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Arabic press review: UAE pushes its influence in Hollywood

Money flowed from the Gulf state into the Misfits movie to influence the portrayal of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood
Indian actor Anil Kapoor, Hollywood director Brad Bird, actor Tom Cruise, actress Paula Patton and English actor Simon Pegg pose for a picture upon arrival to the opening ceremony of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in the Gulf emirate on December 7, 2011(AFP)

UAE tries to influence Hollywood

A television investigation broadcast by the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera has revealed UAE attempts to influence a Hollywood movie and persuade filmmakers to include insults towards Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood in it.

The program published exclusive documents and leaks revealing the direct involvement of the Emirati leadership at the highest level in influencing and changing the script of the Hollywood heist movie The Misfits in order to offend Qatar and a number of Islamic personalities, such as Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the former president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), and promote an image of these personalities as inciters.

The leaked documents showed how the UAE tried to invest hundreds of millions of dollars linking Qatar to terrorism overtly and indirectly, changing the script of the film, transforming it politically, and directing it to serve its agendas.

Al Jazeera reported leaked correspondence detailing the UAE army's support for the production of the movie by providing military equipment for filming. Another leaked document referred to a financial transfer to the company producing the film from an institution directly managed by Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, the UAE National Security Advisor.

The television program also aired a leaked letter that revealed an Emirati company's request to the production team to include clips linking Qatar to terrorism, and incorporate a scene in the movie portraying Qaradawi and showing him as an inciter of violence.

Former Tunisian foreign minister calls for early elections

Former Tunisian foreign minister and prominent figure in the Ennahda party, Rafik Abdul Salam, has called for early elections to be held in Tunisia if "it is not possible to reach political understandings that end the coup" launched by President Kais Saeid over the weekend.

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In an exclusive interview with Arabi21, Abdul Salam said confronting the coup was "the responsibility of the people in general and the political forces that reject it, and it is not the exclusive responsibility of the Ennahda movement".

"We will do everything in our power, alongside with the political partners, to end the coup and return to the constitution and legitimacy as soon as possible," he said.

"It is expected that there will be an expansion in the arrests and trials by the civil and military judiciary.”

He acknowledged that Ennahda, the largest party in Tunisia, had taken a hit in popularity "due to the burdens of ruling the country that bore its consequences, without actually being the main party to take political decisions".

"The technocrats and influential forces remained more authoritative and forceful than Ennahda,” stressing that the party was "not holding on power, but rather holds on the constitution and the democratic system. If we go beyond these foundations, we will have wasted all the political gains that were achieved after the revolution."

Algerian initiative to resolve Renaissance Dam crisis

Egyptian diplomatic sources have revealed that Algeria is to put forward a mediation initiative to help fix the diplomatic rift between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan caused by the construction of the Renaissance Dam.

Regarding the recent developments, the sources reported that Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, who concluded his African tour in Cairo after visiting Khartoum and Addis Ababa, discussed the issue during a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, and during a broader meeting between the leaders of the two countries, proposing the possibility of a major Algerian role in mediation.

According to the New Arab newspaper, the plan is based mainly on persuading the countries involved to resort to Article 10 of the Declaration of Principles reached in March 2015.

The tenth principle of the declaration opens the door to binding international mediation, but it requires "the agreement of the three countries on this issue," which was not officially provided at an earlier stage of the dispute.

Regarding Lamamra's efforts, the sources said that he does not have direct regional or international support yet, but there is no reason for major countries and current mediators, such as the United States, China, the European Union, and the African Union, to oppose the Algerian move.

The sources said the move was primarily aimed at restoring Algeria's diplomatic and political influence in the region after years of retreat.

So far, there are no technical or political details, unlike previous Emirati and American initiatives, which included specific provisions to resolve the situation.

Egypt also requires Ethiopia’s approval of the Algerian initiative without setting preconditions before consenting to the proposal.

Dubai real estate sales reach highest rates in five years

A company specialising in monitoring the real estate market in the UAE has revealed that real estate sales recorded in Dubai during the month of July reached the highest value on a monthly basis in five years, reported Al Khaleej Online.

Al Ruwad Real Estate Company, which specialises in real estate marketing and consulting, said that the Dubai real estate market recorded about 4,433 sale transactions during July 2021, with a total value of 10.64 billion dirham ($2.90bn), based on official data issued by the Land Department.

The company said that the transactions consisted of selling 3,201 houses, 483 buildings and villas, and 749 plots of land.

Al-Hammadi explained that "the real estate market in Dubai, exceptionally, recorded a remarkable activity during the summer season of this year, recording total sales of 25.98 billion dirham ($ 7.07bn) during the months of June and July, through which 10,766 real estate units were sold. The market has recorded, in recent years, a notable decline in the number and value of sale transactions during the summer season”.