“The Gulfies play the blob like a fiddle,” a U.S. intelligence official told The Intercept.
AMID MOUNTING GLOBAL criticism of his invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin took time on March 1 for a call with a counterpart who has proved himself increasingly reliable: Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates.
Based on Russia’s public version of the call, Bloomberg reported that the crown prince “stated Russia’s right to defend its national security” — an extraordinary concession to Moscow. But the quote was quickly removed, with a note reading that a new version of the story “updates from fifth paragraph with UAE statement.” When the UAE issued its own readout of the call, the reference to Russia’s right to defend itself wasn’t there. Bloomberg went with the Emirati version.
“We just updated the story after the UAE put out a statement,” the article’s author, Bloomberg reporter Paul Wallace, told The Intercept. “Russia’s government put one out first, and there was nothing from the UAE for a couple of hours or so. So we only had the Kremlin’s take initially.”
While it’s of course possible that Russia misrepresented the call’s contents, the UAE’s sympathy for Moscow in the Ukraine conflict is hardly a secret. The National, a UAE-owned newspaper, ordered its foreign staff to not refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an “invasion,” according to an internal memo published by Telegraph reporter Campbell MacDiarmid. “It was shared with me because people on the foreign desk get really dispirited by editorial interference,” MacDiarmid, who used to work for the newspaper, told The Intercept. “I would imagine that the UAE Foreign Ministry or similar handed the directive to [Editor-in-Chief] Mina Al-Oraibi.” Asked to comment on the directive, Al-Oraibi did not dispute the authenticity of the memo but referred The Intercept to an article, published one day prior to MacDiarmid’s reporting, in which The National referred to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The call between Putin and MBZ had come less than a week after the UAE, despite significant pressure from the U.S., abstained from a vote at the United Nations Security Council to condemn Russia’s war-making. While the world has publicly and privately sanctioned Russian industry leaders, the nation’s oligarchs are finding a warm welcome in the UAE. According to the Wall Street Journal, both the UAE’s and Saudi Arabia’s leaders have reportedly declined to take calls from Biden during the Ukraine crisis. All of this follows the UAE’s decision, along with Saudi Arabia, to collude with Russia to drive up oil prices, sending gas prices to their highest levels in years and generating a bonanza of profits that will undermine the raft of new sanctions slapped on Moscow. The moves were only the latest in a series of developments that have shown the UAE drawing closer to Russia, marking a realignment that threatens to upend decades of warm relations between Abu Dhabi and Washington.
Read more at : theintercept.com
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