[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 to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Regional and International
Saudi Arabia Says It Believes Canada to Go Ahead With Arms Deal Saudi Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel Jubeir says that the remarks made by Trudeau that Ottawa was looking for a way out of the multibillion-dollar arms agreement are “for domestic consumption.” He added that Saudi Arabia believes that the Canadian government will move forward with the deal.
Saudi Arabia Says It Is Too Early to Restore Ties With Syria Saudi Arabia says that it will neither restore diplomatic ties, reinstate Damascus to the Arab League, nor assist in reconstruction efforts “until the war is over and there is stability and security in Syria.”
FIFA: Nations Must Restore Ties With Qatar to Host WC Games Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will be ineligible to co-host the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments unless the blockade on Doha is lifted. Kuwait and Oman are being considered as feasible co-hosts due to their neutrality in the situation.
Saudi Ambassador to Manama Says Bahrain will Receive Second Payment of Gulf Support "Soon" Saudi ambassador to Bahrain Abdullah al-Sheikh says that Bahrain will receive the second payment of Gulf support aimed at enhancing the stability of its financial situation. He also added that Saudi Arabia will do its best to aid Bahrain in case of a shortage of school teachers.
Lockheed Gets $1 Billion Down Payment for Saudi THAAD Missile System US-based aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin receives a one billion dollar down payment towards the installation of a fifteen-billion-dollar missile defense system in Saudi Arabia. The missile defense system is part of a 110 billion-dollar arms package.
Hunt begins Gulf visit in attempt to salvage Yemen peace plan British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the Houthi movement’s chief negotiator, and advised against any further delays in the withdrawal of troops from Hodeida in order to maintain confidence in the Stockholm peace agreement. The agreement made in December was aimed at the cessation of hostilities to allow the opening of vital humanitarian channels.
EU adds United Arab Emirates and Oman to tax haven blacklist Oman and the United Arab Emirates among those included in the European Union’s broadened blacklist of tax havens due to shortfalls in tax rules that could favor tax evasion in other states.
Germany extending Saudi arms freeze to end-March: foreign minister Despite mounting pressure from Britain and France, Germany says that it will extend its arms embargo on Saudi Arabia until the end of March.
Saudi Aramco shifts strategy in China to boost oil sales The Saudi Arabian oil giant shifts its strategy towards new and independent players in China’s refining and petrochemical industry in an effort to increase its oil exports to China.
Turkey calls on Saudi Arabia to name defendants in Khashoggi trial Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun called for transparency in the Khashoggi trial; he urged Saudi Arabia to reveal the names of the individuals currently on trial and what charges have been brought against them.
Qatar sells triple-tranche jumbo bond to raise $12 billion In the latest demonstration of how Qatar has been overcoming the Saudi-led blockade, the country has sold twelve billion dollars in bonds and has drawn approximately fifty billion dollars in demand.
UAE official says Arab countries should be more open to Israel The United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash calls for the normalization of diplomatic relations between Arab states and Israel if there is to be any significant progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
German Government Extends Ban on Arms Exports to Saudi Germany has extended its arms embargo on Saudi Arabia for another six months but has made exceptions on systems developed jointly with other countries.
Saudi Arabia says Syrian opposition must unite before any dialogue with government Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf says that the kingdom supports Syria’s territorial integrity and is calling for a political solution based on dialogue between the Syrian regime and a unified opposition.
U.S. approved secret nuclear power work for Saudi Arabia US Energy Secretary Rick Perry approves six authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia. The companies which received authorization requested that the Trump administration withhold their authorization from public release.
Kuwait Says U.S. Mideast Peace Plan Should Weigh Regional Considerations Kuwait’s foreign minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah on US peace proposal for the Middle East: "We hope the plan will take into account the situation in the region and all the relevant parties."
Reports and Opinions
UAE Non-Oil Companies Cutting Jobs at Fastest Rate in Decade Emirates NBD report shows that economic slowdown, challenging market conditions, and competitive pressures have prompted non-oil companies to reduce staffing levels to save on costs at the fastest rate in a decade.
Qatar's beIN Threatens Suit Over AFC Soccer Rights Qatar’s beIN says that it will pursue legal action against the AFC in response to their move to stream games involving Saudi teams playing in Saudi Arabia on its online channels, which beIN claims is in breach of their multi-million-dollar regional broadcast agreement. BeIN’s signals have been blocked in Saudi Arabia since the Saudi-led blockade was imposed on Qatar in mid-2017.
Bahrain's Bapco Sees Oil Trading Opportunities as it Expands Refinery Bapco CEO Pete Bartlett says that the state-owned oil company will seek to develop more off-take arrangements and sale arrangements in light of the expansion. While its core market will remain within the Gulf region, Bapco is looking towards more opportunities in Asia.
Saudis Shoot Down Drone Aimed at Kingdom, Saudi TV Reports Al Arabiya reported that Saudi Arabia’s air defense systems shot down a drone over the kingdom headed towards residential areas in Abha. The kingdom accused Yemen’s Houthi fighters of launching the attempted attack.
Saudi Cabinet Approves Tourism Visa for Foreign Travellers In the effort to diversify its economy and open up its conservative society, Saudi Arabia has approved electronic visas for foreign visitors to attend sporting events and concerts.
Qatar FM: Doha buying S-400s 'not anyone's business' Qatar’s foreign minister said that Doha has still not reached a decision regarding the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile air defense system. Doha’s decision will apparently not be swayed by Saudi Arabia and other countries’ opposition to the deal, the foreign minister stated that “it is none of their business; it is a sovereign decision by Qatar.”
Saudi Arabia strips Osama bin Laden's son of citizenship Saudi Arabia has stripped Hamza bin Laden, a son of former al-Qa‘ida leader Osama bin Laden, of his citizenship a day after the United States announced a reward of up to one million dollars for information of his whereabouts. The younger bin Laden has posted videos online calling for attacks on Western capitals and the Saudi state.
UAE to invest $408 million in 'new generation' schools Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum announced a 408 million-dollar plan to build the first set of “new generation” schools in the United Arab Emirates. The schools will reportedly include laboratories for design, robotics, and artificial intelligence as well as health, environmental, and sports facilities.
UAE approves 5.8 billion dirhams for water and energy projects in northern areas: vice president tweets The United Arab Emirates has allocated 5.8 billion dirhams towards projects that will include new dams, a federal water network that connects to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a solar power station, and a desalination plant.
Saudi Arabia to cut oil exports in April: Saudi official Saudi Arabia is moving towards draining excessive oil supplies to support prices. The kingdom is planning to cut its crude oil exports in April to below seven million barrels per day and keeping output well below ten million barrels per day.
Qatar Petroleum takes stake in Mozambique exploration block Qatar Petroleum strikes deal with Italy’s ENI to acquire 25.5 percent participating interest in block A5A in offshore Mozambique. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals by the Mozambique government.
Abu Dhabi cuts fees to boost tourism, hospitality sectors In another move to diversify its economy away from oil, the United Arab Emirates has reduced tourism-related fees in an effort to attract more visitors to help boost the ailing tourism and hospitality sector.
Qatar: UAE nuclear plant threat to Gulf stability, environment Qatar urges the International Atomic Energy Agency to create a framework for nuclear security in the Gulf, citing regional stability and environmental concerns over the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah nuclear plant as well as Saudi Arabia’s plans to launch its own civil nuclear program.
EXCLUSIVE: UAE’s bin Zayed ‘proposed killing Taliban leaders’ According to Middle East Eye, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince reportedly offered to set up a covert operation to assassinate Taliban leaders during his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year.
Saudi Aramco to buy SABIC in $69 billion chemicals megadeal Saudi Aramco has agreed to buy a seventy percent stake in SABIC. The move that is expected to help boost Aramco’s growth plans ahead of its first international bond planned for 2021, and bolster SABIC’S long-term growth potential.
Coalition Accuses Yemen's Rebels of Breaking Cease-Fire United Nations: “The governments of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are accusing Houthi Shiite rebels of breaking the cease-fire in Yemen's key port of Hodeida and refusing to withdraw their forces in accordance with a December agreement.”
UN: Teacher Salaries Paid to Keep Yemeni Children in School UNICEF begins to pay teachers and school-based staff in Yemen who have not received salaries in over two years.
Saudi Coalition Bombs Allied Yemeni Soldiers Killing 8 Anonymous Yemeni military officials report that airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition unintentionally killed eight guards and wounded thirty-three others who were in alliance with the government.
Saudi-led airstrikes kill 10 women and 12 children in Yemeni village Saudi-led airstrike kills civilians, including ten women and twelve children, in Hajja province in northern Yemen. The United Nations reports that thousands of civilians are trapped between the warring parties in Hajja province, while over 5,300 families were forced to flee the area. Injured children have been sent to hospitals, several of which must evacuate to survive.
Security Council members urge Yemen parties to implement peace deal The UN Security Council urges the warring parties in Yemen to implement the Stockholm agreement that was made in December. The agreement has been stagnated due to worries from each side that the other will take advantage of the withdrawal from Hodeidah.
Outrage in Aden after witness in UAE-backed militia child rape case is killed Protests persist in Aden in response to the killing of a witness who testified against Emirati-backed militants accused of raping and killing seven-year-old Rafaat Danbaa. The boy’s mother asserts that her son was abducted from their home before being killed.
Yemen's farmers forced to eat leaves as war devastates harvests Farmers in Hajja province are unable to water their lands due to the doubling of fuel prices, forcing them to resort to eating Halas leaves. International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) have become the main source of income that help provide food to farmers and public servants who have not been receiving their salaries. Although there is still a shortage of aid, Vision Hope International (VHI) organization is one of the INGOs that reportedly supports farmers by providing them with seeds and a functional water network.
No peace in Yemen until south’s wish to split with north heard, MPs told Southern Yemen separatists warn that their exclusion from the peace negotiations will only lead to more instability. The separatists claim that their movement represents the majority of the people in the south, and that the UN recognized government has no influence in the south.
Clashes Break Out in Yemen's Key Port City, Killing 8 “Yemeni security officials say fighting has erupted in the key port city of Hodeida, killing at least eight people, including civilians.”
UN Warns of Spike in Cholera, Displacement in Yemen A United Nations humanitarian agency reports a sharp increase in Cholera cases in war-torn Yemen due to the contamination of water sources.
Saudi-led coalition attacks drone storage caves in Yemen's capital: Report Saudi-led coalition has raided two Houthi rebel sites in Sanaa. The two caves raided were reportedly used to store drones.
'We only found her bag': Abductions of women and girls spreads fear in Sanaa a Sanaa based NGO has accused Houthi rebels of abducting over one hundred women and girls in the recent moths to force their relatives to pay ransoms. The Houthis have denied these allegations.
Yemen war: Eight killed in air strike near Kitaf hospital International aid organization Save the Children says that a missile hit a petrol station near the entrance of the Kitaf hospital. The blast reportedly killed at least eight people, five of them children, and injured eight others.
Bahrain Opposition Figure Gets 6 Months for Sudan Tweet A prominent opposition politician in Bahrain, Ebrahim Sharif, faces up to six months in prison for a tweet that called for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to leave office.
U.S. Woman Mired in Saudi Arabia Is Granted Legal Saudi Residency Bethany Vierra, the US woman who had been stuck in Saudi Arabia illegally after her divorce, has been granted legal residency as the mother of a Saudi citizen.
Salam Issues Report Entitled “Citizens without Citizenships”: 807 Stripped of Nationalities between 2015 and 2019 Salam for Democracy and Human Rights has issued a report regarding the increased use of nationality revocation as a form of punishment against Bahrainis who are critical of the regime. Over the past four years, the regime has stripped 807 Bahrainis of their citizenship.
Saudi Arabia puts women's rights activists on trial Prominent women’s rights activists have been put on trial in a closed session in criminal court in Riyadh. A Saudi rights organization reports that the activists were charged under the country’s cybercrime law, and that none of the women had access to a lawyer.
Hakeem al-Araibi, refugee footballer, gets Australian citizenship Bahraini refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, who was detained last year in Bangkok on an Interpol notice requested by Bahrain, is granted citizenship in Australia.
Saudi Arabia rebuked over detention of women activists at UN forum Saudi Arabia is criticized in a joint statement by thirty-six states at the UN Human Rights Council due to the detainment of women’s rights activists and calls for their release. A representative of Saudi Arabia responds, "interference in domestic affairs under the guise of defending human rights is in fact an attack on our sovereignty."
Imprisoned Saudi women’s rights activists receive PEN Freedom to Write Award The United States grants three Saudi women’s rights activists the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award after standing trial under cybercrime charges in Criminal Court in Riyadh.
UK MP Calls to Sack Bahrain's Woman Prison Boss Mariam Al-Bardoli, "Daily Mail" Newspaper Dubs her "Beast of Bahrain" Detainees at Isa Town women’s jail in Bahrain have reportedly been physically assaulted, denied medical treatment, and prevented from observing religious Day of Ashura.
Saudi Arabia Temporarily Frees Three Women's Rights Activists Saudi Arabia has released three women’s rights activists who had been detained last year in the regime’s crackdown on activists and human rights campaigners. The women have been temporarily freed after a court hearing in which the they alleged torture and sexual harassment during interrogation.
Human rights groups urge F1 to act over jailed Bahraini activist Najah Yusuf Fifteen human rights groups including the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy have issued a letter to the FIA president and F1 management calling for action in the case of the jailed Bahraini activist Najah Yusuf ahead of the Formula One races scheduled in Bahrain.