The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has drained an important part of its financial liquidity in armaments over the past ten years, yet it has not participated in any official military operations, except in Yemen.
However, the UAE’s interventions in countries such as Libya has made it a major sponsor of war there and the escalation of political and security tensions against international efforts to extinguish the war that has been raging for years.
UAE imports reached $4.98 billion in the last five years, coinciding with its war in Yemen, as part of an international coalition.
The data does not include any additional expenditures on its military forces, or the financing of any tensions, whether in Libya or Yemen.
Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that the numbers come despite the decline in the UAE’s arms imports by 46 per cent in 2019 ($644 million), after increasing by 24 per cent in 2018 ($1.2 billion).
Since 26 March, 2015, the Saudi-led Arab Coalition has been launching military operations in Yemen against the Houthis, following their control over the capital of Sanaa and other areas, by force of arms.
According to a report by Anadolu Agency, the US has acquired nearly two thirds of the value of the weapons the UAE has imported during this period, as its share amounted to $3.37 billion, representing 67.7 per cent of the imports during the five years.
The UAE is one of the US’ closest allies in the region, especially after President Donald Trump took office in 2016.
The UAE is also the third largest oil producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, with about three million barrels per day.
The UAE’s revenues have been affected since mid-2014, and this has been exacerbated with the crude oil’s loss of two-thirds of its value during the first quarter of 2020, in the worst quarterly performance ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, the Emirates Central Bank expected the country’s economy to retract by 3.6 per cent after a slowdown in economic activity due to the pandemic.
The bank also expected the retraction of the growth of non-energy sectors by 4.1 per cent in 2020, and the total oil and gas sector output by 2.4 per cent this year.
To confront the coronavirus, the Emirati government has announced a $13.5 billion economic stimulus package and has taken a series of measures to support the aviation and real estate sectors.
Peak in 2015
The UAE’s arms imports peaked in 2015 at $1.22 billion, then declined by 22 per cent in 2016, reaching $955 million.
In 2017, the arms imports rose again by one per cent to $965 million, and by 24 per cent to $1.2 billion in 2018, while they fell back by 46 per cent to $644 million.
The US’ share of global imports has grown from 66.4 per cent in 2015 to 69 per cent in 2016, 62.5 per cent in 2017, and 76.5 per cent in 2018 (the highest share), while it reached 59.5 per cent in 2019.
On 19 April, Abu Dhabi announced the issuance of multi-tiered sovereign bonds with a total value of $7 billion.
Whereas, on 2 June, Abu Dhabi announced the issuance of multi-tiered sovereign bonds with a total value of $ 3billion, by reopening the recently issued bond issuance program, according to Anadolu Agency.