Showing posts with label Dubai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dubai. Show all posts

Monday, December 09, 2019

Dubai: Remarkable City

What has happened is amazing. How fast it all has happened is amazing. What is even more amazing is what is about to happen.

Gulf Cup 2019
What's Up With Qatar!
Yemen's Roadmap To Peace
Kashmir Deserves Normalcy
"UAE Against All Violence And Terrorism"
Thoughts On The Middle East
Formula For Peace Between Israel And Palestine
The Stupidity Of The Ayodhya Dispute
Saudi-Iran: Imran Is The Only One Who Can
The Three Crown Princes Of The Gulf
UAE's Federal National Council
Middle East: Cold War, Cold Peace, Warm Peace
Dubai, Pakistan, Peace, Prosperity
Dubai: Videos (6)
Dubai: Videos (5)
The Dubai Sheikh Is A Business School Case Study
Dubai: Videos (4)
Dubai: Videos (3)
Dubai: Videos (2)
South Asians Working In The Gulf
Dubai: Videos (1)
Imran Khan: Education In Islam
Dubai: Photos (4)
Dubai: Photos (3)
Masa, MBS, And The Broader Investment Climate
Dubai: Photos (2)
Dubai: Photos (1)

As I see it, NEOM has been inspired by Dubai. Dubai exhibits that it is possible. I think the two will feed on each other and rise together. That is the thing about peace and prosperity. It is win-win.

NEOM: A Fundamental Departure For All Humanity?
NEOM: Governance
NEOM Beats Mars
NEOM: Wide Participation Will Enhance Chance Of Success
NEOM, Jerusalem: Twin Cities?
My Take On NEOM, The City
NEOM: A City

Brand UAE: we have so many good stories to tell the world but need a clear way of doing so those of us fortunate enough to live in the UAE already know the reasons why our nation is beloved by residents of more than 200 nationalities: the sunny climate, natural beauty, friendly people, a rich and unique culture, and values such as tolerance, generosity and inclusivity........ On the world stage, we have much to highlight. From our championing of interfaith dialogue and tolerance to our leadership in foreign aid, we are a constructive force in the world........ We empower our women to take ownership of their lives and the country’s future, invest in our youth and always try to generate optimism in a region that often needs it badly. We are progressive, ambitious and open. .....

Yet we do not always get the recognition we deserve. There are misconceptions and stereotypes about our country that are neither fair nor true.

...... “The UAE is at the heart of global economic, social and cultural development. The nation brand will deepen the country’s impact and soft power across the world.” ...... It is said that Abu Dhabi and Dubai are virtually unrecognisable from just 15 years ago. Abu Dhabi is a green oasis that serves as the beating heart of our federation. Dubai has risen from the desert to become a global centre of commerce and one of the world’s top tourist destinations. ....... From sending the first Emirati astronaut to space to announcing the world’s first artificial intelligence university in Abu Dhabi, the UAE is proud to be at the forefront of scientific development and social transformation....... the best brands are inclusive and for the UAE, that means celebrating the hundreds of nationalities who call this place home. The tolerance we display for each other, our faiths and our cultures is worth sharing with the world.

The Real Burj Khalifa (In The Foreground)

To: The Crown Prince Of Dubai
Dubai's Remarkable Economic Transformation
Silicon Valley And Dubai
My Real Estate Tech Startup Has A Loan Investment
The Next Wave In Innovation: Reimagining Entire Industries
Getting To Know Mustafa Kheriba
Jassim Mohammed Al Seddiqi: Renaissance Man In The Gulf

Monday, November 18, 2019

Getting To Know Mustafa Kheriba

Mustafa G. Kheriba

Opinion: The UAE's shift towards becoming a hub for financial innovation The country's financial sector shows how leading the pack leads to unprecedented value ....... The United Arab Emirates has emerged as a shining example of how a traditional oil powerhouse can diversify its sources of national revenues away from oil to other industries. ..... the banking sector in the UAE continues to be quite fragmented, with 23 domestic banks and 29 foreign institutions operating onshore, as well as a plethora of alternative finance companies that exist to serve SMEs and retail clients whom have exhausted traditional banking lines and offerings. ........ hydrocarbons sector will continue to be the compelling force behind anticipated growth for the near future ......... The UAE banking sector recently saw the merger of two dominant players, First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi, creating one of the largest financial institutions regionally, with the breadth and scale to be competitive globally....... property markets across the emirates continuing to show softening trends in prices and depressed yields ....... Fintech is redefining modes of operation in the financial industry, and we are witnessing unprecedented levels of change and growth....... Fintech – which is now omnipresent in the industry – is providing the critical elements of swift action, more convenience and higher accessibility to the delivery of financial services. The influx is exceptionally transformational and continues to gain momentum........ The UAE has been at the forefront of such changes, with the introduction of e-banking, e-dirhams, online platforms and regulatory bodies such as the Abu Dhabi Global Markets and Dubai International Financial Centre serving as bright examples of how the country is becoming a hub for financial services innovations in the region. ........ as the country works towards a roadmap for the UAE’s centennial in 2071

THE GCC: OPPORTUNITY BORN FROM POSITIVE MOMENTUM Why the GCC is geared to become one of the most rewarding investment destinations in 2018 Sovereign wealth institutions in the region are among the wealthiest in the world, and the investment appetite for diversifying national sources of revenue has always been healthy. ....... we are seeing a fundamental change. The GCC is increasingly becoming a destination for capital deployment with ample opportunities for investment in various sectors such as hydrocarbons, healthcare, education and real estate to name a few. ........ The oil crisis has had a positive impact in allowing the regional regimes to explore new avenues of income. ...... A big theme I predict in 2018 is consolidation, as well as acquisitions outside of the region that will help with the diversification of funding sources and capital inflows. ...... the quiet before the storm of 2018. The region will see the best and fastest to come in the next few years........ The robust economies of the UAE and Saudi Arabia continue to lead the pack. ......... Saudi Arabia is in a positive momentum given the recent reforms implemented by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Salman the Crown Prince. The fight against corruption surge that has been going on in the last few months has given great hope to the people and to the positive growth momentum of the economy in general. The initiatives are moving Saudi Arabia away from secular and rigid Islam, to more moderate and mainstream Islamic beliefs and practices.................... He has been named among the top 50 MENA Fund Managers in the 2015 and 2016 annual survey conducted by MENA FM. Mustafa holds a BA from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from Ohio Dominican University with Magna Cum Laude honours.

A LETTER FROM ABU DHABI On innovation and why Brexit does not represent erosion of value Abu Dhabi has been aspiring to be the Middle East and regional hub for everything from regulated financial services through setting up Abu Dhabi Global Market, to arts and culture and the highly anticipated opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is where we call home, and from where we aim at conquering the world........ Spending time in Riyadh at the Future Investment Initiative was both inspiring and aspirational. His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman laid out what he sees as beyond the Vision 2030 to outline a new remarkable city, Neom, and a bright future for the Kingdom. ....... the adamancy that moderate Islam is the only way forward and the accepted path, while eradicating extremism was key .......... Today, and after only six years of launching the company out of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) has become synonymous with opportunistic investing and an astute deal making. Our platforms now expand across multiple geographies with a particular focus on public equities, private equity, real estate, debt and technology. Early in 2011 we launched the first secondary private equity fund that served to provide liquidity to an otherwise cash crunched microeconomic environment. The fund focused on limited partners who invested in regional funds. Good assets held by ailing investors was the key message that helped us realize handsome returns by acquiring these positions at significant discounts to their intrinsic value....... At over $5 billion of direct assets under management, ADFG is considered a serious contender and a market maker. One of our key calls to fame is our real estate development activities in the UAE and London. Today we stand as the largest private developer of new builds in prime central London with over £3 billion worth of projects underway.

The reality of real estate Real estate has always been the surest way to accumulate wealth – and is likely to remain so. Yet, the financial crisis of 2008 changed the game, and brought a healthy dose of reality back to the real estate sector. Today, as investors look at this asset class again with renewed optimism, we need to ask ourselves if we have truly learned the lessons of the past five years. ........ real estate has provided investors with a stronger and steadier return than any other investment option. It has an uncanny ability to bounce back after a downturn and outperform other asset classes......... The 2008 crisis was a case of the pursuit of profit crowding out sensible investment decision making. ....... Many lost vast sums of capital when property values plunged by half. ...... Abu Dhabi and Dubai real estate sales showed a significant upward trend from Q4 2011 to Q2 2012. Despite a slowdown during the third quarter, year-on-year activity was still higher, suggesting that Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s real estate market is well on the path to recover.......... and with the absence of property taxes and income tax, the value becomes extremely competitive, especially compared to other major cities around the world........ thanks to more people investing in completed projects rather than speculating on off-plan developments. ....... The UAE’s sophisticated regulatory milieu, highly developed financial infrastructure, and a legal system increasingly following rules of global best practices, provides a healthy investing environment for both home buyers and investors alike. In addition to the solid commercial infrastructure, the time is right to capitalise on the underlying value waiting to be unlocked in the UAE real estate sector.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Of Dubai Has A Major Social Media Presence

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor is a name I came across early while I have been digitally exploring Dubai for the past several weeks. He is the founder of the Al Habtoor Group. What is striking though is that he has a major social media presence. He has taken to social media like duck to water.


"A self-made man, he is Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group – one of the most successful conglomerates in the Gulf........ his extensive knowledge of international political affairs ...... he has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad....... Writing extensively on both local and international politics, he publishes regular articles in the media and has released a number of books. Al Habtoor’s articles are available on

He has an honorary doctorate from Illinois College.

As you can see, he is quite outspoken.

Trump’s dangerous policies imperil our world (2017) #America’s allies and adversaries are appalled by his decision to throw a grenade into the #Middle_East by unilaterally declaring #Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State. ...... This reckless act by a dangerous/self-absorbed individual has killed all hopes of peace. ..... #Trump’s loyalties do not lie with #America’s interests or with #Israel’s. In fact, he has made the world a far more dangerous place for Israeli and American travellers by putting targets on their heads. His gross provocation is a gift to terrorist recruiters and could spark lone wolf attacks in Western and Arab cities. ...... #Trump is a ‘me-me’ man who uses every speech to trumpet his own achievements, both real and imaginary, or to disparage his presidential rival Democratic nominee #Hillary_Clinton with whom he harbours a weird vendetta-like obsession. ...... It was a populist wave that swept this underqualified president to power, giving him free reign on not only his country, but the entire world. ...... Initially his candidacy was written-off as a joke. Voters tired of political dinosaurs cast their ballots in his favour despite his often racist statements, disreputable behaviour towards women and acclaim from white supremacist groups. ....... Disappointed in former US President Barack #Obama’s pro-Iran stance and his affiliation with the terrorist #Muslim_Brotherhood, before I discovered the flaws in #Trump’s character I had high hopes that a businessman could invigorate #America’s economy and bring a fresh perspective to US #Middle_East policy.......... I quickly realized my mistake and wrote several columns strongly advising the American voters not to elect this erratic individual..........

the US is up there with the countries I most admire and many of my dearest friends are American.

....... the Machiavellian bully Steve Bannon known for his incendiary anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric....... #Trump’s #America First mantra was disconcerting when the US has traditionally been seen as a force for good worldwide. I soon understood its core implications – the rest of the world does not count.......... Almost the entire international community was shocked and dismayed by his ditching of the Paris Climate Accord and since, his executive orders have illustrated his disregard for maintaining a healthy environment and preserving wildlife. ....... With all my respect to the American people and to their amazing nation, this time voters got it badly wrong. Donald #Trump does not think before he speaks and does not heed advice. The danger is that his mammoth ego could easily envelop not only the US but much of the planet in a nuclear conflagration. He is no aficionado in the Art of the Deal but rather an expert in the Art of Bullying......... the US is ‘taking a tougher stance’ against #Saudi_Arabia’s ‘role’ there, while urging the Saudi-led coalition to ‘completely lift the blockade’, and to wage its military campaign in a more measured fashion. That must be music to the ears of the Iranian mullahs and the primitive Houthi rag-tags who slaughtered former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh....... I must, therefore, appeal to the leaders of #Saudi_Arabia, the Emirates, #Bahrain, #Egypt and #Jordan to adopt independent policies free of American restraints or promises as long as the #Trump #White_House exists. ........ We must be united to project power in order to protect our part of the world that has suffered so terribly from foreign interference and we should show our displeasure by collaborating with other world powers while diversifying our suppliers of aircraft, weapons, technological items etc. ...... If Mr #Trump is hell-bent on keeping the US in a cosy bubble with #Israel, he cannot demand the loyalty of any other nation. He has created a dog-eat-dog atmosphere in which it is every country for itself....... In the meantime, we Emiratis should work closely with our trusted friends to repair the damage done by his folly to ensure #Jerusalem will always be the capital of #Palestine in our hearts – and, if God wills, in reality.

Putin’s leadership qualities outshine Obama’s (2014) It’s no accident of fate that #President #Vladimir #Putin’s approval rating hovers around 87 percent as opposed to #President #Obama’s which is at an all-time low of 34 percent....... #Obama has singlehandedly removed the word ‘super’ from the superpower........ the French #President Francois Hollande, is hobbling along with a 17 percent job approval....... a leader requires more than a glib turn of phrase, a Hollywood smile and a bespoke tailored suit to be effective. Charisma may help win elections but the public soon sees through the façade and demands tangible results.............. Neither #Putin nor Merkel can claim natural charisma; he’s cool and dour and portrays unfashionable machismo; she’s frumpy, unflappable and no-nonsense. Yet, they have won respect for doing what they say, for standing strong for what they believe........ As a man, I actively dislike him. He’s managed to collect a rogue’s gallery of allies who’ve greatly benefited from his military, diplomatic and economic largesse. #Russia’s protection of the monstrous Syrian dictator, Bashar Al Assad, directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of over 140,000 of his own people, is chilling. Humanity can never forgive Assad for his crimes, committed not only with #Putin’s approval but also Russian-made weaponry. Moreover, #Putin’s allegiance with the Islamic State of Iran that presents one of the greatest dangers to the region via its proxies and its divisive ideological dissemination igniting sectarian conflicts in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain, is nothing short of contemptible. ......... #Putin’s loyalties are misplaced. He’s guilty of prioritising national interests and a geopolitical power play over ethics and morality. ............ #Obama did nothing to counter Moscow’s annexation of Crimea except complain and, together with the EU, slap #Russia with sanctions which have boomeranged to shoot European economies in the foot........ sanctions should hurt the sanctioned side more than they hurt those doing the sanctioning.......... While Washington and Brussels discuss what further punishments to mete out to bring #Putin into line, Moscow has banned agricultural imports from the West and wasted no time in finding eager new suppliers. And if the situation turns any nastier, #Russia could turn off gas pipelines leaving #Ukraine and parts of Europe shivering in the winter. As a side effect to this icy relationship, Moscow and Beijing have reaffirmed ties with a US$ 400 billion deal for #Russia to supply the world’s most populous nation with 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually, expected to flow in 2018...............

Historically, sanctions rarely work.

...... unless the West is willing to light a match on World War III, #Obama and friends are virtually impotent to halt #Putin in his tracks........ In the unlikely event, my path ever crosses with #Putin’s, I would salute to him, saying, “I may not like you as a person and I don’t approve of your policies, but you have my appreciation for being a man of your word. You’ve taken some difficult decisions that only a leader who’s confident and strong can take and for that you’ve gained my respect”.

Saudi and the UAE, the ‘Shield of the Gulf’ Our region is war-torn and fractured. We are facing multiple threats of multiple kinds. This is the most dangerous era I have ever lived through ........ While almost the entire world is shining a spotlight on the so called Islamic State in #Syria and #Iraq, #GCC States must not take their eyes off our neighbourhood’s greatest threat – the Islamic Republic of #Iran and its militias in #Lebanon, #Syria and #Iraq......... those enemies are using slick propaganda for the purposes of making us doubt one another. They speak of rifts between the Kingdom of #Saudi_Arabia and the United Arab Emirates when there are none........ The relationship between the Kingdom and the Emirates is based on a shared history, culture and bloodlines. It is unbreakable. Threats to #Saudi_Arabia are the same which threaten the #UAE.

#Iran’s ultimate goal is to seize our territories, strip-us of our natural resources and take control of the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina

....... As I write, highly-trained, battle hardened pro-Iranian Shiite fighters from #Lebanon and #Syria are heading to #Iraq to further destabilise #Iraq in support of their Iranian masters........ #Russia’s goal is to become the dominant regional power and to further his endgame President Vladimir #Putin is throwing his country’s weight behind #Iran. During his meeting last month with #Iran’s Supreme Leader, he presented Ali Khamenei with a replica of #Russia’s oldest handwritten Quran.......... #Putin, who has never recovered from the disbanding of the mighty Soviet Union, is on a roll following his illegal annexation of Crimea, a move met with little more than a slap on the wrist from the US and its allies. Emboldened, he is calling the shots in #Syria as though he is that country’s leader while ingratiating himself with the world’s greatest terrorist funder, #Iran, which due to its murky affiliations has escaped becoming a target of terrorism. Of course, even terrorists do not bite the hand that feeds them!........ We were burned by the overthrow of the elected government in #Yemen by the emissaries of Tehran and if we do not stem the growing threat in #Iraq, we will have only ourselves to blame........ If we imagine we can place our trust in global powers, that strove to empower and enrich #Iran via a nuclear deal, we are mistaken because they are driven solely by self-interest. .......... Our destiny cannot rest with fence-sitters or pretend friends..... The only significant forces in the #GCC are those of the United Arab Emirates and #Saudi_Arabia. We are the shield and the sword of all Gulf States ..... It is time for all regional leaderships to be transparent, and those suspected of playing both sides or of hiding their true intentions should be banished behind a virtual Trump-style wall.

It's time the Lebanese removed their shackles (2012) Al-Hassan is yet another prominent #Lebanese assassinated because murderous lowlifes objected to something he said or did....... I remembered with a shudder that terrible day, the 14th February 2005, when I learned that my dear friend former #Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri had suffered a similar fate and rushed to Beirut to offer my personal condolences to his widow and children. Al-Hassan was Mr. Hariri’s Chief of Protocol and a leading figure in the March 14th movement.........

When we think of Lebanon nowadays, our thoughts no longer dwell on spectacular God-given landscapes or the wonderful times we enjoyed in what was once our prime vacation destination. Now, the first thing that springs to mind is murder and mayhem.

........ Lebanon is supposed to be a democracy with a parliament made up of sophisticated, often glamorous politicians who put on a good show. Yet all their carefully-crafted speeches and promises of reform aren’t backed with action. Each time a good man is cut down in his prime for trying to make a difference, they make another plea for “national unity”. Unfortunately, unity doesn’t feature in the #Lebanese collective psyche. They’re privileged to live in a small gem of a country. They’re dynamic and well-educated. But rather than put those gifts that many people of other nationalities would die for to good use, they remain glued to a self-destructive path, strewn with vengeance and vitriol, that has brought them nothing but violence, civil war and damaging outside interference. As if they don’t have enough problems already, they’re fighting each other over Syria!!.................. many of the divisions and consequent bloodshed within Lebanon stems from the country’s vulnerability to outside influences........ It’s surely beyond time that the #Lebanese, whether Christians, Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims or Druze, refuse to permit their land to be used as a proxy battlefield and reject leaders who are little more than marionettes manipulated by foreign powers.......... the system of governance requires urgent overhauling. Lebanon’s citizens should quit labeling themselves according to their religious beliefs and become one people........ a nation smaller than Switzerland, consisting of just over 4,000 square miles with a population of well under five million, is not in a position to act as a surrogate regional player for other, far larger countries. Instead, it should declare neutrality. The #Lebanese should focus on prosperity, not others’ hostility............... Lebanon should be cleansed of all weapons and explosive materials except those in the hands of the #Lebanese military and state security forces. Militias and guerilla groups should be outlawed as they are in every other state that calls itself a democracy....... the #Lebanese were the first to ignite the ‘Arab Spring in 2005 when their demonstrations helped oust the Syrian occupiers, heralding a new era of independence. Now they must grab the bull by the horns once more to rid their country from politician wannabe ‘religious leaders’ and false guardians, purporting to be Lebanon’s ‘friends’. Only a popular storm can topple the current cabal that is leading the nation into darkness.......... I would appeal to the #Lebanese people, don’t be slaves to the will of self-interested, agenda-led politicians and religious leaders from all religions. They have misled you and manipulated you long enough

The West isn’t duty-bound to solve Arab problems (2014)

For decades, Arabs have looked to Baba America and its allies for protection, knowing full well that US foreign policy is geared solely towards its own security and geopolitical interests.

......... I have a fondness for the American people. Many have been unfailingly kind to me. But US policy is another matter entirely; it knows no friends, only interests........ “We [the US] are trying to cope with the cumulative consequences of multiple failures. Just about every American project in the #Middle_East has now come a cropper.”......... US “policies have nowhere produced democracy. They have instead contrived the destabilisation of societies, the kindling of religious warfare, and the installation of dictatorships contemptuous of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.”........ Washington is a good friend when its interests happen to coincide with ours or when there are coveted natural resources at stake. Heaping blame on the West for directly or indirectly triggering our woes has become an unproductive mind-set throughout the Arab World. We are wrong to blame the US for hesitating to come to our aid. America has its own economic and security priorities. ........ Our region would be well-served if Arab governments and peoples spent less time bashing America and more time learning how best to depend on ourselves........

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing articles appealing to Arab governments to deal proactively in ending regional conflicts and to become more diplomatically assertive.

We have well-trained armies, sophisticated intelligence apparatus and advanced weaponry; all it takes is enough will and determination to shake-off our victim mentality inherited from the Ottoman era, Western imperialism and security treaties with European powers. What will it take for Arabs to wake up to the fact that those days are long gone, and now we stand alone? ........ “Why don’t the Arabs…send in their armies to sort out Assad and ISIS?” .......

Iran that openly boasts that its proxies now control four Arab capitals – Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sana’a

...... We have enemies without and within plotting to invade our homes. ...... From the perspective of US policy-makers, oil rich Arab nations may have outlived their usefulness. ......... the US is now not only energy self-sufficient but has a surplus. American production of shale oil has surpassed the outputs of Saudi Arabia and Russia’s crude. Today, America is the world’s number one producer of gas and, next year, is set to take the top oil producer’s slot......... the Gulf “is where international oil prices are set” and “without stability in West Asia, the global economy is also unstable.”........ ...we can no longer live like ostriches pretending Washington, London and Paris are concerned with the safety of our peoples or working to further secure and stable societies. ........ the underlying message from Western capitals is basically, “Thanks a lot; it was nice knowing you”. ....... ....I won’t be surprised to wake up one day to find the Iranian Supreme Guide has been tapped to be our de facto governor, just as the Shah was until he became too big for his boots.......... My concerns rest with what we plan to do when Daesh is on the rampage against Sunnis. What steps are we going to take to thwart the takeover of Yemen by Shiite Houthis knocking on the gates of Saudi Arabia and Oman? How much longer will we give the Assad regime a free pass to continue its cancerous rule which, a few years ago, could have been cured with a dose of chemotherapy before its metastasis?......... Only our future trajectory is alterable. We can shape tomorrow, and we must, else the tears of our children and grandchildren will be our legacy of shame.

America! Don't dim your inspirational light (2013) #America, whose people I consider to be amongst the most enlightened on earth....... Our young people have graduated from American universities, our families have been treated in American hospitals; many cured thanks to your medical advances. We have adopted your business practices and banking systems. The aircraft carrying us beyond our borders are products of American innovation and it is thanks to your finest minds that today we take instant communications via mobile phones and the internet for granted. Several Arab countries continue to rely upon US military aid and training programs. It’s undeniable that without #America’s outstretched hand, we might have remained captive to the 20th century......... I value my personal friendships with Americans from all social and political strata, from hoteliers to shopkeepers, businessmen, doctors, celebrities, diplomats and politicians. I frequently visit the US to spend quality time with my American friends who often travel to Dubai to see me.........

the White House and Congress consistently fail to understand our traditions, our way of life and our style of communication. It’s as though they wilfully remain in a bubble of ignorance when it comes to Arabs.


Americans famously question ‘Why don’t they like us?’

.......... a bungling engineer unequipped to run one of my construction companies, let alone a country of 90 million people.......... religious ideologues without an ounce of loyalty to their country, a group bent on destroying the region to create an Islamist caliphate? ...... As a friend to the United States, I have often been invited to speak in your universities to bridge the gap between Arabs and Americans. I explain the age-old systems of governance within GCC states to eager students, systems that don’t depend upon ballot boxes but are geared towards the well being of citizens who are cared-for 100 percent with the provision of homes as well as cost-free medical treatment and higher education both at home and abroad. Our governments even cover wedding expenses for low-income couples. There are no beggars on our streets. I tell those students that our systems are beyond democratic because when our leaders make promises, they actually deliver on those promises............ Allow our neighbourhood to solve its own problems – and believe me, left alone, we can do it. By staying out of our affairs, anti-Americanism will dissipate when young Arabs and young Americans would be free to bond as equals in an ambience of mutual respect.......... You make #Egypt your business, but neglect #Syria where up to 100,000 have been deprived of life. We understand the game plan you and your colleagues have cooked up for the Middle East but, frankly, we are tired of being manipulated by a country thousands of miles away which treats us like minors without a say in our own future........ #America’s nurturing of the Ayatollah Khomeini to replace its former best friend the Shah was abhorrent. George W. Bush’s use of false pretexts to invade Iraq was unconscionable. This former great Arab nation, the Cradle of Civilization no less, was turned into a hellish land, a magnet for terrorists where people are being blown up because of their religious beliefs. The US is responsible for nurturing Sunni-Shiite hostilities that did not exist under the former regime. Then, adding insult to injury, Iraq was parcelled-off to the ayatollahs in Qom. ........... so that our children and grandchildren are no longer separated by misunderstandings and hurts......... (comment) Intervene in a country, and everyone hates you, don't intervene, and everyone blames you.

Egypt needs ‘tough love’ to reject Iran’s overtures (2013) Talk about the pot calling the kettle black when Iranians are among the most downtrodden people on earth! ........ ..the Arabs of Ahwaz and Iranian Sunnis that have been persecuted and treated like second-class citizens for decades. Iran’s treatment of its Arab and Sunni communities is a disgrace and its ‘concern’ for Syrians nothing but a sham. .......... the Sheikh Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayyeb told the visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not to interfere in Bahrain or attempt to influence #Egypt’s Sunni majority. .........

We are used to Iranian aggression but the fact that this violation of our sovereignty occurred in #Egypt, which used to be considered “the heart of the Arab World” when Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak were at the helm, makes my blood boil.

......... Abdullahian went on to tell the press that he had held a “constructive discussion” with Al-Araby with whom he “exchanged views especially on Bahrain, #Syria and Palestine.” How dare this Iranian official equate the issues of Bahrain and Palestine with the tragedy unfolding in #Syria! Bahrain’s problem arises from an Iranian fifth column on the island, instigating traitors to rise-up against the monarch. ............. The extent of Tehran’s meddling in Arab matters has reached an intolerable level. Why has Al-Araby and #Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamel Amr provided Tehran with a free pass to express its dissatisfaction with #Arab_League positions? .........When the Muslim Brotherhood’s man President Mohamed Morsi first moved into the Al-Ittihadiya Palace offices last year, I adopted a wait-and-see attitude. ‘Let’s give him a chance’ I thought based on his speeches and statements pledging that #Egypt would remain the Arab World’s heartland and the guardian of Arab interests......... Initially, he talked a good talk and promised to be a president for all Egyptians regardless of their religious or political affiliations. Yet, not only has he let down the Egyptian people, driving the country towards bankruptcy and internal conflicts, he has laid out a red carpet for Iran’s ayatollahs, ministers and the secretive Revolutionary Guard Al Quds Force, which, by the way is grossly misnamed. Iran has no right to name a terrorist organization, currently murdering Syrians, after one of Islam’s holiest places, Jerusalem, site of the Haram Al-Sharif and it’s a mystery to me why the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the #Arab_League and Muslim leaders haven’t voiced their objections. .......... GCC leaders and the few remaining true Arab leaders must take a firm stand against #Egypt which is sinking under the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime before our very eyes. Constructive intervention is urgently needed before it’s too late. Today, Tehran’s representatives are strutting around Cairo presiding over press conferences and there are numerous flights arriving from Iran packed with “tourists” eager to visit #Egypt’s tourist sites. Iran estimates as many as 2 million Iranian “tourists” will head to #Egypt annually. Tomorrow, we’ll see the nation’s Sunni mosques flying Shiite flags and Khomeini’s portrait on billboards like in Lebanon............ Egyptian cleric Safwat Hijazi told Al Arabiya that Iranian tourists won’t come simply to enjoy what the country has to offer, but will actively spread religious doctrine. Iran tends to “stir problems wherever it exists” like in Iran and #Syria, he rightly noted........... The time for coddling Cairo with billions in financial aid/loans should end as long as it embraces Iran, which, by its actions in Iraq, #Syria, Lebanon and Bahrain, has proved an enemy of Arab states. ........ An iron hand must be used to push Cairo in the right direction; they must choose – them or us?

GCC must react to the Pentagon’s ‘Total war on Islam’ (2012) I used to believe that the Obama administration had a policy of reaching out to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims in an effort to mend fences incinerated by George W. Bush’s wars. I was gratified by his efforts because, like many Muslims and Arabs, I have been working to bridge the gap between east and west and in a small way have striven to bring all of the Prophet Ibrahim’s children together in peace; notably with my gift to Dubai the Al Farooq Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque and Centre that welcomes visitors of all faiths and the #Khalaf Al Habtoor Leadership Center at Illinois College and through many other efforts. Just recently, I hosted one of the college’s students in Dubai – his prize for coming second in an essay competition I sponsor – and he later wrote that his negative preconceptions of Arabs had been replaced with admiration.............. Dooley based his instruction on the premise that there is no such thing as “moderate Islam”. “This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated,” he said. “Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction”.

His solution included nuclear attacks on Mecca and Medina without any regard for civilian lives

............ the FBI has been driven to vet its own course materials when it was discovered that counter-terrorism agents were being taught that “American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers” whose charitable donations equate to a “funding mechanism for combat”. FBI materials refer to the #Prophet_Mohammed (PBUH) as a “cult leader”.......... revealed by the New York Times, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has been infiltrating mosques and Muslim community centers. The department’s officers were shown a documentary called “The Third Jihad” contending that the Muslim leadership in the US harbors ambitions to “infiltrate and dominate” in which the NYPD’s chief participated. The film was also endorsed by NYC former mayor Rudolph Giuliani. ........... In the #Arab_world we’ve become used to dismissing crimes perpetrated by US soldiers in #Iraq, #Afghanistan and Pakistan as ‘mistakes’ that run counter to official US policy............. The idea that the US government knew nothing about this philosophy of hate sounds like the most fantastical fairy story............ We need answers from the White House, the Pentagon and Congress. These latest exposes could merely constitute the tip of the iceberg. Just how deep does the contagion go? Soldiers who burn holy books, humiliate Muslim detainees or urinate on Muslim corpses can hardly be blamed if their officers are advocating using nukes to wipe Muslims from the face of the earth................. as to Washington’s true geopolitical goals. How hard do we need to be hit on the head before we get the message? ....... Given the turmoil in Arab countries ostensibly in pursuit of American-style democracy that was partly instigated by US Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the potential for slicing apart of #Iraq and Libya in the same way that Sudan has been split, and the possibly orchestrated divisions between Sunnis and Shiites (to the detriment of Sunnis), it’s possible that the U.S. has a clandestine policy of inciting Arabs to destroy each other as a continuation of imperialist Britain’s ‘Divide and Rule’. .......... in accordance with America’s policy of hate towards Muslim, reflected by the invasions of #Afghanistan and #Iraq that resulted in up to one million deaths..........

the #GCC must unite, become a federation and build an independent, powerful military capability.

We can’t rely on fair-weather friends to protect our peoples. Sleeping while our enemies pretend to be our friends even as they plot our destruction is no longer an option. If our leaders fail to take ‘Total war on Islam’ with the seriousness it deserves, we are doomed.

Al Arabiya should vet its guests for brains (2012) With tens of professional Arabic TV channels to choose from, over the years, I have narrowed my viewing down to just two –

Al Jazeera and #Al_Arabiya

. Why? Because in my opinion those have evolved into our Arab world’s trusted flagship network providing viewers with comprehensive reporting and balanced viewpoints. ............ She said she’s visited two mosques in the US that advocated an Islamic White House and says British Muslims are out to convert the monarchy to Islam which, according to Ms Darwish, explains why Islamophobia is rampant in the West........ There’s an Arabic saying that says it all. When a man called Hanoun, who had a reputation for being useless, converted to Islam, people around said

‘Hanoun did not enhance Islam and neither did he damage Christianity’.

I could say the same about Ms. Darwish who’s no loss to Islam and no credit to Christianity. ........

Ignore Trump’s bigotry at your peril! (2015) Donald #Trump is smashing red lines at the rate of knots ........

The more vulgar and offensive he is, the more the voters love him.

........ He is successfully exploiting people’s fears of ‘the other’ with racism and bigotry his tools of trade,

echoing the strategy of a certain Austrian painter, who was democratically-elected as the president of Germany with catastrophic results

. .......... The voices of Republican presidential candidates may be muffled but what I find baffling, not to mention highly disturbing, is the silence from the #Muslim and #Arab leaderships. The world’s 1.7 billion Muslims are under attack by an individual aiming to be the ‘Leader of the Free World’. #Muslim-Americans say they are fearful. #Islamophobia is on the rise.......... #Britain’s Prime Minister #David_Cameron has characterised #Trump’s statement a “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong”. #France’s Prime Minister #Manuel_Valls tweeted, “Mr. #Trump, like others, fuels hatred: our only enemy is radical Islam”. #Canada’s Foreign Minister #Stephane_Dion said, “It’s something we cannot accept in #Canada… We have never been as far removed from what we’ve just heard in the #United_States”.......... Britons have launched a petition to ban #Trump from entering the #UK which has garnered over half a million signatures requiring its demand to be debated in Parliament......

#Arab leaders have responded with deafening silence.

........ Profits aside, how can anyone of good conscience continue to do business with this person or his companies when #Trump the man and #Trump the brand are one and the same? I will repeat what I told journalists over the past days, if he turned up at my office I would not let him in. How dare he bolster his bank account from business ventures in predominately #Muslim countries when he is engaged in disparaging all Muslims as potential terrorists!.............. We Muslims are the target. Our faith is under attack. Non-Muslims around the world are appalled and they are speaking out. But we are behaving like lambs to the slaughter – and I suspect that if #Trump has his way, we would be slaughtered.......... And now he wants all #Muslim visitors barred from entering his country, while brushing off questions as to the logistics when most passports do not indicate the holder’s religion........ Almost one-fifth of #Daesh (#ISIL) terrorists are nationals or legal residents of Western states........

During the period 2001 – 2013 (the most recent CDC data), 406,496 Americans died from firearms on US soil, as opposed to 3,380 who died from terrorist attacks, a figure that includes the victims of 9-11.

......... I have received calls from some great friends of mine in the US asking why the governments of #Muslim states are not banning #Trump from our countries.......... “It’s time to recognise this is really happening…Tick Tock!” ......

Ends up, he was one of those people who did warn us about Trump!

I am an avid blogger myself.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

My Real Estate Tech Startup Has A Loan Investment

12/19/2019 Update: Fraud Alert: No Harm Done

On October 7, 2019, an investment firm out of Bahrain approved my loan request for $6.1 million. The terms of the loan are excellent. Thank you Noor Almuna Investments Company.

Status of the loan: Approved but pending.

Efforts are also underway to get some real estate companies in the region to invest in the form of convertible debt. At this end, I am also looking to raise a small Seed Fund.

The Next Wave In Innovation: Reimagining Entire Industries
Noor Almuna Chairperson: Jassim Al Seddiqi, the Michael Jordan of Gulf Finance.

There is tremendous pressure in the Middle East to diversify. On the other hand, tech entrepreneurs like me with a Global South background see the confluence of capital and technology as the hope rainbow that will allow for a fundamental uplift for the Global South masses in socio-economic terms.

I have seen numerous rejections over the years and decades. And the ratio of pitch emails that did not even see replies is even larger. But the rejections allowed me to ride wave after wave of changes in technology, intellectually speaking. They allowed me to study the tech startup as if it were some biological specimen. And, because what will happen in tech over the next 25 years is at least 100 times bigger than what has happened over the past 25, all those rejections make for perfect timing in hindsight. There never has been a better time to be a tech entrepreneur than right now.

It takes a lot to build a successful company. In recent years, I have undertaken spiritual journeys that shape what I call the six core values of my company’s corporate culture. Corporate culture is everything. Corporate culture is make or break.

As I see it, tech entrepreneurship is the best way to do the most good for the largest number of people on the planet. If you think the Internet is big, know that the Blockchain is going to be at least 100 times bigger. The Internet has democratized media. The Blockchain will democratize money.

My real estate tech startup is going to be the first of my several tech startup companies. But the real estate space is great because it attracts major investments. Concepts and ideas are harder to explain. But land and houses, most people understand.

The next wave in innovation is reimagining entire industries. You turn atoms into bits. Not literally. But by adding tremendous intelligence. My gameplan is to do that in real estate and revolutionize homeownership in the 100 biggest cities in the world, starting in NYC. We used to make clothes with hands. Then we started using textile mills. We still make houses with hands. We need to start using factories. Costs come down dramatically. Quality goes up dramatically. This is not real estate like the Trump Organization. This is tech like AirBnB.

After my loan was approved, but before it is formalized through the money transfer gives me a narrow window of opportunity to raise a Seed Fund. Usually, you go into round one not knowing if round two will ever happen. That is the risk you take. But here round two is already in the bag. And I still have found it near impossible to get people in my immediate circles to invest. At some level, I found it perplexing. On the other hand, being a successful angel investor is a rare skill. Successful angel investors are much rarer than heart surgeons. How many heart surgeons are there in my immediate social circles? Well, how many angel investors?

Homeownership is a major pain point for most New Yorkers. I see it fundamentally as a demand-supply problem. There is this huge demand and meager supply. My company would like to revolutionize that. We start in NYC and go to cities across the world.

The techies are in India. The money is in the Middle East. And Silicon Valley is no longer geography. It is wherever there is internet access. What is the optimum city culture for tech and innovation? I believe the answer is still out there.

Africa and South Asia are the next two Chinas. And Dubai could be for both what Hong Kong has been for China. More than 60% of the Foreign Direct Investment that goes into China goes through Hong Kong. That number used to be larger.

$6.1 million is a lot of money to raise. And I am thankful to my investors. Thankful enough that I have promised them I will give them first preference during the next two phases. But I am already thinking in terms of much bigger raises and much bigger ventures. I intend to build a city inside the city of Dubai, a tech city that will aim for the optimum city culture for tech and innovation.

The Gulf countries have a 10-year window to diversify or face decline. Clean energy technologies are seeing exponential advances. At some point oil simply gets priced out of the market. But money is the new oil. I see room for a Blockchain-based effort to take identity and the basic financial services to the final billions. That idea deserves 100 billion dollars more than does Masa Son’s Vision Fund. The tech city I will build inside Dubai might be the best location for the idea.

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Turnaround Artist