Westerners tend to be excessively naive (e.g. clueless) about the unpleasant reality that lurks underneath the modern gloss of several Arab countries. Instagram pics of expats enjoying the “high life” are no substitute for in-depth research. Something goes wrong in Dubai? Well, there goes your passport so you can’t leave, while the authorities trump up a charge or three to ensure that as a troublesome foreigner you carry the blame for anything that happened. Something happens in Saudi? Oh, too bad, but all will be forgiven and forgotten because, well, of all that Saudi oil. Can’t upset a swing producer, can we? While there is good money to be made (on a short-term basis) from expat contracts it’s helpful to be (i) tee-total, and (ii) a strong white celibate heterosexual male. Otherwise, frankly, it’s a crap shoot.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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