Robert Mason
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United States
Partisan politics, carte blanche and policy variation
in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
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The panoply of contemporary US–Arab Gulf relations is covered in this chapter. Across the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, a comprehensive picture is built up about the extent to which US policy, including a carte blanche and transactional approach pursued by the Trump administration, and uncertain relations into the Biden administration, has conditioned Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) foreign policy. The main structural issues in US policy towards the Middle East and the GCC states are laid out, including over energy relations, the Global War on Terror; tensions over the JCPOA (and renegotiation) with Iran, congressional disdain over 9/11 (i.e. Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) and the war in Yemen. These have been joined by some human rights criticism, a question over US security guarantees during the 2019 attacks on Khurais and Abqaiq, over arms exports such as the F-35 to the UAE, over discrepancies between US and UAE Syria policy; and the ebb and flow of personal relations. The 2022 war in Ukraine is shown to be a potential inversion point to Saudi and UAE relations with the US, highlighting the importance to these GCC states and their continued relevance in the global economy.

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Foreign policy and strategic alliances in an uncertain world

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