Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Your wish, Anomolous, is my command: Dubai's oil reserves, information within reach of any good high school student with access to google.

Abu Dhabi holds the vast, vast bulk of the UAE's oil reserves. After that every other one of the six UAE emirates is a minor player in the oil market if they have any oil at all. Of course the same also holds true if by emirates we mean any of the other oil-producing countries on the Arabian peninsula.

Thus, Mark Steyn's point is well taken. Dubai's future hinges on succesfully integrating into the world economy including good relations with the U.S. And that is exactly the strategy that Dubai is following, quite successfully. In spite of some craven U.S. politicians, George W. Bush not included.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anomolous said...

Touché. I was hoping there might be somewhere where I could see the breakdown for *all* of the emirates (hey, I admit I'm lazy). Anyway, if we estimate the oil reserves of Dubai at 4 billion barrels, and the native Dubians at 500,000 (50% of 1 million), that puts Dubai at 8000 barrels/citizen, or just behind Saudi Arabia.

And can you honestly say that Mr. Steyn's article was doing anything other than preaching to the choir? Just because I'm not necessarily in the same cheerleading section doesn't mean I can't identify fluff when I see it. Your writings, for example, are much better.

And I'm not 100% against the ports deal either, I just haven't seen anyone seriously address issues like the monkey business with some royals on a hunting trip with Osama, etc. If something simple like that can't be dealt with straightforwardly, why would I be concerned with speeding the rest of the deal along? Maybe the emirate of Dubai has a press release that talks about this. Great! Send me the link. If not, why not?

8:16 PM  
Blogger Slagothor said...

Far be it from me to defend the UAE plutocracy, but the "hunting with Osama" meme has gotten out of control.

It is all unverified hearsay. The only thing thet there is any solid evidence of is that there were military planes with UAE markings photographed in Afghanistan in 1999. It isn't quite the smoking gun all the breathless anti-DPW conspiratorialists take it to be.

When George Tenet can find the Chinese embassy on a map, maybe I'll take his words a little more seriously.

Any suggestion that the interests of Mohammed bin Rashid and Osama bin Laden are even remotely correlated is absurd on its face to anybody who spends 5 minutes addressing the subject. The bottom line is that 80% of Americans are too lazy to get over their "we can trust any Arabs" attitude - not that that attitude is unjustified.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anomolous said...

slagorthor wrote:
"It is all unverified hearsay."

So is that the official Dubai/UAE take on things? Can anyone point me to a press release or an interview with an official spokesman? Or maybe the king/sheikh has held a press conference where a reporter has asked this question, etc. Thanks.

1:21 AM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

anomolous asks about "hunting with Osama." This is one example of an event where I do wish the UAE - or George Bush for that matter - would be more straightforward.

UAE royals often go on hunting trips to remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They like hunting and that's where the game is. Is that all there is to it? On these trips have they been cozy with OBL and his crowd? If so, why - was it merely part of what one did to ensure one's safety in a tough neighborhood?

Is the UAE willing to address this story:
CIA videos reveal the missed chances to kill Bin Laden - Sunday Times - Times Online
The nearest the CIA came to killing Bin Laden was on the hunting trip in February 1999, just a few months before the Predator incident. The site was a camp in the desert south of Kandahar where Bin Laden had gone with wealthy visitors from the United Arab Emirates.
. . .
Richard Clarke, Clinton’s senior counter-terrorism adviser, has written in his memoirs: “When word came through that we had a contemporaneous sighting from our informants, the counter-terrorism security group met immediately by secure video conference.”
. . .
it was now clear that the hunting party consisted of minor princes from the United Arab Emirates, an American ally in the Gulf.

As the White House dithered, the hunting party moved on. “All that was left was a pile of burning garbage in the desert,” said Scheuer this weekend. He claimed that the group had left after Clarke called a senior figure in the Emirates royal family. “It’s hardly surprising that they pulled out so quickly and that we lost our chance to kill Bin Laden,” said Scheuer.


The UAE would do itself a big favor if it gives its side of this story. Is there a blanket policy not to discuss the lives of royals no matter what? (Think about that from the perspective of a US example: both the Clinton and the Bush II White Houses declined to discuss the personal lives of Chelsea and the twins.) On what principle - privacy? If so, does that not leave the door open to abuse of this policy?

6:42 AM  
Blogger Slagothor said...

Anomolous, why do you make the false conflation that something I said was the "official UAE/Dubai take on things"?

I don't know what the "official position" is, as I don't ever remember seeing one published. What I wrote is my opinion based upon my observation of the data that has been placed in the public domain - which is very little. The bottom line is that I don't take what Tenet said very seriously. This position is predicated on two things: the very persistent and public failure of US intelligence in the past few years, and the first hand reportage of a friend who used to work for the CIA. Expecting the CIA to get things right is about as wise as expecting the local (UAE) cable TV installation guy to show up on time: it happens with fleeting regularity.

Now consider the subtext of the allegations: that Mohammed bin Rashid al Makhtoum is a "friend" of OBL. Which implies that he is a fellow-traveller, and a true believer in OBL's causes. If Sheikh Mohammed is a true believer in al Qaeda and OBL, he's done a very poor job of implementing those beliefs, given what life is like in Dubai. Or it possible, I suppose, that he really is the ultimate sleeper agent.

But given that whole "Occam's razor" thingy, somehow I doubt that he is.

You remain, of course, free to believe whatever you want, regardless of the firmness of the foundations of those beliefs.

4:31 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

If Sheikh Mohammed is a true believer in al Qaeda and OBL, he's done a very poor job of implementing those beliefs, given what life is like in Dubai. Or it possible, I suppose, that he really is the ultimate sleeper agent.

Heh. Good one, slagothor.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anomolous said...

Slagothor said...

Anomolous, why do you make the false conflation that something I said was the "official UAE/Dubai take on things"?

I wasn't make a statement, I was asking a question, hence the all of the question marks. You might want to try reading less malice into everything.

Now consider the subtext of the allegations: that Mohammed bin Rashid al Makhtoum is a "friend" of OBL.

OK, maybe now we are getting somewhere. In the 9/11 report, it doesn't name the Emariti royals who are in Afghanistan. Is this Makhtoum guy one of the people who supposedly visited with OBL? And that's laughable because he is pretty much the opposite of a pious Muslim (in the eyes of OBL)? Can you post your source for the that information, (about the identity of who exactly was "supposed" to have gone on those hunting excursions).

10:27 PM  

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