* Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose $10 million contribution was turned down by Rudy Giuliani in the days after the 9/11 attacks, is purchasing a flying palace.
By BARBARA SURK and ANNA JOHNSON, Associated Press Writers
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – In the annals of excess, it could be a new high: a more than $300 million, super-sized luxury airplane, bought and outfitted solely for the private comfort of a Saudi Arabian billionaire.
Once done, the Airbus A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane, will be a “flying palace” for Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the manufacturer announced Monday.
Airbus SAS would not give a specific price tag for the VIP double-decker jet, with its football field-length wings, saying only that it would cost more than the aircraft’s list price of $320 million.
That doesn’t even include the money the prince will spend to custom fit the nearly 6,000-square foot plane to include whatever he wants. The options include private bedrooms, a movie theater or even a gym with a jacuzzi. He’ll also need a flight crew of about 15 to operate the luxury liner.
“Prince Alwaleed is the first, and so far the only customer of this aircraft,” said David Velupillai, the spokesman of the Airbus, which announced the luxury order at the Dubai International Airshow.
It’s all just spending cash for bin Talal â€” Citigroup Inc.’s biggest individual shareholder and the world’s 13th richest person with assets around $20 billion.
Everyone in the world knows that the Saudis do not work, have not worked, and will not work. A few go to the office for a few hours. Officially the work day for Saudis is about three hours, where they chatter and check on their investments and busily order non-Saudis about. And the same goes for the Emirates and Kuwait and the rest of these places. Every single expatriate who has endured, for the dough, these awful — morally awful, socially awful — places knows this, and comes away merely counting the banknotes as the only consolation.
The Administration should be figuring out every possible way to diminish the oil wealth of the rich Arab and Muslim states. In so doing, it will necessarily have to tax oil and, especially, gasoline. It ought to have done so long ago, in 1973, in order then to recapture oligopolistic rents that otherwise were going to OPEC oil producers. The gasoline tax should have been imposed with great fanfare, and the government should have committed to a steady rise in that tax, ensuring to car manufacturers, and to those in charge of mass transit programs, that the price would never go down. A powerful Saudi lobby, consisting of all those who were sure, or at least pretended to be sure, that Saudi Arabia was our “ally” and would ensure “price moderation” (whatever that meant), helped prevent such an energy policy. The Western hirelings of Saudi Arabia have not only helped them to continue to fund, without being stopped, mosques and madrasas and campaigns of Da’wa all over the West, but have helped them to prevent an energy policy that might have headed off the environmental disasters, including the loss of 90% of the world’s species, that are now almost certain to occur.
Though Saudi Arabia and the other undeservedly rich Arab and Muslim oil states have been the recipients of the largest transfer of wealth in human history, some ten trillion dollars since 1973 alone (and there was plenty in the decades before that), without having lifted a finger to deserve it, they have failed everywhere to create modern economies. Now they talk grandly of “economic cities” they will build. But what Saudis have learned, or will learn, how to work? The Muslim Arab tradition honors not work but rather wealth gathered through raiding parties, or from the Jizyah received from non-Muslims, or from trading. Nothing is made by the Saudis or other Arab oil sheikdoms and countries. Nothing is offered by way of services. They are rentier states. And what is still more maddening, they have somehow been allowed to get the Western world to pay for, to offer up a disguised Jizyah to, all of the oil-poor Arabs and Muslims. It is not Saudi Arabia that spent tens of billions on aid to Iraq, not Saudi Arabia that has given Egypt more than $60 billion in the last few decades, or close to $30 billion (Selig Harrison’s calculation) to Pakistan since the 9/11/2001 attacks. It is not Saudi Arabia but the West that keeps piling money into the pockets of the corrupt “Palestinian” Authority, billions of which disappeared when Arafat died (where did it go? does anyone care?), and that continues to go to Arafat’s cronies, now performing their routine as mild-mannered and sober and eminently trustworthy accountants.
Fitzgerald: Why the Saudi charm offensive will fail
The mere fact that the Saudis are worried enough to be conducting this worldwide charm offensive by Muslims and especially Saudis –e.g., King Abdullah’s meeting with the Pope — is a good thing. That is, it’s a good thing as long as Infidels maintain a healthy skepticism about that charm offensive, since it comes along with the usual smoke-and-mirrors, delivered by solemn, gravelly-voiced Abdullah or some other among the fungible Al-Saud. (God, what with the daggers and dishdashas, and the double-layer goatee, and the sinister mien, they are so hard to keep apart, aren’t they?) In any case, it is not having the effect that the Muslim propagandists and their Saudi paymasters thought it would.