UAE vice president: You must change or you will be changed

UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum addressing participants at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday.
Updated 13 February 2017

UAE vice president: You must change or you will be changed

DUBAI: In order for the Arab civilization to regain its past glories, the Arab world should begin by comprehending the indicators for the future, said Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Sheikh Mohammed made the remarks today while addressing a panel of the World Government Summit, which was attended by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Sheikh Mohammed referred to a “clear message” he made to the Arab governments 12 years ago that “you must change, or you will be changed.”
“As we talk about resuming civilization, we need hope. I am optimistic because it is the man who makes civilization, economy and prosperity. If the Arab and Muslim man succeeded in building a civilization in the past, they are capable of resuming it,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed said the Arab world possesses all potentials, including human resources, education, fertile lands and will power.
“The only thing missing is the management. The management of governments, economy, resources, infrastructure and even management of sports. We are 300 million, almost equal to the population of the United States, but look how many medals they win in the Olympic Games. We have failures in certain areas that need to be addressed.”
Asked about his greatest personal achievement, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The UAE has many achievements that my brother Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, my other brothers, and I, are very proud of. I believe the biggest achievement is the building of the UAE citizens, the citizens who are capable of everything, including running the economy.”
He recalled that when the federation was founded by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, “we were just 40 university graduates. Now, we have 77 universities, teeming with thousands of students. We have a program to reach Mars, fully run by young Emiratis.”
Answering a question how the UAE managed to balance economic and tourism openness with security, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The world’s problems are open-ended and we have to grow for the interest of our people and our country. If we said 40 years ago let us stop until it is safe, we would’nt achieve anything. We have people who carry out their duty of keeping us secure, while we are engaged in developing our country.”
Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE has no recipe for success, but to endeavor, learn, gain expertise and importantly, appreciate the value of time.
“We do not boast perfection. We still learn every day and we waste no time because for us, time is like a running river. The experiment of the UAE speaks for itself for whoever wants to emulate it. All I can say is that we have advanced qualities in leadership and management,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed praised UAE’s special relations with Egypt, describing the latter as “the heart and soul of the Arab world.”
On how to develop civilization through separating religion and politics, he said: During the pre-Islam era, tribes fought and invaded each others and when Islam came, the civilization started. Today, there are people with half or no knowledge at all, who blow themselves up in Europe and America in the name of faith. Their interpretation of Islam is completely wrong. It is a tolerant faith that calls for peace for all people of the world, not only Muslims. They just want to kill men, enslave women and refer that to religion. They simply know nothing.”


Airstrikes kill 19 civilians in northwest Syria

Updated 08 December 2019

Airstrikes kill 19 civilians in northwest Syria

  • The airstrikes on Idlib province have intensified over the past few weeks

AL-BARA, Syria: Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes on Saturday killed 19 civilians, eight of them children, in the country’s last major opposition bastion, a war monitor said.

The air raids in the rebel-run northwestern region of Idlib also wounded several others, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Airstrikes by regime ally Russia killed four civilians including a child in the village of Al-Bara in the south of the region, the Observatory said.

An AFP correspondent at the scene saw rescue workers pick through the rubble of a two-story home whose concrete roof had collapsed.

Rescuers carried away the body of a victim wrapped in a blanket on a stretcher.

Russian raids also killed nine civilians including three children in the nearby village of Balyun, the Observatory said.

Crude barrel bombs dropped by government helicopters killed five civilians including three children in the village of Abadeeta, also in the same area.

In the southeast of the embattled region, a raid by a regime aircraft killed another child in the village of Bajghas, the Observatory said.

The Britain-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, says it determines the provenance of an airstrike by looking at flight patterns and the aircraft and munitions involved.

The airstrikes on Idlib province have intensified over the past few weeks as the government appears to be preparing for an offensive on rebel-held areas east of the province to secure the main highway that links the capital Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest and once commercial center.

The Idlib region, which is home to some 3 million people including many displaced by Syria’s civil war, is controlled by the country’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The Damascus regime has repeatedly vowed to take back control of Idlib.

Bashar Assad’s forces launched a blistering military campaign against the region in April, killing around 1,000 civilians and displacing more than 400,000 people from their homes. A cease-fire announced by Moscow has largely held since late August.

But the Observatory says deadly bombardment and skirmishes have persisted, with more than 200 civilians killed in the region since the deal.

Syria’s war has killed over 370,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since beginning in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests.

Earlier, the Observatory and the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense said four people, including a child and two women, were killed in airstrikes on the opposition-held village of Bara.

The Observatory said five others were killed in the village of Ibdeita and a child in another village nearby.

Different casualty figures are common in the immediate aftermath of violence in Syria, where an eight-year conflict has killed about 400,000 people, wounded more than a million and displaced half the country’s prewar population.

Syrian troops launched a four-month offensive earlier this year on Idlib, which is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants. The government offensive forced hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

A fragile cease-fire halted the government advance in late August but has been repeatedly violated in recent weeks.