Dubai’s struggles during the global financial crisis will only strengthen its underworld, according to Christopher Davidson, a lecturer in Middle East politics at Durham University and the author of Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success. “As Dubai’s efforts to fully liberalize its economy come undone and its attractiveness to foreign investors declines further, the international spotlight will eventually move away and it may become more attractive than ever to human traffickers, gunrunners, and money launderers,” he says. Dubai’s new smugglers may be Indian mobsters or Chechen strongmen instead of dhow sailors, but the old dual structure of legitimate and illegitimate business remains robust.
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