It took six days to break his silence. And yet the world was waiting he speaks. The Awards were panicking. The warning is part late November, when Dubai announced that its conglomerate Dubai World, is struggling to repay 59 billion in debt. As negotiations with creditors ahead delicate, Sheikh Mohammed has given an appointment on 1 December, journalists at the entrance of Dubai Media City, the neighborhood where settled CNN, AFP and al-chain Jazeera. Under the sun, disdasha white sunglasses and beard neatly trimmed, he stopped two minutes before the cameras. In fact interview, he let out a pithy phrase: "Dubai's economy is strong." He also regretted "the lack of international investors" before philosophizing on "Fruit Trees always attacked by those who throw stones.The allusion, acerbic, was aimed at Western media he despises. Then he climbed into his 4 ? 4 white. Scholarships and fell again.
"His Highness is very determined"
This attitude, princely or haughty as the interpretation is actually not worth that friends at HRH. "He laughs at the criticism even if they hurt his pride," says one of its brokers. At age 60, Sheik Mo has shown the other Gulf monarchies it is not just the oil life. So Abu Dhabi prides itself on culture and joined the Louvre. The Sultanate of Oman has made ecology by building on its magnificent scenery. As for Qatar, it develops its universities.
Sheikh Mo himself, runs Dubai like a business. If an order, it must be executed finger on the seam of his trousers."His Highness is very determined, confided the CEO of Emirates airline, Sheikh Ahmed, the magazine Vanity Fair in 2006. To follow, he must recharge his batteries at 100% and give everything. "This has enabled the micro-state to jump two centuries, between 1990 and 2009. But when crunch time, he must reassure communicate, the man is rare.
Born in 1949, Muhammad is the heir of the Maktoum dynasty. Bedouin who have settled in Dubai in 1833. In this small port that saw trade and smuggling, child's little prince is so spartan. Running water, phone, electricity, roads do not exist. At nightfall, on the creek, we lit the oil lamp. "We played ball on the dirt floor, we did not travel and we had no government," Sheikh Ahmed confided to Le Figaro in 2003. Mohammed was 9 years old when his father, Sheikh Rashid, seized power.The oil discovered offshore in 1966 freed the royal family of the dependence of ancient Arab traders, Iranian and Indian.
Visionary Sheikh Rashid began the first stage of modernization of Dubai. In three decades, he transformed the inlet in a regional logistics and industry. In 1966, Mohammed was sent to Cambridge to learn English. In 1971, the British left the Arabian Peninsula. Abu Dhabi, which owns the majority of oil resources, and Dubai, plus the best location, create, with five mini-states, the federation of United Arab Emirates. At age 21, instead of continuing studies, Mohammed is powered defense minister. Despite the turmoil in the region, his country is developing slowly but surely.
The privacy of Sheikh Mo is as secret as eventful.Horseman, he created a stable of thoroughbreds Godolphin, who became the great rival that of the Aga Khan. Each fall, he is one of the best customers at Deauville. In winter, the horses are in the sun in Dubai. In April, they leave by plane for Europe. Except this year as the Godolphin stable has been accused of doping. Sheikh Mo also owns the largest yacht in the world. He publishes his poems on the Internet. Married several times, he would have 19 children – eight girls and eleven son – now aged between 2 and 27 years. His biography on his official site does not mention them. But many of those princes and princesses have a page on Facebook. Like all young surfers today, they have taken hundreds of photos for free access.In a few clicks, one discovers the Sheikh's private life: the inside of his jet, his palaces, his children, their holidays in Europe, stretching their albino tiger on leather couches, their hawks. In the family album, just missing the wives and mothers.
Cape Town Tourism
On October 7, 1990, the life of Mohammed switches. His father, Sheikh Rashid, died after a long illness. The eldest son, Maktoum, ascends the throne. Mohammed became crown prince. But it will always be regarded as the true boss of Dubai, well before the death of his brother in January 2006. Surrounded by bodyguards brilliant ?miratiens commoners, he began the second stage of the transformation of Dubai. Cap on tourism, shopping, services and finance.With hundreds of thousands of workers forced laborers to thank you, he built skyscrapers, shopping malls and luxury hotels, including the famous Burj al-Arab, a 7 star hotel. Ski, giant aquariums, artificial islands, tallest tower in the world: everything must be extraordinary. Within a radius of 10 000 kilometers, Dubai is the only place where there are any consumer product, where women have no constraints imposed on Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Mo, whose appearances are rare except in the photo on the property, has no ambition in international politics, but it pushes the girls to pursue careers and encourages entrepreneurs. "We are 1.5 billion Arabs which 50% are under 25 years. If we can save them by giving them meaningful employment, we will avoid to be extremists. "Strange speech, but little understood.Only the expansion of Dubai forced march draws attention. Speculators took power. And miscellaneous multiply: turning the car ram into a jewelry, demonstrations of "slave laborers" settling of accounts between the Russian mafia, rape of a young French … Sheikh Mo has also suffered heavily from the anti – Arab Congress in Washington opposed his bid for U.S. ports. According to Forbes, the fortune of the master of Dubai has shrunk from 28 to 16 billion dollars between 2008 and 2009.
All eyes are now turning to his son, Hamdan, 27 years. Nicknamed "CP" for Crown Prince, the military trained at Sandhurst in Britain has it in hand, the soul of a communicator. Familiar with Facebook, he put his videos on YouTube.The latest shows his impressive collection of cars, hundreds of cars, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Porsche … Another clip presents declaiming, for five long minutes, a speech in Arabic on a thoroughbred in the desert or caressing lioness on a beach. His poems are "coo" of thousands of young women. Nice kid, he is Prince William of the Middle East.
Meanwhile, his father is negotiating with international bankers from whom he borrowed too. Next Monday, Sheikh Moh will have repaid a portion of its debt. One thing is certain: the economic model he developed for Dubai showed its flaws and shortcomings. His son did he understand? Does he realize that he must invent a new one?
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