Friend and Ally Update: “Saudis ban lewd licence tags — including ‘USA,'” from AFP, April 12 (thanks to all who sent this in):
RIYADH (AFP) “” Saudi Arabia has banned auto licence tags whose Arabic characters spell out offensive words when romanised, with the list of banned combinations including “USA”, Al-Watan newspaper reported Sunday.
Saudi plates normally have three Arabic characters and three numbers, but the growing fashion is for auto owners also to display a version using the Latin alphabet and some buyers of personalised “vanity plates” deliberately choose Arabic letters which turn into words like “SEX”, “ASS” and “NUT”.
The authorities in charge of issuing vanity plates have released a list of nine prohibited three-letter combinations, and ordered all branches to stop renewing plates that include them, according to Watan.
On the list are combinations like “BUT,” “BAD” and “BAR” — the latter presumably a problem because it suggests alcohol, which is strictly prohibited in the conservative Islamic kingdom.
News flash for AFP: some “conservatives” drink alcohol.
But first on the list, for unexplained reasons, is the combination “USA”….
Oh, the reasons are quite clear!