Princess Haya row unlikely to rupture Jordan-UAE ties

Shoaib Ur Rehman July 31, 2019

NICOSIA: An unprecedented legal battle between Jordan’s Princess Haya and her husband the Dubai ruler may sour ties for two powerful royal families, but is unlikely to affect strategic and economic relations between their countries, analysts say.

Princess Haya, 45, the half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah II and a member of the country’s ruling Hashemite family, has fled to London where she has brought a case against her husband, whom she married in 2004.

After reportedly leaving the UAE some time ago, Haya applied for a British forced marriage protection order, as well as wardship of their children, and a non-molestation order relating to herself.

Her husband, 70-year-old Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, has in turn applied to have the children returned to Dubai.

No mention of the case was made in the Emirati media on Wednesday where criticism of the royal family is rare, but there were acerbic comments on social media.

Well-known Emirate professor of political science, Abdulkhaleq Abdullah scolded Haya.

“A wise and respectful princess … does not escape nor kidnap nor disappear nor become ungrateful, and certainly does not break the heart of the person who was generous and good to her and loved her and trusted her with his children,” he said in a tweet, which was retweeted many times.

Princess Haya was reportedly the sixth wife of Sheikh Mohammed. They have one daughter, 11, and a son, seven.

According to Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London, the issue is a family affair between the Al-Maktoums and Hashemites — the ruling families in Dubai and Jordan.

“The ripple effects for international relations between both countries will be limited,” the Middle East expert told AFP.

Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, also ruled out any “real diplomatic or political problem” between Jordan and the UAE.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019

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