12 February 2015
The United Arab Emirates has embarked on an all-out effort to broaden its regional influence and achieve global acceptance of its autocratic definition of terrorism that encompasses all non-violent, legitimate expressions of political Islam.
The effort competes head on with Qatar’s pro-Islamist approach to soft power. It involves participation in the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, an aggressive media strategy that included attempting to discredit Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup, the use of a network of allegedly UAE-funded NGOs, a religious council to counter to promote a quietist interpretation of Islam, and a failed effort to mediate an end to Yemen’s political crisis in part with the help of a former president of the Yemeni Football Association.
A controversial, reportedly UAE-backed NGO, the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), in the latest building block of the Emirati campaign, is organizingan anti-terrorism conference in Geneva next week to discuss a proposed International Convention on Balancing Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights.
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 16/02/2015