Tallest Building in World Opens: Burj Dubai Becomes Burj Khalifa


burj khalifa dubai.jpg
(photo credit: Steve Clemons)
A stunning fireworks show and water dance ensemble opened the latest claimant to tallest building in the world in Dubai tonight.
I watched a Reuters reporter work hard to try and convince our hosts for this event to leak him the exact height of the building, which has been a very closely held secret.
828 m burj dubai steve clemons.jpgBut then midway through a video extravaganza about Dubai, its Ruler, the region and what was then known as the Burj Dubai, a wild countdown began of numbers. They stopped at 828 meters, and journalists, bloggers, and tall tower watchers all began telegraphing the revealed height to friends and news bureaus all around the world.
I had the privilege, thanks to extraordinary hospitality, to sit up in the VIP section on the front row couch just to the left of Dubai’s Ruler Sheikh Mohammed and his allies and retainers. I was just about five seats over and down a half step from UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan — who I think is one of the most intellectually agile and interesting foreign policy practitioners in the region. I tried to say hello but a very tall guard wasn’t impressed with me at all — and was unable to connect.
But the night was amazing, the fireworks spectacular, and little dreariness or stress evident among those who might have some exposure to the Dubai government’s economic strains.
In the surprise of the night, the Burj Dubai was officially “renamed” by Dubai’s ruler as the “Burj Khalifa” — named after the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. Optimists and loyal Dubai and UAE patriots think that the name change was evidence of the Dubai ruler’s magnanimity, appreciation for the leadership of the UAE’s president who is also a relative, and a sign of the Emirates’ federation coming closer together.
Cynics and realists think that the name change reflected the political realities that Abu Dhabi helped bail out Sheikh Mohammed’s debt-ridden holding company, Dubai World.
I wonder if the web address “http://www.burjdubai.com/” will change to “http://www.burjkhalifa.com/”.
Just tried it — doesn’t work yet…though someone has just recently acquired the websites for both “burjkhalifa.com” and “burjkhalifa.net”.
Regardless of what inspired the renaming gesture, the night was great — but I have to sleep now as catching a plane in a few hours to San Francisco.
More on Dubai when I get to California — where I’m going to chat to a bunch of folks about the State of California’s political reform challenges and how new media might play a role in connecting new and diverse audiences to those questions. If you have thoughts on that front, email me.
— Steve Clemons


2 comments on “Tallest Building in World Opens: Burj Dubai Becomes Burj Khalifa

  1. Paul Norheim says:

    Correction: of course EU members would not be allowed to do this.


  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Abu Dhabi can afford this, but there is no Sheikh Khalifa for Iceland.
    BBC: “Iceland leader vetoes bank bill
    Iceland’s president has refused to sign a controversial bill to repay $5bn (£3.1bn)
    to the UK and the Netherlands.
    President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he would instead hold a referendum on the bill,
    following public protests.
    The legislation was designed to compensate governments forced to bail out their
    savers with Icesave accounts following Iceland’s banking crisis.
    Landsbanki, which ran the Icesave accounts, collapsed and was nationalised in 2008.
    Legislation to repay the money was approved by Iceland’s parliament in December, but
    the approval of the president is also required before it can be passed into law.
    The government has seen significant public opposition to the bill.
    On Saturday, the president received a petition calling for the bill to be vetoed,
    signed by almost a quarter of the country’s population.
    Campaigners against the bill say that the Icelandic public are being forced to pay
    for the mistakes of banks.
    The total compensation package equates to around 12,000 euros (£10,804) per Icelandic
    Announcing the decision to hold a referendum on the bill, President Grimsson said
    that the Icelandic public had the right to choose. “It is the job of the president of
    Iceland to make sure the nation’s will is answered,” he said.
    “I have decided… to take the new law to the nation. The referendum will take place
    as quickly as possible.””
    More here:
    It will be interesting to see if this may create a precedent for other heavily
    indebted countries in Europe and elsewhere.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *