RT News

Sunday, November 29, 2009

“Israel is the American Killing arm“, Chavez

What a reputation for any religious, civilised or democratic country to have? President Chavez hits the nail on its head by correctly identifying what the real purpose of creating, supporting and arming the Jewish state of Israel by the Americans; although being in breach of 39 UN Security Council Resolutions and despite being led since its independence by terrorists, criminals, assassins and fraudsters. The American CIA was known for inventing all tools to assassinate people, especially those on the left of the political spectrum. But Jimmy Carter had exposed the CIA as a killing machine and fired 750 CIA agents accused of committing homicides. In order to cover all traces, the CIA has long depended on the Israelis to carry out their dirty works in the Middle East, South Africa, Latin America, and in Europe. The US has also asked its allies to let MOSSAD agents to register with the local authorities and to operate unimpeded. These are some of MOSSAD criminal activities:
1.Killing Palestinians in Beirut, Damascus, Malta, Cyprus, Tunis, Rome and Paris.
2.The arming of the Lebanese Falange to kill Palestinians at Sabra abd Shatilla.
3.Training and arming of South African Terra Blanche fascist organisation.
4.Training and arming Latin America death squads.
5.Killing Iraqi and Egyptian nuclear scientists, in Paris and in Libya.
6.Killing Canadian weapon expert Dr Bull, in Brussels.
7.The kidnapping and killing of 355 Iraqi scientists in US-occupied Iraq.
8.The kidnapping and killing of Iraqi pilots in US-occupied Iraq.
9.The kidnapping and killing of Iraqi intelligence officers in charge of Israeli section in US-occupied Iraq.
10.The kidnapping of Israeli nuclear worker, Vanunu from London.
11.The assassination of Hezbullah members outside Lebanon.
12.Assisting the Shah Savak in setting up Iran torture and interrogation centres.
13.Assisting the Americans at Abu Ghraib prison, in US-occupied Iraq.
The roles of the Americans are to identify targets, travel documents, houses, weapons and means of escape. It is the real unholy alliance between the American right wing extremists infesting US intelligence agencies and the criminal Israelis.
Google people should be assassinated too!

I didn't have time to Google all the names and dates of MOSSAD known asassinations in collaboration with the CIA, MI-6 and French intelligence services. Furthermore, many wetern embassaies offer sanctuaries to Israeli MOSSAD agents. During Saddam rule, some MOSSAD agents worked in the Dutch embasy in Baghdad. The Iraqi resistance have a special treat reserved for the Israelis and their agents whenever they are located. MOSSAD place of operations were blown up in Arbil, Kirkuk and in at least four places in Baghdad. Like the Americans, remains of Israelis killed in Iraq are buried in a special cemetry. There is much mooooooooore to come.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Dubai house prices seen extending falls on debt crisis

Sief Palace

Sunday, 29 Nov, 2009

Dubai may experience further losses in property values in the coming

months.— Photo from AFP/File

DUBAI: Dubai’s property market is likely to face further price falls

and increased concerns over the availabilty of finance after the

emirate said it would delay debt payment issued by two of its flagship

firms, analysts said.

Dubai rocked the financial world on Nov 25 when it said it would ask

creditors of Dubai World, the conglomerate behind its rapid expansion,

and Nakheel, builder of its palm-shaped islands, to agree to a

standsill on billions of dollars of debt as a first-step to


‘The news plays on investor psyche and house prices may slide a

further 20-30 per cent earlier than our existing view of second half

of 2011,’ said Saud Masud, UBS’ head of research and senior real

estate analyst, Middle East and North Africa.

‘There may likely be further job cuts as a result of any potential

restructuring, and that could directly impact population outflows and

result in housing oversupply.’ State-run Dubai World had $59 billion

of liabilities as of August, a large proportion of Dubai’s total debt

of $80 billion and repayment of Nakheel’s $3.5 billion worth of

Islamic bonds, which were originally due to mature on Dec. 14, was

widely expected by the market to be met.

‘I think residentially there will be an impact. There will be

uncertainty over liabilities for that group going forward and that

will impact pricing,’ said Nicolas Maclean, managing director at real

estate services firm CB Richard Ellis ‘But if you hold property in an

unrelated developer, there may be only be a knock-on effect

short-term,’ he added.

A number of reports published by analysts recently have suggested that

conditions in Dubai’s real estate, where prices have fallen some 50

per cent since their peaks last year, were improving.

Colliers International said in a report earlier in November house

prices rose 7 per cent in the third quarter, posting their first rise

in a year. ‘The real concern is what further provisions banks will

have to make and their ability to put liquidity into the market in

2010, in terms of mortgages and development projects,’ the firm’s

regional director Ian Albert said, adding the increase in activity in

the third quarter was substantially brought about by the availability

of liquidity returning to the market.

EFG-Hermes however said it kept to its forecast of a recovery in house

prices in late 2010.

‘Recently, it has been more local demand, not foreign demand that has

been driving transaction activity. Moreover, we believe the volume of

supply expected to come on stream has been over magnified,’ said Sana

Kapadia, vice president of equity research at the bank in Dubai.

EFG expects on average 20,000 new homes between now and 2012, with

actual supply delivered to be toned downwards, given the slowdown in

construction and underlying liquidity issues, Kapadia added. — Reuters


Abu Dhabi to aid Dubai 'case by case': official

Saturday, 28 Nov, 2009
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People pass by a giant poster of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,

UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009. – AP
Dubai house prices seen extending falls on debt crisis
Dubai house prices seen extending falls on debt crisis

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and one of

the world's top oil exporters, will 'pick and choose' how to assist

its debt-laden neighbour Dubai, a senior Abu Dhabi official said on


'We will look at Dubai's commitments and approach them on a

case-by-case basis. It does not mean that Abu Dhabi will underwrite

all of their debts,' the official in the government of the emirate of

Abu Dhabi told Reuters by phone.

A policy of selectively assisting cash-strapped companies affiliated

with the government of Dubai, instead of providing blanket assistance,

challenges assumptions made by many investors who assumed that wealthy

Abu Dhabi provided a complete safety net for its racier neighbour.

Dubai's crisis exploded on Wednesday when the emirate, known for

flashy lifestyles and the world's tallest building, said it would

delay payment on debt issued by one of its flagship firms, angering

investors and sending global markets sharply lower.

'Some of Dubai's entities are commercial, semi-government ones. Abu

Dhabi will pick and choose when and where to assist,' said the

official, who declined to be identified because he is not authorised

to speak to the media.

Abu Dhabi, which pumps 90 per cent of the oil that make the United

Arab Emirates the world's third-largest oil exporter, has already

provided $15 billion in indirect support for Dubai through the UAE

central bank and two private Abu Dhabi banks.

How much more support the emirate provides for its cash-strapped

neighbour, however, will depend on how Dubai clarifies its stand on

unresolved issues.

'Until things become clearer, it is very difficult to make any further

investment decision on the bonds. Many things have to be clarified by

Dubai,' the official said.


The UAE central bank said it was closely watching events stemming from

the Dubai debt crisis to ensure no harm results for the national

economy, a spokesman for the central bank said on Saturday.

'The central bank is monitoring developments very carefully to ensure

that there is no negative impact on the UAE economy,' the spokesman

told Reuters by phone.

Constitutionally, each emirate in the UAE is a separate legal entity

within the loose federation, and each controls its own natural and

financial resources. The federal government has no guaranteed access

to those resources nor is it obliged to underwrite the liabilities of

any emirate.

International markets were rocked when Dubai said on Wednesday it was

instigating a major restructuring at one of its biggest holding

companies, Dubai World.

As part of the restructuring programme, investors have been advised of

a 'standstill' in repayment of flagship real estate developer

Nakheel's $3.5 billion Islamic bond, or sukuk, due for maturity on

Dec. 14.

Dubai World had $59 billion of liabilities as of August, making up the

majority of Dubai's total debt of $80 billion.

International banks' exposure related to Dubai World could reach $12

billion in syndicated and bilateral loans, banking sources told

Thomson Reuters LPC.

A statement from the Dubai government is expected on Monday, when the

markets reopen following an extended break for Eid, a religious

holiday observed across the Gulf region.


Dubai blackout over debt plans to hit markets hard

Saturday, 28 Nov, 2009
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It remains to be seen if the frenetic pace of development in Dubai is

sustainable.— Photo from File
Dubai house prices seen extending falls on debt crisis
Dubai house prices seen extending falls on debt crisis

NICOSIA: A lack of details on how Dubai plans to pay off its

80-billion-dollar debt mountain will hit Gulf stock markets sharply

this week when they trade for the first time since news broke of the

emirate’s problems, analysts predict.

‘It’s a very serious and severe problem that is likely to shake up the

Gulf financial system as a whole. I expect Gulf bourses to dive like

the September crash last year’ following Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy,

warned Saudi economist Abdulwahab Abu-Dahesh.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s oil-rich neighbour in the United Arab Emirates, is

widely expected to use some of its wealth to rescue Dubai, but

speculation is rife about what conditions it might impose.

‘Abu Dhabi could quite easily resolve the problems for Dubai if it

wanted to but the question is how and at what price,’ said economist

Jan Randolph, director of sovereign risk at the IHS Global Insight


‘Part of this price now seems to involve the creditors that are

effectively being asked to share in the restructuring efforts.’ Dubai

World, a state-controlled conglomerate whose businesses include global

ports operator DP World and construction giant Nakheel, announced on

Wednesday that it was seeking to suspend debt payments for six months

while the group is restructured.

The contract most directly affected is the redemption due in December

of a 3.5-billion-dollar Islamic bond issued by Nakheel, the company

behind Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah tree-shaped artificial island.

The emirate’s borrowings are the equivalent of a full year’s gross

domestic product, and Dubai World’s overall debt of 59 billion dollars

comprises three-quarters of the emirates’ total debt.

Dubai’s government chose to unveil the shock debt moratorium request

immediately before a four-day break for the Muslim holiday of Eid

al-Adha, giving regional stock exchanges no chance to react.

European markets partly recovered on Friday after sharp falls a day

earlier, but analysts expect the Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets to weaken

on Monday when they reopen.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, investors must wait even longer — the Kuwait

and Qatar bourses resume trade on Tuesday, Bahrain on Wednesday and

Saudi Arabia on December 5.

Oliver Bell of Swiss bank Pictet thinks the Dubai World crisis is a

‘disaster’ for Middle East and North Africa equity markets, and is

braced for a big sell-off, he told the UK’s Citywire financial news


When news of Dubai World’s problems first broke, he ‘hoped it was a

miscommunication,’ but a later statement from Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed

al-Maktoum, head of Dubai’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, confirmed Bell’s

worst fears.

‘This was more alarming as it suggests it has been carefully planned

and they knew markets would be very concerned. Now we are in a vacuum

of no news again,’ he said.

‘If all news stays as it is the UAE market will sell off very sharply

when it reopens after Eid,’ Citywire quoted Bell as saying.

On Thursday, Sheikh Ahmed said ‘further information will be made

available early next week,’ but Randolph said Dubai World’s

announcement has raised many questions that will be hard for Dubai to


‘This was a crisis waiting to happen; all the tell-tale signs were


Many creditors assumed that the Dubai government/sovereign would

support their

investment and invested companies — this is now in question,’ the

analyst said.

Randolph pointed out that Abu Dhabi has the ‘all-important’ oil wells

and still generates trade surpluses from its exports.

‘Abu Dhabi is virtually debt-free and has huge assets — including the

largest Sovereign Wealth Fund in the World with 400 to 500 billion

dollars in assets and at least four other smaller SWFs and finally

foreign exchange reserves at about 33 billion dollars,’ he said.

But the economist believes Dubai needs to face up to its difficulties

rather than rely completely on help from its richer neighbour.

‘It is necessary that Dubai goes through this restructuring, to sort

out the good assets from the bad, that which has an economically

viable future and that which does not,’ Randolph said.

The Financial Times said on Saturday: ‘Dubai must sort this mess out.

It will not now be able to restore confidence in its solvency without

support from Abu Dhabi.’ For its part, Abu Dhabi should give whatever

help is needed to bring this episode of incompetence to a close. Abu

Dhabi allowed it to be believed that it was backstopping Dubai, so it

should make good its promises.

‘This will require a public guarantee of Dubai’s debts — and soon. The

reputation of the whole UAE depends upon it.’ The Dubai market’s DFM

Index closed on Wednesday at 2,070.89, up more than 40 per cent from

the start of the year but still down by two-thirds from its peak of

6,253.10 two years ago.— AFP


By Andrew Hammond - Analysis

DUBAI (Reuters) - The "Dubai vision," which has suffered a crushing blow from the freewheeling Gulf emirate's sudden debt crisis, is the creation of one man who failed to apply the rules of open governance.

The city state's rapid growth revolved around the ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who outlined his ideas in a book, "My Vision," where he suggested other Arab countries could replicate Dubai's success. Now the model -- always controversial among Gulf Arabs since it involved building shining cities in the desert at breakneck speed through the import of foreign residents, finance and labor -- is on the ropes.

Questions will surface over what went wrong.

This week Dubai said it wanted to delay payment on billions of dollars of its total $80 billion debt, sending global markets plummeting as investors feared defaults could hit the global economy just as it was recovering from the financial crisis.

"Where next for the ruling family in Dubai?" said British historian Christopher Davidson. "The massive loss of legitimacy that the ruler is now facing, the massive loss of legitimacy that his son and crown prince face after lying to the World Economic Forum last week -- where do these guys go from here?"

Sheikh Mohammed, whose face and words grace posters all over town, told the forum this month that the worst had passed for Dubai which was well-placed to pursue its development plans.

The news that investment vehicle Dubai World could not pay a $3.5 billion bond was released just before the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday and UAE national day on December 2. Local media have almost entirely avoided comment on the debacle.

"Dubai could not be more transparent and open about the challenges it is facing due to the global economic downturn as it has been," the English-language Gulf News said. The Arabic daily al-Khaleej praised the UAE's investment climate.

There is uncertainty about what assets are owned personally by the ruling family, directly by the government or simply sponsored either by the ruler or the government.


Dubai was the envy of other Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who sought to ape some of Dubai's ideas, such as business free zones, financial centers, advanced infrastructure and welcoming Western capital and expertise.

Aside from its more eye-catching projects seen by many as white elephants, such as palm-shaped man-made islands and the world's tallest tower, Dubai developed health services, universities, sports facilities and model urban communities.

Ayman Ali, a London-based Arabic press commentator, said the Dubai model, based on Hong Kong and Singapore, forgot it was dealing with a country and not a corporation in becoming a place where many in the Arab world dreamed of living.

"In the beginning it was aimed at getting rid of bureaucracy and red tape. It worked fine but if you are building a country you shouldn't go on running it like a company," he said.

Dubai ran to catch up with business transparency practices in Singapore and Hong Kong, and never even pretended to expand political participation beyond a small group around the ruler.

In an online interview this year that epitomized the progressive image Dubai has tried to present, Sheikh Mohammed rejected the suggestion he was a "Superman" who ran the freewheeling emirate alone.

"The 'Superman' phenomenon you are talking about does not exist in our organizations and institutions," he told the questioner -- before going on to discuss how his poetry and horse-racing fit into his 24-hour-a-day schedule.

Despite its financial troubles, many still regard Dubai as a pioneer among its neighbors.

"There was a lack of transparency, yes, but Dubai did something whose model was full liberalism. They made mistakes and lacked a lot of things but they are in transition," said Dubai-based Ibrahim Khayat, a Lebanese strategic business analyst. "Singapore has corruption too."

Martin Hvidt, a Danish Middle East Studies professor who focuses on Gulf economies, said the concentration of power in the hands of Sheikh Mohammed and a few advisors meant Dubai could take quick action to rectify mistakes.

"It's too early to write Dubai's obituary," he said.

(Additional reporting by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Samia Nakhoul)

Dubai debt woes may hit U.S. property market

By Elinor Comlay and Jonathan Stempel - Analysis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dubai's debt woes could further unhinge an already fragile U.S. commercial real estate, as it illustrates the importance of that tiny country to global investors in an increasingly interconnected world.

A state-owned investment conglomerate Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, set off a global stock market selloff this week after it said it wants to restructure its debt, including at its property subsidiary Nakheel.

"This downturn has had more of a global impact," said Tony Ciochetti, chairman of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Real Estate in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"As I try to explain to my students, with a global economy, we're all attached at the hip financially in some way, shape or form," he added.

The Dubai news also cast doubt over the strength of the fledgling U.S. economic recovery, and the prospects for a bottoming of property prices.

On Friday alone, the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index .DJUSRE fell 2.9 percent, nearly twice the decline of broader U.S. market indexes.

"Dubai may have to unload some very prestigious properties at distressed prices and this will drive the price of all commercial real estate lower," wrote Richard Bove, a banking analyst at Rochdale Securities in Lutz, Florida.


In the United States, Dubai World's portfolio includes several well-known properties, and the fallout could have a larger impact on the entire real estate market.

The company is a partner with casino operator MGM Mirage (MGM.N) in the $8.5 billion CityCenter project, which would add 6,000 rooms to a Las Vegas Strip gambling corridor already saturated with unoccupied hotel rooms.

Nakheel, perhaps best known as the developer of Dubai's palm-shaped islands, also carries the Mandarin Oriental and W hotels in New York in its portfolio, and has a 50 percent stake in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort.

And, through its Istithmar affiliate, Dubai World controls the upscale retailer Barneys New York Inc DBWLDB.UL.

The main threat to U.S. commercial property from Dubai World woes may be "potential for contagion," said Sam Chandan, chief economist at Real Estate Econometrics LLC in New York.

"It has the potential to spill over into the broader perception of real estate development and real estate as being a very risky area for exposure," Chandan said.

Many have already been burned.

U.S. commercial real estate values have already fallen 42.9 percent from their 2007 peak, Moody's Investors Service said.

Last month, delinquencies on U.S. commercial real estate loans that were packaged into commercial mortgage-backed securities reached 4.8 percent, more than six times the year earlier level, according to Trepp LLC in New York.

In a November 23 report, Moody's analyst Nick Levidy said prices could bottom at 45 percent to 55 percent below their peak, implying an additional 5 percent to 28 percent decline, but in a "stress case" could drop 65 percent from their peak.


Like U.S. investors, foreign investors were enticed through much of this decade to buy U.S. real estate aided by cheap credit and the hope that property prices would steadily rise for a long time.

Currency fluctuations also provided a boost.

And the U.S. dollar lost about one-third of its value against a basket of currencies .DXY since late 2002, making it easier for foreign investors to scoop up U.S. real estate even when valuations grew too rich for investors at home.

Dubai World's holdings go far beyond real estate. It has a 20 percent stake in Canada's Cirque du Soleil, and also invests in the global bank Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L) and New York boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners.

Other investments go farther afield -- or under water. Dubai World is suing a former executive in a case arising from a wayward foray into submarine financing.

But Ciochetti suggested it is premature to quantify Dubai World's impact on U.S. commercial real estate.

"It is hard to focus on any one particular participant and then generalize about the whole market," he said. "It illustrates that very few places and participants in the commercial real estate market are totally exempt from the global economic crisis."

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay and Jonathan Stempel; Editing Bernard Orr)


Dubai Official Says Government Won't Guarantee Dubai World Debt


CAIRO -- The Dubai government won't guarantee the debts of its once-prized Dubai World conglomerate and creditors should help it restructure, a top government official told state-run Dubai TV Monday.

"The company received financing based on its project schedule, not a government guarantee ... they (the lenders) have deemed Dubai World as part of the government and this is not true," Abdulrahman Al Saleh, director general of Dubai's Department of Finance told the channel.

"The government is the owner of the company, but since its foundation it was established that the company is not guaranteed by the government.
Creditors need ...


Crisis, what crisis? Debt-laden Dubai just shrugs
30 Nov 2009, 2100 hrs IST, REUTERS

DUBAI/ABU DHABI: Glitzy Dubai may face a debt crisis that has sent a shudder through global markets, but you wouldn't know it from officials or
Who is who in Dubai corporate map | Burj Dubai: The tallest tower | Dubai's metro
| Dubai's mega projects
local media. World leaders have commented on the crisis -- but not those in the United Arab Emirates itself, where authorities have said little as UAE markets fell and the central bank opened an emergency facility to shore up the banking sector.

Local newspapers, which initially ignored the gravity of the crisis, have begun praising Dubai and its leadership -- and criticising foreign media for blowing events out of proportion. "Dubai is exemplary for investment destinations," was the headline in the Arabic-language Al-Bayan. The English-language Gulf News offered: "Global outcry over Dubai World restructuring is exaggerated."

Conspiracy theories floated to the surface. "This is not the first time Western countries attack Dubai's successes," wrote a contributor to the Gulf News letters page. "Dubai has changed the global trade concepts. People behind this furious campaign are against the success of the sons of the desert who transformed the desert into a dream city."

Dubai shocked creditors on Wednesday when it asked them for a standstill on billions of dollars of debt issued by the Dubai World conglomerate and its property subsidiary Nakheel, builder of luxury homes on three man-made, palm tree-shaped islands. At Candylicious, a gigantic emporium that says it is the world's largest candy store, some customers reckon Dubai's boasts of "biggest, tallest, richest" have lost their allure. "Dubai has taken advantage of people," said Australian school teacher Terry Swain, 43.

Also Read
→ Ripple effects of Dubai crisis may be felt in India: RBI
→ Oil ticks up above $76, eyes on Dubai
→ Global stocks mixed amid Dubai debt crisis
→ What went wrong in Dubai
→ Dubai woes give China chance to buy oil, gold: Report

"The way the government generates money is wrong. The cost of living is extreme. Immigration fees are extreme. It's not safe to keep your money here any more."


But for others among the tiny emirate's mainly expatriate population of 1.7 million, the dream lives on. "I feel excited, I'm happy to work for this tower," said Ishaq Bhuiyah, a Bangladeshi labourer on the construction site of Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building. "I dream to live in one of the apartments up there, in the sky," he said through a protective mask keeping out the dust. Bhuiyah said he and his mates earn 800 dirhams ($218) per month, including food and accommodation allowances, of which he sends half to his family back home. In Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest of the UAE's seven emirates and source of 90 percent of its oil exports, the mood is harsher.

"Let them ride out the storm," said one Abu Dhabi citizen running on a treadmill in a gym, who asked not to be named. "Abu Dhabi is not responsible for bailing out Dubai whenever it falls," he fumed. "Every action has its consequences so they should learn and realise. Otherwise they will always be leaning on Abu Dhabi to help them out whenever anything goes wrong." Masud Mohammed Said, a 49-year-old Dubai taxi driver from the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar, worked for 18 years for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company before moving to Dubai.

"I listen to my taxi radio and they talk of a new financial crisis, but I don't understand its scope," he said in Swahili. "For the moment I keep driving. Until my tank is empty."


Dec 1, 10:33 AM EST

Dubai's leader tries to calm panicky investors

Associated Press Writer
AP Photo
AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Dubai's leader tried to calm panicky investors Tuesday as regional markets tumbled for a second day on news that the city-state's chief conglomerate needs to delay payments on its $60 billion debt for six months.

Government-owned investment company Dubai World - the United Arab Emirates' main engine of growth - gave anxious investors the first bit of clarity they were hoping for on how it might meet its debt obligations. It said it had begun discussions with creditors on $26 billion of its debt that would include restructuring about $6 billion.

The conglomerate is involved in international projects from Gulf banks and ports in 50 countries to luxury retailer Barney's New York and a grandiose six-tower hotel-entertainment complex in Las Vegas. Its potential for a debt default sent jitters through world markets on concerns of new setbacks for Dubai World's large international bank creditors just as they are recovering from the global financial crisis.

Dubai is one of seven highly autonomous statelets that make up the United Arab Emirates and the crisis has sent the UAE's two biggest markets into a tailspin. The Dubai Financial Market sank another 5.61 percent on Tuesday after plunging 7.3 percent on Monday and Abu Dhabi's bourse closed down 3.57 percent following an 8 percent slide a day earlier.

Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, tried to reassure investors in his first public statement about Dubai World's debt crisis.

"Our economy is strong and solid and consistent," he told Al-Arabiya satellite television, adding markets were overreacting because of "a lack of understanding about what is happening in Dubai." He did not elaborate.

UAE President Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan also maintained his country's economy was healthy.

However, analysts say Dubai World's debt crisis is a symptom of a broader malaise in the city-state. Dubai has no oil resources. But for the past decade, it has been the freewheeling boomtown, racking up debt as it built extravagant artificial residential islands, malls complete with indoor ski slopes and the world's tallest tower.

The troubles raised concerns in international markets that the large international banks that extended credit to the conglomerate could now face a new setback if it defaults just as those big banks are starting to emerge from the global financial crisis. The big fear is that Dubai's problems could be indicative that the global recovery is not on as solid a footing as many had hoped and there could be other toxic debt problems still to come in developing countries.

World stock markets rose sharply Tuesday on the announcement that Dubai World was in talks to restructure a large chunk of its business. Investors were eagerly awaiting clarity on how it would deal with its debts, specifically reassurances that the company was sitting down with creditors to refinance its debt.

Saurabh Dhall, an independent broker in Dubai, said there is a lot of uncertainty about how the debt crisis will play out. He said it was raising credibility concerns both about Dubai's ability to stand behind its debt obligations and the possibility, however, remote, that the crisis could impact broader government debt in the UAE.

"The major concern is not so much the dollar amount ... of the payments, it's the concern about how this will affect credibility," he said.

Investors were not reassured on Monday when Dubai officials indicated they had washed their hands of Dubai World's debts, arguing that it was an independent company that happened to be owned by the emirate.

The news rattled investors and raised more questions about whether neighboring Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich seat of the UAE's federal government, would step in with a bailout of sort and what such a step would mean for Dubai.

Dubai World said Tuesday in a statement the restructuring would include about $6 billion in Islamic bonds issued by its real estate arm, Nakheel PJSC, the company behind Dubai's iconic, palm-shaped artificial islands. About $3.5 billion of the bonds come due on Dec. 14, and Nakheel was viewed as the litmus test for how Dubai World will deal with its debt woes.

It did not deal with the broader issue of how it would meet its entire crushing debt burden.

Dubai World's statement Tuesday said the restructuring would include Dubai World and certain subsidiaries, including Nakheel World and Limitless World. Excluded from the talks are debts from Infinity World Holding, Istithmar World and Ports & Free Zone World, which includes ports and terminal operator DP World, Economic Zones World, P&O Ferries and Jebel Ali Free Zone.

The conglomerate said all those subsidiaries are on "stable financial footing," and in a statement posted on the Nasdaq Dubai Web site, Jebel Ali Free Zone said it paid a roughly $2 billion Islamic bond, or sukuk, on time Tuesday.

Other UAE markets also felt the weight of Dubai's problems. Qatar's bourse fell 8.27 percent while Kuwait's was off 2.71 percent on Tuesday.

Markets in the Emirates will be closed Wednesday and Thursday for a national holiday and will reopen Sunday after the weekend.

Dubai crisis to shape 2010 global risk mindset
Tue Dec 1, 2009 10:09am EST

By Natsuko Waki - Analysis

LONDON (Reuters) - Dubai's debt crisis may not sow lasting global contagion, but it may color a 2010 investment landscape where asset managers will likely differentiate more between risks rather than embracing them indiscriminately.

The global market sell-off after last Wednesday's Dubai bombshell on delaying debt payments from its state-owned conglomerates lasted only two days. World stocks have bounced back 2.5 percent this week.

For all the ripples this aftershock of the credit crisis will create, the direct material impact of any debt rescheduling on international banks or governments outside the region pales in comparison to an event like last year's bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, for example.

Of the $26 billion affected by the rescheduling, analysts reckon no more than 50 percent is held by global banks, and individual lenders can absorb that sort of hit. Credit ratings firm Moody's said on Tuesday it saw no reason to alter international bank ratings due to developments.

But while there's little rationale for direct contagion, the implications may seep through market psychology for many months to come.

The event was a reminder of the excessive leverage the world is still trying to shed and triggered what many investors, including giant U.S. bond fund Pimco, saw as a much-needed correction to 2009's surge in risky assets and emerging markets.

While many may see this as a good opportunity to re-enter the market, they will likely be more choosy on their return.

"Fundamentals will become more apparent again. It's the theme that will carry on in 2010. It's going to become much more discerning. We do appreciate next year will be turbulent for investors," said Rekha Sharma, global strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.


Growth-sensitive emerging market assets were the main beneficiaries this year of the wholesale shift out of low-risk, low-yielding money market instruments that took place since March of this year.

But the liquidity and growth landscape is set to change next year as Western central banks seek to time their exits from super-cheap money policies flooding the world and as many emerging economies attempt to frustrate speculative flows with a variety of controls, taxes and state intervention.

As a result, country-specific risks are rising in the face of recent capital curbs by the likes of Brazil and Taiwan.

Reflecting these rising idiosyncratic risks(A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.), for example, Brazil has moved to the top of Swiss bank UBS's growth surprise rankings followed by China, Korea and Poland.

"We have, since October, been in a decidedly different phase of the recovery where differentiation increasingly matters. Recent events will only serve to intensify the market's scrutiny," Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients.

"If March-September was a beta trade -- buy anything and it will go up -- now it's all about picking your spots. The run-on risks have increased as the scrutiny on sovereign balance sheets has intensified."


Investors might also put a greater focus on differentiating between sovereign risks especially after the credit crisis effectively nationalized some private sector risks.

After the Dubai debt crisis, investors demanded higher compensation for holding debt of economies that are less fiscally robust and sold growth-sensitive currencies with weaker economic fundamentals, such as sterling and the New Zealand dollar.

For example, the 10-year Greek yield spread over safe-haven German debt widened to as much as 200 basis points after last week, compared with 100 bps in August.

The cost of protecting debt of Greek and Irish debt against default also surged last week.

The Dubai event may also prompt a review on default risks of quasi-sovereigns and other corporates. Moody's highlighted this point on Tuesday and said any Dubai World default could change long-held assumptions regarding implicit government supports.

Francesco Garzarelli, strategist at Goldman Sachs, said the developments in Dubai serve as a reminder that a sovereign's willingness to assume corporate default risk reflects rational political and economic considerations.

"Just as ... Abu Dhabi evidently could not find enough benefits to justify the fiscal costs of bailing out its neighbor, so too we continue to think that European sovereigns will fail to find justifications for future bailouts of either financial or non-financial corporates," he noted.


For a graphic on different emerging market CDS, see



(Editing by Stephen Nisbet)


Dubai World loses control of New York hotel
Dec 8 05:46 PM US/Eastern

NEW YORK (AP) - Dubai World's investment arm, Istithmar, lost ownership of the W Union Square New York hotel in a foreclosure auction Tuesday.

One of the hotel's interim lenders, a private equity firm called LEM Mezzanine, acquired the 270-room hotel for $2 million, according to Dow Jones. The sale was another financial blow to Istithmar, which acquired the hotel in October 2006 for $285 million, according to Real Capital Analytics, a data tracking firm.

Calls to Dubai World and LEM Mezzanine were not immediately returned. LEM said in a statement it plans to continue to operate the hotel and hopes to "take full advantage of any market recovery."

New York hotels have struggled in the wake of the national recession and financial downturn that have curbed business and leisure travel. Many properties have slashed their rates to attract business.

At the beginning of December, owners of eight New York hotels worth a total of $985 million were in financial distress, including a Courtyard Marriott and The Time Hotel, according to Real Capital Analytics.

The W was not the only Dubai World hotel in trouble. The Fontainebleau in Miami Beach is also in financial straits. The property's $660 million loan was due in August. Contractors also claim the owner of the historic hotel owes them $60 million.

The New York auction comes almost two weeks after Dubai World revealed it was seeking at least a six-month delay on repaying $60 billion in debt. The news rattled world financial markets and credit agencies slashed the debt ratings on Dubai's state companies, saying they might consider the plan a default.


Dubai's Crazy Quilt of Assets

Thursday, December 03, 2009
Source: BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek reports: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum wanted to turn Dubai into the next London or Hong Kong, a global hub for finance and tourism. To help execute his vision, the ruler relied heavily on Dubai World, the web of state-owned companies that includes everything from DP World, which operates 49 ports across the globe, to property developer Nakheel to investment arm Istithmar World. Unlike Abu Dhabi, the wealthy emirate to the southwest, Dubai had little oil production to fuel its efforts. Instead, lenders poured more than $100 billion into Dubai, at least $34 billion of which went to Dubai World.

Now, Dubai World is at the center of the mess in the emirate. Executives at the holding company are scrambling to renegotiate $26 billion in debt, which the government said it may not back. The clock is ticking: Roughly $3.5 billion of the debt comes due on Dec. 14.
"Dubai World is an example of too big to fail but also too big to guarantee,"
says Rachel Ziemba, a senior analyst at Roubini Global Economics, a research firm.

Regardless of the outcome, Dubai World may have to temper its global ambitions. Already, advisers are assessing the portfolio to figure out what holdings can be sold to raise cash. The conglomerate likely will retain control of its infrastructure assets such as the ports, which are the emirate's crown jewels. But its global real estate and retail holdings may be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Dubai World used the cash to fund a flurry of purchases. But dealmakers did so at the height of the credit boom, paying a premium for their global aspirations. The company shelled out $665 million for two New York hotels, the W Union Square and the Mandarin Oriental, whose sale prices each broke a local record of $1 million per guest room, according to Real Capital Analytics. It also has a 50% stake in CityCenter, a resort and casino development on the Las Vegas Strip that's opening this month.
"They defined the peak of the real estate bubble," says Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics.

Now pieces of the portfolio may be sold to pay off creditors. A group of outside advisers is working with Dubai World to assess the damage and figure out the next steps. For example, AlixPartners, a New York restructuring firm, is dealing with the various businesses owned by Dubai World on potential divestitures and layoffs. "The advisers will review Dubai World's portfolio, focusing on assets where there is still equity that can be sold as well as those that are burning through cash," says Fasulo. In a statement, the conglomerate said Port & Free Zone World (the parent of DP World), Infinity World Holding, and Istithmar World would be excluded from the debt restructuring because of the units' "stable financial footing."

CityCenter, the largest-ever privately financed construction project in the U.S., may be one of the easiest assets for Dubai World to sell. The $8.5 billion project has a relatively small debt load. That could make it more appealing to prospective buyers than other assets in the conglomerate's portfolio.

Some properties may be wrested from Dubai World's control. Troubled loans backed by the W Union Square will be auctioned this month. The winner could use them to gain control of the luxury hotel, according to Real Capital Analytics. The Mandarin, which is suffering from the slump in travel, may not have enough money to cover debt payments, say analysts. If the hotel does fall behind, pieces of the debt may be up for grabs, too.


TRANSCRIPT-Abu Dhabi gives Dubai $10 bln bailout

DUBAI, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi has bailed out neighbouring Dubai with $10 billion in surprise aid for debt-laden Dubai World, which said it would use $4.1 billion of it to repay its Nakheel unit's Islamic bond maturing on Monday.

Dubai's government held a conference call on Monday to discuss the deal with a government source taking questions.

Following is a transcript of the key points made by the source, who declined to give his name:


Abu Dhabi and Dubai are clearly working as partners here to find a good, fair solution to the Dubai World situation. The key part is buying time to allow Dubai World and creditors the opportunity to come together on consensual restructuring.

There are no conditions. This is a government-to-government fund, the terms of that fund are internal to the government of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. These funds are specifically for Dubai World.

I won't go into specifics. There is no conditionality. Abu Dhabi has made it clear it is there to support Dubai, Dubai World and I won't go into specifics of how the money is being handed. What's important is we have two partners that will help each other and help the UAE (United Arab Emirates).


The government of Dubai has been in consultation for some time with bankruptcy professionals and international judges to develop a framework that is transparent, fair and acceptable to all parties. The current UAE bankruptcy laws are largely untested and (their) administration by Dubai courts poses certain challenges and problems for a large and complex bankruptcy of this size. These (new) laws should allow Dubai World, should it choose it to use the laws to achieve its restructuring and remaining obligations should it not find a consensual restructuring with its creditors.

The decree (for the new laws) was signed last night and will be announced later today.

To the extent it is unable to reach a consensual restructuring with lenders, the government wanted to make sure there was a fair and equitable way for it to restructure its debt. If it doesn't work, we wanted to make sure there was a fair and equitable framework to restructure its debt. I won't say it won't file or will file (for bankruptcy), but we wanted to make sure the company has the protection it needs if it goes to the courts.


It is premature to speculate on the outcome of the reorganisation process. All options will be assessed and all options have been discussed between the government of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The plan will be developed in consultation with all stakeholders and probably could include the sale of assets. That will be something agreed to by everybody involved.

Dubai has not given anything up and there are no conditions on the money. Abu Dhabi provided the money to support Dubai and support Dubai World because it believes it's in the long-term strategy of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

This is specifically for Dubai World and the affected assets, which were talked about in earlier press releases. It's not meant to include any other assets. It does not include the ports, Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority. All the things that were talked about that were unaffected remain unaffected and will not be affected in any way.


In consultation with Dubai World, it will use the grace period to assess and transfer funds. These funds will be immediately available to the Dubai Support Fund and it will make the first $4.1 billion immediately available to Dubai World.


It's important to realise that this solution was reached due to exceptional credit circumstances in relation to Dubai World and should not be taken as an indication of how GRE debt will be handled. All GREs will be continually reviewed on a case by case basis. This solution is in relation to Dubai World not be taken into consideration of how other GRE debt should or should not be taken.


Like any other maturity, the bonds (issued by Dubai unit Nakheel) weren't due until today. Any plans or announcement would come on the day the bonds are due. The bonds are technically not due for 14 days. The government wanted to take coordinated action that provided a comprehensive plan and complete solution to the problem.


This is something the company will provide clarity on in the next few weeks. We wanted to give the company a framework and provide a process with which they can have that conversation with lenders. From a government perspective, the company needs to find a long-term solution to the capital structure and had to put tools in place for them to do that.


The central bank has come out clearly and they have all agreed that the central bank will inject liquidity into the banks as needed with respect to their exposure to Dubai World and its entities. Alternatively the goal is to provide a framework to provide support and that's the most important thing.

(Compiled by John Irish; editing by Karen Foster) Keywords:
(john.irish@reuters.com, +971 4 366 4248, Reuters Messaging: john.irish.reuters.com@reuters.net)


Burj Dubai to be world's tallest building, how tall?

24 Dec 2009 17:05:49 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Builder keeping height a secret, part of its "mystique"

* More than 800 meters (2,625 feet) tall

* Its more than 160 stories include offices, homes, hotel

By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - In the annals of tall skyscrapers, there is no doubt that the soon-to-open Burj Dubai will be the world's tallest. But how tall is known to only a few.

"It's still a secret," William Baker of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, the tower's structural engineer, said in an interview ahead of the Burj Dubai's Jan. 4 opening.

"The client (Emaar Properties PJSC ) will only let us say it's more than 800 meters (2,625 feet) tall. It's part of the mystique of the project," he said.

Baker said the architects wondered if someone would try to figure out the slender tower's height by measuring its shadow.

Chicago-based Skidmore developed the "buttressed core" structural system that resembles a gigantic "Y" to support the super-tall tower, which is nearly twice as tall as Skidmore's 442-meter (1,389 feet) Willis Tower in Chicago.

The 35-year-old Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower and once the world's tallest building, will be bumped down to fifth spot, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which tracks such things. The current record-holder, the Taipei 101, will be dropped to second.

Seven of the world's 10 tallest towers are in Asia, all built in the past 13 years.

Jan Klerks of the Council on Tall Buildings said the group has asked to know the tower's exact height.

"We have expressed this a number of times, but if there are reasons not to disclose it, then I guess we have to do without an official number. We also do not know why they chose not to disclose the number. The only thing we are sure of is that it is the tallest building in the world, and that it is at least 800 meters," Klerks said in an email.

The Burj Dubai "really cannot be rationalized through urban scarcity and land prices," Klerks said. "As such it is very much an iconic building, aiming at those who want an iconic address."


Apparently, the emirate's recent financial problems have not hurt sales of the approximately 1,100 one- to three-bedroom residences in the tower, which are "pretty much 100 percent sold out," Baker said. Those include corporate "apartments" near the summit topping out at around the 164th floor.

A luxury Armani hotel will occupy the bottom floors.

The cost of the tower has been put at around $1.5 billion in published reports.

From the 124th floor observation deck of the tower viewers can see 50 miles (80 km) on a clear day.

Terraces are located at setbacks spiraling up the tapered tower, which is based on the "geometries of the desert flower and the patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture," according to its promotional literature.

The air is noticeably cooler and fresher on the terraces compared to the stifling heat and humidity at ground level during Dubai's summer, Baker said.

He said it takes about two minutes to get to the summit on some of the fastest elevators in the world, which travel at up to 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour).

The tower's exterior is glass and steel that would cover 17 soccer fields, and will require six to eight weeks to clean.

Concrete was used extensively in the core, enough to build a sidewalk 1,283 miles (2,065 km) long, and the steel reinforcing bar used would stretch a quarter of the way around the Earth. The cooling system produces enough condensation to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools a year, which will be used to water the grounds.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Outraged Saudis blast govt after deadly Jeddah flood

350 still missing after rains
Muhammad Humaidan | Arab News

Cars drifted by flash floods are seen piled up in Gwaizah District, east of Jeddah, on Friday. (AN photo by Hasan Hatrash)

JEDDAH: Rescue operations were still continuing particularly in the badly affected areas to the east of the city as the death toll of the recent torrential rains and floods that swept through Jeddah was put at 85-103 by Civil Defense on Friday. However, three more bodies seen by Arab News reporters were discovered in Quwizah district later, bringing the number of the dead to 88.

Capt. Abdullah Al-Amri, the Civil Defense spokesman, said 37 bodies, all Saudis, had been handed over to their families and relatives for burial.

There were, however, no confirmed statistics about the number of people missing but reports Friday put them at above 350.

Director General of Civil Defense in Jeddah Gen. Muhamamd Abdul Rahman Al-Ghamdi said that a total of 1,251 people, whose homes were completely or partially damaged by the rains and the floods, had been accommodated in furnished apartments following an instruction by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. He said efforts were currently under way to provide accommodation to other families.

Gen. Al-Ghamdi said the king’s gesture covered all the residents of Jeddah affected by the disaster, whether they were Saudis or foreigners. He pointed out that his department would be able to deal with the problem of identities and official documents lost in the rain although it was causing delay in accommodating the victims.

“The department is now surveying all the affected areas looking for casualties and survivors,” he added.

Al-Ghamdi said a special committee was currently assessing damage to homes, cars and other property to inform relevant authorities with a view to future compensation.

He told Arab News that work was currently under way to clear the Haramain Expressway. Local contractors were helping remove cars and other debris blocking it, he said.

He reconfirmed that the Directorate General of Civil Defense had plans for the emergency evacuation of people living and working close to the sewage lake (commonly known to the residents of Jeddah as the Musk Lake).

Reports from Jeddah municipality stated that the lake and its retaining dam were safe. However, local residents had feared that the dam might be breached causing more floods in the city.

The municipality allayed these fears by affirming that the dam encircling it has been further fortified.

Field tours by Arab News reporters to the affected areas noted hectic efforts to reopen the Haramain Expressway, which was blocked by hundreds of wrecked and abandoned vehicles as a result of the floods. It is expected that the road might reopen for normal traffic by early Saturday morning.

Many residents of Quwaizah and Hasat Muraikh appealed to the authorities for help. They said they have been without electricity for many days. They also appealed to welfare organizations to provide them with food and medicines.

Al-Ghamdi, however, promised that the electricity would soon be restored in their areas.

Updated at: 0100 PST, Sunday, November 29, 2009
RIYADH: A Saudi lawyer said on Saturday he will sue the city of Jeddah, as thousands took to Facebook to blast authorities in a rare burst of open outrage after floods killed more than 100 people in the Red Sea port.

The toll jumped to 103 from Wednesday's floods after authorities discovered more bodies, Saudi-owned private television reported late Saturday.

Human rights lawyer Walid Abu al-Kheir said families of victims of the disaster were supporting the lawsuit, which will allege massive mismanagement of city works construction by the Jeddah government as a key cause for the flooding.

"They didn't make the drainage work. They have told us for three years or more that it has been completed," he said. "Even people from the city government said there were mistakes."

Waleed said he planned to file his lawsuit next Saturday, when government offices and courts reopen after the two-week Eid al-Adha holiday.

A huge rainstorm sparked the flash floods, with many victims caught in their cars and drowning in two metres (6.5 feet) or more of water.

Roads were destroyed and cars and trucks left in piles after the waters receded on Thursday.

Electricity is still out in some of the worst hit parts of the city, the country's second largest after Riyadh.

With public protests banned in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah residents have taken to the Internet to attack the government.

More than 11,000 people joined a Facebook page created three days ago to complain about the floods, saying the city government and contractors were at fault for not building adequate infrastructure.

"We've been talking about this issue for years. Everybody knew this disaster was coming. We've seen something like this on a smaller scale," Saud Kateb, a media technology professor and one of the Internet protesters, told media.


Saudi Facebook group vents anger over flood
Hassna'a Mokhtar | Arab News

JEDDAH: Following Wednesday’s devastating floods in Jeddah, which left a trail of death and destruction, there is growing anger among residents at the state of the city’s infrastructure.

Some are even threatening to sue the municipality for damages, claiming the flash flooding was a direct result of municipal negligence. A group calling itself the “National Campaign to Save the City of Jeddah” has established an Arabic-language Facebook profile calling for action to ensure the city is never flooded again.

Thousands have rushed to join the group since it was set up on Thursday. By 5 p.m. on Friday, 6,191 Facebook users had joined the group. Thirty minutes later, 153 more people had joined.

“What we witnessed made it clear beyond any doubt that the city of Jeddah is in urgent need to be saved,” the group said on its page.

They have called for a national emergency plan to protect it. The group published nearly 200 photos and numerous videos of the devastation. The group creators said that, contrary to belief, Jeddah residents do not enjoy it when it rains “because of all the damages that happen due to a poor drainage system and poor road planning and infrastructure.”

According to a local e-newspaper, the campaign’s supervisor, Riyadh Al-Zahrani, said that the group was created to unite the efforts of people and organize volunteers to provide assistance and highlight the seriousness of the situation.

“People want to write a petition and send it to the governor. They want to express their feelings about the municipality. It has been shown now that it has no integrity,” Al-Zahrani was quoted as saying.

The King Abdullah Road underpass that was built less than four years ago was completely submerged. “Where is the drainage system? What was the vision of those who designed this project?” asked Al-Zahrani.

Lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair, one of the campaign’s participants, said that everyone who has been involved in this chaos must be sued.

“We’ll do our best to take this to the Court of Grievances. We’ll ask for compensation to those who suffered losses and damages. That’s the least they should get,” said Alkhair.

Mufleh Al-Qahtani, chairman of the National Society for Human Rights, was reported as saying that victims of the floods have every right to file cases in the Court of Grievances against government bodies.


Saudia in chaos after ‘self-inflicted flood’
Roger Harrison | Arab News

JEDDAH: Flights were delayed, passenger details were lost and both domestic and international flights were thrown into chaos on Wednesday when Saudi Arabian Airlines’ mainframe computer system crashed. This resulted in Saudia processing passengers, freight and cargo manifests manually and causing long delays.

The problem arose, according to a well-placed source who requested anonymity, when the sprinkler system in their Jeddah computer center turned on and soaked the central booking and manifest handling computers. The system was activated when the part of the sprinkler control system was left exposed to the rain after routine maintenance.

The storms that afflicted Jeddah on Wednesday filled the open covers with rain at about 10 a.m. that worked its way into the system controls and turned it on, presumably from an electrical short.

“All the systems and equipment went offline,” said the source. “It affected Saudia worldwide and this meant that flight plans could not be made, reservations for passengers (could not be) verified and because tickets are all e-tickets, nothing at all was working. It all had to be done manually.”

The rainfall had “affected the electrical feeders for the airline’s main centers of information systems in Al-Kandara district,” said a statement from Abdullah Mishbib Al-Ajhar, the carrier’s assistant director-general of public relations. “It had stopped all the automated systems for air-booking, departures and schedules of pilots and navigators. It had also affected air traffic and delayed all domestic flights during the past 24 hours.”

Since the flooding, people have been unable to book Saudia flights online. Attempts to phone Saudia resulted in unanswered calls or busy tones. Trying to use travel agents was no better. All they could tell would-be passengers was that Saudia’s system was down. One determined traveler drove to Jeddah airport to book a flight only to discover 400 other frustrated people ahead of him trying to do the same.

The anonymous source added that Saudia recently relieved, as a cost-saving exercise, many senior employees who were familiar with the manual booking system and knew the procedures.

“None of the current employees know how to do a load check, passenger manifest reconciliation or much of the other procedures,” he said. “We had delays you would not believe.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Balck Water -Zee Services operating under Castrol Logistics



Blackwater launching missions from Karachi’

* US paper says Blackwater assisting CIA in assassinations of Taliban, Al Qaeda operatives, ‘sensitive action inside, outside Pakistan’
* Blackwater’s help to secret US military drone attacks runs parallel to well-documented CIA predator strikes

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Members of an elite division of Blackwater (Xe Services) are conducting a secret programme from Karachi in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigative report by US-based newspaper The Nation has revealed.

Citing a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus, the paper said the covert forward operating base, run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), is assisted by Blackwater operatives in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes.

The source, which The Nation said has worked on covert US military programmes for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, had direct knowledge of Blackwater’s involvement.

The source told the paper that the programme was so “compartmentalised” that senior figures within President’s Barack Obama’s administration and the US military chain of command might not be aware of its existence.

The White House did not comment on the story, The Nation said.

A defence official denied that Blackwater worked on drone strikes or intelligence for JSOC in Pakistan, saying they “don’t have any contracts to do that work for us. We don’t contract that kind of work out, period”.

The paper’s source said the Blackwater programme was distinct from the CIA assassination programme that the agency’s director, Leon Panetta, announced he had cancelled in June 2009.

A former senior executive at Blackwater confirmed the source’s claim that the company was working in Pakistan for the CIA and JSOC.

He even said Blackwater was also working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm “that puts Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces”.

The Nation said the covert JSOC programme with Blackwater in Pakistan dates back to at least 2007, according to the source. Blackwater’s work for JSOC in Karachi is coordinated out of a Task Force based at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, according to the military intelligence source.

“While JSOC technically runs the operations in Karachi,” he said, “it is largely staffed by former US special operations soldiers working for a division of Blackwater, once known as Blackwater SELECT, and intelligence analysts working for a Blackwater affiliate, Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), which is owned by Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince”


Blackwater: another aspect
By Huma Yusuf
Tuesday, 01 Dec, 2009

Until now, Pakistani ire against Blackwater has mostly been ensconced in anti-America rhetoric.—File photo

US Embassy rejects report about Blackwater

Thanks to Jeremy Scahill’s recent article in the US-based The Nation — which alleges that Blackwater is operating in Pakistan — the notorious and despised American security firm (now formally known as Xe Services) is back in the headlines.

Unfortunately, the impassioned conversation about Blackwater in Pakistan is sidestepping some of the major issues that such mercenary activity raises in the context of the war against terror.
The possibility that Blackwater is here — US officials have explicitly rejected Scahill’s claims — justifiably fuels anti-American sentiment.

Once again, public anger is directed against perceived infringements of Pakistani national sovereignty, though it is not always articulated as such.

Many Pakistanis believe any US military or government contract with such a security firm is a case of America being up to its old tricks, finding a way to have eyes and ears on the ground without having to acknowledge troop presence in Pakistan.

Blogs are buzzing about Blackwater’s alleged activities here, ranging from advance missions for US/Nato forces to plots to capture Dr A.Q. Khan.

Scahill’s report suggests that Blackwater operatives are working with the US Joint Special Operations Command on a secret programme to assassinate Taliban and Al Qaeda militants and conduct ‘snatch and grabs’ of other high-value targets.

Pakistanis are also enraged at the idea that Blackwater employees — who operate outside any legal framework — are running around their country, taking pot shots at anyone who seems suspicious, or is deemed problematic by the US.

A simple search research shows , even with imposed wars, invasions war torn cities produced best students, scientists whose services are now being hired, accredited by Western Universities.
The Youngest Mathematician Wonder Student in Sweden is not Swiss , he is Baghdadi.


US Democracy diregard Scientists and Universities!

Despite 5000 universities and millions of graduates, a large proportion of Americans don't bother to vote in a national election. As if this was not enough, Americans elected a second-rated actor, like imbecile Reagan, with a landslide. US Politics is a dirty field dominated by the crooks. Politicians from both parties represent special interests groups and power centres, not the people. In other words, people are free to talk and to criticise as long as as they don't affect the status quo. Unfortunately, the American money has started to corrupt European politics. In order to play a role in US politics, the scientists need to invest on politicians as much as on Boeing, Haliburton, Bechtel and the Jewish mafia.

According to aliraqnews.com (Arabic) of 06.08.08, the US Department of State (Condoleezza) has drafted a report to George W. Bush, stating that “our forces in collaboration with Israeli MOSSAD commandos have killed 350 Iraqi nuclear scientists and 300 University professors since the occupation in 2003”. The report confirmed that “The Israeli Commandos’ main duty was to eliminate Iraq nuclear scientists after the US failure to make them leave Iraq and to work in America”. The report has also admitted that “A special American Security unit was assigned to track the Iraqi scientists and to provide information for Israeli MOSSAD for action”. The Iraqi CIA agents and US-controlled media have tried to implicate Iran in the killing, but the Iraqi people knew from the beginning that it was a joint USraeli operation. The scientists were detained, interrogated and tortured before their disappearance. That is why Barak Obama mustn't limit his talks to withdrawing US troops from Iraq but to apologise and to compensate the Iraqis besides punishing the USraeli criminals.
Killing anyone is a crime. The USraelis have been killing people with impunity. All will fire back at the purpetrators. The apology is for Obama as a civilisied person and not for us. Apology or not, we will exact revenge unless the criminals are punished.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times
http://albawabaforums.com/read.php3?f=3&i=299384&t=299 84

Blackwater’s reputation for getting away with murder certainly doesn’t help the situation. News that the firm sent US$1m to its Iraq office to buy the silence of government officials outraged by the shootings of 17 civilians by Blackwater employees in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square in September 2007 preceded Scahill’s revelations by only a few days.

Until now, Pakistani ire against Blackwater has mostly been ensconced in anti-America rhetoric. But by exclusively framing the problem as such, we’re neglecting to consider one dimension of the mercenary business that could have profound implications on how Pakistan conducts its war against terrorism.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, and now, as per Scahill’s report, Pakistan, Blackwater is primarily associated with targeted assassinations of high-value militants.

Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that the CIA in 2004 hired Blackwater to locate and assassinate top Al Qaeda operatives.

The CIA deployed that secret programme (which has been suspended and did not successfully capture or kill any terrorists) as an alternative to drone attacks that often kill civilians and are unsuited to urban environments.

In other words, the CIA tasked Blackwater operatives, often described as ‘hired guns’, to extend its policy of extrajudicial killings of known and suspected terrorists.

The US’s reliance on the extrajudicial killing of terrorists as an effective strategy to control insurgencies in the long run requires more public debate.

In October, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions asked the US to explain the legality of drone attacks and reminded the Obama administration that arbitrary and extrajudicial executions violate international humanitarian laws.

By the same logic, Blackwater operatives tasked with assassinating terrorist suspects are also in violation of international law. Indeed, US President Barack Obama has acknowledged the need for mercenaries to work within a legal framework and has called for greater accountability for the employees of private security firms.

Rather than conflate condemnations of Blackwater operations with a more general anti-Americanism, Pakistanis should specifically reject the practice of extrajudicial killings.

Such focused opposition to mercenary activity will also put pressure on the Pakistani government to wage a clean war against terrorism, one that can win this ideological battle rather than generate more sympathy for the militant cause.

Public condemnations of Blackwater in this context will also give fillip to investigations into unconfirmed reports of extrajudicial killings (whether by army officers or local lashkars, it remains to be investigated) in Malakand in the wake of Operation Rah-i-Rast.

Of course, demands for a cessation of extrajudicial killings serve doubly as calls for a more just and effective alternative.

The fact is, our government has yet to establish a clear legal and punitive infrastructure to ensure that terrorists are adequately dealt with.

Top militant leaders who have been apprehended by the authorities have yet to be charged or face trial. Pakistanis remain in the dark about the prosecution protocols and sentencing of terror suspects in anti-terrorism courts (ATCs).

Recently, several terror suspects have been acquitted by ATCs for lack of evidence. And the international community has already expressed reservations about the limitations placed on the prosecution in the trial of seven Lashkar-i-Taiba suspects in connection with last year’s Mumbai attacks, which kicked off some days ago in an ATC in Rawalpindi.

Lengthy jail terms will also serve as little consolation for a public — and international community — that wants to see convicted terrorists punished in a way that deters future recruitment.

It is well known that the members of banned Pakistani militant organisations continue operating from their jail cells. Recent revelations that Omar Saeed made hoax calls that stoked India-Pakistan tensions from a Hyderabad jail cell make jail sentences seem like ineffective responses to terrorism.

In the absence of a robust legal framework that can deal justly and proportionately with terrorists, extrajudicial killings will remain an attractive option for stakeholders in the war against terrorism.

In that event, Blackwater operatives, or the employees of other private security firms, working with the US and/or Pakistani militaries and intelligence agencies, will have cause to launch secret programmes in Pakistan.

And as long as that happens, Taliban spokesmen will continue to find a scapegoat for their heinous attacks, winning public sympathy while pinning their crimes on other ‘non-state actors’.



CIA terminates contract with Blackwater: report

Saturday, 12 Dec, 2009

This file picture shows contractors of the US private security firm Blackwater securing the site of a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. Disclosure about the terminated contract comes a day after Blackwater employees joined CIA operatives in Iraq and Afghanistan. –AFP Photo

WASHINGTON: The US Central Intelligence Agency has cancelled a contract with a security company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide that allowed the company to load bombs on CIA drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan, The New York Times reported late Friday.

Citing intelligence officials, the newspaper said the contract gave Blackwater employees an operational role in one of the CIA’s most significant covert programs, which has killed dozens of militants with Predator and Reaper drones, AFP reported.

The contract with the company, now called Xe Services, was canceled this year by CIA Director Leon Panetta, the report said.

CIA spokesman George Little said Panetta had ordered that the agency’s employees take over the jobs from Xe employees at the remote drone bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the paper noted.

Panetta had also ordered a review of all contracts with the company, according to the report

‘At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any CIA operations other than in a security or support role,’ Little was quoted by The Times as saying.

The disclosure about the terminated contract comes a day after The Times reported that Blackwater employees had joined CIA operatives in secret operations against suspected militants in Iraq and Afghanistan.


CIA asked Blackwater to take out AQ Khan’

* Blackwater chief Erik Prince admits to running secret missions for CIA

Daily Times Monitor

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had asked private security contractor Blackwater Worldwide to kill Dr AQ Khan, the Pakistani scientist “who shared nuclear know-how with Iran, Libya, and North Korea”
, agency’s founder Erik Prince admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair.

According to a source who spoke to the magazine, the authorities in Washington “chose not to pull the trigger”, however, adding “Dr Khan’s inclusion on the target list would suggest that the assassination effort was broader than has previously been acknowledged”.

Admission: The New York Times (NYT) reported that Prince also admitted to participating in some of the CIA’s most sensitive operations, including raids on suspected militants in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now known as Xe Services, “Blackwater’s role in both wars changed sharply when its guards began providing security for CIA operatives in the field”.

Raids on suspected insurgents in Iraq, known as ‘snatch and grab’ operations, began happening almost nightly during the worst years of the war between 2004 and 2006.

The paper quoted several former Blackwater guards as saying operations to capture and kill militants in Iraq and Afghanistan became so routine that Blackwater personnel sometimes became partners in the missions rather than simply providing the security for the CIA officers.

The Washington Post’s sources reported that the actions taken by the agency’s personnel “went beyond the protective role specified in a classified Blackwater contract with the CIA” and included active participation in raids overseen by the CIA or special forces personnel.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Xe Services, was quoted as saying that Blackwater was never under contract to participate in covert raids with CIA or Special Forces troops “in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else”. “Any allegation to the contrary by any news organisation would be false,” he said.

Several former CIA counterterrorism officials told WP that CIA headquarters was not aware of such actions and did not authorise them. Separately, the NYT quoted former Blackwater employees as saying they helped provide security on some CIA flights transporting detainees in the years after the 2001 terror attacks in the US.

George Little, a CIA spokesman, would not comment on Blackwater’s ties to the agency. But he said the CIA employs contractors to “enhance the skills of our own work force, just as American law permits”.

Intelligence officials deny that the agency has ever used Blackwater to fly high-value detainees in and out of secret CIA prisons that were shut down earlier this year. The Blackwater spokesman said company personnel were never involved in CIA “rendition flights,” which transferred terrorism suspects to other countries for interrogation.


The enemy is infiltrated among us, there is strong evidence that CIA in association with Blackwater planted several massive car bombs. They don't want to let the peace establish which will make a ground demand for their uninvited invasion of Iraq.
They will never leave Oil Desert of Iraq or Resourceful Mineral Mountains of PAKAF.

The falling US Empire need resources to feed their unemployed army which is boiling to bring a revolution soon.

We have all rights to invade Washington to bring peace at Mexico Border.

here is just 1 news clip enough to prove that CIA-Blackwater Operatives are infiltrated in our ranks:

By Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: Law enforcement personnel on Friday impounded a vehicle in the Cantonment, which was being used by US nationals and bore a fake registration number.

They stopped the vehicle for routine checking near Sherpao Bridge, but the US citizens, including a woman, refused inspection, claiming they were Americans and were not subject to snap checking.

Sources told Daily Times that their argument went on for quite some time before law enforcement personnel called senior officials to the scene for further action. Subsequent questioning revealed that the vehicle bore a fake registration number and the passengers were allegedly taking pictures of the cantonment area, which is prohibited by the authorities.

Sources said an official of the US embassy also arrived at the spot and secured the release of the passengers, but police refused to let the vehicle go as it carried a fake number plate.

Colonel Shahid Hussain of the Inter-Services Public Relations told Daily Times that the vehicle was stopped for routine checking and only the police could comment on any further details. Cantonment Supervisory Police Officer Tariq Sukhera told Daily Times police had impounded the vehicle, but its passengers had been allowed to leave. He said so far, it was not clear if the vehicle’s number plate was fake, adding that it would be ascertained after thorough investigations, adding that no case had been registered against any one so far.

Seperately, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif told reporters on Friday that he had asked for a report on the incident involving US nationals.

This is the second such incident in four days at the same place. On December 8, law enforcement officials stopped two vehicles carrying officials of the US consulate and had detained them for about three hours when they refused to subject their vehicles to security checks.


US established private spy network in Pak, Afghanistan
Updated at: 1145 PST, Monday, March 15, 2010
WASHINGTON: Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a US Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States.

The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives. The contractors, in turn, gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of suspected militants and the location of insurgent camps, and the information was then sent to military units and intelligence officials for possible lethal action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said.

While it has been widely reported that the C.I.A. and the military are attacking operatives of Al Qaeda and others through unmanned, remote-controlled drone strikes, some American officials say they became troubled that Mr. Furlong seemed to be running an off-the-books spy operation. The officials say they are not sure who condoned and supervised his work.

It is generally considered illegal for the military to hire contractors to act as covert spies. Officials said Mr. Furlong’s secret network might have been improperly financed by diverting money from a program designed to merely gather information about the region.

Moreover, in Pakistan, where Qaeda and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding, the secret use of private contractors may be seen as an attempt to get around the Pakistani government’s prohibition of American military personnel’s operating in the country.

Sana Aijazi


Blackwater suit tossed 7 years after grisly deaths Buzz up! Share

Obama on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan ABC News .
Play Video Iraq Video:Trial begins in Arizona 'honor killing' case AP .

By MIKE BAKER, Associated Press Mike Baker, Associated Press – Tue Jan 25, 9:44 pm ET
RALEIGH, N.C. – A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit that blamed the security company formerly known as Blackwater for the deaths of four contractors killed in a grisly 2004 ambush on the restive streets of Iraq.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox said court-ordered arbitration fell apart because neither side was paying the costs of that process so he decided to shut the case nearly seven years after the killings. Katy Helvenston, the mother of contractor Scott Helvenston, said Tuesday the families couldn't afford the costs, and she fears the case is over. The lawsuit was filed about a year after the men's deaths.,

"It's pretty much destroyed my life," Helvenston said. "I haven't known one moment of joy since Scotty was slaughtered. I think the worst part is the betrayal from my country. I feel so betrayed."

Insurgents killed the four contractors, then mutilated the bodies, dragged the charred remains through the streets and hung two of the corpses from a bridge. Images from the scene were relayed around the world, and the event triggered a massive U.S. military siege known as the Battle of Fallujah.

Survivors of the contractors contend Blackwater failed to prepare the men for their mission and didn't provide them with appropriate equipment, such as a map. Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague were sent in Mitsubishi SUVs to guard a supply convoy. Their survivors argued they should have been given armored vehicles.

A congressional investigation concurred with that view, calling Blackwater an "unprepared and disorderly" organization on the day of the ambush.

Blackwater, however, argued that the men were betrayed by the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and targeted in a well-planned ambush. The company said the result of the ambush likely would have been the same even if they had stronger weapons, armored vehicles, maps or even more men.

Following a 2007 shooting in Baghdad, Blackwater changed its management, name and eventually its ownership. USTC Holdings, an investment firm with ties to founder Erik Prince, acquired the company that's now called Xe Services in December. The deal includes its training facility in Moyock, N.C.

Daniel Callahan, an attorney representing the survivors, said they plan to appeal the ruling. Helvenston said she doesn't expect success from further appeals. Donna Zovko, the mother of Jerry Zovko, said she wants to keep pursuing the lawsuit and believes the claim will eventually hold Blackwater responsible.

"It hurts very much. It's a very sad day. But this is just another bridge to cross," Zovko said.

In Hawaii, an attorney for Batalona's widow told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said the family will appeal.

Marc Miles, a Southern California attorney who represents June Batalona told the newspaper, "The families had lost their case against Blackwater because they were not wealthy enough."

Xe declined to comment on the legal issues except to say that a government insurance program known as the Defense Base Act precluded the lawsuit claims. That program, which offers benefits to injured federal contractors and their survivors, prohibits those eligible for benefits from filing lawsuits against companies covered by the insurance.

"The company continues to remember and honor its fallen professionals and shares in their families' grief for all of those tragically lost or wounded while defending democracy in Iraq," Xe said in a statement provided through an attorney.