In the classic Shakespearian tragedy King Lear, England’s King Lear splits his kingdom between two daughters who drown him with false praise. He banishes the third daughter Cordelia, who loves him, because of her failure to profess said love like her deceitful sisters. Later, King Lear goes insane after being rejected by both his selected crown princesses.
America maintains American peace globally by nourishing strategic partnerships with selected countries of particular regions. In the Middle East, America has her favorite daughters. Among them are Israel, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. For half a century, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have received more than their share of media attention (positive and negative) and American largesse. While neither Egypt nor Saudi Arabia are as deceitful as Lear’s awful heirs, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its de facto ruler President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), is being treated like King Lear’s banished daughter Cordelia. MBZ is terribly unappreciated.
In a historic move in 2021, after 49 years, the UAE decided to fully normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. This was the first time that an Arab government made peace with Israel in more than 25 years.
The UAE shift was dramatic and complete. Not only was Israel diplomatically recognized by the UAE and ambassadors exchanged, but the Emirates opened its doors to Israeli tourists and investors. Soon, the two nations began cooperating on fighting COVID-19 and other health measures. Special student visas allowed citizens to study in each other’s countries. Scholars visited to meet their colleagues and counterparts resulting in emerging collaborative joint research projects. Trade grew rapidly.
By bringing together two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region—which had long been viewed as impossible to do—this agreement was and is a crucial step towards building a more peaceful, more secure, and more prosperous Middle East. Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) was one of the main architects of this agreement. It would not have happened without the wisdom of this then brave prince who is now the President of the UAE.
Since the historic agreement, MBZ has made important diplomatic initiatives with Israel and Iran. He opened the UAE embassy in Tel Aviv in July 2021, and sent his brother and right-hand man, National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon, to Tehran to meet with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in an effort to reduce tensions in the region.
The UAE was elected to and currently serves on the U.N. Security Council until 2023. The UAE has used that post to contain Iran-sponsored violence across the region.
In August of 2021, the UAE’s declaration to the U.N. Security Council on maritime safety urged “member states to uphold freedom of navigation as a key principle of international law” and urged all actors “to commit to establishing confidence by opening lines of communication at sea”, thus preventing “calculation errors” and “promoting restraint.” This was done to reduce Iran’s attempts to close or harass the shipping traffic in the Arabian Gulf.
The UAE is creatively using its non-permanent U.N Security Council seat to establish an ad hoc dialogue in order to defuse the maritime tensions around the Straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb, while also bilaterally engaging Iran and Israel. It is this UAE inspired diplomacy that could head off war while promoting prosperity in a world already suffering from supply-chain issues.
In a November 2021 meeting between MBZ and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—the first in a decade—marked a turning point in the two countries bilateral relations. MBZ helped heal a long rift and started to align the two nations on trade and other regional issues.
The number of cooperation agreements signed between the two countries is highly impressive and promotes regional peace, and peace is breaking out in other parts of the Middle East. MBZ’s courageous actions have helped nudge Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan into thawing the regional chill with Israel to make peace with Tel Aviv.
The UAE has suggested reconciling with Qatar and de-escalating tension with Syria, which has been bedeviled by civil war for more than a decade.
Much like the United States used the World’s Fair at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the UAE has launched Expo Dubai to promote peace through shared prosperity. The Expo brings together diverse cultures and provides a forum to show-case modern technology and innovative ideas. The Expo has produced tangible progress. The UAE-Israeli-Jordanian renewable-energy agreement was signed at the Expo and is a major agreement with France, which includes the sale of Rafael fighter jets.
MBZ’s shuttle diplomacy and financial aid is not limited to the Middle East. While Iran ships drones and missiles to help Russia and escalates Russia’s war with Ukraine, MBZ has desperately communicated with Kyiv and Moscow in an effort to bring Putin and Zelenskyy to the negotiating table. While Saudi Arabia and Turkey are at odds with the Biden administration for their perceived neutrality in the war, MBZ just recently ordered one hundred million dollars in humanitarian aid for the suffering civilians in Ukraine.
President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s name should stand beside historic peacemakers Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Martin Luther King Jr.
CORE has extended an invitation to MBZ to receive the organization’s prestigious Martin Luther King, Jr. Ambassadorial peace award in Las Vegas, NV in time for Formula One Grand Prix in November 2023 and to rejoin Nevadans in February 2024 for the Super Bowl.
While the Biden administration and much of the American media continue to shun the UAE like King Lear shunned the faithful Cordelia, CORE intends to reward the giant efforts being made by MBZ for world peace and prosperity.
It is our hope that the media and Biden administration can follow suit, before America, like King Lear, tragically loses her sanity.
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