Must Read

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite


UPI: Commentary: Move over Dubai

Author: Arnuad de Borchgrave
March 5, 2010


Arnaud de Borchgrave comments in UPI on the downfall of Dubai as the capital of 'casino capitalism' and rising Qatar as its replacement.

DOHA, Qatar, March 5 (UPI) -- For years, the new Hong Kong was Dubai, one of seven United Arab Emirates and a one-time smuggling port on the Persian Gulf, now the latest casualty of "Wild East" casino capitalism.

It was all fevered speculation with little oil and no gas to back it up. An indoor ski slope where the outside temperature hovers over 100 degrees Fahrenheit all summer, the world's tallest building -- twice the height of the Empire State Building -- and a downtown golf course couldn't prevent the implosion of Dubai's speculative bubble.

Thirty minutes away by air and you're in the Arab ElDorado, no longer the imaginary place of great wealth and opportunity that eluded 16th-century explorers in South America. Qatar with a population of 2.1 million is the wealthiest country in the world with a per capita income of $78,000. With only 35,000 people, Liechtenstein (banks) claims $118,000 but is in a separate league of stamp-sized states.

The oil giants are pouring tens of billions of dollars into GTL -- gas-to-liquid -- ventures with Qatar Petroleum. Depending on different criteria, Qatar is the world's first or second exporter of liquid natural gas. This week some of the 2,500 separate GTL systems, with 800 operators and technicians, began churning in a gigantic project that employs almost 50,000.

Fifteen years ago, Qatar's Sandhurst-trained Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani concluded that his father the emir, Sheik Khalifa bin Hamad, was squandering Qatar's future, hidebound as it was by a religiously inspired status quo. He deposed his father, on vacation in Switzerland, in a bloodless transfer of power.

Full Text of Document

More on This Topic

Must Read

National Geographic: New Old Libya

Author: Robert Draper

"Last September's terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi left the unmistakable impression of a country teetering on a knife-edge....

Must Read

CRS: Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy

Author: Christopher M. Blanchard

This report explains the current situation of Libya's post-conflict transition, the challenges facing the interim Libyan leadership, and the...

Must Read

NYRB: Is Libya Cracking Up?

Author: Nicolas Pelham

Muammar Qaddafi's was overthrown more than eight months ago, but now violence in the south of the country is even worse than it was during...