The UAE joined Saudi Arabia in celebrating the 87th Saudi national day this year. It has done so for years amid a celebratory atmosphere that includes official and popular events.
The UAE celebrates the national day of several countries, particularly brotherly Gulf countries but its celebrations of Saudi Arabia’s national day are special and unique. So why does the UAE celebrate it?
The bonds of history, close ties, common language, culture, habits and traditions and the nature of mutual interests are important considering they grant depth to our relations. This is in addition to the special relationship between al-Nahyan family and al-Saud and the families of rulers.
These relations have been strong since the establishment of the modern state and they were later strengthened by Sheikh Zayed and Saudi king Faisal, Khalid and Fahed as well as with Abdullah before he became king.
I think another reason is the advanced awareness of the political command in the UAE. A decade ago, and due to different circumstances, some Gulf states adopted different stances toward certain matters. Some chose to be hostile to Saudi Arabia and conspired against it as much as they could, like Qatar is doing, while some chose to be neutral.
The UAE made a decision that reflects its awareness and it chose the option of entering into a strategic alliance with Saudi ArabiaAbdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi
The UAE, however, made a decision that reflects its awareness, and it chose the option of entering into a strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia. This was of great importance to both countries’ leadership and it made the difference in the region and the world.
Both leaderships adopted a coherent path while leading the Arab world toward surviving this great challenge known as the Arab Spring and its crises. They had a clear vision to play a role in which they bear a historic role toward it.
They wisely confronted the project of one of the biggest international allies, i.e. the US, and its allies, at the time and bet that the interests of their countries and their people are above everything else.
This strong and influential alliance rose to save Bahrain from the uprising in 2011. It saved Egypt in 2013 and the Muslim Brotherhood was listed as a terror group. They also wisely confronted the schemes of the biggest enemy in the region and the world, i.e. the Iranian regime.
Rivals, Iran, Qatar and the Brotherhood, bet on weakening this Saudi-UAE alliance and launched false campaigns after King Salman was crowned king in Saudi Arabia. However, the alliance only deepened and the ties only became stronger. They thus added amazing and more influential successes to their record.
Under King Salman’s leadership, the Operation Decisive Storm was launched to save Yemen. The UAE is the second country in the Arab alliance. They had to harmonize between the fighting and supporting legitimacy and providing humanitarian aid so they worked hand in hand. Confronting Iran was a significant strategy and the UAE was ready for that. Combating terrorism was a priority after the Riyadh summit and after boycotting Qatar, and the UAE was also ready for that.
There are three rival projects in the region: the Iranian sectarian project, the Turkish fundamental-Brotherhood project and the Arab, i.e. Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian, project. It seem victory will be in favor for the Arab project.
The UAE celebrated the Saudi national day on September 23 and Saudi Arabia will celebrate the UAE national day on December 2. It is a model of the success and power that alliances can create.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.