Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
Connect the World's new home in the UAE is a relative haven of stability in a volatile part of the world. But it's certainly not immune from the interwoven issues that keep its neighbors in the headlines.
In the latest of her café conversations, Becky Anderson sits down with three Middle East experts to gain their insights on Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egpyt. What does the future hold for these key regional players and how will what happens there impact the UAE and its GCC allies?
The latest Arab Youth Survey suggests that young people in the Arab world would rather live in the UAE than in any other country. And as Becky Anderson takes Connect the World on the road to Dubai, she hears from local students about their own aspirations for the future.
On Monday, an Egyptian court sentenced at least 528 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges related to violent riots last August, including the murder of a police officer.
Egyptian news site Ahram Online said it was the largest set of death sentences handed to defendants in the modern history of Egypt.
Another 683 people are also facing charges, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Mohammed Badie.
To find out what these mass trials mean for the future of Egypt, Max spoke to Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Abdullah El-Haddad, and political analyst and journalist Ashraf Khalil.
In El-Haddad's opinion the judiciary were not acting independently. He said that the trial was "just a kangaroo court,” and that the speed with which the verdict was delivered – after two sessions of twenty minutes each – indicated this. He also pointed out that, in comparison, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's trial had 48 sessions and took more than two years.
Khalil said that it is still unclear whether this result was influenced by the state's leadership, or whether it was an example of the Egyptian judiciary "pursuing its own agenda.”
In relation to what this means for the future of the country, El-Haddad said that nothing can be fixed until the current leadership is removed and held accountable for "crimes against humanity.”
Watch the full discussion above.
As Geneva 2 talks continue, former ambassador to the US and Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal spoke to CNN about his position on the Syrian war.
"I'd describe Syria as a festering wound, and you know festering wounds, they collect all the worst bacteria that can come together in one part. And this is what is happening in Syria. We have all of these groups, crazies, from Shia and Sunni, other groups, fighting there. And they're terribly, terribly destructive. So we have to get them out of Syria, and the world community has a responsibility in that."
He suggests that hope for a resolution lies with the proposed placement of an interim government, when "all of these groups, will, by the nature of the situation, disappear. They come from outside, they come from places like the United States, the UK, the Arab world, Muslim world, from Iraq, from Iran, from all over. So once you have a good and authoritative government in place, they will not have a place."
When asked about how entrenched Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to be, given his recent announcement of his plan to run for re-election, al-Faisal answered that that is just wishful thinking. "How can you run for election in a country that is 75% destroyed, with bombings everyday taking place in all the towns and villages? This is just propaganda... and frankly after the way he conducted himself with the Syrian people, killing so many in documented authority, and affidavits, and photographs, and witnesses, how can one expect him to even claim to have any legitimacy in that situation?"
Syria is a country that has been ravaged by years of civil war. Italian photographer Matteo Rovella, who went to the Syrian city of Aleppo last summer, found a new way of documenting the impact of the violence. Wearing just a helmet and a flak jacket, he went inside the city’s many ghost houses, left empty as families fled for their lives.
As is evident from the images he captured, most of the families didn’t have time to pack their things. “You see such scenes and you imagine the moment when people had to escape from the rooms. You feel that they had to escape or die.”
“You really get the feeling of the war, you really get the feeling of the situation, it was a very touching experience.”