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US test nuclear trident missiles in Saudi waters? 8, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Saudi Arabia.
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Mideasti blog has coverage of an interesting little story that has been building slowly for a few days now. Essentially, some reports emerged of the US test firing nuclear-capable submarine based Trident missiles in Saudi territorial waters. The US DOD flatly denies this. Overall, the consensus seems to be rather skeptical about what would be a rather blatant and bellicose act by the US. MEI has some interesting links to peruse.

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Qatar to buy Raffles 8, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Raffles Hotel, the Singapore landmark frequented by Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling and inventor of the Singapore Sling, will be bought by Qatari backers from Saudi ownership.

Gulf Arabs appear to have a particular penchant for buying luxury hotels. London’s Savoy hotel and the Hyatt Chain are but two examples that leap to mind of institutions bought (to a greater or lesser degree) by Qataris and Saudis. Presumably Gulfies like owning yet more luxurious, usually profitable property.

These ventures do not always go smoothly. When a Saudi owner bought the former Grand Hyatt on the Nile in Cairo he deemed it necessary to pour millions of dollars worth of alcohol down the drain to meet his religious sensibilities. A tragedy.

Qatari diplomat in US airplane ‘bomb’ scare 8, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Qatar.
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A Qatari diplomat based at the US Embassy in Washington was arrested after causing a bomb scare on a Washington to Denver trip. The third secretary and vice-consul of the Qatari Embassy apparently tried to light a cigarette in the plane’s toilet. When he was confronted by the air marshals he then made a sarcastic joke of some description about setting his shoes on fire which caused the Marshal to subdue him. When the plane landed it was surrounded by police and the man, despite having full diplomatic immunity, was arrested.

This is an exceedingly curious reaction by the Americans given their well-known great sense of humor when it comes to jokes about aviation safety. How was the Qatari to know?

Update – Here’s Juan Cole’s take on the situation: a real blot post from a proper blogger…if only I had the time and inclination to be as dedicated. Shukran Rohan.