Tag Archive: Parion Gulf


2013-11-21

DUBAI – Heavy rains and flooding forced the annual airshow in Dubai to close early on its last day Thursday while schools in the desert Gulf state were ordered shut.

“The Dubai Airshow is closed for now, we advise people to refrain from traveling to the site,” organizers said in an emailed statement.

Participants and visitors to the airshow that kicked off on Sunday posted on social networks pictures and videos of flooded exhibition halls.

No announcements of new deals had been expected Thursday as most manufacturers had on Wednesday given final figures of contracts sealed during the event.

As the turbulent weather swept across Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates ministry of education ordered public and private schools shut to ensure “students’ safety,” according to a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.

Local media reported several accidents that brought traffic to a near-halt in several areas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Local media had reported Sunday that one man was killed when floods swept through a valley in the northern Ras al-Khaimah emirate.

Flash floods sparked by torrential rain have hit other Gulf neighbors, some of which normally experience such low precipitation that religious leaders often organize special prayers for rain.

In Saudi Arabia, seven people were killed in three days of rain, the kingdom’s civil defense authority said on Wednesday, adding that five others were missing.

Meanwhile in Kuwait, civil defense authorities announced two people were killed as the amount of rainfall reached 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) in two days — Monday and Tuesday — equal to the average annual rainfall in the emirate.

Heavy rains have also been reported in Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

Source: Middle East Online.
Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=62778.

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AFP
Sunday 29 September 2013

DUBAI: The UAE has recalled its ambassador from Tunisia to protest calls by the Tunisian president for the liberation of Egypt’s deposed head of state, reports said Saturday.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki had called on the UAE-backed new rulers in Cairo to free Muhammad Mursi, in a speech this week at the UN General Assembly.

The UAE, where dozens of Brotherhood supporters have been jailed for plotting to overthrow the regime, had welcomed Mursi’s overthrow and, following his ouster, pledged financial aid to Egypt’s new rulers.

Source: Arab News.
Link: http://www.arabnews.com/news/466167.

Saturday, 07 September 2013

An informed source in Palestine has claimed that former Fatah leader Mohamed Dahlan, who is currently a senior government adviser in the UAE, has visited Turkey and met opposition groups. The close aide to Dahlan said that the visit was planned by UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohamed bin Zayed and that the ex-Fatah official entered Turkey using a false passport.

It is claimed that Dahlan met young Turkish and Kurdish activists who oppose the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the aim of establishing a Tamarod-style opposition movement in Turkey. The ultimate intention, it is believed, is to complete the overthrow of Islamist movements in the region by toppling Hamas in Gaza and Erdogan’s government in Turkey. The UAE backed the military coup which overthrew the Islamist government of Dr Mohamed Morsi in Egypt.

Turkey has opposed the coup since the beginning in a stance which has angered Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The government in Ankara is being targeted to be overthrown.

The UAE canceled investment projects worth $12 billion in Turkey as a result of Erdogan’s opposition to the coup in Egypt. According to media source Asrar Arabia, it is not unusual for UAE government actions to lead to business losses for companies in the emirates.

Dahlan is a former prominent official in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the secularist Fatah movement. As a result of his internal conflict with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as his failure to undermine the Hamas government in Gaza, he was dismissed from the authority and Fatah and now lives in the UAE.

Source: Middle East Monitor.
Link: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/7266-uae-uses-former-palestinian-official-to-create-turkish-tamarod-movement.

November 25, 2013

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar is the latest Gulf Arab state to welcome the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, calling it a step toward greater stability in the region.

The Gulf’s main political power, Saudi Arabia, has previously expressed unease about U.S. outreach to Iran. The dialogue helped pushed along efforts by Washington and others to strike a deal with Iran seeking to ease Western concerns that Tehran could move toward nuclear weapons.

Saudi officials have withheld public comment on the first-step deal signed on Sunday in Geneva, but smaller Gulf partners have backed the accord. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the deal is an “important step toward safeguarding peace and stability in the region.”

Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have issued similar statements.

JEDDAH: MD AL-SULAMI
Tuesday 19 November 2013

At least 15 people have died and eight others are reported missing in flash floods caused by heavy rains in Riyadh and other parts of the Kingdom in the last 24 hours.

The Civil Defense Department said Monday that it had received more than 7,000 calls for help from different regions following rains. “We have rescued over 800 stranded people, while 450 vehicles have been pulled out from flooded areas,” it said in a statement. The department has urged the public to be cautious following weather forecasts for more rains in the next three days.

Col. Saeed Sarhan, the department’s spokesman in Makkah, said the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment has forecast the formation of thunderclouds over the southern Makkah region, Qunfuda and Al-Laith, as well as Makkah and Taif.

Deaths resulting from rain-related accidents were reported across the Kingdom, sources said.

Civil Defense officers found the body of a missing Filipino worker in the Northern Border Province on Monday. He was reported missing after his truck fell in deep waters on a damaged road. Three workers including two Filipinos and an Arab who were traveling with him, survived.

“They suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment,” said Maj. Abdul Rahman Al-Ahmari, deputy spokesman of Civil Defense in the region. Flash floods had washed away the entire road surface and the ground had also caved in before the truck attempted to cross it, eyewitnesses said. The Civil Defense received a report of four missing workers on Monday morning, he said. “There were light to heavy rains in many parts of the Makkah region, including Meesan and Adham,” Sarhan said, adding that his department had not received any emergency calls for help during rains.

The Civil Defense said efforts were under way to find the eight missing people who were washed away in flash floods. The department rescued 121 citizens and residents in Riyadh on Monday, including eight families.

Source: Arab News.
Link: http://www.arabnews.com/news/479821.

2013-11-09

NEW YORK – Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador Abdallah al-Muallimi to the United Nations demanded a permanent seat for Arabs at the Security Council, saying the UN body has failed tackle Middle East issues.

Muallimi criticized the Security Council as “crippled” by the veto power, which only five countries hold. He said a “just international representation” is needed.

Saudi Arabia rejected last month to take a traditional Arab seat in the Security Council in protest at the body’s failure to end the Syria war and act on other Middle East issues.

The Security Council is dominated by its five permanent members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – which have veto power over its decisions.

To ensure diversity, the council’s 10 elected members are made up of three from Africa, two from Asia-Pacific, one from Eastern Europe, two from the Latin American and Caribbean group, and two from the Western European and others group. Five are chosen each year to serve two-year terms.

Arab states are split between the Asia-Pacific and African regional blocs and there is an unofficial deal that at least one Arab nation is always represented on the Security Council.

Saudi Arabia was the Arab candidate from the Asia-Pacific bloc. Kuwait had put its hand up to be the next Arab candidate from the group and to run for the 2018-2019 term on the Security Council, which has led some diplomats to speculate that the Gulf U.S. ally could be a capable replacement.

Arab countries have been trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to take up the Security Council seat.

“Kuwait forms part of the efforts currently being carried out to convince Saudi Arabia to reverse its decision,” Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarrallah told state news agency KUNA on Thursday.

Muallimi called on Friday for “profound and comprehensive” reform of the UN Security Council that includes expanding its membership and “abandoning the veto system or restricting its use.”

“The Security Council has failed to address the situation in the Palestinian and Arab occupied territories, an issue under consideration by the council for more than six decades,” Al-Muallimi told a General Assembly debate on Security Council reform.

“The Syrian crisis continues, with a regime bent on suppressing the will of its people by brutal force, killing and displacing millions of people under the watch and sight of a council paralyzed by the abuse of the veto system,” he said.

Syrian ally Russia, backed by China, has vetoed three council resolutions since October 2011 that would have condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and threatened it with sanctions.

Saudi Arabia has warned of a shift away from the United States in part over what it sees as Washington’s failure to take action against Assad and its policies on Iran.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Monday and praised the US alliance with Saudi Arabia as strategic and enduring, but strains in the nearly 70-year-old relationship were apparent.

Source: Middle East Online.
Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=62482.

2013-11-10

By Fayez Nureldine – RIYADH

Hundreds of illegal migrants targeted in a Saudi nationwide crackdown turned themselves in on Sunday after security forces besieged a Riyadh neighborhood where riots had killed two people.

Men, women and children lined up carrying their belongings to board police buses transferring them to an assembly centre before their deportation, a week after a seven-month amnesty expired.

Police said they intervened on Saturday following riots in the poor Manfuhah neighborhood of the capital after foreigners attacked Saudis and other foreign expats with rocks and knives.

One Saudi and another person, whose nationality and identity remains unknown, were killed, said a police statement carried by the SPA state news agency.

Another 68 people — 28 Saudis and 40 foreigners — were injured and 561 were arrested.

The Manfuhah district of Riyadh is home to many illegal migrants, mostly from east Africa.

On Sunday, police laid siege to the district while units from the National Guard and Special Forces were sent in, a photojournalist said.

The Ethiopian government said on Saturday it was repatriating citizens who had failed to meet the deadline of a seven-month amnesty, citing reports that an Ethiopian had been killed by police.

“They were trying to get them in the camp before repatriation and in that process… an Ethiopian has been killed with a police bullet, but we are verifying it,” foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said in Addis Ababa.

Saudi police said on Saturday illegal migrants in Manfuhah have been given the chance to come forward and that accommodation has been made available while their repatriation is arranged.

On Monday, the authorities began rounding up thousands of illegal foreign workers following the expiry of a final amnesty for them to formalize their status.

Those considered being illegal range from overstaying visitors and pilgrims seeking jobs to shop assistants and day laborers working for someone other than their sponsor.

Having an official sponsor is a legal requirement in Saudi Arabia and most other Gulf states.

Nearly a million migrants — Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis and Yemenis among them — took advantage of the amnesty to leave.

Another roughly four million were able to find employers to sponsor them, but in so doing virtually emptied the market of cheap freelance labor.

Expatriates account for a full nine million of the oil-rich kingdom’s population of 27 million.

The lure of work, even in low-paid jobs as domestics or construction workers, has made the country a magnet for migrants from Asia as well as from poorer Arab states.

Despite its huge oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has a jobless rate of more than 12.5 percent among its native population, a figure the government has long sought to cut.

Saudi economists have insisted that the departure of illegal workers will benefit the largest Arab economy in the long run, but Saudis have already began to feel the pinch of a surging cost of labor because of a shortage of day workers.

Saudis and expatriates say that casual workers who used to queue in public squares for odd jobs have virtually disappeared since police began strictly enforcing tough labor laws.

The labor ministry said on Saturday it will continue to accept applications from undocumented foreigners seeking to legalize their status, but that they will be fined for the elapsed period since the amnesty ended on November 3.

Source: Middle East Online.
Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=62488.

Sun Nov 10, 2013

(Reuters) – Saudi Arabian police clashed with foreign workers in a poor district of Riyadh on Saturday, nearly a week into a visa crackdown in which thousands have been detained and one man killed by police.

Security forces in riot gear fired into the air and used truncheons to disperse large crowds as scores of men ran through the streets, some throwing stones and other objects at cars and police, according to Reuters witnesses.

Two people were killed of which one was a Saudi while the other one was unidentified, the Saudi police said in a statement late on Saturday after it detained 561 people involved in the disturbances in the Manfuhah neighborhood of southern Riyadh.

The police added that 68 people were injured.

Most of the foreign workers involved in the clashes appeared to be Africans.

In a previous statement, the police did not refer directly to Saturday’s clashes, or say how many had been injured or detained, but said that in light of “what has happened”, the authorities had designated a location for people to surrender voluntarily.

Authorities this year said they would no longer turn a blind eye to foreign workers breaking visa rules by working for companies that had not sponsored their entry into the world’s top oil exporter.

The intention is to end a black market for cheap imported workers, cut the foreign labor force, reduce the flow of remittances to other countries and make more private sector jobs available for Saudi citizens.

A seven-month amnesty for foreigners to rectify their visa status without penalty or leave the country – which prompted an exodus of hundreds of thousands of foreigners – expired on Monday, prompting the start of the crackdown. Thousands have been arrested.

On Wednesday, an Ethiopian was killed in a raid after he tried to grab a policeman’s weapon, the Arab News English-language daily reported on Friday.

Many of those caught in raids on shops, marketplaces, businesses and low-income residential areas are likely to be deported.

Many expatriate workers say they were unable to take advantage of the amnesty because of bureaucratic difficulties or disputes with their original sponsors.

In some streets in Manfuhah, men in Saudi dress had also gathered in small groups, some of them carrying knives and iron bars, saying they were protecting their property. Other people watched from rooftops.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Source: Reuters.
Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/10/us-saudi-foreignworkers-idUSBRE9A80EO20131110.

2013-10-21

DUBAI – Oman and neighboring Gulf states must move towards curtailing energy consumption drastically, reduce subsidies and boost efficiencies to keep the region’s rapidly rising oil and gas demand in check, the sultanate’s top energy official said Monday.

“We must drastically reduce our consumption, not only in Oman but in the region as a whole,” Oman’s Minister of Oil and Gas Dr. Mohammed Hamad Al-Rumhy said in a national keynote address at the first Gulf Intelligence Oman Energy Forum in Muscat today. The forum’s theme is focused on game changers impacting the Omani and global energy industry.

Today, the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states consume more primary energy than the whole of Africa even though their population is only one-twentieth the size of the continent’s, according to Chatham House’s Saving Oil and Gas in the Gulf report published in August. Heavily-subsidized energy has fuelled consumption growth in the region in recent years and led to rising energy subsidy bills for governments. According to International Monetary Fund estimates, energy subsidy costs in GCC countries ranged from 9-28% of government revenues in 2011.

“Subsidy is killing us. We should preserve energy on a daily level and use it wisely, which we’re not doing. We can do so much ourselves. We don’t need to start any nuclear, coal, bio-fuel activities in Oman,” the minister said. He added that there wasn’t much need for the sultanate to pursue renewable energy projects at present as “there is enough gas in the world.”

Abdulla Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, President of Qatar’s Administrative Control & Transparency Authority and the country’s former oil minister, said in an on-stage interview at today’s forum that GCC states need to make a collective effort to curtail energy subsidies or be faced with drastic consequences.

“This is not a single country issue but a GCC problem. The region needs to move quickly to find a solution,” he said.

The emergence of Gulf states as major energy consumers has fuelled concerns over their ability to maintain oil export capacity. Domestic oil consumption among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members has increased seven‐fold in 40 years, to 8.5 million bpd. They consume almost as much oil as China, which is equivalent to one-fourth of their production.

According to OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri, who gave the international keynote address at the forum, the organization should be able to produce an additional 6 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude by 2018.

The increase would make up for declining output elsewhere, in particular in the U.S. where tight oil output is expected to start declining that year, El Badri said. OPEC output stood at 30.05 million bpd in September, down 400,000 bpd versus August levels.

Oman is the largest oil producer in the Middle East that is not a member of OPEC. The sultanate has set ambitious targets to boost the share of oil it produces from Enhanced Oil Recovery projects by 2021 in a bid to sustain a five-year trend of rising crude production levels. The country is also moving forward with an ambitious program to diversify the local economy as it seeks to reduce its dependence on income from hydrocarbons, add value to its oil and gas resources, and create jobs for its young and growing population, while at the same time strengthening ties with East Africa and South Asia.

“Oman is in an advantageous position and we must continue to make the most of our geographical location. We, as a nation, are at the gateway of the rapidly expanding regional as well as Asian and African markets,” said Mulham Al-Jarf, Deputy CEO of Oman Oil Company, which is the Title Partner at the Gulf Intelligence Oman Energy Forum.

Today’s forum is also being addressed by Nasser K. Al Jashmi, Under Secretary at Oman’s Ministry of Oil & Gas on the sultanate’s Oil & Gas In-Country-Value Program, and Dr. Aldo Flores-Quiroga, Secretary General, International Energy Forum (IEF) on Building New Partnerships for Post-Easy Oil Era.

Source: Middle East Online.
Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=62076.

2013-07-27

By Omar Hasan – KUWAIT CITY

Kuwaitis voted on Saturday in the Gulf emirate’s second parliamentary election in eight months with turnout the key issue as the opposition urged a boycott.

A correspondent saw few voters at a polling station in Al-Qasia, just south of Kuwait City, when polls opened at 8 am (0500 GMT) although turnout picked up later.

Information Minister Sheikh Salman Humoud Al-Sabah said turnout was high after visiting a polling station in Jahra, west of Kuwait City.

It was the first time that an election had been called in Kuwait during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when the observant fast during the day.

Daytime temperatures were forecast to hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in a further disincentive to voters.

It was the second time that the opposition had called for a boycott in protest at an electoral law that it says enables the ruling Al-Sabah family-controlled government to manipulate the outcome.

The law was ruled legal in June by the constitutional court, even though it dissolved parliament on procedural flaws and ordered Saturday’s election.

But its judgment failed to satisfy the opposition dashing hopes of an end to a deadlock between the two sides that has seen the oil-rich Gulf state go to the polls six times in as many years.

“I just hope this parliament completes its (four-year) term,” said civil aviation employee Bassam Eid, after he cast his vote in Al-Qasia.

“We are frustrated at the repeated dissolution of the house,” Eid said.

The last two parliaments were dissolved by the constitutional court on procedural grounds, while the previous houses were dissolved by the emir.

“I am really concerned at the turn of events in the country as there will be no development without political stability which we hope will be achieved after this election,” doctor Jawad Abulhassan said after voting.

Pensioner Umm Mohammad said she hoped for an end to the disputes plaguing the country but was not that optimistic.

“We earnestly hope to see political stability in the country after this poll… We are still afraid that this might not happen,” she said after casting her vote at a polling station reserved for women in Jabriya, south of Kuwait City.

Some groups that boycotted last time round — notably the liberal National Democratic Alliance and some of the emirate’s powerful tribes — were taking part on Saturday.

But only a few opposition members were among the 300 hopefuls.

They include eight women, the lowest number of female candidates since women won political rights in 2005.

Around 30 Arab election observers visited some of the polling stations and were assisted by monitors from the Kuwait Transparency Society.

The opposition failed to mobilize the support on the street it succeeded in getting out ahead of the last election but has remained adamant that it will not take part in a “corrupted” political system.

Just days before polling day, the authorities arrested at least four candidates and dozens of their campaign staff on suspicion of attempted vote-buying.

Although Kuwait has the Gulf’s oldest elected parliament, all key government posts are held by members of the ruling Al-Sabah family which has ruled the country without challenge for over 250 years.

Analysts see little hope the election will bring political stability to the emirate, which has been rocked by lingering disputes since mid-2006, stalling development despite an abundance of petrodollars.

Kuwait has a population of 3.9 million, but just 31 percent are citizens and of that 1.23 million just 440,000 are eligible to vote.

The voting age is 21 and Kuwaitis serving in the police or army are barred from taking part.

The first results were not expected until after midnight (2100 GMT) as ballot papers are still counted manually in Kuwait.

The OPEC member says it sits on 10 percent of global crude reserves and pumps around 3.0 million barrels of oil per day. Thanks to high prices, the emirate has amassed around $400 billion in assets over the past decade.

Source: Middle East Online.
Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=60376.