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by Joanna Andrews

BBC’s Gavin Esler in conversation with Khalaf Al Habtoor
Tony Mulliken

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor unveils his latest book slamming Western governments for empowering Iran and giving rise to terrorism. Is Anybody Listening? highlights the irreparable damage caused in the Middle East and beyond as a result of grave foreign policy errors by world leaders. Joanna Andrews looks at the launch of the book, which features articles written by the vocal businessman over the past decade - many of which have forewarned of the impending dangers.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor launched ‘Is Anybody Listening?’ at The Astor Ballroom at The St. Regis Dubai at Al Habtoor City on Thursday 13 October, 2016. The ballroom was packed with influential people from the UAE and abroad who got the opportunity to hear the Chairman speaking about his fears for many parts of the region as a result of Western policy errors.

“The world is in grave danger as a result of failed foreign policy,” he says. “Parts of the Middle East are destroyed beyond repair. Look at Iraq and Syria. It is Armageddon-like. I fear that many other parts of the region could share the same fate.”

He points the finger at the “catastrophic moral and political failures of world leaders who have enabled the likes of Daesh, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Republic of Iran – its militias and proxies.”

On Daesh he writes, “The scenes of extreme brutality we are witnessing, from obscene torture to mass rape and beheadings make what we saw from Al Qaeda pale in comparison. Daesh, which has been fueled by the US-led invasion in Iraq and the multisided Syrian civil war, has taken the glorification of terror to the next level, attacking ordinary people in the most brutal of ways. And unless action is taken soon, I fear for all our futures.”

Al Habtoor says, “Only now that the ripples are being felt in the West, are leaders waking up to the grave threat that we all face today.”

‘Is Anybody Listening? How world leaders ignored prescient warnings on the Middle East’, features articles written by Al Habtoor over the past decade, many of which warned of the consequences to come. “Sadly, my warnings fell on deaf ears,” he told Gavin Esler, the BBC journalist moderating the book launch. “Once of the biggest problems we face today is the fact that no-one is willing to take decisions. I can only hope that the next US President will have the guts to make tough calls.”

The book highlights how the West has empowered Iran, helping Tehran in his quest for regional dominance. Al Habtoor says, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has ramped up its expansionist ambitions right before our eyes to the detriment of our once-beautiful region… Tehran’s tentacles have extended their reach to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, among others.”

Al Habtoor says he is speechless as to how any nation can ignore proven facts on Iran, including the fact that it is openly sponsoring terrorism, and backs “the criminal Syrian President Bashar Al Assad - a president leading a genocide of his own people.”

He says he hopes his latest book opens people’s eyes to the real and present dangers faced not only in the Middle East, but the entire world.

Is Anybody Listening? is available in bookstores throughout the UAE.

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