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Posts Tagged ‘United Arab Emirates’

“Dubai World III” (Gursky Photograph)

July 28th, 2012 Comments off

gurksy, Dubai World III

Andreas Gursky, “Dubai World III,” Photograph, 2008.

Gursky (b. Leipzig, 1955) studied at the Dusseldorf Art Academy and is known for his large scale prints and interest in world tourist sites.

This photograph references the controversial “Dubai World” project started by Nakheel Properties, which built artificial islands off the United Arab Emirates, with the ensemble in the shape of the world. Some 70% of these properties sold, but the 2008 financial bust and its aftermath has interfered with virtually any of the planned resorts going ahead, and some reports say that some of the islands are sinking back into the sea. The Dubai government has now taken over the project. Unless it recovers, “Dubai World” is more a warning against excess than a celebration of the UAE’s potential.

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Defections mount as Syrian Regime invests Aleppo

July 27th, 2012 Comments off

The Baath regime of President Bashar al-Assad is preparing for a major military operation to crush the uprising in Aleppo on Friday afternoon, according to rebel and Western sources. Even as the regime continues to pound rebel-held neighborhoods with tank and helicopter gunship fire, it is massing troops and armor to invest the city.

But while tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships can destroy neighborhoods and force irregular fighters to fade away, the price of treating one’s own population as a military enemy is high. The regime may well win the military fight, but lose the political one.

Ikhlas Badawi, a member of the Syrian parliament representing Aleppo, has just crossed over to Turkey and defected. She is the first member of parliament to do so. She said she was leaving “because of the methods of repression and brutal torture that are practiced on the people, who make the slightest demand for their rights.” The Syrian parliament is of course a rubber stamp and its sessions with al-Assad are marked by an embarrassing amount of sucking up. It is significant to have a Baath Party MP defect, because these are the loyalists of the loyalists.

The Syrian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Abdelatif al-Dabbagh, has defected, along with his wife, Lamia al-Hariri, who had been the charge d’affaires in Cyprus. The military attache in the gulf oil nation of Oman has also gone to the other side. The ambassador in the UAE would have been responsible for attempting to convince that government to back off in its support for the revolution, which al-Dabbagh clearly has decided is not a plausible task. The Gulf oil states play an outsize role in the region because of their vast wealth and ability to channel resources and weapons to the opposition (the UAE doesn’t, unlike Qatar and Saudi Arabia, appear to be supplying arms, but its support for one side or another is important).

Earlier in July, Nawaf Fares, the Syrian ambassador to Iraq, defected and alleged that Syria had been playing a sinister role in fomenting bombings in northern Iraq. Likewise, the powerful Tlass family of Sunni notables (prominent in the ministry of defense and in business) has left, and Manaf Tlass is now attempting to play a political role in the opposition. The Tlass’s were pillars of the Baath regime, helping to legitimate it with the Sunnis (who form some 70% of the Syrian population) and their defection is a significant blow to the Baath, dominated increasingly at its upper levels by minority Shiite Alawites.

In addition, dozens of one-star generals have gone to Turkey or joined the rebel forces.

Revolutions always involve dual claims of sovereignty. That is, two political forces have to vie over the loyalty of people and political legitimacy. The significance of this raft of defections is that gradually, the Syrian regime is no longer merely faces claims by a ragtag band of defecting corporals and sergeants, or by crowds gathering to chant and protest in town and city centers (both forms of opposition are still going on daily all around the country). The regime increasingly faces a former part of its own political elite, now increasingly denigrating its legitimacy or making claims of their own. This sign of the growth of dual sovereignty in the political sphere could be more decisive over the medium term than who wins what battle for what neighborhood.

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Syrian ambassador to UAE off duty since June ministry

July 26th, 2012 Comments off

Damascus, July 26 (Xinhua-ANI): Syrian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the Syrian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates ( UAE) has been off-duty since June 4. The ministry’s statement came on …
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Syrian envoy to UAE defects after wife joins rebels

July 25th, 2012 Comments off

Syria’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) defected Wednesday, a day after his wife, the Syrian envoy to Cyprus, announced she was joining the rebels. Abdel Latif al-Dabbagh’s wife Lamia …
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Syrian activists say envoys to Cyprus, UAE defect

July 25th, 2012 Comments off

This citizen journalism image provided by Shaam News Network SNN, taken on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, purports to show a helicopter gunship flying a bombing run in al-Qalmoun, Syria, (AP Photo/Shaam News Network, SNN) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS CITIZEN JOURNALIST IMAGESyrian opposition activists say the country's ambassador to Cyprus and the most recent ambassador to the United Arab Emirates have defected.

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UAE urged to free arrested Internet activists

July 25th, 2012 Comments off

Emirati blogger Ahmed Mansour speaks as the director of Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Whitson listens onAn international media watchdog on Tuesday urged the United Arab Emirates to release a group of Internet activists held on charges of "opposing the constitution."

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UAE charity group launches iftar project in Pakistan

July 24th, 2012 Comments off

The Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched its iftar project in Pakistan through which food and clothes will be given to widows, orphans and victims of natural …
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UAE sends food parcels to Pakistans tribal region

July 24th, 2012 Comments off

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sent 20,000 food parcels costing a total of $1 million to be distributed among needy families in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region. The food will be distributed …
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Pro-Western fighters in Syria

July 23rd, 2012 Comments off
“By Saturday evening, a group of some 150 foreign fighters describing themselves as Islamists had taken control of the post.  These fighters were not at the site on Friday, when rebel fighters captured the post.  Some of the fighters said they belonged to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), while others claimed allegiance to the Shura Taliban.  They were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket launchers and improvised mines.  The fighters identified themselves as coming from a number of countries: Algeria, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates — and the Russian republic of Chechnya, itself prey to two brutal conflicts in the 1990s as Moscow clamped down on separatist militants.”" (thanks Austin)

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Etihad Airways to fly daily to Vietnam

July 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will launch daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s commercial capital and most populous city, in October 2013. It will be …
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