Abu Dhabi

Bye Bye, Dubai
December 01, 2009

I haven't seen anything by Tom Friedman or Fareed Zakaria about Dubai. But who knows? Maybe they are confiding to their diaries, although I don't think their type enjoys diaries. (I don't like them either, except the diaries of others.) Anyway, there's nothing good to say about Dubai, and Tom and Fareed don't like to displease their friends.

Does Dubai Matter? Ask Ireland.
November 30, 2009

Presumably the rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are currently locked in negotiations regarding the exact terms that will be attached to a “bailout” for Dubai World. We’ll never know the details but if, as seems likely, the final deal involves creditors taking some sort of hit (perhaps getting 75 cents in the dollar, at the end of the day), does that matter? Dubai probably has around $100bn in total liabilities, if we include off-balance sheet transactions, so total credit losses of $30-50bn need to be assigned. The direct effects so far seem small. HSBC leads the pack, in terms of exposure, but

Is Dubai the First Casualty in a Global Epidemic?
November 30, 2009

Officially, the only news coming out of Dubai on Sunday was that the central bank of the United Arab Emirates, the seven-state federation of which Dubai is a part, will extend ample credit to banks in Dubai. That should avert a series of runs now that it's pretty clear Dubai's banks have piles of bad loans sitting on their balance sheets.    But, of course, no one's *that* interested in the local financial sector in Dubai (spectacular though its collapse may be).

The Break-Up
November 18, 2009

Click here to read Steven A. Cook on why we should expect the Palestinians to launch a third intifada. Israeli officials and experts were initially reacting to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's promise not to seek re-election in one of three ways: They believed him and didn’t really care; they believed him and worried about the possible vacuum following his disappearance from the political scene; or they didn’t believe him. Last week, the third option seemed to be the most common read in Jerusalem.

Maybe Russia's Not So Thrilled With Global Warming
August 03, 2009

Last week, I noted a story in the Abu Dhabi National about how many Russians appear to be remarkably nonchalant, or even sanguine, about the potential impacts of global warming on their country. There were even quotes to this effect from high-ranking officials in Moscow, including Vladimir Putin, who, back in 2003, was daydreaming of a time when Russians could shed their fur coats. It didn't exactly bode well for global climate talks.

Mecca Bucks
March 26, 2008

According to some popular Muslim accounts, the marble Kaaba structure at the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca was built first by the angels before God created mankind, reconstructed by Adam, and later rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael. It's safe to say that none of these builders could have anticipated the latest use of the Mosque's image, in a promotional DVD for the Abraj Al Bait Towers, a giant new skyscraper complex slated to be built just across the street from one of the entrances to the Grand Mosque.

Making Waves
February 13, 2008

Meet Enrique Miralles, the real Frank Gehry.

Abu Dhabi: The Next Bilbao?

Look, almost everything is possible in a tiny country that has some some 10% of the world's oil reserves and only 370,000 citizens.  The other inhabitants (about 1.4 million souls) are visitors to second- and third-homes but mostly indentured laborers who, on arrival, are deprived of their passports and ordinary civil rights.  Oh yes, and guests in the many hotels (including one in the "seven star" class).  The world's tallest building will soon attract more visitors to Abu Dhabi which ABC reports (surely erroneously) whose citizens have an average net worth of $17 million.I've commented on th

The Frivolity Of The Gulf States
July 16, 2007

Is the "fix" in at the Times for Abu Dhabi and Dubai? How the hell do I know. But there sure has been a lot of attention paid to these meaningless mini-states.

Dubai, Or Abu Dhabi?
April 10, 2007

We stopped over for refueling in Dubai. But we remained on the plane. So I saw nothing up close. On the other hand, I did see the dozens of sky-scrapers rising out of the desert, including the one with the hotel with the helicopter pad precariously extended from the umpteenth floor of the colossus. This is a commercial wonderland that includes an artificial ski slope. Do you want to spend the next winter holiday in Dubai...skiing, with a nice hot chocolate after? I confess to a certain provincialism. I sometimes confuse Dubai with Abu Dhabi. One has oil and the other doesn't.