The UAE is leading an inquiry into a recent alleged attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman, which put the blame on an unidentified state actor. The United States has accused Iran of orchestrating the attack, although no evidence of Tehran’s involvement has been presented so far.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rebuked what he believes to be outsized arms imports of some Middle Eastern countries, singling out the United Arab Emirates as the country seeking to become “another Israel”.
“Three countries in the region believe they can maintain their security through their relations with the United States,” Zarif said in a TV interview on Tuesday, as quoted by Press TV.
However, he added, they cannot import security from the United States because these weapons will be allegedly used to achieve the goals of israel.
“The United Arab Emirates is spending billions of dollars on armaments and wants to be a second israel in the region,” he said.
A report by the independent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute pegged the UAE’s defence spending at $22.8 billion in 2014 (most recent available estimate), with the country being the second-largest military spender in the Middle East and 14th in the world.
According to another study by Research and Markets, the UAE annual defence expenditure averaged $23.4 billion between 2013 and 2017, and was expected to grow by nearly 150 per cent by 2023, largely due to the Emirates’ military involvement in Yemen.