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Military Bases in the Foreign Policy of the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is one of the leading countries in the Middle East in terms of active foreign policy. One of the most striking instruments of Emirate’s active foreign policy is the establishment of military bases abroad, which are located notably in the Horn of Africa. These bases are considered a sign of the UAE’s increasing military activities and its willingness to use hard power. This study, therefore, aims to make sense of why the Emirati leadership has pursued such an aggressive foreign policy that involves the use of military capacities. While the study focuses on understanding the foreign policy dynamics of the UAE, it also aims to analyze the real motivations behind the Emirati leadership’s decision to establish military bases.

Military Bases in the Foreign Policy of the United Arab

Introduction

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the leading Gulf countries in terms of oil resources. The country has pursued an active foreign policy on both regional and global scale, especially in the post-Arab uprisings period. The UAE government has established close relations with leading international actors such as the U.S. and Israel, and has started to play an active role in Middle East politics through its alliances and activities at the regional level. This policy activism, however, has been criticized by many experts who argue that Abu Dhabi’s foreign policy initiatives far exceed its real capacity. 

Despite these criticisms, the Emirati leadership is generally regarded as having a solid foreign policy agenda. The main figures of this foreign policy activism are Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Vice-President Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. With the leadership of these two important figures, the country aims to become an important regional actor with the capacity to fight against terrorism, secure the global energy supply, and confront the effects of the international economic crisis.1 The UAE government has utilized various instruments in order to successfully implement its foreign policy. These tools are diplomatic relations, financial assistance, investment, humanitarian aid and, most strikingly, the use of hard power.2

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