As the Russia/Ukraine War continues on, President Biden has been attempting to promote a global message of unity against Putin’s ‘war of choice’. Despite these efforts, it has become abundantly clear that there are serious cracks in the alliances between the U.S. and the Middle East. Here’s what we know about the current pushback the U.S is receiving.
The first inclination the U.S. had that the Middle East might not be on board with unifying against Russia came when the UAE opted to abstain from a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
An article written by Ali Harb for aljazeera.com states, “Abu Dhabi’s abstention last month from the US-backed United Nations Security Council proposal on Ukraine was followed by anonymously-sourced media reports alleging that Saudi and Emirati leaders rebuffed calls from US President Joe Biden. And last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia is in talks with China to ditch the US dollar in favour of the yuan to conduct oil transactions with Beijing.”
The next indication that there were serious cracks in the U.S alliances with the Middle East came when the UAE hosted Syrian President Bashar Al-assad. This act was in direct opposition to warnings issues by Washington not to get involved with the government in Damascus.
The above mentioned article goes on to say, “The UAE and Saudi Arabia appear to be sending a message to the US, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a Middle East fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, told Al Jazeera: “‘We’re going to act upon our interests and not what you think our interests are.’”
In another move indicative of mounting tensions, it has been reported that more than one Middle Eastern country has declined calls from President Biden recently although the White House maintains that this claim is completely false.
It terms of a continued relationship between the Middle East and the United States, top officials are saying that the UAE is not walking away from a relationship with the U.S. However, right now they are unwilling to discontinue conversations with Syria.
In a world where the United States is no longer the sole superpower, other countries are attempting to determine who to align themselves with. We see this particularly in the Middle East as they proceed to pursue their own interests.
We’re stuck in a situation where many countries expect the U.S. to support them in times of need. However, these same countries have made it abundantly clear that their interests may not align with those of the United States. This means the U.S. supports countries who end up voting against their wishes in UN Security Council meetings. It’s a real Catch 22.
The Russia/Ukraine War has opened up a pretty large can of worms. As old alliances begin to crumble and new ones emerge, time will tell whether or not global unity is a possibility or a pipe dream.