GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES

Abu Dhabi Stumbles Between Its Foreign and Domestic Policies

MIN READAug 18, 2017 | 09:00 GMT

The Emirati ambassador to the United States raised some eyebrows during a recent interview with Charlie Rose.

According to Emirati Ambassador to the United States Yousef al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia's dispute with Qatar is more a philosophical than a diplomatic disagreement.

(DAN KITWOOD/Getty Images)

The Emirati ambassador to the United States raised some eyebrows during a recent interview with Charlie Rose. Speaking of his country and Saudi Arabia's dispute with Qatar, Yousef al Otaiba explained that it was more a philosophical than a diplomatic disagreement. "If you asked the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain what kind of Middle East they want to see in 10 years," he said, "they would have opposed that of Qatar." Instead, al Otaiba went on, these countries are pushing for "strong, stable and prosperous secular governments." To the vast majority of Emiratis and Saudis inculcated with Islamic teachings during their formative years, al Otaiba's talk of a secular state seemed disingenuous, if not blasphemous. The ambassador's words drew sharp criticism from Saudi Arabia; Princess Fahda -- daughter of the late King Fahd -- for example, called al Otaiba's comments a conspiracy against the kingdom and against Islam....

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