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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed (R). Photo: Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The close alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates appears to be under rare strain as the two oil-rich monarchies take increasingly divergent approaches to foreign policy, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The immediate source of tension is the war in Yemen, where the UAE has scaled down its military presence amid a realization that there is "no military solution" to a devastating conflict that has dragged on for 4 years. "The Saudis felt abandoned," a Western diplomat said.

The big picture: A source tells Reuters that the UAE wants to establish itself as the more mature player in the region, especially as Saudi foreign policy grows increasingly "impulsive and interventionist" under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

  • In Washington, where the UAE has an extensive lobbying operation, the country has also sought to distance itself from MBS after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi enraged U.S. lawmakers.
  • "The UAE wants to be seen as the small country that facilitates peace and stability rather than an appendage to a triumphant expansionist Saudi," the source said.

Why it matters: If the alliance is indeed fracturing, it could have huge reverberations in the Middle East, especially in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

A health care worker preparing a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine dose in New York City on Oct. 21. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the Food and Drug Administration Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Changing the inflation conversation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Inflation looks like it’ll run hot for longer than plenty of smart people thought it would. The conversation over just how much more Americans will have to pay for their stuff has taken on a new intensity, as supply problems show few signs of fading.

Why it matters: The rate of price growth has remained consistently strong in recent months — a time that some thought would bring cooling prices after an initial reopening spike. What goes on with prices will influence the decisions made by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the Federal Reserve.

The biggest headline from Biden's town hall

President Biden greets attendees during a commercial break in Baltimore last night. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

What matters from President Biden's town hall with CNN's Anderson Cooper at Baltimore Center Stage on Thursday:

The biggest headline: Biden is jettisoning the corporate tax increases that White House officials have insisted, for the past 10 months, are wildly popular across the country. He admitted he doesn't have the votes.