“Dubai model” was the vision of one man

By Andrew Hammond – Analysis

DUBAI | Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:00pm EST

(Reuters) – The “Dubai vision,” which has suffered a crushing blow from the freewheeling Gulf emirate’s sudden debt crisis, is the creation of one man who failed to apply the rules of open governance.

The city state’s rapid growth revolved around the ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who outlined his ideas in a book, “My Vision,” where he suggested other Arab countries could replicate Dubai’s success. Now the model — always controversial among Gulf Arabs since it involved building shining cities in the desert at breakneck speed through the import of foreign residents, finance and labor — is on the ropes. Continue reading “Dubai model” was the vision of one man

Abu Dhabi ascendant as debt spoils Dubai’s “model”

By Andrew Hammond – Analysis

DUBAI | Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:29pm EST

(Reuters) – Dubai’s debt troubles have exposed the fallacy of its once much-vaunted “model” of raising shining cities in the desert with foreign residents, finance and labor.

They have also set in train a power shift toward Abu Dhabi. Continue reading Abu Dhabi ascendant as debt spoils Dubai’s “model”

Saudi judicial reform, 2009

Reading Lohaidan in Riyadh: Media and the struggle for judicial power in Saudi Arabia

Arab Media & Society, Issue 7, Winter 2009, http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=702 

Along with a reported one in seven viewers across the Arab World, Saudis were glued to their television sets during 2008 watching a Turkish soap opera called Noor.[1] The show was dubbed into Levantine Arabic and broadcast three times daily during Ramadan by MBC, a pan-Arab satellite network owned by Walid al-Ibrahim, a brother-in-law of the late Saudi king Fahd bin Abdelaziz Al Saud. Starring an economically independent, unveiled female lead and her tender Casanova of a husband, Noor was so popular that it spurred a large number of Gulf Arab tourists to visit Turkey, including the Saudi first lady Princess Hissa Al-Shaalan, and its blonde and blue-eyed star Kivanc Tatlitu became a heart-throb for Saudi and other women. The drama had a particular grip on the public because, unusually, it was dubbed into colloquial rather than classical Arabic, and its Turkish milieu had a familiarity for Arab audiences that other foreign soaps lack. Continue reading Saudi judicial reform, 2009