Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim, Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
The Kingdom of Bahrain, one of the smallest countries in the world, has always played an important role in world events. Bahrain has been an active actor on the world stage for thousands of years. It was the epicenter of the ancient Dilmun civilization and from time to time came under the influences of surrounding empires and dynasties.
Modern day Kingdom of Bahrain is spread over an area of 400 sq-miles with a population of around a million and a half. Its population comprises people from various faiths and ethnic backgrounds who have been living in peace and harmony. Like any other country, Bahrain also witnesses brief periods of unrest during the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s but those disturbances were mainly caused due to unrest in different parts of the Arab world.
For examples, unrest in 1948 was caused in the aftermath of the recognition of Israel by the United Nations and the brief unrest in 1967 was the result of the Arab-Israeli war. Many Bahrainis had reservations over the presence of British troops on their soil. This resentment was not unique to Bahrain; similar feelings were felt all across the Arab world. Bahrainis, otherwise, are known for their tolerance toward different people and cultures. This perhaps best explains the presence of people from all across the world in Bahrain seeking a better life. At the beginning of the 20th century, Bahrain was the economic trade center. For centuries, this area has been famous for pearl diving. Merchants would come from as far as India.
The centuries-old pearl industry of Bahrain was adversely affected when artificial pearl making gained popularity with the advent of modern technology. Bahrain, however, was lucky when it struck oil in the early 1930s. With the discovery of oil, it once again became a trading hub. Due to its economic importance, it came under attack by the Italian Air Force during the WWII. Beating all odds, this tiny country continued to prosper. Bahrain was perhaps one of those countries in the region, which always had a very advanced infrastructure and best health care facilities. It would be unfair not to give the credit of good health care services to the missionaries who established local clinics and continued with their social work without harming the social or religious fabric of Bahrain.
After WWII and the start of the Cold War, Bahrain played an important role when the United States chose Bahrain to be the base for its Sixth Fleet. It is mainly a command and control center and shows the importance of Bahrain. People still remember the day when Bahrain was chosen to be the main point connecting the East with the West with the supersonic Concorde flights. Bahrain was the center of trade, the center for civil aviation and center for higher education in the region many years before other neighboring countries would catch up with modernization. And most important, Bahrain had the most advanced election system and a very open and democratic parliament.
The late Amir of Bahrain, Sheikh Eissa Al-Khalifa, introduced many social and economic reforms that propelled Bahrain on top of the list of developing countries. Nowadays, the Kingdom of Bahrain is governed as a constitutional monarchy and ruled by King Hamad bin Eissa Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa as the prime minister.
The Kingdom of Bahrain saw one of its biggest economic booms in modern history. Manama skyline is full of high-rise buildings. Bahrain became a very attractive financial center, which drew many investors and tourists from all over the world. Thanks to the stability and prosperity, Bahrain became host to one of the most important and interesting sports, the Formula One. However, the so-called Arab Spring that hit the region also affected this quiet little island.
The government of Bahrain handled the situation very tactfully by introducing further reforms in almost all sectors. The Bahraini government and the royals did not refrain from holding a dialogue with the protesters. However, some unscrupulous elements took to the streets and resorted to the use of violent methods leaving the government with no choice but to move in to protect the lives and properties of the citizens. The rioters had gone to the extent of openly carrying Iranian flags and posters of Iranian leaders. Few days ago, two Bahrainis and one Emirati were killed in cold blood. All Bahrainis must know that their country had been an island of stability and prosperity and the opposition must know that violence will lead to no solution. Only negotiations can help resolve issues. In the past people around the world looked more beautiful wearing the necklace made of Bahraini pearls and these days the world wants to enjoy formula racing.
Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Bahrain: From Pearl Diving to F1 Driving reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.
Captain Bob Morgan
Michael Saba, author of the 2009 book, “King Abdulaziz… His Plane and His Pilot”, is now working on a subsequent book and film on the same topic including new information regarding civil aviation in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Saba is looking for stories, pictures and films of this era particular 1945 to the early 50s to include in the book and film.
Dr. Saba’s previous book included interesting ARAMCO expatriate stories and pictures which were acknowledged in his book. He recently has located the second key pilot assigned to King Abdulaziz, Captain Bob Morgan. Capt. Morgan was preceded by Joe Grant (Joe was assigned by the U.S. Army Air Corps to be the King’s private pilot). Capt. Morgan flew not only with Joe for King Abdulaziz, but also flew with early ARAMCO and TWA aviation in the DC-3.
Captain Bob Morgan
For more than 80 years people from all around the world have moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to begin new lives as Aramco expatriates. Throughout the decades, these expats and their families have built their own unique community while forging lasting friendships with the Saudi people and witnessing firsthand the momentous changes that have swept the desert Kingdom and the company itself. Expats of Arabia is the first book to tell their story.
Chronicling the history of the Aramco expat community over more than 80 years, Expats of Arabia will be a powerful illustration of life in the Kingdom. Following the history of these expatriates decade by decade, this book will chart the growth and development of the community they created. By examining this rich history we can better understand why these bonds of friendship and community have remained strong throughout the years and how they have come to stretch across the sands of Arabia and around the world. Ultimately, Expats of Arabia will be a celebration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the unforgettable experience it has offered to generations of expatriates and their families who still fondly remember the Kingdom as ‘home’.
Expats of Arabia will be published in 2015.
To learn more, or if you would like to be interviewed for the book, please visit the website: www.expatsofarabia.com or email email@example.com
About the author: Natasha Burge was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and is a 3rd generation Aramcon. Her family has lived in the Kingdom since her grandparents moved there in 1959. She works as a writer, and she and her husband live in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Like many Aramco expats, Natasha considers Saudi Arabia home. She hopes this book will bring back many happy memories for people who used to live in the Kingdom, and that it will serve to illuminate the community’s vibrant history for those who did not.
See other articles:
Aramco Brats Cody Martin and Natasha Burge Wed
Natash Burge graduates from the University of Texas
Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim, Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
It was until 1975 that Jubail was a small fishing village. Commuting from Dammam to Jubail was time consuming and tiring.
That small fishing village had very few inhabitants living in small houses dotted along the Arabian Gulf’s shoreline.
Few know that its history dates back to at least 7,000 years. According to historians, thousands of years ago the people of Dilmun established a settlement here.
It was in 1933 when Jubail gained immense importance on the world map. It was the year when the first team of geologists entered then newly established Saudi Arabia to explore oil.
That changed not only the face of Jubail but there was no looking back for Saudi Arabia. The Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu was established to plan and establish the largest petrochemical site. The industrial city of Jubail didn’t only impact Jubail, it also changed the overall economy of the Kingdom. Currently, the population of Jubail stands at around 300,000 people with the city expanding in all directions.
Jubail has the largest petrochemical installations in the Middle East, the largest naval base in the Gulf region, the world’s biggest independent water and power project (IWPP) and two of the largest seaports of the world. There are many other mega projects being constructed in Jubail. Just last year Marafiq built a water desalination plant based on reverse osmosis system (ROS) costing SR850 million for SADARA Chemical Company. SADARA is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and the American-based company, Dow Chemical.
These projects are the driving force behind the Saudi economy. Saudi Basic Industrial Company (SABIC) and many other chemical companies are the most lucrative and profitable Saudi Stock Exchange Companies.
The city of Jubail has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Kingdom and most modern civic infrastructure.
In addition to these expansions in residential and industrial areas, the city of Jubail has enforced the best environmental protection rules and regulations. The Royal Commission applies the laws and standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Agency for Environmental Protection.
Jubail now has one of the most complex expressways and streets network and many high standard hotels. In other words, Jubail is undoubtedly a model city.
Nowadays, Jubail is increasing turning into an international hotspot for industrial and infrastructure forums and conferences. Jubail has also the potential of becoming a great tourist destination.
Just a while ago, a 10-day annual flower festival was held in Jubail with 200,000 plants on display.
The event was attended by more than 250,000 people. The geographical location of Jubail makes it very attractive for both domestic and international tourists.
Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. Jubail: Fishing Village to an Industrial City reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.
The monthly progress meeting of Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association (SAEEA) was held on March 04, 2014.
The attendees were as follows:
- Kamal Ahmed Farooqi (KAF)
- Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan (IAK)
- Ghulam Qutubuddin Khan (GQK)
- Mohammad Abdul Matin (MAM)
- Shafiq Ahmed Khan (SAK)
- Muhammad Salim Hamid (MSH)
The highlights of the meeting were as follows:
- KAF highlighted activities took place during the month of February, 2014.
- KAF thanked SAK for arranging the meeting place and delicious lunch at his residence. It was agreed that the next SAEEA meeting/lunch will be held at KAF residence.
- KAF signed a letter addressed to Saudi Aramco Government Affairs apprising them about Saudi Aramco Ex-Employees Association for possible future assistance.
- IAK informed all attendees that the SAEEA website is updated with all the 9th reunion photograph presentation and other activities of SAEEA.
- GQK briefed the attendees about Pakistan Government requirement concerning registration of SAEEA. He is in process of collecting the required documents to be submitted to the respective Government Department. GQK is closely working with SAEEA very senior Member, Mr. Ateeq Ur Rahman for seeking his assistance for registration.
- MSH briefed about SAEEA funds.
- MAM surveyed local market in order to purchase souvenir to be presented to SAEEA paid members. Two items were discussed and KAF requested two other office bearers to accompany MAM and finalize the material with SAEEA logo and place the order.
- KAF prayed for all sick people. For details, he requested all SAEEA members to visit our website www.saeea.com.pk on a regular basis.
- KAF requested SAK and MAM to survey places for SAEEA next reunion. It was mutually agreed to arrange a picnic/reunion in a local Farm. IAK will update all Members thru e-mail.
- All SAEEA Members visited the residence of Mr. M. Younus Shaikh, who is recently released from the Hospital after a long sickness. He is almost recovered and is in a position to visit his children, outside Pakistan.
If you have any questions then please call Engr. Iqbal Ahmed Khan on +92-321-701-4929 or write to him on firstname.lastname@example.org.