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15 September, 2004

Ten thousand spies

An Arab hack on a local paper (one of the few credible ones, ex NYT) estimates there are at least ten thousand salaried spies working in Dubai at any one time. Of these about fifty are British spies, mainly ex-military and ex-Foreign Office folk. An expat associate claims to know at least a dozen of them, suggesting a refresher course in disguise and discretion might be in order.

Who the other 9,950 are is anyone's guess. Other than a complete and utter waste of their respective countries' taxpayers' money.

Another interesting perspective on Dubai is that it represents a "window on the West" for many Arabs from other nations, especially more closed societies such as Iran, Syria and Saudi. They apparently visit Dubai to expand their understanding of what life is like under the Great Satan. As long as they never stray further than Las Vegas, King's Cross or the Reeperbahn in their world travels they should do fine.



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