His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, announced on March 2, 2022 a gift of $5 million in humanitarian assistance for the people in Ukraine. (Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The United Arab Emirates, situated in one of the world most dangerous neighborhoods and led by an exceptional statesman, His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, announced today, March 2, 2022, a gift of $5 million in humanitarian assistance for the people in Ukraine. Ukraine is currently under an increasingly brutal assault by the Russian army, apparently ordered to seize the country, evidently at all costs, by Russian President Vladimir Putin, already accused of war crimes as well as decades of atrocities.
The UAE's donation, reported by Gulf News, is being made through the United Nations Humanitarian Flash Appeal and Regional Refugee Response Plan "to benefit civilians impacted by the situation in Ukraine." It is yet another "reflection of the UAE's emphasis on humanitarian solidarity in conflict settings," noted the Emirates News Agency WAM. The funds, according to these reports, will be used to ensure the protection of civilians, and the "unimpeded access for humanitarian agencies and actors and safe passage for those seeking to leave the country without discrimination or obstacles as stated during the UN's Security Council's meeting on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine on February 28."
The UAE and its impressive Crown Prince might at this moment understandably be sensitive to conflicts. This year Abu Dhabi suffered multiple drone attacks, as well as attempted drone attacks, from the Houthis, a proxy militia of Iran, who for years have been trying to take over Yemen at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, with, it seems, a view to have Iran replace Saudi Arabia, its oil fields and its two most holy Islamic cities, Mecca and Medina.
The UAE has asked that the Houthis, whom US Secretary of State Antony Blinken removed from the List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in February 2021, apparently to please Iran before talks started to renegotiate the faulty 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal. Regrettably, the original deal, cancelled in 2018 by then US President Donald J. Trump, would have allowed Iran, at the deal's sunset in a few years, to possess an unlimited number of nuclear bombs.
Two days ago, in a vote greatly welcomed by the UAE, the United States agreed to the UN listing the Houthis as a terrorist organization. US President Joe Biden is apparently "still considering" that designation for the Houthis in the US, possibly as negotiations with the Iranians are ongoing in Vienna, Austria.
It was the UAE, especially the trail-blazing leadership of His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and his two extraordinary senior advisors, one of whom is his brother, Abu Dhabi's exceptional Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, that broke a seemingly hopeless stalemate in the Middle East by organizing the historic Abraham Accords, formalized on the South Lawn of the White House on September 15, 2020. The Abraham Accords are a warm peace agreement between the UAE, the United States and Israel, quickly followed by Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco and Kosovo. The agreement, widely predicted not to succeed, is, instead, two years later, universally hailed as an overwhelming success, drawing headlines such as, "Abraham Accords Paying off for Israelis, Arabs", "Yes, the Abraham Accords Were a Historic Success", and "A Year Later, The Abraham Accords Are Worth Celebrating", to name but a few.
Now, once again, as a peaceful, stable country -- in that regard no different from Ukraine -- and, like Ukraine, all too aware of how it feels to be under assault -- the UAE and His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed, in yet another dramatic example of leadership, are leading the way to help the incredibly brave people of Ukraine who are under the threat of unimaginable destruction. The UAE and His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, once again, have not only "talked the talk," they have most generously "walked the walk."
Edward Johnson is based in the US and Europe.