslim Brotherhood) if you want to guarantee freedoms and respect diversity.
Fifth, with regard to the US administration’s policy on Syria, we respect your choice of adopting a strategy of no military interference, but we are urging you to allow advanced military aid to be supplied to the opposition to strike a balance with the regime’s forces. Thus, paving the way for better results in any possible settlement and contributing to a geostrategic balance among regional players, which, in essence, is part of your objectives in the region.
Sixth, the need to activate tools of political pressure over the Iraqi government to adopt internal policies that respect the mosaic of the Iraqi people and end its contribution in igniting the sectarian war in the region, due to the fact that the proclaimed objective of the US occupation of Iraq was to topple a dictatorship and replace it with a democratic regime.
Seventh, the need to pressure Israel to accept the two-state solution based on the Arab Peace Initiative and give up the idea of Israel as a Jewish state, because of its dangerous consequences on the security and stability of the region.
Finally, Mr President, once again we assure you that those who deserve a strategic partnership in the region are the parties that present a promising model for life, not a project of death and destruction; the same concerned parties that conferred with the international community with transparency and never hesitated to join forces in achieving international peace and security and not those who refuse to recognise the international order.
Dr Ebtisam Al Ketbi is the chairwoman of Emirates Policy Centre.