UAE forms new alliance with Saudi Arabia

  • UAE announces new alliance with Saudi Arabia
  • Diplomatic spat erupts between Abu Dhabi and Tunis 

December 5

UAE forms new alliance with Saudi Arabia

Just before representatives of all six GCC states convened in Kuwait for the Council’s annual summit, the UAE announced a new military/trade partnership with Saudi Arabia that will operate separately from the GCC. Abu Dhabi stated that the new alliance “is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others”.

December 22

UAE bans Tunisian women on Dubai-bound flights

Emirates Airlines temporarily banned Tunisian women from flying into Dubai following a “terrorist threat”. Emirati officials cited female IS group members’ plans to enter the UAE using Tunisian passports. The ban triggered a diplomatic spat between Abu Dhabi and Tunis.

Analysis: For the UAE, Tunisian extremists represent a clear and present danger. Intelligence sources had warned of Tunisian and other Maghrebi female IS operatives, seeking to infiltrate the Gulf emirate. The role of women in Daesh is steadily increasing, with IS literature rooting for their involvement in terrorist activities. Another point of view, however, is that Abu Dhabi wanted to punish Tunis over Turkish President Erdogan’s visit and for the North African state’s reported position on the Qatar crisis and Libya.