Daily: Dubai, Cruel World? The dark side of the UAE

As the Arab Spring rippled across the Middle East, many looked to the relative calm of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates for a roadmap to stability. But how much of a moderniser is Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE? Matthew Hedges was arrested, interrogated and sentenced to life imprisonment whilst studying for his PhD in the UAE. He tells Arthur Snell about his harrowing experience, and new book, Reinvented the Sheikhdom, on MBZ’s authoritarian regime and security strategy.

“Sheikh Zayed lived in a world rife in internal conflict. He made the UAE's tribes work together, at the expense of their autonomy.” 

“MBZ has an illiberal, undemocratic, and socially conservative worldview that puts the state first and foremost.” 

“MBZ and MBS are more similar than they are dissimilar.” 

“Your SIM card is linked to your ID, and they have the money to watch you at all times. These are tools of social control.”

“The UAE wants to be seen as forward-looking, not a Bedouin tribe stuck in the past.”

Written and presented by Arthur Snell. Producers: Jacob Archbold and Jelena Sofronijevic. Music by Kenny Dickinson. Audio production by Alex Rees. Lead Producer: Jacob Jarvis. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. THE BUNKER is a Podmasters Production

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