Soleimani assassination Repercussions on UAE… economic losses and security concerns
Like the rest of the Gulf states and the region, the UAE is watching the repercussions of the American operation, with the assassination of the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Qassem Soleimani last Friday in a raid targeting him near Baghdad International Airport.
And the escalation of tension between the United States and Iran after the assassination operation caused the UAE economic losses, amid fears of wide security impacts that may include targeting military bases in the country.
With the return of the atmosphere of war and the geopolitical risks to the region, the tension returns once again to the markets, economies, investments and exports of the countries concerned with the current crisis, notably Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states, and the repercussions may subsequently extend to other countries, including Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
In the event of a prolonged period of the current crisis, the negative effects of it may extend to the world markets, especially the oil and energy market, as well as stock and financial markets, if Iran proceeds to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the most important artery in the world, in front of the Gulf and international oil ships, or even just waving the closure of the strait through which about 30% of oil supplies pass through the world’s markets, or in the event of sabotage operations by Iran to tankers and oil installations in the strategic strait or along the waterway in the Gulf.
With the escalation of threats to the United States following the killing of Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization in Baghdad, especially by Iran and the militias supporting it in Iraq and Lebanon, the economies of the countries of the region are living in a critical stage, perhaps translated quickly by sharp declines in the Gulf stock exchanges.
The Dubai Stock Exchange lost 3.06% of its market value, while the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange lost 1.4%, at a time when investors in the region are more tense than ever, in light of very dark scenarios they draw for the next stage, if Iran implements its threats and strikes American interests in the region, then America may respond by striking vital and strategic installations inside Iran.
And if American forces hit 52 targets inside Iran, as Trump has threatened, the latter will direct their missiles, drones, and artillery at American forces and installations stationed in the Gulf, and perhaps in Iraq and Syria.
In the context of security implications, the British Daily Mail newspaper published a report on the implications of Soleimani’s death and quoted experts as saying that Western tourists should leave the UAE for fear of Iranian retaliation.
Contrary to what the newspaper mentioned, no Western country has called for its citizens to leave the UAE. But the State Department stressed the need for all American citizens to leave Iraq. Washington has a huge military base in Abu Dhabi.
Iranian analyst Mohammed Marandi said that the United States “declared war that it is better for Westerners to evacuate its nationals from countries such as the UAE and Iraq immediately.”
“It is better for all American citizens to leave the area immediately,” according to the British newspaper.
The BBC also quoted Marandi as saying: If there were Western citizens, they would leave the UAE immediately, because Iranian retaliation was coming, and Iraqi leaders would also avenge the killing of Soleimani and the engineer.
This comes at a time when Tehran announced a three-day national mourning for the killing of General Soleimani. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has vowed to “take revenge on the criminals” who killed “Soleimani”.
In a statement, the Supreme Council for National Security (the highest security authority) in Iran stressed that “the attack on Soleimani is the biggest strategic mistake that America will commit and will be mindful of,” adding that “there is a harsh revenge awaiting the criminals behind the assassination of Soleimani.”
“I spoke with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, about President Trump’s decision to take decisive defensive measures to protect American personnel overseas,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet on Twitter.
Pompeo added that the UAE “is concerned about the continued military provocations of the Iranian regime.”
Most foreigners live in the emirate of Dubai, whose economy has been severely affected by tensions in the region for more than two years.
He also called on the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash to prioritize political solutions to confrontation and escalation, to solve the problems of the region, which he described as “complex and accumulated”.
Commenting on Gargash’s statements, Oraib Rantawi, Jordanian expert and political analyst, said that it “returns to the UAE’s approach of calm with Iran, and the UAE’s fears that any open escalation in the Gulf region may make the UAE a war zone.”
Rantawi stated that there are two reasons for the Emirati stance towards the assassination of Soleimani. “The first is that the UAE has been following a truce line towards Iran and the story started in Yemen, the Emirati withdrawal in Yemen and the signing of the security cooperation agreement in navigation between Iran and the UAE and several messages sent by the UAE about its desire to calm and avoid escalation”.
The second reason, according to Rantawi: “The UAE has read the Iranian message well, to the effect that any open escalation in the Gulf region may make the UAE an arena of settling accounts, and therefore it wants to distance itself from the Iranian reaction and reaction in this field.”
The Guardian newspaper: No one can predict what will happen next, especially the two main rivals. None of the actions of US President Donald Trump in the Middle East to date suggest that the assassination of Qassem Soleimani with an unmanned air strike on Baghdad International Airport is part of a deliberate plan.
Observers expressed their fear of launching a new round of Iranian attacks on the energy infrastructure in the aftermath of the assassination of Soleimani, and that any escalating mutual conflict in the oil-rich region threatens to raise oil prices in the whole world.