11 January 2010

Head Count

Saudi executed three more murderers in December bringing the total for the year to 62.

The radio has gone silent concerning the Kohail brothers. The good news is that they are still alive. The bad is that they are still in a Saudi prison.

02 December 2009

Head Count

Seven murderers, one of them a woman, were executed in KSA last month. YTD total is now 59.

Still no information concerning the Kohail brothers as their case gets kicked from court to court.

05 November 2009

Head Count

It was a slow month. Only two murderers were executed in Saudi. Total to date is 52.

07 October 2009

Head Count

The stimulus package was not successful in creating or saving a job for the executioner in Saudi Arabia. There were no, none, zero, nada, zilch executions in Saudi during September. Ramadan may have been a factor.

On the other hand, the King did not see fit to pardon the Kohail brothers, either.

16 September 2009

World Cancelled

The World, Dubai's offshore development of 300 islands for private ownership has been placed on hold. And that isn't the only construction project in trouble. In total, about $300 Billion worth of construction is on hold.

With that amount of construction halted, it won't be long before expat labor is sent back home.

Submarine Capers

An interesting story is starting to build. The giant conglomerate, Dubai World, is suing Herve Jaubert, founder of Seahorse Submarines, in federal court in Miami for fraud and theft. They claim he misrepresented himself when they hired him to be CEO of Exomos, a company started to build luxury personal submarines for the rich owners of the islands in the Jebel Ali Palm and World developments.

Jaubert escaped from Dubai last year using skills he learned in the French Navy after the Dubai Police arrested and questioned him and confiscated his passport. He was tried in abstentia in Dubai Court, found guilty and sentenced to 5 years. He claims he is a victim of betrayal and corruption and has written a book about his situation and subsequent escape.

15 September 2009

Burj Dubai Plot

Israeli news service YNET has a story about an Iranian plot to blow up Burj Dubai. According to the story, Dubai Police have arrested 45 people associated with the plot.

Khaleej Times reports that the Dubai Police claim that the plot doesn't exist.

Who to believe?

02 September 2009

Head Count

The month of August saw four murderers beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Total number of executions in SA to date for 2009 is an even 50.

The Kohail brothers (Canadian citizens convicted of murder in the Kingdom) are still in limbo. There has been no news about them in almost a month.

04 August 2009

Ramadan Crackdown on Begging

According to Gulf News, Ras al Khaimah police will crackdown on begging during Ramadan. Evidently, RAK is overrun with beggars during the month of Ramadan to the point where "they pose a serious threat to society."

I'm still trying to get my head around this issue. I thought Ramadan was a month for religious reflection and charity. And wouldn't that include giving gifts to the poor, many of whom might be beggars?

The RAK police might want to ask themselves, What Would Jesus Do?

03 August 2009

Head Count

Saudi Arabia executed 3 murderers in July bringing the total number of executions in the Kingdom to 46, by my count.

23 July 2009

Allah Pumps and Stilettos

I've heard of Jesus Boots. I've heard of Cajun Steel Toes. I've seen Cockroach Killers. But I've never heard of Allah Pumps and Stilettos.

It seems a womens shoe store in RAK (Ras Al Khaimah) is in trouble for selling shoes with the name of Allah printed on them. (I assume that it was NOT on the sole of the shoe) The shoes have been seized and a "huge fine" imposed by the Emirates Department of Economic Development, according to Gulf News.

The head of the Department of Economic Development said, "Article No. 10 of the Violations and Fines List stipulates that the department will punish and impose fines on all those who sell or display to the public products which directly violate the decency code or Islamic regulations. "

In related news in GN, Sharjah is arresting young men for the wearing of what we in the US call, Bling. Yes, fashion accessories on men is not acceptable under Sharia Law. And that includes silk. So beware, if you visit Sharjah wearing silver or gold and silk boxers, you could be arrested.

01 July 2009

Head Count

KSA beheaded 6 people in the month of June. Four murderers and two child molesters. I now make the total to date to be 43 at the half way mark of the year.

Mohammud Kohail's case is still being kicked around by the Saudi courts. The Canadian government is also applying pressure to keep him away from the swordsman.

25 June 2009


Michael Joslin, the American that was incarcerated in Dubai for carrying a handgun in his checked baggage, was freed this week. There is no information concerning the reason why he was released although his Congressman and Senator Arlen Specter did have meetings with Dubai officials in Washington.

Needless to say, he won't be travelling through Dubai ever again.

I'm glad that he is back with his family. He was stupid to try to carry a handgun into Afghanistan and I don't condone his actions. But I think Dubai did the right thing and avoided a lot of bad press by deporting him. They should have done the same with the Brit adulterers and Sex on the Beach couple.

12 June 2009


It now appears that the American arrested for carry a gun in his luggage while transiting Dubai did it of his own volition against company policy.

While speaking from a pay phone that he operated through calling cards from weekly commissary trips at the Dubai Airport Deportation Center, Joslin said he was not aware that he needed to get approval for the weapon or the medication and never told EMW his intentions of bringing them.

“It was my decision,” the father of three said, calling EMW a “solid company.”

While the EMW attorney stated that the contract Joslin was scheduled to work in Afghanistan strictly prohibits contractor personnel from carrying firearms in theater, Joslin said he did not have a chance to read through his employee contract.

“I didn’t read my contract very thoroughly,” he said.

The guy is not the brightest bulb in the box, and he certainly can't blame anyone else for his troubles, but I still think Dubai should pack him on the next plane out and avoid weeks of possibly negative press.

Here's the article.

11 June 2009

American in Dubai Jail

An American is being held in Dubai on weapons charges. He was on his way to Kabul with a layover in Dubai. He had a weapon and presciption pain pills in his checked luggage. The weapon was approved by his employer, EMW of Herndon, Va, and he had alerted Emirates Airlines to it. They, like most airlines, allow unloaded weapons in checked luggage. However, when he arrived in Dubai, he was arrested. There is a disconnect between the airline policy and Dubai's laws prohibiting weapons without express permission from the country. Emirates should have checked that he had permission before allowing the weapon, just like they have to confirm that you have a visa before boarding the plane.

He has since been fired by his employer, who in my opinion, should have better prepared him with information for the trip. If was to carry a weapon in Kabul, he should have been issued one there instead of having him carry one with him, regardless of airline policy. He also does not seem to be getting much help from the local American consulate.

I'm not claiming that this guy is completely innocent but he seems to have fallen between the diplomatic cracks. IMHO, Dubai would get better world press, if they just instantly deported people rather than incarcerating them. I'll see if I can follow up on his plight.

05 June 2009

History, Rewritten Again

In BHO's speech from Cairo the other day he stated that a Muslim nation was the first to recognize the US in the Treaty of Tripoli.

What he neglected to say was that the treaty was made because the US had to make protection payments to the Barbary pirates to prevent them from hijacking our ships. (We didn't have a navy at the time so we were forced to pay tribute to the Muslims.) The treaty went south when the Pasha of Tripoli demanded an increase in payments to Thomas Jefferson. This led to the First Barbary War in 1801 and the inclusion of that "shores of Tripoli" line in the Marine Hymn.

BHO's choice of this particular piece of history seems ironic.

04 June 2009

Mixed Messages

The entertainment news is all about Paris Hilton doing her reality show in Dubai. There's lots of excitement about Paris looking for a new BFF in Dubai. She's bringing her boyfriend and her entourage. Oh, joy!

Now, if I remember correctly, isn't co-habitation by non-married couples against the law in Dubai? And isn't this the same country that prosecutes people for having sex out of wedlock or in public places? Do you really think Paris and her boyfriend are going to sleep in separate rooms? Do you think she'll end up in jail?

What kind of message does it send to the world if on the one hand you claim to be an Islamic country while on the other you promote one of the biggest party whores in Hollywood?

01 June 2009

Head Count

KSA executed 10 people last month. Most of them were done in an orgy of executions during 2 days of the month. They were murderers and child rapists. This brings the total to 37 by my count.

Young Mohammud Kohail is accusing the Canadian government of knowing that his confession was coerced but ignoring it.

22 May 2009

Songs From the Past

This is a song I remember from my first trip to Dubai, back in the day.

21 May 2009

Kohail Update

A letter written by Mohammud Kohail, the Canadian currently in a Saudi prison awaiting execution, to the Prime Minister of Canada has surfaced. In it he alleges that he was tortured in order to elicit a confession. The story and excerpts from the letter are here.

15 May 2009

What's in a Name?

The Dubai RTA is selling naming rights to its Metro stations. Gulf News has the story here.

Its difficult enough to find your way around Dubai what with all the confusing signage and Arabic names. One would think that a Metro station would be named for its geographical location. Hence, the Marina Station would be close to the Dubai Marina, Jebel Ali Station would be close to the Jebel Ali Port, and so on. How much sense does it make to say, take the red line to Intel Station, transfer to the green and get off at CNN Station?

04 May 2009

Yes, That Will Teach Her!

In a precedent setting court judgement, a woman has been ordered to pay diyyah or the death of her unborn child. The amount was set at 20,000 dirhams, or 1/10 of the amount for a woman under Shariah Law. The court found her guilty of failure to "exercise due care and diligence while driving and to keep a safe distance between her vehicle and others on the road". But the article in The National says that she was hit from behind and pushed into another vehicle. In every other country in the world, the driver of the vehicle that hit her from behind would be held responsible for the accident. Could the fact that she is Lebanese and not Emirati have anything to do with the judgement?

Oh, yeah, it's not clear to whom she should pay the diyyah.

01 May 2009

Head Count

The KSA executed 8 people during the month of April. They were either murderers, rapists, or both. This brings the year to date total, according to my tabulation, to 27.

There has been no news concerning the Kohail brothers since early April.

30 April 2009

Pork Ban

Yes, banning the sale of pork in a Muslim country is the obvious response to the Swine Flu pandemic. Those labor camps with workers crowded in 12 to a room will not be a breeding ground for disease transmission. Nor should the crowds of people milling about beside the Creek on Sunday cause you any concern. Feel free to wander about the souks and breath deeply of the desert air. Have no fear, because we have banned pork.

29 April 2009

UAE Torture

ABC News has a story about torture in the UAE implicating Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of Sheikh Mohammed. Its seems that Issa was displeased with a grain merchant and took him out to desert to have a business "discussion". He had it video taped. Said "discussion" is reported to have taken place in 2005.

Hillary Clinton has not commented but don't forget the close ties Bill has to the UAE and the concerns raised about her relationship with the UAE as Sec of State.

15 April 2009

Blood Money

Reports out of the Kingdom indicate that the family of the young man that died in the fracas involving the Kohail brothers want $5 Million as "blood money".

In many cases involving the death of one party, regardless of cause, blood money is offered as compensation to the victim's family. However, in this case, the family refuses to discuss a reasonable amount and insists on $5 million. Meanwhile, the Canadian government is applying pressure to the Saudis but probably will not pay the blood money. And the Kohails have no way of raising that amount.

07 April 2009

Oops is a Technical Term

According to news from Saudi Arabia, approximately 200 mosques in Mecca are not facing the correct direction. Worshipers concerned about the validity of their prayers have been assured that their prayers were valid. Many of the mosques are more than 50 years old and the mis-alignment was discovered due to better measurement technology (and someone looking down from a high rise apartment).

I wonder if any of them were built by the Bin Laden Construction Company?

It makes me remember the story about a major US construction company who had their plans for a Saudi offshore quarters building rejected because the toilets happened to be oriented tewards Mecca.

03 April 2009

Kohail Verdict Reinstated

The death penalty for Mohammed Kohail, a Canadian citizen, has been reinstated by the Saudi courts. A link to the story is here.

01 April 2009

Head Count

Saudi Arabia beheaded 6 during the month of March. Most were murderers, although one was convicted of "gang crimes", whatever those are.

All is quiet on the Kohail front. There has been no news about the young Canadian since mid-February.

02 March 2009

Head Count

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia added five to their tally last month. Year to date total is 13.

18 February 2009

Dubai Festival of Censorship

Author Margaret Atwood has decided to withdraw from participating in the first Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature. She is withdrawing in protest of the Festival banning the book "The Gulf Between Us," by Geraldine Bedell. It seems one of the characters in Ms. Bedell's fictional novel is a gay sheikh in an unidentified Gulf Kingdom. The organizer of the Festival, Isobel Abulhoul, felt that the work "could offend certain cultural sensitivities."

According to the Festival's website, they claim the following list of values:
  • Literacy is the key to all knowledge
  • Literature is a unique and exciting mode of cross-cultural communication
  • Imagination, innovation, and talent should be nurtured
  • Education should be universal, stimulating and relevant
  • A wider awareness of Arabic language and culture will contribute to the future development of the region

Several other authors are now reconsidering their participation in the light of the censorship.

Tennis Troubles

The Wall Street Journal Europe has pulled their sponsorship of the WTA Dubai Open. The UAE has refused a visa to Israeli Shahar Peer citing security problems. However, most see it as retaliation for the recent difficulties in Gaza. Rupert Murdock said in a statement, "The Wall Street Journal's editorial philosophy is free markets and free people, and this action runs counter to the Journal's editorial direction."

In addition, the Tennis Channel has decided not to televise the event saying, "Preventing an otherwise qualified athlete from competing on the basis of anything other than merit has no place in tennis or any other sport, and has the unfortunate result of undermining the credibility of the very nature of competition itself."

Peer is ranked 48th.

One of Dubai's strategies for economic development is to become a major sports venue.

More Free Market

Further to the post below, now the Ministry of Labour has passed a decision regulating the temination of UAE nationals in the private sector. UAE nationals cannot be terminated for "flimsy reasons" and the company must show that they are "not efficient" or have violated labour laws.