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The amazing story of Nauru 17, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.
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Nauru is more or less literally in the middle of nowhere. I knew nothing of it until I listened to this excellent radio-cast by Chicago Public radio. The tiny rainforest Pacific island came to prominence at the turn of the 19th century for its pure pohsphate deposits. These were rapaciously mined with no thought to the consequences. The middle of the island is now a disgusting wasteland of open-faced mining and the island is approaching being uninhabitable. Indeed, they do not have any industry to speak of now. A recent source of money for the country was from Austrailia paying Nauru tens of millions of dollars to host refugees.

Nauru also started down a more nefarious path of money laundering and passport selling to keep its self afloat. They enabled people to establish banks there with little to no paperwork and several Al Qaeda suspects were found with Neuru passprots. This, unsurprisingly brought them to the attention of the US authorities, who soon hatched their own plan.

Operation Weasel was suggested by the US to Nauru as a means to start again. America would re-landscape and revitalize the island state in return for Nehru setting up an Embassy in Beijing from which the US would funnel out North Korean defectors.

Hat tip: Abstract JK

Operation Weasel – US

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Qatar ‘most peaceful’ Middle Eastern state 17, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Middle East, Qatar.
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The global peace index ranks countries according to how peaceful they are using a raft of statistics ranging from the number of homicides per 100,000 people to the number of inter-state conflicts to the number of internal security officers per 100,000. In short, it provides a reasonably accurate tabulation of the relative peacefulness of states.

In this year’s rankings Qatar came top of all Middle Eastern states as the most peaceful, pipping Oman by 5 places, finishing an impressive 16th, one ahead of Switzerland. Here’s the GCC breakdown.

2007 2008 2009
Qatar 30 33 16
Saudi 90 108 109
UAE 38 42 40
Kuwait 46 45 42
Bahrain 62 74 69
Oman 22 25 21

2007 2008 2009
Qatar 30 33 16
Saudi 90 108 109
UAE 38 42 40
Kuwait 46 45 42
Bahrain 62 74 69
Oman 22 25 21