Quick trip, big message

Summary: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin surprised observers with a quick trip this week to meet with the UAE’s MbZ and the Saudi Crown Prince MbS. The warm and effusive welcomes that greeted him in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh bode ill for the Biden presidency.

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  1. It is almost certainly a complete coincidence but it is still interesting to note that yesterday top UAE AI firm G42 announced that it is cutting its ties with China’s Huawei under pressure from the US whose ‘tech war’ with China continues to escalate. The G42 chairman is (unsurprisingly) UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin-Zayed al-Nahyan who has been a driving force behind the Emiratis’ efforts to diversify their geopolitical partnerships. This does not detract for one moment from the political impact (especially in the US) of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Abu Dhabi; but it is a real substantive ‘win’ for Washington.

    As for Mr Putin’s discussions with MbS over the oil price, far from anticipating further Opec+ cuts in output (which, as I posted on the Arab Digest Facebook page yesterday, would not easily be agreed) some experts are wondering whether we might see Riyadh look to flood the market to bring the ppb down below an economically viable level for US shale: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Is-A-New-Oil-Price-War-Looming.html. Personally, I am sceptical; but Opec+ seems not to have any good options just now.

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