Khemed is a fictional country in The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. It is an Arab emirate located on the shores of the Red Sea and has been compared to Jordan, with its Emir resembling the Hashemite kings and the character Mull Pasha corresponding to the British General Glubb Pasha. Its rival countries in the area are Syldavia and Borduria.
The name means "got it!" in Marols, the Brussels Flemish dialect. The names of many people and places in the country are based on Marols phrases.
Hergé's stories place the Arab Emirate Khemed somewhere on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, near Saudi Arabia. More precisely, the state is outside the Gulf of Aqaba, being an enclave in what is now Saudi Arabia. According to the narrative in Land of Black Gold, the capital is less than one day's journey by car from the port, which in the original serialization in Le Petit Vingtième (1939–40) and Tintin magazine (1948–50) is referred to as the oil port of "Caiffa". In the first album edition (1950) it is clearly identified with Haifa (so stated by the Lieutenant of the Speedol Star) and is fictionalized as "Khemikhal" (and "Khemkhah" in French) in editions from 1971 on.
The capital is on the shore of the Red Sea halfway between Aqaba and Jeddah, as is clear in the map prepared by Hergé for The Red Sea Sharks.
The region is subject to the Khamsin, a burning sandstorm which blows from the Egyptian desert towards Israel. Foreign correspondents covering Khemed are based in Beirut and a regular air service (formerly by DC3) links Beirut to the emirate's capital. In Khemed one can find ruins, mistaken by Haddock as Roman, but actually from the Nabataean civilization, like those in Petra, Jordan.
The country is inhabited by Bedouin tribes, with an age-old feud between the family of Bab El Ehr and that of Ben Kalish Ezab; the former is nomadic and present in the western desert, while the latter is settled on the coastline and form a majority in the capital. The family of Patrash Pasha is the third largest of the nomadic tribes and usually lives far from cities.
The capital and principal city of the country is Wadesdah (Brussels dialect wadesdah = "What's that?").
The second city of the emirate, the oil port of Khemikhal (chemical), is very active.
The Emir resides in Hasch El Hemm, located 20 km from the capital. (This is a pun on the French abbreviation H.L.M., habitation à loyer modéré = "low rent housing", meaning council flat (GB) or apartment in a public housing unit (US).)
The territory of Khemed consists mainly of a very large desert, Jebel Kadheïh. The country's main resource is the exploitation of onshore oil.
Emirate under an absolute monarchy.
The reign of Emir Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab (Brussels dialect kalichesap = "licorice juice") is disputed. His opponents are led by Sheikh Bab El Ehr (Brussels dialect babbeleer ="babbler") of the rival tribe. In Land of Black Gold, the rebellion is supported by an agent of European origin called Mull Pasha (who turns out to be Dr. Müller), representing the Skoil Petroleum Company. In The Red Sea Sharks, Dr. Müller succeeds in overthrowing the Emir, this time with the support of the Marquis di Gorgonzola (an alias for gangster Rastapopoulos) funding an air force, due to the Emir threatening to reveal he was involved in slave-trading, but later the Emir is restored to power.
The main resource is oil, coveted by rival multinationals Speedol and Skoil Petroleum Company, which dominate this market. Khemed is crossed by several pipelines.
The Wadesdah airport is served by daily Arab Air flights, including the Beirut-Mecca line.
The country is Muslim and tolerant of other religions: Non-Muslims are allowed to consume alcohol, but not to sell it.
The Bedouin culture has a strong presence in Khemed.
The manners are rough. The Emir has the absolute power to inflict floggings, and impalement was practiced until very recently.
In Land of Black Gold and The Red Sea Sharks, the military of Khemed are equipped with rifles and sub-machine guns and wear the British Battledress. Known vehicles of the army are Willys Jeeps, Daimler Armored Cars, GMC CCKW's, Supermarine Spitfire and Mosquito fighter-bombers. The Emir's soldiers dress in a light uniform with white puttees and red headcloth tied with a black band.
Khemed is depicted in two Tintin stories: Land of Black Gold and The Red Sea Sharks.
It also serves as a fictional analogue to Iraq in the French comic book Quai d'Orsay.
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