Report: Western Officials to Warn UAE Over Russia Trade

    Report: Western Officials to Warn UAE Over Russia Trade
    Last updated Sep 05, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • Officials from the US, the UK, and the EU are planning to push the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week to halt shipments of goods to Russia that could help Moscow in its Ukraine war efforts, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
    • Since Monday, the officials have been visiting the UAE to reportedly prevent the re-export of Western-made computer chips, electronic components, and other so-called dual-use technologies — those with civilian and military applications — through the UAE to Russia.
    • Like many other countries that are not part of the G7, the UAE doesn't participate in the sanctions against Russia imposed by the US, the UK, and the EU. However, the UAE said it adheres to UN sanctions and is in close dialogue with its partners worldwide.
    • A UAE official claimed to Reuters that the country "is continuously monitoring the export of dual-use products" under its export control laws, adding that UAE banks are monitoring adherence to "sanctions imposed on Russia to prevent violations of international law."
    • While the Gulf state is a key US counterterrorism partner, Washington said that UAE companies continued to supply Moscow with US-made and export-controlled goods, including "semiconductor devices, some of which can be used on the battlefield."
    • Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the trade volume between Russia and the UAE — which is set to join the BRICS group of emerging economies — reached $10B and is projected to rise further, making the country "Russia's first partner" among Arab countries.


    Establishment-critical narrative

    Beyond the goal of halting the evasion of sanctions against Russia, the Western delegation's trip underscores above all the waning influence of the US in the Middle East. Although Washington remains an important ally for Abu Dhabi, the Emirates are increasingly pursuing a foreign policy independent of US interests, following Saudi Arabia's example. The UAE is testing Washington's red lines when it comes to limiting Chinese military relations and isolating Russia, and this development is also a consequence of US regional policy.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Abu Dhabi has no moral compass or qualms about doing business with the authoritarian Putin regime, and despite Western sanctions prompted by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the Emirates has deepened economic and financial ties with Moscow. The UAE is playing a double game by condemning the invasion while its companies are expanding their often questionable operations with Russia. The US must be on guard, and secondary sanctions against the Emirates are still available to Washington as a last resort.

    Narrative C

    The Western officials' trip to the UAE also gained significance due to the invitation to the UAE to join the BRICS group. The transition to a multipolar world order means that middle powers now play an active role in shaping norms, resolving conflicts, and promoting international cooperation. Abu Dhabi's growing China and Russia ties may run counter to Western interests, but reflect this emerging era in geopolitics. It's only natural for the UAE to deepen its relations with new partners in search of economic diversification and growth opportunities.

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