Saudis ‘Irritated’ as UAE Distances Themselves From Longtime Ally

UAE hoping to rebrand itself as a regional peacemaker

The United Arab Emirates has long been keen to establish itself as a more independent regional power, and is trying to spin itself as a potential broker of peace in the region.

To do that, they have to extricate themselves from historical ties to Saudi Arabia, and early efforts to do so have Saudi King Salman expressing “extreme irritation” with the UAE.

The UAE pivot towards its own interests was hardly unsurprising, they’ve been telegraphing this for years. Likewise, this is just the latest GCC member that’s become disillusioned with letting the Saudis unilaterally steer the ship.

Qatar had a very public break with the rest of the GCC, and the Saudis in particular, not that long ago. The Saudis have responded by announcing their intention to surround Qatar with a canal to turn it into an island, and then leaving nuclear waste in the vicinity.

The UAE probably won’t make a Qatar-style break, if they can help it, though the increasing distance to the Saudis has already started a secondary war in Yemen, where both sides factions are not at odds with one another.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of