GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

26 Nov, '05

Hawar Islands, the group of islands to the south of us that this country has gone to war for, both morally and physically as well as through the International Court of Justice which we have eventually won, is about to be declared for nought.

A group of money-men are about to rape the islands destroying its natural status and the king’s declared vision and goal to keep it serene for future generations of Bahrainis to enjoy and for the world to be kept as a natural reserve.

A “master plan” has been hatched that will throw all of these mundane and honourable thoughts to the four winds. It is much more important to build yet another resort without any regard for the environment. An airport will be built that will be situated right in the path of hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, with all safety consideration for passengers and birds disregarded.

That is not to mention the untold damage that will bring to one of the last remaining bastions of dugong populations in the world, as well as a natural place for the migrating Osprey eagles to breed, coming from as far away as Scotland for the privilege.

Hawar was not saved for us just to be raped. Gulf Finance House, the megalith behind such projects as the Bahrain Financial Harbour should remove its hands completely from Hawar Islands, the same goes for any other “developer” who will systematically destroy what is left of our environment for handfuls of cash.

Hands OFF Hawar, GFH and its henchmen are not welcome there. Leave at least Hawar as a reserve for our children

Please visit Threat to Dugong blog and Hawar Islands for more information.

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Comments (35)

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  1. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Mahmood, I’d be ok with developments in that island, because it is big enough for many species other than birds. What I REALLY have a problem with, is why GFH? Why now? How come they have the privlige of exploiting our sea shores in Manama and busaiteen and everywhere else, when others find a very hard time renting an apartment?! Who did they buy it from, and how? I wrote something about this a long time ago.. but the problem just keeps on coming back.

    The Joker

  2. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    When Bahrain won the legal case for Hewar in 2000, as Bahrainis we rejoiced. In fact, it was a victory for Alkhalifa – another land conquest and asset aquisition for a country with a land crisis – they will rape it like they’ve raped mainland Bahrain. They will reclaim, sell off land and sea to satisfy their insatiable greed and u still have the audacity to talk of the “king’s declared vision”…. i’d like to see just ONE …only ONE of these promises and visions implemented…wake up Mahmood… everything in this country is done under his nose… he may turn a blind-eye and let his uncle loot the country…which is even more contemptable and pathetic of a King…

    No Planning, no environmental control, no clear strategy…where the f*** is this country heading…

    show khalifa the money baby

  3. mahmood says:

    Re: GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Ah but “they” no longer have a free reign.

    The hotest topic here at the moment is “land grabbing” and “transparency.” How long do you think it will take when we get concessions (as we have already seen in the Malkiya case) followed up by major land reformation? I don’t think it will take long.

    One of the major concessions that dropped my jaw actually was the commissioning of a company to categorise, register and classify land parcels in the whole of Bahrain, at the end of which their findings will be published and be searchable on the internet. Their mandate by the EDB is they have to finish within 24 months, they have been commissioned 6 months ago, therefore we have 18 months to wait before we see the final report. Does that mean that we have to just wait in the sidelines and not apply pressure for change to the better until that report is produced? Of course not.

    Change is happening. A few short years ago for instance just putting something like this topic up anywhere would have landed me in prison not to be heard from again! No one can stop this change… and we have to continue to apply the pressure to ensure that change is constructive and good.

  4. mahmood says:

    Re: GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    I can’t find the “zoning master plan” as described by the crown prince in the Economic Reforms project, but the EDB has a PDF file: Economic Reform Vision for Bahrain in which page 18 mentions

    Zoning master plan
    • Establish zoning master plan project for the whole of Bahrain and fast-track some regions/areas to validate approach

    can anyone else find the actual press releases about this particular project? It would be good to analyse it and see where the vision is and why it was started in the first place. It would even be better if someone from the EDB explains the motives?

  5. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    I totally agree. Now what exactly are they plannin to do, did they release another masterplan?

    Hawar should be a national heritage site or somethin like that, stupid to ruin such an amazin place. Put all the resorts in the south, for god’s sake build there. Let’s not forget that we need more houses and at the moment the solution is reclamation to an obvious problem. In the long run though, it’ll backfire on us.

    Khalid

  6. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Funny I always assumed the islands were designated as a national park and marine wild life reserve. I had personally seen a pristine wetland being bulldozed for development in Saudi right in front of my eyes, the place had been teeming with wildlife! As a child we even had a migrating goose as a pet that got entangled in an Alo vera plant in the garden, we nursed it till it was strong enough to fly and released it in the wetlands nearby.. That bastard could bite like hell though! Of course now all the birds are gone. I would have loved one day to take my kids to the place I grew up and show them the beautiful wildlife only a short distance away sadly that’s never going to happen.

    You guys still have a chance of preserving something precious that can be enjoyed by many future generations of Bahrainis, I urge you not to let this happen without a fight! Petition, lobby, get the WWF involved! I’m sure they’d especially be interested with an endangered species like the dugong involved. They’re absolutely magnificent animals I saw them only a few months ago at Sea world and what struck me the most was how gentle and serene they seemed underwater; munching on seaweed, not a worry in the world! No wonder they inspired sailors to conjure up the mythological mermaid!

    A Saudi

  7. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Where ideology meets opportunity

    Purely on hateful sectarian analysis:

    GFH is owned by KFH, which is closely linked to Kuwait’s influential Islah Society. KFH for long was -and probably still is- a Shia-free institution. GFH has few exceptions, most notably their recently recruited senior economist, but the fact remains that ideology lies at its origin and core. Which bears more than passing resemblance to certain policies adopted here.

  8. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands


    The Canadian Peregrine Foundation
    Raptor Identification – Osprey
    http://www.peregrine-foundation.ca/raptors/Osprey.html

    On another note:

    “Our powers may be limited but we know and we must affirm what we mean and what we want.” (Speeches)

    Quotation of the Day (From The WSC Birthday Book).
    http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1


    November 26, 2005 | Last Updated 1:44 p.m. (EDT)

    President’s Radio Address
    In his weekly radio address President Bush said, “This week, we gather with our loved ones to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Each family has its own traditions, yet we are united as a nation in setting aside a day of gratitude. We are thankful for our family and friends, who fill our lives with joy and love. We are thankful for the abundance of this prosperous land. We are thankful for the freedom that makes possible the enjoyment of all these gifts. And we acknowledge with humility that all these blessings and life itself come from Almighty God.”
    Audio

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/


    (Mahmood’s Den downloaded to Toronto, Canada in 24 seconds. – @
    2005 – 11 – 26 – (14:52:00)
    .

  9. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Whatever they do is going to be better than this poor excuse for a resort we have there now.

  10. anonymous says:

    Re: GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    oh yeah…isn’t the senior economist ur cousin Mahmood?

  11. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    GFH has continuously come up with project after project in Bahrain and the entire Gulf. What pisses me off is like what the Joker said earlier, “Why GFH? Why now?” My best guess would be because a lot of bribe took place behind the scenes, since we all know that that’s how many businesses in Bahrain and the rest of the Gulf function. I’m sure all the Senior Gov’t Officials have a share in these projects, as the previous post already stated, “They will reclaim, sell off land and sea to satisfy their insatiable greed..” This needs to end now, but unfortunately as long as these villains run the show, nothing will change in the near future!

    Meddy

  12. Pammi says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Wonder if Michael Jackson wnats to buy a resort on one of those islands? Or build a huge compound for himself?

  13. anonymous says:

    Re(2): GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    no i have his business card somewhere..was just curious about the relation 🙂

  14. mahmood says:

    Re(1): GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Alaa Al-Yousif is indeed my cousin and he is the senior economist at GFH. I fail to understand your point of bringing this up though, would you like to me to arrange for his autograph to be sent to you?

  15. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    I wonder what happened to “two seas” the friendly sea horse? Remember that one, north of Muharraq? I guess it went up in smoke along with the rest of the fairy tale projects. I wouldn’t worry about the birds and marine life just yet… since there is always the settlement of the “cut.” If they really do get the green light, I would fret by about then.
    Other than that, if it was rational people that organized a fair transaction, I think those Islands are big enough for more than a species or two.

    The Joker

  16. mahmood says:

    Re(3): GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Ah. I’ll call him later and tell him you asked after him. 😉

  17. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Guy don’t you think Hawar should be developed to tourists enjoy there time there? these projects are every where in the world and no one complaints about it… look at Dubai, Qatar, Spain,…. and lots of countries

  18. mahmood says:

    Re: GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    As a businessman I have to disagree with you in your assumptions. As a father I have to disagree with you double!

    Hawar should be left alone, that monstrosity they have there which is an excuse for a hotel should be removed, raized completely and hire a professional safari company who has managed wild areas to come and consult with the government to propose ways in which us and the future generations can enjoy and learn from that natural reserve, that last remaining wilderness on both sea and land.

    Building anything there is a complete waste of time as we have a huge swathe of the main island still undeveloped, especially when you consider that 90% of the population live in only 10% of the main island.

    If resorts and business parks are to be built, why not use Umm Al-Na’asaan island? That space is actually bigger than Muharraq and at the moment it’s only got two houses on it which are hardly occupied and it is smack-bang in the middle between Bahrain and Saudi and could be used as an true offshore business base.

  19. mahmood says:

    Future Bahrain

    This might be very close to what awaits us if we allow this “project” to happen:


    Image courtesy of a grasshopper brained girl!

    Do we really want Bahrain to become as is depicted in the picture above? If so, who really benefits? How is that going to improve the life of the normal (and even abnormal!) Bahraini? Is there an actual plan that we can look at and see where we are heading 25, 50 and 100 years from now to support such a massive change to our environment? Don’t we have a global responsibility to protect what is ours and what is around us for future generations? Aren’t we just borrowing our environment from our children? If we are should we not protect and look after what has been entrusted to us?

  20. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    I used to be an environmentalist myself.

    After seeing the extent of destruction of our marine environment first hand, there is no environment left for us to protect.

    Unfortunately, we are about 20-40 years too late to do anything about it so I believe they should just go for it.

    It’s hard enough to convince businesses to come (& then stay) in Bahrain & I don’t think a few flocks of birds or herds of whatever is still left there should add to it.

    Try going for a dive to Fasht Al Adham or click the 1st map on http://www.bahrainexplorer.com/BahrainExplorer/en/Others/SpaceImages.asp. All the reefs (light blue areas in the sea) are dead. If you add the total land areas of these reefs, they cover a bit more than half of Bahrain’s total land area.

    It’s all dead anyway guys, the best we can do is look to a polluted urban future that is atleast prosperous(& carcinogenic).

    -HalloweenHarry

  21. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    I’ve seen this pic months ago and I’d have to tell you that if we ever end up like that, our natural habitat will definately cease to exist if it isn’t already non-existent. I dunno what the hell are they thinkin, other than fillin a few people’s pockets as mentioned above. We won’t see change until those people get the boot.

    Khalid

  22. anonymous says:

    Re(1): GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    The web of Houses..

    Apologies for the inaccurate “owned by” , but:

    KFH was one of 5 founding financial institutions of GFH, and the second largest.
    The first is Gulf Investment House “GIH” (another House).
    On the BoD of GFH, sits the vice chairman of KFH, S. AlNafeesi, who also figures prominently on the BOD of GIH.

    The Chairman of GFH is F. Al-Omar, the ex-chairman of bayt Al Zakat (Zakat House), and an influential and trusted go between between the Muslim Brothers of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti Govt, esp during the 1990 crisis. Is/ was he a card carrying member of Islah, or mere good-wisher?
    As for the of link between Islah and KFH, ask any informed Kuwaiti.

    And of course, the exceptionally and ably recruited is a Senior CHIEF Economist, another inaccuracy.

  23. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Who said that KFH owns GFH!!! They are competitors… And how on earth did you link KFH to Al-Eslah Society in Kuwait… Where are you getting all your info from!!??

  24. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Well, I defenitely see your concern. But you propose that the take over and “development” be moved from Hawar to Um naásan. I’m sure Um naásan is also a habitat for something… I mean I fully support a firm stand over environmental issues.. eg. If those plans involved pollutants and factories, I’d be hopping mad too… but I would also like to give future generations more land for their usage. I mean without land reclaimation, half of the readers right now wouldn’t live where they are (toubli, exhibition, seef,juffair.) Don’t get me wrong.. I’m not inconsiderate… I just believe there is a way of building something without necissarily harming the environment.

    Now, how these contracts are landed is a TOTALLY different story. I hear stories of land parcels changing hands right now as we speak. Owners from GCC countries buy em off people in power here, and they just get traded in the secondary market, while we fight tooth and nail chasing a government housing loan.

  25. mahmood says:

    Re: GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Maybe the confusion was due to both entities contain a huge interest from Kuwait. However from a cursory glanse at their websites, GFH and KFH are not related other than both being Islamic banks with huge portfolios.

  26. mahmood says:

    Re: GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Umm Al-Na’asaan doesn’t have tens of thousands of migratory birds, nor does it have the dugongs. It does have its own environment for sure, I hear that it has some deer although I’ve never seen them while driving to/from Saudi, but I’m not surprised as it is a vast island and its wildlife could easily avoid being near the causeway.

    I believe its environmental impact if developed would be less than that of Hawar, if it must be developed in the first place.

  27. kategirl says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Hey, well while we’re on the subject, could someone explain to me the logic behind building the BD1 billion “[url=http://www.northern.gov.bh/modules.php?op=modload&name=projects&file=project1]Northern City[/url]” on yet to be reclaimed islands?

    Asides from the obvious environmental costs of reclamation, I’m concerned about the financial cost to the state coffers. As far as I know the city is not going to be some lucrative private resort for the rich and famous that will fund itself. I believe it is will be state housing, which “low-income families” will be given priority to. It’s great that the govt wants to make these homes for Bahrainis, but I wonder, wouldn’t it be cheaper to build the homes somewhere on the huge amounts of unused lands down south?

    According to [url=http://www.gulf-daily-news.com//1yr_arc_Articles.asp?Article=103389&Sn=BUSI&IssueID=27320&date=2/3/2005]this GDN report[/url] the govt has already awarded tenders worth BD108 million just for the reclamation and dredging costs of the islands. Surely, some of that BD108 million could have been avoided by building on land that already exists down south. Or am I missing something?

  28. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    My friend that problem is that some people stole the land in the south and claimed it as theirs, no need to go into more detail, am sure you know what I’m talkin about. Reclamation is just an excuse for this.

    Khalid

  29. anonymous says:

    Re: GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Heard MJ has bought near Isa Town, suspiciously close to a number of Bahrain’s educational institutions…

  30. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    A bank like GFH makes its money by getting an idea, developing it (in terms of a paper idea, licences, architects drawings , planning permissions – all the paperwork) and then parcelling it and selling it. That is ‘why GFH’.

    if i walk around manama – there is no land crisis. there are many many empty old buildings or empty building plots.

    What bahrain needs is a legal compulsory purchase law so these can be bought at market value and developed – but only as part of a national scheme.

    there is no NEED to reclaim ANYTHING in the sea whatsoever, absolutely zero, zilch, none!

    Anonymous Blogster

  31. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    This comment concerns the BCCI, because I just thought that maybe you, Mahmood, along with Khalid and others would like to take a look at this article posted in the GDN today. I remember we were talking about the BCCI’s lack of communication with and support of its members, and this article shows the positive step taken by these board members in order to develop and strengthen their relationship with all the members in order to better represent the entire business community.

    http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=128505&Sn=BNEW&IssueID=28254

    Let’s hope that more businessmen/women run and win seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections!

    Sincerely,
    Ahmed

  32. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Hey Ahmed, ya I read this like 30 mins ago, good first step. This land problem won’t be solved anytime soon, and it’s a major one.

    Khalid

  33. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    The Plan to Rape Hawar has not been approved. There is a company working on a Master Plan for Bahrain – Skidmore Owings and Merrill, brought by the same person in charge of getting us Formula One, and Liberalized Telecommunications Environment. Not to mention an E-Commerce Law, and Independent Power Plant built by the Private Sector and a few other things. So lets just give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

  34. mahmood says:

    Re: Land Grab Phenomenon

    This is excellent news on this Friday, I hope you have a wonderful one too!

    I have full confidence in the efforts of the crown prince in his various endeavours to attack all the root causes afflicting this small country which hinders it from going forth. His efforts are sincere and I know that most people – even the skeptical ones – look at him in very good light. I do hope that he continues in this path, we desperately need a leader who is as selfless as Salman, yet is not afraid of being criticised and has the courage to accept differing opinions and include those opinions in his plans, as he has amply demonstrated in his labour reforms initiative.

    BUT, land reform is an extremely thorny issue that will take not only his efforts, but those of the King and the whole ruling family to arrive at a just solution. If you look at what Ibrahim Sharif has been saying in the various seminars about the “land grab phenomenon(8.6MB .pdf Arabic file), you are left with nothing but complete and utter disillusionment at the future of this country.

  35. anonymous says:

    GFH’s proposed rape of Hawar Islands

    Sadly I have heard that the American firm doing the zoning is a joke. But anyway, there is’has been one very very major resignation at GFH, so hopefully yhat will delay things anyway

    Johnster

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