Log Title: Open Elections
Date: October 01, 2012
Summary: Mohammed took the news rather well, considering.
As logged by Sheikh Mohammed - Monday, October 01, 2012, 9:19 PM
Trucial Abysmia - Western Asia
Trucial Abysmia, officially known as the Kingdom of Trucial Abysmia, is a state in Western Asia, located in the the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia in the east of the Persian Gulf, sharing a border with Oman to the south, and sea borders with United Arab Emirates to the west and Benzheen to the east.
The emirate of Trucial Abysmia covers an area of 1,700 square km. The capital city and home of most residents is also called Trucial Abysmia. The city has a population of 263,217 as of 2008. The city has two main sections, Old Trucial Abysmia and Nakheel, on either side of a creek. It is served by the Trucial Abysmia International Airport. Apart from the northern part where the city of Trucial Abysmia is situated, it also has one large enclave in the South near Hatta, and a few small islands on the Persian Gulf.
Trucial Abysmia has large oil reserves and is a large oil exporter. Oil accounts for more than 90% of exports and nearly 75% of government revenues, facilitating the creation of a welfare state although the share of the non-oil economy is growing recently. It has also large natural gas reserves.
Unknown to Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Saud has declared that in a year, TA will have democratic elections. However, he humbly volunteered himself to be included. But right now, Sheikh Mohammad is having his daily mud treatment and massage. Nia - a rather very hot masseuse with a slight bad streak to her - is one of the few that are allowed to speak with Sheikh Mohammed. Massaging some lavender into the mud treatment, she gently applies it to Sheikh Mohammed's face. "You REALLY punched out our Olympic boxing champion, prince?"
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "Oh, yeah. He's a pretty cool guy, though -- he took it well."
Another one of Mohammed's handlers starts massaging his hands, but Nia says flirtingly, in Arabic, "No...'I' get to do his hands and arms today."
Sheikh Mohammed raises his dark eyebrows interestedly.
As Sheikh Mohammed is getting pampered, the news plays in the background. "Again...our top story - in an absolutely unprecedented move in TA's history... Sheikh Saud has announced that next year, TA will have its very first democratic elections." The TV shows Sheikh Saud addressing the television. "This will be all encompassing - no matter the status. And yes, ALL women of this land. One voice - one vote..."
Sheikh Mohammed jerks up suddenly at the news.
Nia shhhhs Sheikh Mohammed and runs her fingers through his hair for a scalp massage.
Sheikh Mohammed waves her off, buzzing in irritation. "Turn that up!" he orders brusquely.
The news pundits begin to do their analysis. One of the tenders turns up the volume. "Well, Sheikh Saud has obviously taken a more moderate route than his conservative father. But even this... is absolutely amazing. This is a truly historic day."
Sheikh Mohammed sits up suddenly, flinging mud on the rich carpets.
The station jumps to Anwar Assan. A respected religious dissident, and a continuous thorn in the side of the generals and some of the more conservative members. He speaks to a group. "Now...first, I want to applaud Sheikh Saud for this historic announcement." That plea is met with 'boos'. But Assan raises a finger, silencing the young protesters. "Now... no doubt, you have some reservations about Sheikh Saud, but I implore you - ask your mother...how it felt to go to university. Or ask your father what a protest was like. NEITHER of them could tell you, because these rights were only recently bestowed THANKS to Sheikh Saud." He looks on at his followers. "We must embrace Sheikh Saud and encourage him in his reform." He then flashes a mischievous smile. "But... we should also say 'thank you' - and now it is time to move on. And that means stepping down and NOT participating in next year's elections!" which gets a roaring reception from the dozens of protesters.
Sheikh Saud is in his suite with his wife. His wife wraps her arms around Saud's shoulders and kisses his cheek. "I am so proud of you today." Sheikh Saud smiles sadly and pats her arm. "Will you still love me when I am a pauper, when we lose all of this?" he says in Arabic. Saud's wife smiles and kisses his cheek. "Don't be so sure. I bet come next year, the people WILL choose you."
Sheikh Mohammed stands, whipping a towel around his waist. "Bring me to my father. NOW." Sheikh Mohammed's dark eyes flash in anger as he strides out, wearing just the towel around his waist.
One of Sheikh Mohammed's attendees looks on in fear as he stammers. "yes...yes..."
Sheikh Mohammed strides through the palace, past gasping guards and visitors. In his rage, he barely seems to see them, and certainly takes no notice of their reactions.
The attendee quickly leads Sheikh Mohammed to his father. Who is watching TV now in a quiet moment with his wife. Sheikh Saud frowns at the television. "Assan... I GAVE him EXACTLY what he asked for... and how does he reward me?! By asking me to step down immediately!"
Sheikh Mohammed storms into his parents' bedroom without so much as a knock.
The thin, hardened General Alawi spots a storming Sheikh Mohammed. He too is angered by Saud's declaration, but his patience has enabled him to mask his discontent. He gets up and walks toward the suite, hoping to intercept Mohammed later.
Sheikh Saud looks on and brightens up, looking at Sheikh Mohammed. "Ah! Son!" Saud says in Arabic.
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "How COULD you? Are you STUPID?"
Sheikh Saud looks on at Sheikh Mohammed and smiles, trying to break the ice. "Ah...so, you heard the news?!"
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "Yes, I heard the news, and I can't believe I learned this treachery from the television like a commoner."
Hana frowns. "Do NOT speak to your father in that tone, son!"
But Sheikh Saud raises his hand and waves it slightly to his wife "Let him speak." Sheikh Saud says calmly, "I have done much praying about this. And I apologize...I should have told you first." He smiles slightly. "It looks like next year, we will be campaigning for the right to live in this wondrous palace and govern its people."
Hana says curtly to Sheikh Mohammed, "It was time!"
Sheikh Mohammed's angry gaze flashes to his mother. "You watch it, Mom -- you are more than responsible for this travesty."
Sheikh Saud frowns and points to the TV. Assan STILL getting the best of him. "He can't even thank me proper. It was more like 'thank you, now step down'." He shakes his head and smiles. "See how HE likes running a population. Sheikh Saud then looks at his son. "Do NOT speak to your mother in that tone!"
Sheikh Mohammed looks agitatedly from his father to mother. "Have you both gone mad?"
Hana looks at her son. "Yes! I am sorry to reveal this fact, but next year, we may have to earn this position!"
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "Are you TRYING to ruin the al-Qassimi dynasty?"
Sheikh Saud walks toward his son. "This great land... they will know how much we trust them. And they will reward us by properly electing us to CONTINUE to be this land's rightful rulers."
Sheikh Mohammed looks ready to tear out his hair in frustration. "What is wrong with you both? We ARE this land's rightful rulers. You will throw our country into turmoil and open our government to foreign influence?"
Hana frowns. "What is wrong with us, what is wrong with you?!" She points a finger at her son's general direction. "That stunt you pulled at that execution, treating it like it was a soccer match! Is THIS the example you want to set?!"
Sheikh Mohammed grabs his head and spins in a circle, nearly losing his towel in frustration.
Sheikh Saud says calmly, "Your time as ruler may still come, son. But now... just like every hardworking person... you will have to EARN it."
Sheikh Mohammed turns his attention back on his mother, fixing her with a murderous gaze. "You are a traitor."
Hana stares at her son, her mouth gapes open slightly. "What?" she gasps.
Sheikh Mohammed wheels on his father. "Earn it? How? By welcoming rioting in the streets? For giving the West a chance to try to place an infidel puppet on our throne? You are unfit to lead this country. Maybe your family was wrong to remove Khalid from power -- you've shown yourself to be even more under the influence of your wife than he ever dared be!"
General Alawi looks on, pride gleaming in his eyes at Sheikh Mohammad. Someone who will enforce the law in TA as the creator has intended. He clears his throat. "May I be of some assistance?"
Sheikh Mohammed wheels on General Alawi, agog to the point of near-bulging eyes.
Sheikh Saud looks at Sheikh Mohammed. "You... are a spoiled brat. I'd suggest you learn some humility soon because for now 'I' am the ruler of this land - and I will be the servant of the people as Allah has requested."
General Alawi bows his head to Sheikh Saud. Then he looks at Sheikh Mohammed. "I hate interrupting you during a family discussion, but your studies today are rather important, Sheikh Mohammed."
Sheikh Mohammed sputters, "My - my studies?"
Sheikh Saud says coldly at his son, "Yes... I am done talking to you - not unless you are to apologize for your childish outburst!"
General Alawi gives an insider's 'nod' to Sheikh Mohammed. "Yes...please.."
Sheikh Saud gives a trusting smile to General Alawi and looks at his son. "He is the head of our military, my son. His time is valuable."
General Alawi says humbly "No time is richer than that with our future ruler, Sheikh Saud."
Sheikh Mohammed misses the look in his rage, and turns back to his parents. "Apologize? You are running this country into the ground, and doing your very best to dismantle our proud kingdom. You'll be lucky if I ever speak to either of you again."
Sheikh Mohammed hitches up his towel with the shredded remains of his dignity, and storms out of the room, leaving flecks of massage mud in his wake.
Hana yells out "You are grounded!"
General Alawi catches up with the storming Sheikh Mohammed. "Your highness...if I may..." General Alawi gestures Sheikh Mohammed off to a secluded area, surrounded by stretching marble pillars. "Your father...is...a wise man..."
"Obviously NOT." Sheikh Mohammed fumes, breath huffing as he looks ready to explode once more.
General Alawi shakes his head and smiles. His years of experience on full display. He lowers his voice. "What's better than giving people the power to control their lives...the ILLUSION that they think they have the power to control their lives."
Mohammed says, "Ill--illusion? What are you talking about, General?"
General Alawi states "As head of the military...it is 'I' who am responsible for overseeing the elections..."
Mohammed says, "So, what does --"
General Alawi walks closer to Sheikh Mohammed and lowers his voice. "And it is MY duty to ensure that the peoples' will in this country is carried out. And Allah as my witness, I believe it is the people's will to see a Saud regime span for the next hundred years."
Sheikh Mohammed's eyes narrow shrewdly. "I see what you mean. However, I no longer trust my father's leadership."
General Alawi says curtly "I can count that this conversation will be held in confidence?" He adds "Your father... is a wise man." He says it in a tone that is more 'cover your ass' than anything else.
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "It will, but if Father is opening this door, I'm walking through it."
General Alawi adds "I am only here to see that your father's wishes are enacted." He adds "And...to ensure that the next generation of Saud rule...will be even greater than this current regime." General Alawi says confidently, "The people WILL elect your father next year. I am positive of this," he says in Arabic.
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "I can guarantee that. Do you require any assistance with this? I've been considering swelling your ranks to ensure we don't wind up with further Arab Spring problems." Sheikh Mohammed's dark eyes flash back and forth.
General Alawi gives Sheikh Mohammad a look that could mold iron. "I have everything I need. And when you assume your rightful place as leader of this country, I can guarantee you will only need to do what you feel is necessary. Apologize to your father, and your mother," General Alawi says in an authoritative tone.
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "'When I assume my rightful place' may be sooner than any of you think, General. Is there going to be a new constitution? Do you even know?"
General Alawi nods. "I hope not. Your father is a great man. But if Allah forbid, an unexpected death should visit your father... we shall be ready to serve." He then says "Now...go and apologize to your father and mother. It is the strategic thing to do."
Sheikh Mohammed looks at the general shrewdly. "Strategic? How?"
The general says "How will you know what your father is planning if he keeps you at bay?"
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "He didn't even tell me he was ending his reign, General. Obviously I'm the least-trusted person in this palace."
General Alawi flashes a dark grin at Sheikh Mohammed. "Then consider this training for your future job."
Sheikh Mohammed's dark eyes narrow. "Won't it arouse MORE suspicion is I'm suddenly meek and complacent?"
As General Alawi and Sheikh Mohammed talk, Sheikh Saud and Hana walk together. Hana shakes her head within earshot of Sheikh Mohammed. "No! We will NOT welcome Cobra on this land. I guarantee whatever they offer, strings WILL be attached. And the price that you will pay will almost always be more than what they provide!"
General Alawi flinches, hoping he doesn't look like he's conspiring against the current king. He finishes up and says in Arabic, "Then don't be complacent! But look at your behavior - a curt apology would arouse NO suspicion and rebuild trust with your father." He then says "Your father...is a wise man. Learn from him..." He looks at Sheikh Mohammed. His eyes almost reveal his full intentions - not to be a troublemaker, but secretly, waiting for the next, and rightful leader of this great land to emerge.
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "I'll handle things my way, General, but I appreciate your advice."
Mohammed says, "Find out who is writing up the new constitution, and make sure there is no provision that someone under-18 cannot run."
Out of the corner of Sheikh Mohammed's eyes - he may have seen a few elders shake their heads behind Sheikh Saud's back. The very fact that a woman is challenging his authority so out in the open... something that would have NEVER happened in Saud's father time.
General Alawi gives a nod to Sheikh Mohammed, then a deeper nod to Sheikh Saud.
Sheikh Saud faces his son. "Son...I believe I owe you an apology. I SHOULD have explained my intentions more fully." Sheikh Saud pats his son's shoulder. "Come...I have a gift for you..."
Sheikh Mohammed steps up to his father, glowering at him. "Don't touch me."
Hana frowns and barks out. "Do NOT talk to him like that, son!"
Sheikh Saud waves a hand. "It's all right...it's all right... leave us for awhile, Hana."
Hana's eyes narrow at the uncaring spoiled brat that has become of her son. Then she glowers at the suspicious General Alawi before going to her quarters and preparing for an interview with the BBC.
Sheikh Saud says calmly "Son, just walk with me...to the garage." He fishes out a golden keychain with two heavy keys attached to them.
Sheikh Mohammed falls in beside his father, flashing him angry looks.
In the garage rests a brand new, fully loaded, Bumblebee-yellow Hummer with gold rims, gold grill, and a customized sound system. Value - $1.9 million.
Sheikh Mohammed's dark eyes flick over the HMMV with little change to his expression. "This for me?" he asks.
Sheikh Saud says, "During your birthday, I neglected to take into account all of the ... off roads, in this land. Roads that are ill-equipped for your Ferrari. So...I thought it'd be best if you ALSO had a vehicle that was more ... suited for the elements."
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "Great. Thanks."
Sheikh Saud says with glowing pride. "Son...if I lose the elections next year, that does not mean that you will never be king."
Sheikh Mohammed holds his hand out for the keys. "If there are elections, we CAN'T be king, Dad."
Sheikh Saud says, "You will run as well." He laughs. "Oh...sorry - was hoping I could take it for a test ride as well." He laughs.
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "Do what you like. And I will run as well."
Sheikh Saud says, "The people will elect me king. I've seen them. They are NOT the troublesome protesters that you see. I believe it is their will that I serve them again." Sheikh Saud smiles. "Yes...when my reign is over, you shall run."
Mohammed says, "First of all, you don't ELECT a king. Allah chooses them. You can only elect a public servant."
Sheikh Saud says, "Then I am their public servant. And I will be next year."
Mohammed says, "Maybe. But I won't be waiting for you to step down. If you are opening the country up for elections, I will be running against you. And I will win."
Sheikh Saud says, "I modernized hospitals, I gave women the right to drive AND to go university. I gave them the right to vote! TA will NOT forget this!"" Sheikh Saud tilts his head and shakes it, letting out an uncontrolled bit of laughter. "You?! You're but a teenager!"" Sheikh Saud shakes his head. Their constitution is primarily laid out in religious doctrine, which has no age restrictions. In fact, if it is deemed that Allah chose a 9-year-old to run TA, then a 9-year-old shall run TA. "I won't allow it!"
Mohammed says, "Oh, so now you suddenly decide what the people want? You're obviously making things up as you go along. By this time next year I will be seventeen - surely old enough to run this country better than you."
Sheikh Saud frowns and steps toward his son, his face reddens with anger. "YOU are the one who brought embarrassment on me and this country with your foolish behavior a few days ago. Those were teenagers who were beheaded - and you were cheering like it was a football match!" Sheikh Saud frowns "'I' know this history of this land. 'I' fought in the military. 'I' witnessed my grandfather and my father rule." He points to Sheikh Mohammad. "What have YOU done, son?'"
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "I have watched you bow to mother like a begging dog, and try to throw away the dynasty your should be building and protecting for your son!"
Sheikh Saud tries to snatch the keys from his son's hand.
Sheikh Mohammed yanks the keys away. Cue the Simpsons bully 'ha ha!' sound. "No, thank you. I'll need this for my campaign against you, father."
Sheikh Saud frowns. "Do you remember the Autobot ambassador who paid you a visit for YOUR 16th a few weeks ago?!"
Mohammed says, "You've led the country away from the basic values of our people, Father. You've let Western influence lead you down a dangerous path, and you need someone to take the reins and bring this unhealthy experiment to an end!" To the question, Sheikh Mohammed answers in Arabic, "Yes. The little one. The not-Optimus Prime. Another failure by you."
Sheikh Saud frowns and yells at his son, "As a child, he lost his mother. He was forced to work on oil rigs when he was a teenager. His father had practically NOTHING, but STILL, he acted like more of a king then you are doing now!"
Mohammed says, "I'm sure his father didn't try to turn over his family business to whomever manages to sway the most unwashed masses!"
Sheikh Saud says "You are not allowed access to your Playstation or XBox for the next week. And I am taking away your Ferrari. And there are no 'unwashed masses' in this land, son. Every one of us is a humble servant to Allah!""
Mohammed says, "Take it, Father. You wanted me to grow up? Fine. If you feel you are truly the best man for this country, run against me in your 'fair election' and let the people decide which direction our country should go."
Sheikh Saud frowns and leers at his son. "You do not understand. You cannot run. I FORBID IT!" Sheikh Saud turns around and walks upstairs. Anger flushing his cheeks. This was supposed to be day to bask in historic firsts... Now, he has to deal with his son's delusions!
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "Forbid it how, Father? As King? You are no longer the king! You surrendered your power!"
Sheikh Saud turns around and yells "NOT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!"
Sheikh Mohammed watches his dad go, and then wheels around, immediately doing everything he can to transfer his assets to accounts his father can't touch.
Sheikh Saud storms into his quarters, enraged at his son's hubris.
Sheikh Mohammed is familiar with the technology but not the scope of what he's trying to do. Nonetheless, he's made his stand, and he's not backing down. Sheikh Mohammed storms back to his room, gathering up his most valuable belongings to carry back to his new HMMV. While doing so, he calls the General on his cell. "General. I may need your help."
Alawi asks, "What is it, your highness?"
In Sheikh Saud's quarters, a spirited discussion can be heard. Finally, the muffled conversation is broken by a loud "HE DID WHAT?!" from Hana.
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "I've decided to run against my father in the elections next year. He forbids it of course... I may need you to ensure that 'democracy' isn't limited to himself. TA needs a man to bring it back to its core values. Obviously, when I'm elected, I will make sure your position is cemented in my new regime."
General Alawi smiles. Strength. "I am sorry... but I cannot play a role in the downfall of the leader I serve, Sheikh Mohammed."
Mohammed says, "Downfall? He's set up his own downfall. I'm merely acting according to his request - that the people choose the leader they deserve. Was it not he who demanded new elections?" Sheikh Mohammed starts bringing everything of value he can carry to his HMMV. "I'm asking your help, but if you can't deliver, I will find those who can."
General Alawi rolls his eyes. Kids... "I said I would have no role in staging a coup. HOWEVER... if there is indeed reason to fear that by some... display of inability to govern... Refat from the foreign ministry and cleric leader Sunwar would be very interested in hearing this... IF I had reason to believe that our current leader was incapable of leading...which I don't believe he is."
Sheikh Mohammed lets the threat hang in the air while he loads millions of dirhams worth of belonging into the back of his gold SUV.
General Alawi finishes his guidance. "And do NOT threaten me again."
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "I'm not threatening. I'm just stating my intent, General. You do what you feel you have to." Sheikh Mohammed isn't yet a master of building alliances. =D
General Alawi leans back in his chair and closes his eyes, envisioning a bright new rule. He adds "Say this... you do have vision."
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "I do. I've listened at your feet, General, and I know what this country needs. Father has been blinded and corrupted by feminine and Western influence. Under his rule, soon this kingdom will collapse like so many others."
General Alawi says flatly "You are not leader yet. And as long as you remain prince, I am obligated to instruct you on the levels of government." He adds "Meet me at my quarters tomorrow - 10 a.m. sharp. We will go over... what a cabinet in your... style of rule would require."
Sheikh Mohammed says in Arabic, "Excellent. I appreciate your counsel, General, and I will be there."
General Alawi finishes his conversation. "Get some rest, young leader. 2013 is sooner than you think."
Sheikh Mohammed smiles behind the wheel of his golden conveyance. "Oh, I will, General. See you tomorrow." With that, Mohammed puts his new vehicle in gear, and roars out of the palace.
General Alawi hangs up the phone and rewatches the interview of the elder protester who encouraged his supporters to follow Sheikh Saud. He smiles inwardly. "Prison will be veeeeery different for you around this time next year, I imagine."