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Even by the standards of a city that celebrates extravagance, it was a spectacular shopping spree: In just two weeks early last year, an 11-year-old boy from Azerbaijan became the owner of nine waterfront mansions.
The total price tag: about $44 million — or roughly 10,000 years’ worth of salary for the average citizen of Azerbaijan. But the preteen who owns a big chunk of some of Dubai’s priciest real estate seems to be anything but average.
His name, according to Dubai Land Department records, is Heydar Aliyev, which just happens to be the same name as that of the son of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev. The owner’s date of birth, listed in property records, is also the same as that of the president’s son.
The Post story also mentions that Dick Cheney traveled to Baku two years ago to hold talks with President Aliyev that “focused on energy,” and that the Obama administration has shown similar laser-like focus on oil and strategic issues in its relations with Azerbaijan. “On a visit to Baku two weeks ago, William J. Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, praised Azerbaijan for supporting the United States in Afghanistan and trumpeted the role of a U.S.-backed oil pipeline from Baku to Turkey that broke Russia’s stranglehold on energy exports from the Caspian Sea,” the story said.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”