Monday, December 29, 2008

"Arab Money." Where does it go? It buys jewels for Condi

I plan to put up a long over-due post on Busta Rhymes' song "Arab Money," but here's an initial foray. Here is where the Arab money goes--not to help impoverished Gazans but to pay for extravagant gifts to lavish on the imperial masters and overlords. Apparently they pay Condi to keep her eyes off Gaza. Last night she attended Legally Blonde the Musical. It's not that there is any crisis in the Middle East to attend to, right? (Read the entire article here.)

Arabs lavish jewels on Secretary of State Rice

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
Monday, December 22, 2008
WASHINGTON, (AP)

President George W. Bush's foreign policies may be unpopular in the Middle East, but Arab leaders showered his top diplomat with jewelry worth far more than a quarter of a million dollars last year. While Bush himself didn't fare nearly as well, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raked in at least $316,000 in gem-encrusted baubles from the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia alone, making her one of top recipients among U.S. officials of gifts from foreign heads of state and government and their aides in 2007.

Condi and lapdog Abdallah II

In January, Jordan's King Abdullah II gave Rice an emerald and diamond necklace, ring, bracelet and earrings estimated to be worth $147,000, according to the State Department's annual inventory of such items released Monday just in time for Christmas.

The king and his wife, Queen Rania, also gave Rice a less expensive necklace and earrings along with a jewelry box valued at $4,630, the document shows.

Not to be outdone, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presented Rice with a ruby and diamond necklace with matching earrings, bracelet and ring worth $165,000 in July. The inventory also includes a $170,000 flower petal motif necklace the Saudi monarch gave to Rice in 2005, which the department says was not previously disclosed.

From the same Arab leaders, Bush received just over $100,000 in gifts in 2007, the list shows.

Other gifts include an $85,000 sapphire and diamond jewelry set and $10,000 piece of artwork depicting a desert scene of bedouins, camels and a tent made of gold given to first lady Laura Bush by Saudi King Abdullah.

Unfortunately for the Bushes, Rice and other recipients, they won't be able to enjoy the gifts as they have been turned over to the General Services Administration and government archives in accordance with federal law, which bars officials from accepting personal presents in almost all circumstances.

5 comments:

Alasdair said...

That list is hilarious! One year, I think someone gave the president 400 pounds of beef. Rice gets all the best stuff. Not a big surprise, though, I think.

You know, I think they can buy the goodies, if they want them, but they have to pay the prices listed. Ouch. And some of that stuff is pretty tacky.

lama said...

I was not surprised when I read the article, because the Jordanian/Saudi, and I ‎would add the Egyptian Sadat/Mubarak, regimes have always been the prizewinners for ‎selling off the dignity of all Arabs (and not only the Palestinians)cheaply (in fact much ‎much cheaper than the amounts that are mentioned in the article). ‎

Anonymous said...

You guys are right. They really should be spending their money on Jew-killing!

Alasdair said...

lama, I think you should read The Federal Register (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-29759.htm), not just a throwaway year-end story, before you issue such broad statements. What you say may be true, but those kinds of gifts are incredibly common and not just some weird penchant of an Arab regime or two.

To wit: The French president "gave" Laura Bush a $6,000 Baccarat crystal bowl, to pick an example at random.

lama said...

I just want to say somethingto Alasdair, though my reply is a little bit late. In my previous ‎comment, I was mainly concerned with the Arab leaders (and not world leaders) who ‎are unabashedly generous with rich and powerful figures in the world and who are ‎entirely subservient to Israel and the US. See how “civilized” these leaders are: they ask ‎the international society to ask Israel to stop its massacres against Palestinians while, in ‎reality, they pay Israel to kill the Palestinians.‎