Despite sharing intelligence, Saudi Arabia, UAE denied US request to use their airspace during Iran’s attack – report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, arrives in Abu Dhabi to offer condolences to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, third, right, on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the late president of the UAE, at the Presidential Airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, May 16, 2022. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, arrives in Abu Dhabi to offer condolences to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, third, right, on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the late president of the UAE, at the Presidential Airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, May 16, 2022. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

While Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cooperated extensively with the US by passing on intelligence information that was vital to the success of the air defense measures that thwarted the massive assault, they stopped short of agreeing to open their airspace for Israel and the US, the Wall Street Journal reports, indicating that the two countries are attempting to maintain a delicate balance in an increasingly tense region.

According to the report, the balance struck by Saudi Arabia and the UAE is a result of recently improved ties with Iran, which both countries are said to have used to their advantage in recent months as they try to prevent Iran from turning the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza into an all-out regional war.

Emirati political scientist Abdulkhaleq Abdulla tells the Wall Street Journal that the UAE is trying to stay as uninvolved as possible in any direct conflict, feeling that it needs to focus on its own national interests and security, but will strive to maintain relations with both Israel and Iran.

“We don’t want to get entangled in this one way or another,” he says, assessing that fellow Gulf states feel the same way.

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