x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Police chief defends criticism of US policies

The Dubai Police chief this week criticised US policiies in the Gulf during a security conference in Bahrain. The US ambassador to Bahrain walked out of the conference during the police chief's speech, but it is not clear why he left.

DUBAI // Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai Police chief, yesterday defended the speech he made during a two-day national and regional security conference in Bahrain's capital, Manama, in which he criticised US policies in the Middle East.

At the conference, which ended on Wednesday, he reportedly warned Gulf states not to let the US drive them into a war with Iran.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Lt Gen Tamim said: "The US has granted Iran many of its dreams in the region, including the toppling of Saddam [Hussein], active presence of Iran in Iraq and the exporting of the revolution into the Arab world."

But he added: "I was not solely targeting the US policies but was giving my reading to the security threats to the Gulf, and they included several factors. I talked about corruption and abuse of power, especially in law enforcement apparatus, on Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood as well."

Lt Gen Tamim gave the conference a 38-point account of the Gulf security threats, with US policies topping the list.

"If the US wants freedom for nations, there are the Palestinian people who want a state and freedom," he said. "The US's talk about wanting good for nations is not sincere."

Lt Gen Tamim also compared the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood with the Iranian threat, saying it was just as serious.

The US ambassador to Bahrain, Thomas Krajeski, walked out during the police chief's speech, prompting speculation he had been angered by his remarks.

The Dubai Police chief confirmed the ambassador had left the conference during his speech, but said he did not know why.

"He might have left the room for any reason. Maybe he had a phone call or needed to use the toilet," Lt Gen Tamim said. "If he was upset about the points I raised, he could have taken the microphone and responded to my views. Someone who advocates for the right of expression should not get upset when hearing others' opinions."

Dr Ibtisam Al Ketbi, a professor of political science at UAE University, saw the US ambassador leave.

"Some speculated that it was due to the daring speech of Dahi, while others said it was due to other commitments."

Dr Al Ketbi agreed with Lt Gen Tamim that some US policies in the Gulf are destabilising the region. "Magnifying the Iranian threats and draining Gulf money through US weapons purchases are among those policies," she said.

Mr Krajeski could not be reached for comment.

wissa@thenational.ae