The UAE dropped plans to send 24 aircraft to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya because of the US and Europe’s policies towards the recent protests in Bahrain, a former commander of the UAE Air Force is reported to have said.

The US’ Wall Street Journal quoted Major General Khalid al-Buainnain as saying “The UAE was willing, and there were preparations, to deploy a significant number of aircraft for the no-fly zone, but a reprioritisation – specifically the European and US positions on Bahrain – did not satisfy the Gulf states to this end.”

The report says that the US and Europe were underestimating the extent of Iranian interference in the anti-government protests in Bahrain.

“It is a complete conspiracy of the Iranians in the region …The European and US positions are unable to imagine the extent of Iranian intervention in Bahrain,” Al-Buainnain is reported as saying.

Now the UAE will limit its involvement in Libya to just providing humanitarian aid.