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Qatar tenders for offshore security 6, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Qatar Petroleum (QP) is seeking tenders from engineering firms to construct security and surveillance towers to monitor and protect Qatar’s oil and gas fields.

Eight towers are to be built by 2013 with four covering the North Field, Al Shaheen and the Al Rayyan oil and gas fields while the others will cover the fields around Halul Island east of Doha.

MEED reports that this project falls under the auspices of the Qatar Defence Project. This, in turn, presumably incorporates Qatar’s National Security Shield (NSS) project. The NSS was an EADS led initiative to secure Qatar’s borders. They modeled their wares for the NSS at the Dimdex Defence earlier this year. It is a fully integrated, largely automated hub for real-time information gathered by towers dotted around Qatar. Once any kind of intrusion shows up on the screen-table, the controller can immediately launch the coastguard or Navy to intercept.

This system is clearly needed. Qatar’s oil and gas exports are core to its continued prosperity. Everything must be done to protect them as much as possible. Indeed, threats to these lifelines have moved from theory to reality relatively recently. The M-Star oil tanker that was attacked earlier this summer off the coast of the U.A.E. was on its way from Qatar to Japan. While – probably – Qatar and Japan were not ‘selected’ to be attacked, manifestly this does not matter.

Also there are reportedly frequent attacks on unmanned QP rigs by Iranians to either steal data, equipment or simply to machine-gun and destroy the platforms. Indeed, GSN describes this mini-confronation as having something of a ‘Wild West-cum-Cold War’ feel to it. In June 2004, for example, one Iranian was killed and another injured after they sailed too closely to an unmanned rig.

Ramadan’s excesses 6, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Islam, Kuwait, Qatar.
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After living in Kuwait I confess that I was left with a slightly sour taste during Ramadan. As far as I understand things – please correct me if I am incorrect – Ramadan is a time of reflection and a time to think of those who are less fortunate that yourself. This is primarily why people fast; to foster a feeling of hungry empathy, so to speak.

Therefore, to binge on food at a gloriously laid out opulent banquet every evening (countless such examples can be found across the City) seems, to me, to miss the point.

Figures from Qatar reinforce the point. Apparently, food consumption increases three times during the month with small families (5 people) spending on average £2700 on feasts.

Dutifully not eating and drinking with the full knowledge that there’s a whopping meal in x hours doesn’t seem to be overly pious to me.

British spy caught trying to sell secrets 6, September 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
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A particularly stupid British spy has been jailed for 12 months for trying to sell British secrets to…have a guess…Iran? Syria? Venezuela? Russia? North Korea? Nope…the mighty Kingdom of the Netherlands.

What on earth is Mi6 doing letting idiots into the service like this genius? He wants money – £2 million to be precise – and thinks that he will sell out his country. Ok, fine. Well, not really, but you see what I mean; once he’s made the decision, it’s a question of who to sell them to.

Surely the very last country on that list would be Holland. Why on earth would they want any British secrets? We’re hardly international rivals anymore. It just makes no sense. Do we even have any secrets worth knowing that out European brethren don’t know about?

Apparently he was hearing voices which made him do it…a result of one too many trips to Amsterdam, I can only surmise.