Bin Zayed grew up witnessing the rapid transformation of the UAE from huts to Hilton hotels and skyscrapers. Along the way, his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, elder brother Khalifa and he learned two valuable lessons: the UAE cannot survive without outside protection and they need to remain strategically significant to keep mainly their Western allies interested and on board. Moreover, the country’s geographical location puts it between two regional powers that historically have shown an interest in controlling it.
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“Once the government witnessed the so-called Arab Spring, it got scared so it put all the defendants in jail, all the people reporting human rights violations. It’s a scandal, this country. All defendants should be released if the UAE wants to be compatible with its public proclamations towards international relations.”
According to Business Monitor International, a research firm, diversity is the key to such a development, with incentives to build mid-range hotels and improve the safety reputation of the Emirates, high standards of accommodation and attractive cultural heritage, adaptation to middle-class travellers from Asia and Africa and short-stay visitors. However, investment in the sector was $7.1 billion and it is expected to reach $20.3 billion in the next 19 years (11.2 per cent).
Aside from embezzlement and corruption, al-Otaiba was implicated in even more serious scandals. The Huffington Post, which was provided with another batch of the leaked emails, broke the story of al-Otaiba supporting a major effort to raise doubts about Qatar in the minds of Americans since 2014, a mission in which he has been largely unsuccessful despite the row between the Gulf state and several other countries, including the UAE, over its alleged support of terrorism that erupted in May 2017.
The MOE and ADEC announced on 3 September 2017 the launch of a new unified educational system to standardize teaching and learning. The curriculum will be based on building critical thinking skills, developing innovation and teamwork among students, and using information technology in problem-solving.
al-Qassemi has gone silent on Twitter, too. A source close to him said that the Gulf crisis might be the reason why he is not interacting on social media anymore. For now at least, it seems that his social media and activism days are behind him. If the Gulf crisis is resolved, he may go back to Tweeting freely again.
Most observers agree that the tiny kingdom is building up its army to continue to offset the influence of Iran while acting as a bulwark against Islamist and jihadist insurgents. But Ibish suggests that the UAE’s more weaponized approach to politics is part of a wider ambition to determine its own fate in a region that has become increasingly destabilized since the Arab Spring.
In the years since, the UAE has considered fighting the Muslim Brotherhood locally, regionally and globally a top priority. Using its financial influence and political links, the UAE has been turning decision makers in the United States and Western Europe against political Islam in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular.