For almost two years, the UAE’s political Islamists have been referred to in the West as human rights activists. No doubt, they are indeed activists with an agenda but there is also no doubt that they are not our version of Nelson Mandela, nor is their vision for the country that of the Magna Carta. I have been following their rhetoric — in Arabic — over the past few months on social media with great concern. I have found it to be xenophobic; anti-Semitic; sectarian; exclusionary; racist toward Asians, Africans and other Arabs and overall repugnant. Read more »
From Mitt Romney’s geographic blunders to Obama’s ignorance of Iranian suffering under sanctions to both candidates’ treatment of Israel as a political ‘red line’, there are many good reasons why this election does not rank among the top issues in the Middle East. Read more »
Since the start of the Arab uprisings the UAE has witnessed a widespread campaign of arrest mostly involving political Islamists. Five activists were detained early last year, sentenced then pardoned by the country’s president. Then in December six naturalized individuals had their citizenships revoked for “threatening national security.” But why aren’t UAE nationals marching in the street demanding urgent political reform? Here are several reasons.
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Al Jazeera Arabic today is actively taking part in reconstructing the image of the Arab “dictator leader” that Arabs have gotten used to since the 1950s, where the media is instructed not to criticise the president or monarch. Morsi’s much-deserved win isn’t only Al Jazeera Arabic’s loss but a major blow to the channel’s credibility and a loss to its viewers. Read more »
Another crisis is brewing in the Middle East, this time between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Iranian president Ahmadinejad took the unprecedented step of visiting the disputed Gulf island of Abu Musa that both countries claim along with two other islands of Lesser and Greater Tunb. This prompted the normally reticent UAE to condemn the visit in the “strongest possible terms” and recall its ambassador from Iran. Additionally a football match between both states was cancelled by the UAE. Read more »