jump to navigation

Gay Saudi Prince: guilty of murder 19, October 2010

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

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Saud, a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s King, has been found guilty of beating and strangling his servant to death after a systematic campaign of abuse.

The jury only took 1 hour and 35 minutes to reach this verdict; little wonder given the veritable piles of evidence.

His lawyers sought a last-minute injunction to stop details of his numerous encounters with male escorts being released, proving – again, if it were in doubt – that he was gay, but they failed.

It looks likely that he will serve his time in Belmarsh Prison. Given that homosexuality is illegal in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and that he is now one staggeringly colossal embarrassment for the conservative ruling family, it is surely unlikely that he will be returned to Saudi Arabia.


Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Saud, who killed his servent after prolonged “sadistic” abuse was jailed for life and lambasted by the judge for telling “a pack of lies” to try to get away with murder. The judge concluded that he didn’t know whether he wanted to kill him or not but that

I think the most likely explanation is that you could not care less whether you killed him or not.

He will serve a minimum of 20 years in jail.




U-turn on Kuwaiti conscription 19, October 2010

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

Kuwait’s mooted plan to bring back conscription for Kuwait males is to be abandoned. The plan suggested in July was to provide some kind of cohesion in what some feared was an ever more fractured and privileged society. Additionally, it was hoped that some kind of army training would counter the trend of increasingly ‘feminine’ males in Kuwait: a clear threat to something or other.

Yet Army chiefs have said that they would prefer instead to maintain a volunteer force and eschew the

onerous burden of [training] tens of thousands of young Kuwaiti men

This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the work-ethic in GCC national armies which is generally abysmal. Additionally, a conscript army would exacerbate a problem rife throughout all GCC armies: yes, they have the latest and often best equipment (planes, boats etc) but (surprisingly) often they cannot use them and can certainly not repair them.

One Western Commander noted that one GCC Navy (that shall remain nameless) bought an advanced coastal patrolling ship but stubbornly refused to take it out at night. Firstly, because they were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to find their way back to port in the dark and secondly because the Captain of the boat (or whatever he’s called) had to “get milk for his wife every morning.”



Bandar Bin Sultan: found 19, October 2010

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

After a two-year absence Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the son of Saudi’s Crown Prince Sultan, has turned up. There has been a veritable plethora of interesting stories and rumors suggesting that he was ill abroad, in prison in Saudi or otherwise in trouble for fiddling around with Sunni terrorist groups in Syria and Lebanon.

The official version is that he has been in London for two years for medical reasons. Hmm…


On Kuwait’s sponsorship system U-turn 19, October 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait, Opinion.
Tags: , , , , ,

The FT has a good article discussing Kuwait’s u-turn on abolishing their kefala sponsorship system. The day after it was announced by the Labour Minister that Kuwait would get rid of the system by February 2011, the announcement was rescinded by the same Ministry.

The key issue is that abolishing the system directly affects swathes of Kuwaitis. Currently, nationals of Gulf States can set up a massively lucrative businesses importing workers from abroad. Given the lack of oversight and the culture sadly prevailing across much of the GCC, wages are regularly unpaid, holidays canceled, gratuities reneged upon and far longer hours of work demanded. Yet, as I noted in a recent post about Qatar’s kefala system, businessmen voting to get rid of this system is like Turkeys voting for Christmas: unlikely.

The repeal of the whole system would redress the balance in employer-employee relations significantly and – essentially – hit (in this case) Kuwaiti businessmen in their pocket. When Bahrain announced that they were abolishing their kefala system their business lobby erupted with anger. The same happened in Kuwait and the same in Qatar. Instead, loop-hole-ridden, half-hearted reforms are enacted that are a shadow of what was initially promised.

It clearly does not matter to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia that they are on the third and worst tier of the U.S. State Department’s watch list for human trafficking: is it truly unfair to say that by definition the majority of Kuwaiti businessmen care more about their profits than the human rights of the workers they import? Alas I’m not sure that that is such an outlandish statement.