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

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates, The Gulf.
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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some time later, after vested powers have used their own wasta to go above the head of this Sheik, the decision is rescinded.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

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Qatar capitulates on visas on arrival 19, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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The Qatari Foreign Ministry have changed their mind and said that visas on arrival will be available after May 1st. This comes after announcements that Qatar was going to demand that visitors from America and Europe as well as various Asian countries obtain a visa before arriving.

This is no great surprise. Qatari authorities did not at all seem to appreciate the staggering impact that this decision would have on their Embassies around the world.

Qatar issued this rash change in policy to try to force reciprocity from countries such as the UK and the US into granting Qatari citizens visas on arrival. This was never going to happen.

This issue is a perfect example of the deficiencies inherent in many Gulf Ministries. There simply is not the bureaucratic infrastructure in place to tone down rash decisions like this into workable policies. ‘A’ Sheikh on high decrees that Qatar’s policy for x must change. Like a Presidential or Kingly decree, it is duly announced. There are no levels of middle management available within a competent bureaucratic structure and with the ability to question a decision in any way, shape or form to analyse and work-through such a decision.

If the UK decided to implement a policy like this for European citizens, ignoring legal issues, the decision would be filtered and worked out by Mandarins in the depths of a Department in London. Some kind of study would be carried out looking at the extra workload that would be put on UK Embassies around Europe versus the numbers of people that would be applying for visas. After several months of consultations etc new arrangements would be made, new staffing levels assessed and the UK would not be left with an embarrassing about-turn two weeks after the initial announcement.

A (terribly written) article in the Peninsula insinuates (perhaps not on purpose…) that this is but a temporary setback and that the policy will be instituted in time. It would, however, not surprise me in the slightest if it was simply ignored and never implemented.

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