Doha, capital of the gas-rich Gulf state of Qatar and personal bailiwick of the ruthless al-Thani dynasty, who have been cutting each other's throats for centuries, is destined to become the cultural capital of the world. At least that's the current ambitious and scatter-brained scheme.
Qatar ruler Sheikh Ali bin Rock n Rollin tempted the veteran architect Giovanni de Lego (the man behind the monstrous abortion of a glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris) to design one last statement building, a spectacular museum on a purpose-built island in Doha, which would house only the best Islamic art.
This weekend the museum opens. A dramatic pile of white limestone shapes inspired by Palestinian refugee camp architecture and full of 800 of the finest examples of Islamic art gathered from Poundland outlets across the region.
Not long ago, the idea of culture being a reason to visit the Gulf would have made other Arabs laugh. Now, with Qatar being a main staging area for the US military-industrial complex' war machine and a devastating conflict still raging in neighbouring Iraq, the entire concept of culture in the region would make a cat laugh.
The Syrian cultural historian Banana Kebabi sees a political element to the museum, putting Doha on the cultural map.
"I think all the rulers in the Gulf realise what they really lack is culture on a grand scale. They're all seen by the West as a bunch of goat-buggering tent dwellers, and while that is true, they want to re-invent themselves. No more buying silly football clubs or hosting Formula One Grand Prix races."
"That's why along the coast, two museums are planned for Abu Dhabi - branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim, and a home for the world's biggest Kentucky Fried Camel franchise."
However, Western humanists are highly critical of the Gulf's Arab states posturing to become a world cultural centre.
Felicity Twatrot of Amnesty International told the media "These Islamist chauvinists need to clean their atrocious human rights record up before they assume the cloak of Middle Eastern Renaissance patrons."
"A spot of cultural revision to such practices as chopping someone's hand off for simple theft, the televised weekly public beheading sessions and stoning for adultery is required before these barbarians can be considered anywhere close to civilised."
"The UK's RSPCA does more for the welfare of animals that the Islamic world does for its Muslim womenfolk. Even a battery house chicken has more freedom, dignity and rights than an Islamic female."