Blinken apologized to the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates for the delay in responding to the Houthi attacks
According to two sources briefed on the matter, Secretary of State Tony Blinken apologized to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed last month for the US response to the Houthi strikes against the UAE in January.
What’s at stake: The Emiratis were unhappy by what they viewed as a weak and tardy response from the United States in the aftermath of the assaults, and the Biden administration was similarly disappointed by the Emirati response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Blinken’s apology went a long way toward easing tensions.
• According to the two sources, at his meeting with MBZ in Morocco, Blinken acknowledged that the Biden administration delayed too long to respond to the attacks and apologized.
What they’re saying is as follows: A senior State Department official declined to comment on Blinken’s private talk, but did not rule out the possibility.
• “The Secretary made clear that we deeply value our partnership with the UAE and that we will continue to stand by our partners in the face of common threats,” the senior State Department official said.
• Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to Washington, told Axios last month that the Blinken-MBZ meeting helped “move the relationship between the UAE and the U.S. back on the right track.”
In February, when CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie came to Abu Dhabi, MBZ declined to meet with him because the journey had taken him 22 days.
• The Emiratis were also disappointed that the Biden administration declined their request to re-designate the Houthis as a terror organization.
• The Emirati frustration led the UAE to abstain from a UN Security Council vote on condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
• Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s visit to the UAE earlier this month blindsided the White House and further increased tensions with the U.S.