Posts Tagged ‘UAE’


Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Wow, this seems … wow.

Dubai’s Emirates announces new Iraq route, says flights to Baghdad to start in November.”

As in Baghdad International Airport, formerly Saddam International Airport.

Um, what?

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

The UAE is putting together a secret mercenary army?! “Blackwater Founder Forms Secret Army for Arab State“.

This is the craziest shit I’ve read in a while:

The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest or were challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labor camps or democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.

A little later on:

People involved in the project and American officials said that the Emiratis were interested in deploying the battalion to respond to terrorist attacks and put down uprisings inside the country’s sprawling labor camps, which house the Pakistanis, Filipinos and other foreigners who make up the bulk of the country’s work force. The foreign military force was planned months before the so-called Arab Spring revolts that many experts believe are unlikely to spread to the U.A.E. Iran was a particular concern.

And this:

Mr. Rincón’s visa carried a special stamp from the U.A.E. military intelligence branch, which is overseeing the entire project, that allowed him to move through customs and immigration without being questioned.


Dunk in Dubai

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Part of me thinks that it’s funny that there are 61 Dunkin Donuts locations in the UAE and none in Los Angeles.

Apparently a new one just opened at Uptown Motor City in Dubai: “Dunkin’ Donuts opens new Dubai outlet“.

Google Doodle in UAE

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

You’ve probably seen the Google search engine logo replaced from time to time to celebrate some important holiday or anniversary. These illustrations are called “Google Doodles“.

Apparently for the UAE’s National Day today they did one:

Richest Royals 2010

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Back when we were in Dubai Forbes‘ annual list of richest royals was always a big deal (see Richest Royals).

Somehow it fell through the cracks this July, but luckily I just thought of it today (what with it being the UAE’s National Day today).

So here’s the article: “The World’s Richest Royals.”

Key quote:

No surprise then that Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum fared the worst. His fortune dropped $7.5 billion this year as his Dubai Holding crumbled under a $12 billion debt burden. This comes on the heels of last year’s loss of $6 billion, making him the biggest loser on Forbes’ annual list of the world’s 15 richest royals two years in a row.

To boot, Dubai had to ask for another handout from fellow emirate Abu Dhabi in December, to the tune of $10 billion. Abu Dhabi’s ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, though not as heavily indebted, also saw his fortune shrink for the second year in a row, down $3 billion as result of last year’s 40% decline in oil export earnings as well as double-digit declines in real estate and stock markets. He falls down a notch to No.4 on the list.

Here’s the list:

1 ) King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand
Fortune: $30 billion (unchanged)

2 ) Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei
Fortune: $20 billion (unchanged)

3 ) King Abdullah bin Abul Aziz, Saudi Arabia
Fortune: $18 billion (up)

4 ) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, United Arab Emirates
Fortune: $15 billion (down)

5 ) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai
Fortune: $4.5 billion (down)

6 ) Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein
Fortune: $3.5 billion (unchanged)

7 ) King Mohammed IV, Morocco
Fortune: $2.5 billion (unchanged)

8 ) Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar
Fortune: $2.4 billion (up)

9 ) Prince Albert II, Monaco
Fortune: $1 billion (unchanged)

10 ) Prince Karim Al Husseini, Aga Khan
Fortune: $800 million (unchanged)

UAE FaceTime Ban

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Well here’s a shocker, the UAE has banned a technological doo-hickey.

Yawn. Must be a Tuesday.

One of the new features in the new Apple iPhone 4 is FaceTime, a video calling feature.

But apparently the UAE has banned it on the iPhone 4, which launched there on Saturday: “No FaceTime in UAE, reported working in SA unless phones are updated“.

If I had to guess why, and this is just a shot in the dark here, it’s because of either porn or VoIP.

The Emirates doesn’t care for either.

Missing Sheikh Screws Up TV Schedule

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

On Sunday I mentioned how one of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikhs has gone missing in a glider accident (see UAE President’s Brother Missing).

The search in Morocco is still on, but now it’s affecting the television schedule in the UAE; the final episode of Million’s Poet scheduled for tonight has been postponed.

Million’s Poet (I hope the name sounds cooler in Arabic) is like American Idol, but with Nabati poetry instead of singing.

Probably more modest dress, as well.

Check out the Khaleej Times’ article: “Final episode of ‘Million’s Poet’ postponed.”

UPDATE: Rescuers found the sheikh’s body on Tuesday. Abu Dhabi will observe three days of mourning.

UAE President’s Brother Missing

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and younger brother of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, is apparently lost: “Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi missing.”


Apparently his “glider” went down in Morocco.

But the pilot was found in good shape.

Not buying it.

When the manager of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund with an estimated $627 billion in assets gets lost in a “glider” accident in Morocco I call bullshit.

I mean, this is a family who torture people for fun (see The Sheikh of Abu Dhabi Gets Away With Torture).

I totally bet they’re capable of pushing their brother out of a “glider” for some SWF improprieties.

Women’s Rights in the ME

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

I haven’t read this yet (it is almost 600 pages) but I just downloaded the newWomen’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Progress Amid Resistance study released yesterday by Freedom House.

The United Arab Emirates starts on page 517, if you’re so inclined. That’s where I’m starting. I’ll let you know what I think when I’m done.