Obama gets mixed reviews at conference

Barack Obama's greatest achievement in his first year as US president has been to reduce anti-American sentiment in the Gulf and recognise that militarism is not a sustainable solution to the region's complex problems, a prominent UAE academic told a conference yesterday. Dr Abdulkhaliq Abdallah, a professor of political science at UAE University, told a conference on American Government, Politics and Policy at the American University of Sharjah that despite recent "failures" in domestic policy, from an international perspective, Mr Obama was "the best thing to happen to America in recent times".

"The world is definitely a safer place with Obama as president. He has managed to remove the USA from the unilateralism and militarism that defined the Bush administration. His 'soft power' approach is widely respected," he said. "Obama has brought back diplomacy and dialogue to US foreign policy and this has been key in the Gulf experiencing an exceptional year of tranquility in 2009." However, Prof Abdallah said, perceptions of Mr Obama's success in the GCC rested on how he dealt with Iran's nuclear programme, which he said was the main security risk in the region.

Gilles Kepel, the director of doctoral studies on the Arab world at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, gave a more cynical assessment of Mr Obama's performance. He told the conference that despite high expectations of his presidency fuelled by the promises and rhetoric of his electoral campaign, Mr Obama had failed to make practical changes in the region. He cited the tensions in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Mr Obama's "naive" address to the Muslim world in Cairo as seeds of major dissatisfaction towards the US in the region.

"The Gulf issue, and specifically the issue of Iranian nuclear power, is a much more important problem than Israel. This part of the world is a major exporter of oil and gas and this passes through the Strait of Hormuz on a daily basis. If this is threatened it will have an impact not only on the region but the global economy," he said. tbrooks@thenational.ae


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

The specs: 2018 Volkswagen Teramont

Price, base / as tested Dh137,000 / Dh189,950

Engine 3.6-litre V6

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Power 280hp @ 6,200rpm

Torque 360Nm @ 2,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 11.7L / 100km


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 name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Our legal advisor

Ahmad El Sayed is Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Experience: Commercial litigator who has assisted clients with overseas judgments before UAE courts. His specialties are cases related to banking, real estate, shareholder disputes, company liquidations and criminal matters as well as employment related litigation. 

Education: Sagesse University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 2005.


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The years Ramadan fell in May





The five pillars of Islam
UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024


Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).


Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).


Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Company profile

Company name: Letswork
Started: 2018
Based: Dubai
Founders: Omar Almheiri, Hamza Khan
Sector: co-working spaces
Investment stage: $2.1 million in a seed round with investors including 500 Global, The Space, DTEC Ventures and other angel investors
Number of employees: about 20


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today