Instead of taking the fight to the Houthi rebels in the north, the two regional allies are undermining each other in the south.
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.
Cracks between Saudi and the UAE appear on the battleground of Yemen as their ground allies are at loggerheads.
A window for rapprochement in the Gulf could be in the offing as the US tones down its rhetoric on Iran pushing Saudi Arabia and the UAE to take a step back.
The trio of countries cited the ongoing blockade as their reason for not attending, as the tournament is left with just five remaining teams.
US depends on allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, to counter Iranian influence. In April, the US moved ahead with part of a THAAD missile defence system sale to the kingdom.
Amnesty International has warned that billions of dollars of arms the UAE receives from Western states end up in the hands of militias in Yemen who answer to no one.
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