Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Qatar MOI States Employers Will Be forced to Abide by the Rules

It doesn’t matter how enlightened the legislation – if the law is not enforced, the rules on the book are laughable. It gives the illusion of a lawful society, but if citizens know that they will not be penalized for breaking the law, they will scoff at the law and do as they please. People who came to the country expecting to make a fair wage and be treated decently and with dignity find themselves without proper paperwork due to the corruption of their employer or recruiter.

If the MOI in Qatar enforces this law, a terrible situation will be slightly better. This, from The Qatar Gulf Times:

 

By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter

 

With the Ministry of Interior (MoI) taking a firm stand on ID cards, residents believe that this will safeguard the interests of workers as their employers will now be forced to abide by the rules.

A report in the Tuesday edition of Gulf Times had quoted a senior official as saying that residents should always carry their residence permit ID cards and produce the same whenever asked by the authorities concerned. Those failing to do so would be fined up to QR10,000, the report had said, adding that the MoI could also transfer the sponsorship of expatriates if they proved that they were abused by sponsors under Law No 4/2009.

Welcoming the MoI’s decision, legal expert and rights activist Nizar Kochery said this would make employers more accountable as any long delay or failure on their part to stamp the visas of their staff would invite a hefty fine.

“There have been cases of companies refusing to stamp visas for long periods and workers being picked up by the law-enforcing agencies for failing to produce valid residence proof,” said Kochery, adding that the ministerial reaffirmation would force employers to stamp visas promptly.

Reacting to the report, an Asian diplomat said his country’s mission frequently received complaints from people alleging that their employers had not stamped their visas even months after their arrival in Qatar.

“The embassy receives such complaints from expatriates every week though there has been a drastic fall in their numbers in recent times due to strict enforcement of the rules by the local authorities,” he added.

Kochery said there should also be stringent implementation of the rules pertaining to expatriates’ passports. “Though the ministry issued guidelines more than three years ago on the issue of custody of passports, complaints of violation of this norm continue,” the legal expert said.

The ministry had instructed employers to hand over the passports of employees after the completion of formalities. However, there have been cases of some employers retaining the passports in violation of the local rules.

“A similar fine (like the one for not carrying IDs) should be imposed on erring employers for illegally keeping their workers’ passports,” he said.

A few years ago, this newspaper had reported about a theft in a manpower company’s office in Musheireb. More than 150 passports of workers, which the firm had kept in its custody in violation of rules, went missing in the incident. Meanwhile,  residents have also said similar penalties were required to curb violations regarding exit permits as well. A social activist in the Indian community said there have been complaints of employers failing to arrange exit permits for their workers on time even during emergencies.

There have also been reports of residents, mainly drivers, lodging complaints with embassies, alleging that their sponsors take away their licences when they go on vacation.

“The MoI should consider imposing hefty fines on such employers as well. Like a passport, a driving licence is not only the property of an individual, but is also a proof of identification under the local rules,” said Kochery.

July 11, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Lies, Living Conditions, Pet Peeves, Qatar, Relationships, Scams, Social Issues, Transparency, Work Related Issues | , , , | Leave a comment

“Heavyweight Saudi Arabia” Influence Counters “Over-Stepping” Qatar?

From the Kuwait Times, a fascinating comparative analysis of the influence of Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Islamic countries in transitions:

 

Qatar losing ground to Saudi diplomacy

headline2

 

DUBAI: Qatar, a key supporter of Islamists who rose to power in Arab Spring countries, is losing ground in regional politics to Saudi Arabia which appears to have seized the reins on key issues, notably Egypt and Syria. The decline in Qatar’s regional diplomacy comes as its powerful emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani unexpectedly abdicated in favor of his son Tamim last month.

The wealthy Gulf state had transformed itself into a key regional player but began to retreat as heavyweight Saudi Arabia re-entered the political arena after lagging behind in the immediate period following the eruption of the Arab Spring uprisings in December 2010. The ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last week by the army and the election by the Syrian opposition of Saudi-linked Ahmad Assi Jarba as new leader stripped Qatar of strong influence in both countries.

“Qatar had tried to take a leading role in the region but overstepped its limits by openly backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Syria, and other Arab Spring states,” said Kuwaiti political analyst Ayed Al-Manna. Jonathan Eyal, head of international relations at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, argued that Qatar’s regional politics have failed.

“Qatar’s Middle Eastern diplomacy now lies in ruins: it failed to produce dividends in Libya, backfired in Syria and has now collapsed in Egypt,” local Emirati daily The National quoted him on Tuesday as saying. Realizing the damaging effects of their policies, Manna noted, “the Qataris sought to cut down on their commitments” which were already affected by the emir’s abdication and the sidelining of the influential prime minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jabr Al-Thani.

As a result, “Saudi Arabia, a historical regional US ally, regained its role” in coordination with other oil-rich Gulf monarchies, said Manna. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was the first foreign head of state to congratulate Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour, hours after he was named to replace Morsi. And on Tuesday, the kingdom pledged $5 billion in assistance to Egypt. The United Arab Emirates, which has cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood in the past few months, offered Egypt an aid package of $3 billion.

“Saudi Arabia wants to ensure stability in Arab Spring countries, regardless of its ideological interests,” said analyst Abdel Aziz Al-Sagr, head of the Gulf Research Centre. “It had supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt but reconsidered this support after the Brotherhood failed to run the country wisely,” he argued. But the Saudi researcher downplayed the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which have been looking to expand their influence during the Arab Spring uprisings and prevent any potential revolt against their own autocratic regimes.

“The Saudi-Qatari harmony still exists and there is no battle for influence between the two countries,” said Sager. And as proof, “Riyadh was the first to be informed of the political change in Qatar, six months before it took place. And it welcomed it.” But the two countries, whose relations have been historically tense or at least marked by mistrust, support two different approaches of political Islam that emerged strongly in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Qatar sides with political parties linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose experience was cut short despite the strong media support they enjoyed from the influential Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia promotes Salafist groups that focus less on politics and more on implementing Shariah Islamic law on daily life matters such as forcing women to wear a veil and prohibiting the mixing between sexes. Saudi King Abdullah has reiterated his country’s stance against using Islam for political purposes.

“Islam rejects divisions in the name of one party or another,” he said in a statement marking the start Wednesday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The kingdom will never accept” the presence of political parties, that “only lead to conflict and failure.” But regardless of the political agendas of Saudi Arabia or Qatar, the people who rose up during the Arab Spring revolts will have the final word on their own political futures, argued former Bahraini cabinet minister Ali Fakhro. “It is the Arab people, not Qatar nor Saudi Arabia, who will determine the political future of the region.” – AFP

July 11, 2013 Posted by | Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Saudi Arabia, Women's Issues | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arabs wary of expressing their opinions online

Fascinating study results published in Qatar’s Gulf Times:

 

1e1c97a9-609e-4b9b-8f96-301b465df808

Northwestern University in Qatar has released new findings from an eight-nation survey indicating many people in the Arab world do not feel safe expressing political opinions online despite sweeping changes in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.

From over 10,000 people surveyed in Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE, 44% expressed some doubt as to whether people should be free to criticise governments or powerful institutions online.

Over a third of Internet users surveyed said they worry about governments checking what they do online.

According to the report, “The implied concern (of governments checking what they do online) is fairly consistent in almost all countries covered, but more acute in Saudi Arabia, where the majority (53%) of those surveyed expressed this concern.”

The study – titled ‘Media Use in the Middle East – An Eight-Nation Survey’ – was undertaken by researchers at NU-Q to better understand how people in the region use the Internet and other media. It comes as the university moves towards a more formalised research agenda and is the first in what will be a series of reports relating to Internet use.

The survey includes a specific chapter on Qatar, the only country where those surveyed regarded the Internet as a more important source of news than television. “We took an especially close look at media use in the State of Qatar – a country with one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the Arab world—and internationally,” said NU-Q dean and CEO Everette Dennis.

These findings follow a preliminary report NU-Q released last April that showed web users in the Middle East support the freedom to express opinions online, but they also believe the Internet should be more tightly regulated. “While this may seem a puzzling paradox, it has not been uncommon for people the world over to support freedom in the abstract but less so in practice,” Dennis explained.

Among other findings, the research shows: 45% of people think public officials will care more about what they think and 48% believe they can have more influence by using the Internet.

Adults in Lebanon (75%) and Tunisia (63%) are the most pessimistic about the direction of their countries and feel they are on the ‘wrong track.’

Respondents were far more likely to agree (61%) than disagree (14%) that the quality of news reporting in the Arab world has improved in the past two years, however less than half think overall that the news sources in their countries are credible.

Online transactions are rare in the Middle East, with only 35% purchasing items online and only 16% investing online.

The complete set of results from the survey is available online at menamediasurvey.northwestern.edu.  The new interactive pages hosting the survey on the website have features that allow users to make comparisons between different countries, as well as between different demographics within each country.

Dennis confirmed that the research report is the first in an annual series of reports produced in collaboration with the World Internet Project; one of the world’s most extensive studies on the Internet, in which NU-Q is a participating institution.

NU-Q and WIP signed an agreement earlier in the year, providing a global platform for the current research.

June 29, 2013 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Jordan, Leadership, Living Conditions, Middle East, Privacy, Qatar, Safety, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Survival, Transparency, Tunisia | , , , | Leave a comment

6000 Expats Deported From Kuwait Via Kuwait Air?

. . . Only 5 deportees allowed per Kuwait Air flight, deportees only allowed on Kuwait Air, so it takes 1200 flights just to export the deportees they have already lined up crowding the jails? Or is this 6000 already deported?

Is it orderly? Do people know why they are being deported? Do they have time to make arrangements for family and/or pets? Is there an appeal process? Are the courts also clogged? Are only illegals being deported?

Has anyone seen a breakdown of deportees by nationality?

From the Kuwait Times

6,000 illegal residents deported in 6 months – Jails getting overcrowded

KUWAIT: Nearly 6,000 people were deported over the past six months of crackdowns on illegal residents in Kuwait, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting Interior Ministry statistics as of June 23. According to a source, who agreed to provide the statistics to Al-Qabas on the condition of not being named in the report, as many as 25,000 expatriates were arrested during security campaigns carried out since the beginning of the year across Kuwait.

The source said around 15,000 people were later released after their employers submitted documents to prove that the workers were living legally in Kuwait. In other cases, workers whose visas had recently expired were released after their employers gave assurances to renew their visas immediately.

The source also revealed that some employers were required to sign undertakings that they would not to allow their employees to work in other firms before the workers were officially released.

In addition to people with expired visas, the continuing crackdowns are targeting expatriate laborers reported missing by their employers, as well as people holding Article 20 visas (for domestic helpers) but working in private firms, for which visas are issued under Article 18 of the labor law. However, the source stated, such security campaigns could be put on hold until further notice, with jails getting “overcrowded with detainees.”

The source indicated that nearly a thousand employers were blacklisted for allowing domestic workers to work for others. Furthermore, he said cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs resulted in the blacklisting of nearly 500 companies found guilty of visa trafficking.

The source also indicated that Kuwait Airways is currently the only airline used to transport deportees. A maximum of five deportees per flight are allowed, he added, in order to avoid trouble inside the airplane.

Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al- Rashidi had announced in March the government’s intention to deport 100,000 foreigners this year, as part of a plan to reduce the expatriate population in Kuwait by one million within a decade.

The Interior Ministry never confirmed that the ongoing crackdowns on illegal residents were part of the deportation plan. In response to criticism from rights groups inside and outside Kuwait, Al-Rashidi later identified “marginal labor forces” as the target of the plan.

Kuwait is home to 2.6 million expatriates, who make up 68 percent of the country’s 3.8 million population.

Nearly 90,000 of them live illegally in the country, according to official numbers.

June 26, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Social Issues, Work Related Issues | 5 Comments

Qatar Emir Meets with Family to Plan Step Down

Honestly, who would want to be King? All those events and ceremonies, living your life in a fishbowl? Never a week went by in Doha without rumors of a new wife, speculation about an old wife, and comments on the Emir’s appearance. He has ushered Qatar through perilous times; few “blessings” are as two-sided as new wealth. He is looking healthier and happier than I have ever seen him; maybe he is looking forward to a life of privacy and leisure :-) We wish him well; we wish him safety and health and all good things. From today’s Doha News:

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, will meet with members of the ruling family and several Qatari advisors today, government-funded channel Al Jazeera reports.

Over the past two weeks, several foreign diplomats have said that a transition of power in Qatar is imminent. 

Citing “trusted sources” regarding its information about Monday’s meeting but not elaborating any further, Al Jazeera implied that the talks would revolve around the Emir’s succession plans.

Details about the upcoming changes in government are unclear. But the Emir is expected to cede power to his fourth son, 33-year-old Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, while the Prime Minister/Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, is said to be stepping down.

If the reports are true, the succession would be a historic event for Qatar and the Middle East, a region where rulers normally reign until death.

According to AFP:

“The emir is convinced that he should encourage the new generation. He plans to transfer power to the crown prince, Sheikh Tamim, and to carry out a ministerial reshuffle to bring a large number of young people into the cabinet,” a Qatari official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The Emir himself was a young 43 years old when he took power from his father in a bloodless coup on June 27, 1995, according to the Amiri Diwan’s website.

Though Al Jazeera’s report came in around 1am Monday, online reaction has already been building, with many Qataris expressing sadness about the potential end of Sheikh Hamad’s rule.

UPDATE | 12:20pm

Two hashtags in English and Arabic, #ThankYouHamad and  #شكراً_حمد, expressing gratitude for the Emir and his rule are trending in Qatar on Twitter.

Read more: http://dohanews.co/post/53723624652/report-qatars-emir-to-meet-with-ruling-family-members#ixzz2X8XZKABA

June 24, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Interconnected, Leadership, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Qatar, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

“We’re Moving On . . . ” at Pensacola Beach

Night before last, night a man was shot at the beach at 3:45 in the morning. According to the (very sketchy) details in the Pensacola News Journal, he had been having a fight with his girlfriend, had finished his fight and was then shot three times by a man he doesn’t know and who has no relationship to him. (This is what I understand from reading the paper; it doesn’t make sense to me, but it also says alcohol was involved.)

I only knew about the shooting because I saw a tiny little article about it on the AOL Local news section. When I went to look at it, it was gone.

In this morning’s paper, there is this sketchy description, and then – in several different sections – local are people quoted as saying “we’re moving on.”

OK I get it. We’re a beach community, and this is peak tourist season as folks pour in here from all the Southern states and other countries to enjoy our fabulous sugar-white sand beaches.

Before the tourists had hit the beach, the crime scene tape was down and a beach excavator had carted off the bloody sand.

I do get it. I really do. The season is short and we don’t want to be known as a beautiful beach where people can get shot. It’s a marketing problem.

There is something, however, that sticks in my craw about the swiftness of the moving on, and the barely there press coverage. A man was killed. Maybe he had been drinking. Maybe he had a fight with his girlfriend. Maybe he was at the beach very late (or very early) in the morning. None of these things seem to have anything to do with him having been shot, other than maybe being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong person had a gun and shot him. It seems a little disrespectful, to me, to move on quite so swiftly. A man lost his life. We don’t know why. Maybe we could just take a little time to figure out what happened and to acknowledge his loss?

June 19, 2013 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Community, Crime, Financial Issues, Leadership, Lies, Living Conditions, Marketing, Pensacola | 2 Comments

What Are Kuwait Traffic Laws?

You all know me – I am a law and order kind of gal. I like order, I like laws, especially those voted on by the people. I like laws which can be enforced, and are enforced, equally, for all people equally in the country. Oh? I did? I said EQUALLY twice?

We are all equal before the law.

Now here is the tricky part. Have you ever seen a listing of traffic laws in Kuwait? Can you find a listing of laws, violations, and their charges? When we apply for driver’s licenses in almost any country, we get a little booklet to memorize, with the laws written inside it. The laws are clear. Clear laws are enforceable.

I’ve looked at the MOI website. I see something that looks like it might be a traffic code in Arabic. I have looked everywhere; I cannot find one in English. I find no reference to any handbooks for people applying for their driver’s license.

How can you enforce a law if the law is not published? Is there a code somewhere listing violations and fines? I published one many years ago, something that all the expats were sending around as ‘the new Kuwait traffic rules’ but IF it was, there was never anything in the paper about it to confirm its validity.

00ktrafficfines

If you are going to have a major campaign to enforce traffic codes, you might want to publish the laws . . . in all major languages use today in Kuwait.

From the Kuwait Times:

Ali vows to rid traffic ‘disease’

Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali
KUWAIT: Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali stressed that all traffic violation-related deportations are in accordance with the law. Speaking at a press conference at the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) headquarters, Ali said that deporting people for traffic violations was also adopted by the US and other countries worldwide. “The problem is that we were very tolerant with violators and this does not mean that law violation is a right for motorists,” he underlined, urging all human rights organizations who have criticized Kuwait’s traffic police to examine human rights in their respective countries before talking about Kuwait.

“We have filed over 70,000 traffic citations including 43,000 serious ones such as running red lights, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on the wrong side and many others,” he elaborated, pointing out that those already deported did not want to respect the traffic laws they had repeatedly violated. Ali added that the results of studies of traffic problems revealed many and that once one problem was solved, another emerged immediately.

“We have various problems… including the fact that motorists speak many languages and dialects which requires a large number of specialists to develop their traffic awareness,” he explained, noting that the traffic remedy strategy started by diagnosing the “disease” by studying random “specimens” at different times of the day at places with heavy traffic flows such as Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, Shuwaikh Industrial Area, Amman Street, Bnaid Al-Gar, Khaitan, Farwaniya and Fahaheel.

“The specimens showed some major problems such as domestic drivers using private vehicles as taxis, taxi and large vehicle drivers who do not hold general driver’s licenses and people driving without licenses at all,” he said, adding that this called for strict law enforcement.

“Traffic in Kuwait is like an old sick man who once treated for one aliment develops another,” he noted, adding that 18 traffic inspection teams dressed in civilian clothes had been formed and deployed in various places. “Fortunately, traffic police only file 100 daily citations in Jleeb compared to 1,000-1,500 in the past”, he concluded.

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Civility, Communication, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Safety, Social Issues | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kuwait Blocks Viber? Good Luck With That ;-)

When I was working on my masters in national security affairs, we learned the concepts of capability vs. intent. How on earth can any country block those who are both technically savvy and strongly motivated? No matter what a country does to block the flow of communication, another route will be found, quickly, and information will flow . . .

This is just the latest vain effort to stop expats phoning home at cheaper rates. If the official international calling rates in Kuwait were not extortionate, people might even use the local system. As it is – just about every loyal Kuwaiti has some kind of long distance internet calling capability, or cell phone ap that makes it affordable. LOL, I am willing to bet that executives in the national telcom offices use internet phones or aps themselves.

Fight the battles you can win.

Kuwait weighs blocking Viber?

KUWAIT: Kuwait plans to study ways to control use of free calling and instant messaging services provided through smartphone applications, a local daily reported yesterday quoting Ministry of Communication insiders who said that such services could be banned if an agreement with developers could not be reached.

The news came days after Saudi Arabia announced blocking access to Viber after negotiations to allow government-monitoring for the service users in the kingdom broke down. “[The Ministry of Communications] is studying a proposal to form a technical committee whose job is to find ways by which the state can monitor audio and video calling services used through smartphone applications”, said the sources as quoted by Al-Anba yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not have permission from the relevant authorities to speak about the subject.

The sources specifically named Viber, an application that allows users to exchange messages, photos and videos as well as make calls free of charge using online services. “Viber is surrounded with espionage accusations especially that part of the company’s developers are centered in Israel while the company’s founder is an American-Israeli entrepreneur”, the sources explained. The current plan is for the proposed committee to study whether using the applications meets local regulations as well as the mechanism ‘to keep them under control’. —Al-Anba

June 15, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Middle East | , , , | 3 Comments

Qatar Prepares For Leadership Transition as Emir Steps Down

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.

Sheikh-Tamim-bin-H_2585265b

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.

June 10, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Cultural, Doha, Leadership, Political Issues, Qatar | Leave a comment

“I Will Wipe out the word WASTA from the Traffic Dictionary”

Wooo HOOOO on You, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali!

Unknown

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.

June 9, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Cultural, Family Issues, Kuwait, Law and Order, Leadership, Safety | | 2 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 398 other followers