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Dubai Development

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Pearl Chan

on 20 June 2010

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Transcript of Dubai Development

Have you ever wondered what the effects
of development has had on ? Dubai Dubai has undergone massive reinvention wintin the last two decades. The governemnt, headed by their ambitious monarch, has been working hard to make Dubai the 'playground of the middle east'. The billion dollar developments, the world's tallest buildings, most luxurious hotels, man made islands, has attracted labor in a way that has been compared to the Calfornian goldrush. And like the wild west, cheap labor and prostitution are rampant. This canvas explores carefully chosen points of the effects of the development of duabi on the local, the expatriates, the migrant workers, and the Global Village

What has been the impact on the local muslim population and culture? Cultural

Social Prostitution and its impact on women and society Economical Political Enviromental Such magnificant marble floors on which their makers will never stand. Totalitarianis in the 21st century - has absolutism returned? Are they playing God? Building paradise out of a desert, complete with an indoor ski rink DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 18 — South Asians call it “the best run Indian city,” Arabs celebrate it as a model of Arab accomplishment, and Westerners embrace it for its endless sunshine and luxury lifestyle.

With more than 150 nationalities and almost as many expressions of culture, Dubai is one of the most diverse cities in the Middle East.

But after decades of selling dreams to foreigners, this Persian Gulf emirate has begun debating the limits of multiculturalism.

Tensions burst into the open in early October when an English-language newspaper published an article protesting the growing disrespect for Muslim customs here during Ramadan, setting off a rare public debate about Dubai’s cultural identity.

“Too much flesh on show is wrong in a Muslim country at any time — but offense is being felt especially during Ramadan,” said the front-page editorial in 7Days, a free daily tabloid.

The article appeared with photographs of women in sleeveless tops and short skirts at a shopping mall under the headline, “Show Some Respect.” 7Days, which is run and edited largely by Westerners, advised its readers to “please remember that this is a Muslim country and many of us are guests here.”

Within hours, the newspaper was flooded with e-mail messages and phone calls, many praising the paper for acknowledging the sensitivities of Muslims but others lambasting it for seeming to toe an official line.

Soon the entire emirate was talking.

“We fear that the expatriate is going to impose his culture on us,” said Maya Rashid Ghadeer, a columnist with the daily Al Bayan in Dubai who writes about the local community. “Most locals are afraid that they are losing their basic identity forever.”

For decades the emirate, part of the federation of seven principalities that make up the United Arab Emirates, has sought to broaden its economy by welcoming foreigners and their investment dollars, turning itself into a shipping hub, a regional business hub and more recently a tourist hub with luxury hotels and resorts.

The city’s openness, limited corruption and stability have helped spur economic growth and development, with wide swaths under construction and more projects in the works. The boom has brought big-city problems like inflation, a rise in crime and divorce rates and snarled traffic.

But beyond that, it has taken a toll on local culture as many young Emiratis have begun looking abroad, abandoning many traditions and even marrying foreigners. With only about 250,000 citizens, out of a total 1.2 million residents, the demographics are daunting, said Abdulkhaliq Abdallah, a professor of political science at United Arab Emirates University.

“Usually minorities assimilate into the majority,” Mr. Abdallah said. “But we don’t want to assimilate into the majority. We want to preserve the localness, the Emiratiness of this city.”

At the same time, Dubai is famous for offering a kind of Disneyland fantasy to its legions of tourists. It has an indoor ski slope, Western department stores, even Christmas trees during that season, often making it hard to remember where one is.

Many outsiders say that is what makes Dubai stand out in the region, and the reaction by some to the article on Muslim modesty involved some pushing back.

“Hello, this is 2006, not 1666,” wrote one reader, who demanded to know what was wrong with the clothing styles. “Does Dubai want to move forward in time where women are no longer regarded as second class citizens?”

“You could say we took a fair bit of stick for the story,” said Tony Metcalf, editorial director for 7Days, who said he received more than 500 letters and e-mail messages regarding the story in just two days. Mr. Metcalf emphasized that the response, by both Muslim and non-Muslim readers, crossed ethnic and religious lines, but it underscored the level of tension that existed.

The switchboards at local radio stations lit up. James Piecowye, a talk show host, said he had devoted several broadcasts to the subject, with both expatriates and locals openly debating an issue that has long been kept behind closed doors.

“There is this pressure to stake out your claims, especially with the locals,” Mr. Piecowye said. “There is more and more pressure to say, ‘This is how things should be.’ ”

Dubai, for example, has long had strict rules about public behavior — a man and woman kissing in public can be arrested; one can be ticketed for dress baring too much skin, or for eating or smoking during daylight hours during Ramadan, and altercations with locals can sometimes land expatriates in detention.

But with millions of tourists passing through here, few such laws are carried out.

Ramadan, which ends this weekend, is a month when Muslims fast during daylight as part of what is supposed to be an intense focus on spirituality, breaking fast when the sun sets. This Ramadan, however, stores stayed open throughout the day, rather than closing for the afternoon, and many restaurants served food during fasting hours; hotels served alcohol at night after breaking fast. Local Muslims as well as those from abroad have continued to complain of a lack of Ramadan spirit as compared with previous years.

“This is still a salad platter with a tomato and cucumber that don’t mix,” Mr. Abdallah says, emphasizing that Dubai can never be a melting pot because foreigners are ineligible for citizenship. “It is a massive experiment in social tolerance and it should be promoted as such. But being tolerant should not come at the expense of the local and national identity.”

At least part of the tensions stem from the deep cultural divide here. For the most part, locals tend to live apart from expatriates and rarely interact socially with them.

As in many Persian Gulf states, Dubai’s ethnic groups also exist in defined socioeconomic stratifications — locals are typically owners, Westerners earn the top salaries and South Asians do the menial labor.

As inflation has set in, the economic divide has heightened the cultural divide, Mr. Abdallah and others say.

“Here you don’t taste the cultural food, and you don’t have a chance to wear the clothes, because there is no mandate to do so,” said Rima Sabban, a sociologist at Emirates University. “There is nothing for you to do, there is no one culture for you to learn. The model that nationals have provided is that it’s O.K. to stay close to your community.”

Seizing on that separation, the Sheik Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, has organized tours and meals in the homes of locals for expatriates. At a shopping mall this month, Khulood al-Atiyat and other college students have operated a booth inviting shoppers to meet and speak with an Emirati.

“People see us as these creatures walking in their midst,” Ms. Atiyat said. “They see these aliens wearing all black or white, which they think means we are closing ourselves off. This is a place where they can come and talk to us and ask questions.”

A new, high-tech Dubai Museum offers exhibitions and events on Dubai’s roots.

“The U.A.E. remains a Muslim and Arab country — we will still wear our abayas and our shail,” Ms. Atiyat said, referring to the women’s robes. “We are proud of who we are and we intend to stick to who we are.” The official religion of Dubai is Islam and Arabic is taught as a second language in most schools. However, only 20% of the population are emariti, the other 80% are expatriates from all over the world, attracted by the opportunities. The multiculturalism has been a price to pay for the foreign investment. However, with them, the expatriates being their own cutoms. A few emiratis are worried about their culture assimilating and the lack of respect of muslim law, especially around Ramadan. What has the impact been and what are the likely effects? http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/watch/player.html?pkg=rc59_dubai&seg=1&mod=0 Watch Video
Dubai: Migrant Workers at Risk
September 18, 2003

The World Bank knows that migrants are key to economic development, but they're not paying attention to the dark side of that issue. The Bank should be leading the way in international efforts to protect them from exploitation and abuse.
Rory Mungoven Global Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch

The World Bank should help end the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in the Persian Gulf and beyond, Human Rights Watch said as the international financial institution prepares to hold its annual meetings in Dubai.
In a letter to President Jim Wolfensohn, Human Rights Watch called on the World Bank to champion an international convention for the protection of migrants that recently entered into force.

The Migrant Workers Convention guarantees migrants' human rights and promises state protection against abuse by employers, agents and public officials. The convention has been ratified by 22 states, but has yet to be adopted by many wealthy countries that depend heavily on migrant labor.

"The World Bank knows that migrants are key to economic development, but they're not paying attention to the dark side of that issue," said Rory Mungoven, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "The Bank should be leading the way in international efforts to protect them from exploitation and abuse."

Nearly ten million foreigners, most of them unskilled or semi-skilled migrants, work in Gulf states. Migrants comprise some 90 percent of the 1.7 million workers in the United Arab Emirates, where the World Bank will hold its meetings.

Remittances sent home by migrant workers reached $80 billion in 2002, up from $60 billion in 1998. These payments have become more important sources of finance for developing countries than private lending or official development assistance. In 2001, these payments were worth $10 billion to India, $6 billion to the Philippines and more than $2 billion to Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco.

Despite their value to both their home countries and the societies in which they work, many migrant workers suffer from discrimination, exploitation and abuse. Migrants, including large numbers of women employed as domestic servants, face intimidation and violence, including sexual assault, at the hands of employers, supervisors, sponsors and police and security forces. Children are especially vulnerable to labor and sexual exploitation and denial of basic rights.

"Thousands of children are trafficked to the United Arab Emirates for use as beggars and camel jockeys," Mungoven said. "The World Bank can't claim to fight child labor in poor countries and then turn a blind eye when it crosses borders."

Sponsors and employers often confiscate migrants' documents, including passports and residence permits, restricting their freedom of movement and ability to report mistreatment. Migrants in the Gulf states typically can't obtain an exit visa without the approval of their sponsor or employer, sometimes placing them in situations that amount to forced labor.

Migrants in undocumented or "irregular" situations are often indebted to traffickers, and have little choice but to work under highly exploitative conditions . Documented migrants can easily slip into illegal status when unscrupulous employers and sponsors deliberately let residence permits expire, or literally sell workers to other employers, thereby invalidating their work permits.

Human Rights Watch called on the World Bank to encourage states that send or receive migrants to adopt and implement the protections contained in the Migrant Workers Convention. The Bank could help governments regulate migration and employment agencies to combat trafficking, exploitation and abuse.

To read Human Rights Watch's letter to World Bank President James Wolfensohn, please see: Watch Video There is a saying in Dubai, the emiratis own everything, the westerners have all the jobs, but it is the migrant workers who make everything. Labor is imported from India, Pakistan, Phillipines and many other developing nations to help build the magnificent skyscrapers. But these men live in squalors, have little rights and are poorly paid. These are the men Duabi is built on. What has the government and the people of Dubai been doing to alleviate this dirty little secret? In Dubai, the weekend used to be Wedesday and Friday. A few years back,they changed it to Friday and Saturday. Friday is a holiday because it is the holy day for Muslims, just as Saturday is for Jews and Sunday is for Christians. But why did they make this change? Many speculate that it was done to 'westernize' Dubai further. EDITOR's NOTE: Dubai, a city-state in the United Arab Emirates with a population of around one million, would be one of the world's smallest but wealthiest countries on its own thanks to the oil wealth of its inhabitants.

In addition to its penchant for acquiring records for the Guinness Book of World Records, Dubai has lately embarked on an ambitious plan to boost its international standing in the eyes of the world's rich (and its neighbors) by building a number of artificial islands. These islands, which will house luxury residences, villas, and hotels, are a growing concern for environmentalists due to their impact on the local marine ecology. Dubai should be concerned as well for the long-term viability of the plan -- rising sea levels from global climate change could spell trouble for its audacious and ostentatious investments. As Earth Island Journal puts it, "How ironic that the very people who drive rising sea levels through their businesses, which emit much of the world's greenhouse gases, will undoubtedly be some of the first to experience the devastating effects of climate change."


The Price of "The World": Dubai's Artificial Future

While there have been numerous articles written recently about the proliferation of artificial island projects, the astounding "The World" venture among them, few have addressed or assessed the environmental impact of such massive undertakings and the transformation of both the sea and landscape. Until recently, Nakheel, the government-controlled corporation developing these ambitious projects, has been able to focus predominantly on promoting rather than defending the islands, but new evidence of environmental detriment is bringing the company and its projects under fire from certain groups.

Inspired by the three artificial palm tree-themed islands projects that are nearing completion, The World is a heady $14 billion endeavor, consisting of 300 individual islands arranged to mimic the shape of the globe's landmasses. Ranging in size from five to 20 acres, and with 50 to 100 meters of water separating each island, the total area encompasses just over 20 square miles. The development is located about two and a half miles off the coast of Dubai city. Islands go for $7 million to $35 million each.

From the air, The World and Palm projects create a highly visible impression on the landscape of Dubai. And back down at sea level, significant changes in the marine environment are leaving a visual scar of another type. As a result of the dredging and redepositing of sand for the construction of the islands, the typically crystalline waters of the gulf of Dubai have become severely clouded with silt. Construction activity is damaging the marine habitat, burying coral reefs, oyster beds and subterranean fields of sea grass, threatening local marine species as well as other species dependent on them for food. Oyster beds have been covered in as much as two inches of sediment, while above water, beaches are eroding with the disruption of natural currents.


CIA Map of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates
The profound underwater changes currently taking place as a result of construction are only matched by the grandiose vision of Nakheel developers. Plans for one palm island project, The Palm, Jumeirah, includes an artificial diving park complete with four themed areas from which enthusiasts can choose One area called Snorkler's Cove will feature traditional marine life as well as an added incentive--a daily deposit of a single solid gold one-kilogram bar, worth $15,629 at current gold prices. Developers also intend to transfer and sink several wrecks for a more dramatic diving experience. Project backers assert that such additions will actually help attract fish and other marine life by providing shelter and leading to reef expansion and community diversification.

This optimistic outlook aside, another archipelago project, the Palm Jebel Ali, is located in a formerly protected marine reserve. The management of Jebel Ali marine reserve, the Persian Gulf's second most biodiverse marine system, was taken away from the Dubai Municipality Protected Areas Unit and passed over to Nakheel developers to build the island. Few can argue that the replacement of these natural formations with artificial structures can be a true substitute for what is being destroyed and result in a net gain in marine biodiversity. Further, ecologists fear that standardizing of the marine environment will alienate native species and encourage the likely introduction of new, foreign and possibly destructive species.


Palm Island Resort, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is featured in this image photographed by Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao from the International Space Station. The resort is under construction on reclaimed land silhouetted against the dark waters of Dubai's Persian Gulf coast. Advertised as "being visible from the Moon," this man-made palm-shaped structure displays 17 huge fronds framed by a 12-kilometer protective barrier. When completed, the resort will sport 2,000 villas, 40 luxury hotels, shopping centers, cinemas, and other facilities. When completed, the resort is expected to support a population of approximately 500,000 people. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Updated pictures
Environmentalists' concerns about the present state of Dubai's waters are not without warrant. Coral reefs and their associated mangrove and sea grass habitats function on varied levels, providing a number of integral services. Among these values are the provision of food and shelter for a wide range of marine species, the protection of coastal regions from storms, the prevention of coastal erosion and the support of commercial fishing and recreational activities--namely scuba diving and sport fishing.

Troubled waters are nothing new for Dubai or any other marine region. The health of the coral reefs has been in a state of continuous decline over the past 50 years. The Arabian Gulf is one of the most grievously affected areas, with recent estimates of habitat loss pegged at 35 percent. Increases in temperature and salinity have previously been attributed as the leading factors in reef habitat degradation, but the new pressure from dredging serves only to exacerbate the declining state of the environment.

Nakheel concedes that its various artificial archipelago projects have indeed buried reefs and changed the environment, but argues that the company will try to alleviate and even reverse some of the detrimental effects by building artificial reefs upon completion of the islands. What is more, the company has employed a marine biologist to monitor and rehabilitate damaged reefs. Imad Haffar, the research and development manager of Nakheel predicts local fauna will flourish in the newly constructed environment, but ecologists fear otherwise.



Environmentalists and scuba divers alike report that so much silt has been stirred up from dredging that organisms and the reef itself are slowly being choked by the sediment particles. The current activity has essentially destroyed Dubai's diving industry even if temporarily, and enthusiasts have left the area for clearer waters. Once dredging and construction are complete, the waters should clear, but will anyone recognize what has been left behind? The reclaimed land require to build the awesome yet terrifying islands in the shapes of the world's landmass and palm trees has had harsh effects on local marine life. Such actions have resulted in alterations in whole ecosystems, damaging delicate life syste,ms. Are pushing the limits this way worth it to see the disappearance of thousands of species? Is it ethical? And what of the damage to where the sand and earth is being brought from? Just how damaging has the ambition of the Shiek been for the ecosytems of Duabi? In the 21st century, absolute rulers are far and few in between, most of whom are concentrated in the middle east and Northern Africa. Has the absolutism been good for the country? "Most people like the monarchy, It's better than some corruupt government," says an emarati from Dubai. Has the rule of the Sheik been good for Dubai, or is it time for Uncle Sam to move in?

It began with a caricature of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, floundering in a sea of debt. At the Sunday Times, they probably thought nothing of it: far less flattering images of politicians appear day after day in the world's press. But in Dubai it proved too much for the authorities, and the paper was duly banned from sale in the once-gilded emirate.

A few days later, Jim McLean wrote an article in its sister publication, the Times, headed: "Confidence will never return in Dubai." As the headline suggests, it was highly critical. The article said Dubai World's failure to honour its obligations had shaken the international investment community's faith in Sheikh Mohammed. "The international financial community, and I know this to be the case in London, won't do business with Dubai again," one expert on Gulf economics was quoted as saying.

"Experienced analysts no longer trust the government's statistics, claiming they do not fully reflect the amount Dubai owes its foreign creditors," McLean continued, adding: "Sheikh Mohammed cast himself as Dubai's chief executive, and if this were a company he would be on his way."

This article was blanked out on the orders of the censors in copies of the Times available in Dubai. Local papers have also had problems covering the emirate's financial crisis.

There are two obvious points to be made about this behaviour by the Dubai authorities. First, it ensures that the offending articles get far more attention than they would otherwise have done (the Streisand effect) and, second, it does not prevent anyone from looking them up on the internet.

But there's more. Under the headline "The return of colonial extortion", Akhbar al-Khaleej, an Arabic language paper with a leftist-nationalist slant, accused McLean of "brazen racism", and claimed to detect the "invisible hands of British government circles" behind his article, raking up the Times's coverage of the 1956 Suez crisis as evidence of its enduring loyalty "to the interests of the British colonial empire".

McLean's article may have overstated its case, but the way to deal with that is by challenging its arguments, not censorship or outdated conspiracy theories.

The problem is that in Dubai, deep down, they still don't get it. Dubai likes to see itself as a modern global financial centre (and, indeed, as a centre for the world's media). At the same time, though, it tries to cling to certain local "traditions" such as respectful deference towards its unelected ruler and government controls over the press which include punishing journalists who write "misleading" news that "harms the country's economy".

But they can't have it both ways. If you want free markets for investors, you have to have free media, too. Markets are based on differences of opinion about the value of things. If they are to operate as intended, they need access to information. Differing opinions have to be expressed – and challenged – until eventually some kind of equilibrium is reached.

This requires a degree of openness and transparency that many in Dubai (and Arab societies more generally) find hard to accept.

There are genuine cultural differences here, between the rough and tumble of the western media – where questioning the performance of presidents and prime ministers is the routine business of journalists – and the idea that when things go wrong, fingers should not be pointed directly by naming names, or that it is unpatriotic to suggest the economy might be going down the pan.

If Sheikh Mohammed wants to be treated with the respect that he obviously feels he deserves, then he can confine himself to being a titular figurehead. But if he wants to combine being royal with life as a politician and as being the centrepiece of Dubai's business affairs he becomes fair game – just like anyone else.
Censorship He is the third of four brothers and was born on July 22, 1949. Sheikh Mohammed is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But before all that, he is the ruler of the great Dubai city (all as of 2006).

In the mid 2000s he and his government advisors realized that Dubai will soon run out of oil (oil was never a big component of Dubai’s GDP) and that it could only sustain so much of its trading activities.

Trading (like anything else) would eventually peak at some point right?

So the Sheikh formed a master plan to diversify what Dubai has to offer to the world.

He took all the wealth reserves and invested it in transforming Dubai into a city for tourist and sports.

Because of tourism and sports, Dubai attracted many foreigners who realized the opportunity of doing business in Dubai. Soon Dubai offered all kinds of tax breaks for companies to do business there and before you know the new Dubai city was built.

Today there are buildings everywhere. They are running out of space so fast that they are building land on water by dumping sand. Very bad for the environment I’m sure but very good for Dubai.

These artificial islands are no less of amazing. Kish and I have been on them They are the Dubai Palm Islands. Expect to see similar types of projects year in year out.
The Beginning of Dubai’s Transformation

It is safe to say that Dubai’s true transformation started when Sheikh Mohammed was crowned prince of Dubai in 1995. He became the official ruler of Dubai in 2006 when his older brother passed away.

What’s interesting however is that he pretty much ran the show in Dubai for 10 years prior to his rulership because his brother was sick. The world’s only 7 star hotel (as of 2006) and very popular Burj Al Arab was constructed under his supervision during this time.


Sheikh Mohammed He also led the Dubai Palm Islands project and Burj Dubai (supposed to be finished around 2009) which is going to be the world’s tallest building.

Unlike the past rulers of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed’s style was more business savvy. He did everything you’d expect a CEO to do.

He set up a conglomerate (holding company) he called Dubai Holdings.

And similarly he also formed several other companies that are heavily invested all around the world in all kinds of projects.

Sheikh Mohammed is extremely pro business, pro modern development and pro America


Sheikh Mohammed’s Personal Life

Sheikh Mohammed’s first wife (also called senior wife) is his first cousin who he married in 1979. His second wife (junior wife) is the daughter of the former king of Jordan.

She is also the half-sister of Jordan’s current King Abdullah II of Jordan (as of 2007). He married her in 2004 and he has 17 children with the two wives.


He is very well educated and had undergone private tutoring while growing up. He is also very passionate about life and has diverse interests. Some of those include art, poetry, charity and horse racing His children also share his interests.

Throughout the years, he has made billions of dollars in donations to developing underprivileged counties. In 2007, he pledged $10 billion to an educational foundation in the Middle East. This is one of the biggest donations in history.
Materialistic Indulgences

You want to catch Sheikh Mohammed’s attention? Get involved in horse racing and be very good at it. He is known worldwide for his involvement with horse racing. He is the owner of world famous Darley Stables and Godolphin Stables.


Sheikh Mohammed

He started and currently hosts (as of 2007) the world’s biggest and richest series of horse racing called the Dubai World Cup. He also owns the Gainsborough Stud at Woolton Hill in England, the Ballysheehan Stud in Ireland and the Gainsborough Farms Inc. in Versailles, Kentucky (right in my backyard – kid of).

His horses perform very well all around the world. He recently (as of 2008) purchased the Woodlands Stud Empire in Australia for $420 million. The last published figure I could find on his net worth is from 2007 where it is estimated at $16 billion.

It is estimated because royalty wealth cannot be easily measured because of several undisclosed investments, equity and even real solid hard cash (probably stacked underground their palaces). He is the fourth richest royal in the world (as of 2007).
Wild Rides

The Sheikh also carries a passion for cars and boats. As of 2008 he owns the world’s biggest yacht measured at 163 meters. He also has over 100 cars in his garage in his Dubai palace.

Kish has seen him in his Mercedes box shaped hummer looking ride. I have heard this ride is made of 100% pure metal. It must be heavy His other favorite cars include the Maybach, Ferrari, Rolls-Royces, Mercedes and Lamborghinis. What a life
The Latest Dubai Deal

One of Sheikh Mohammed’s biggest deal activities was recently in 2006 when he tried to purchase the Liverpool Football Club. There is no official figure on the deal but from hearsay the amount is close to $1 billion.

The deal was supposed to come with the stadium and few other extras. I am not sure what happened to the deal (I can’t find any published material on it) but I’ve heard that he backed away because the deal kept lagging.

If you are interested in reading more about Sheikh Mohammed and the details on his biography, I highly recommend visiting the official Sheikh Mohammed site. Make sure you click on the English button on the top left if you can’t read Arabic.
He is the third of four brothers and was born on July 22, 1949. Sheikh Mohammed is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But before all that, he is the ruler of the great Dubai city (all as of 2006).

In the mid 2000s he and his government advisors realized that Dubai will soon run out of oil (oil was never a big component of Dubai’s GDP) and that it could only sustain so much of its trading activities.

Trading (like anything else) would eventually peak at some point right?

So the Sheikh formed a master plan to diversify what Dubai has to offer to the world.

He took all the wealth reserves and invested it in transforming Dubai into a city for tourist and sports.

Because of tourism and sports, Dubai attracted many foreigners who realized the opportunity of doing business in Dubai. Soon Dubai offered all kinds of tax breaks for companies to do business there and before you know the new Dubai city was built.

Today there are buildings everywhere. They are running out of space so fast that they are building land on water by dumping sand. Very bad for the environment I’m sure but very good for Dubai.

These artificial islands are no less of amazing. Kish and I have been on them They are the Dubai Palm Islands. Expect to see similar types of projects year in year out.
The Beginning of Dubai’s Transformation

It is safe to say that Dubai’s true transformation started when Sheikh Mohammed was crowned prince of Dubai in 1995. He became the official ruler of Dubai in 2006 when his older brother passed away.

What’s interesting however is that he pretty much ran the show in Dubai for 10 years prior to his rulership because his brother was sick. The world’s only 7 star hotel (as of 2006) and very popular Burj Al Arab was constructed under his supervision during this time.


Sheikh Mohammed He also led the Dubai Palm Islands project and Burj Dubai (supposed to be finished around 2009) which is going to be the world’s tallest building.

Unlike the past rulers of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed’s style was more business savvy. He did everything you’d expect a CEO to do.

He set up a conglomerate (holding company) he called Dubai Holdings.

And similarly he also formed several other companies that are heavily invested all around the world in all kinds of projects.

Sheikh Mohammed is extremely pro business, pro modern development and pro America


Sheikh Mohammed’s Personal Life

Sheikh Mohammed’s first wife (also called senior wife) is his first cousin who he married in 1979. His second wife (junior wife) is the daughter of the former king of Jordan.

She is also the half-sister of Jordan’s current King Abdullah II of Jordan (as of 2007). He married her in 2004 and he has 17 children with the two wives.


He is very well educated and had undergone private tutoring while growing up. He is also very passionate about life and has diverse interests. Some of those include art, poetry, charity and horse racing His children also share his interests.

Throughout the years, he has made billions of dollars in donations to developing underprivileged counties. In 2007, he pledged $10 billion to an educational foundation in the Middle East. This is one of the biggest donations in history.
Materialistic Indulgences

You want to catch Sheikh Mohammed’s attention? Get involved in horse racing and be very good at it. He is known worldwide for his involvement with horse racing. He is the owner of world famous Darley Stables and Godolphin Stables.


Sheikh Mohammed

He started and currently hosts (as of 2007) the world’s biggest and richest series of horse racing called the Dubai World Cup. He also owns the Gainsborough Stud at Woolton Hill in England, the Ballysheehan Stud in Ireland and the Gainsborough Farms Inc. in Versailles, Kentucky (right in my backyard – kid of).

His horses perform very well all around the world. He recently (as of 2008) purchased the Woodlands Stud Empire in Australia for $420 million. The last published figure I could find on his net worth is from 2007 where it is estimated at $16 billion.

It is estimated because royalty wealth cannot be easily measured because of several undisclosed investments, equity and even real solid hard cash (probably stacked underground their palaces). He is the fourth richest royal in the world (as of 2007).
Wild Rides

The Sheikh also carries a passion for cars and boats. As of 2008 he owns the world’s biggest yacht measured at 163 meters. He also has over 100 cars in his garage in his Dubai palace.

Kish has seen him in his Mercedes box shaped hummer looking ride. I have heard this ride is made of 100% pure metal. It must be heavy His other favorite cars include the Maybach, Ferrari, Rolls-Royces, Mercedes and Lamborghinis. What a life
The Latest Dubai Deal

One of Sheikh Mohammed’s biggest deal activities was recently in 2006 when he tried to purchase the Liverpool Football Club. There is no official figure on the deal but from hearsay the amount is close to $1 billion.

The deal was supposed to come with the stadium and few other extras. I am not sure what happened to the deal (I can’t find any published material on it) but I’ve heard that he backed away because the deal kept lagging.

If you are interested in reading more about Sheikh Mohammed and the details on his biography, I highly recommend visiting the official Sheikh Mohammed site. Make sure you click on the English button on the top left if you can’t read Arabic.
The Sheikh - Who is he and What has he done? The Result: Is it worth it? For the Shiehk For the Emiratis For the workers
For the Prostitutes for the Enviroment FOr the Tourist for the Expatriates For the tourist, development in Dubai is perfect for them as they enjoy all the luxurious result of the development, yet because their stay is only temporary, they suffer none of the consequences. The Sheik is the producer behind the grand production that is Dubai. The 'sucess' of Dubai's development is almost a personal sucess of his. Overall, he is well loved by his subjects and is greatly respected. He has been praised repeatedly for turning the desert that was Dubai into the paradise that is Dubai. The emiratis may be in danger of losing their culture and having the western culture imposed onto them, regardless of intent. However, they are benefiting from the development of Dubai immmensely. AS mentioned before, Emaratis own everything, westerners hold all the jobs, and imported labor makes everything. For now, financially, emiratis are ontop though their culture stability may be on the rocky side. Good for the Rich, Better for the Poor, Awful for Mother Earth. Dubai is a place of opportuniy for professionals from the west, especially those in development, real estate, oil, or tourism. It's neverending sunshine and warm weather is often a upside for North Americans who are familiar with cold winters. Dubai development has been good for the expatriates and thus is likely to continue, if not in Dubai, then somewhere else; every architect wants to build something. As in all cases of migrant workers, conditions are likely harsher in their home countries. the development of Dubai has been finanacially beneficial to the workers. However, the conditions are often inhumane and the illegal acts commited concerning the workers such as withholding pay checks. Their help in the development is crucial and the development is crucial for their livelyhood, but it could be done in a safer, more humane, and more respectable way. As with the migrant workers, it is hard to determine whether the development has helped or harmed women and men of this profession. The market has indeed expanded due to the development, but it is arguable that the prostitutes working in Dubai would still be prostitutes even if they were not in Dubai. With the fall of the USSR, many former Soviet Union nations are under circumstances of extreme poverty and women from these places are often found on the bar scene of Dubai. Development of Dubai is beneficial for prostitutes if one deems it to be an occupation, but if one sees prostitution as solely exploitation, then the development of Dubai has created a hotbed of crime. Additionally, it is interesting to note that unlike prostitutes in other places (such as Calcutta), prostitutes cannot form a union and fight for rights because technically, prostitutes do not exist. However, as a Muslim city, Dubai does not try very hard to hide its redlight district. The enviromental issues created by the development in Dubai have had the most undeniable effect on the enviroment. Its practice of reclaiming land has destroyed marine life and ecosystems. Its use of energy has increased rapidly over the last few year to finally succeed United States as the largest energy consumer. The enviromental effects of the development in Dubai are numerous and harmful to every aspect of it. Not even a corporate lawyer could claim otherwise. Source: http://www.emiratesnewsline.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/sheikh_mohammed.png Source:http://www.photographersdirect.com/buyers/stockphoto.asp?imageid=1244465 Source:http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/AP_Photo/2008/07/17/dubai__1216319126_7184.jpg Source: http://www.nextnature.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/03/palm_jebel_ali.jpg Source: Source: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/rough/2007/09/dubai_sex_for_s.html Like the Industrial Revolution, It was only a 'sucess' at the expense of the workers and the cottage industry. Looking back now, no one would say that the Industrial Revolution was a failure, unless they were a luddite, and everyone would claim that all sacrifaces were worth it. However, in the 21st centruey, the inhumane conditions of the labor camps are not acceptable and it is grand time to change such. The world is materialistic and although development of Dubai will not has as grand a result as the Industrial Revolutions, it is currently, and may be for some time still, an important international development project. It's goal of being the playground of the Middle East have more or less been reached, but the enviromental issues created many not be worth it. However, greater environmental problems are created for much less of a result. Source: shamelazmeh.wordpress.com


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Human Rights Watch The Guardian Th e Dubai Information Site Mongabay.com
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