Youssef M. Ibrahim, a former New York Times reporter turned Dubai businessman, writes in a USA Today opinion column: “On the first day of the firestorm involving Dubai’s purchase of a global port management company, I phoned my friend Rashid al-Oraimi, opinion editor at Al Ittihad, a government-owned newspaper of the United Arab Emirates, to discuss the fierce reaction in the USA. No problem, Rashid said. The deal would go through ‘because Abu Abdullah OK’d it.’
“Who is Abu Abdullah? I asked.
” ‘George Bush, of course,’ my friend answered, laughing, explaining that Abu Abdullah is the nickname given Bush in the inner circles of the Persian Gulf region.
“Funny indeed, but as it turned out it’s the wrong answer in this case.”
Funny indeed, but why Abu Abdullah? Just a sign of affection? The only similar citation I can find is a six-year-old Chicago Tribune story which says that Bush’s father was known as Abu Adullah by his Kuwaiti friends. Although apparently some followers of Osama bin Laden call him Abu Abdullah, too.