Category Archives: environment

Petroleum Safaris: from South Asia to Africa to Yellowstone………..

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“You only hear stories of Saudi hunters camped out in the wilderness, having brought the entire infrastructure and staff of the hunt with them, including cooks, food, beaters and handlers. They shoot desert species of gazelle, oryx and Nubian ibex, and take them home as trophies. There are reports that sometimes they don’t even bother to fly through Khartoum airport, choosing instead to construct makeshift landing strips in the middle of the wilderness that are dismantled after they depart, sometimes apparently in massive military C-130 planes. While some of the more outlandish stories of playground hunting might be apocryphal, the latest reports from Tanzania are not. In one of the most dramatic cases of large-scale hunting in Africa by Gulf tourists, the Tanzanian government has reneged on a promise not to dedicate 1,500 sq km of Masai land to a Dubai company that arranges hunting trips for members of the Dubai royal family………..”

These potentates care about the environment and African tribal rights about as much as a majority of the U.S. Senate and Congress. But these Petroleum Safaris go on in South Asia (Pakistan) and North Africa as well.
I doubt that the princes and potentates will ever be able to bribe their way into a place like, say, Yellowstone. Or can they? It is scarey what can be bought these days. Just imagine Old Faithful renamed Shaikh Zayed Fountain, or New Burj Khalifa.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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One Rich Oil Prince as an Environmental Disaster……


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“A Saudi Arabian prince did some serious damage on a recent hunting expedition, managing during a 21-day killing spree to put a vulnerable species a few thousand deaths closer to extinction. The Saudi royal’s trip to Chagai, Balochistan this past January landed him 1,977 rare houbara bustards, reports Dawn, Pakistan’s English-language newspaper. Other members of his party managed to bag 123 more. According to a report prepared by the Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department – ”Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard” — “the prince hunted the birds for 15 days in the reserved and protected areas, poached birds in other areas for six days and took rest for two days.” Pakistan’s come under fire for issuing special permits to Arab rulers allowing them to hunt the birds, which are off-limits to Pakistani citizens……………..”

Just a few decades ago, they did not need to travel that far for hunting hubara and other birds and animals. The Gulf and Peninsula region had an abundance, given the sparse population.

The princes and potentates have long since depleted the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf from many of its once-native birds and animals. These native creatures (I don’t mean the potentates) became rare, and some of them have vanished from the region. Then the potentates started seeking easier hunting grounds.

Years ago they started on the fauna of the Indian Subcontinent (mainly Pakistan and to a lesser extent Bangladesh) and North Africa (mainly Morocco). This has gone on since the days of the military dictator Zia Ulhaq (before he was incinerated in a helicopter “accident”). This has continued under other regimes, especially the Sharif brothers (Nawaz and Whatishisname) who seem to alternate power with the Bhuttos and have been very close to the Al Saud princes. 
The princes have not yet acquired the East Asian craze for Rhino horns or elephant butts as alleged aphrodisiacs. Apparently not yet.

Ahmadinejad on Water Wars, European Fears, and Emma Lazarus……….

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Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Emma Lazarus (definitely NOT Europeans)

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that Western countries are plotting to generate drought in some areas of the world, including Iran. “According to reports about climate, whose authenticity has been verified, the European countries have used certain equipment to discharge clouds and prevent rain-bearing clouds from reaching regional countries such as Iran,” President Ahmadinejad said on Thursday. He made the remarks in the inauguration ceremony of a domestically-built dam in the central Iranian province of Arak. Ahmadinejad said the matter would be pursued by Iran’s legal authorities, IRNA reported. The Iranian president said such measures by European countries are aimed at creating tension and hostility in the maritime borders of regional countries. “Just as it was said before, I believe that the war of the future will be the war over water.”……….

He is right in one thing although he is not original: that water will very likely become a cause of future conflict. It already is: from the water disputes between Egypt and Nile-source African countries to the ‘issues’ Iraq has with Iran and Turkey and Syria over control of river water. Even the long Iran-Iraq war which was a result of Ba’athist aggression had water as its main component: the Shatt al-Arab waterway. That is the part Ahmadinejad is right about.
As for the rest, I suspect he is out of his mind if he is serious about it. Europe has seen one result of the droughts and desertification in Africa: the waves of unwelcome immigrants crossing the Mediterranean. Europe is also now worried about the impact of the Arab revolutions on creating a new wave of immigration to its shores. The last thing the Europeans want is to create another drought in the Middle East with more immigrants creating more neo-Nazis like Geert Wilders and Le Pen and others. I am not sure about Sarkozy, though, playing Napoleon and a softer version of a racist Fascist, desperate for his reelection. (There is no European equivalent of Emma Lazarus and her immortal verses on Liberty Island).
Sometimes I think Ahmadinejad shoots his mouth without thinking, then is forced to stick to his announced position out of pride. It is a Middle East thing. I have suspected that his Holocaust “quasi-denial” is also along similar lines.
(Later a professor of environmental science at Tehran University politely but firmly refuted Ahmadinejad’s assertion of European-induced droughts).

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