"My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, my grandson will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel."
- Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Hakim of Dubai
- Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Hakim of Dubai
Some 200 miles to the southeast of the Arabian peninsula is the island of Al Mitras: 'the Shield' in Arabic. With an area comparable to that of Denmark, it is not a particularly large as islands go. And for most of its history, Al Mitras has had a correspondingly-small amount of influence on the affairs of the world. Arab merchants discovered the island in the 11th Century and found a dry, rocky island as inhospitable as the arid Arabian peninsula from whence they came. It was sparsely inhabited by dark-skinned aborigines that had somehow found their way to the island centuries ago, perhaps from Somalia or India. Primitive as they were , the native inhabitants of Al Mitras were easily subjugated and forcibly converted to Islam shortly after the arrival of the Arabians. Being a desolate island with little economic value, the Saracens paid little heed when the Portuguese captured the island in the 16th Century. Over the next 300 years, Al Mitras changed hands many times and was ruled by the Portuguese, Ottoman Turks, Dutch, and Ottoman Turks again before the British captured the island in 1893 and used it as a base from whence to launch T. E. Lawrence's guerilla war against the Ottoman Empire in Arabia during the Great War. But for most of history, no one paid much attention to the desert island of Al Mitras.
But that changed with the discovery of oil.
British prospectors working under the direction of King Rasul - the petty king of Al Mitras - drilled exploratory wells on the western coast of Al Mitras and discovered a vast pool of crude oil relatively close to the surface. Rasul's prospectors had inadvertently encountered the very easternmost edge of a region of undersea oil-bearing rock that would come to be known as the Bahr Oil Field - the largest known deposit of crude oil anywhere on Earth. King Rasul's depauperate island nation became strategically critical virtually overnight. American and British investors worked with King Rasul to build the wells and infrastructure needed to drill, refine, and export the incalculable oil reserves. In 1946, before the discovery of the Bahr Oil Field, Al Mitras was a destitute island nation whose economy centered on fishing and low-yield gemstone mining. By 1960, Al Mitras was the wealthiest nation in the Middle East by far.
In 1964, King Rasul passed away, leaving his son Khalil in command of a rejuvenated Al Mitras with billions of dollars worth of disposable wealth to spend. Khalil spend this wealth on great projects such as the modernization of the Capital of Almarfa and the construction of lavish resorts at Jaddaf built in western style. Modernization was only the beginning for King Khalil. Modernization and wealth were all well and good, but Khalil wanted to be respected as the powerful ruler of a mighty kingdom. And a mighty kingdom - in Khalil's estimation - needed a mighty army with mighty weaponry.
With the Cold War in full tilt, there was no shortage of weaponry for money-flush Khalil to purchase. Exocet missiles from France, Soviet Hind attack helicopters by way of Egypt and Libya, and Abrams tanks from the United States. The Almitran military was a strange hodgepodge of mismatched weaponry and equipment that it had little experience using until it was unleashed against Yemen in 1987. Al Mitras occupied Yemen for nearly ten years before withdrawing at the conclusion of a bloody and disastrous war that resulted in the decimation of Yemen and tens of thousands of Almitrans and Yemenis killed or wounded. Despite the disastrous results of the Almitran-Yemeni War, King Khalil's desire to project Almitran power over the Middle East was not sated. Khalil participated via proxy in various conflicts throughout the Middle East, tipping the scales in the favor of his preferred side from Chad to Chechnya. But rather than rely on the bloated and incompetent Almitran military, Khalil instead preferred to employ more reliable foreign mercenaries.
King Khalil died in 2008, and his son Yusef has ruled Al Mitras since then. Yusef has since followed in his father's tradition of spending the oil revenues almost as quickly as they are raised. No regard was ever paid to the possibility that a day would come when Al Mitras could no longer sell its oil, for the Bahr oil field seemed positively limitless and efforts to curtail the progression of electric vehicles in the US and the West had ensured that West would be addicted for Almitran crude oil for many lifetimes.
But two weeks ago, the greatest nightmare of every Almitran became a reality decades sooner than anticipated: one of the Bahr oil wells went dry. It was followed by another two days later. And now, some 40% of the 113 oil wells on the western coast of Al Mitras are bone dry, with more running empty every hour. Military police have been dispatched to the oil fields to keep the crews of the oil rigs from leaving their posts and spreading word that the vast Bahr oil field is almost entirely depleted. Law enforcement has gone so far as to confiscate the mobile phones of rig workers. But in spite of the best efforts of Almitran police, text messages from burner phones and videos of dry oil wells have circumvented the coverup and are beginning to circulate on the web. Oil prices have shot up from the rumors alone, but the panic has yet to begin earnest.
Meanwhile, King Yusef and his ministers panic, knowing that their coverup will only serve to buy them time to prepare for the moment that world realizes that Al Mitras is out of oil. What happens after that is anyone's guess. You find yourself in the Kingdom of Al Mitras in October of 2019, a few days prior to the official disclosure that the Bahr oil field has run almost-entirely dry. Maybe you are an oil worker trying to escape the police-imposed lockdown of the oil fields, a foreign mercenary, or perhaps King Yusef himself. These are the final hours proceeding a terrible global recession and the darkest days of the Kingdom of Al Mitras. Fortunes will be lost and made; millions of lives will be lost and changed forever. Will you be one of the few that emerge from the looming crisis ahead, or one of the great multitudes that perish?
This is a roleplay in which the players will navigate the collapse of a fictional Middle Eastern nation that is entirely dependent on the sale of crude oil, but has suddenly run out of oil. This will be an extremely tumultuous time for anyone living in Al Mitras, both for the common citizens of the country, but also for the nation's rulers and royal family. We can expect court intrigue that develops into open warfare among various factions of the royal family, elements of the military, the repressed aboriginal people of Al Mitras among others.
This will be a literate roleplay in that posts are played out through the lens of your character(s) and their interactions with others. People looking for more of a text-based RTS experience will probably not be interested in this roleplay, but are welcome to give it a go nonetheless. But if world building, character development, and cooperative storytelling are your thing then look no further!
I've drawn up a map of Al Mitras to give folks a better sense of the country, but if there's any interest I'll cover a little bit more about the climate, history, etc of the country. But in the mean time, if you have any questions about the setting or the RP in general please feel free to ask.