Middle East: Sheik Jackpot

Five times a day for the past 30 years, thin, threadbare Sheik Shakhbut bin Sultan faced west, bowed low, and prayed for an oil strike. His realm of Abu Dhabi was desperately in need of some good luck. Up and down the Persian Gulf, the states of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran were rolling in oil wealth. But year after year, Abu Dhabi's 25,000 sq. mi. of sand, date palms and barren offshore islands just got hotter, more humid and windswept than before.

Perpetual Truce. But then Allah responded to the sheik's prayers—belatedly, but in overwhelming measure. Two vast...

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