UAE Updates

A rundown on what's happening in the UAE this week.

Nov 11, 2017

UAE UpdatesIllustration by Joaquín Kunkel

Louvre Abu Dhabi Opens to the Public

On Nov. 11, the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors to the general public. The museum was officially inaugurated on Nov. 8 when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, paid a visit, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

The French President welcomed the Louvre Abu Dhabi as an example of how beauty can “fight against the discourses of hatred.” The first western museum in the UAE is the result of a $1.27 billion partnership initiated ten years ago between France and the UAE, which included $520 million just for the right to use the Louvre name. The partnership includes the opening of Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and France’s first military base in the country. The ties are strong between France and the UAE, with Macron calling the UAE a “trusted partner.”

More than 4000 tickets have already been sold online for Saturday’s opening and 1000 more tickets were available at the box office on Saadiyat island. The queues started forming before 7 a.m. and the day was filled with afternoon and evening performances in the auditorium under the electrifying dome. Tickets for the performances can be purchased on the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s website for 200 AED and will continue to be sold until Nov. 14.

Saudi Arabia’s New Reforms, Arrests and the Implications for the UAE

On Nov. 5, Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen. The move came after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was named the head of an anti-corruption body by King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

New innovative reforms, such as letting women drive, were initiated by Saudi’s Crown Prince. The Prince’s goal is to destroy “extremist ideologies” and return to “a more moderate Islam.” President Donald Trump commented on Saudi Arabia’s new reforms and arrests by stating that he has great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince, stating that “those they are harshly treating have been milking their country for years.”

The arrested individuals, including billionaire investor Al-Waleed bin Talal, are currently on parole in Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton hotel. On Nov. 4, Riyadh was the target of a missile launch from Yemeni Houthi rebels who were trying to target the main airport. The missile adds to the growing tensions between Iran, which supports the Houthi rebels, and Saudi Arabia. This week, President Hassan Rouhani warned that a Saudi alliance with the U.S. and the “Zionist regime” of Israel would be a “strategic mistake.”

On top of all this, Saudi Arabia is also dealing with diplomatic tensions coming from Lebanon following the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during his trip to Saudi Arabia. Speculation coming from Lebanon suggests that Hariri was forced to resign by Saudi Arabia due to a failure to combat the Iran-backed Hezbollah rebels in his country. A high-level ministerial source in Lebanon believes that “Saudi Arabia is restricting the movement and communications” of Prime Minister Hariri, adding that he “isn’t expressing himself freely.”

All of these tensions inevitably reflect upon the UAE as well due to the country’s historical alliance with Saudi Arabia. Depending on its next moves, the UAE could find itself involved in this Gulf dispute.

Second Annual Meetings of the Global Futures Councils to Kick off in Dubai

On Nov. 11 the Second Annual Meetings of the Global Futures Councils is set to kick off in a partnership between the UAE and the World Economic Forum. The 2-day event, held at Madinat Jumeirah, tackles the issues in various strategic sectors and works to propose feasible solutions to them.

This year’s sectors include artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology and high-tech education. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, commented on the event by saying that the UAE has become “a global hub for the future industry.” Dubai will host 700 scholars from 75 countries around the world. The solutions that these scholars come up with will be used by the UAE and the world to develop their programmes for the future.

Andrea Arletti is a News Deputy. Email him at [email protected]

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