Dubai is full of Iranians and hundreds of billions of dollars in Iranian investments. It is, in atmosphere, much above the other, entirely Arab-controlled sheikhlets of the Emirates. While the Sunni Arabs have had to worry about the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and about Bahrain (where the Sunni ruler worries about the 75% of his subjects who are Shi’a and don’t much care for the present governing arrangement — so much so that he is trying to give instant citizenship to 50,000 Iraqis, as long as they are all Sunni Iraqis), they didn’t worry about Dubai.
After all, wasn’t this Iranian capital in flight from the Islamic Republic? And aren’t the kind of Iranians who live and invest in Dubai the good kind, the kind who only want to make money? In other words, Sunni Arabs make the same mistake with Shi’a Iranians as Infidels do when they swallow the akyolish nonsense about the swellness of Erdogan et al. because of “economic growth” — or when they swallow the d’souzaish nonsense about the swellness of those law-abiding, straight-as-Mitt-Romney “traditional Muslims.”
What Ahmadinejad’s little rally in Dubai (only a few thousands) will nonetheless do is worry the hysterical rulers of the Gulf statelets, and Saudi Arabia. And they will now worry (unduly, but who cares?) about Shi’a penetration through Dubai of the rest of the Emirates and possibly into Eastern Saudi Arabia (where all the oil appears to be, save for whatever Elf and Totalfina manage to find, if find they do, as they look around the Empty Quarter).
The Shi’a in Iraq were discriminated against by the Sunnis. They were poorer, and had larger families, possibly as a consequence. All Muslims in Iraq were having large families — the 3 million who lived there at the end of World War I have become 27 million today. The Shi’a have simply outbred the Sunnis in Iraq, and now constitute between 60% and 65% of the population. The Sunni Arabs are worried by the least sign of Iranian power, and by Shi’a efforts, magnified by Sunni fears, at converting Sunnis to Shi’a Islam. Reports of this occurring (in, for example, Syria) worry them.
So why is Ahmadinejad’s Dubai rally a good thing? Oh, because the Saudis won’t like it. The Bahraini “king” won’t like it. The Al-Thani and the Al-Sabah and the Al-Maktoum and the Al-Thisses and the Al-Thatses won’t like it.
That’s a good thing.
Another good thing about Dubai, and about the Arab Gulf states, is how much of their wealth is now visibly in gigantic luxury highrises, nicely placed close together. And the same is true for parts of Saudi Arabia, not only in the Xanadu-strewn areas of Riyadh, but all over. And then there are these colossally expensive and ultimately ludicrous efforts to build these Economic Cities in Medina, Tobuk, Jazan, and elsewhere. Hundreds of billions will be spent, and while the luxury apartments may be bought (I don’t know — do you want to buy a luxury apartment in the middle of Saudi Arabia? Does it sound appealing to you?), the “economic” side of those Economic Cities hasn’t a chance to succeed. But you don’t think any of their Western consultants, from McKinsey on, is going to tell them that, do you? You don’t think a single Westerner getting Saudi money is going to discourage them from these cities with luxury apartment complexes and a “manufacturing base” that will supposedly give Saudi Arabia an alternative to oil? Fat chance, given the Saudis, the Arabs, and inshallah-fatalism that justifies a culture-wide indolence in every respect.
Why should we like these skyscraping developments? Why is all that Iranian money in Dubai a good thing for us? It makes it easier, when and if we have to inflict a blow, or many blows, and in one fell swoop seize their foreign assets (just as all assets owned by German nationals were seized, as the assets of enemy aliens, during World War II). And it makes it easier to destroy all those illiquid assets in the area that both Arabs and Iranians are putting so much money into. They”re afraid to keep it in the West where it might — see my sentence about those German nationals.
Keep building those skyscrapers in Dubai with Iranian money. Keep having those Iranian rallies for an Iranian ruler. Keep it up.
Makes worry-waves that worry-beads cannot deal with, in all the right Sunni Arab places.