Tag Archives: Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Sandcastles

As part of Saudi Arabia’s push to diversify it’s economy, King Abdullah unveiled in 2005 a megaproject known as King Abdullah Economic City (“KAEC”). The idea is to build a brand new, 173 km²/66.8 sqm city on the coast of … Continue reading

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Dirhams, Dinars, Fils and Riyals: The Currencies of the Middle East

The drachma is the Greek word for a unit of weight that was the currency of the Byzantine Empire. It was used not just in Byzantine territories of Egypt, Anatolia and the Levant, but through commerce, across the greater Middle … Continue reading

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To Muscat!

If you look at Oman on any map of the world, the capital city Muscat will generally appear as the most prominent, or the only city. But Muscat itself is actually a tiny village tucked into a tight area between … Continue reading

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Forcing Ourselves to Define & Declare Victory

With all the discussion of the official end to US combat operations in Iraq, a key point for critics and proponents of the war and the current President is whether we have really won. Indeed, approximately 50,000 American troops remain … Continue reading

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The Good ‘Ol Days…

I recently met and spoke with a British military officer who is on the verge of retirement after more than 38 years in the service of Her Majesty. I was interested to hear his opinion on serving in the military, … Continue reading

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Did Saudi Arabia bribe the World Bank?

In recent years Saudi Arabia has pursued a program of economic diversification and reform. These reforms have enabled Saudi Arabia to rise substantially in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. Saudi Arabia was ranked the 38th easiest place … Continue reading

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The Town Called Al Qaeda

A town in Yemen has the name Al Qaeda (Arabic for ‘the base‘) and is suffering for it. On the border of the old North Yemen and South Yemen, the town was once a commercial hub where custom duties on … Continue reading

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Where is an Israeli passport stamp a dealbreaker?

It’s said that having an Israeli visa stamp in your passport will prevent you from travel anywhere else in the Middle East. Is this true? Sort of. A number of countries will prohibit you from entry if you visit Israel, … Continue reading

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Missing the Point on Israel

With US-Israel relations at the worst they’ve been in decades, relations appeared to go even further downhill when Israeli commandos stormed an “aid flotilla” sailing from Turkey towards the Gaza blockade, resulting in the deaths of several pro-Palestinian activists. The … Continue reading

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Time Travelling with Google Maps

Dubai is famous for its rapid development and construction projects. It turns out that you can see some of these projects on Google maps by merely zooming in and zooming out. For example, take the “Business Bay” project, which involves … Continue reading

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