RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (AP) — In a stunning show of transparency yesterday, members of the press pool were permitted a photo-op depicting Donald Trump, Saudi King Salam and Egyptian President el-Sisi groping the Magic Mullah Money Orb. The ancient artifact is all that remains of Aladdin’s lamp, though its exact provenance remains hotly contested by historians.
Since the end of WW2, the Orb, code-named M3O, has been under conjoint Saudi-US management, first with Bechtel Oil, then the Carlyle Group and most recently Halliburton-Blackwater. As a holy object, few outside the Saudi royals are permitted the ceremonial groping, and only five U.S. citizens have caressed the Orb; Presidents Nixon, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and financier Bernard Madoff. Donald Trump now sits atop that list of Orb-gropers.
The Orb is also the center of Saudi Arabia’s most popular annual lottery. Once per year, the poorest boys under age 12 are issued tickets, and the winner is permitted a momentary grope, provided he turns his immediate family in to authorities for police tactical study and oil industry experimentation. Known as Aladdin’s Farewell, the arrest and remand ceremony prior to the groping is said to be one of the most moving of all Saudi rituals.
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