Umm Muhammed Umar
Dr James Dorsey discussed, on Radio Islam’s ‘The Middle East Report’, the now tarnished image of Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, following an attack by the Houthis in a bid to pressure the emirates to back out of Yemen. He commented on how the United Arab Emirates prided itself as being an oasis of peace and stability, in a volatile region. It also went to lengths to continue being a cutting-edge society. According to Dr Dorsey, the United Arab Emirates, had, as part of its effort to do so, in 2019, declared that it was withdrawing from the war in Yemen. While the UAE had withdrawn its combat troops from Yemen, it nevertheless, continued to train and arm various other groups in the country. Dr Dorsey said, “And in response to that, last week, or earlier this week the Houthis attacked with drones and with missiles, a facility very close to Abu Dhabi’s International Airport.”
Meanwhile, regarding Saudi Arabia, which has reportedly enhanced repression of freedom of expression, amid fears of ambiguity towards reforms, Dr Dorsey said that just in this past week, the Saudi Public Prosecutor announced that anybody who spread rumours or lies about any matter ‘related to public order’, would be seriously punished. The punishment could involve confiscation of the supposed offenders’ devices, and possible incarceration. He said, “The background to this is that the Crown Prince’s reforms are very popular. They have without doubt, enhanced youth aspirations, they answer to youth aspirations. They have sparked youth to become much more competitive.” However, they have not as yet delivered on employment. He added, “And there’s a feeling that maybe some of these reforms are moving too fast; that they’re focused on the elite, rather than on the population as such. And that the income inequalities which are vast in Saudi Arabia are not being addressed.” He stressed that if freedom of further was being cracked down upon, in a country that already had no freedom of expression, then there has to be concern.
Staying with Saudi Arabia, two Uighurs had been threatened with deportation from the Kingdom, as Gulf foreign ministers reiterated, in Beijing, support for China’s brutal repression of Uighur Muslim ethnic and religious identity, in Xinjiang. Dr Dorsey said that this was not the first time Uighurs in Saudi Arabia have been threatened with expulsion, and that that expulsion could take place within a few days. He said, “And they would be expelled to China, where you have a brutal crackdown on Uighur Muslims.” China had not requested their extradition. What had occurred was that the foreign ministers of four of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council had this week visited Beijing, where they had praised Chinese policy – praised the crackdown on fellow Muslims. Dr Dorsey said, “the Saudis are taking that to the ultimate consequence: instead of giving the Uighurs an opportunity to choose where they wished to go, they’re being forced to return to almost certain incarceration under very difficult circumstances.”
Discussed lastly was Qatar having approached Turkey rather than the UAE or Saudi Arabia for assistance with security at the World Cup 2022, which Qatar will be hosting later this year. Dr Dorsey reminded Radio Islam listeners that Qatar’s relationship with Turkey, and particularly the fact that Turkey had a military base in Qatar, was one of the issues that played a major role in the three-and-a-half-year Saudi and UAE led, diplomatic and economic boycott, of Qatar. The boycott has since been lifted, and there have been some steps towards improving relations between Turkey, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Turkey is to provide 3250 Turkish law enforcement personnel to Qatar during the world’s largest soccer tournament.