Robert Mason
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Politics in the United Arab Emirates
State consolidation, security and ambition
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After an introductory note about United Arab Emirates (UAE) national history, this chapter outlines the major domestic themes affecting UAE foreign policy, including the government’s struggle with Islamism, especially violent Islamism in the form of Al Qaeda and ISIS. The evolution of relations with conservative groups is also surveyed, notably Al Islah and the wider Muslim Brotherhood. The chapter goes on to discuss national security issues, particularly recent revelations about the UAE’s cyber-surveillance strategy and human rights writ large. The chapter then transitions to questions concerning state-led capitalism and diversification, including energy policy and the role of sovereign wealth funds. A review of UAE hard and soft power sources follows, with reference to economic statecraft. The chapter shows how the UAE has developed under Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and charts significant power shifts in intra-Emirati politics, from the 2008–9 financial crisis up to a new visa regime implemented post-COVID-19. The conclusion sums up the conceptual issues most applicable in this case.

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Foreign policy and strategic alliances in an uncertain world


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