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Judge the following two news items today: first one from Madrid, second one from Dubai. ______________________________________________________________ Arabs 'Balking' On Funds for Iraq Saudis Seen as Reluctant to Take Lead By Glenn Kessler and Keith B. Richburg Washington Post Friday, October 24, 2003 MADRID, Oct. 23 -- A push by the Bush administration to win big commitments of funds from the Arab world to rebuild Iraq is being stymied by the reluctance of Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Persian Gulf states to lead the way with contributions, U.S. government sources said Thursday. Even the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries hosting a two-day donors' conference that opened here Thursday, has not yet signaled how much it will provide, the sources said. "Yes, they are balking," one U.S. official said of the Arab states, as the American side continued to press hard for a breakthrough. Without Saudi participation, he said, it would be difficult to create a "snowball effect" among Arab donors. The Saudis are the " 'big brother' of the Gulf, [but] they have not helped in a constructive fashion," the official said. Of the Arab countries, only Kuwait so far has announced it will make a substantial contribution, frustrating U.S. officials who want the conference to show broad support in the Arab world for the U.S. effort in Iraq. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell acknowledged Wednesday en route to Madrid that he had been working the phones and had given Arab governments "some suggestion about what might be appropriate." Saudi Arabia will not pledge grants to Iraq at the conference, a Saudi diplomat said Thursday, but added, "we have not encouraged or discouraged" other Persian Gulf states from contributing. He said Saudi Arabia already provides humanitarian aid to Iraq and would be willing to consider substantial loans in the future, but added that cash grants cannot be considered while Iraq lacks a representative government and questions about the country's crushing debt remain unsettled. --WP http://tinyurl.com/s8re _____________________________________________________________ Middle East Online Oct 22 2003 http://tinyurl.com/s8rw Dubai to launch its own version of 'Disneyland' Dubai is forging ahead with a five-billion dollar project aimed to give the Middle East its own version of Disneylands wholesome family entertainment, the latest mega scheme in an all-out push to double the number of tourists visiting the Gulf emirate. "It is based on Disneyland, but we are generating a lot of our own ideas internally to present to investors for funding," Khaled al-Noaimi, project capitalisation coordinator with Dubai Development and Investment Authority, said Wednesday. The "Dubailand" theme park will be built on a two billion square feet (185 million square meter) swathe of desert off the main road linking Dubai with Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation of which Dubai is part. It will comprise 45 different developments with labels such as Aviation World, Motor Racing World, Arabian Theme Park, Pharaohs Theme Park, Snow World and Dinosaur World, according to Noaimi. He said the estimated cost of the project is 18 billion dirhams (five billion dollars) with the Dubai government already contributing 2.6 billion dirhams (700 million dollars) for infrastructure work, while the remaining amount will be raised from investors both inside and outside the UAE. "Work has already started on the project" Noaimi said and the first phase would be completed in 2006. But he would not provide further details. Dubais Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum unveiled Dubailand on Tuesday and urged investors to bring their money to Dubai because "they can gain guaranteed returns on their investments instead of just hoarding their money in safeboxes that will just rust and be of no use." But the horse racing magnate who also serves as the UAEs defense minister was quick to add that "Dubai actually does not need investors, but rather it is investors that need Dubai, which is able to create for them the right environment for growth and economic benefits." Sheikh Mohammed, the driving force behind the massive development of the emirate, said the project aims to attract 200,000 tourists daily. Dubai currently boasts five million visitors a year for a population of one million, but is targeting 10 million by 2007 and 40 million by 2015. Dubailand is the latest in a string of high profile initiatives aimed at catapulting the emirates position as a major business, trade and global tourism destination. In May, Dubai announced plans to build an exclusive artificial two-billion-dollar residential island off its coast on top of three similar off-shore developments. Also rising from the sands are Dubai Marina, a 10-billion-dollar city to house 100,000 people; a 1.6 billion-dollar Dubai Festival City and a 2.5 billion dollar airport expansion. Sheikh Mohammed told reporters Tuesday that those who may doubt how far Dubai will go "should not look at what we have achieved but what we will achieve." The huge Burj Al-Arab suite hotel in the form of a sail built on a man-made island and written off as a white elephant has become a worldwide symbol of the prestige of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed has warned that the world has only seen 10 percent of his vision to put the emirate on the world map. "When I was a kid playing on the beach my friends wanted to build sand castles, but I wanted to build on the sea and they would laugh at me. Today I laugh when I accompany one of them to our sea developments. "When the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids they did not imagine they would remain standing for five thousand years...and when Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa he did not imagine it would become the most famous painting in history," he said. --Arabia Online _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk