Wednesday 15 September 2010

Emarat runs out of petrol - burn me!

So it's been a while since I wrote, and that's because of a noticeable lack of interest in the topics gracing our lives. So please excuse my absence. However, yesterday (15/9/2010) a few weird things happened that demand to be mentioned.

First of all, my car needed to be filled with petrol so badly, the fuel indicator dipped below the zero indicator. So when I finished from my teeth-grinding boring meetings I pulled into Enoc (one of the 4 petrol providers in UAE) to fill up with regular gasoline (Special grade 95 RON Octane). The attendant told me that they are running dry and they have only Super 98 and Diesel. So I requested a full tank of Super 98 (which I believe is superior on long distance journeys). Before I could say "twitter" the tank was filled up because motorists refused to pay more to fill up with better quality petrol. Typical.

The attendant told me that they have problems with supplying fuel. Thanks ENOC.

Today I read in the papers that Emarat (another one of the basteurd petrol sellers) have run out of petrol due to technical problems with the supply chain, and they also mention financial problems with loans etc that won't be fixed until they can charge market prices and drop the state-sponsored price-system.

Read more here:

"Emarat is finding it difficult to get bank loans to enable it continue to sell petrol below cost, so it's trying to ration the limited quantity of gasoline it has. The company is incurring a daily loss of about Dh2 million due to the subsidy on the fuel and compensation from other businesses such as convenience stores isn't enough to cover the losses," an Emarat source told Gulf News. "This problem will continue until the government frees petrol prices," he added.

DAMN YOU "Emarat source"!!!!!!

The Emarat petrol distribution company announced that some of its 200 stations in Dubai and Northern Emirates are facing supply shortage of fuel (special Benzene). The company spokesperson told Al Bayan that “the shortage is due to technical issues related to the process of unloading cargo from ships to tanks in Jebel Ali". Khalid Hadi, Director of Information and Marketing of Enoc said, "All fuel stations of Enoc and Epco is functioning normally and is able to provide various types of fuel without any problems."

Not only dues Emirates 24-7 above show an ENOC picture when they are talking about Emarat problems, but they mention a very interesting point made by Mr Khalid Hadi, Director of Information (you can direct fictional movies, but can you direct information?!) that Enoc is not having "any problems".

OK. Sir.

What about the Enoc station site 1088, terminal ID 00108803, on Oud Metha Road that was empty of cars yesterday because you couldn't supply petrol to it cheap enough that people will buy it?

Also are we dumb enough to believe that in a country that can build the tallest building in the world, and the widest motorways, and the best airline that you cannot deliver fuel? Don't take us for stupid people please. It's like when Bush and Bliar (sic) convinced us that our security was threatened by Iraq and we HAD to invade and kill the innocent to protect the innocent.

Yeah right.

Also, ironic that the shortage came exactly 2 years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers (my screen shot of the bbc webpage from 2008 is attached).

However, seems not only the UAE is suffering from greed and stupidity. Pakistan, the only Muslim nuclear power is unable to supply its citizens with machine-readable passports in the UAE because they are only printed in Pakistan.

Please, please, when will the stupidity end?!


Sunday 12 September 2010

Losing battle for hearts - opinion

The following is an article in the Opinion pages of Gulf News/Guardian:

It sums up this mess we live in very nicely. Happy Eid everyone.


In the US, a crackpot pastor threatened to burn copies of the Quran and finally cancelled his plan yesterday after appeals from the president, the secretary-general of the UN, and Angelina Jolie. In Afghanistan, five US soldiers are charged with murdering civilians at random and collecting their fingers as souvenirs, while Nato troops open fire on protests against the pastor's plans.

In Britain, the normally hawkish International Institute for Strategic Studies says the threat from Al Qaida and the Taliban has been exaggerated, and warns that the war in Afghanistan risks becoming a "long, drawn-out disaster".

Meanwhile, Tony Blair cancels two appearances in London to publicise his memoirs after anti-war protesters pelt him with eggs and shoes in Dublin.

Welcome to the world of the ‘war on terror', on the ninth anniversary of 9/11. It is a world more divided, fearful and conflict-ridden than a decade ago.

"We need to win not just the military action, but to win people's minds," Tony Blair told CNN in November 2001, at the height of the Anglo-American bombing of Afghanistan. But the struggle for Muslim hearts and minds was allowed to morph into a seeming war on Muslims. The ‘war on terror' has resulted only in more war and more terror.

It all seemed so different in 2001. The mayor of Tehran called his counterpart in New York to offer his condolences, as Iranians held candle-lit vigils in solidarity with grieving Americans. Palestinians lined up to donate blood to the survivors of the attacks. Islamic scholars and clerics across the Middle East denounced the murderous barbarism of Al Qaida. Polls showed that vast numbers of hearts, minds and souls in the Muslim world were with the West.

But along came Guantanamo Bay, the catastrophic and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, photos of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib in 2004, and allegations of torture and murder at the US air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2005.

By 2006, Muslims across the globe were horrified and radicalised by the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, conducted with the blessing of Blair and his partner in crime, George W. Bush.

The ‘hearts and minds' brigade had to beat a humiliating retreat.

Hopes were raised again in 2008, with the election of Barack Obama, with a Muslim middle name and an African heritage. In his first six months in office, Obama declared that "the US is not and will never be at war with Islam"; in a speech in Cairo he symbolically "reset" relations with Muslim communities.

But Guantanamo is still open for business, and the president's demand that the Israelis ‘freeze' illegal colonies has fallen on deaf ears. The war on terror has been ramped up in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. The deaths of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistani civilians in US air strikes have increased on Obama's watch.

On Thursday, the US President said Pastor Jones' plans to burn the Quran would be a "recruiting bonanza" for Al Qaida. Yet he fails to recognise how the West's war in Afghanistan provides a similar boost to extremists — on both sides.

The "enemy" in Afghanistan, concluded the IISS report released last week, is "incentivised by the presence of foreign forces". And inside the US the likes of Jones and right-wing Republican bigots, frothing at the mouth over the ‘Ground Zero mosque' take their cue from aggressive leaders like Blair, Bush and Obama — who send more and more troops to fight and die abroad, in faraway Muslim countries, while denying any link between militancy and western foreign policies.

Whether the swivel-eyed priest goes ahead with his plan to immolate Islam's holiest book is, ultimately, irrelevant.

The battle for hearts and minds was lost long ago.

Mehdi Hasan is senior editor (politics) at the New Statesman.