UAE Throws Lifeline to Beleaguered Russian Tech Sector

UAE Throws Lifeline to Beleaguered Russian Tech Sector

Faced with draconian Western tech sanctions, Russia has turned to a reliable ally — the United Arab Emirates. The Arab country should end this dishonorable trade.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the UAE has entrenched its friendship with Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently awarded the UAE’s Ambassador to Russia Mohammed al Jaber the Order of Friendship.

The warm relations pose an extreme threat to Western security. The UAE has become a principal conduit in Russia’s strategic supply chain, transporting Iranian drones to Moscow and helping Russia circumvent restrictions on its oil. Emirati state entities Edge Group and G42 have hired large numbers of Russian engineers and brought them to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  US tech companies and military partners such as Lockheed Martin and Microsoft have ties with both Emirati entities, providing training for Apache pilots and offering advanced cloud computing. Trade between Russia and the UAE increased by 68% year-on-year in 2022, to $9 billion, Tass reports.

The UAE aims to build a strong cybersecurity industry, both to protect itself, conduct domestic surveillance, and cash in. Peng Xiao, a US-Chinese national and CEO of G42’s subsidiary Presight.aim, has been driving the UAE’s cyber investments. He recently inked a joint venture with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems to develop cyber investments within Kazakhstan’s Astana Hub. Under the cover of commercial motivation, this deal means that Russian engineers working for G42 could gain access to Kazakhstan’s critical infrastructure. Remember, Russia recently deployed soldiers to quell protests in Kazakhstan. Russia provides expertise and manpower. The UAE offers financial support.

Russian expertise bolsters the UAE’s own intelligence gathering. Russian geospatial intelligence firm ScanEx has moved to the UAE, supplying high tech that the West refused: back in 2013, Russian intelligence informed their Emirati counterparts that the US had introduced a faulty component in the country’s French Falcon Eye Satellite restricting independent use of its shutter eye.

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