Human Rights in the Near East: Part 1
In 2004, humiliation, pain and torture were inflected on an Afghan grain merchant named Mohammed Shah Poor. The torturer was Sheikh Issa Al Nahyan, one of the 22 royal Sheikhs of the United Arab Emirate (U.A.E). At this point in the clip, I hope you have realized that Sheikh Issa’s accomplices are police officers. Moreover, I believe (call me clairvoyant) that Mohammed (and Sheikh Issa) both realize there are to be no consequences for Sheikh Issa. After looking at the family chart, we notice that Issa’s kinfolk has the U.A.E on lock. In fact, every top office belongs to a Sheikh Al Nahyan. According to The Observers , on April 22nd 2009, the U.A.E Ministry of Interior (lead by one of Sheikh Issa’s brother) told ABC News that “all rules and procedure were followed correctly by the police.”
Imagine being taken to the desert (read: royal ranch on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi) and being beaten, electrocuted with a cattle prodder in(out)side of your body, having your genitals set on fire, and finally your legs run over by a Mercedes SUV. Most of us would like to believe that (if we survived the 45 minute ordeal) we would be able to seek justice. We don’t realize that often times across the globe (and here in the USA) there is no way to seek justice; there are no media sources willing to make problems public; and there are no government officials willing to speak out, because the perpetrator is protected by the (un)spoken laws of the land, particularly between sovereign nations and their elite classes with a ‘mutual understanding.’
These relationships pose the true Human Rights issue. The Middle East Royals and particularly the UAE royal family influence and impact on celebrities and other nation-states is astounding. In terms of their reach into American companies, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Fund has been used to gobble up American assets, “buying considerable stakes in US Businesses like Citigroup, the Carlyle Group, Advanced Micro Devices, and Toll Brothers.” Over seas in Europe, Abu Dhabi United Group owns Manchester City Football Club . Besides all this the royal families selection of friends, No Doubt, Beyonce, Coldplay and Dallas Austin are just a few who enjoy amiable relationships in the U.A.E. Bassam Nabulsi was a personal business partner/friend of Sheikh Isssa so much so that the man filming the torture footage is Mr. Nabulsi’s brother. How do we hold our government, businesses and celebrities accountable for tacitly approving (read: overlooking) these allegations?
These incidents are happening abroad with the complete awareness of America and other western nations. Sheikh Issa’s brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan can be seen in the photograph with President Bush at Camp David. Why would President Bush be meeting with the Crown Prince of the U.A.E, when the State Department only a year earlier reported massive Human Rights violation in U.A.E? Could it be because of the 875 billion that is in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority fund and the brimming nimiety of oil in U.A.E, or the pending nuclear agreement between U.A.E and USA? I believe it is a combination of factors that considerably softens western governments’ willingness to strongly point out the many human rights violations present in the U.A.E.