New York Times cites possibly authoritarian, Saudi-style approach by UAE head of state

Turkish authorities allege he was “forced to hand over information about his and his son’s investigations,” which included supposed links to militants, according to a report on the Association Press.

The American-based Human Rights Watch said the Emirati general, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the UAE’s National Security Agency, is a leading figure in the UAE government and has played a role in “muzzling critics.”

“To put it bluntly, Sheikh Mohammed is a likely head candidate for the vice presidency of the United Nations,” Human Rights Watch said, referring to the world body’s second most senior position.

“We have numerous reasons to fear that he is likely one of the reasons for the political arrests and repression that Human Rights Watch witnessed in the UAE,” said Sherif Mansour, a Gulf expert at Human Rights Watch who investigated human rights abuses in the UAE in a report.

“There are many cases that give us reasonable grounds to believe that he was behind some of these arrests,” Mansour said.

The New York Times also reported on the General’s appointment, citing the apparent values he has espoused.

“In February 2015, he appeared at a conference sponsored by London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs to talk about his vision for combating extremism and terrorism,” NYT said.

“For the last few years I have repeatedly challenged the global arrogance and simply called for fairness,” the General added, according to NYT.

One of the main differences between the UAE and Turkey over the fight against terrorism is the UAE gives a free hand to its local police and army to act against the left-wing and Muslim Brotherhood elements in their own country, according to the Reporter.

The Turkish government is working to combat ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq by killing or arresting members of other Turkish organizations, the reporter noted.

The General is a member of the Supreme Military Council and the UAE Executive Council.

In 2014, the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait drew up a unified position against Iran and its neighbor, as part of the Quartet that also includes the United States and the European Union.

“The UAE once was a major trade partner with Iran but the two countries grew increasingly hostile to each other. In response to demonstrations in Iran and the imposition of international sanctions, the UAE closed its embassy in Tehran in 2011,” the reporter noted.

Click here to read more from the Reporter.

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