Under the command of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, its military adventurism has had a disastrous impact in several countries, mainly in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Turkey and UAE traded barbs this week about whose actions harmed the Middle East and North Africa the most. 

In light of the UAE's uninterrupted intervention in the Libyan, Syrian and Yemen conflicts, Turkey asked the Gulf state to stop following “destructive policies” in foreign countries and also shun their “hostile attitude” towards Ankara.

The UAE responded with diplomatic language, which was high on rhetoric and contradicted the country's divisive foreign policy, calling on all parties in Libya to commit to the UN-supervised political process, although it is Abu Dhabi which has been undermining the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) by supporting warlord Khalifa Haftar in Libya. 

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said that Turkey has always been respectful to the political unity and territorial integrity of Arab countries. Aksoy also reaffirmed Turkey’s support to the UN-recognised government of Libya in this direction.

Adding that Turkish government would maintain this policy despite “ugly” and “baseless” allegations made by the UAE.

Aksoy also pointed out that the international community is aware of the UAE’s activities such as disrupting peace, stability, security in Libya, Yemen, Syria and the Horn of Africa. In addition, the spokesperson stated that the UAE supports separatist activities in Yemen and terror groups, particularly Al Shabab. 

Permanent violator of international law

The US State Department’s previous reports repeatedly pointed out that the UAE is considered a hub of several terrorist organisations. The report was an explicit condemnation which pointed out Abu Dhabi’s criminal role in supporting and financing terrorism.

In its report, the US state department revealed that the UAE has been the command centre of various terrorist organisations that operate both regionally and internationally. The report also stated that since Abu Dhabi has been financing terror groups on a global scale, particularly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the country is playing a destructive role in destabilising the international security and cooperation. 

The previous report of the US State Department in 2017 also showed that the UAE’s financial institutions were involved in international drug trafficking, money laundering and other illegal activities. 

Recently, reports in April 2020 emerged that the UAE-based companies shipped 11,000 tonnes of jet fuel to warlord Haftar which means the repeated violation of the international arms embargo in place. The shipment is already under investigation by the UN and it is believed to have had a market value of  $5m at the time it was loaded in the UAE and was delivered last month to eastern Libya, Haftar’s headquarters. 

Moreover, earlier this week, in South Yemen, the groups backed by the UAE, named The Southern Transitional Council (STC), declared that they would rule the country’s south and remain in conflict with the internationally-recognised government. The spokesperson of the STC, while talking to TRT World admitted that they have been assisted by the UAE and are seeking a two-state solution in Yemen.

Terrorist financing

According to reports by the US State Department, the UAE paid out more than $760 million just between 2015 and 2017 and that money was distributed amongst armed terrorist movements and groups in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Furthermore, Abu Dhabi hosted terrorists who were responsible for the killing of hundreds of innocent people and facilitated their movement through forged documents and passports and the use of the Emirates airline, an overt example of how the UAE is supporting terrorism across the world.

While UAE’s support of military coups with the aim of sabotaging democracies in the Arab Spring is well known, Abu Dhabi has also been contributing to the financing of YPG terrorists in Syria which are linked to the PKK, an internationally recognised as a terrorist organisation since 2014.

Abu Dhabi was also quick to restore its relationship at the end of 2018  with the Bashar al Assad regime who is responsible for massacres and war crimes against his people. 

Currently, the UAE plays a key role in funding and supporting warlord Khalifa Haftar against the internationally-recognised and UN-backed government (GNA) and leading the battle against it. 

Besides its suspicious role in the Yemen war, Yemen’s Minister of Transport Saleh al Jubwani accused the UAE of having links with Al Qaeda and Daesh in southern Yemen while pointing out that the UAE’s reason for the use of these terrorists is to “hit the reinforcements of the army”.

Considering the recent situation in Southern Yemen following STC’s activities, it seems Saleh al Jubwani’s claims have been verified. 

On Thursday, Paris-based a global dirty-money watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) stated that the UAE is not doing enough to prevent money laundering. Known as the financial and commercial centre of the Emirates, Dubai will be under a year-long observation of FATF.

"The United Arab Emirates recently strengthened its legal framework to fight money laundering and terrorist financing but, as a major global financial centre and trading hub, it must take urgent action to effectively stop the criminal financial flows that it attracts," the FATF said in a statement. 

According to the watchdog, UAE authorities are not fully exploiting financial intelligence to root out money laundering or trace the proceeds of criminal financial transactions.  

Furthermore, if the UAE fails to pass the observation process, it might possibly find itself alongside states such as Syria and Yemen, which the FATF deems to have "strategic deficiencies".

Source: TRT World