x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 November 2017

Leadership is tested during critical times

The Middle East’s stability might seem under threat but we should remember that we have faced instability before

Dr Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor at the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs at Al Bateen Palace. Mohamed Al Hammadi  / Crown Prince Court
Dr Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor at the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs at Al Bateen Palace. Mohamed Al Hammadi / Crown Prince Court

With the threat of extremism by groups like ISIL, the conflict in Yemen, Iran’s meddling and the US’s increasing disengagement from the region, it would be easy to think of this as a time of unprecedented crisis. At such times, it helps to remember that the UAE has been faced with tough times before but prevailed through its leadership.

For all the challenges of the modern Middle East, it is worth remembering that events around the time of the UAE’s federation were similarly fraught. As The National reported yesterday, the late Sheikh Zayed’s chief interpreter, Zaki Nusseibeh, gave an insight into how the UAE’s founding father confronted the concerns that followed Britain withdrawing its security assurances for the Gulf. At his talk at Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s majlis on Wednesday, he said Sheikh Zayed’s remarkable leadership skills helped steer the nascent UAE through the crisis.

Sheikh Zayed sought to bolster security by leading the emirates into a strong federation. The need to do so was exemplified by Iran’s seizure of three islands administered by Ras Al Khaimah just days before the UAE was formed. Iran occupies them still.

The lesson of that time that is relevant to today’s challenges is that at times of uncertainty, true leaders confront issues and conflict with openness, courage, faith and determination. Sheikh Zayed worked hard to realise his vision of a modern country capable of providing a good life for its citizens.

With the present state of uncertainty all across the region, the country must once again trust its leaders to steer it through. The UAE has been putting more focus on strengthening security and ensuring stability. At the same time, it has also been playing an increasingly active role in the region, fighting extremism and supporting countries like Egypt to reclaim their stability and economic prosperity.

The UAE’s leadership is, once again, showing a determination to address challenges and protect its interests and its people. We should all have faith, once again, and show support that now, as at the time of federation more than 40 years ago, right will prevail.