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. This sounds like crap. Why would they need to pose as pilgrims? If they’re helping the gov’t, they could just walk in. Why all this under-the-cover-of-Hajj business?

    It’s amusing to watch America go bananas about Iran getting the bomb, when there is no evidence to support that at present. But if a Saudi nuclear programme really is in the offing, I can’t wait to see how America would react then. (Just to clarify, I don’t want either country to have the bomb)

    I also like how you omitted the ‘h’ from bullshit instead of the conventional ‘i’. Original touch. It shall be known as the abhisterisk.

  2. I also like how you omitted the ‘h’ from bullshit instead of the conventional ‘i’. Original touch. It shall be known as the abhisterisk

    .

    I usually randomly select which letter to omit. It keeps people guessing about what the offending word really is

  3. “Pakistani scientists posed as pilgrims to come to Saudi Arabia”

    While this sounds too fantastic, it may be some cloak and dagger stuff to hoodwink CIA. I am afraid that the potential of Pakistan and China to proliferate is being ignored by International community.

    In coming days this is going to turn into an even bigger headache

    Regards

  4. i guess it wuz funny, but really, i’m serious. this is the nation whose fighter pilots can barely fly their own airplanes because they are so idiotic. this is a nation where reporters at “english language” papers have brown “aids” who do all their work for them. i will take off the table the possibility that the saudis are just endogenously dull (inbreeding doesn’t help). but they have to be amongst the most rotted people in the world by easy affluence. if they do get their hands on a nuke i wouldn’t be surprised if it was operationally a whole owned subsidiary of the pakistani program. if the saudis insisted on managing “their” nukes i wouldn’t be surprised if they blew up riyadh by mistake.

    i know it is conventional wisdom that uranium is the limiting reagent in nuclear capability, but in the case of saudi arabia it might not be, they might simply lack human capital to keep something like this going.

  5. I think his comment was tongue in cheek or sarcastic.

    Methinks he likes to take occassional pot shots at brown-ness

    Regards

  6. btw, this is a nation where religious ‘scholars’ do defend geocentrism. i don’t know if they do it seriously, but they do do it (the koranic universe is pretty clearly earth-centered). this might scare some people, eg, geocentrism + nukes = insanity, but i think using cavemen or something is a better example. they are likely to have their toys explode in their faces. i guess some retard could also try and take the bomb out of country….

    but seriously, i can’t help but laugh at imagining such primitive people (mentally, if not materially) attempting to juggle nuclear physics.

  7. and this isn’t a racial/ethnic thing. i’ve had palestinian and egyptian friends/acquaintances wax eloquently on the baby-dumb nature of gulf arabs. even though they aren’t as fat-on-the-land as back in the 1970s when every man was an emir (especially saudi arabia, which has too many ppl to split finite monies), we’re talking of a nation of paris hilton’s without the plastic surgery. they were born with silver spoons in their mouths, i don’t think we should be as scared of them on the first order as the iranians because iranians might actually do something (not that we, americans, should be scared of iranians either). the saudis might give away their bought bomb though, especially if they think it be broke and they can’t fix it….

  8. p.s. remember, osama is half-yemeni and half-syrian. his family’s money was made. and many would say zawahri is his brain anyway (egyptian). before the lean look of the hungry….

  9. and this isn’t a racial/ethnic thing. i’ve had palestinian and egyptian friends/acquaintances wax eloquently on the baby-dumb nature of gulf arabs.

    Sweet. Anecdotal evidence to support a bigoted view.

    If intelligence is your issue here, then if Pakistan, with an average IQ of 81 and India also with an average IQ of 81 can have nuclear weapons, why can’t Saudia Arabia, with an average IQ of 83 have them?

    source

    (Not that I think these guys should have nuclear weapons mind you).

  10. Sweet. Anecdotal evidence to support a bigoted view.

    If intelligence is your issue here, then if Pakistan, with an average IQ of 81 and India also with an average IQ of 81 can have nuclear weapons, why can’t Saudia Arabia, with an average IQ of 83 have them?

    saudis are dumb and they fund mullahs who call people who accept heliocentrism ‘apostates.’ the word ‘bigot’ is really worse than useless if you can’t bag on woman-hating kufir sneering saudis for god’s sake!!! :) i’m pretty aghast, but hey, bengali is the guy who cited anti-flag burning laws in australia to show how hypocritical the americans are re: free speech, so, speaking of low iqs….

    why can pakistanis and indians perpetuate nuclear programs while saudis can not? i would offer two simple explanations

    1) multimodality, the distribution isn’t necessarily normal. india and pakistan might have smaller subpopulations (via assortative mating?)

    2) but, assume a normal distribution, using 80 as mean IQ and 15 stand dev. you got

    0.0429% of population above IQ 130, so, india would have: 429,000 pakistan would have: 60,060 saudia arabia would have: 10,725

    i assume that the fact that any saudi with a brain is probably going to be a coddled prince compared to browns who have to compete for IIT spots is going to make a difference (and is it me, or is an IQ of 83 not too phat considering that saudis are probably healthier, wealthier and plumper than the typical india or pakistani?).

    but again, i’ll store this accusation of bigotry against wahhabis the next time i hear about the ‘american taliban’ :) if you can’t call people who don’t let women drive or vote and non-muslims practice their religion in public savages in a casual fashion, well….

  11. Man Razib,

    Guy, You know your probabilistic distribution analysis pretty well.

    However, I do not believe in IQ tests, neither do Stephen Hawking.

    Still, India and Pakistan might have lower IQ mean because of bad nutrition, dodgy education for the masses (not the elites).

  12. However, I do not believe in IQ tests, neither do Stephen Hawking.

    argument from authority! :) be as that maybe….

    Still, India and Pakistan might have lower IQ mean because of bad nutrition, dodgy education for the masses (not the elites).

    i grant this. but, i suspect that bad nutrition and dodgy education do have an obvious effect on mental accuity. heritability of IQ tends to increase with affluence because environmental “noise” is removed out of the equation. but, in any case, i don’t know many people who would claim that the saudis are underfed!!! one might argue that their society is cognitively shitty-feedback with their mullahs and all :)

    my overall point though is that iran is a lot scarier than saudi arabia to americans because i think iran is capable of directed, concerted and rational force projection. i think saudi arabia isn’t capable of that. we are having all these controversies about illegal immigration here in the USA, but imagine if foreign workers simply left saudi arabia. they’d be back in tents within a few years i predict, they simply haven’t built up any societal capital on a broad scale because of the cheap & easy path of oil affluence.

  13. How accurate are IQs ?

    Wiki did not help much.

    And I think Saudis are capable of using nukes irrespective of their IQs.

    Regards

  14. let me also be clear…i’m not that scared about iranians either. i am suspicious of their heated rhetoric as anything more than posturing. but we have all have likelihood equations….

  15. How accurate are IQs ?

    this is an issue of accuracy vs. precision. i think IQ tests are pretty precise when administered by professionals. but that’s neither here nor their, my overall point is that i’m skeptical saudi arabia has the societal capital to maintain a nuclear program in the long run. true, any monkey can push a big-red-button-to-blow-up-the-world, but the military-industrial-complex isn’t just packaging….

  16. At risk of sounding a dolt, What I meant was…

    1) I can understand the premise that clever parent will mean (more often than not)clever children. I think IQ will reflect that. 2) Is IQ independent of enviromental factors like nuitrition or education. 3) If not, can IQ measurement take into account factors like nuitrition and education.

    The reason I ask this is IQ is used as a relevent factor in discussion about race*. However if IQ is dependant on enviroment and if IQ measurment can not account for them, then isn’t it unwise to use them in racial discussions.

    • Again Wiki does not help in exact definition of race. I do think that my IQ must be hovering around 80.

    Regards

  17. 2) Is IQ independent of enviromental factors like nuitrition or education. 3) If not, can IQ measurement take into account factors like nuitrition and education.

    The reason I ask this is IQ is used as a relevent factor in discussion about race*. However if IQ is dependant on enviroment and if IQ measurment can not account for them, then isn’t it unwise to use them in racial discussions.

    well…cognitive performance is obviously not independent of nutrition or education (i would argue that nutrition can have a causative relationship, while education is generally correlative, not causative). one can posit and include gene-environment correlation & interaction parameters into behavior genetic models, but that doesn’t remove some uncertainty. for me, the key is that the high threshold of certitude is not asked of other sociological sciences, which are frankly often far less rigorous in their methodology in attempting to model phenomenon in a controlled mathematical fashion (eg., principle component analysis, etc.) which is open to critique.

    but we can take IQ off the table, i don’t particularly care to emphasize that because it detracts from the thrust of what i’m getting at. i just have to admit that after having talked to saudis and gulf arabs (and having them tell me how bangladeshis were much cleaner than hindus, and of course, filipinos, as if i would grin like a pleased monkey) they don’t strike me as that far from amazonian indians who happen to have hit paydirt. if you want pop-culture allusions, they are the beverly hill-billies. these were people who were backward compared to other arabs, but their god gifted them oil and so they are now wealthy. yes, they should be feared because they can cause serious problems…but comparing them to iran just strikes me as hilarious, that’s like comparing an inbred clan from kentucky to the aristocracy of new orleans.

  18. but hey, bengali is the guy who cited anti-flag burning laws in australia to show how hypocritical the americans are re: free speech, so, speaking of low iqs….

    Err. I was citing the australian example of how the WEST is hypocritical about free speech. To refresh your dawdling memory, the discussion was about the WEST’s attitude to free speech regarding the cartoons and the muslim people’s response. And 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.

    2) but, assume a normal distribution, using 80 as mean IQ and 15 stand dev. you got 0.0429% of population above IQ 130, so, india would have: 429,000 pakistan would have: 60,060 saudia arabia would have: 10,725

    And..

    Israel a whopping: 2,690 France: 26,020 UK: 25,930 (i.e not all that much more)

    Your argument about intelligence is a MOOt point.

    but again, i’ll store this accusation of bigotry against wahhabis the next time i hear about the ‘american taliban’ :) if you can’t call people who don’t let women drive or vote and non-muslims practice their religion in public savages in a casual fashion, well….

    It is widely accepted that they have horrible practises. But I take issue with the phrase ‘primitive people’. It’s like KKK language and implies that they are an inferior race.

  19. but comparing them to iran just strikes me as hilarious, that’s like comparing an inbred clan from kentucky to the aristocracy of new orleans.

    The sentence above implies that Iranians aren’t inbred – fyi prevalence rate of consanguineous marriages in Iran is 58.2%

    But yes, the Persians do have a much more colourful and sophisticated history than the Gulf Arabs.

  20. Err. I was citing the australian example of how the WEST is hypocritical about free speech. To refresh your dawdling memory, the discussion was about the WEST’s attitude to free speech regarding the cartoons and the muslim people’s response. And 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.

    dude, you can refresh yourself of the context,

    90 · bengali on February 9, 2006 12:02 AM · Direct link

    why burn the flag in the USA? because in this country you can! [i said]

    Err, if you did burn the American flag in the US you would be lynched by a mob or put in jail! [you said]

    i made a statement about america, and you basically pretended as if the USA = australia to make a rhetorical point. that was either slimy or it was dumb, you can’t avoid both stickers buddy.

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

  21. Israel a whopping: 2,690

    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.

  22. in any case, i’ll bow out of any discussion of IQ by just pointing interested readers to this post (one of my other blogs) which reviews richard lynn’s latest book (most of the numbers cited above draw from data lynn has collected). but, i’m all for sticking around to rag on saudis, everyone hates a rich boy, especially one which has a nasty personality and is kept out of special ed through family connections.

  23. Between October 2004 and January 2005, some of them slipped off from pilgrimages

    Hajj is only three days? I think they only give out hajj visas that are like 10 days long, no? And they dissapeared for three weeks? I know, it’s minor, but the time thing just wasn’t working out for me.

  24. Here’s another news item about Saudi and Pakistani technical personnel working together… I think there is a pattern in the projects they pick, either blowing things up or trying to develop bomb technology.

    Sunday, March 19, 2006 Swiss documentary on Afghanistan: Pakistani, Saudi engineers helped destroy Buddhas By Khalid Hasan WASHINGTON: The Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban with the help of Pakistani and Saudi engineers. According to an account published here on Saturday, a local Afghan told the makers of a Swiss documentary on the giant statues which had stood there, carved in the side of a mountain for hundreds of years, had been destroyed by engineers from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The dynamiting of the statues took place in March 2001. Swiss documentary filmmaker Christian Frei, who has made several documentaries that have won praise at various international film festivals, shot ‘The Giant BuddhasÂ’ in Afghanistan. The film is due to be shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington on 26 March. The Taliban went ahead with the destruction of the giant statues, revered for centuries, because they considered them “offensive to Islam”. They ignored appeals from around the world, including UNESCO and an appeal from the then Government of Pakistan, made, it would appear now, more “for the record” than any serious intent to stop the Islamist zealots from destroying what the rest of the world considered mankindÂ’s heritage. Taliban minister of information Qudratullah Jamal said in a statement later, “The destruction work is not as easy as people would think. You canÂ’t knock down the statues by dynamite or shelling as both of them have been carved in a cliff. They are firmly attached to the mountain.” Museums and governments around the world kept hoping until the end that the Taliban would desist from committing what the rest of the world saw as an act of “cultural sacrilege” but they were adamant in their resolve. A delegation from the Organisation of the Islamic Conference went to Kandahar to urge the Taliban leaders to change their mind, but was turned down. The Taliban information minister was quoted at the time as saying, “We would repeat to them as we have to other delegations that we are not going to back away from the edict, and that no statues in Afghanistan will be spared.” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also urged the Taliban not to go ahead but was rebuffed. Koichiro Matsuura, the head UNESCO, said the agency would continue efforts to salvage other Afghan relics targeted for destruction. “It is abominable to witness the cold and calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity,” he said in a statement. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak dispatched the Grand Mufti of Egypt to Afghanistan to plead with the Taliban rulers to spare the statues but his emissary had no success either. Zahi Hawas, the man in charge of the plateau holding the great pyramids outside Cairo, said at the time, “They are making bad publicity about Islam – and Islam has nothing to do with what is happening in Afghanistan.” Xuanzang, a 7th century Chinese monk, pilgrim and chronicler, travelled to Bamiyan and wrote a graphic description of the statues. He even mentioned a giant “sleeping Buddha” in the area, but no trace has been found of that in modern times. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C03%5C19%5Cstory_19-3-2006_pg7_38
  25. But yes, the Persians do have a much more colourful and sophisticated history than the Gulf Arabs.

    Bengali’s point is well taken. But again, that is neither here nor there.

    not that we, americans, should be scared of iranians either

    As for Razib‘s assertion that Iran is more bark than bite, I am left unconvinced there.

    If we are talking about human and scientific resources, Iran has a very strong culture of education in the sciences and engineering. They demolish most countries in the International Math Olympiads (which is the breeding ground for teenage mathematicians, statisticians and theoretical physicists of the highest caliber). In fact, among international graduate students in engineering, Iranians come a close fourth to desis, Koreans and the Chinese. This — inspite of the fact that it is virtually impossible for all but the very best to get a US visa. And a lot of them tend to return to Iran to teach and conduct research. Much like Israeli graduate students.

    So Iran has the intelligence (please don’t jump on me with IQ averages, kurtosis or modality) to have their own program. Though why they might still not be a threat to the US remains unanswered.

  26. 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

    The Saudi elite (coddled princes, as you put it, and the scions of associated business houses with patronage from the Royal family) often send their kids to Ivy League schools. Many of the one’s I’ve met are half European–since their fathers have some fondness for blonde women, though they would NEVER claim to be anything but Saudi.

    I knew this one blonde-haired, blue-eyed Saudi who picked up this American women (among a group of women) who were dissing Saudis (and Sindhis?!) at a club in the city favored by the international set. The Saudis are frequently dissed in London too for their wild, profligate ways. He related: After he took care of business, he pulled out the Saudi flag from his bedroom drawer and was like “I’m Saudi you bitch; that’s right Saudi!”

  27. After he took care of business, he pulled out the Saudi flag from his bedroom drawer and was like “I’m Saudi you bitch; that’s right Saudi!”

    That’s an absolutely disgusting way to treat a woman, regardless of whatever she may have been saying about Saudis (or any other ethnic/national group) beforehand.

  28. That’s an absolutely disgusting way to treat a woman, regardless of whatever she may have been saying about Saudis (or any other ethnic/national group) beforehand.

    Most certainly. And it was probably a way to win “points” with his Saudi friends and cousins who (1) could not pick up white women so easily and (2) subtly questioned and or undermined the white Saudi’s claim to “Saudi-ness.”

  29. Personally, I’m most amused by the mention of bar-codes. Like they were bought at a mall in Jeddah: “Could I get a price check on the enriched uranium in Aisle 4?” It’s hardly a surprise that Pakistan gets money from Saudi Arabia in big heaping handfuls, but I suspect that the story is mildly error-prone; if said scientists were being flown in on sponsored planes, there’d be no need to issue them a Haj visa. If you go on Haj, you get a special Haj visa AND you have to take one of a number of specially operated flights that are run by the government. It seems somewhat breathy, US Weekly gossip-mongering at best and just inaccurate/incomplete reporting at worst. But is it really a surprise to people that nuclear programmes haven’t been shut down just because the US wanted them to be? This is nothing new. Welcome to selective myopia–generally, if you go through the motions, it’s all good. Otherwise, why would the “liberators” and democracy-bringers of the world be content to not depose a military dictator (semi-benevolent, but a dictator nonetheless) in the same way as they did Saddam in Iraq? And amazingly enough, Castro still hasn’t been touched.

    Sorry. Babbling now. Not enough coffee or sleep in the last 48 hours.

  30. Sorry. Babbling now. Not enough coffee or sleep in the last 48 hours

    Try the tabla against teabags post…

  31. Man!! If this turns out to be true, than what a big OOps The US invaded a nation illegally under the false pretenses of “nuclear weapons capacity”. While all its neighnours are getting nukes. And US was worried about Iran ????

  32. razib wrote: “actually, if you want to be pedantic, and you seem to want to be to show how smart you are, “

    this is particulalrly funny coming from you. so other than what the rest of us know about the saudis, what is your personal grudge against ALL saudis, regardless if they are ‘retards’ or not. for all the stats you throw out on many posts, you seem to have done the same sort of generalisation that we often point fingers at others for doing to us.

    i say this with absolutely no affiliation with the majik kingdom, nor being a muslim, or a saudi myself.

    this sort of attitude is quite disturbing.

  33. this sort of attitude is quite disturbing.

    It’s alright. He is a scientist. Scientific theories and scientific minds have never been a threat to anyone or anybody. Have they?

  34. >you seem to have done the same sort of generalisation that we often point fingers at others for doing to us.

    i don’t mind generalizations about browns. you can see my posts to make that clear.

  35. this is particulalrly funny coming from you. so other than what the rest of us know about the saudis, what is your personal grudge against ALL saudis

    and i said:

    i don’t hate saudi children, i don’t hate saudi women, i don’t hate the saudi poor, etc.

    ? perhaps i read and write english differently than you. so why do you hat ALL white people?

  36. Lurked around on this website for months, but today I feel the need to voice my opinion.

    Being a neuroscientist, it feels strange when I hear IQ scores being cited every 5 minutes. a)IQ scores say little about intelligence (whatever that word means) except predict academic performance and b)intelligence says nothing about rational behaviour. Which implies nuclear power is a major risk, be it at the hands of Saudis or Americans.

    And Joolz, it’s not alright. Scientists are trained to be extremely cautious in their generalizations. So such bigoted statements from a “scientific mind” is all the more disturbing.

  37. The link which showed national IQ of Saudi Arabia as 83 has * next to it, which says Estimated National IQs (marked by *) Based on the IQs of Neighboring or Other Comparable Countries.

    I bet the Saudi figures were based on the comparatively better-educated and smaller Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE.

    I do know a Saudi blogger who I believe is not dumb and has a high IQ. His blog is absolutely hilarious and a must read for people to know what happens behind the scenes in Saudi.

    Check out Religious Policeman, and donÂ’t get put off by the initial looks of the website. It is actually a spoof on the Muttawa (religious policemen).

    Check out this riotous blog entry about the recent stock market crash there.

  38. IQ scores say little about intelligence (whatever that word means) except predict academic performance and

    LOL.

    “Some ideas are so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them,”

    -Razib

    b)intelligence says nothing about rational behaviour. Which implies nuclear power is a major risk, be it at the hands of Saudis or Americans.

    behavior as a “rational actor” is correlated with IQ.

    And Joolz, it’s not alright. Scientists are trained to be extremely cautious in their generalizations. So such bigoted statements from a “scientific mind” is all the more disturbing.

    yeah, look at how cautious you were about the lack of utility of IQ for instance (except for predicting trivial things like academic success)….

  39. brain fart, i didn’t mean to domenech-out, the quote was from -Orwell, not “-Razib.”

    re: national IQs, take all this stuff with a grain of salt. cultural priming might matter a great deal.

  40. I do know a Saudi blogger who I believe is not dumb and has a high IQ.

    also, not to be trivial, but expectation is not without variance. even if you assume that group IQ assessment is accurate, it does not follow that most interactions with individuals from that group will be with those around that IQ. i didn’t state that above because it seemed obvious, we’re not talking about one spike on a distribution.

  41. and back to my initial, even if crudely stated, i think people need to take the character of a society into account when assessing threats. iraq was barely a state, and definitely not a nation. 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. similarly, the saudis can barely run their own economy without lots of outside aid. 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). 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). ‘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. i was mildly fooled then. but we should have learned….

  42. so my posts get deleted and I get blocked…

    See comment policy: personal, non-issue-focused flames… may be deleted.

  43. heh heh, nice to see a few fellow “a. from rp fans”… =) its good have some different intellectual blood, u know, to fight the intellectual inbreeding resulting in people who keep on repeating themselves in diff. words.

    r wrote: ? perhaps i read and write english differently than you. so why do you hat ALL white people?

    um.. wher eu got that is beyond me. i have been consistingly saying not to generalise. but its true, i must be speekee englngsh different you then.

    and way to go to make ?? well i cant really say, what sort of statement, stoopeed i guess. wrap ur statistical mind around this science-boy (apologeese in my broken english to all other real scientists out their), poor people also include men, and not all are ahoes like maybe many of us like to believe. ok, many are probably, and in my personal experience, i cannot think of a single ksa citizen who wasnt, but that doesnt change the fact u ought not to make sweeping generalisations. sheesh, why not fire up the anti-muslim rhetoric next.

  44. so in effect this posting should not get deleted huh?

    in the spirit of free speech et al, have you heard of ip spoofing??

  45. 46 · razib_against_atheist

    ok, i agree 100% with you there. according to the latest (god i cant stand that women) newsbit about u know who and the rest of the european fm’s, looks very similar to the rhetoric and postering before going to the un for the 1,000,000th unnecessary ridiculous claims and un sanctions (haa haa haa, sorry in advance to all/anee un brats out there).

    except, iran isnt i dont think quite the pushover iraq was. these people mean business, and since they are about there independance and how they not going to take shit from anybody, they are likely to step right up to the edge in brinkmanship. although, i personally am thinking that maybe they just want some goodies from u.s. and the west and are just rattling their sabers so it looks good. as maybe are the other side.

    btw, dont call them arabs anyone, they not like it.

    PS: admin, thanks for the slap on the head, i certainly needed it. cheers!