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Gulf oil spill in perspective: if it was in the UK 5, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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One of my favorite blogs – strangemaps.wordpress.com – has this excellent perspective-lending series of maps clearly showing the extent of the Gulf oil spill.

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The ‘posh test’ 5, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.
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Answer yes to three or more of these questions and you are, apparently, posh.

I’m at 2.5; the most that someone from Middlesbrough can ever be, really.

Hat Tip: Comment Central

World Cup absentees 5, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.
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It seems to me that there is an exceedingly large number of top-class players that will miss out of the World Cup either through injury, crazy managerial decisions or because their team didn’t qualify. Just look at the team of the wounded and ignored:

GK: Adler (Germany’s No.1)

D: Ferdinand (England’s captain and best defender)

D: Zanetti (Inter’s treble winning captain and Argie legend disliked by Maradona)

D: Nesta (Italy’s World Cup Winning captain – old but not that old)

M: Ballack (Germany’s captain and a year or two on from being one of the best midfielders in the world [1st Chelsea player to miss out])

M: Essien (Ghana’s captain and undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in the world [2nd Chelsea player to miss out])

M: Cambiasso (Inter’s treble winning rock. Had an amazing season. Ludicrously left out by Maradona)

M: Obi Mikel (Nigeria’s best player and rising star [3rd Chelsea player to miss out])

F: Drogba (Ivory Coast’s best player and one of the top 3 forwards in the world [4th Chelsea player to miss out])

F: Benzema (One of France’s best forwards and Real Madrid’s £30 million man – left out)

F Pato (One of AC Milan’s and Brazil’s best talents – left out)

Bench: Cech, Van Der Sar, Totti, Balotelli, Beckham, Diego, Walcott, Dzeko, Jovetic, Ibrahimovic, Riquelme, Arshavin

I’d suggest that such a team would give most World Cup teams a good game and would be aiming for at least the quarter finals…

Here’s hoping that the team doesn’t get any better.

Update:

The team just got better: Robben’s out too.

On the flotilla 5, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Two quick thoughts on the flotilla saga:

1.  Why doesn’t Obama send a ship filled with humanitarian supplies to Gaza? The U.S. could also, to avoid difficulties, take the aid from the Irish ship currently motoring towards Gaza, verify that it’s all aid and not money or weapons for Hamas and deliver it. The Israelis would thus have a guarantee from the U.S. that no nefarious stuff is getting through and the U.S. could begin to repair their wholly tarnished reputation (and do the right thing).

2. This sort of issue seems to divide and blind people like no other. Why can one side not say that the overwhelming majority of people and cargo were/was there for purely humanitarian reasons. There were, however, some people looking for trouble and some contraband. What can’t the other side say that this was a wholly botched and poorly thought out operation – mea culpa – and that a few chiefs need to go? However, we resolutely stick to the overriding principle that we need to make sure that we check stuff going into Gaza.

Both sides so implacably asserting that they are 100% correct makes them both sound absurd. Though, on this occasion, I’ve got to say that Israel sounds especially daft.