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UAE-US Relations

With one of the most open and innovative economies in the world, the UAE is a dependable and substantial economic partner with the United States. The UAE occupies a critical strategic position on the Arabian Gulf, where nearly one-quarter of the world’s oil is produced and shipped. The UAE and the United States share a common resolve to preserve security and stability in the Gulf. US homeland security is tied directly to the UAE’s role as a source of that security and stability.

The UAE is the United States’ single largest export market in the Middle East, with $15.9 billion in exports in 2011 – the third straight year the UAE has held this distinction. US companies have played major roles in the development of UAE energy resources, which represent about 10 percent of global oil reserves. The UAE is the only oil producer in the Gulf to maintain private-sector participation in the oil industry. More than 800 US firms have a presence in the UAE, from Bechtel and ExxonMobil to Starbucks and Cold Stone Creamery. UAE investment has been a dependable and long-term engine of growth for the US economy, injecting capital, expanding market access, creating jobs and contributing to mutual prosperity.

Relations between the UAE and the United States are growing, especially in the social and cultural sectors. US institutions, including New York University, Boston University and the Guggenheim Museum, are working closely with a range of educational and cultural organizations in the UAE, establishing a number of new institutions. In various ways, Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic are each contributing to the delivery of health care services and facilities in the UAE. In order to help Joplin, Missouri rebuild after a severe tornado devastated the town in 2011, the UAE provided significant grants to support the public school system and construction of a new pediatric healthcare wing at St. John’s Mercy Hospital. The UAE provided $100 million to the United States in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

The UAE works constructively with a range of international entities to find peaceful solutions in the region. Alone and in concert with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE has called for a nuclear weapon-free Gulf and has appealed directly to Iran on this issue. With the GCC, the UAE supports a peaceful, two-state resolution in Palestine. The UAE welcomes the commitment by the United States to ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq, and to deliver a successful, fair and inclusive political process that engages all Iraqi communities and guarantees the stability of the country.

The UAE fights terrorism and extremism in the region and beyond. Cooperation with the United States includes a range of defense and intelligence initiatives. The UAE’s contributions to the fight against terrorism include combating extremist movements such as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Taliban and Al Shebaab. UAE Armed Forces work to improve security and stability alongside US and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. The UAE has provided $1.5 billion dollars over the last decade for rehabilitation and reconstruction programs. The UAE has contributed militarily and financially to a range of international stability initiatives. More US naval vessels visit UAE ports than any other port outside the United States. Significant shared law enforcement cooperation helps control illegal money flows and monitor sensitive shipments. In 2011, the United States and UAE announced that Abu Dhabi will be headquarters for the Global Centre for Excellence in Countering Violent Extremism, a new center that will focus on combating terror and radicalism.

The foundation for the UAE-US bilateral security relationship is the 1994 Defense Cooperation Agreement. The pact permits the United States to base troops and equipment within UAE federation borders. Jebel Ali port, in Dubai, is crucial to US naval operations, as it is the only harbor in the Gulf deep enough to berth an aircraft carrier.

The UAE is only one of three countries and the only Arab nation to participate with the US in five coalition actions over the last 20 years: Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Bosnia-Kosovo, and the 1990 Gulf War. The UAE has deployed forces and/or provided assistance in:

  • Afghanistan: The UAE's special forces are the only Arab personnel undertaking full-scale operations in the country, an ongoing ten-year commitment.
  • Libya: The UAE deployed a dozen fighter jets for combat missions under NATO command to protect the Libyan people throughout the conflict, and support the National Transitional Council.
  • Somalia: In 1992 the UAE joined other countries, led by the US Central Command, to secure the environment and provide humanitarian relief. The UAE is also fighting piracy and helping to stabilize Somalia.
  • Bosnia-Kosovo: The UAE was among the first non-NATO states to express support for NATO’s air operations. The UAE participated in peacekeeping operations, and provided humanitarian assistance during and after the conflict.
  • 1990 Gulf War: The UAE was one of the first countries to support the United States at the advent of the war.
The UAE provides ongoing and essential support for US forces, and contributes to efforts to fight terrorism and extremism, while working to increase stability and peace in the region.

The UAE and the United States share a deep concern over Iran’s nuclear development and its impact on peace and stability in the entire region. The UAE fully supports and enforces United Nations Security Council resolutions barring shipment of sensitive materials and technologies to Iran. Located just across the Gulf, the UAE and Iran have historic ties, including a significant trading relationship. The UAE, with the Gulf Cooperation Council, seeks a region free of weapons of mass destruction.

The major FMS/DCS systems are: Hawk, F-16, Weapons (JDAM, Hellfire, Maverick, LGB, cluster, HARM, Harpoon), HIMARS, AH-64, UH-60 M/L, AOC operating system, Patriot, C-130, CH-47, Shared Early Warning (SEW), CENTRIXS, NVGs, land vehicles, and small arms. As of 2009 the following systems have been requested and were in various stages of FMS and DCS development: 3 x THAAD, 24 x RQ8 Firescout, 4(+2) x C-17 Globemaster, 12 x C-130J, satellites/imagery, 16 x CH-47F (4 via DCS), XM-982 Excalibur, XM-1156 PGK, 5000 X GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, E-2D Hawkeye, Boeing Wedgetail, AOC system upgrade, Link-16 integration on all appropriate platforms/ground facilities, Stinger/Avenger /VMSLP, MRAP, critical national infrastructure protection, and Head of State missile ASE.

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Page last modified: 05-06-2017 10:15:04 ZULU