Pilgrimages ain’t what they used to be

Forbes magazine reports on an article first published in the German magazine Cicero which asserts that the Pakistanis are helping the Saudis develop a nuclear capability under the cover of the Haj:

…during the Haj pilgrimages to Mecca in 2003 through 2005, Pakistani scientists posed as pilgrims to come to Saudi Arabia.

Between October 2004 and January 2005, some of them slipped off from pilgrimages, sometimes for up to three weeks, the report quoted German security expert Udo Ulfkotte as saying.

According to Western security services, the magazine added, Saudi scientists have been working since the mid-1990s in Pakistan, a nuclear power since 1998.

Cicero, which will appear on newstands tomorrow, also quoted a US military analyst, John Pike, as saying that Saudi bar codes can be found on half of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons ‘because it is Saudi Arabia which ultimately co-financed the Pakistani atomic nuclear program…’ [Link]

If this is true then it is a total slap in the face of the U.S., and the assurances that we supposedly have (right?) about Khan’s network being shut down is all bulls*it. Allowing a nation like Saudi Arabia any sort of nuclear capability is crazy, especially if you think that the monarchy there is doomed to failure and that a militant uprising is just a matter of time. Also, it’s not like they have an un-met energy demand.

The magazine also said satellite images indicate that Saudi Arabia has set up a program in Al-Sulaiyil, south of Riyadh, a secret underground city and dozens of underground silos for missiles. [Link]

We’ll have to keep an eye on this to see if any other news organizations follow-up on the German assertions.

Update: Pakistan rejects accusations. See below the fold.

Pakistan today rejected as “fabricated” a German magazine report that said Saudi Arabia was working secretly on a nuclear programme with help from Pakistani experts.

“It is a fabricated story and motivated by vicious intentions,” foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.

Citing western security sources, German magazine Cicero in its latest edition, says that during the Haj pilgrimages to Mecca in 2003 through 2005, Pakistani scientists posed as pilgrims to come to Saudi Arabia in aircraft sponsored by the oil-rich kingdom. [Link]

84 thoughts on “Pilgrimages ain’t what they used to be

  1. selection-biased diaspora (which isn’t really friendly to the islamist regime by and large anyhow).

    A PhD from Stanford that goes back to teach and then subsequently becomes the First Vice-President of Iran does not qualify as diaspora.

    It is true that many Iranian youth are westernised and pro-America. But that does not negate the nationalistically motivated few that also have the abilities to design, deploy and man a full nuclear program. In short, if India can do it, so can Iran.

    And this is not to inflate anti-Iran rhetoric and whip up rightwing gobbledegook. I wish to state these as mere facts. However, that rabid fundamentalists will soon have a nuclear button at hand is cause for plenty of concern.

  2. the “rabid fundamentalists” already do…

    oops, did say that. no, i didnt say it, so it must not be true…

  3. why not fire up the anti-muslim rhetoric next.

    why not?

    look, this “we shouldn’t make generalizations” is kind of a useless point to make. it is as useful as the “slippery slope” argument. you can torpedo all non-mathematical arguments in theory by simply criticizing generalizations, and you even recurisvely undercut your own generalization about generalizations. without good faith and a little pragmatism conversation is impossible if you appeal to ‘rules.’

    re: good faith, i specifically indicated in a follow up point that i don’t hate all saudi people by suggesting that my animus was general toward the ‘culture’ and specific toward the state. you then state, “why do you hate ALL saudis.” that was just a salvo that just sucked up my time in pointing out that i actually had clearly indicated i didn’t hate all saudis. similarly, you had to waste your time responding to my false accusation that you hate ALL white people. this is the sort of tactic is on the same level as “you are censoring me” on blog message boards, no one believes this is censorship, but censorship is a serious charge so people have to waste their time to address it (see above).

    re: the saudis. four points

    1) if one can’t express a little animus toward a culture like saudi arabia then moral relativism is truly all-conquering. women’s rights and religious liberties are the toilets that saudis shit upon. saudi arabians are not individually responsible for the totality of the actions of their kleptocratic monarchy, certainly shia in the gulf provinces are under the boot as much as women who want freedom are. but it is a rotten society in most ways i classify rottenness. even the salafis often think it is rotten and decadent. and, it is not just rotten the way hubristic american society is rotten, or the way sclerotic french society is, or the way corrupt banglashi society is. it is rotten in a way closer to (though not as bad) as north korean society is. that is a generalization, and i’ll stand by it.

    2) and of course generalizations fly freely here about certain groups many a time. for example, i recall ennis has said that he has experienced surprising levels of bigotry in small town america. this is a generalization. but, i am willing to acede that it is a general trend, even though not all (or most) small town americans are bigots.

    3) we also need to assess issues objectively aside from our moral and emotional feelings. saudi arabia as a society wants to make me throw up, but, as a military threat i don’t see anything there. saudis, and muslims in general, are militarily weak. the arabs saw that against israel. the pakistanis have seen that against india. that’s why “nonconventional” means are necessary. this doesn’t mean that the threat is trivial, but making equivalence between all peoples and all nations blinds us to specific contextual considerations. i point to the analogies that the bush administration has often used between germany and iraq. germany was one of the top 3 industrial powers in the first half of the 20th century (i believe the USA and russia/soviet union would be the other two, though someone can correct me on the latter my understanding is that czarist russia had industrialized a lot more than people generall know). iraq was barely a country.

    4) as for me trying to get attention and seeming smart. believe what you want, i come into these threads for three reasons

    a) there are facts i know which might change the conversation b) there are viewpoints which i can offer which can add diversity of opinion into a monolithic conversation c) i’m lookin’ to chill and observe the brown in action

    anyone who knows me knows that i’m way too self-absorbed to really bask in the glory from the attentions of other human beings :) you are all but dolls on my stage, your esteem does little for me.

    p.s. one last thing, a lot of the debate on iran seems informed by extrapolations based on the religious rhetoric of the current prez., etc. i have read a lot of cog sci of religion and my own opinion is that people are reaching the wrong conclusions and reading into the statements truths that aren’t there. i will perhaps post on this at some point in my own blog…but i have to read more about the iranian situation specifically.

  4. air, some valid ?’s. the rest were no godd reason harsh.. lighten up. otherwise u fall into same trap as him.

  5. razib:

    i think people need to take the character of a society into account when assessing threats.

    ok, let’s give it a whirl then.

    iraq was barely a state, and definitely not a nation.

    “barely a state?” so arab republicanism arose in a vacuum? the early baath party came out of a test tube? saddam hussein was presiding over thin air from the late 1960s to 1990? there was no emergence of an iraqi internationalised bourgeoisie? iraq was carved out by colonialists in the 1920s but it had plenty of time to be a state and be treated as one by cold war superpowers, oil customers, and the other players of the day.

    “definitely not a nation” – i invite you in your scientific wisdom to give us a definition of nation that makes any sense today. and having done so, how many actual unitary nation-states are there out there that fit that definition?

    instead we had ideologues telling us that ‘iraqis were the germans of the middle east,’ etc. etc. that was bull. iraq was a paper tiger for a variety of reasons.

    red herring. what the ideologues were telling us had nothing to do with whether iraq was a state, or nation, or whatever. it had to do with their assessment of the intentions of its ruling regime.

    similarly, the saudis can barely run their own economy without lots of outside aid.

    “aid” – as in export revenue and migrant/expatriate labor? show me a country that doesn’t need “outside aid” by that definition, and i’ll show you albania in the 1970s, or maybe north korea today. come on, man. the united states has more than a little use for export revenue and foreign labor itself, no? not to mention foreign treasuries to keep its currency afloat.

    this should give you a gauge as the endogenous capacity for mischief (remember that al aqaeda might have a saudi ex-citizen as its head, but it is manned mostly by egyptians).

    al-qaeda is an amorphous entity whose membership fluctuates and is largely self-described. “manned mostly by egyptians” is your assertion. the only numbers that everyone can grasp are the nationalities of the 19 hijackers, and as you recall the majority were saudi. for what it’s worth. which isn’t much.

    iran is more of a threat, but seriously, let’s not judge iranian society by its selection-biased diaspora (which isn’t really friendly to the islamist regime by and large anyhow).

    you’re making less and less sense here, brother. what does the “selection-based diaspora” have to do with the price of fish in tehran market? the current government or iran is pursuing certain policies. governments of other countries are deciding how they want to respond to those policies.

    ‘rational actors’ have many levers and strings pulling at them…and the treatment of iran as a black-box entity that is treated as an individual actor as opposed to a collection of interests smells to me too much like what was happening with iraq pre-2003.

    so iran is a complex society that shouldn’t be generalized about, whereas saudi arabia should be. or iranians are rational and saudis are not? or all saudis have the same interests? or what?

    i was mildly fooled then.

    indeed you were. but that’s no reason to fool the rest of us. i don’t know about your biological science credentials, but your geopolitics is wack. please brother, challenge yourself to write your thoughts clearly, and you may find yourself making much more sense.

    peace

  6. “barely a state?” so arab republicanism arose in a vacuum? the early baath party came out of a test tube? saddam hussein was presiding over thin air from the late 1960s to 1990? there was no emergence of an iraqi internationalised bourgeoisie? iraq was carved out by colonialists in the 1920s but it had plenty of time to be a state and be treated as one by cold war superpowers, oil customers, and the other players of the day.

    the early baath party came out of interests of secular and christian arab intellectuals who were not organic outgrowths of the main stream of arab muslim society.

    the united states has more than a little use for export revenue and foreign labor itself, no? not to mention foreign treasuries to keep its currency afloat.

    apples and oranges. saudi arabia could not function as a modern state without foreign input. if all foreign labor left america (define as non-citizens) things would be more expensive and less efficient, but society would not collapse.

    al-qaeda is an amorphous entity whose membership fluctuates and is largely self-described. “manned mostly by egyptians” is your assertion. the only numbers that everyone can grasp are the nationalities of the 19 hijackers, and as you recall the majority were saudi. for what it’s worth. which isn’t much.

    profile of salafi jidhadists

    what does the “selection-based diaspora” have to do with the price of fish in tehran market? the current government or iran is pursuing certain policies. governments of other countries are deciding how they want to respond to those policies.

    uh, i pointed out that fact about the diaspora because someone pointed to iranians abroad (in graduate schools) as if they were typical of the situation in iran itself.

    so iran is a complex society that shouldn’t be generalized about, whereas saudi arabia should be. or iranians are rational and saudis are not? or all saudis have the same interests? or what?

    no, you are putting words in my mouth. generalizations can be made, i think the one i was making is that iran probably less more bark than bite. just because model building is hard doesn’t mean it is impossible.

    i don’t know about your biological science credentials, but your geopolitics is wack. please brother, challenge yourself to write your thoughts clearly, and you may find yourself making much more sense.

    ditto. your post is great critique, and you are certainly clever, but i don’t grant that it is in good faith. i’m sure you have real objections to my substantive points but you instead you tacked off on discourse on discourse.

    is germany more a nation than iraq? i would grant that it is naturally more a nation, even pre-1871 germany. that was my point.

  7. to be precise, iraq is as much of a state as the soviet union was a state. just because it can be held together by a political and military class does not mean that it is a nation-state.

  8. siddhartha m, u said:

    “i invite you in your scientific wisdom”

    and here lies the problem i think, because sometimes, the scientific mind is not quite capable as the political scientific mind is in discussing issues relating not to their own field of expertise.

    heck, maybe i am a fishmonger by day, and earlier childhood may have been the son/daughter of a foreign minister somewheres, none of which equate me knowing what the heck i am talking about.

    so, what does (and here i agree with you sidM and must add, long obsucre rants based on ones own experince which might be limited is self-promotion whatever the poster says), have to do with the price of fish, which i may or may not sell during the day, anywhere is beyond me. sounds like that should be deleted based on the above Note: Requests for… guidelines

    thank you for bringing out the issue so nicely. cheers..

  9. ditto. your post is great critique, and you are certainly clever, but i don’t grant that it is in good faith. i’m sure you have real objections to my substantive points but you instead you tacked off on discourse on discourse.

    “discourse on discourse” – hello, this is a blog, people communicate here. and they use language to do so. and some do it clearly, others less so. and when they tend to be incomprehensible, it’s asking a lot of readers to excavate their “substantive” point and focus on that point alone. it’s usually impossible to figure out what that point is.

    i’m saying, i’m sure if you took a poll here 95% of readers would confess they can’t make head or tail of your arguments. and yet you seem like a smart brother with things to say, and a respected longtime member of this community, and so we want to talk to you. but you need to help us a little bit. otherwise all we can figure out is that you think all saudis are backward, that IQ tests are a superior method of judging people’s capabilities, and that one can generalize about some people at will and never about some others.

    peace

  10. siddartha, if you want to see my point in plain speech.

    1) my first reaction in seeing abhi’s post was to laugh. all that i have read about the saudi educated class and what i have met of them suggests that they simply aren’t a credible threat to maintain and run a nuclear program.

    2) re: iran, i think some of the same actually applies, though this is probably less important than the fact that iran is a complex country with multiple interests and i suspect that the prez is talking as much to other iranians as he is to foreigners when he is addressing foreigners.

    3) my use of particular terms have come in for criticism, but i use the terms in the same fashion i would to describe appalachian okies. the allusion to the beverly hillbillies makes explicit what i’m getting at: saudi affluence hides the reality that they are a profoundly underdeveloped nation.

    4) and, i am skeptical that saudi arab’s technical class is numerous enough, and importantly, motivated enough, to really perpetuate a nuclear program endogenously. physical scientists can correct me, but my one friend who has worked on nuclear programs (in the USA) indicates that it isn’t trivial to keep a program running.

    5) it which case we might talsek about the pakistani-nuclear-program-over-the-sea….

  11. As a person of South Asian origin and a Muslim at that,who has worked in KSG for five years,I couldn’t agree with you more. A more racist and and intellectually lacking people I have not seen. And I have lived in Singapore, Germany and now the U.S. Razib – You should ask your critics to talk with people, not just the poor desis who do the menial stuff, no, even the engineers, doctors, mba’s etc, and listen to their horror stories. The only people who get any respect in Saudi Arabia are the Americans. And not because Americans are considered better than desis…no, it is because the Saudi’s are shit scared of uncle sam. And need uncle sam to protect them from being bullied around. Everything in KSG is run by foreigners…everything…..including as the popular joke goes there..the impregnation of their women.

  12. my family is muslim and brown. i have relatives who have/do live/work in england, libya, germany, japan, saudi arabia, venezuala, USA and australia. i am not a big family person so i don’t talk to them much, but when talk about their experiences they do communicate that these nations have their own “flavors.” but i won’t offer anecdotes…my point is not that saudi arabia is evil in a platonic sense. or that saudis are for that matter.

  13. “please brother, challenge yourself to write your thoughts clearly, and you may find yourself making much more sense.”

    He’s right,you know. You are obviously well read, but I have a very hard time following your flow of thought.

  14. You are obviously well read, but I have a very hard time following your flow of thought.

    point taken. to be honest…i suspect i try and end up posting what should be mosts on my own blog on the comment threads here sometimes…but they lack the narrative context a blog post would have and are too reactive. shrug

  15. here’s the thing, many here, i think, are s.asian, not all, and of those, many are muslim. most, probably, i am purely guessing, arent into the exact sciences you may be, so it would be hard to follow for them. if u were on a blog similar to yours where people from the same profession frequent, then it would make sense, as they would have the nomenclature. here, people come form incredible varied backgrounds and professions, again, in my opinion.

    it seems too show offy that u are constanly going on about stats and probablility when, yes, even though we yawned thru the classes in college and graduate school, for the most part, we dont define the world in that context. again, i am assuming here.

    i have found your thinking quite similar to mine in some other posts, but also found the often use of statistics etc a bit boring. if u look atleast at my posts on other topics, i am clearly troubled by generalisation about any groups, and particularly bout people from asia and those who ar emuslims, as these are communities i am well acquanted with and have many friends in, so am well aware of the pressures on them both at home and abroad. u can see in this context why sweeping generalisation woudl seem bothersome.

    try the blog the poster url’ed earlier, http://muttawa.blogspot.com/, you will enjoy the wonderful thinking there as well as the crackpots just as anywhere else on blogdom.

    peace

  16. but also found the often use of statistics etc a bit boring

    how do you convince people without numbers? 4 is 4. words always allow you to have a get-out-of-jail card. i think posting an interpretive dance of my argument, entertaining as it maybe, is going to be too bandwidth intensive. in any case, i don’t think my posts are excessively quantitative, even if the concepts can be. anyone who wanted to google ‘bimodal’ could figure out exactly what i meant in response to ‘bengali,’ he took the normal distribution and calculated the area beyond threshold, but israel is (IQ wise) more a combination of two normal distributions.

    but in any case, abhi & manish come from math and science backgrounds, as do many posters like kush & saheli. i don’t think i’m an alien among earthlings here.

    one point, i’m not out to “win arguments” here, i don’t care to “convince” anyone. i did debate in college and i’m not trying to “flow” across talking points. it’s just that some people here could benefit from a few facts and rigorous concepts in their argumentation. i leave the arts posts alone so it isn’t like i’m swamping this blog :)

  17. razib:

    i made a statement about america, and you basically pretended as if the USA = australia to make a rhetorical point.

    I’ll quote myself: “hey, if the right wing can cite singular cases in Iran and Lebanon to base their opinions of 1 billion muslims why can’t I do the same? Goose, Gander et al.”

    as for my ‘bigotry’ against saudis, i don’t hate saudi children, i don’t hate saudi women, i don’t hate the saudi poor, etc.

    And we are supposed to miraculously deduce this from your statement “they are a primitive people (mentally ..”?

    but i have contempt for any state which abolished slavery as late as 1962.

    Yet you are perfectly okay with a country that; had legalised racial segregation & discrimmination also as late as the 1960s; ruined the economy and political development of dozens of countries; destroyed the livelihood of 1000s of farmers in developing countries and conducted an illegal invasion of a sovereign country that has resulted in the death and maiming of more than 100,000 people.

    of course i don’t judge saudis by western standards, but i’m not going to attempt to be sensitive about them, they are in general a rotten nation for a variety of reasons (oil, fanaticism, monarchism, etc.).

    As you have mentioned, they are nothing but hillbillies and are merely a product of their own environment.

    I think you have the same racist attitude that some/most of them have thereby relinquishing you of any moral high ground.

    actually, if you want to be pedantic, and you seem to want to be to show how smart you are, israel’s IQ distribution is bimodal (ashkenazi iqs usually range from 100-115 depending on the name you look at, sephardic/mizrachi from 85-100), so you get more individuals at the tails of the distribution than you would expect from a standard normal distribution.

    Yes, but for such a small population it is a much of a muchness which is why I didn’t even bother to recalculate based on their higher (according to Lynn) mean. The bottom line is, your assertion that there aren’t as many smart Saudis is at the least incorrect and at the most racist.

    BTW, I’m not trying to show anything about myself. I am just trying to show you the flaw in your reasoning.

    And wtf is with being ok about generalising brown ppl but not okay generalising others? You are one hell of a blinkered scientist my friend.

  18. I think you have the same racist attitude that some/most of them have thereby relinquishing you of any moral high ground.

    saudis are not a race. i hate saudis like some people hate republicans. there is no shame or wrongness in that. i could be specific and say pro-saud salafis, but you know what i mean.

    Yes, but for such a small population it is a much of a muchness which is why I didn’t even bother to recalculate based on their higher (according to Lynn) mean.

    you are that good at mental math huh?

    lynn gives 103 for the ashkenazi IQ is israel (this might be a low estimate, others give 107), and they are about 40% of the population. israel’s population is 6.25 million.

    assuming normal distribution, 3.6% ashkenazi populuation has an IQ above 130.

    6.25 mill * .4 *.036 = 90,000.

    yes, you read that right, 90,000 for the ashkenazi of israel alone vs. a little over 10,000 for all of saudi arabia.

    and that is why i like numbers, you can actually check your intuition.

    in any case, this ignores the “fat tail effect,” IQs are not perfect normal distributions but exhibit more at the extremes that a gaussian…but you get the general idea.

  19. lynn gives 103 for the ashkenazi IQ is israel (this might be a low estimate, others give 107), and they are about 40% of the population. israel’s population is 6.25 million.

    Where did you get that? The page I’m looking at gives Israel’s mean to be 94.

  20. “it seems too show offy that u are constanly going on about stats and probablility when, yes, even though we yawned thru the classes in college and graduate school, for the most part, we dont define the world in that context. again, i am assuming here.”

    Since when do facts equate to “showing off” ? Actually it’s your text, Razib, that I find hard to read. A bit like plowing through those turgid Russian textbooks. On re-reading your posts on this thread, however, you =do= make good sense. I do have a living to make though , you know.

  21. my coblogger reviewed lynn’s most recent book here: Earlier discussions of Israel’s IQ, when it was listed as 94 in IQ&tWoN treated it as a suspect score, because Ashkenazi Jews are thought to score 1 SD higher than other Europeans. Of course even if this were true (and Lynn himself (2004) estimates the IQ as only about 107), Ashkenazi Jews represent only about 40% of Israel’s population, and Oriental Jews and Arabs, who make up the majority, are thought to score nearly as far (if not more) below Europeans as Ashkenazi Jews score above them, so the estimate actually wasn’t unreasonable at all (although ’95′ in a country with a distinct, high scoring population is qualitatively different than a ’95′ country with a single bell curve). Lynn lists 8 studies for Israel with IQs ranging between 89 and 97 and with a median of 95, but none of the studies are broken down by ethnic background to provide direct estimates of the IQs of Oriental and Ashkenazi Jews. So Lynn uses population percentages (40% Ashkenazi, 40% Oriental, 20% Arab), results from one direct study of Israeli Arab IQ (86), and knowledge from several Israeli studies that indicate that Ashkenazi Jews score 12 points higher than Oriental Jews, to give indirect weighted estimates of 91 for the IQ of Oriental Jews and 103 for Ashkenazi Jews in Israel. No direct studies are given or listed for these groups in Israel, and if Lynn is correct that Jewish-American IQs are really only about 107, then that really isn’t different enough from his Israel estimate, in my opinion, that we can rule out their scores being identical in each nation – the estimate just isn’t that precise.

    you can do an amazon search of lynn’s previous book, he gives ~100 for ashkenazi jews in israel. most psychometric studies on ashkenazi jews give ranges from 100-115, so 103 is probably a slight underestimate.

  22. The page I’m looking at gives Israel’s mean to be 94.

    also, to make myself clear, you can’t treat israel as a normal distribution as it is ethnically diverse, and though there is some intermarriage (strongly correlated with SES from what i know), you can still decompose the populations enough so it is probably valid to treat ashkenazis and non-ashkenazis as separate normal distributions. so, non-ashkenazis would have a lower mean IQ than ashkenazis. in practice you would get more people at the low and high range than you would predict for taking 94 as the mean and mode (it isn’t the mode, the most frequent number, there are probably two humps around 85 and 100).

  23. In defense of Razib,

    Siddhartha, I agree Razib writing style is quite obtuse. I guess nobody @ SM or at the blogosphere will change his style on the short order.

    Most of the time, I do not fully understand his writings but then nodofy forces me to read him.

    He is does have his pet ideas, prejudices, and other short comings like anyone else.

    However, He is one of the few posters on SM who actually use data and “published/ peer-reviewedhypotheises and facts regularly, and tries. Sometimes, he may read too much in those facts within his own framework but he is one of thpe few guys/ gals here who do use facts. More than often (> 50%) I do not agree with him but still. A while ago, he brought the demaographics of US military and casualities in Iraq, and other examples like that.

    Regading Saudi Arabia, last year I had a job offer from there. In the short period before the decision, I talked to quite of few professions working there and around/ read about there. Let us put like this, “I do not think I was personally .1% keen after what I heard“.

  24. razib:

    you can’t treat israel as a normal distribution as it is ethnically diverse,

    Fair enough, thanks for the explanation.

    Kush:

    Regading Saudi Arabia, last year I had a job offer from there.

    Oh there’s no doubt they are a bunch of wankers – they’re even loathed within the muslim world – my quip was just with referring to them as inferior people.

  25. it’s just that some people here could benefit from a few facts and rigorous concepts in their argumentation. i leave the arts posts alone so it isn’t like i’m swamping this blog :)

    i hear what u r saying, and like i said, in many regards, i dont hve issues with ur position, a si hold some that are the same.

    and like u, i dont comment on everything, nor read everything, it isnt compulsary. others do, we obviously dont.

    how do you convince people without numbers? 4 is 4. words always allow you to have a get-out-of-jail card.

    and yes, though we all know how to google, we dont all feel like we want to. and yes, thoguh, i am assuming it is true, am not about to google this either, the admin are like minds to u, this isnt presented as a sceince and math blog, nor are the topics math and science. for all u know, i and others may do math and science as our day job, so want to not do math and science for things not considered work.

    but, i spent many a year among people whose job, and now mine, is dealing with those very subjective grey non-4=4 concrete factual world that makes up a part of vast majority of peoples everyday life, this being my own opinion based on my own experience, not a fact i have researched.

    i think i was trying to get to the point one cannot quantify everything, even if i agreed wioth yu one ought to to take away the ?? in issues, and throwing facts around is not relevant to evry topic, even if they are not in the arts.

    personally, like many readers, i comment on other completely unrelated blogs, and have my own that is 180 degrees to this one. i enjoy the comments here more than i do the topics, many of which i have already read about by the time i come here. i am sure u do to. its my preference not to interced my own professional interest in this forum, but i understand it may not be the case for others. for all u know, i am a behavioural psychologist, or a doorperson in one of the bigger hotels in the city. irrlevant. or i may be law enforcement or the nepali secret service bored out of my ear sitting in pokora with a laptop and a satellite link. does not matter.

    all i am saying is, generalisations, whether i agree with them or not, are not good in any regards. neither are numbers in all circumstances.

    peace

    PS: i may also be a forensic accountant, or simply, underemployed.

  26. Bengali – Are you really equating the U.S. with Saudi Arabia? Don’t you think that is a stretch? Even the French wouldn’t stoop so low…

  27. its my preference not to interced my own professional interest in this forum, does not matter.

    But it does matter, because it gives your comment more credibility. It’s a bit like how you wouldn’t ask a plumber about your sore tooth and how you wouldn’t ask a dentist about your leaking tap.

  28. back to the original post, likely th emajik kingdom financed pa’s program, though one wonders what they get in return. this would be consistent with the way saudi gov and saudi elite and business establishment operate. unlikely they have silos dug out in the desert, unless the US dug them, and for US usage.

    and if i am wrong about my intuition, which is often right as wrong, and they do infact unbeknownst US and allies have silos they had pa’s build, i am wholly reliant on israeli secret and military services to have found out about it while still the haji’s were waiting to board haj plane.

    gee, i gues it would be the very first time a media outlet came out with a sensational piece to increase sellership, or purely to incite people to be incited…

    its getting dryer by the day there, the m.e. does not need sparks by overzealous mediamerchants.

  29. But it does matter, because it gives your comment more credibility. It’s a bit like how you wouldn’t ask a plumber about your sore tooth and how you wouldn’t ask a dentist about your leaking tap

    yes, u r correct, i do need to generate great credibility to a bunch of strangers on the interwebs. what was i thinking. i was just going to let my words to the generating. i am wrong.

    peace

  30. Bengali – Are you really equating the U.S. with Saudi Arabia? Don’t you think that is a stretch? Even the French wouldn’t stoop so low…

    Yes I am, and no it’s not that much of a stretch. Illegal wars, death & destruction, political gerrymandering. What’s the saying? Birds of a Feather, flock together. Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be so audacious if it couldn’t (i.e if it didn’t have any support from the Uncle).

  31. what was i thinking. i was just going to let my words to the generating.

    Google doesn’t have all the answers you know. One must have some basic understanding to begin with.

  32. Oh there’s no doubt they are a bunch of wankers

    2nd truer statement was never said.

    i 2nd that! i would add that definitely in my own experience, the level of bigoty is refined to a fine vintage there, where i myself would have been flogged, or atleast my passport snatched.

    maybe explains why people like to stay the hell away from others ragging on the saudis, as long as nobody thinks they themselves might be similar. though saudi money travels far and wide, and extremists are hathcing like mushrooms where people only used to worry about what size goat to buy for eid, or which sandals to wear for friday prayers.

  33. Razib – Assuming IQs of nations are a factor to consider, could you extrapolate the same analysis you did for Saudi Arabia to other countries which developed/posess nuclear weapons?

  34. Razib – Assuming IQs of nations are a factor to consider, could you extrapolate the same analysis you did for Saudi Arabia to other countries which developed/posess nuclear weapons?

    probably to some extent. one thing, i think we do need to look beyond the mean. what is important is a “smart fraction.” the average IQ of a nation could be low, but if you threw in 10% of the population of ashkenazi jews that might allow them to get above a threshold of intellectual capable workers who could produce lots of nasty weapons given the will. but, my impression is that the cognitively gifted and motivated individuals in the KSA are non-natives. that is a consideration when we weight the possibility of their nuclear program….