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Op-Ed video: The UAE runs roughshod in the region and its ties with Russia show just that

Instability in the Middle East is not down to America's enemies, but the 'freewheeling buccaneering of its allies', says David Hearst

After giving its allies in the Gulf a free hand to launch military interventions and back coups, the US Treasury is in uproar about the United Arab Emirates' trade links with Russia.

Last year, the UAE exported 15 times more microchips to Russia than the previous year, and at least 158 drones, says David Hearst, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye.

So, it's no wonder that Elizabeth Rosenberg, the US Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, called the UAE "a country of focus."

A delegation from the State Department, EU and the UK went over to make the point, but they were only looking at one part of the giant spider's web cast by UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed, said Hearst.

All of bin Zayed's interventions, whether they be Yemen, Sudan or Libya, can be viewed as acting against key western interests, he said. Each adds to the growing queue of migrants on the shores of Libya and Tunisia.

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"Isn't it time that Washington and Brussels put two and two together? That you can't have record instability, state collapse, and civil war in Sudan, Libya, Tunisia and the Sahel, without having record numbers of migrants heading for the Italian island of Lampedusa?," Hearst said.

"It's another sign that instability in the region is not down to America's enemies. It's primarily down to the freewheeling buccaneering of its allies."

David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was the Guardian's foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.
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