Abu Dhabi’s Ruling Elite Proves Its “Western” Credentials

May 14, 2009

We don’t often get to peek inside the royal families of the world to see how they really get their kicks. I’m guessing this isn’t an isolated incident:

A member of the United Arab Emirates’ ruling family who was filmed torturing people on videotapes has been detained, the country’s state-run news agency reported today.

..In one tape, obtained by the ABC News television channel and broadcast last month, Issa is shown attacking a helpless Afghan merchant he accuses of cheating him in a business deal. He appears to fire guns at him, sodomise him with a cattle prod, set fire to his testicles and run him over.

The victim, an Afghan grain merchant called Mohammed Shah Poor, apparently survived, because the government later justified taking no action against the sheikh by saying the matter had been settled privately between the two men, and each had agreed not to press charges against the other. But the UAE authorities were driven to action in the face of international revulsion at the brutality on display.

That would be Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, half brother of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, owner of Manchester City Football Club.


Congressman James McGovern, a senior Democrat, has demanded that Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, investigate the matter and find out why US officials initially appeared to play down its significance. Growing outrage over the tapes in the US threatens an important nuclear energy deal between the UAE and the US signed in the final days of the Bush administration, and yet to be ratified by Barack Obama. For decades the UAE has been portraying itself as a western-friendly country, ripe for trade and investment.

“Western-friendly”? What could be more western than torturing innocent people and trying to cover up the evidence? Or, in fact, trying to pressurise other nations into not releasing such evidence?

It’s just what we do, so let’s not get all gooey about such matters.


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