The Weird Worries of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE’s De Facto Ruler

There he is again, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, stirring up all sorts of trouble on the global stage. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, has been putting his fingers into too many pies lately.  From mercenaries in Yemen to bombing runs in Libya to cozying … Continue reading The Weird Worries of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE’s De Facto Ruler

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The (Saudi) King is Dead; Long Live the King (Or: The Many Challenges For King Salman)

First, a Lion King reference.  Now, to serious business. What's it mean to be a king?  Our popular image is of some bro, richly dressed, sitting on a fancy throne, throwing edicts left and right and being waited on hand and foot.  Most importantly, we believe a king can do as he likes; he's the … Continue reading The (Saudi) King is Dead; Long Live the King (Or: The Many Challenges For King Salman)

The Kings, Sheikhs, and Dictators of the Middle East Have United Against ISIS (Or: How To Make Frenemies)

What with all the classic American media fear mongering of how ISIS is going to come to your house this weekend and totally ruin your landscaping and maybe also behead you, it’s easy to lose track of what’s actually rational to worry about. With 100% honesty, no Westerners but the specialists, soldiers, and statements involved … Continue reading The Kings, Sheikhs, and Dictators of the Middle East Have United Against ISIS (Or: How To Make Frenemies)

Saudi Arabia’s Power Play (Or, the Childishness of Kings)

I've let my contempt for Saudi Arabia's current governing system be known - several times.  This is because it's a personality-centric system driven by personalities that most of you wouldn't want to invite to dinner.  In such systems, psychology matters when understanding certain events.  Let's take a walk through, shall we, and understand Saudi state … Continue reading Saudi Arabia’s Power Play (Or, the Childishness of Kings)

Iran’s Strategic Imperatives (Or, How Iran Will Try To Avoid Being Gang-Raped By The International Community)

It's hot, then it's cold, it's yes, then it's no, it's in, then it's out, etc.  Did you know Katy Perry was describing Iran?  Well, she wasn't.  Nevertheless, Iran is a land of contrasts.  Let's hear it for opposites!  And because there's so much, this makes Iran more complicated. Iran's geography makes it a tough … Continue reading Iran’s Strategic Imperatives (Or, How Iran Will Try To Avoid Being Gang-Raped By The International Community)

Saudi Arabia is going to make MERS a lot, lot worse

The Scientific American had a lovely article about how MERS, the Saudi version of SARS, is going to kill a great deal more people than it ought to. As I've already noted, Saudi Arabia is a horribly run place. This MERS outbreak is a glaring example of how incompetent the government there really is. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=saudi-silence-on-deadly-mers-virus-outbreak-frustrates-world-health-experts) … Continue reading Saudi Arabia is going to make MERS a lot, lot worse