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Future Chinese-US conflict over Middle East? 31, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, China, China and the ME.
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Usually I find myself firmly on the more passive side of are China evil/viciously expanding their Navy/a mortal threat to the future of America. I firmly believe that China are simply expanding their Navy – if and when they do – in the remit of their own state interests and not as some hegemonic power-play. I don’t see some inevitable clash of civilizations or of powers or of pretenders.

However, when China’s former Special Envoy to the Middle East, fluent in Arabic and a former Ambassador to Saudi, Iraq and Iran, says that he sees an American-Chinese conflict as inevitable, then it would seem prudent to take note.

Obama’s new Middle East policy is only a strategic change. Yet America’s global goals and hegemonic complex cannot change. America always tries to hold the world’s main oil ‘switch’. There is thus competition and cooperation between China and America. In particular, America views China as a strategic competitor. And bilateral discord and clashes are unavoidable. China must not drop its guard in the Middle East over its oil interests and security.

Having duly taken note, I now ignore his advice and still firmly believe that there will be no such conflict. It will take light years before China can compete militarily with America in any meaningfully way, shape or form. True, smaller perhaps proxy conflicts are possible, but these are far from the order of magnitude that usually referred to with this kind of topic. Here’s hoping that I’m right.

Tackiest houses on earth coming soon to Abu Dhabi 31, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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ferrari world

Soon you’ll be able to live in a vastly chintzy, red, carbon-fiber, puerile and gargantuanly expensive teenager’s wet dream of a house in Abu Dhabi if the mooted notion of a Ferrari sponsored or themed housing development goes ahead. Only those with no idea whatsoever of excess or individuality; with no earthly comprehension of the notion of ‘tack’ and those who are so cravenly driven by materialism and a deep, wet and desperate desire to show off their monstrously sized egos and monstrously small-sized comprehension of the world culture, with a petulant and perverse urge to live at 1 Enzo Place need apply.

Pro-Palestinians on the Daily Show: the horror! 31, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Here are two clips of John Stewart’s The Daily Show hosting pro-Palestinian Ann Baltzer and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. In the mostly innocuous interview a heckler – the only one in the Daily Show’s 11 year history – interrupted to shout ‘liar’ when Barghouti said that the Palestinians were suffering under the longest occupation in modern history. The show has apparently caused something of a storm of criticism in the US, as if the pro-Israeli half of the debate doesn’t get enough air time…


[Sorry – the link’ll have to do, i can’t seem to embed the videos themselves]

CNN’s Arabic/English logo 31, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.

cnn arabic

The Mideasti blog points to CNN’s innovative combination of Arabic and English in their logo for their Arabic language content. Perhaps it’s just me not really being able to focus on the ‘arabic’ letters in the CNN acronym to work out what they’re trying to say overall without first being told what it is spelling: it is Al Arabiya. Nevertheless, now that I know it does make sense. Hat’s off the guy (or gal) that came up with that.

F1 team Williams set up in Qatar technology park 31, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Qatar Science and Technology Park has another world-class company availing itself of its state of the art facilities to undertake cutting edge research. Williams Formula One team have set up there to attempt to bring F1 technology to mainstream mass-transit systems. Frank Williams, the owner and director of Williams, gave the example of the KERS system that takes some of the energy from braking in F1 cars and transmits it into extra power ready to be deployed at the touch of a button. There will also be a particular focus on environmentally beneficial technologies, according to Al Arabiyya news. Whilst no accurate figures for the investment and the overall cost of the project were given, it is though that it will be somewhere in the region of $50 million.



Qatar-Iran relations 31, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran, Qatar.
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…will be strengthened by the founding of a Qatari-Iranian shipping line between Bushehr and Doha.


Schwarzenegger says what he means 28, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.
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If this is a real copy, its exceedingly funny. It its fake, it’s marginally less funny. A win-win situation, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Gary Sick on Iran 27, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran.
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Iran expert Gary Sick has written an excellent short article about the fate of Kian Tajbaksh the Iranian-American academic who has recently been sentenced to 12/5 years in prison for assorted ridiculous crimes. Sick’s response is sage, commanding and irrefutable. The whole thing is certainly worth a read but here’s a couple of the most interesting points.




The prosecutors charge that Kian was in touch with me [Sick]. Right. We were both academics in New York, and we saw each other from time to time. However, I have gone back over the past 20 years with that in mind, and I am struck by something quite different. Over that period of time, I have known every Iranian ambassador to the United Nations and many members of the staff of the Iranian U.N. mission. I have spent much more time with them than with Kian.

More important, I have been in meetings with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on four different occasions over the past three years. I have spent at least nine hours with him, much more than I ever spent with Kian. In my last meeting with Mr. Ahmadinejad, I told him that if he were simply a lowly academic, instead of the president of Iran, he would be subject to arrest upon his return to Iran for meeting with the roomful of U.S. academics and think tank representatives that he had assembled at his hotel. He scoffed at the idea. Now one of my colleagues, a lowly Iranian-American professor who was about to take up a position at my university, is being condemned to 15 years in prison because, among other things, he had contact with me.


This is not about Kian, and it is certainly not about me. It is about the abject failure of a ruling clique that has lost the confidence and support of its own people and must contrive scapegoats to excuse its own deficiencies.

Hezbollah on the famous Hummus victory of 2009 27, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Lebanon.
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Say what you will about Hezbollah but when it comes to eeking victory out of the mildest and most inconsequential success possible, they are second to none. They, quite seriously, (for I don’t know quite how well their sense of irony is developed (not too well, I’d wager)) wrote an op-ed in their mouthpiece eulogising Lebanon’s recent ‘success’ at wresting the mantle of largest ever pot of hummus away from the ‘Jewish entity’.

Lebanon was set on Saturday to set a new world record and mark a new victory on Israel by preparing a two-ton plate of Humus (Chick-pea), thus beating an Israeli record two years ago when the Zionist entity prepared an 800kg plate of this pure Lebanese appetizer.

Under the watchful eyes of the adjudicator, they poured 1,350 kilograms (2,976 pounds) of mashed chickpeas and 400 liters (13,525 ounces) of lemon juice into the mega-sized pottery dish, cheered on by hundreds of onlookers.

The chefs gathered around their dish upon receiving the Guinness certificate and sang an a capella version of the national anthem before joining hands to dance the traditional dabke in celebration.

Organizers have hailed the event as “a patriotic event of national scale. “El Hommos Lebnaneh (Hummus is Lebanese) is an attempt to break the current Guinness world records of hummus and tabbouleh, reaffirming the Lebanese proprietorship of these two dishes,” said a statement issued by the industrialist association and food syndicate, which planned the event.

Nassrawi added that Lebanon was working on registering Humus at the European Union by presenting a full dossier with information that document when the first ever Humus plate was made in Lebanon, when it was first canned and how it was named Humus Bithini (thick sauce made of sesame oil). He added that the goal was to regain the real identity of Humus and stop Israel from exploiting it for its benefit.

Iranian-UAE relations 27, October 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran, The Emirates.
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The Iran in the Gulf blog highlights an interesting example showing just how interlinked the Iranian and the UAE are. This article nicely encapsulate just how much a decision made in one country can potentially significantly affect, for example, the economy in another.


Trade in basmati has suffered a setback after Iran stopped importing the rice.

Dhows carrying several tonnes of Indian and Pakistani basmati are stranded in Dubai and Sharjah after buyers in Iran backed out of agreements to take delivery.

Some traders in the UAE are now offering huge quantities of the rice at half the price. Traders said the departure of Iranian buyers from the market has impacted demand and brought down the price.

“Boats loaded with Indian and Pakistani basmati have been waiting to leave for Iran for some time now,” said the marketing manager of a food trading company in Dubai.

He said: “Boats filled with basmati have been lying idle in Dubai and at Sharjah Cornice. Iran used to be a good market for UAE re-exporters and the fall in demand there will definitely hurt the UAE market.”

He said prices of many premium basmati rice varieties have fallen by 30 per cent to 40 per cent.