By Mohammed Karim, currently a diplomatic Protocol Manager at Expo Dubai 2020.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi, now more than ever before, serves as the political capital of the Middle East.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince is admired by everyone in the UAE. Under his political leadership, Abu Dhabi is on a role to stabilizing diplomatic relations between various nations. Abu Dhabi initiated the momentous Abraham Accords of 2020, normalizing diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel. Beyond the latter, Abu Dhabi has strengthened its diplomatic ties with military powers such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia to build a fortress for the region.
Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), which invests funds on behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi, has financially helped and developed many neighboring countries and international businesses through heavy investments to further establish Abu Dhabi as the political capital of the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi played pivotal roles in many political events to stabilize diplomatic relations between nations. In September 2020, Abu Dhabi worked with the U.S. to move Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE towards signing the Abraham Accords. This agreement formally normalized diplomatic relations, exchanged embassies and ambassadors between nations, and began international collaboration in many areas including trade, technology, mobility, sustainability, education, healthcare, tourism, and security. Not only that, Abu Dhabi have kicked off a historic project named ‘The Abrahamic Family House”, that will have a church, a mosque and a synagogue all side by side creating a beautiful landmark of peace, tolerance and solidarity.
Abu Dhabi’s role in the Abraham accords agreement has far-reaching implications for trade and financial success of many people across the entire Middle East. A day after the Abraham Accords were signed, Emirates Airlines announced plans to add new flight routes between the UAE and nations signing the agreement by conveniently and directly flying between newly connected nations, business owners will be able to generate more international commercial opportunities within the Middle East. In addition, immediately after the Abraham Accords were signed, UAE’s DP World signed agreements with companies located in other nations to establish direct trade routes across international borders.
Analogous to the Abraham Accords, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi has been proactively mediating between Pakistan & India. Both nations are great allies of the UAE and the population of both Pakistanis and Indians constitute to nearly 15% of the UAE’s total population. It is vital for both great countries to come in peace for a more developed, economic driven & a secure region, away from cold wars and closer to hot business negotiations.
Since the Founding Father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi had also maintained strong diplomatic relations with many world leaders, and in particular the Arab leaders since the 1960’s. Sheikh Zayed’s investment at the time had led to the UAE’s successes now politically and economically.
Egypt is an example of one of the UAE’s allies since the rule of the founding father. Now, MBZ & Egypt have formed very solid ties, focused on economic development and military relations. “The Promised Land” a book by former U.S. President Barrack Obama analyzed MBZ highly as per his one-to-one experience… “Young, sophisticated … and perhaps the savviest leader in the Gulf”. In addition, Obama reminisces that MBZ did not dither when it came to defending Egypt and Bahrain, having their backs as he shares a strong alliance with those nations.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi alongside his brother, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE, visited Egypt in 2019 to boost economic development and serve the mutual interests of both nations. In addition, new partnerships through military firms such as IDEX helped Abu Dhabi and Egypt strengthen military defense ties, with the two nations practicing joint military drills since 2015.
A paragon of how MBZ shares a stark solidarity with the region is the recent incident wherein several senior Jordanian officials were arrested on security grounds for attempting to destabilize Jordanian government. In response, MBZ telephoned King Abdullah II of Jordan to reassure him that Abu Dhabi will support Jordan, and reject any menace destabilizing Jordan and endangering the safety of its people. In addition, the UAE’s media immediately released a 100-year strong alliance of both nations, that are bound to achieve more successes.
Further a conquest for world peace; the UAE insisted in having every nation to be part of the world EXPO 2020 that will be hosted in Dubai from October 2021. Nations that do not have a set budget for such a vast event have been aided by the government of the UAE, assisting them in building their own country pavilions for the vast event. The purpose of such a generous offer is to bring every nation on earth, to one joyful event, hosted by the UAE. A sign for world peace.
This year, the first day of Ramadan, the Vice President of the UAE, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also started a campaign of 100 million meals to the needy around the world. The food distributions started within the region, beginning with Jordan, Pakistan and Egypt and that would moreover expand to all nations around the world. The East being succored first allows World Leaders within the region maintain and strengthen relations with the UAE far away from the political world. Another example of such regional aid, was provided to Iran, a nation that serves as a threat by many sources within the region. During the early stages of the COVID 19 pandemic, the UAE sent 16 tons of medical aid to Iran. at a time where humanity came before the realm of politics.
It may seem surprising that the UAE only became a nation in the year 1971. For being in such a young nation, Abu Dhabi leads the entire Middle East politically – leading nations whose histories go back to ancient historical times. Since 2014, MBZ has led Abu Dhabi through many events that put Abu Dhabi on the political map as the rising capital of the Middle East.
Picture courtesy of Mohammed Karim
About the author:
Mohammed Karim, 24 years old, currently pursuing a masters in government and diplomacy at Harvard University and is simultaneously working as a diplomatic protocol manager at the Dubai Expo 2020