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Bin Laden, Africom and the Pirates
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Oil, Terror and Yemen - Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher:
....they can keep a close eye on the 17 mile bridge between Yemen
and Africa being built by Osama bin Laden's half brother!

That's quite a significant find, that bridge of yours Jerry. And that's quite a
significant bridge too
. Not just for the bridge, but for what's at each end of
it and for the multi-billion (eventually trillion) dollar agenda that is now
coming into play in East and even Central Africa.

You posted over a month ago - but I've been researching amid the lots
of other financial tsunami stuff ongoing. So here's the gory results:

The Bin Laden's may have a bit of a bad rep in the West, but other than
Osama (who clearly drew the short straw) the rest of the clan are very
serious business people indeed.

Dr. Tarek bin Mohammed bin 'Awad bin Laden, is certainly the half-
brother of Osama bin Laden, but he is also the family's boy on the board
of Middle East Development (MED) --which is building that bridge and was
formed by Sheikh Tarek M. Binladen of Saudi Bin Laden Group.

Here's MED's pitch. They're into big real estate.
Not tower blocks. Cities, baby. Cities! Think big:

Dr. Tarek bin Mohammed bin 'Awad bin Laden:

“From the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf
to Syrian Arab Republic in the Middle East, Arab Republic of
Egypt and the Kingdom of Morocco in North Africa, to the
People's Republic of China and the emergent economies in
South East Asia, city development remains at the heart of this
new era of revolution."

Central to my vision of growth in the urbanising physical landscape of
these cities, is to offer evolving generations of citizen consumers,
businessmen, investors and tourists the prospect of accumulating assets
and improving their wealth status. Through our development role in the
UAE and Kingdom of Bahrain, we hope to raise quality of life and offer
diversity of choice for personal and professional pursuits. These
residential and commercial zones build stronger user communities,
forming collective social cohesion to energise market forces, spurring
economic progress.

In the first quarter of 2004, Middle East Development (MED) was formed
by Sheikh Tarek M. Binladen to capitalize on the market that is
shaping the future of the region with the mission to deliver world-class
, contracting services and investment vehicles.

Before we go any further, consider this map I posted in my 2004 article
entitled: Dawn of the G8 New World Order. Coincidentally, around the time
I posted that, the Bin Ladens were forming Middle East Development LLC.

In the article I wrote:

The G8 summit in Georgia has just announced a
50,000 strong global "peacekeeping" force --aimed first
at Africa. And they simultaneously declared a "partnership"
with a zone called "Broader Middle East and North Africa."
U.S. Centcom, in other words.

Your bridge, Jerry happens to link two key southern areas of Centcom.

Fast forward to my latest article: G8 Aims for a G20 New World Order.
And another map. This time notice the only blue-shaded country in the
Middle East to be invited to the G20 summit: Saudi Arabia.


I suppose you could guess that the U.S. did not go into Iraq for the
Oil, but to destroy a Saudi regional competitor, and render Iraq a virtual
colony of both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Which probably explains why its
Saudi money which is currently paying for a Sunni militia to contain the
Iraqi Resistance.

And you could thus infer that Saudi Arabia (and the BinLaden's) has won
the franchise to be the major power in the region. Our comiserations to
runner-up: Iraq. Tough luck, guys --but there can only be one winner per
region in the game of "Capitalist Idol". (Comiserations also to Pakistan
by the way, who lost out to India in a close-run competition further east.)

Countries in such regions, tend to have unfortunate, entirely coincidental
destabilizing problems with terrorism and armed groups of all kinds.

Until the ever-helpful "International Community" comes to the rescue.

Once "strong civil society structures" win out --with the help of U.S forces,
U.N. forces and then assistance from the IMF and the World Bank --then
these areas benefit from inward investment by wealthy investors --such
as the Saudi Bin Laden Group via their offshoot: Middle East Development
LLC, to pick an example at random.

Then everything gets rosy all of a sudden. Yemen is such a country,
where MED is forging ahead with plans at the eastern end of your bridge.


MED is currently planning a major project in Yemen, the Sana'a Gate.

Since the conclusion of the war, the government entered into
agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement a
structural adjustment program. Phase one of the IMF program included
major financial and monetary reforms, including floating the currency,
reducing the budget deficit, and cutting subsidies. Phase two will address
structural issues such as civil service reform.... economic, financial
and administrative reform program (EFARP) with the support of the World
and the IMF, as well international donors.

The World Bank is active in Yemen, with twenty-two active projects
in 2004, including projects to improve governance in the public sector.....


You see, this bridge will connect two huge cities to be built at each end
of this sea-spanning arterial bridge. One planned for 4.5 million
inhabitants in Yemen and one of 2.5 million people at the other
end of the bridge in Djibouti: Al Noor Cities!

These two cities and their connecting bridge will link East and Central
Africa with the Middle East, and create a new trading corridoor stretching
from the very Heart of Africa all the way to Baghdad and beyond.

Check out the impressive promotional video below.
And check out the logo at 7:50 into the presentation
to see who is building the Light of Africa.

Djibouti: The New Light of Africa


See Also Promo Flash Presentation

Building Al-Noor Cities

Al Noor City are twin cities, part of an ambitious project to link Asia and
Africa by building a transcontinental bridge. The total investment will
reach 200 billion US dollars in a 15 years consecutive run.

One Al-Noor city will be placed in Yemen on an area of 580 sq miles
-another city will be placed in Djibouti on 390 sq miles. The twin
cities will be linked by a bridge - the so called Bridge of the Horns.

The twin cities will be designed to ensure they rival some of the major
cities of the world. The Al-Noor cities will contain all the services essential
to a modern metropolis, including free trade zones, research and
development campuses, technology parks, financial districts and major
business and commercial districts

Al- Noor Djibouti” will be a globally integrated city challenging our
intellectual expectations, commercial financing experiences, cultural
limitations and religious barriers. A first of its kind, and a truly
humanitarian effort with the goal of Al- Noor Djibouti will be a globally
integrated city challenging our intellectual expectations, commercial
financing experiences, cultural limitations and religious barriers.

Located in Djibouti on the beachfront of the Gulf of Aden (Indian Ocean),
the city aptly named “Al-Noor Yemen” is based on a combination of
leading-edge master planning and design, interwoven with Djibouti history
and cultural identity, to create a truly international city that would be the
envy of any State or Nation.

• Foundation centers (R&D)
• Higher education campuses
• College and vocational training facilities
• Medical and health centers and facilities
• Townships of knowledge
• Seaport
• Port city
• Business center
• Industrial center
• Industrial park
• Logistic city
• Airport and aviation city

Bridge of the Horns Structure:

Entrance to the Middle East and connecting to Africa with the importance
of bringing people across. The first phase being a signature bridge
spanning from Djibouti to Yemen, extending deep into Djibouti mainland
to the airport. The second phase will extend the bridge to Yemen at a
length of 20 km. The bridge will serve over 100,000 cars and 50,000 rail-
riders daily once operational. It will include:

• Commercial transportation path for exporting goods and services
• Rail service from Djibouti to Yemen mainland (airport)
• A walkway from Djibouti to Yemen with a specialty railing

A Tourism and Leisure Center:

• Resort hotels
• Maritime museum
• Entertainment
• Art city
• Institutional zone
• City center

15 Year Timeline

A 15-year master plan is being developed to illustrate the viability and
efficiency of the City from inception to creation to its operation and

Other investors are lining up to pour money into Dubai and Ethopia.
Despite some skepticism, these investments will likely surge as the
"security situation" improves in the region. How fortunate.

The Sovereign Wealth Funds ...are bursting at the seams,...
See: http://www.cfr.org/publication/15251/ (Who else Wink )
...and these Funds always have an eye for the kind of bargain-basement
opportunities to be found in countries where vast numbers of people are
starving and lacking their own internal self-development capital.

Dubai Sultan to construct oil pipeline
Rehabilitate Ethio-Djibouti railway with $2 bln

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World has signed a
deal to construct a pipeline that would link Djibouti with Awash and
rehabilitate the over 100 year old railway line for a staggering two billion

Sources with the delegation told Capital that the total investment for the
rehabilitation of the railway is estimated to be one billion dollars and it
would be reconstructed as new to better connect Addis Ababa with the
Port of Djibouti.

Dubai projects stimulate Djibouti economic growth

By Shakir Husain, Staff Reporter - April 01, 2006

Djibouti: City Dubai's involvement in developing Djibouti's port
infrastructure, customs regime and a free zone is whetting the East
African nation's appetite for more foreign investment. Dubai is estimated
to be working on projects worth $800 million in Djibouti, changing the
country's economic landscape......


Dubai unveils $100m investment plans for Ethiopia

July 11, 2008, Reuters

Addis Ababa: Dubai will invest about $100 million in several Ethiopian
economic sectors beginning in October, a visiting group of financiers said.
Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, head of the Dubai World delegation,
said the Dubai government firm would invest in mining, trade, agriculture,
real estate and catering.

Ethiopia has forecast economic growth in 2008 of 10.8 per cent, boosted
by agriculture and services, but the country of 81 million people
remains one of the world's poorest.

Sovereign wealth funds like Dubai World have been enriched
by record oil and commodity prices
, and are looking to emerging
markets, as well as the richer economies, for new opportunities.


Well, I suppose that after all that overview --running from the
global scope of the G20 to the local nitty-grity of well-heeled investors
plans for impoverished Djibouti and Yemen-- we had better get on to
what amounts to a probably predictable punchline.

The following will no doubt embolden the wildly cynical views of the
"conspiracy theorists" among our members and readers --who might
very well believe that the noble goals of the "War on Terror" take
second place to a ruthless agenda aimed at destroying certain countries
via destabilization, in order to enable very wealthy and very well
connected groups to buy up the aforementioned countries at cents
on the dollar and run them as 21st Century..... um.... colonies.

Oh dear, what kind of twisted minds must you have that you would
believe that millions in Africa are consigned to decades of starvation
and milions in Iraq bombed and sanctioned into mass graves, simply
to make boatloads of money?

Ah well, I suppose you better read this extract from an Economist
article which provides refreshingly frank background information on
some of the people associated with the Twin Al-Noor cities and
the sweeping arches of the Bridge of the Horns:

Jul 31st 2008 | DJIBOUTI AND DUBAI

ONE OF Osama bin Laden’s many half-brothers, Tarek bin Laden, this
week signed a deal with tiny Djibouti which may—or may not—mark the
start of one of the world’s boldest engineering projects. Djibouti’s
president, Ismael Omar Guelleh, promised Mr bin Laden 500 sq km (193
sq miles) of land to start building Noor City, the first of a hundred “Cities
of Light” the vast Saudi Binladen Group plans around the world. “A hope
for all humanity, the first environmental city of the 21st century,” gushed
the promotional video at the signing. The audience, mostly American
military contractors near retirement age
, clapped enthusiastically.
Engineers elsewhere say the scheme is a fantasy.

Mr bin Laden, his sons, and their front man, Muhammad Ahmed al-Ahmed,
a Saudi former shipping executive
, say they have already invested
“hundreds of millions of dollars” in a plan to build cities on either side of
the Bab al-Mandib (Gate of Tears) strait at the foot of the Red Sea.
Construction is supposed to begin next year, after the terms of
sovereignty for the tax-free metropolises have been agreed.

Mr Ahmed brushed aside any worry about instability in Yemen, where
an al-Qaeda suicide bombing on July 26th targeted the country’s police.
Yet at the last moment Yemen’s government refused visas to journalists
travelling with Mr bin Laden.

Mr Ahmed has worked for DynCorp, an American military contractor.
So had one of the project’s main managers, Michel Vachon, before
moving to L3 Communications, a contractor often employed by the
American government
. Another manager, Dean Kershaw, spent 29
years in America’s forces
; some others had served in the Bush
. Armed American special-forces veterans now apparently
employed as security guards by L3 chaperoned journalists. All part of an
American plan to help secure the Suez shipping lane or to strengthen the
hand of friendly forces in Yemen? “Absolutely not,” said Mr Kershaw.
“The [American] government has vetted us, but they’re not behind us.”

Whatever the reality, the presence of arms manufacturers in the
consortium, including Allied Defense Systems and Lockheed Martin, will
fuel conspiracy theories among Arabs. Mr Ahmed says investors in
Djibouti’s Noor City have the chance to “be part of modern humanity” by
creating the “financial, educational, and medical hub of Africa”. Africans
may wonder why the hub is not being built in a bit of Africa where
more Africans live
and which has food and water.

.....blazing hot Djibouti, with 800,000 people, is already acutely short
of water and imports nearly all its food, that 150,000 of its people are
“facing imminent starvation”, according to the UN’s World Food
Programme.... millions more are famished in next-door Ethiopia.

Unlike the Gulf States, which financed most of their development from oil
revenue, Djibouti and Yemen are too poor to provide more than
scrubland. Mr Ahmed says his firm will finance a new railway through
Yemen to connect the new cities with Dubai. He is vaguer about Africa,
where a motorway and railway would have to be built to Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia’s capital, and on to Kenya’s Nairobi and Sudan’s Khartoum, if it
is really to help perk up the continent’s economy.


Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
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Posts: 415

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Al- Noor Djibouti” will be a globally integrated city challenging our
intellectual expectations, commercial financing experiences, cultural
limitations and religious barriers. A first of its kind, and a truly
humanitarian effort with the goal of Al- Noor Djibouti will be a globally
integrated city challenging our intellectual expectations, commercial
financing experiences, cultural limitations and religious barriers.

This poor copy had me thinking "private cities".
Utterly run as businesses with opportunities offered to the surrounding famished to come and live as (little better than) slaves.

The next step on from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Corporate citystate.

Al-noor London,Al-noor Cork......

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Location: Capacious Creek

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Piracy 'will worsen unless Yemen and Somalia are made stable'

Two reports warn that 'forgotten war' and political upheaval in Gulf of Aden and Indian ocean mean lawless zone could grow

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Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert wrote:
“Al- Noor Djibouti” will be a globally integrated city challenging our
intellectual expectations, commercial financing experiences, cultural
limitations and religious barriers. A first of its kind, and a truly
humanitarian effort with the goal of Al- Noor Djibouti will be a globally
integrated city challenging our intellectual expectations, commercial
financing experiences, cultural limitations and religious barriers.

This poor copy had me thinking "private cities".
Utterly run as businesses with opportunities offered to the surrounding famished to come and live as (little better than) slaves.

The next step on from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Corporate citystate.

Al-noor London,Al-noor Cork......


Its like the film Equilibrium.

You must take your emotion tranquilizers to live in these city cheesy

If you win the rat race, your still a rat!
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James D

Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 1017

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the link bri, full of articles, photos and video and lots of interesting details. Harrrrr!

Well, splice mi' futtocks!
Like this one -
The attack on the US-bound vessel carrying $100m (£67m) of oil took place 450-miles south-east of the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

And these guys do not consider themselves "pirates", they're National Heroes protecting their country from illegal fishing and chemical waste dumping.
Not to mention illegal arms consignments headed for neighbouring war zones! And the Governments paying the ransoms seem to be encouraging it.
Check it out:-

Here's some good background from AlJazeera:-

Inside Story - Piracy - Sept 29 - Part 1

Inside Story - Piracy - Sept 29 - Part 2

What can be done? - Negociate and try to get the price down!
And all that jolly swag will hopefully be put to good use in the local economy! Or spent in Al Noor shopping malls!

Cost of ransoms paid - 100M Dollars per year
Value of Illegal Fishing stolen 300M Dollars per year

Some people might want to squeeze that margin or trade gap!


A western armada is not the way to sink Somalia's pirates

These fishermen-turned-hijackers are best tackled by local fleets - and by targeting poachers of the stock they used to catch


It has been quite a year for Somali pirates: 92 attacks have to date been attempted, with 36 successful hijackings and 268 crew members taken hostage. Given that the average ransom per vessel amounts to about $2m, it is hardly surprising that the port of Eyl, one of the major pirate lairs, has witnessed a veritable boom, with pirates feted by many as local heroes. Some observers estimate that Somali pirates reaped $30m in ransom during the first nine months of this year.

Another sum is less frequently mentioned: the estimated $300m of fish poached in Somali waters annually by trawlers hailing from nations as far away as Taiwan - or France and Spain, for that matter. Seen from this perspective, it is hardly surprising that some pirate groups see themselves as defenders of Somali fishermen, giving their groups names such as National Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia, or Somali Marines.

Their modus operandi is telling, too. The pirates have reached a technical and nautical sophistication matching that of many "real" coastguards all over the world: Somali pirates operate from mother ships, probably small freighters or local dhows, which enable them to strike so far out at sea. They use satellite phones and GPS as navigational aids, and once they spot their prey they attack it in wolfpack-style, swarming the targeted vessel with fast fibreglass boats and halting its passage by firing AK-47 salvoes or even rocket-propelled grenade rounds. Then they board the vessel, and the maritime hostage scenario begins.


However, it should be pointed out that conducting anti-piracy patrols in these waters can only ever be half of the solution. The other is to protect Somali waters against illegal fishing, thus giving local fishermen a fair chance to earn a living without turning to criminality. With all the focus on piracy and the "lure of easy money", it is all but forgotten that the majority of Somali fishermen do just that - try to earn a decent living against all odds, and now more and more often in the crossfire of pirates and navies. A deadly catch indeed.

• Dr Peter Lehr is a lecturer in terrorism studies at the University of St Andrews and editor of Violence at Sea: Piracy in the Age of Global Terrorism

Well mi' hearties, time to slip anchor, so splice the mainbrace but don't get three sheets to the wind!

Yo, ho, ho......
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James D

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The plot thickens and takes a nasty turn as "Al Qaeda" (that's how they reported it here) shows up to help out its old buddies in the G 8+...!
Somali fighters hunt pirate crew
Somali fighters opposed to the country's interim government have entered the port town of Haradheere in a search for the pirates who seized a Saudi Arabian-owned oil tanker, a local elder has said.

Pirates have demanded a $25 million ransom for the Sirius Star, which was carrying more than two million barrels of oil when it was captured and is believed to be anchored off the coast of Somalia.

The Haradheere elder told the Reuters news agency that the fighters wanted to know the whereabouts of the Sirius Star, which was captured on Saturday about 450 nautical miles off Kenya.

"The Islamists say they will attack the pirates for hijacking a Muslim ship," he told the Reuters news agency.

Sheikh Abdirahim Isse Adow, an opposition spokesman, told the Reuters: "Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and hijacking its ship is a bigger crime than other ships."

The pirates are reported to be building up their defences around the vessel as the world's largest oil tanker company and other maritime officials said a more aggressive military approach is needed to stop such attacks.

"I think that's the only solution," Martin Jensen, the acting chief executive officer of Oslo-based Frontline Ltd, said on Friday.

Some analysts have suggested that opposition fighters benefit from arms shipments and income gained through piracy.

The groups have denied the allegations and point to the decrease in maritime attacks during the Islamic Court Union's brief control of large parts of the country in 2006.

That can't be good news for the captured crews, so let's hope they pay up and they all can go home soon.

But there's some excellent opportunity to field test some new non-lethal "anti-piracy" devise. Interesting (after the adverts):-

...and a bit of grease and barb wire goes a long way!

Meanwhile back at the mall :-

Life in Somalia's pirate town

Whenever word comes out that pirates have taken yet another ship in the Somali region of Puntland, extraordinary things start to happen.

There is a great rush to the port of Eyl, where most of the hijacked vessels are kept by the well-armed pirate gangs.

People put on ties and smart clothes. They arrive in land cruisers with their laptops, one saying he is the pirates' accountant, another that he is their chief negotiator.

With yet more foreign vessels seized off the coast of Somalia this week, it could be said that hijackings in the region have become epidemic.

Insurance premiums for ships sailing through the busy Gulf of Aden have increased tenfold over the past year because of the pirates, most of whom come from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

In Eyl, there is a lot of money to be made, and everybody is anxious for a cut.

Eyl has become a town tailor-made for pirates - and their hostages.

Special restaurants have even been set up to prepare food for the crews of the hijacked ships.

As the pirates want ransom payments, they try to look after their hostages.

Money to spend

The coastal region of Puntland is booming.

Fancy houses are being built, expensive cars are being bought - all of this in a country that has not had a functioning central government for nearly 20 years.

Observers say pirates made about $30m from ransom payments last year - far more than the annual budget of Puntland, which is about $20m.


Now that they are making so much money, these 21st Century pirates can afford increasingly sophisticated weapons and speedboats.


More than 30% of the world's oil is transported through the Gulf of Aden.


It is likely that piracy will continue to be a problem off the coast of Somalia as long as the violence and chaos continues on land.

Conflict can be very good for certain types of business, and piracy is certainly one of them.

Weapons are easy to obtain and there is no functioning authority to stop them, either on land or at sea.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Postscrpt to my article on the previous page
about Bin Laden's bro and his MED company.

It's not all Arabs. There is a US connection:

Middle East Development LLC (chaired by Tarek M. Bin Laden) on April 25
issued a notice-to-proceed to Noor City Development Corp., Napa, Calif.
It authorizes Noor City, as sole agent, "to proceed with the planning,
development, construction and management of the bridge between
Yemen and Djibouti."

The newly formed Noor City Development Corp. is led by Tariq E. Ayyad,
president. Ayyad is also president of ShareChive LLC, San Francisco, a
technology firm with patented systems for delivering constantly refreshed
project data to mobile computers on jobsites, with an emphasis on
highway and large infrastructure. Ayyad is an American of Kuwaiti
extraction, a civil engineer, construction manager and a former bridge
engineer with the California Dept. of Transportation.


500 Sansome Street, Suite 301
San Francisco, CA 94111 USA




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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember the "We've got no hidden agenda"

APA-Lagos (Nigeria)

A delegation of the United States congress on Wednesday urged Nigerian legislators to accept a military base under the proposed African Command (AFRICOM).

The delegation was in Abuja where they held talks on strengthening defence relations between the US and Nigeria.

The delegation included senator James Inhofe, and representatives Randy Neugebauer, Jeff Miller and Robert Aderholt.

They said it was it was necessary for the US to have a specific command for Africa, which is independent of other US commands in Europe and the Mediterranean.


"Any one who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices." Voltaire
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 7:40 am    Post subject: Turn out the lights, the party's over Reply with quote

Dubai Speculators Quit as Lending Drought Bursts Desert Bubble

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The classified ads in Dubai read like an obituary for a real-estate market that until a few months ago seemed immune from the global credit crisis.

A Turkish investor, who identified himself as Sebat, took out 10 bright yellow ads in the Nov. 25 edition of Gulf News, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest newspaper, with the headline: “DIRECT FROM OWNER DISTRESS SALE!!!” Sebat said he used to be able to buy four or five properties at a time and sell them the next day for a profit of as much as 5 percent.

“There is panic in the market,” said Sebat, 52, who wouldn’t give his full name because he’s juggling 60 properties.

The property bubble in the desert emirate, home to the world’s tallest building, most expensive hotel suite and largest manmade islands, is bursting as scarce credit and slumping oil prices have international investors scurrying to dump assets. That may shatter Dubai’s goal of creating a sustainable economy by building the Persian Gulf hub for finance and tourism, forcing it to depend on oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi for financing.

“Dubai is more precarious than it has ever been,” said Christopher Davidson, author of “Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success” (2008, Columbia University Press). “If the property industry collapses in Dubai, it will be finished. Dubai’s relative autonomy will come to an abrupt end.”

The emirate’s push into luxury property developments and tourist attractions was diversification on “paper sand,” said Davidson, a professor of Middle Eastern affairs at Durham University in the U.K.

‘Nasty Downturn’

Real-estate prices may drop 20 percent or more, analysts at EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the biggest publicly traded investment bank in Egypt, said in a report this week.

Nakheel PJSC, the Dubai state-owned developer of three palm-shaped islands in the Persian Gulf, said Nov. 30 that it is scaling back or delaying work on some of its $30 billion in projects, including the 62-story Trump International Hotel & Tower near the Mega Yacht Club on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah.

“In such a nasty downturn, which we are seeing now, they are just not immune to global events,” said Michael Baer, founder of Dubai-based Baer Capital Partners and great-grandson of Julius Baer, who started Switzerland’s largest independent wealth manager. “Maybe the boom is over for the time being.”

The sheikhdom may need help from Abu Dhabi and the U.A.E. to service its debt, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Dubai borrowed $80 billion to finance its transformation and make up for a lack of natural resources. It has just 4 billion barrels of oil reserves, compared with Abu Dhabi’s 92.2 billion barrels.

‘Healthy Correction’

Dubai officials say the emirate can weather the storm.

“The real estate sector is witnessing a healthy correction,” Mohammed Ali Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC and head of a committee studying the effects of the global credit crisis on Dubai’s economy, said in a Nov. 24 speech. “This is a consequence of global financial conditions and is inherent to the very nature of the market.”

Dubai will meet its debt obligations, he said.

Baer said he is optimistic the boom will return if the government takes the right actions. “There will be layoffs, they will have readjustments in asset prices and maybe they will have more careful accounting practices,” he said.

Led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai attracted investment with no income tax and free-trade zones. Dubai, the second-biggest of the U.A.E.’s seven states, benefited from an inflow of international investors eager to tap the Gulf’s wealth after a six-year surge in oil prices.

Five-Year Boom

Real-estate values surged fourfold over the past five years, fueled by a supply shortage and an influx of expatriates. Rising commodities prices drove inflation, which accelerated to a record 11.1 percent in the U.A.E. last year. Dubai opened its property market to foreign investment in 2002.

Borrowers tapped mortgages for as much as 90 percent of a property’s value to buy homes on the manmade fronds of the Palm Jumeirah and villas with gardens or golf-course views in developments such as Emirates Hills, The Springs and The Lakes.

Now the credit crunch is coming to Dubai. It’s being aggravated by oil prices that have tumbled 68 percent since reaching a record $147.27 a barrel on July 11.

That will mean less interest in buying third or fourth homes in Dubai, said Gabriel Stein, a director at London’s Lombard Street Research, which provides economic analysis.

“There are bound to be white-elephant developments,” he said. “If it was built on the premise of ‘build it and they will come’ then that will now turn out to be a mistake.”

Bargain Villas

Banks are tightening lending or freezing it altogether. Amlak Finance PJSC, one of the U.A.E.’s biggest mortgage lenders, said Nov. 19 that it had suspended new home loans. London-based Lloyds TSB Group Plc stopped offering mortgages for apartments in Dubai on Nov. 11 and reduced the amount it will lend for villas to 50 percent of the price, from 80 percent.

The cost of a seven-bedroom villa on Palm Jumeirah dropped to as low as 19 million dirhams ($5.2 million) last month, from 30 million dirhams in September, according to the Dubai unit of German real-estate company Engel & Voelkers AG.

On Nov. 20, Nakheel and its South African partner threw a $20 million party for the opening of the $1.5 billion Atlantis resort, complete with the world’s biggest fireworks display and celebrities from actress Charlize Theron to singer Kylie Minogue. The hotel’s most expensive suite costs $42,000 a night excluding breakfast.

Two days later, the U.A.E. stepped in to shore up Dubai’s two biggest mortgage lenders, Amlak and Tamweel PJSC. They are merging with state-owned Real Estate Bank, based in Abu Dhabi.

No Longer Immune

Artur Khayrullin moved to Dubai three years ago to escape the Russian winter and invest in the booming real-estate market. Now he’s being forced to sell four apartments to raise cash for his family business in Moscow. They have been on the market for two months.

“With all this oil money in the region, I thought the Dubai property market would be secure from the global problems,” the 30-year-old Bentley owner said, reached on his mobile phone on the beach. Now, “nobody is getting financing.”

The worst may be yet to come as a glut of properties arrives on the market.

About 70,000 units are scheduled to be completed in 2009, more than half of which were originally planned for this year and last, according to a September report from EFG-Hermes.

Buyers willing to commit to purchases before construction are harder to find. So-called off-plan sales helped fuel the bubble with some properties passing through multiple buyers. Off-plan prices have dropped as much as 20 percent since September, according to developer Al Jabal Holdings.

“The speculative buyers were more than 50 percent of the market,” said Eckart Woertz, chief economist at the Dubai- based Gulf Research Center. “They have disappeared.”

Istanbul native Sebat said he’s prepared to leave after 12 years in Dubai.

“I will be in a very big panic and will want to get out of Dubai if I don’t think things will get better,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Dubai at gcarey8@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: December 3, 2008 19:27 EST

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.
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Site Admin

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Posts: 8794

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving swiftly along...... Wink

U.S. Requests U.N. Authorization to Hunt Somali Pirates on Land

Thursday, December 11, 2008

UNITED NATIONS — The United States sought international
authorization Wednesday to hunt Somali pirates on land with the
cooperation of Somalia's weak U.N.-backed government in one of the
Bush administration's last major foreign policy initiatives.

The U.S. circulated a draft United Nations Security Council resolution
proposing that all nations and regional groups cooperating with Somalia's
government in the fight against piracy and armed robbery "may take all
necessary measures ashore in Somalia," including its airspace.

If the U.S. military gets involved, it would mark a dramatic turnabout from
the U.S. experience in Somalia in 1992-1993 that culminated in a deadly
military clash in Mogadishu followed by a humiliating withdrawal of
American forces.....

The U.S. resolution is to be presented at a session on Somalia Tuesday
with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

It proposes that for a year, nations "may take all necessary measures
ashore in Somalia, including in its airspace, to interdict those who are
using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy and
armed robbery at sea and to otherwise prevent those activities."

Spearheading the administration's case, Rice intends to make a pitch at
the U.N.'s anti-piracy meeting in New York on Tuesday with her
counterparts from a number of nations with a stake in solving the

"I expect in the coming weeks we will work within the U.N. to give the
international system better policy tools to more effectively address the
problem and its root causes," State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said.

That includes pressing for an international peacekeeping force in Somalia
to replace the Ethiopian-led force that is to depart soon, he said. The
pirates are Somalis based in camps near coastal port villages. The U.S.
says they have links to an Islamic extremist group that has taken control
of much of the country.



Last Domino Standing: On the Fate of Somaliland
J.Peter Pham, PhD - December 11, 2008

Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
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James D

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Posts: 1017

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A cross-thread gold backwardation-pirate observation by Dr. Fekete :-




Right now the backwardation in gold also means another drastic drop in the velocity of gold circulation, and it will also cause a tragic contraction in world trade. It will also be catastrophic to employment and economic health in general. Interest rates will continue to fall with a deleterious effect on capital. I don't see that confiscation of gold is in the cards this time. It could not be enforced. People would not comply. Gold confiscation is a trick that can only be pulled off once. A con-game won't work for the second time.

What I see coming is that gold will be declared 'extralegal' by the U.S. government to prevent gold from becoming a world currency, by withholding legal protection from contracts made in terms of gold. For example, if crude oil was bought for gold and the supertanker carrying it was hijacked, and if the U.S. Navy captured the boat from the pirates, then the U.S. government would confiscate the oil as 'contraband', arguing that it was paid for in gold. No court in the world would give relief to the rightful owners.


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Jerry Fletcher

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:02 pm    Post subject: Gates commits to longterm swashbuckling Reply with quote

Fintan wrote:
That's quite a significant find, that bridge of yours Jerry. And that's quite a
significant bridge too. Not just for the bridge, but for what's at each end of
it and for the multi-billion (eventually trillion) dollar agenda that is now
coming into play in East and even Central Africa.

Great stuff, Fintan! Fantastic Analysis! Really creepy movie!
The larger picture begins to emerge.
Global development funded by energy profits.

And it looks like the road to African development is being paved with the "piracy problem."

It's apparently reached the desk of the new Secretary of Defense, er, I mean the old Secretary of Defense, uh, well, I mean Robert Gates.

Presidents come and go, I guess, but some things seem to never change, huh?

Anyway, here are the thoughts of Robert M. Gates concerning the Jolly Jihaders...

Gates Calls for Action Against Somali Pirates

By Camilla Hall

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called for steps to combat the rising threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia and said the U.S. needs more intelligence before it embarks on land pursuits.

Gates said companies and ships must use common sense, consider increasing their security personnel and be more vigilant about using recommended routes to stay safe.

Senior U.S. naval officers yesterday expressed concerns about pursuing pirates onto Somali territory, a policy advocated in a resolution the Bush administration submitted to the United Nations. While the U.S. is pushing the UN Security Council to authorize such pursuit, the resolution doesn’t signal any intention for the U.S. itself to chase pirates onto Somali territory, according to an American official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Under the United Nations Security Council resolution passed last week, members of the international community must work together to aggressively pursue and deter piracy,” Gates said at a security conference in Bahrain today.

The U.S. offered the draft resolution to the council Dec. 11. A vote may be held as early as next week, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to visit the UN, although questions raised by Indonesia about whether land pursuit would violate international law may delay consideration.

Land Pursuit

Land pursuit operations would carry a high risk of harming innocent civilians because of the difficulty of identifying those guilty of piracy, U.S. Fifth Fleet spokeswoman Lieutenant Stephanie Murdock said yesterday.

“This has become a very good business and the first thing we need is better intelligence on who’s behind it,” Gates said. More information is needed on the culprits to minimize any collateral damage from land pursuit, Gates said. “With the level of information that we have now we are not in the position to do that kind of land attack,” he said. With “adequate intelligence” only, land attacks may be carried out, he added.

Gates also advised nations to prepare standard operating procedures against seaborne threats including piracy, terrorism, narcotics trafficking and smuggling. He said taking basic steps like speeding up or raising the ladders of the boats would be a good first move.

Strategic genius! No wonder he's Secretary of Defense!

Naval Vessels

The U.S. currently has six naval vessels in waters near Somalia, according to Murdock. U.S. allies have another six to eight ships in the region, she said.

The European Union earlier this month authorized deployment of a naval task force off Somalia in an effort to curb the problem. Somali pirates have attacked more than 32 ships, seized 12 of them and taken 230 crew members hostage since October.

Gates, who has been retained as defense secretary by President-elect Barack Obama, made his comments in a speech at the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrain which brought more than twenty countries together to discuss regional security in the Gulf and Middle East. During the speech he promised “continuity” and “commitment” to the region.


Fintan wrote:
Moving swiftly along......

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