ABU HUL = Arabic for "father of ugliness," but specifically refers to the sphinx in Egypt.

AIOWA = Egyptian dialect for "yes."

'AMALIYYAH = operation.  Can refer to a surgical operation, or, in this case, a terrorist operation.

APC = Armored Personnel Carrier.

ASH-SHAM = Greater Syria, implying what is now the countries of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories.

BEDU = The Arabic term for nomadic and semi-nomadic, pastoral Arabs

BLINI = A Russian pancake.

BUSH AL-'IBN = Bush the son, the term Arabs apply to former U.S. President George W. Bush

CALIPH = Means "the successor" from the Arabic khalifah.  The realm that the Caliph rules is the CALIPHATE, from the Arabic khelafah.

CIA STATION = Refers to the section of an embassy used by the CIA.

COB = Chief of Base.  A CIA term applying to the top CIA official assigned to a consulate, or other major facility (other than an embassy) overseas.

COS = Chief of Station.  A CIA term applied to the top CIA official assigned to an Embassy overseas.  This official is cleared to interact with government and intelligence officials of the host country.

DA'ASH = The Arabic abbreviation for al-dawlah al-aslamiyya fi al-'araq wash-sham meaning "The Islamic state in Iraq and greater Syria/Levant," (i.e. ISIS/ISIL)

DCM = Deputy Chief of Mission.  This is a state department term referring to the number two person in a U.S. embassy overseas.  A DCM becomes a charge d'affairs whenever the ambassador is not present.

DHIMMI = Literally means "one under protection," but it holds a negative connotation similar to the "protection" a Chicago merchant obtains from the Mafia.  Refers specifically to non-Muslims living under Muslim rule as second class citizens.

DIPS = Government-ese for "diplomats."  Actually, any government employee who works in a U.S. embassy overseas.

DISHDASHAH = A long robe reaching to the ankles worn by men.  Can be any color.  This term applies to the robes worn by men in the Syria, Iraq, and Palestine areas.  Similar to the Galabiyya worn by Egyptian men (see below).

DS = Diplomatic Security.  Refers to the State Department's security section.

'EID AL-ADHA = Feast of the Sacrifice.  This holiday is performed at the end of the Hajj in honor of Abraham who ended the Canaanite practice of human sacrifice of the first born sons among the Hebrew tribes by replacing his own son on the altar with a ram.  Today Muslims ritually sacrifice millions of lamb on this annual holiday in honor of Abraham.  The meat is then distributed among the poor.

EVES/MIDS/DAYS = The work shifts for employees as named by military and government organizations.  Days can be anything from 6:00 -14:00, to 9:00-17:00, depending upon the agency.  Eves might go from 14:00-22:00, or 17:00-01:00, Mids, or people working the Mid shift work the back side of the clock not covered by the other two shifts. 

FOGGY BOTTOM = In government-ese refers specifically to the U.S. State Department, and the building it occupies.  More generally it can also refer to the neighborhood in which the State Department building exists, and also the Metro subway line that serves that neighborhood.

GALABIYYA = A strictly Egyptian term referring to the long, ankle-length robe worn by Egyptian men.  Can be of any color.

GHOTRA = Refers to the head cloth worn by Arabian men.  In Arabia it is always either pure white, or checkered red and white.

HARAM = Forbidden.  Is the origin of the word Hareem.

JINN = A special class of Spirit beings in Arab mythology that exist in a realm somewhere between mankind and the angels.  They generally have special powers and can be either good or bad.  This Arabic word is the origin of our stories about the "Genie in the bottle."

JUNDI = Arabic for "soldier."  Usually denotes a lower rank such as private.

KAFIR pl. KUFFAR = A nonbeliever.  Can also be applied to a Muslim gone apostate.   See also takfir.

KAFIYYA = Palestinians use this term to apply to the head cloth that they wear, which in their case would never be pure white, but checkered black and white, or red and white.  The Saudis, on the other hand, use this word for the small skull cap they wear underneath the head cloth.

MUJAHID pl. MUJAHEDEEN = Means "fighter" in Arabic, or "one who struggles."   More specifically refers to one who fights on behalf of Allah.

MUMTAZ  = excellent, in Arabic.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD = A group of fundamentalist Muslims.  Originated in Egypt in the 1920s, but now has branches and allied front groups throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.

OTTOMAN EMPIRE = An Empire ruled by the Turks that extended from S.E. Europe through the fertile crescent and across North Africa from 1453 until WWI.  During its heyday it was considered to be the Islamic Caliphate.  It is thought by many Middle Eastern journalists and politicians that modern Turkey has ambitions to resurrect that empire through various Islamists movements in the Arab countries.

PCS = Permanent Change of Station.  A government-ese term used when military personnel or Federal government employees are re-assigned to another duty post.  A PCS can last anywhere from several months to several years.  See also TDY.

RI'ASAT AL-ASTIKHBARAT AL'AMAH = Arabic for General Intelligence Presidency, or GIP.  This, specifically, is the Intelligence service of Saudi Arabia.

RSO = Regional Security Officer.  A state department term referring to the person in charge of security (of American officials) for a particular region which might include an entire country requiring the RSO to make periodic visits to the U.S. consulates within that country, or even two or more countries depending upon the size of those countries and/or the level of security risks in the region.

SIT REP = Government-ese for "situation report."

SHAHEED = Arabic term for "martyr."

TAKFIR = An Arabic term meaning to call someone a kafir (unbeliever/apostate).              Radical fundamentalists use this term against other Muslims whom they deem to    not be devout enough.  Then, once one has been termed a kafir then it is legally permissible (from an Islamic religious standpoint) to kill them. 

TAQIYA = Under the protection of God, specifically it allows the Muslim the right to  dissimulation, or to lie about being a Muslim if doing so would save the Muslim's life and/or further the cause of Islam in some way.  Also termed "religious lying."

TDY = Temporary Duty.  A term used by military and government employees when assigned to duty at a facility geographically removed from their usual place of employment.  These TDY tours can last anywhere from a day to several months.  See also PCS.

THOBE = Refers to the long, ankle-length, always white robe worn by men in the Arabian peninsula.  Not to be confused with the Syrian Dishdashah or Egyptian Galabiyya, both of which are colored usually a light blue or brown.

'ULEMA' = Arabic for "knowledgeable ones," but specifically refers to Islamic religious scholars.

WADI = Arabic for "valley," but also can refer to what we in the southwest call an "arroyo." 

YERUSHALAYIM = The Hebrew term for Jerusalem, derived originally from the older Proto-Semitic URU SHALEM, meaning "City of Peace."

YISHRA 'EL = The older Canaanite/Eblaite name for Israel.  Taken originally from the words yishar 'El or Y-SH-R and 'EL, meaning "God is upright/straight forward."  Pronunciation was later changed to yisra' El, meaning "he struggles with God," in order to fit the legend of Jacob wrestling with the angel.