Not yet re-written to denote name changes
The Middle Eastern Trading Group is an association of various monarchs who are the dominant force in the eastern nations, the lower section of the Eastern Bloc and Northern Africa. The group is composed of various vying monarchies each attempting to retain power for their family. The main operations of the Group are oil and food and in the food area a partnership with the IMSSI has proved very effective. Militarily the group operates several slaving operations, and while having low troop skill manages a massive population although much of this military is set in maintaining force along the border with China and other powerful Far East nations. The Middle Eastern Trading Group was formed by a small group of Oil Barons in 2020 in order to try and ensure continued market dominance over the now dwindling oil supplies to the troubled Western nations. The group grew by enticing various princes and lords in Middle Eastern nations, a visiting reporter from Spain referred to them in a scathing report as a Middle Eastern Trading Group and the name stuck, although there are regular name changes the MET is always retained as the most common name. In 2027 a Prince of Dubai, Osame Abadhi, incited a civil war in Dubai and by the end of the year had successfully gained control of the nation. In 2029 the MET invaded multiple Northern African nations in order to bolster its ranks. The controversial arm of the later UGDT, Global Weapon Products supplied many mercenary teams, weapons and particularly intelligence in the operations. Little resistance was met. In 2032 the second in line to the throne, Prince Omair, used his connections through the Trading Group to bring assistance in an assault on the Royal Palace where the king and his son and heir were killed leaving the nation to Omair and by extension the MET. With the MET now supplying, through the various companies and countries it held influence on, nearly all of the oil supply for major nations worldwide.
In 2040 the MET, noting the lack of US interest due to domestic troubles, launched a combined assault by multiple nations upon Israel. The assault was a complete success and resulted in a notably increased support for the group from the populations of Palestine, Egypt and other surrounding Muslim states. In 2033 with the American food crisis now in full swing due to Apollyon tearing through monocultures the MET began irrigation in multiple North African nations in preparation for food supplies. The MET provided the IMSSI with its first major deal outside of Tamefyllon supply to nations, a modified Tamefyllon treatment was developed alongside a matching compound known as NS-Tyranthalon. Together the compounds when administered on plants proved to be effective in reducing the effect of Apollyon mutation on crops while retaining approximately 75% original yield, an impressive production. The resulting crop of their first year of production was mostly sold to the newly formed People's Confederation of Eurasia which was struggling against the Apollyon to provide food for an ailing population; the MET were ready to supply food to the Eurasians alongside their profitable oil supply deals while allowing their own citizens to starve. The Eurasians retained a close relationship with the MET despite their extremely contradictory aims. While many western nations had managed to develop similar techniques to support their populations and an Association funded move to Nuclear Fusion power was driving energy needs, many eastern nations relied heavily on the MET's ability to supply large amounts of food and oil.
The Confederation was particularly reliant upon this and the Trading Group used this to their advantage. In 2039 the MET brokered a deal with the PCoE allowing MET troops to conduct slaving and raid operations in Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Southern Poland. The MET realising their inability to retain a successful population but also a civil service that can maintain a population capable of ensuring future production. The deal ensured that the buffer states, which due to Eurasian programmes supported relatively healthy rubble populations, could supply the MET with the healthy slaves that much of their economy was based upon. There was tension at first and military groups were required to carry out the slaving runs however within a few years the system of raids had become commonplace and retreat rather than fighting back was the default action. In modern times the MET has a fluid leadership with various monarchs taking and losing power, the slaving runs are managed by various competing groups. Many nations maintain spies within the ranks of the MET due to its volatile nature, in the past the entire direction of the MET has been changed by various competing espionage groups. Within many groups MET territory is considered the ground zero of all espionage operations; they are a powerful nation and yet can be easily manipulated through the correct pressure groups.
Nevertheless the MET has always maintained a notable relationship with the IMSSI and the PCoE and despite particular efforts by the UGDT in the latter it is unlikely that the close cooperation between the MET and the PCoE or the MET and the IMSSI will have any major changes with all groups having such reliance upon each other.
The MET military is fragmented into the various interest groups each operating their own segment of territory or "kingdom" which they possess. While occasionally through various political manoeuvres the MET can launch operations with the entire force of the MET's constituent nations the majority of operations will be smaller moves or occasional civil wars within the group. When major battles occur (early confrontations with Indian forces, larger slaving runs and one large force within the MET attacking another in a power move) the general tactics of the MET involve victory by sheer numbers. Despite having a smaller population than some nations such as the PCoE the ability of the MET to deploy large numbers of soldiers with low training and weapon quality but ensuring that large numbers of weak mechanised divisions can support these alongside all soldiers having some form of minor weaponry, a throwback of Global Weapon Products. Advancement in the MET military is achieved through a system of the number of kills confirmed (via head cams, an easily employed commodity) and number of slaves retrieved in general operations. Individual soldiers are capable of shutting off their head cams and so it is not unusual to see small groups of MET soldiers turn on each other over a truck of slaves or an ambitious soldier set to spotting duty kill his comrade to attain the bountiful sniper kills only assigned to a superior officer. Most of the time however betrayal within the ranks will only occur on home soil or once the operation is complete, for example on a slaving run a coup to remove the CO, who "died in combat" and take the slaves for a smaller group, will not occur until the slaves have been rounded up. A soldier in the MET is never sure if their next patrol will lead to a bullet from the front or in the back, nevertheless there are exceptions.
As the leadership pyramid of the MET is climbed men begin to form allegiances and allies who each help each other up. There are of course friendships and exceptions but the tactical alliances formed are one of the major detriments. Once an officer reaches some levels (or if they are born into an affluent family) they will form sufficiently powerful allies that any attempt upon their life will result in a nearly guaranteed death for all those possibly involved. In this way the leadership and officers are detached from the conscripted (often drawn either from population or slaves) and can encourage the backstabbing and infighting that occurs as each tries to gain favour while ensuring that those in the lower castes do not ascend to the upper class nor pose any threat to said hierarchy. Nevertheless MET operations rarely encounter more than a cursory Rubble attempt to hold their position. Through the Eurasian treaty no Eurasian forces may be harmed and so any Eurasian forces within the area must be warned prior to a slaving run, it is not uncommon for the Eurasian troops to warn the Rubble and so many raids are preceded by groups which infiltrate the Rubble in order to ascertain when the Eurasians have removed their forces from the area that is to be culled.
Within the civilian population there is relative freedom. Multiple religions are practised but the main two are the Muslim church and the newer Order of Astraeos which helped some of the MET funding problems early on and in return gained the ability to operate freely within their territories. Through a state controlled television service (although due to high altitude disruption wired towers are needed so only larger cities have it) and the churches the population are kept relatively supporting of the group. Within the MET territory however all nations operate independently however each is seen as a member state similar to how the old US had member states which were relatively independent but in fact under control of the larger union. The MET governing body is the monarchy of each state and the upper caste of nobles and other favoured individuals. Movement from the middle and lower castes into the upper caste is rare and often managed by marriage although this is frowned upon by the society. In civilian life the death penalty is common and most nations are ruled by an accelerated Sharia law which uses relative and disproportional punishments for many crimes. Ruling is made by the upper classes and a person’s level in society will most often decide the ruling (for example a rape of a street urchin by a rich oil field owner will result in no charge). From the age of 16 all people in all member states of the Trading Group are expected to complete an 8 year tour of service in the MET military. This tour of service results in a citizenship which is required for any employment in government institutions which make up the majority of the economy's infrastructure above street level retail. Women are unable to join the military or indeed rise above all but medium levels of jobs, there are occasional protests against this system (usually suspected to be incited by western agitators) however in the majority of the population there is a general acceptance of the system in place.
Within the civilian population a slave market exists though it is not directly encouraged (possibly to improved Eurasian relations due to their discouragement of the system) by the individual governments. In slaving operations it is common for women, children or infirm slaves to be taken, in addition the low quality conditions, lack of food and abuse by guards can often lead to slaves arriving in conditions unsuitable for use in the armed forces, as labour for mining/crop work or any of the other multitude of purposes assigned to MET slaves. Due to this the excess slave labour are often sold into the civilian market where slave auctions are held, it is generally held that the ownership of a slave acts is a representative symbol of the upper and middle caste, a sign of wealth in the MET nations and so due to the integration of slave labour into the educated classes and the government’s ability to remove dissident groups in the middle to lower castes with little upheaval ensures that in the foreseeable future the continuing of slaving operations in the MET will be unlikely to change. There is just little chance that a group that has the ruthlessness and political ties in the MET will gain power and change the established system of operation in the MET.
It should be noted that while the Middle Eastern Trading Group is relevant as a blanket term for an alliance of nations with similar guiding principles, faith and interchangeable governing system; the MET is not universal. The tactics of different sections of the military will differ; while forays into other territories are MET military covered the territories themselves are managed by the individual government. Similarly while all nations contribute some will not support slaving as strong as others, some maintain much greater freedoms of speech (though this is a minority) and there is a general similarity in principle due to the removal of border controls, construction of border settlements that has helped to integrate what 40 years ago was one of the world's most volatile regions has become a united front which can with a single move collapse the economy and food supplies of multiple eastern nations (notably the People's Confederation of Eurasia) and heavily damage many western nations.
The Middle Eastern Trading Group is a volatile mixture of some of the most politically ambitious men in the world, it is a composite of a nation that on one hand holds political power over most of the planet and on the other wields it with the carelessness of a spoilt prince hoping to prove his ability borne by birth rather than achievement. The MET is powerful, unpredictable and steadfast in its conviction that their methods are superior to those of any other nation and therein are completely unquestionable, be the question from foreign or domestic source.
Case Study: Slave Economy
The MET control of the world food markets rely upon their ability to mass produce food using IMSSI support, in order to maintain the superior production needed even with large scale crop dusting a large workforce is required, a cheap one to keep prices manageable. With China caught in the grip of civil war and the fall of America later there was an opening for a powerful industrial production force. India was already rising to the challenge, Germany and France continuing their dominance and Eurasia rebuilding its large scale exports. MET territories were ideally placed to compete with Indian exports and undercut transport costs while EU-PCoE tensions would help secure dominance there. If a cheap workforce could be offered to industrialists of MET member nations the rich natural resources of the region and its newly claimed African territories would offer a strong force.
The Apollyon virus was already demonstrating its ability to counter the effects of sub-Saharan expansion turning arid desert land into viable crop land within years. With the invasion and subjugation of the North African nations a workforce was found, it did not take long for enterprising Barons to purchase these workers and set them in the fields and factories, many within their original homelands but some brought back East. The MET had found its first taste of slave economics, the government showed little inclination to halt the practice and so the MET would slowly grow to a world power offering cheap food and commodities based on a workforce that required only the cost of maintenance and if worn out could easily be replaced.
The need for fresh slaves would prove insatiable and as part of their preferential supply deal the MET would eventually broker a deal with the People’s Confederation of Eurasia to allow slaving operations to expand into their buffer states. Thanks to Khabatov’s Rubble support initiatives the peoples of those nations proved better than their own citizens and so regular expeditions to draw slaves from the smaller populations of Eastern Europe became a stepping stone for generals hoping to gain power and fortune in their homelands.
The MET has now grown to a world power in terms of its export of natural resources, its industrial production and food supply. Much of its success is based upon cheap labour and its slaving infrastructure and there is no sign of it giving up these tendencies in the near future. However the MET is not a directly controlled government, more and more slaving teams are slipping into EU territories as more push further and further North, many states are getting tired of the MET presence and as the EU with its unified economy and the PCoE with its powerful background make their way into food production fields the question has been levelled whether the MET is needed anymore.
- 2020 - Middle East Trading Group formed by Saudi Oil Barons to protect interests in growing transport difficulty
- 2027 - MET exploits martial law in Dubai. Members of royalty spearhead civil war.
- 2029 - MET invades Northern African nations, little discrimination shown for national boundaries.
- 2032 - MET using political mastery accepts into their ranks 3 princes of Saudi Arabia. Assault launched upon royal palace.
- South Africa forms treaty with MET preventing invasion. In return South Africa leaves the African League. Rest of African nations fall quickly to MET invasion. MET begins agricultural use of the lands
- 2033 - IMSSI form deals with MET to produce a Tamefyllon/NS-Tyranthalon -like compound designed for crop use. Allows for impressive crop production past Apollyon effects
- 2036 - Eurasians form an Alliance with the MET with the MET supplying food and oil to the People's Confederation
- 2039 - MET demand payment for the favour of preferential supply and require the development of a deal. Eastern European nations under Eurasian control now open slaving grounds for MET
- 2040 - With falling US support Israeli position weakens. MET nations invade Israel and correctly find the US unwilling to assist. Shared victory helps to bring more of the Middle East to the MET including the now US-free Iran