A friend sends us this shot of an ad which he claims is appearing “on buses all over town.” We don’t get around much, so we can’t verify that, but we see that the Sheik in question, the Royal Protector of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, hired government relations firm BKSH & Associates in February, so maybe that has something to do with it.
The Sheikh appears to have taken power after some hellacious internecine power struggles in the 1990s (“the protests were relatively peaceful, with Khalid’s supporters merely chanting, ‘We will give our blood and souls for you Khalid,’ although a few policemen were injured and at one point water cannon were deployed”), and to be considered a reformer in the context of the Arab world…
The bus ads direct you to the Sheikh’s web site, which includes his “People’s Blog,” on which he denounces Iran’s nuclear buildup, and photos of himself at Obama’s Inauguratiom (none of the Sheikh with the President, alas, though he and the missus are shown with Nancy Pelosi). Sheikh Khalid also recently attended the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York. He’s said some nice things about Yasser Arafat in the past, so maybe someone can make some scandal out of that.
You may follow the Sheikh on Facebook and Twitter (“Ready to answer President Obama’s call to bring security and prosperity to our people”).
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2009