The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have joined together to form a new cooperation committee on economic and military issues.
In a statement on the ruling by the president of UAE, Sheikh Nahlifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the committee will:
Cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries. The committee shall have all the powers necessary for carrying out and executing its work.
This new partnership is separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council, the regional political and economic union which consists of all the Arab states, including Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, the economic and military powerhouses of the Arab Gulf states, have become increasingly aligned in recent years, seeking to limit Iranian influence in the Middle East and challenge the rise of political Islam, which they say has been aided by Qatar.
How will the new UAE and Saudi Arabia partnership affect the Gulf Cooperation Council?
At the moment it is unclear how this new union will interact with the work of the GCC. However, it is interesting that the two nations are teaming up to block out the other Arab states, particularly giving the stand-off against Qatar that has occurred this year.
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As well, the nations decided to announce the new partnership ahead of a GCC meeting concerning the Qatari crisis, taking place in Kuwait today.
The Arab states made steps to shun Qatar over its alleged financial links to terrorist groups.
In particular, Qatar has been accused of funding and harbouring extremist Islamic groups including the so-called Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The land, air and sea blockades against Qatar caused the country’s stock market to hit a 52-month low in September.
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund was forced to inject $38bn into the economy in order to support the slowing economy.
The crisis has gone for over six months now, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Al Jazeera reported that the new partnership: “would be seen as very antagonising towards the GCC as an organisation”.