The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A State Visit 

From the "Arab News"

Syrian President Bashar Assad flew into Jeddah yesterday and held unscheduled talks with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

That's interesting. An unscheduled meeting between His Royal Highness and His Royal Chinless. What on earth was that about? Well, according to the "Arab News"....

....The leaders called for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farm in Lebanon,....

You're joking! You're telling me that he commandeered a passenger jet from Syrian Airlines and flew 850 miles just to come and talk about a friggin' farm? Was this, perhaps, the conversation?

Abdullah: Someday... we're gonna have us a little house and a couple of acres, - and a cow and a pig and chickens.

Bashar: Pig and chic...

Abdullah: We gonna live off the fat of the land, and have rabbits.

Bashar: And have rabbits. - Abdullah, tell what we got in the garden.

Abdullah: OK.

Bashar: Then tell about the rabbits in winter, and about the stove and, uh...

Abdullah: how thick the cream was on the milk. -

Bashar: Yeah. - Go ahead, tell it. - Why don't you do it? You know all of it. Abdullah, no! Abdullah, no, it's not the same when I tell it. That's not the same. Tell, um, what... how I get to tend the rabbits.

Abdullah: We're gonna have a big vegetable patch and we're gonna have a rabbit hutch. - And down in the flat, we'lI have a...

Bashar: ..little field of alfalfa for the rabbits. - And I get to tend the rabbits.

Abdullah: Yeah, you get to tend the rabbits.

I think not. Sometimes the "Arab News" treats us all as if we had the same IQ as John Steinbeck's "Lennie". Now possibly Bashar came because he wants to do the Hajj. But I think he came because he's in seriously deep doo-doo, and is in desperate need of friends. I think this was the conversation....

Bashar: It's all going wrong for me. I just wanted to frighten Hariri with a little car bomb but they used too much explosive and they splattered him all over the neighborhood and now the ex-Vice-President has run off to Paris and is spilling the beans about me saying that I told everyone that "I will crush anyone who tries to disobey us" but that was just my little joke and now everyone is saying that I ordered Hariri's death and the United Nations is after me and the US is after me and Oh, Your Highness, I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do.

Abdullah: [shouts] You can act like a man! [he slaps Bashar] What's the matter with you. Is this how you turned out? A London Opthalmologist that cries like a woman? [Abdullah imitates him sobbing] What can I do? [camera pans to Prince Naif who is laughing] What can I do? What is that nonsense? Ridiculous! But I fix it for you, no problem. Now let's go to the Hajj.....

But Abdullah won't "fix it for him", of course. Kofi Annan and Condaleesa Rice won't wake up with a horse's head in bed. King Abdullah is nobody's fool, and he knows that he's going to keep a million miles away from Bashar's dirty diapers. After all, when Ms Rice comes after King Abdullah saying things about "no religious freedom in Saudi Arabia", the King can just smile nicely, extend his hand to her, and do an imitation of an oil derrick with his middle finger, to illustrate the realities of world energy supply and demand.

Bashar, on the other hand, has no oil, and nothing to trade. He's the leader of the most corrupt government of the most corrupt country in the Middle East, which is saying something, and no-one else wants to know him. Bashar Assad turning up on your doorstep is like settling down for the big game with your pizza and beer, or packing the children off to a birthday party so that you and your "other" are alone, when two earnest young Mormons ring your doorbell. So they'll go thru the usual insincere "situation in occupied Palestine....renewed their call for Israel to withdraw from all occupied Palestinian land and to grant Palestinians an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital....immediate Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farm in Lebanon...blah....blah" ritual, like they always do, but then it's time for coffee and dates before Abdullah looks at his watch and says "Gosh - is that the time already? Will they have refuelled your plane yet?".

Bashar retraces his forlorn steps to the aircraft. My advice, Bashar? Go back to the "day job".

Postscript 11th January 2006

Perhaps King Abdullah did "fix it" after all.

There are signs that influential Arab media outlets have been instructed not to carry more statements by former Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam, who has called for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.
Khaddam was at the heart of Syrian politics for more than 20 years
Several Saudi-owned outlets have not shown or published lengthy interviews that they have conducted with Mr Khaddam.
Other Arab media sources say this is a result of instructions from the Saudi government.

It looks like a lot of the media owners, also own racehorses.

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