Saudi Arabia competes to become a superpower against the United Arab Emirates. Photo/Reuters
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) is shaking up his economy in an effort to increase competition with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Before Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, the 38-year-old was an unknown young prince whose influence on the global stage was little visible.
When he attracted attention at home as an ambitious royal in the mid-2010s, and became defense minister before the age of 30, it was United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan who helped the Saudi prince’s name resonate in the West.
“MBZ basically said to Obama, ‘You should pay attention to this young prince because he will be the future king of Saudi Arabia’ – even though at that time, no one had really heard of him,” said Ristian Ulrichsen, a Saudi Arabia expert. at Rice University’s Baker Institute.
By lending credibility to Crown Prince Mohammed from Washington to London, Sheikh Mohamed, now 62, began cultivating close ties with the future leader of the Middle East’s largest economy.
Here are 10 facts that show the rivalry between MBS and the UAE rulers.
1. MBZ and UAE relations are problematic
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed’s atmospheric rise in recent years has created a turbulent relationship between him and Sheikh Mohamed – a man considered by many to be his mentor – as the crown prince’s unrelenting pursuit of glory has threatened to sow deep discord between the countries. -neighboring countries. .
How the UAE and Saudi Arabia deal with growing tensions is critical: The consequences of increased rivalry could have repercussions far beyond the Persian Gulf.
2. Has historical roots in conflict
Although the crown prince and the UAE president were initially close allies, the rivalry between the two countries has deep roots.
In the 1950s, a three-year territorial battle known as the Buraimi dispute saw the Saudis attempt to seize the oil-rich oasis around the city of Al Ain for their own, sparking furor in the UAE – then part of what was known as the Strife Buraimi. States That Matter.
In the 70s, when the British completed their withdrawal from the Gulf in the twilight of their empire, the settlement that established the border between the UAE and Saudi Arabia then left Emiratis feeling cheated as the huge oil field known as Shaybah fell into Saudi hands. .