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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 20)

[The Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud called for stronger military cooperation with the United States at the GCC meeting attended by the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week. Image from Wikimedia Commons. 23 April 2013.] [The Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud called for stronger military cooperation with the United States at the GCC meeting attended by the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week. Image from Wikimedia Commons. 23 April 2013.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Monday night of every week.]

Regional and International Relations

Obama fails to protect gay Saudi diplomat Ali al-Ahmad and Matthew Mainen argue that the United States should grant asylum to Ali Asser, who has been unable to return to Saudi Arabia since his colleagues outed him in 2010. 

Which foreign countries spent the most to influence U.S. politics? The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are among the top ten foreign governments that paid for influence with members of Congress in 2013.

Saudi Arabia moves to settle differences with Iran Martin Chulov analyzes the efforts of Riyadh and Tehran to reconcile despite the persistence of conflicting positions over Syria. 

Possible Iranian-Saudi rapprochement to impact region Elie Chalhoub examines the changes in Saudi policy towards Iran and their implication for the region.

UK-Bahrain relations to come under scrutiny as Gulf state's king visits UK Ian Black remarks that democracy activists hope to take advantage of King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa’s visit to London to highlight human rights abuses in Bahrain.

UAE to try nine for recruiting militants to fight in Syria: agency The Emirati government will try nine expatriate Arabs on charges of joining al-Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia closes embassy in Libya due to security concerns Riyadh decides to close its embassy and withdraw all of its diplomatic staff in Libya due to security concerns.

Hagel to meet GCC defence ministers on Wednesday The US Secretary of Defense visited Saudi Arabia and met with Gulf Cooperation Council defense ministers last week.

Riyadh calls for stronger US-Gulf military cooperation The Saudi crown prince urges stronger military cooperation between his country and the United States.

Netherlands: Saudi Arabia may curb trade ties over Wilders' anti-Islam slogans Riyadh is considering trade sanctions against the Netherlands because of stickers printed by Geert Wilders, which carry anti-Islam slogans in the colors of the Saudi flag.

Kuwait to deport 15 pro-Al Sissi Egyptians Kuwait will deport fifteen Egyptians for their participation in an “illegal gathering” in support of the presidential candidate, al-Sisi.

Reports and Opinions

Saudi king appoints son as governor of Riyadh province Angus McDowall examines the implication of the appointment of Prince Turki bin Abdullah as the governor of Riyadh, one of the most important positions in the kingdom.

Undermining the Sudairi clan: The king manages the power struggle Fouad al-Ibrahim analyzes the struggle over succession in the kingdom in light of the royal degree, which appointed the son of the king as the emir of Riyadh.

Saudi deputy defence minister replaced Habib Toumi reflects on the significance of the replacement of deputy defense minister Prince Salman bin Sultan with Prince Khalid bin Bandar, the former governor of Riyadh.

Women in Saudi Arabia: Unshackling themselves An Economist article on the slow improvement of women’s rights in the kingdom.

FIFA chief Sepp Blatter says Qatar World Cup in summer a ‘mistake’ Philip Victor reports on Sepp Blatter’s description of the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar as a mistake due to the sweltering heat.

Crisis in Yemen

What the media doesn’t say about Yemen Ramzy Baroud argues that the Western media reports on Yemen only when Western interests are threatened but turn a deaf ear of the victims of the US-led war in the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen supports al-Qaeda against the army Jamal Jubran analyzes the position of Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood towards the military campaign against al-Qaeda.

An Interview with Huda al-‘Attas Anne-Linda Amira Augustin interviews the activist for women’s rights and the author of short stories about her engagement in the nonviolent struggle for the independence of southern Yemen.

Yemen targets suspected al-Qaeda arms convoy Military jets strike three trucks, suspected of moving weapons from Shabwa to Marib.

Yemen's Taiz: Between sheikh and state Peter Salisbury argues that Taiz is being presented as a model for a new federalist government despite its flaws.

Fatal gunfight near Yemen presidential palace Four soldiers and three gunmen are killed in two attacks on checkpoints near the presidential palace.

Yemeni militant, four aides killed in clashes with army: defense ministry A news report on the death of a local al-Qaeda leader and four of his aides in clashes with Yemeni troops in Qarn al-Sawda.

Yemen moves to set up rehab center for Gitmo detainees Yemen will build a secure rehabilitation center for Yemenis released from Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Yemen says it has foiled al Qaeda attacks in Sanaa The Yemeni government announces that it prevented attacks on government, military, and diplomatic premises in Sanaa.

Yemen president says country in open war against al Qaeda Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi asserts that his troops will go after al-Qaeda fighters in southern, central, and northern provinces.

Yemeni air strike kills five suspected militants in south Yemeni fighter planes kill five suspected al-Qaeda members in Shabwa.

Qat habit drains Yemen’s precious groundwater Farmers continue to cultivate qat despite environmental concerns.

Migrant Workers

Workers at N.Y.U.’s Abu Dhabi Site Faced Harsh Conditions Ariel Kaminer and Sean O’Driscoll provide a critical account of the conditions of construction workers who are building the New York University campus in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia employer 'pours boiling water' on Antonia Molloy writes on a Filipina maid in Saudi Arabia, who was left with severe burns after her employer poured boiling water on her.

Stagnant wages dash hopes of UAE migrants Michael Dickison reports on workers’ claims that their wages have not changed in the last three decades while the cost of living has increased steeply.

9 Bangladeshis, 2 Indians killed in Saudi Arabia factory fire Eleven foreign workers die in a fire in a furniture workshop in Riyadh.

Qatar announces changes to labour law Sam Bollier examines the Qatari government’s announcement that it will change its controversial labor system.

Qatar government admits almost 1,000 fatalities among migrant workers Owen Gibson reports on the new report commissioned by Qatar, which confirms that almost a thousand migrant workers have died over the past two years.

Qatar Q&A: Pete Pattisson and James Lynch answer your questions The Guardian’s Pete Pattisson and Amnesty International’s James Lynch answer readers’ questions on the abuse of migrant workers.

Employment victory for Qatar migrant worker who was left to go hungry Rebecca Falconer offer an account of a Filipina maid, who managed to secure her freedom and escape dire work conditions.

Qatar migrant death: 'I have lost my son. What is more painful than that?' Pete Pattisson reports on Ganesh Bishwakarma, a sixteen-years-old Nepali man, who went to Qatar to help his family but died there within weeks.

The hundreds of migrant workers dying as a brand new Qatar is built Owen Gibson maintains that the body count is still on the rise among migrant workers who are building new cities in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Multinational corporations play key role in Qatar labor abuses Arezo Yazd argues that corporate responsibility and enforcement of labor laws are necessary for the improvement of the conditions of migrant workers.

Human Rights

Saudi Arabia: 2 Years Behind Bars on Apostasy Accusation Human Rights Watch urges the Saudi authorities to release two citizens who have been held without charge because of their religious beliefs.

Proposals for Qatar migrant labour reform 'a missed opportunity' Amnesty International regards the Qatari government’s proposed reforms inadequate to address the systemic abuses against migrant workers.

UAE: Human Rights Lawyer Mohammed Al-Roken subjected to ill-treatment in prison and placed in a solitary confinement The Gulf Center for Human Rights condemns the ill-treatment of the human rights lawyer.

Bahrain: Continued Harassment and Ill-Treatment for Ahmed Al-Arab The Bahrain Center for Human Rights deplores the treatment of al-Arab, who has been tortured in prison.

Bahrain: Defendants Detained in ‘Daih Bombing’ Reveal Torture in Court The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern over the policy of systemic torture to extract confessions from detainees in political cases.

UK Plans to Deport Torture Survivor Facing Imprisonment in Bahrain The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls upon the British immigration authorities not to deport Isa Haidar Al-Aali.


Al Jazeera's Elshamy 'moved from prison' Abdullah Elshamy, who has been on hunger strike for almost four months, is moved from his cell to an undisclosed location.

Video shows detained Al Jazeera journalist Footage shows Elshamy in dire health before he was moved to “solitary confinement.”

From my prison cell: Abdullah Elshamy The full letter written by the journalist from his prison.

Elshamy's appeal rejected by Cairo court The Criminal Court rejects an appeal by the journalist against the decision to extend his detention.

Al-Jazeera journalists' lawyers told to pay £100,000 to see key evidence Patrick Kingsley writes on a prosecutors’ demand that the lawyers pay more than one hundred thousand pounds in order to have access to a secret video.

13th Arab Media Forum kicks off on Tuesday The Arab Media Forum, which focuses on new trends in the media, begins today.

Bahraini Press day to be marked on March 1 The state minister for information announces March 1 as the Bahraini Press Day.


انقلاب» في السعودية: إخراج أبناء سلطان و«نقزة» لدى أبناء سلمان ونايف»
A news report on the soft "coup" among the Saudi ruling family, with the appointment of one of the king's sons as the emir of Riyadh and Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz as the deputy minster of defense.

المفاجآت السعودية تتوالى فصولاً
Khalil Harb analyzes the ongoing surprises in Saudi Arabia with regard to the question of succession.

على الغلاف | تقويض العصبة السديرية [2/1]: الملك يدير صراع الأجنحة منفرداً
Fouad Ibrahim analyzes the struggle over succession in the kingdom in light of the royal decree, which appointed the son of the king as the emir of Riyadh (Part I).

تقويض العصبة السديرية [2/2] : تعبيد المُلك لمتعب
Fouad Ibrahim analyzes the struggle over succession in the kingdom in light of the royal decree, which appointed the son of the king as the emir of Riyadh (Part II).

السعودية… لا حرية تعبير ولا حقوق للمرأة او للعمال والإنتخابات حلم يراود مواطنيها
An article in al-Quds al-Arabi on the lack of freedom of expression, women's rights, and migrant workers' rights in Saudi Arabia.

تغييرات واسعة في الجيش السعودي واتجاه لجعله قوة إقليمية ضاربة
A news report on massive changes in the military establishment in Saudi Arabia.

الفيصل «ينفتح» على ظريف: الدعوة مفتوحة
Elie Chalhoub examines the changes in Saudi policy towards Iran and their implication for the region.

طهران: نرحب بالمفاوضات مع السعودية
Tehran welcomes the opportunity to negotiate with Riyadh.

السعودية وإيران الشياطين والأفعى
Khalil Harb examines the thorny Saudi-Iranian relations.

واشنطن لآل سعود: تغيّروا أو ارحلوا
Fouad Ibrahim analyzes the intricacies of the US-Saudi relations.

الرياض وطهران: الأزمة في العمق
Habib Fayad argues the expected Iranian foreign minister's visit to Riyadh can result in partial solutions, but it cannot guarantee final rapprochement between the two countries.

السعودية وإيران: الإرهاب أولاً
Mohammed Mahmood claims that fighting terrorism can bring Iran and Saudi Arabia together.

شبوة اليمنية «شبه خالية» من الإرهابيين
The governor of Shabwa announces that his province in Yemen is now free of terrorists.

اليمن: عشرات القتلى من القاعدة والجيش بعد استئناف المواجهات في محافظة شبوه
Khalid Hamadi reports on the clashes between government troops and al-Qaeda fighters in Shabwa.

إخوان اليمن» مع «القاعدة» ضد الجيش»
Jamal Jubran analyzes the position of Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood towards the military campaign against al-Qaeda.

الرئيس اليمني: المعركة مع التنظيم ‘الإرهابي’ مفتوحة
The Yemeni president asserts that the battle with terrorist organizations is open-ended.

أسئلة خليجية
Jamil Mattar explores questions people in the Gulf states began to ask following the Arab uprisings.

حرب باردة بين ضفتي الخليج تستبطن نزاعا مسلحا
Said al-Shihabi argues there is a cold war between the two banks of the Gulf.

وزير النفط السعودي: مستعدون لتعويض أي نقص
The Saudi minister of oil asserts that his country is ready to provide international markets with oil in the event that the conflict in Ukraine escalates.

السيسي يشيد بالسعودية والإمارات: الحريات مصونة في عهدي
Abdul al-Fatah al-Sisi, a candidate for the Egyptian presidency, praises Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their support of Egypt.

قطر تلغي نظام ‘الكفالة والخروجية’ وتفرض ضوابط لحماية العمال
Sulaiman Haj Ibrahim reports on Qatar's new labor laws, which ostensibly aim to protect migrant workers.

تضليل المريض أم حوار الحضارات والثقافات
Ali al-Dairi criticizes the conference on Dialogue of Civilizations and Cultures held in Manama two weeks ago.

الكويت: وزير العدل يستقيل من منصبه
The Kuwaiti minister of justice resigns after a US official accused him of calling for jihad in Syria.

الوليد بن طلال ينافس دبي بأطول ناطحة سحاب في الكون
Saudi Arabia's Prince Waleed bin Talal decides to build the tallest building in the world.

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