Thursday, February 18, 2010

A bit about Dubai and its police. And the Middle East, again

Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. According to the federal distribution of powers, its current ruler since 2006, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is also the prime minister and the vice-president of UAE. The Maktoum family, a powerful bedouin clan, is ruling Dubai since 1833. Al Maktoum is a main donor for charitable institutions in the area, initiated in 2007 a foundation dedicated to reduce the educational gap in the Middle East and is a major figure in international thoroughbred horse racing and breeding. His junior wife is Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and half sister of the current king Abdullah II of Jordan.
Despite the fact that basically the main resources of Dubai were petroleum and gas, currently, these are contributing with less than 6%, the main revenues being tourism, property and financial services. Dubai is the second most expensive city in the region - after Tel Aviv, as of July 2009, according to Mercer Human Resource and Economist Intelligence Unit, and 20th most expensive city in the world. It is considered the "shopping capital of the Middle East" and is attracting yearly lots of tourists and business men from the area or outside the region. In the same time it is having as well a dark side, beyond the perfect PR. English is lingua franca and, despite the fact that, according to the article 7 of the Provisional Constitution Islam is the official state, the attitude towards other denominations is relatively open, in comparison with other countries from the region. In 2005, 84% of the population of metropolitan Dubai was foreign-born, about half of them from India.
The role played as a financial hub and touristic attraction, Dubai is as well the place of various challenges for the local authorities. Beyond the illegal immigration and a relative problematic system of social protection - various reports on human rights are outlining the complicate situation facing the immigrants from Asia - common to other countries from the region as well, there are problems regarding prostitution or international crime.
According to a 2007 PBS documentary Dubai - Night Secrets, prostitution in clubs is tolerated by authorities. Many of the foreign women working there are doing freely, with good financial results. According to the census conducted by the Statistics Center of Dubai, the population of the emirate was 1,422,000 as of 2006, which included 1,073,000 males and 349,000 females. Shortly, men outnumber women to a 3 to 1 ratio.
Being a Las Vegas of the Middle East involves as well various other problems, and the last episode is not the first. And, for sure, not the last. Less than a year ago, Sulim Yamadayev, a Chechen leader who was once a close aide to Chechen President Ramazan Kadyrov, was gunned down in the parking lot of the Jumeirah Beach Residence, the luxury Dubai apartment building where he resided for several months, dying later in the hospital. A golden gun, which allegedly belonged to Kadyrov, was left at the crime scene. Dubai Police arrested two suspects in the case, but the main suspect, a Russian Duma deputy named Adam Delimkhanov, is still wanted in the UAE. Delimkhanov represented the United Russia party, is Kadyrov's cousin and one of his close associates. Yamadaev was de facto commander of the Russian military special Battalion Vostok, belonging to the GRU, but was as well a commander on the Russian side in the war with Georgia.
Last April, Dubai police declared the case solved and forwarded to Interpol a request to arrest Delimkhanov. Police chief Tamim called on Russia to “take responsibility in front of the world to control these killers from Chechnya.” For the moment, nothing changed as far, but the local police authorities prooved themselves as efficient and able to solve dangerous international riddles.
The Dubai Police was established with only 29 members back on June 1, 1956, in Naif Fort, which still operates as a police station. It has law enforcement jurisdiction over the emirate; the force is under direct command of the ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. In this case, solving difficult cases and giving proof of efficiency could mean more than a professional duty.
It consider itself to be the most forward-thinking and progressive Arab police forces accordin to its own website. “Comprising our ranks are 15,000 personnel of the highest educational standard of any organization"..."We are unlike any other Police Force in the world". Many of the Dubai police personnel come from abroad, while others studied and trained in foreign countries, including Egypt. Its slogan - "Quality".
The force is proud to outline that it been the first in the Arab world to use DNA testing in criminal investigations, the first to use electronic finger printing, and the first to implement the concept of a paperless department. As well, it is using an Automatic Vehicle Location. It includes as well a Human Rights Department.
The latest update on its website reports that the “passports of the mercenaries” who killed Mabhouh were not fake. “Dubai immigration officers were trained by European security experts to spot such documents. This training qualifies immigration officers to spot fake passports. They applied these procedures at Dubai airport when the alleged [killers] entered the country,” he said. “No forgery was found in those passports.”
I dare to say the website is extremely well organised and providing various useful information. The public reactions and the statements released the last days are showing a high knowledge of PR and communications strategies. In the same time, communicating all the time it is not always a sign of efficiency. permanently releasing messages is one thing, thinking about what the opportunity is another one. The latest declarations are a bit too hasty, if not ridiculous. Of course it is a matter of pride and publicly, the emirate do not have anything to do than to react and send messages of trust to the other neighbours from the area, overprotecting of possible retaliations. It is, for sure, only a very small episode, in the turmoiled permanent history of the Middle East.
What's next?

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