Tribal leaders created a modern country in the sands

Lesson for Sri Lankan politicians who turned ‘Paradise Island’ into a living hell.

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By Latheef Farook

The president of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, died on 13 May 2022,wasa ruler loved by his people.

He was the eldest son of late president of United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the architect of United Arab Emirates which is today a modern country. After his death in November 2004 his son Sheikh Khalifa became the president of UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

It was around mid-1990s and I was looking after the Gulf News office in Al Ain, the birth place of Shaikh Khalifa Al Ain, an hour’s journey from Dubai bordering Oman’s Buraimi area, was an oasis, close to the heart of Shaikh Zayed.

He spent billions   on developing Al Ain with all modern facilities and provided all comforts to his people who knew nothing but hardships before the oil wealth in the 1960s.

The UAE University is located in Al Ain providing a conducive environment for studies. Hundreds of thousands of graduates passed out from this university now serve the country in different capacities.

Al Ain ws a small place where everyone knew everyone .During my brief stay there I came across number of young local Arabs who were educated and holding responsible positions in the university and government sectors.

Among them was a western educated national Mazrouei who was quite familiar with Middle East and regional politics. We used to meet frequently. Once he took me to meet the then Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifa at his majlis where I found people freely talk in a very informal atmosphere.  It was part of their tribal tradition.


For example when I was working for Gulf News in Dubai, I went to Abu Dhabi to cover United Arab Emirates’ eighth national day on 2 December 1979 at Al Buteen Palace which I thought may be a huge modern building. To my shock it was a single story building where Sheikh Zayed received well-wishers. Today’s most modern palaces were undreamt of.

It was the early years of UAE comprising of independent rulers brought under one umbrella-UAE Federation. There were only basic facilities. Sheikh Zayed, the president of UAE and the ruler of oil rich Abu Dhabi  knew the hardships he and his people went through before the oil wealth. Thus he used oil wealth to develop the country with all modern facilities and  uplift the quality of his people’s life.

Besides concentrating on infrastructure projects such as roads, ports, air ports, housing schemes, water, electricity, schools and hospitals, Sheikh Zayed provided free education, for both boys and girls  alike. He sent bright ones to universities worldwide and created a generation equipped with skills to run the country.

Expatriates, companies and individuals alike, from all over the world arrived to take part in the massive development program and share the economic boom.

Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was a people friendly Ruler who regularly visited interior settlements to enquire about their welfare and provide shortfalls, sat with village elders sharing meals and discussing common problems. He solved their problems and earned their respect and gratitude. 


Sheikh Zayed adopted an independent foreign policy and supported the Arab and Muslim causes worldwide. He was a strong supporter of Palestinian cause and repeatedly emphasized the need to free Jerusalem and Masjid al Aqsa from the Zionist Jewish control. Those were the days when Abu Dhabi TV used to describe Israel as a terrorist entity and then Israeli Prime minister Menachem Begin as terrorist  in view of his role in killing Palestinians.


His greatest achievement was forging unity among six divergent emirates and forming the United Arab Emirates as a modern State.  Unrivalled in the history of modern statecraft. 

However things changed following the US-European, Israeli engineered Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 to de stabiles the Gulf region .Inevitably UAE was also sucked into this  US-Israeli led conspiracy.

The father Sheikh Zayed and son Sheikh Khalifa remain the best example for nation building for degenerated Sri Lankan politicians who ruined this paradise island due to racist politics, corruption and mismanagement.

Sheikh Zayed died in 2004 and was succeeded by his son Sheikh Khalifa whose prolonged illness, since 2014 following a stroke, made his half-brother Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed crown prince-the de facto ruler.

Since then the UAE policy towards Islam, Muslims, Arab and Muslim world began to change. The new defacto ruler Sheikh Muhammad became hand in glove with US and Israel and started  implementing their evil agendas hostile to Muslims.

For example, implementing Israeli design, Abu Dhabi together with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait spent eleven billion dollar to create food and fuel shortage and trigger a popular uprising which overthrew the first ever democratically elected pro-Islamic government of Dr Mohamed Morsy in Egypt. The conspirators installed anti-Muslim pro Zionist Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in power.

Once again implementing  US-European Israeli agenda, Mohamed Bin Zaid together with Saudi Arabia, bombed and killed hundreds of thousands of poverty stricken Yemenis and destroyed this ancient country causing the worst ever humanitarian crisis.

Today they have abandoned Palestinians and Jerusalem and recognized Israel with whom they are hand in glove. Abu Dhabi also got three Arab countries-Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco- to establish diplomatic ties with Israel under what was called Abraham Accords which divided and weaken the already weak Arab countries.

Sheikh Mohammed was awarded the “prestigious” Scholar-Statesman Award by the pro-Israel think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)for his role in delivering the so-called Accords. Previous recipients of the award are some of the most controversial figures in world politics. They include former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who butchered millions of Iraqis and destroyed Iraq.


Today no one knows where the UAE is heading and what is in store for its people. 

1-UAE de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed with  Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

2-Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

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Disclaimer: Tribal leaders created a modern country in the sands

Lesson for Sri Lankan politicians who turned ‘Paradise Island’ into a living hell. - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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