Where everything has a price – Russia and the UAE are closest partners in Africa

Home Forums WORLD SECURITY AND NEWS FORUM Where everything has a price – Russia and the UAE are closest partners in Africa

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • Author
  • #400022
    Nat Quinn

    One wonders whether it was the fact that in the UAE everything has a price that allowed Atul and Rajesh Gupta to get an extradition order to South Africa thrown out on a technicality.

    Among the trove of leaked Pentagon documents doing the rounds on the internet this week is a report that Russian intelligence officers boasted that they had convinced the United Arab Emirates to work with them “against US and UK intelligence agencies”.
    The UAE rejected the report as false but the report’s conclusion that Abu Dhabi is looking to diversify its strategic partnerships is hardly a state secret.
    The UAE has for several years been the key ally of Russia in Africa — especially the Wagner mercenaries — with whom they are mutually dedicated to eliminating Islamic extremism and containing the jihadists on the continent.
    Wagner overtures
    One source in Sudan described Wagner, despite its connection to Russian military intelligence, as a private army working under contract with the UAE.
    Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan (MBZ), president of the United Arab Emirates, has become a huge player in north-east Africa, the pre-eminent power broker in the Middle East and a master of realpolitik.
    His policy of equidistance between Russia and the United States has survived intact more than a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    On the one hand, the UAE remains a critical military security partner of the US, hosting thousands of troops at the Al Dhafra Air Base while Jebel Ali is the port most frequented by the US Navy outside the US.
    At the same time, commercial links with Russia have boomed since the invasion of Ukraine and there are daily flights to Moscow. Sanctions busting has become, in the words of one businessman, a “national sport” in Dubai where more than 4,000 Russian companies are now based.
    The UAE recently kissed and made up with Iran while establishing diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel — though MBZ has expressed displeasure at Bibi Netanyahu’s right-wing government’s abusive activities against the Palestinians.
    In several interviews over the years MBZ has spelt out his vision for the Middle East: transforming the region into a prosperous oasis based on economic development and encompassing principles more liberal than neighbouring Saudi Arabia, but without religious fundamentalism or the disruptive politics of the Arab Spring.
    The elements that make the UAE box above its weight are the vast oil wealth of Abu Dhabi, the high-tech arsenal of military equipment that have led some to call it the little Sparta and the ultramodern commercial emporium of Dubai.
    Money talks
    The journal Africa Report recently noted that Dubai “never refuses to shake an extended hand, especially when it is filled with dollars”.
    One wonders whether it was the fact that everything has a price that allowed Atul and Rajesh Gupta to get an extradition order to South Africa thrown out on a technicality.
    Dubai court

    A general view shows the Dubai court. (Photo: Karim Sahib / AFP)

    The UAE’s engagement in Africa is on the one hand commercial — Dubai Ports World and Abu Dhabi Ports have made significant maritime investments in Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Djibouti, Somaliland, Mozambique and Senegal.
    But it is also inherently political. Together with Saudi Arabia, the UAE was instrumental in the coup that toppled Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 2013 and brought Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to power.
    After that, it was the fight against regional adversaries in Libya that brought the UAE and Egypt into partnership with Wagner mercenaries in 2019 and 2020. Together they supported rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s march on what they regarded as an Islamist government in Tripoli.
    As the Atlantic Council reported, Abu Dhabi became the conduit for Wagner’s intervention in Libya, underwriting and funnelling payments to the mercenaries.
    The attack was eventually repulsed by Tripoli with the assistance of Turkey and, though Libya remains divided, the UAE has adopted more of a peace-making role and is once again practising the diplomacy of equidistance.
    Revolving door of resources
    The UAE and Wagner are both allied with the Darfur warlord Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (aka Hemeti) whose fighters were deployed in Yemen and then Libya.
    Hemeti is now the number two man in the interim military regime in Sudan and the fate of his private army, the Rapid Support Forces, could determine whether the country moves toward a democratic transition in the next few weeks or disintegrates into civil war.
    The UAE is likely to play a big role in Sudan, as it did in Ethiopia where its weaponry and drones helped Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defeat the Tigrayans.
    The interests in Sudan are not strictly political. Wagner mines for gold in Sudan under the protection of Hemeti and smuggles it out via Dubai.
    Bloomberg investigation in 2021 revealed that Dubai is the conduit for billions of dollars of the metal smuggled every year from at least nine African countries, including Zimbabwe. A recent Al Jazeera documentary showed exactly how Zimbabwean gold is moved to the UAE through extra-legal channels.
    This criminality along with the US designating Wagner a transnational criminal organisation and increasing scrutiny on how Dubai’s open-ended system is being used to get around sanctions against Russia, could mean it is only a matter of time before the UAE and the US find themselves at loggerheads. This also explains why one of the US’s most steadfast partners in the post-911 years, is now hedging its bets.


    source:Russia’s closest partner in Africa, the UAE – where eve… (dailymaverick.co.za)

Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.