|But Sheikhy respects women.|
Afscme Local 444, retired
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed is very popular in certain US circles. He’s the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and has a lot of money. He's worth about $20 billion and so he should be, he’s the head of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and controls 6% of the world’s oil, Abu Dhabi is the UAE capital. He is quite naturally a misogynist, hates unions an absolute monarch and one of Lockheed Martin’s best customers. The UAE is the fourth biggest (mostly US) arms importer in the world; it is little larger than South Carolina.
Before its decline as a world power, the defense of these little feudal colonies around the Arabian Penninsula that make up the UAE was in the hands of British colonialism, as was the Iranian oil industry. The CIA orchestrated the coup that overthrew the government of Iran in 1953 at the urging of British colonialism after Iran decided it wanted to own its own oil industry.
Sheikh Mohamed does not believe in those American values, democracy, freedom, liberty etc. that we are always reminded about when the US bombs countries, but that’s OK. He does believe in money and ensuring his family has much of it while sharing the rest with his friends in the US.
“The UAE has essentially avoided the ‘Arab Spring’", the CIA Factbook states and US arms and western supplied security will ensure that there’s no people’s uprising there. “Abu Dhabi and its sister emirate, Dubai are the places where investors go to escape the deadly politics of the Middle East and focus on making money” Bloomberg Business Week adds.
That this money making and the huge disparity in income and the inequality gap between the likes of the Sheikh and the other few million people that live in the region is the cause of the “deadly politics” in the Middle East is not mentioned.
Like the Bahrainian monarchial dictatorship that suppressed a democratic movement recently attacking peaceful protesters and even imprisoning doctors who treated the wounded, the good Sheikh is a willing servant of US imperialism so Washington turns a blind eye to the Emirates human rights abuses. The Saudis too, perhaps the world leaders when it comes to beheadings and public lashings of women who dare to leave the house without a male relative to accompany them, get the same breaks. The US has no problem supporting murderers and terrorists when there’s money in it.
The Bahraini royal family butchered people as 15,000 US troops stood and watched, the Saudi’s are bombing the smithereens out of Yemen with US support and our good Sheikh has joined them. It doesn’t hurt relations with their colleagues in the US though, like the Saudi royal family, “Sheikh Mohamed had a strong relationship with President George W. Bush.”, Bloomberg BW reports. Relationships like that are not reserved for people that are not willing to share the loot and the region’s resources with US imperialism.
Just this month, after “suffering dozens of casualties” through its US backed war on Yemen, Sheikh Mohamed has been doing the rounds kissing the wounded in hospitals and the like. A day of remembrance has even been added to the UAE calendar conveniently “wedged” between holy days and the Dubai Shopping Festival that will no doubt be attended by billionaires and the rich from around the world.
And while we are talking about the shopping, there’s one group of folks in Dubai that won’t be attending and that’s the thousands of imported laborers that build the infrastructure.
All those glitzy buildings and malls have to be built and Dubai is famous for its abuse of workers. Just think Henry V111 of England or Tsar Nicholas of Russia and you’ll get some idea of the level of contempt the Crown Prince Mohamed has for working people.
The Emirates do not allow political parties or elections. There is no freedom of the press and of course the country is governed by Sharia law so flogging and stoning is acceptable punishment and many migrant workers, most from South Asia, places like Bangladesh and Pakistan, are the recipients of it. Eighty lashes is the standard, for alcohol consumption for example, but you can get up to 200. Kissing in public is illegal but, like most of the ruling classes in this part of the world, they can go to Europe or LA where expensive call girls and liquor are easily available.
NYU professor Andrew Ross was barred from entering Abu Dhabi after he published research about the migrant worker abuse. NYU was having a campus built there. He talks about this here.
Glen Garrick of the Guardian also visited Abu Dhabi where as well as NYU, the Louvre and the Guggenheim are building new premises for the global elite. Garrick describes what a workers community is like:
“In this workers’ camp, men put up sheets around the toilet for privacy, and cook in squalid kitchens. In the bedrooms, 43 Bangladeshi men bunk together, 10 to each windowless room. They earn $245 a month painting the New York University campus, working long hours, six days a week. All were too afraid to speak on camera. Many said they wanted to return home but were trapped by the thousands of dollars they owed to recruitment companies in Bangladesh.”
There have been numerous disappearances of poor migrant workers as well as complaints of torture. According to the Indian consulate, in 2006 as many as 109 migrant workers committed suicide. They are unable to return to their country of origin as their passports and identification are held from them by the recruiters. They are forced to work until they pay off the debt they owe for their transportation there.
These backward rulers, all propped up and armed to the teeth by the US taxpayer, are hated by the millions of poor Arabs throughout the region. Being Muslim doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to exploitation and abuse just like being Christian doesn’t when the US 1% savages living standards at home. Class unity trumps them all, gender, race, religion.
When you add this anger from below at US arms and money supporting the most ruthless Arab regimes, as well as the Zionists in Israel, an Apartheid state, to the twenty years of bombing and savagery the US has inflicted on Iraq eradicating it as a state basically, we have here the root of anti-American feeling and Islamic fanaticism. The US and the Western colonial powers have created the present vacuum that religious fanatics have filled. The political forces including the workers’ movement that formerly fought for secular states and self-determination have been weakened or entirely wiped out through support of these regimes and direct US intervention.
Here are some good articles about the present situation in the Middle East and what led us to this point.
Robert Fisk: In a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone
Ramzy Baroud: Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake