Saudi Arabia’s Atlantic City?

News

One of my favorite uber-pretentious sayings is the verb “summer” – that’s right, “to summer.” It’s often used in the sentences, “Where do you summer?” and “I summer at…” and it basically means that you are wealthy enough to flake out for the entire summer season without work or professional responsibility in a place of your choosing. Perhaps the funniest thing about “summering” is that it almost implies that the other three seasons for those who summer are extremely tough living. The reality is, anyone who ‘summers’ isn’t actually escaping any major workload or hardship. They’re just spending another season doing nothing and living large. But who am I kidding; If I could, I would.

I launched this digression because I was reminded of my fondness of the verb “to summer” when I was brought to the attention of this Rebecca Santana piece in the Associated Press, which highlights the fact that Bahrain, a country that allows drinking, movies and music, is becoming a weekend destination for many Saudis seeking some time away from the lifestyle in Saudi Arabia.

“Saudis and others have been known to flood the tiny nation on weekends, filling Manama’s bars and hotels, holding alcohol-fueled races through Bahrain’s streets and patronizing the many prostitutes who crowd the hotels and clubs.”

But Bahrainians appear unhappy to be the Vegas of the Arabian Peninsula, or Saudi Arabia’s Atlantic City.

“Both Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Bahrain, usually on opposite sides of the political spectrum, have found common ground in this fight to protect the country’s moral fiber.

In April, Bahrain tried to appease conservatives by shutting down bars in one- and two-star hotels. Now some lawmakers are pushing the government to outlaw alcohol in the entire country and close down all nightclubs.”

John Burgess of Crossroads Arabia: “Saudis behaving badly are a problem, though. So much so, in fact, that Bahrain is starting to limit the places alcohol can be sold. Killing the golden goose is something we see a lot of in the region, sadly. Partaking too freely of a less restrictive society often leads to backlash. Still, there are innocent pleasure (as defined by most of the world) to be had on the island that simply are not available in the Kingdom.”

Saudinomics.com will be watching this issue as it comes to a head, as it appears that either Saudi Arabia will be tougher at the border or Bahrain will be tougher on the laws.

ONE IN SEVEN? MORE LIKE, ONE IN 25.

Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New American Foundation drop this bombshell commentary piece to follow a study that concluded the Pentagon’s estimates for Gitmo prisoners returning to the battlefield are grossly overestimated.

ALMARAI TO EXPAND

Gulf dairy giant Almarai will construct two new plants in 2010, Reuters reports.

U HVE MADE 1 SOLID PROFIT

The AFP is reporting that Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second mobile phone network operator, reported a net profit jump of 49% in the first half of this year (about $308 million). Obviously, this is evidence of Saudi Arabia’s increasing embrace of technology and connectedness. Mobily broke into the Saudi Arabian telephone market in 2005.

AFP: “The country has 4.1 million landline subscribers and 7.7 million registered Internet users, according to figures published on Sunday by the