Info about Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba
Yousef Al Otaiba is United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States. Prior to this he held important positions with the government of his country. A well educated man he has played an important role in the rapid growth of the UAE both economically and in their global influence.
Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba represents a new generation of Middle Eastern diplomat. Educated in the United States he has a much better understanding of the West than his predecessors and he has taken full advantage of this in his efforts to increase his countries influence on the world stage. The result is that the UAE is now an important power in the Gulf region. The main reason for this of course is because of the oil money that the country has. However unlike the leaders of many other oil rich countries the leaders of the UAE understand how to use their wealth to the greatest benefit of their nation. This is largely because of the advice that they have received from Otaiba.
The main reason that the Emirates have been able to take advantage of their oil wealth is that they control a very large sovereign wealth fund. That fund allows them to invest in many other countries, in particular the United States. It was during his time as the Director of International Affairs to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi that Otaiba recognized that this fund gave the Emirates considerable influence in world affairs. This was largely from his time in the United States. He came to understand the vital importance of foreign capital to US businesses and the power that those who held it could wield.
The result of the power that the Emirates sovereign wealth fund as given them combined with the fact that they are located in a strategically important part of the world has changed the way that the United States have had to deal with the UAE. They have had to start treating them much more like equal partners. This is exactly what Otaiba expected would happen, however it has created some new headaches for him.
The biggest headache that Yousef Al Otaiba has to deal with now in his new position as ambassador to the United States is Iran. The UAE and Iran do a lot of trade with each other and actually have a fairly good relationship, at least compared to other countries in the Middle East. This has created a problem because the UN has imposed sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program. There is a belief however that a lot of prohibited materials are being shipped to Iran through the Emirates. Recently Otaiba made statements to the effect that he believed that a military strike against Iran would be a good idea. A lot of people have viewed this as Otaiba trying to please the US with a tough stance on Iran while at the same time knowing that his government is allowing Iran to cheat on the embargo. Yousef Al Otaiba has largely been successful in increasing the Emirates influence but he now has to deal with the problems of using that influence.