Advertisements
jump to navigation

Gause on women in Saudi 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

Gulf sage Greg Gause has a fantastic article at FP on the changing role of women in Saudi society. The short article is well worth reading but here are a couple of little ‘nuctas’ which I gleaned.

  • Yes, KAUST is a great thing but Gause notes that it is so isolated (80 miles from nearest city) from Saudi society and there are so few Saudis there, let alone Saudi women, that its effects are perhaps best measured in decades.
  • There was a co-ed crowd at Riyadh’s annual book fair and at the fair for the King Abdullah study abroad fair. Even the religious vice and virtue police were present – at a stall – at the former giving out leaflets. Nevertheless, these are but ‘one off events’.
  • Jeddah’s Chamber of Commerce is working on implementing different working times for men and women so they never have to mix.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

Qatari proverb of the day 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

مو كل حملة بولد

Not every pregnancy yields a boy => aka => not every effort is successful.

An especially gracious hat tip for Mr Abstract JK, thegulfblog’s Qatari Arabic expert in residence.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Israel bans the iPad 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

…no I don’t really understand either. Something to do with the wireless strength being too strong apparently.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Dubai bans then allows alcohol in food preparation 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates, The Gulf.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

On the 20th March Dubai’s authorities announced that they were unequivocally banning the use of alcohol in food preparation in the Emirates.

The letter, a copy of which has been seen by Arabian Business, states the use of alcohol in the preparation and cooking of food, and the display and sale of food containing alcohol was “strictly prohibited”.

This caused varying degrees of outrage from hoteliers and restauranteurs fearful that this would take a significant chunk out of their profits. The stink created was so bad that only a few days later Dubai changed their minds.

‘It’s all just a little mistake’ they tried to say. ‘All we wanted was to make the segregation clearer on menus,’ someone probably added in a desperate attempt not to look like a complete idiot.

Does this remind anyone of anything?

Once again we have a clear example of ‘a’ Shiekh wielding his power and making a drastic decision regardless of consequences of planning or an able bureaucracy to temper, evaluate or implement the decision. Once again, some time later, after vested powers have used their own wasta to go above the head of this Sheik, the decision is rescinded.

Being as I write this from France, I’ll finish with a ponsey Frenchism:

Plus ça change, plus ça reste la même chose

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Gulf News’ intrepid reporting in Eirtrea 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Horn of Africa.
Tags: , , , ,
3 comments

I’ve stumbled upon a nice little blog by a guy who freelances for various newspapers and magazines. I found it via his recent piece in FP ‘Dubai goes Legit’ which I heartily recommend. Yet it is a later article that caught my eye, one where he lambasts Gulf News, a favorite hobby of mine.

I have been quite vocal (verbal?) in my criticisms of Gulf News. My main problem is that it functions as a PR vehicle for the Dubai government and the quality of its writing and analysis is terrible. However imagine my surprise when I saw this headline online. “Eritrea denies training rebels for Iran, Yemen”.

A real story about a real issue with regional significance. It seemed too good to be true. Sadly it was. As soon as the second paragraph, I knew I was in familiar GN territory.

Gulf News was given exclusive access to the military facilities and this correspondent toured the war-torn country and did not find any evidence of training for foreign fighters.”

What a shocker. GN was chaperoned around the most repressive country on Earth and did not find any training camps. What would the alternative be? That they did find evidence? This story should have been killed from the start, and whatever Abdul Nabi Shaheen’s credentials as a journalist, he most likely has limited experience a military inspector.

The low point in the whole tired exercise is this sub-head:

GULF NEWS WINS WHERE UN TEAM FAILS: A VISIT TO JABEL RAS DOUMEIRA:

Gulf News wins!!!! The UN loses!!!!! Actually journalism loses and GN’s reputation as being purveyors of nonsense wins too.

To recap: Eritrea is one of the most brutal regimes on the planet – they are not going to bring any journalist to a site where anything untoward is going on. This is so blindingly obvious, yet somehow GN is acting as if it has scooped the world. It hasn’t, it has just regurgitated the propaganda of Afewerki’s government.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Arabian tribes and voting issues 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Tribal voting in the recent Poet of Millions talent contest perfectly highlights issues facing those seeking full democratic elections on the Arabian Peninsula.

The hugely popular Poet of Millions competition (the Gulf’s equivalent of ‘Pop Idol’) recently hit the headlines throughout the Middle East after a Saudi women – Hissal Hilal – won through to the final with controversial, politically and socially based poetry. Specifically, she heavily – if eloquently – criticised Saudi’s infamous religious police. This caused predictable uproar in conservative Saudi Arabia where women are – to put it crudely – to be neither seen nor heard.

Yet in the final, despite being awarded higher marks by the judges than the eventual winner, she came third. The winner instead was Nasser Al Ajami from Kuwait who triumphed thanks to 40% of the final and overall mark being decided by a public vote.

The Al Ajami tribe is one of the largest and most important tribes in the Gulf. In this instance, they embarked on a multi-million pound rigorously organised campaign to make sure Nasser won.

The National reports that the campaign began three weeks before the final event with a fundraising campaign. The depth and breadth of the vast Al Ajami tribe was plumbed and money and support sought. Apparently, somewhere in the region of £5million was raised. This was used to advertise Nasser and to send “bulk text messages through the country’s telecommunications companies to encourage Kuwaitis to vote.” This is in addition to Al Ajamis themselves voting multiple times. Naif Al Ajami, a distant relative, spent roughly £500 on voting 400 times.

Whilst the tribal nature of Arabian society is well known, this instance offers a perfect example of exactly what a tribe in action can do. This has direct relevance for those seeking democracy in the Gulf.

Kuwait, for example, is the most democratic country in the Gulf. Yet whilst this is praise-worthy, its Parliamentary system has been in a state of absolute gridlock for years. Other Gulf nations look to Kuwait with trepidation when they see the stagnating and divisive effects that ‘democracy’ can bring.

Kuwait has tried to sort out these difficulties by cutting the number of election districts from 25 to 5. This was to make it more difficult for richer politicians to buy votes as well as to break the monopoly of tribes on whole districts. Yet the power of the tribe could not be broken. Still tribes would (illegally) host ‘primaries’ to make sure that tribal members could have a ‘consensus candidate’.

None of this is to say that democracy is intrinsically incompatible with Gulf society, only to point out once more [can it be pointed out enough?] that if intrinsically Western ideas such as modern democracy are implemented elsewhere, they need to be adapted to indigenous systems.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Naughty women cause of Volocano eruption 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

…is the conclusion of one of Iran’s top women-hating clerics on Iceland’s second attempt in recent years to scupper and bankrupt Europe.

What to say about such a comment? Hmmm….A tough one. Tough as in it’s difficult to reign in my achingly overwhelming desire to fill the page with outlandish expletives over such a spectacularly, gargantuanly and pathetically stupid comment. I think I’m doing fairly well so far and you probably get the drift so I’ll leave it there.

Serious points need to be made about a man of standing and respect in a country saying such absolute @@@@ but I’ll leave them for now.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Law to protect Arabic 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Gulf.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

Plans are afoot in the Emirates to protect the Arabic language. The perceived loss of ground of Arabic to English stems from several factors.

  • The language of international commerce, trade etc is English. The Gulf’s headfirst dive into the very heart of these worlds in recent years, has therefore, forced Gulf countries to improve their English to the point where it is the language of the vast majority of business.
  • Emiratees are a minority in their own country. The lingua franca for all – Europeans, Arabs, Asians and even Americans – is, therefore, English.
  • Also, because the Emirates need so many foreigners, their systems, companies etc need to accommodate the English language in order for skilled Westerners to do the necessary jobs.
  • English is generally taught better in schools than Arabic. Arabic teaching is taught through rote learning and memorization. English language teaching, however, has advanced and is far more interactive.
  • Countless interviews and conversations in the Gulf tell me that English is fast becoming the language of choice of the younger generation to the severe detriment of Arabic. Access to Western culture and Western travel are two precipitants of this.

Feel free to add to (or argue with) the list…

(more…)

Saudi King guest of honour at Bastille Day 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in French IR, Saudi Arabia.
Tags: , , ,
5 comments

Le Figaro has confirmed that Saudi’s King Abudllah will be the guest of honour at French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s Bastille Day celebration in July. I believe that at this occasion on Sarkozy’s first Bastille Day the Qatari Emir was the honoured guest.

It seems like this is a perfect opportunity for Sarkozy to show his guest of choice just how important he and his country is by bestowing upon them this honor. I’m sure that it doesn’t hurt when it comes to securing arms and other contracts too.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine