Businessman’s message to US voters
Americans need to choose wisely in next week’s presidential elections as their next leader will have to make “tough decisions”, a leading UAE businessman has said.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, made the comments during the annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference in Washington DC.
He said that the next president would need to decide who their friends are in the Middle East, though he did not state if he would prefer Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who is polling 46 per cent, or Republican choice Donald Trump, who is polling 40.6 per cent.
Both candidates are controversial. Trump has been in the firing line for comments made about Muslims, Mexicans and women while Clinton is being probed by the FBI to determine whether she discussed classified information in her private emails.
Al Habtoor said: “The GCC countries have been good friends to America, yet the US government is leaning nowadays in favour of Iran.
“This is a cause of concern. Iran is the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism – a truth that the US seems to forget for its own interests.
“You may ask what right do I have as an Arab, By Sarwat Nasir a non-American citizen, to pass comments on your future leader… I have the right, because whoever gets into the White House affects everybody – the entire world.
“The new president’s policies will either empower our enemies or weaken them.”
The speech also focused on what Al Habtoor sees as the main challenges that need addressing when the next US president is elected, including what he called “everyone’s nightmare, our biggest man-made monster – Daesh”.
He touched on other issues, including how world leaders have neglected millions of refugees and how the “lack of education and irresponsible media” has contributed to what he said was a sharp rise in Islamophobia around the world.
Al Habtoor pledged $20 million of his own money to start a global initiative to combat poverty.
He said: “It is time to stop talking politics and let us focus and deal with real the problems threatening our world today.”