Syriana's globe-trotting shoot had the crew hopping from "locales ranging from Baltimore and Washington to Geneva and Casablanca, [and] working in five languages over 74 days." When it came time to shoot scenes set in the unspecified Arab nation at the center of the script, the production travelled to Dubai, a journey that required the approval of the country's royal family, which was granted, then taken away, and then reinstated by intelligence officials within the United Arab Emirates. Whilst chasing a specific shot involving "all these guys who looked like Berber smugglers; they had machine guns and pistols and they were on these huge camels" (it was eventually cut from the film), writer/director Stephen Gaghan accidentally led his crew into the region of Oman, where they were, um, unwelcome. They encountered a band of Omani soldiers, who scoffed at the production's paperwork and ordered them to turn around and go back to Dubai.

Gaghan has been endlessly flogging his oil conspiracy thriller since mid-November, and since, in most cases, this seems to involve giving interviews that are as sprawling, convoluted and tediously lengthy as the film itself, it seems odd that he's just getting around to telling everyone about the alleged "international incident" he sparked whilst shooting the picture. Even odder, check out this bon mot he tossed off, which reporter Borys Kit used to close the piece: "It was exciting to bring a big Western movie there in these times." A pretty gooey softball for a self-styled international rabblerouser, ce n'est pas?