THE BLOG
11/28/2016 04:39 pm ET Updated Nov 29, 2017

Donald Trump: A Win For The UAE?

This post was originally published at LobeLog.

Throughout this year's unprecedented U.S. presidential election, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) officials mostly favored Hillary Clinton as the business-as-usual candidate. They were supportive of the Democratic Party candidate based on personal ties dating back to her husband's administration and a perception that she saw the GCC states as vital allies in Washington's multifront struggle against Islamic extremism rather than just oil-rich "cash cows." They were optimistic that her presidency would more closely align the U.S. with the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula.

This was particularly true with respect to Syria, where many Arab Gulf officials hoped that she would take military action to punish Bashar al-Assad following almost six years of futile Saudi/Qatari efforts to overthrow his regime. Donald Trump's position in favor of severing support for Syria's rebels, insistence that the GCC states pay more for the defense shield provided by the U.S. military, his anti-Muslim bigotry, and the wild-card nature of the real estate mogul's candidacy have been the source of much concern in Arab Gulf capitals.

One GCC member, however, is likely to see a silver living in Trump's triumph. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), having invested in a lobbying campaign in Washington to bring the U.S. on board with Abu Dhabi's global campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, may have reason to look forward to working with a US president who labels the Brotherhood a "radical" organization. For CIA director, Trump picked Rep. Mike Pompeo, who co-sponsored legislation to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Frank Gaffney, a member of Trump's national security inner team, the Muslim Brotherhood is set on "destroying Western civilization from within" and "its penetration and manipulation of the Republican Party and the conservative movement in America" was one of its "most successful influence operations."

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Giorgio Cafiero is the CEO of Gulf State Analytics (@GulfStateAnalyt), a Washington, DC-based geopolitical risk consultancy.