Gulf leaders still love Trump

The Emiratis, for their part, are as excited as ever by the promise of the Trump administration, even as other regional partners—namely the Israelis—have begun to worry about what a mercurial president who fancies himself a deal-maker might mean for their interests. Relations between the UAE and the Obama administration were also quite warm, with President Obama himself investing a lot of time with MbZ. But the Obama administration’s strategic and moral unease about the Saudi-led Yemen campaign—combined with some differences of opinion on Iraq, Egypt, and Libya—prevented a whole-hearted embrace.

The Trump administration does not seem nearly so concerned about the strategic direction in which the Saudis and Emiratis are headed in Yemen, and seems wholly unconcerned about the humanitarian situation there. The Saudis, the Emiratis, and the Trump administration seem to view Yemen as a righteous conflict against Iranian influence, and as I argued in an earlier piece for The Atlantic, they’re not wholly wrong to do so, even if I fail to see how they’re going to terminate the conflict anytime soon at an acceptable strategic and moral cost.

The Emiratis are very pleased, meanwhile, with the Trump administration’s embrace of Egyptian president Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi—who the Obama administration kept at arm’s length following the coup that brought him to power in 2013. They also seem to think key members of the Trump administration share their negative assessment of the government in Baghdad.