Tag Archive: Gulf Land of Atmariar


January 11, 2017

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — The killing of five diplomats from the United Arab Emirates in a bombing in southern Afghanistan marks the deadliest attack ever for the young nation’s diplomatic corps, though it’s too soon to tell who was behind it or if the Gulf envoys were even the targets.

The federation of seven sheikhdoms, founded in 1971 on the Arabian Peninsula, said it would fly the nation’s flag at half-staff for three days in honor of the dead from the attack Tuesday in Kandahar.

The Taliban denied planting the bomb, even as the insurgents claimed other blasts Tuesday that killed at least 45 people. No other group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Kandahar, a province in Afghanistan’s Taliban heartland.

The bomb targeted a guesthouse of Kandahar Gov. Homayun Azizi, who was wounded in the assault along with UAE Ambassador Juma Mohammed Abdullah al-Kaabi. The attack killed 11 people and wounded 18, said Gen. Abdul Razeq, Kandahar’s police chief, who was praying nearby at the time of the blast.

Razeq said investigators believe someone hid the bomb inside a sofa at the guesthouse. He said an ongoing construction project there may have allowed militants to plant the bomb. “Right now we cannot say anything about who is behind this attack,” he told The Associated Press, while adding that several suspects had been arrested.

On Wednesday, broken glass from the powerful blast still littered the blood-stained ground outside of the guesthouse, with thick black soot still visible on the building. Some furniture sat outside, apparently moved as part of the construction.

Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the UAE prime minister and vice president, offered condolences for the families of the dead and condemned the attack. “There is no human, moral or religious justification for the bombing and killing of people trying to help” others, he wrote on Twitter.

On the Afghan side, authorities said the dead included two lawmakers, a deputy governor from Kandahar and an Afghan diplomat stationed at its embassy in Washington. The attack inside the heavily guarded compound represents a major breach of security, even in Afghanistan, a country long torn by war. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday condemned the attack and ordered an investigation.

The Taliban is usually quick to take credit for attacks, particularly those targeting the government or security forces. They claimed attacks earlier on Tuesday in Kabul at a compound of government and legislative offices that killed at least 38 people and wounded dozens. Another Taliban-claimed suicide bombing on Tuesday killed seven people in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

But on Wednesday, the Taliban issued a short statement blaming an “internal local rivalry” for the Kandahar attack. The Taliban have denied some attacks in the past that diplomats and security forces later attributed to the group. Other insurgent groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, also operate Afghanistan.

A Taliban attack targeting Emirati officials would be surprising. The UAE was one of only three countries, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, to recognize the Taliban government during its five-year rule of Afghanistan.

Emirati combat troops deployed to Afghanistan after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaida before and after the Sept. 11 attacks. The UAE had troops there for years as part of the NATO-led mission, training members of the Afghan armed forces and often winning the support of locals by praying with them in community mosques and respecting their traditions as fellow Muslims.

Multiple daily commercial flights link the countries, with Dubai serving as an important commercial hub for Afghan businessmen. Over the years, Taliban and Afghan officials also have met in Dubai to try to start peace talks.

Although the UAE is only 45 years old, Emirati diplomats have come under attack in the past, some felled by assassins’ bullets. Saif Ghubash, the UAE’s first minister of state for foreign affairs, died after being shot in an October 1977 attack at Abu Dhabi International Airport, an attack that apparently targeted Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul-Halim Khaddam. Khaddam later blamed the attack on Iraq.

In 1984, the UAE’s ambassador to France was assassinated outside his Paris home by a gunman. A diplomatic club was named in honor of the slain envoy, Khalifa al-Mubarak, in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi, in 2015.

Another Emirati diplomat was wounded in a shooting in Rome in 1984. Reports at the time linked those two attacks to the Arab Revolutionary Brigades, a Palestinian militant group. Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said Tuesday’s attack wouldn’t stop the UAE’s humanitarian efforts abroad.

He wrote on Twitter: “We will not be discouraged by despicable terrorist acts carried out by the forces of evil and darkness.”

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

By Lynne al-Nahhas

Dubai (AFP)

Nov 8, 2016

Dubai agreed a deal Tuesday with a US startup to “evaluate” the construction of a near-supersonic transport link that could slash travel times to Emirati capital Abu Dhabi to minutes.

The cash-flush city state, which has recently hosted other hi-tech transport pilots, said it would conduct a “feasibility study” with Hyperloop One to sound out the scheme.

The California-based firm hailed Tuesday’s “historic” agreement.

“We begin to evaluate the delivery of the world’s first hyperloop system across the country,” CEO Rob Lloyd told reporters.

“We will initially focus on the value that Hyperloop One will deliver in Dubai and across the (United Arab) Emirates.”

The deal will see both parties explore a route for a vacuum-sealed pod transportation system, which could potentially slash travel times between Dubai and Abu Dhabi — 150 kilometers (90 miles) apart — to around 12 minutes.

The system could later be expanded to link the UAE with neighboring Gulf countries so that a trip between Dubai and Saudi capital Riyadh — currently two hours by plane — could be completed in under 50 minutes.

Lloyd said his company has also been in talks with transport authorities in Abu Dhabi to discuss the proposal.

While no costs or time-scales were revealed, Lloyd said in a statement that “from a technological point of view, we could have a Hyperloop One system built in the UAE in the next five years.”

Mattar al-Tayer, Dubai Road Transport Authority’s director general, told reporters that the cost of building the system will be “an important factor when making such a strategic decision on whether or not we can have hyperloop” in addition to questions over safety and demand.

– 1,200-kph journey –

Hyperloop is a futuristic passenger and freight transport system that promoters say offers the promise of near-supersonic speeds.

Earlier this year, Hyperloop One held a first public test in the desert outside Las Vegas, trying out engine components designed to rocket pods through reduced-pressure tubes at speeds of 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) per hour.

The company says the system offers better safety than passenger jets, lower build and maintenance costs than high-speed trains, and energy usage, per person, that is similar to a bicycle.

Last month, port colossus DP World Group of Dubai announced it was investing in the concept, joining backers including French national rail company SNCF, US industrial conglomerate General Electric and Russian state fund RDIF.

Home to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower where Tuesday’s conference took place, Dubai is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf, attracting 14.2 million visitors in 2015.

In September, it unveiled its first driverless bus service, launching a month-long trial period for the electric vehicle with a view to expanding it across the city state.

Hyperloop One, which has so far raised more than $160 million (145 million euros), was set on an idea laid out three years ago by billionaire Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind electric car company Tesla and private space exploration endeavor SpaceX.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Dubai_studies_super-speedy_transport_system_999.html.

Thu Apr 14, 2016

Jordanian military forces and advisers will be replacing UAE troops fighting in the Saudi war on Yemen, following reports of serious disputes among the few “coalition” members, a report says.

Yemen’s Khabar news agency, citing informed sources, reported on Thursday that the decision had been made following a recent visit by Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud to Jordan.

Prince Mohammad, who is the Saudi defense minister, met King Abdullah in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba and signed a package of agreements, including on development of military cooperation.

The report said the deployment of Jordanian forces will now be coming after the United Arab Emirates withdrew the bulk of its military force from Yemen’s Ma’rib following a series of military setbacks.

The Saudi crown prince also traveled to the UAE in an effort to mend fences after reports of significant frictions between the two allies over the war on Yemen.

Emirati authorities are reportedly angry with a Saudi decision to dismiss a former general with close ties to the UAE.

In February, the Saudi kingdom sacked Khaled Bahah and appointed Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar to lead the fight against Yemen’s Houthis.

Ahmar has been based in Saudi Arabia since the Houthis took over Sana’a in 2014.

Jordanian military forces reportedly took part in the Saudi operation in Aden last July following the flight of Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Early on Thursday, Saudi military aircraft carried out a fresh round of aerial assaults against the Nihm district of Sana’a Province, though there were no immediate reports of possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.

The development came only hours after Saudi-backed militiamen fired a barrage of artillery rounds at Dhubab, Harir and al-Jumhuri districts in Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz and Ghorab and al-Madaniyah neighborhoods in the provincial capital city of Ta’izz.

Saudi Arabia launched its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015, in a bid to bring Hadi — who is a staunch ally of Riyadh — back to power and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

More than 9,400 people have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.

The Saudi strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/04/14/460698/Yemen-Jordan-UAE-forces/.

Abu Dhabi UAE (SPX)

Dec 04, 2015

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a strategic partnership in the field of space exploration.

The MoU was inked by Chairman of the UAE Space Agency Khalifa Mohammed Al-Rumaithi and General Director of the Russian Federal Space Agency ROSCOMOS Igor Komarov.

The deal allows for extensive cooperation in space policy, human capital development and training, as well as in future development, ground station operations support and general awareness, the UAE agency said in an e-mailed statement.

The UAE Space Agency is keen to benefit from the expertise of other space programs, Al-Rumaithi said at his meeting with Komarov.

The meeting aimed to discuss ways of boosting cooperation between the UAE and Russian programs in the space industry and exploration, Al-Rumaithi added.

Conquering space is part of the UAE’s strategy to diversify the economy of the country, a major oil supplier, away from oil.

The UAE, which already developed several research and observation satellites, aims to launch a Mars mission by 2023.

Source: Space Daily.

Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/UAE_Russia_agree_to_cooperate_in_space_industry_999.html.

February 21, 2015

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A high-rise tower in Dubai’s Marina district caught fire early Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The fire broke out in the Torch tower on the northeastern end of the densely populated district, which is packed with multi-story skyscrapers. Debris from the fire cluttered nearby streets after the blaze appeared to be extinguished. High winds whipped through the area.

Police on the scene had no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. Police blocked off areas around the more than 70-story building, which still had power. Lights were on in many of the apartments inside. Multiple fire trucks and police vehicles were on the scene.

Residents of at least one neighboring tower were told to evacuate as a precaution because of strong winds, but they were later allowed back inside. The Marina area is home to dozens of towering apartment blocks and hotels, many of them built over the past decade. The apartments are popular with Dubai’s large number of expatriate professionals.

by Richard Tomkins

Washington (UPI)

Sep 29, 2014

More than 4,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are being sought from the United States by the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in its required notification to Congress of a Foreign Military Sales deal, said the sale of vehicles for refurbishment and modification is worth an estimated $2.5 billion.

The 4,569 vehicles to be sold separately would come from U.S. Army stock pursuant to section 21 of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended, as Excess Defense Articles, the agency said.

The vehicle list includes 29 MaxxPro long wheel base vehicle; 1,085 MaxxPro LWB chassis; 264 MaxxPro Base/MRAP Expedient Armor Program capsules without armor; 729 MaxxPro bases; 283 MaxxPro MEAP without armor; 970 MaxxPro Plus; 15 MRAP recovery vehicles; 1,150 Caiman multi-terrain vehicles without armor; and 44 MRAP all-terrain vehicles.

“Notification for the sale from stock of the MRAP vehicles referenced above has been provided separately, pursuant to the requirements of section 7016 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 and section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended,” the agency said.

Also included is the requested sales package are improvement kits for vehicle underbodies, spare and repair parts, support equipment and personnel training.

“The UAE intends to utilize the EDA MRAP vehicles to increase force protection, to conduct humanitarian assistance operations, and to protect vital international commercial trade routes and critical infrastructure,” according to the notification. “Additionally, these MRAPs will enhance UAE’s burden-sharing capacity and defensive capabilities.”

Navistar Defense, BAE Systems and Oshkosh Defense would be the principal contractors. Multiple trips to the UAE by U.S. government and contractor representatives would be required for a period of three or more years for program support.

Source: Space War.

Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/UAE_asks_US_for_25B_MRAP_deal_999.html.

Abu Dhabi (AFP)

Oct 22, 2014

Abu Dhabi energy company Masdar said Wednesday it will build a 50-megawatt wind farm in neighboring Oman that will provide 16,000 homes with clean energy.

The $125-million project, the first large-scale wind farm in the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, would be constructed in the southwestern region of Dhofar, Masdar said in a statement.

Masdar signed a joint development agreement with Oman’s Rural Areas Electricity Company to build the farm, which would mitigate 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly, it said.

Masdar is overseeing Abu Dhabi plans to generate seven percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

It said last month it was partnering with Norwegian firms Statoil and Statkraft to build a multi-billion dollar offshore wind farm in Britain, big enough to power 410,000 homes.

The company already has a 20-percent stake in the 630-megawatt London Array project, the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the federation of the United Arab Emirates.

It sits on proven oil reserves totaling 98.2 billion barrels — 95 percent of the UAE’s reserves, which are the world’s seventh largest. It also has a large gas reserves.

Source: Wind Daily.

Link: http://www.winddaily.com/reports/UAEs_Masdar_to_build_125-million_wind_farm_in_Oman_999.html.

Dubai, UAE (SPX)

Sep 15, 2014

A high level delegation from the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) visited recently the National Space Agency of Kazakhstan, Kazcosmos. The delegation, headed by H.E. Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General of EIAST, also included Eng. Salem Al Marri, Assistant Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs.

The UAE delegation met with their counter parts in the Kazcosmos and a number of representatives from space science and space industry institutions including Talgat Mussabayev, Chairman of Kazcosmos; Marat Nurguzhin, Acting President of JSC – National Company, Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary; Viktor Lefter, President of National Center for Space Communications; and Zhumabek Zhantayev, President of National center of space Communication and Technology in Kazakhstan.

The purpose of the visit was to enhance and strengthen cooperation between both parties in the field of remote sensing and establish mutual benefits through laboratories and satellite manufacturing cooperation, including image use of both DubaiSat-2 and Kazakhstan satellites, in order to accomplish their common development goals.

This visit comes following an official Kazakhstan delegation that came to EIAST recently during which parties discussed opportunities of cooperation between them in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

During that visit, the Kazakhstani delegation discovered the latest achievements realized by EIAST with the launch of Dubai Sat-1 and Dubai Sat-2; in addition to current and future projects, including the building of KhalifaSat which will be developed in the UAE by Emiratis.

Following the discussions, Al Shaibani confirmed that the UAE has reached an advanced position in the field of space sciences and intends to build on these achievements by keeping up with the latest space science research and by exchanging technical and scientific skills with leading local, regional and global institutions in the field.

He further stated that “EIAST seeks to keep up with the rapid growth of advanced technology and space industry to meet the needs of the UAE. The statement follows the recent announcement of the establishment of the Emirates Space Agency by, which will officially signal the start of exploration in outer space. This will be the first Arab probe to Mars with a team of Emiratis in the coming seven years.”

“We value the achievements made by Kazakhstan, as it is one of the advanced countries in the field of space science. It has modern satellites and extensive experience in space science and we look forward to having a solid cooperation with Kazcosmos and to activating the strategic partnership. Likewise; the Kazcosmos team admired the achievements of the UAE and the advanced level of the country in terms of space activities and ambitious future plans”, he added.

During the visit, Al Shaibani and al Marri visited the headquarters of Kazcosmos, Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary, the National Center for Space Communications and the National center of space Communication and Technology. They were also briefed about the main projects, achievements and future plans of each entity.

In December 2011, EIAST signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kazcosmos, aimed at enhancing a better exchange of scientific skills and the development of human resources in the fields of space science, remote sensing, space communications, and global satellite navigation systems.

By virtue of this MoU, both parties will cooperate to use the infrastructure needed for space researches and all other activities related to the manufacture and launch of satellites.

EIAST was established by the Dubai Government in 2006 with the goal of promoting a culture of advanced scientific research and technology innovation in Dubai and the UAE, and enhancing technology innovation and scientific skills among UAE Nationals.

It is mainly involved in outer space research and development, satellite manufacturing and systems development, space imaging, and ground station services and support for other satellites.

Source: Space Mart.

Link: http://www.spacemart.com/reports/EIAST_visits_the_National_Space_Agency_of_Kazakhstan_999.html.

September 08, 2014

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai’s ruler has endorsed a $32 billion expansion plan for the city’s second airport that aims to make it the world’s biggest, the emirate’s airport operator said Monday in the latest sign that the Middle East’s brash commercial hub is determined to move on from its 2009 financial crisis.

The approval sets in motion a vast building project that will boost capacity exponentially at the airport known as Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central. Backers envision it will eventually handle more than 200 million passengers per year.

The first phase of the expansion alone aims to build enough runway and terminal space to handle 120 million passengers a year and 100 mammoth Airbus A380 double-decker jets at any given time. The world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, handled 94.4 million people last year.

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of state-backed airport operator Dubai Airports, said he aims to have the first phase of the expansion complete in six to eight years. That part of the project includes adding two new runways and two large concourses housing dozens of aircraft gates each.

“It’s a very aggressive time scale … but I think that we have a track record here of doing remarkable things in a remarkably challenging time frame,” Griffiths said in his office at the city’s main airport, Dubai International.

As later phases are completed, the new airport will eventually boast five parallel runways spaced far enough apart so they can all be used at the same time, and have enough gates for hundreds of wide-body planes.

Dubai World Central opened for cargo flights in 2010 with a single runway in the desert south of central Dubai. It received its first passengers in October at a single terminal that is mainly used by smaller airlines and low-cost carriers.

The currently larger Dubai International ranked as the world’s seventh busiest airport last year, handling 66.4 million passengers. It too is being expanded, with a new concourse expected to open next year.

Griffiths says Dubai needs to expand to keep pace with the rapid growth of airline traffic into the emirate. Much of the increase comes from hometown airline Emirates, the region’s largest carrier and the world’s biggest user of both the A380 and Boeing 777 long-haul jets.

Emirates is expected to move its hub to the new airport shortly after the first expansion phase is complete, freeing up space in the older airport for the well over 100 other airlines that already operate from it.

Griffiths is confident Dubai will be able to generate the funding needed to complete the project given the importance of aviation to Dubai’s economy. Officials say the industry contributes $22 billion annually to the local economy and supports some 250,000 jobs.

“The aviation sector has demonstrated that there is a very compelling economic case to suggest creation of further capacity is a very sensible thing to do,” Griffiths said. “I’m sure that the government will come up with the appropriate funding to make the project a reality.”

Dubai is still recovering from the effects of its financial crisis, which sent property prices plunging and forced it to accept a multibillion-dollar bailout from neighboring Abu Dhabi. The local economy has bounced back strongly since, though Dubai and its state-linked companies still carry tens of billions of dollars in debt. The International Monetary Fund has warned of the possibility of another property bubble forming, and analysts question how Dubai can make good on the debt it still owes.

“There are still plenty of reasons to think that the emirate’s debt problems are far from over,” Jason Tuvey, an analyst at London-based Capital Economics, wrote in a research note last week. That has not stopped officials from announcing plans for headline-grabbing projects reminiscent of the pre-crisis boom.

On Sunday, a property development company controlled by Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum laid out plans for a $2.7 billion theme park and resort complex near the new airport and the site of the World Expo that Dubai is due to host in 2020.

The expansion of the new airport is unlikely to be ready by the time the Expo kicks off, Griffiths said.

London (AFP)

July 28, 2014

Emirates will stop flying over Iraq due to concerns over jihadist missile attacks following the MH17 air disaster in Ukraine, the airline’s president Tim Clark told The Times on Monday.

Almost 300 people aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 died when it came down in eastern Ukraine nearly two weeks ago, with Washington and Europe claiming it was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Moscow militants.

“This is a political animal but… the fact of the matter is MH17 changed everything, and that was very nearly in European airspace,” Clark told The Times in an interview published on Monday.

“We cannot continue to say, ‘Well it’s a political thing’. We have to do something. We have to take the bull by the horns,” added the British president of the Dubai-based carrier.

Clark predicted other carriers would also decide to stop flying over Iraq, as the global airline industry reviews the risk of overflying combat zones.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777 aircraft, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people aboard on July 17 when it was downed close to the village of Grabove, in the rebellion-wracked region of Donetsk in east Ukraine.

“The horrors that this created was a kick in the solar plexus for all of us,” Clark told the daily paper.

“Nevertheless having got through it we must take stock and deal with it.”

On Sunday meanwhile, the commercial director of Malaysia Airlines called for a complete overhaul of the way flight paths are deemed safe following the plane’s downing by a suspected missile.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Hugh Dunleavy said the disaster would have “an unprecedented impact on the aviation industry”, claiming that airlines can no longer depend on aviation authorities for reliable information about flying over conflict zones.

“For too long, airlines have been shouldering the responsibility for making decisions about what constitutes a safe flight path, over areas in political turmoil around the world,” he wrote.

“We are not intelligence agencies, but airlines, charged with carrying passengers in comfort between destinations.”

Source: Space Mart.

Link: http://www.spacemart.com/reports/Emirates_airline_says_will_not_fly_over_Iraq_after_MH17_999.html.