Over Easy: Around the World
(Picture courtesy of Herry Lawford at flickr.com.)
Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene. Now, I am back from that world and view, and glad of it though there are things I miss. It’s been really hard to get back onto schedule for me, hope you are all patient with me.
The UAE announced that fuel subsidies will be cut, which will bring regular fuel to 24% more in cost than it has shown for drivers there. The move is meant to encourage drivers to cut back on their profligacy in use of petroleum products and pollution.
“It’s not a huge increase,” said Mashfique Chowdhury, the editor of UAE-based motoring site DriveArabia. “People who can afford gas guzzling cars should still be able to afford them. It might hit the low-income groups more if commuting costs double.
Mohamed Noweir, the managing director of UAE car classifieds site Carmudi, said that the higher prices could spur on sales and availability of hybrid vehicles – currently a rarity in the Gulf.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll see hybrids picking up in the UAE. There could be a chance for you to see as many Teslas in Dubai than you see in California,” added Noweir, referring to the all-electric sports cars produced by the upstart U.S. automaker.
Always good to have an appearance by former Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley, who resigned after describing the imprisonment and maltreatment of Bradley Manning – for releasing information about U.S. surveillance – as ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.
As journalists quizzed US state department spokesman John Kirby earlier this week about the fight against the so-called Islamic State, one simply asked, “Who is shooting at whom?”
It is actually a good question and a major problem as the United States tries to convert significant tactical effort on multiple fronts into a workable long-term strategy. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the US-led international effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” IS, just how effective the coalition has been remains unclear.
As a practical matter, while the US has established a training programme for the moderate opposition, the graduation rate has been so modest that it is likely to be months if not years before those forces can make a difference.
Sadly, there is probably time. If the analogy of the Thirty Years War is accurate, this complex Middle East conflict is far from over.