Ex Cathedra

Above me, a dust storm has virtually closed the airport and the hotel reception is crammed with suitcases and tough-looking men with baseball hats. Either the Vogon Heavy Constructor Fleet has landed or these are Texan oil men or rig crews perhaps, either going to or from Iraq.

I'm writing this from the 'Internet cafe' at the conference centre in Bahrain this morning. I have to deliver a keynote speech on Middle Eastern eGovernment in an hour and rumour has it that Iran's President Khatemi, who is visiting Bahrain, may step in to listen.I rather doubt it, as I'm sure he has better things to do, Middle Eastern peace being a good place to start.

Bahrain is, as, I expected, full of American service people. Hard to miss at the country's best traditional Japanese restaurant last night but then I discovered that America's legacy to the region isn't peace but the 'Doggy Bag' instead. With no exceptions, as I ate my Sashimi, I watched each of the American service couples ask for 'Doggy Bags' in turn.

This is a new experience for the Arab world, maybe it will catch on, like Coca Cola, McDonalds and 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'.

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