Local Business

Foreign interference in Middle East destabilising region, says Dubai billionaire

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on January 24, 2020
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties.

Sajwani stressed that Arab world has to rise above the politics of religion and tribal affinities in order to bring right people in to power.

Foreign interference is destabilising countries across the Middle East, and it is one of the biggest challenges for the region as political parties become "puppets" to foreign countries, said Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties.

"The problem in the Middle East is that when there is a democracy, there are 10 different political parties; and there are 10 different countries around the world to support those parties and they become a puppet for those countries. I have not seen many countries in the world where foreigners interfere and support political parties. This is the biggest challenge for Middle East," the Dubai-based billionaire said during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Sajwani stressed that the Arab world has to rise above the politics of religion and tribal affinities in order to bring the right people to power.

"The situation is much deeper than a bad or corrupt government. I think a lot of time we don't address the main issue. Governments are brought by the people, so why couldn't people in the last 10 to 20 or 50 years elect a good government? Lebanon is 60-year-old democracy, the oldest in the Middle East. People in the Arab world have to realise that when they go to elections, they elect not necessarily the person they like, not the person of their religion, or his tribe - and this is a big disaster," Sajwani said on the panel discussion titled "The Return of Arab Unrest."

Other participants in the panel discussion were Gebran Bassil, ex-foreign minister of Lebanon, and Sigrid Kaag, a Dutch politician.

Hussain's Sajwani's Damac Properties is one of the largest private developers in Dubai. The real estate magnate's assets were valued at $1.8 billion by Forbes.

Sajwani also said that the 20th century was the most disastrous century for the Middle East beginning from World War 1 when Arab countries were divided into pieces, then the 1948 War, rule of military officers in Libya and Iraq, and then the consistent interference from super powers in the region's internal affairs.

- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

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