2 thoughts on “The ugly truth behind the UAE’s soft power drive”

  1. Britain’s residual influence in Saudi Arabia meant that during the oil crises of the 1970s the kingdom secretly broke its own embargo to supply Britain. Saudi Arabia also continued to pump much of the massive surplus generated by oil sales into British financial institutions. It finances around a fifth of the UK current account deficit. A ten-person team in Whitehall, known as Project Falcon, manages the UAE’s investments in Britain. During the financial crisis in 2008, Gordon Brown appealed to the Gulf to provide private bailouts for British banks. In a deal subject to a current Serious Fraud Office investigation, Barclays received £4.6 billion from Qatar and £3.5 billion from the UAE, helping it to avoid nationalisation. Qatar’s investments in the UK are many and conspicuous: Harrods, the Shard, the London Stock Exchange, Heathrow Airport. Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s portfolios of UK bonds and equities are exceeded only by their US investments. (https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n09/tom-stevenson/what-are-we-there-for )
    ‘ “I told them this was not Riyadh, this is London, and the guy immediately said: ‘F*** London, their Queen is our slave and their police are our dogs.” ‘ (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/saudi-arabia-human-rights-activist-attacked-london-mbs-ghanem-al-dosari-show-a8538406.html)

  2. Baroness Helena Kennedy made the case that the Tolerance Minister should have the Magnitsky legislation used to secure a freezing order on his significant property holdings in London. But, as the Guardian reported, he is not the only al Nahyan with extensive property assets in London. The UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan has ” a secretive £5.5bn real estate empire.” The Guardian story is here https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/ng-interactive/2020/oct/18/revealed-sheikh-khalifas-5bn-london-property-empire.

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