Thank you Grammy, for forwarding this article from The Telegraph. Who knew? I thought the current Emir was looking slimmer and healthier than before, but maybe he just wants a quieter, more private life, and the prince is willing to take the reins?
We watched Doha go from a sleepy little seaside capitol to a skyscraper-laced booming natural gas economy. It was an amazing time to be living in Doha. Sounds like more changes may be in store.
By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent7:00PM BST 09 Jun 2013
Senior figures in Qatar have briefed foreign counterparts that the time has come for Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, the 33-year-old crown prince to take over the leadership of the gas-rich Gulf state, the Daily Telegraph has learned.
The succession plan, which is due to be launched by the end of the month, will see Hamad bin Jassim, the prime minister and one of the biggest investors in Britain, give up his post.
Within weeks of that decision the royal court will announce that the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, who has struggled with health problems, will cede powers to the Sandhurst-educated crown prince.
A prominent British visitor to the gas-rich Gulf state was told of the plans earlier this year and sources said other key states, including the US and Iran, have also been briefed about the succession.
“The plan is to manage a staged handover of power that allows the crown prince to come to the fore,” said one source with knowledge of the discussions. “The stakes are very high because Qatar is at forefront of events in a very sensitive region.”
Representatives of the Qatar government were not able to comment on the discussions about the emirate’s future leadership but analysts said any changes in Qatar’s leadership would have huge implications for the Middle East and Western foreign policy.
“The legacy of the emir and the prime minister has been to make Qatar a player in the world,” said Michael Stephens, a Gulf researcher at the Royal United Services Institute. “It was an outpost when they took over and now it has grown into a modern city, it is one of the biggest investors in Europe and Britain, has set up a very powerful Arab television station [Al Jazeera] and has a very prominent foreign policy. That is almost all down to the driving force of those two men.”
Sheikh Hamad, the emir, took power in a bloodless coup in 1995, taking advantage of his father’s absence on a trip to Europe. The charismatic monarch has overseen the transformation of the emirate, which lies just 21 miles from the coast of Iran. His glamorous wife Sheikha Mozah, who was last week seen at a charity function with the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle, has been a symbol of women’s rights in the Arab world.
The resignation of Hamad bin Jassim has huge consequences for Britain even though he is staying as chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority, an immensely well resourced sovereign wealth fund that recycles the emirate’s gas revenues.
He will continue to be the driving force behind the entity that owns Harrods and invested in prime property projects in London, including The Shard, Europe’s tallest building.
With a relatively tiny population of less than two million, Qatar is an outsized force in Middle East politics.
Although Sheikh Tamim is well known to diplomats and foreign officials, there are questions over the future direction of policies under the new leadership.
As a result of his education in Britain and Qatar’s role as the host of an American airbase, he has close links to Western militaries.
But observers point to his close alliance with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood as a potential sign that he will not be as liberal as his father and the prime minister.
The country has spent liberally on supporting Islamist movements in the Arab Spring, playing a key role in providing arms and logistics for rebels in Libya, Egypt and Syria.
Wooo HOOOO on You, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali!
Sometimes, when you are reading a newspaper looking for content, the most significant articles can be little small ones:
Major Al-Ali vows to redraw traffic map
KUWAIT: “I have orders from higher authorities to organize the traffic and the law will be implemented strictly, Assistant Interior Ministry Under Secretary for Traffic Affairs Major General Abdelfattah Al-Ali said. “I will change the traffic map within six months and wipe out the word wasta from the traffic dictionary ,” he added. “I have strict orders from higher authorities to organize traffic and the law will be implemented very strictly,” Major Ali said.
The Kuwait Times got his title wrong; it is Major GENERAL, not Major, LOL, that’s a big difference. It appears he has the clout – and the backing – to make a brave and steadfast stand:
“WIPE OUT THE WORD WASTA FROM THE TRAFFIC DICTIONARY”
I can hardly believe my eyes. This is going to be very painful for young Kuwait men, who have learned – from prior experience – that the rules do not apply to them. IF Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali can maintain his strong position, there may be more young Kuwait men who live to be grown-up men, there may be fewer heart-wrenching funerals, far fewer trips to the emergency room (did you know that some of the best head-trauma physicians in the world are in the ER’s in Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE? There’s a reason for that.) The days of seeing babies on their daddy’s laps in traffic may be over. People may actually start wearing seatbelts!
Wooo HOOO on You, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali. You are a brave and courageous man, with a vision for a safer future for Kuwait.
I still have a large contingent of loyal readers from Kuwait, but by early this morning, I could see something was up:
It’s not often that I have 132 Kuwait hits before noon.
So I checked the Kuwait Times:
Expat deportations will continue: Traffic chief – 11,800 deported in two-and-a-half months
KUWAIT: Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali’s name has become synonymous with extensive traffic campaigns, aimed at enforcing the law at all costs, including implementation of mass deportations. The senior Interior Ministry official, who takes pride in deporting 11,800 people and impounding 3,000 vehicles during his tenure as head of the Ahmadi Security Department over the past two and a half years, told a local daily that deporting expatriates for serious violations will continue without an end date. “Administrative deportation of violating expatriates is not going to stop, especially of those carrying passengers illegally, in which case a person would be in violation of traffic and labor regulations,” Maj Gen Al-Ali, the Interior Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs, told Al-Rai on Friday.
He added that any ticket can be disputed “by a request to refer the case for traffic department investigations”. In the series of crackdowns that started late April, at least 2,000 traffic violations were registered, including 1,000 tickets issued directly on the street, while thousands of people were reportedly deported. Moreover, Maj Gen Al-Ali revealed that the ministry collected KD4 million, out of the KD24 million owed in traffic fines, during the same period. In that regard, the senior official pointed out that only KD8 million worth of fines are registered against individuals, while the rest are against companies and state departments. Out of the KD8 million, KD6 million is registered against expatriates, Maj Gen Al-Ali said. “Cases are soon to be filed with the traffic court in order to issue travel ban orders against people with more than KD80 in fines owed to the ministry,” he added.
Al-Rai published Maj Gen Al-Ali’s statement yesterday, along with a transcript of an interview with Al- Watan TV during which he defended the ongoing campaigns. “Our procedures are necessary to save lives, with average statistics indicating that 450 people are killed and 3,000 are injured annually due to traffic accidents,” he explained. During the interview, Maj Gen Al-Ali insisted that all drivers are equal when it comes to implementation of the law. “There have been doctors among the people deported, including a surgeon caught driving without a license for three years,” he said, before confirming news reports that he had taken a decision to impound a vehicle owned by Minister of Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah on grounds of repeated violations committed by his personal driver. Meanwhile, the senior official urged any person who had obtained a license through illegal means to dispose of it “because once caught, they are going to be charged with forgery”. —Al-Rai, Al-Watan
My friends and I had an animated conversation about Florida politics as we sat around the table having a late breakfast at Adonna’s Bakery, down on Palafox in Pensacola. We were explaining how in the last election, if it were not for the voters handbook the League of Women Voters published, explaining exactly what a yes or no vote would mean for each proposed amendment, Florida would be stuck with constitutional amendments voters never intended to approve.
The League of Women Voters cuts through all the baloney and explains the issues, clearly and objectively. Without their clear, cool voice of reason, voters would be blown to and fro by the turbulent election rhetoric which blows at hurricane force during each election in Florida, obscuring the clearest issues. The League is neither liberal nor conservative, but contains members of all parties. Their goal is getting people to vote, and to understand the issue on which people are voting.
So grown up. So mature. So wise and clear sighted. Way too grown up for me, all these years, until, after that conversation, one of these friends sent me an invitation she had received for an upcoming League of Women Voters annual luncheon. As an added attraction, a local NPR reporter would be the speaker.
I hate meetings. It brings out the ADD child in me; I fidget, I wish I were anywhere but in the meeting.
And yet . . . this is a group I have long admired, and I want to support them. So I agreed, and we attended.
It was so much fun. These women – and men, about a fifth of the attendees were men – are people focused on ISSUES. They have study groups for how juveniles in the local area are arrested and treated in our jails and custodial facilities. They have groups which study the impact on the environment of legislative and local government decisions. They go to civic meetings, speak out, and report back to the League. This is a group of people who take positions and recommend actions! Exciting stuff.
You know I am a believer, so I might see things differently from you, or others, but I met some really cool members, people I believe I was meant to meet. One said wonderful things about my son as he practices his profession. There is no Mother’s Day gift on earth that means as much as the words she spoke, praising his ethics and integrity.
An elderly man sitting next to me was leaving this week to go to Heidelberg.
“Are you going for the closing down?” I asked, and told him I had graduated from Heidelberg American high school, lo, these many years ago. “Yes,” he replied, he has family who have lived there many years, and he has been back many times. It led to a discussion around the table, where I discovered two other women who had been in DoDs schools in Germany. What an unexpected blessing!
Every now and then, as you lead your life, you get the feeling you are exactly where you are meant to be at this very moment, and I had that feeling as I left the meeting. I am so thankful for the serendipity that led me there, and for the rush of blessings the meeting provided.
LOL, the group I thought might be stuffy and staid played this wonderful Lady Gaga video:
I found this while reading the daily meditation at Forward Day by Day:
When the monks of Jarrow sang, “Lord, leave us not as orphans,” it is said that Bede would often weep. As a child he was left orphaned in a dark, hostile, and dangerous land. He was cared for and reared by kindly monks. When he was but a youngster, plague struck the monastery, almost wiping it out. The only surviving souls were Bede and the old abbot. Bede naturally had a strong sense of the importance of community, of the fine line between life and death, and of our utter dependence upon the Creator.
He rarely ventured outside the walls of Jarrow monastery, yet his knowledge of theology, geography, and language was worthy of the most sophisticated of his time in Western Europe. He wrote a number of excellent books on various subjects, but he is best remembered for his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. This work has justly earned for him the title “Father of English History.” Unlike some of the careless historians of his day, he was meticulous in listing his authorities and sources. He took care to separate known fact from hearsay, but his descriptions are lively and dramatic.
Bede thought of himself as a teacher, and he seems to have built most of his teaching around the Divine Offices which the monks read daily. It is altogether fitting that he was pronounced a “Doctor of the Church” by Pope Leo XIII. Bede’s remains rest in Durham.
May the riches of Bede’s scholarship inspire us to fill our minds with the story of your work among us, O God. Amen.
Heavenly Father, you called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship; Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring riches of your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make you known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I heard whispers of this on National Public Radio, and found this write up on The International Business Times website. The message is simple – in a country where even a glance can be interpreted as treason, express your non-support of the government by STAYING AT HOME ON FRIDAY, the day Ethiopians usually go out and visit with friends, gather together and mingle. Ghandi would smile; this is civil expression at it’s most civil
Let the empty streets speak for you. LOL @ a tyrant making staying at home a crime against the government!
Eritrean bloggers outside of Ethiopia started it, smuggling an old Eritrean phone book out of the country and making calls to acquaintances – and strangers – in Eritrea. People didn’t even have to respond. they could just listen . . . then they developed a robo-call to help them enlarge the number they could reach.
Eritrea is considered one of the continent’s most opaque countries. National elections have not been held in the Horn of Africa country since it gained independence in 1993. Torture, arbitrary detention and severe restrictions on freedom of expression remain routine.
President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media, the internet is strictly controlled and Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.
It is illegal to criticise the government, prompting the Eritrean diaspora to set up a campaign to reverse the Arab-style call to take to the streets every Friday by emptying the streets in protest.
“We made phone calls from diaspora to Eritrea,” Meron Estefanos toldIBTimes UK. ”We have a phone catalogue and called random numbers every Friday, telling them to stay at home and think about problems in our country.”
The phone calls “give them [Eritreans within the country] an opportunity to protest without risking too much”, according to Freedom Friday’s coordinator in the UK Selam Kidane.
The activists turned to a computerised auto-dialer called robocall to spread hundreds of thousands of taped messages to Eritrean phones. “It is time to restore our liberty and dignity” messages were sent automatically.
In another message, the mother of renowned political prisoner Aster Yohannes recalls the fate of her daughter, who was arrested in 2003 and has disappeared.
After two years, the movement is finally gaining momentum inside the country.
“Now they trust us inside the country, we have our team in Eritrea that puts out posters and leaflets late at night,” Estefanos said.
“The plan now that we have their trust is asking them to go out and demonstrate.”
About 1,500 Eritreans leave their country every month, according to the United Nations, paying up to 30,000 euros ($39,500) each to seek a new life free of grinding poverty and repression.
Earlier this year, Amnesty International put the spotlight on Eritrean asylum-seekers who are kidnapped from Sudanese refugee camps by the local Rashaida tribe, sold to Bedouin criminals in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and severely abused while they are held for ransom.
One thousand refugees are held captive in the Sinai, according to reports. About 7,000 people in total may have been tortured and 4,000 may have died as a result of the people-trafficking in humans from 2009 to October 2012, according to recent data. A total of 3,000 people disappeared from 2007-11.