March 25, 2013
When George W Bush came to visit the UAE in January 2008, it was a chance for our reporters and photographers to practise their skills – even though the paper was some months from launch.Had The National existed in January 2008, this would undoubtedly have been the front-page photograph. As it was, Abu Dhabi’s new English language newspaper was still three months from its launch on April 17.
Still, the visit of the then-president of the United States, George W Bush, to Abu Dhabi was an excellent opportunity for a test run, with reporters and photographers dispatched as if they had real deadlines to meet. This image was the result. It shows Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces with President Bush at a desert camp set up to welcome the guest of honour. Also visible are Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in conversation with Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state.
President Bush spent a night at the Emirates Palace, where he also delivered a speech, as part of a Middle East tour that included Saudi Arabia and Israel. His visit also took in a tour of Dubai, adding to the traffic chaos caused by some of the heaviest rainfall on record which fell that month.
This week, Barack Obama, the current American incumbent, also travelled to the region, arriving in Jerusalem before visiting Jordan. No doubt Palestine and Iran will have been high on the agenda. American presidents come and go, but the issues remain the same.