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(MEE) The United States on Thursday approved a series of deals worth more than $7bn to supply military helicopters, planes and missiles to four of its Arab allies.
The biggest agreement announced on Thursday was for a $3.51bn sale to the Saudi kingdom of 48 CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters with spare engines and machine guns.
The United Arab Emirates wants to spend $3.5bn on 27 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters plus support equipment, made by Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Qatar, meanwhile, has requested eight C-17 military cargo jets and spare engines in a pair of contracts totaling $781m.
And Washington has also approved a contract to sell Morocco 1,200 TOW 2A anti-tank missiles made by US arms giant Raytheon for $108m.
– Obama To Sell $10 Billion In Weapons To Israel, Saudi Arabia And The UAE (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2013):
Having been denied the ability to control guns by the democratically-controlled Senate last Wednesday in the biggest slap to the administration’s face in a long time, Obama decided promptly to put as many guns as he possibly can in the hands of US soldiers and various non-Americans. First, it was the announcement that Obama would send more troops to Jordan to prepare for “stability operations” which is a euphemism for Syrian rebel support (much of it controlled by the otherwise dreaded Al Qaeda), and now we learn that Obama is set to announce the sale of $10 billion worth of weapons to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It appears that Obama, like a true expert of Sun Tzu, is well aware that the only way forward to a Nobel prize winning global peace, is under the barrel of a gun, or on the receiving end of a hot AGM-65 Maverick missile.
Bloomberg reports that the arms sold to Israel also will include an unspecified number of V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft, air defense radar and KC-135 refueling tankers; the U.A.E. will probably buy 26 F-16 jet fighters, and the Persian Gulf nation as well as Saudi Arabia will each buy precision missiles, said the official who provided details on condition of not being named before the deal is announced.
The missiles being discussed include an unspecified number of the U.S. Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile, a new weapon being bought by the U.S. Navy, the official said. The missile, made by Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), is capable of attacking ground radar used by countries fielding sophisticated integrated air defenses, such as Syria and Iran.
If the transaction goes through, it will be the first foreign sale of the V-22 tilt-rotor made by Boeing Co. (BA) and Textron Inc. (TXT)’s Bell Helicopter unit. The U.A.E. already ordered 80 F-16s made by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) in the late 1990s, and Saudi Arabia operates a fleet of Boeing-made F-15 jets.
– UAE to buy $200mn worth of US drones (PressTV, Feb 19, 2013):
The United Arab Emirates has signed $1.4 billion in military contracts that includes $200 million worth of U.S.-made drones.
Washington has traditionally used “obedient Arab dictatorships” in the Persian Gulf as military bases in the region, according to antiwar.com.
Arming adversarial Arab monarchs with drones merely feeds the process of proliferation, the report added.
– 11 International Agreements That Are Nails In The Coffin Of The Petrodollar (The Economic Collapse, July 18, 2012):
Is the petrodollar dead? Well, not yet, but the nails are being hammered into the coffin even as you read this. For decades, most of the nations of the world have used the U.S. dollar to buy oil and to trade with each other. In essence, the U.S. dollar has been acting as a true global currency. Virtually every country on the face of the earth has needed big piles of U.S. dollars for international trade. This has ensured a huge demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. government debt. This demand for dollars has kept prices and interest rates low, and it has given the U.S. government an incredible amount of power and leverage around the globe. Right now, U.S. dollars make up more than 60 percent of all foreign currency reserves in the world. But times are changing. Over the past couple of years there has been a whole bunch of international agreements that have made the U.S. dollar less important in international trade. The mainstream media in the United States has been strangely quiet about all of these agreements, but the truth is that they are setting the stage for a fundamental shift in the way that trade is conducted around the globe. When the petrodollar dies, it is going to have an absolutely devastating impact on the U.S. economy. Sadly, most Americans are totally clueless regarding what is about to happen to the dollar.
– Students will be tracked via chips in IDs (San Antonio Express-News, May 26, 2012):
Northside Independent School District plans to track students next year on two of its campuses using technology implanted in their student identification cards in a trial that could eventually include all 112 of its schools and all of its nearly 100,000 students.
District officials said the Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags would improve safety by allowing them to locate students — and count them more accurately at the beginning of the school day to help offset cuts in state funding, which is partly based on attendance.
– Leak of a 70 page Criminal NATO Plan to Occupy Libya (Global Research, August 9, 2011):
UAE Would Occupy Tripoli in Post-Gadhafi Libya
West Prepares New State Radio, Mass Arrest of ‘Fifth Column’ Opponents of Rebel Regime….A 70-page plan detailing Western designs for the occupation of post-Gadhafi Libya, and apparently signed off on by the political leadership of the rebel Transitional Council in East Libya has been leaked, and paints a grim picture of the new regime NATO is planning on installing after the war.
The plan includes keeping large portions of the Gadhafian security apparatus intact, with a number of the leaders of the brutal regime’s crackdown left in position on condition of loyalty to the new, pro-West regime.
Even more controversial will be the “Tripoli task force,” a 15,000-man force operated by the United Arab Emirates which will, after Gadhafi is out of power, occupy the capital city of Tripoli and conduct mass arrests of Gadhafi’s top supporters.
– A99 Operation Empire State Rebellion: World’s Most (In)Famous Hacker Group ‘Anonymous’ Brings Peaceful Revolution To America To End Corrupt Two-Party System And Above All To Break Up Global Banking Cartel (Federal Reserve, IMF, BIS And World Bank)
– Anonymous strikes again: Iranian and UAE governments hacked (Independent, 3 June 2011):
Hackers have broken into the networks of both the Iranian and the Dubai governments, stealing more than 10,000 email messages as well as system usernames and passwords and releasing them online.
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs succumbed to a hacking attack perpetrated by Anonymous, which yielded the bulk of the email addresses. And, on Friday afternoon, a lone hacker – apparently with links to the group – struck the Dubai government’s system, releasing a “historic list of former gov.ae email passwords”, the domain used by the Arab Emirate.
While the first hack yielded around 10,000 emails, taken from the Iranian government and took control of some of its servers, the second was much smaller, including only around 100 usernames with passwords taken from the Dubai government, which are thought to be out-of-date. However, they serve to indicate the group’s reach just one day after another hacking group carried out an attack which yet again rocked Sony.
The hacktivist responsible for targeting Dubai said he had carried out the assault “because it’s time governments learn they have no power on the internet. This is our world”.
May 16 (Reuters) — The crown prince of Abu Dhabi has hired the founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times reported Sunday.
The Times said it obtained documents that showed that the unit being formed by Erik Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, with $529 million from the UAE would be used to thwart internal revolt, conduct special operations and defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from attacks.
The newspaper said the UAE’s decision to hire the contingent of foreign troops was taken before a wave of popular unrest spread across the Arab world in recent months, including to neighboring Bahrain and Oman.
Iran has not invaded another country for over 200 years!
The incongruity blows the mind. Here is Obama, with troops engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan demanding that a peaceful nation at war with no one demonstrate “its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law.”
“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.” – H. L. Mencken
Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus tells Bahrain conference calls in Mideast countries to join forces in order to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions
WASHINGTON – The United Arab Emirates, a key US ally in the Persian Gulf, has the capability to overpower Iran’s Air Force, US Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus said last week.
Speaking at a conference in Bahrain organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the American general said, “The Emirati Air Force itself could take out the entire Iranian Air Force, I believe, given that it’s got … somewhere around 70 Block 60 F-16 fighters, which are better than the US F-16 fighters.”
Petraeus, who is responsible for overseeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and security efforts throughout the region, called on the region’s countries to remain united in order to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
In light of the growing Iranian threat, said the general, the US has increased its participation in joint military drills held in the Middle East.
DUBAI — The Sunday London Times newspaper was removed by authorities from shelves in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday amid intensive reporting of Dubai’s debt problems, an executive at the paper said.
The National Media Council ordered the paper blocked by distributors without providing a reason, an executive at the paper in Dubai told Zawya Dow Jones.
The Sunday Times edition available in the U.A.E. on Nov. 29 featured a double-page spread graphic illustrating Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sinking in a sea of debt. The Times wasn’t given a reason for the block, or a timeframe when it will be lifted, the executive said.
A government official in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., said that the picture of Sheik Mohammed, which accompanied a story entitled: The sinking of Dubai’s dream, was “offensive.”
Under the U.A.E.’s media code, publications are prohibited from criticizing the sheikdom’s rulers. Local media and government officials have criticized international press coverage of Dubai’s debt crisis. Markets around the world fell last week after the government requested a debt standstill for one of its biggest conglomerates.
Saudi Arabia dwarfs other states in the region and analysts say there is concern that a common currency would serve to concentrate power in Riyadh
A project to establish a common currency for the Gulf has been dealt a near-fatal blow with the decision by the United Arab Emirates to abandon monetary union after disagreement with Saudi Arabia over the location of a future central bank.
The loss of the Emirates to the currency project could accelerate decisions within some Gulf states to diverge from Saudi Arabia’s desire to maintain a currency peg with the dollar. This could lead eventually to the UAE, the Gulf’s most sophisticated economy, floating its dirham, analysts in the region said.
The UAE attributed its decision to quit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) project to the choice of Saudi Arabia as host of the key monetary institution.
Evidence of mounting rivalry and distrust between the Gulf’s two biggest economies emerged two weeks ago, when a meeting of the GCC voted to locate the central bank in Riyadh. UAE officials expressed reservations about the decision. The choice of Riyadh would enhance the physical presence of Saudi Arabia within the GCC, as the organisation’s secretariat is already headquartered in the Saudi capital.
The UAE is the second state in the six-member GCC to pull out of the common currency, which was due to be launched next year. Oman had said already that it would not take part, but the loss of the Emirates, which has the greatest international trading links, makes it unlikely that the project will get off the ground.
They were heralded as “The 8th Wonder of the World” by numerous travel sites. They required a staggering $60 billion to construct, according to their developers. They attracted A-List celebrities from the Jolie-Pitts to the Beckhams to Lindsay Lohan. They were, in fact, “one of the most enterprising and ambitious ventures to ever have been imagined,” according to travel Web site Destination 360.
“They” are the epic Palm Islands, a series of three man-made islands in the shape of a palm tree, that along with the surrounding city of Dubai, were considered the “it” playground to the stars, a chic status-symbol to the rich, and a mammoth, epic, super-expensive, luxury landmark to the rest of us.
When you”re this high, you”ve got a long way to fall… And fall they have.
Yes, the global recession seems to be official, as the Palm Islands and Dubai have smacked into economic trouble, according to numerous published reports.
“It is clear that tens of thousands have left, real estate prices have crashed and scores of Dubai”s major construction projects have been suspended or cancelled,” the New York Times reports.
And the Palm Islands themselves? Not looking so good. The Mirror reports that the islands” real estate values have plummeted – by about half. Properties that were selling for about $4.5 million are now going for around $2.3 million. Probably not welcome news to celebs like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who own property there, the paper reports.
But it gets worse. Real estate developer, Nakheel, maker of Dubai”s Palm Islands, has suffered recent layoffs, according to ABC News. The Guardian reports that the third of the Palm Islands, the Palm Deira, which was previously under construction, is on hold, and VIrtualTripping.com reports that it is downsizing in scale.
Barclaycard has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology Photo: Getty Images
The futuristic systems, like those used by Tom Cruise in the science fiction film Minority Report, are being developed by scientists for Barclaycard.
The company has announced it is investing a seven-figure sum in “contactless payment” technology.
This allows customers to use everyday items they carry around with them – such as mobile phones, key fobs or even their eyes or fingerprints – to make payments.
It means shoppers will no longer have to rely on cards.
Barclaycard, which is part of Barclays, has already introduced a new-style cash machine in the United Arab Emirates enabling people to use their fingerprints to withdraw money and shoppers in the UK may soon be able to use the same technology.
· Green energy glasshouses may transform arid areas
· Fresh water will end need to dig wells, say architects
The Sahara forest project will use seawater and solar power to grow food in greenhouses across the desert. Photograph: Exploration Architecture
Vast greenhouses that use sea water for crop cultivation could be combined with solar power plants to provide food, fresh water and clean energy in deserts, under an ambitious proposal from a team of architects and engineers.
The Sahara Forest Project, which is already running demonstration plants in Tenerife, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, envisages huge greenhouses with concentrated solar power (CSP), a technology that uses mirrors to focus the sun’s rays, creating steam to drive turbines to generate electricity.
The installations would turn deserts into lush patches of vegetation, according to its designers, and do away with the need to dig wells for fresh water, an activity that has depleted aquifers across the world.
Pressure is mounting on central banks in the Gulf to fight surging inflation when they meet on Wednesday by severing the link between their currencies and the tumbling US dollar.Officials in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have denied rumours of an imminent decoupling, but investors are betting on reform and are rushing to buy local currencies as investment banks issue fresh calls for revaluation.
Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the US central bank, or Fed, has said that inflation rates in Gulf states, which are reaching near record levels, would fall “significantly” if oil producers dropped their US dollar pegs.
Speaking at an investment conference on Monday in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, he said the pegs restrict the region’s ability to control inflation by forcing them to duplicate US monetary policy at a time when the Fed is cutting rates to ward off an economic downturn.
Debate is rife in the Gulf on how to tackle inflation.
Greenspan, right, says inflation rates in Gulf states will fall if they drop their US dollar pegs [AFP]