The Eastern Mediterranean in UAE Foreign Policy: Goals and Principles

Cover Page

Cite item


The Eastern Mediterranean in recent years has become an arena of growing activity of regional states causing tensions among them. The importance of this region from political and military point of view combined with its strategic value in the world energy markets underpins the growing involvement of the UAE, a non-regional actor that lately has become deeply engaged in the regional agenda. Due to the fact that the UAE has taken up a quite active foreign policy course outside of its traditional Gulf circle only recently - with the Eastern Mediterranean becoming a new area of Emirati activities - the volume and scope of Russian and foreign research on this topic is rather limited. The existing works that in some way cover issues of the UAE foreign policy do not reflect the increasing influence of this small Gulf state in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond. For this reason, there is a need for complex research on the matter. This paper is based on analysis of existing works on topics related to some aspects of Emirati foreign policy and tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as analytical articles and statistics. The dramatically increased interest of the UAE in the Eastern Mediterranean is part of significant transformations in the monarchy’s foreign policy that have been taking place since early 2010s. These transformations manifest themselves in new goals and purposes of Emirati foreign policy, its expanding scale and new instruments for its implementation. Not only is the UAE policy in the Eastern Mediterranean consistent with its general goal of containing Turkey and fighting the threat of Islamism, but it is also a part of realizing Emirati global ambitions of becoming a leader in energy and logistics and ensuring its international status as an influential actor.

About the authors

Tatiana I. Tyukaeva

Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0758-4187

PhD in Political Sciences, Research Fellow, Center for the Middle East Studies

Moscow, Russian Federation


  1. Almezaini, K. (2018a). Implementing global strategy in the UAE foreign aid: From Arab solidarity to South — South cooperation. Vestnik RUDN. International Relations, 18(3), 579—594.
  2. Almezaini, K. (2018b). The transformation of UAE foreign policy since 2011. In K.C. Ulrichsen (Ed.), The changing security dynamics of the Persian Gulf (pp. 191—205). London: C. Hurst & Co Publishers, 2018.
  3. Almezaini, K., & Rickli, J. M. (Eds.). (2017). The small Gulf States: Foreign and security policies before and after the Arab Spring. New York: Routledge.
  4. Antwi-Boateng, O., & Binhuwaidin, M. (2017). Beyond rentierism: The United Arab Emirates’ exceptionalism in a turbulent region. Contemporary Arab Affairs, 10(4), 522—536.
  5. Bakir, A. (2020). The UAE’s disruptive policy in Libya. Insight Turkey, 22(4), 157—178.
  6. Brun, I., & Feuer, S. (2021). In search of a regional order: The struggle over the shape of the Middle East. Strategic Assessment, 24(1), 5—20.
  7. Dell, D., & Feuer, S. (2021). Toward a new “solution”? Islamic ideologies in the Middle East a decade after the uprisings. Strategic Assessment, 24(1), 56—73.
  8. Evaghorou, E. L. (2018). Turbulent times in the Eastern Mediterranean: The struggle for power. Mediterranean Quarterly, 29(1), 1—18.
  9. Fedorchenko, A. V., & Artyushkin, V. F. (2020). Economic Involvement of Persian Gulf Countries in Africa. Asia and Africa Today, (4), 26—33. (In Russian).
  10. Gorbatova, V. V. (2019). Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen: The dissonant coalition. National Strategy Issues, 6(57), 52—69. (In Russian).
  11. Gorbunova, N. M. & Ivanova, I. I. (2019). Natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean as a trigger of new conflicts between the countries of the region. Vestnik Instituta Vostokovedenija RAN, (2), 226—234. (In Russian).
  12. Gorbunova, N. M., & Ivanova, I. I. (2020). Rivalry over the gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean: Results and prospects. Vestnik Instituta Vostokovedenija RAN, (2), 64—79. (In Russian).
  13. Guéraiche, W. (2019). The UAE and the Arab Spring: Rethinking foreign policy. In C. Çakmak & A. Özçelik (Eds.), The world community and the Arab Spring (pp. 395—407). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
  14. Güney, N. A., & Korkmaz, V. (2021). A new alliance axis in the Eastern Mediterranean Cold War: What the Abraham accords mean for Mediterranean geopolitics and Turkey. Insight Turkey, 23(1), 61—76.
  15. Kuznetsov, A. A. (2017). Disagreements between member states of the GCC as a factor of the political situation in the Middle East region. Journal of International Analytics, (2), 69—77. (In Russian).
  16. Litsas, S. N., & Tziampiris, A. (Eds.). (2015). The Eastern Mediterranean in transition: Multipolarity, politics and power. New York: Routledge.
  17. Melkumyan, E. S. (2016). New trends of the Gulf Cooperation Council policy in the context of regional transformation. Vestnik of Lobachevsky University of Nizhni Novgorod, (4), 55—64. (In Russian).
  18. Melkumyan, E. S. (2018). Humanitarian policies of the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf. Pathways to Peace and Security, (1), 299—307. (In Russian).
  19. Melkumyan, E. S. (2019). Strategy of development of the Arab Gulf monarchies: Major priorities. Papers of the Institute of Oriental Studies of RAS, (26), 601—610. (In Russian).
  20. Melkumyan, E. S. (2021). Israel in foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates: From confrontation to normalization. MGIMO Review of International Relations, 14(2), 107—118. (In Russian).
  21. Miller, R., & Verhoeven, H. (2020). Overcoming smallness: Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and strategic realignment in the Gulf. International Politics, (57), 1—20.
  22. Prontera, A., & Ruszel, M. (2017). Energy security in the Eastern Mediterranean. Middle East Policy, XXIV(3), 145—162.
  23. Roberts, D. B. (2017). Qatar and the UAE: Exploring divergent responses to the Arab Spring. Middle East Journal, 71(4), 544—562.
  24. Telci, I. N., & Horoz, T. O. (2018). Military bases in the foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates. Insight Turkey, 20(2), 143—166.
  25. Ulrichsen, K. (2016). The United Arab Emirates: Power, politics and policy-making. London: Routledge.

Copyright (c) 2021 Tyukaeva T.I.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies