Flags are seen outside the Cinquantenaire, where NATO Heads of State and Government will gather for a working dinner as part of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Nato heads of state and government will convene for an annual summit in Brussels this week. Reuters

In a world of growing security challenges, Nato remains an indispensable security alliance

This week, leaders and representatives of the member states that comprise the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will gather in Belgium for the annual summit of the most formidable security alliance in human history. Tension suffuses the air in Brussels. Not since the group's foundation in 1949 have graver doubts been expressed about its utility. As a candidate for the American presidency, Donald Trump dismissed Nato as "obsolete". After entering the White House, however, he hastily recanted that remark and affirmed his commitment to the alliance. But not everyone is persuaded.

The conditions in which a transatlantic security pact was forged seem too remote to too many people at a time when isolationist nationalism is once again gaining popularity – but it would be a profound mistake, a deadly delusion, to believe that the challenges and threats that necessitated Nato's formation have dissipated or disappeared. The Second World War concluded with the Soviet Union's footprint spread across vast swathes of Europe. Democratic voices were muzzled, nations invaded, human aspirations ruthlessly stamped on as the Iron Curtain fell over lands that had just emerged from history's bloodiest confrontation. If the Marshall Plan embodied Washington's vision to prevent another conflict by rebuilding Europe and bringing prosperity to its peoples, Nato expressed the rock-hard determination of the US and its allies to defend themselves against aggression. Its presence, serving as a deterrent, averted an outright clash between the superpowers during the Cold War.

The collapse of the USSR, however, did not make Nato redundant; it infused it with fresh purpose. Nato’s membership of 29 states includes a dozen former communist nations. To them, the organisation is much more than a security alliance. Their acceptance into it is still regarded as a fulfilment of a long yearning for freedom, and many of them have made tremendous sacrifices to uphold its mission.

Nato's intervention in the former Yugoslavia halted what was poised to be yet another genocidal campaign by Serb nationalists. The fact three former constituent republics of Yugoslavia – Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro – are now members of Nato is a measure of the distance Europe has travelled under the blanket of security provided by it. The attacks of September 11, 2001, prompted Nato to invoke Article 5 – which calls for collective action – for the first time. And Nato soldiers subsequently laid down their lives in Afghanistan.

Despite this history, a serious deficit of trust overhangs Nato. Europeans, operating against the menacing milieu of a resurgent Russia, are anxious that Mr Trump is more receptive to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, than Washington's most steadfast allies. Although Mr Trump's demand that Europeans raise their defence expenditure to meet Nato's guideline of 2 per cent by 2024 is not without merit, there has never been a time more ill-suited to the display of difference.

The bio

Studied up to grade 12 in Vatanappally, a village in India’s southern Thrissur district

Was a middle distance state athletics champion in school

Enjoys driving to Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah with family

His dream is to continue working as a social worker and help people

Has seven diaries in which he has jotted down notes about his work and money he earned

Keeps the diaries in his car to remember his journey in the Emirates

What to watch out for:

Algae, waste coffee grounds and orange peels will be used in the pavilion's walls and gangways

The hulls of three ships will be used for the roof

The hulls will painted to make the largest Italian tricolour in the country’s history

Several pillars more than 20 metres high will support the structure

Roughly 15 tonnes of steel will be used

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Company Profile 

Founder: Omar Onsi

Launched: 2018

Employees: 35

Financing stage: Seed round ($12 million)

Investors: B&Y, Phoenician Funds, M1 Group, Shorooq Partners


For Euro 2024 qualifers away to Malta on June 16 and at home to North Macedonia on June 19:

Goalkeepers Johnstone, Pickford, Ramsdale.

Defenders Alexander-Arnold, Dunk, Guehi, Maguire, Mings, Shaw, Stones, Trippier, Walker.

Midfielders Bellingham, Eze, Gallagher, Henderson, Maddison, Phillips, Rice.

Forwards Foden, Grealish, Kane, Rashford, Saka, Wilson.


Vara will cater to three categories of companies in Dubai (except the DIFC):

Category A: Minimum viable product (MVP) applicants that are currently in the process of securing an MVP licence: This is a three-stage process starting with [1] a provisional permit, graduating to [2] preparatory licence and concluding with [3] operational licence. Applicants that are already in the MVP process will be advised by Vara to either continue within the MVP framework or be transitioned to the full market product licensing process.

Category B: Existing legacy virtual asset service providers prior to February 7, 2023, which are required to come under Vara supervision. All operating service proviers in Dubai (excluding the DIFC) fall under Vara’s supervision.

Category C: New applicants seeking a Vara licence or existing applicants adding new activities. All applicants that do not fall under Category A or B can begin the application process through their current or prospective commercial licensor — the DET or Free Zone Authority — or directly through Vara in the instance that they have yet to determine the commercial operating zone in Dubai. 

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Long Shot

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan

Four stars

Water waste

In the UAE’s arid climate, small shrubs, bushes and flower beds usually require about six litres of water per square metre, daily. That increases to 12 litres per square metre a day for small trees, and 300 litres for palm trees.

Horticulturists suggest the best time for watering is before 8am or after 6pm, when water won't be dried up by the sun.

A global report published by the Water Resources Institute in August, ranked the UAE 10th out of 164 nations where water supplies are most stretched.

The Emirates is the world’s third largest per capita water consumer after the US and Canada.


Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

When: April 25, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 1, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid


Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Director: James Gunn

Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Rating: 4/5

The Saga Continues

Wu-Tang Clan

(36 Chambers / Entertainment One)

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