[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 opens Iraq embassy for first time in nearly 30 years Saudi Arabia has reopened a consulate in Baghdad after almost thirty years. The move signals the improving of relations between the two countries as a means for Riyadh to counter Iranian influence in the region and is expected to attract Saudi investments to spur economic growth in Iraq.
Arab Quartet Boycotts International Parliamentary Conference Held in Qatar Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain submitted a statement to the General Secretariat of the Inter-Parliamentary Unions during the General Assembly held in Geneva in which they "objected Qatar's hosting of the 140th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and announced boycotting the assembly's meetings in case it is held in Doha unless Qatar responds to the demands of the four countries."
US-Arab Preparatory Meeting with Qatar's Participation to Launch "Arab NATO" Alliance Officials from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Jordan meet with US officials in preparation for the launch of the Middle East Strategic Alliance, also known as the “Arab NATO.” The strategic alliance will reportedly be aimed at enhancing security and stability in the region.
Suspect detained on charges of spying for UAE ‘kills himself’ in Turkish jail A detainee in Turkey under suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates and charged with espionage has reportedly hung himself in his cell, according to the Turkish justice ministry.
Iran Wants 'Good' Relations with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif calls for the resolution of the GCC’s Qatar dispute, claiming that the Saudi-led blockade is against international law. Zarif also expressed that Iran hopes to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain once the Qatar dispute is resolved.
Qatar Says Tightening Iran Sanctions Harms Oil Consuming Nations Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has spoken out against tighter US sanctions on Iran. He stated that Qatar believes the sanctions will only have an adverse impact on countries benefitting from Iranian oil and that increasing US-Iran tensions should be dealt with through dialogue alone.
Israel to take part in Dubai’s Expo 2020 In the latest move towards the normalization of Arab-Israeli relations, it has been confirmed that Israel will participate in Dubai’s Expo 2020. The news comes a month after the United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs decried the lack of formal relations between Arab states and Israel.
BAE working with UK government to supply Saudi arms despite German ban British defense company BAE Systems says it is working with the UK government to fulfill arms contracts with Saudi Arabia. The British defense giant is working on delivering an order worth upwards of twelve billion dollars to Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend U.S.-led Palestine investment meeting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will attend the “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Although the workshop has been rebuffed by Palestinian officials, Saudi Arabia has assured its Arab allies that it would not endorse any US plans that fail to meet key Palestinian demands.
Saudi Arabia warns Iran it will respond ‘with all strength to attacks’ as US increases Gulf patrols Regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been amplified following accusations that drone strikes targeting two of the kingdom’s oil pumping stations were ordered by Tehran. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says that Saudi Arabia will defend itself with “all force and determination” should Iran continue hostilities that threaten to destabilize the Gulf region.
Kuwait's KUFPEC signs oil concession agreement in Pakistan State-run Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) has signed a concession agreement with the Pakistani authorities for the Makhad oil block in Punjab province.
Trump invokes emergency powers to sidestep Congress and sell arms to Saudi Arabia Trump sidesteps Congressional decision to terminate support for Saudi Arabia’s military operation in Yemen. The President has claimed a national emergency permitting eight billion dollars’ worth of arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in order to counter a purported threat from Iran.
Top general: Sudan will back Saudi 'against all threats, attacks' Sudan pledges continued support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen during a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and Mohamed Hamdan Degalo, the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council.
Oman trying to reduce U.S.-Iran tensions: foreign ministry tweet Oman’s Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah has warned against the escalation of increasing US-Iran tensions and expressed Oman’s willingness to work with other counties to reduce the possibility of confrontation that threatens to further destabilize the region.
China's East Hope Group considers $10 billion investment in UAE Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope is considering a ten-billion-dollar investment plan for an industrial zone in the United Arab Emirates as part of China’s Belt and Road initiative. The plan would seek to jointly develop industries over fifteen years in a three-phase plan with the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad).
Head of Sudan's military council meets Abu Dhabi crown prince Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan expressed the United Arab Emirates’ support for Sudan’s transition following the ouster of Omar al-Bashir during a meeting with the head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council. Sudan’s protesters have shown concern over outside influence on the transition after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia pledged three billion dollars in financial and material support to Sudan in late April.
Qatar says invited to emergency Arab summits in Mecca by Saudi King Saudi Arabia is hosting two emergency Arab summits in Mecca to discuss the implications of drone strikes on oil installations in the kingdom and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE coast. Stressing the critical circumstances, Saudi Arabia has extended an invitation to Qatar to attend the emergency summits despite the economic and diplomatic boycott.
Reports and Opinions
Saudi Aramco is the world's most profitable company The first public disclosure of earnings by Aramco reveal that the Saudi oil company made 111 billion dollars last year. The earnings in addition to the oil giant’s plan to put up five percent of the company up for sale and to purchase a seventy percent stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) would value the company at two trillion dollars.
US hackers helped UAE spy on Al Jazeera chairman: Reuters A group of American hackers, formerly employed at US intelligence agencies, were found to have been working with Project Raven, an Emirati secret intelligence program to help surveille prominent Arab media figures including a Beirut-based BBC host and the chairman of Al Jazeera. Following the Qatar blockade, Project Raven was reportedly used to spy on journalists and media executives believed to have connections to the Qatari government or the Muslim Brotherhood.
Demand for Saudi Aramco's debut bonds at over $50bn: Sources Saudi Aramco’s first international bonds, which will range in maturity from three to thirty years, are expected to attract demand over fifty billion dollars from both emerging markets and investment-grade buyers.
Qatar sues UAE, Saudi, Luxembourg banks over riyal 'manipulation' Doha has filed lawsuits in London and New York against the United Arab Emirates’ First Abu Dhabi Bank, Saudi Arabia’s Samba, and Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland for allegedly plotting to sabotage Qatar’s currency and bonds.
Khashoggi's Children Deny considering Settlement over Murder Jamal Khashoggi’s children have denied that they have discussed or received any sort of settlement from the Saudi government over their father’s killing after a report from the Washington Post claimed that they were given properties worth millions of dollars and six-figure monthly stipends as compensation.
Four ships 'sabotaged' in the Gulf of Oman amid tensions Four commercial ships including two Saudi oil tankers and an Emirates flagged ship were targeted in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States has hinted that they believe Iran is behind the complex attack, but Tehran has dismissed the allegations.
Saudi Arabia's $53 Billion Non-Oil Stimulus May Last Beyond 2021 Saudi Arabia’s Private Sector Stimulus Office is expected to spend an additional thirty-six billion riyals this year, twenty-two billion next year, and twenty-five billion in 2021 to boost private sector and decrease the kingdom’s dependence on crude oil exports. The spending plan aims to help promote exports, invest in new technologies, create jobs, and support small businesses through reimbursement of expatriate employment tax.
Exclusive: Saudi's Falih says sees no oil shortage, but OPEC to act if needed Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih says that he sees no need to increase oil supply but insists that Saudi Arabia and OPEC+ will be responsive to market demands. With the increase in oil prices after the attack on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia, it is in the kingdom’s interest to lower inventories to a normal level in order to avert a crash in prices and a buildup in inventories.
Saudi Aramco inks 20-year deal with Sempra for LNG supply With the demand for supercooled LNG hitting a record high in 2018 at 42.1 billion cubic feet per day, Saudi Aramco has been developing its own gas resources and eyeing gas assets in the United States, Russia, Australia and Africa in hopes of becoming a major global gas player. The Saudi state oil giant has signed a twenty-year nonbinding agreement to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a forthcoming export terminal in Texas being developed by US-based Sempra Energy and will also buy a twenty-five percent equity stake in the first phase of the multibillion-dollar project.
Saudi Arabia inks deal with Softbank-backed firm to build 4,000 homes As part of its Vision 2030 economic transformation program, Saudi Arabia has struck a deal with US-based contractor Katerra, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank, to build 4,140 individual homes across the kingdom, intended for beneficiaries of the social housing initiative that aims to increase home ownership from forty-seven percent of citizens to fifty-two percent.
Yemen Leader-in-Exile Hadi Returns for Meeting of Divided Parliament Exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi made a visit to attend a meeting of the fragmented parliament in a loyalist-held southern province where Sultan al-Burkani was elected as the parliament’s new speaker. Both Hadi-aligned and Houthi forces are under pressure from the international community to implement the UN-sponsored Stockholm peace agreement.
Mounting concern over cholera health crisis in Yemen The cholera outbreak in Yemen continues to intensify. A quarter of those who are affected are children under the age of five.
Yemen: Warehouse Blast Kills Schoolchildren Human Rights Watch and Mwatana for Human Rights report that at least fifteen children were killed and over one hundred civilians injured in Sanaa. The casualties were a result of a detonation caused by a fire that broke out in a Houthi-controlled warehouse that stored volatile materials.
Yemen war: Houthi withdrawal from Hudaydah as planned - UN In accordance with a ceasefire agreement in December, Houthi and government forces agree to withdraw from key ports in Hudaydah. A formal verification of the redeployment is pending.
Houthi drone attacks in Saudi 'show new level of sophistication' Houthi drone attacks reaching oil pipelines of inland Saudi Arabia reflect the enhancement of Houthi drone capabilities. Although damages were minor, the high range of the drones and Saudi Arabia’s failure to deflect them, in addition to suspicion of Iranian support for the Houthis, results in increasing apprehension of regional conflict.
Saudi-UAE coalition carries out deadly air raids on Yemen's Sanaa Saudi-led coalition air raids on Sanaa have reportedly killed at least six civilians and injured sixty. The air raids come as a response to the Houthi drone attack on Saudi oil pipelines.
Saudi Arabia says it intercepted Houthi missiles in Mecca province Saudi Arabia has reportedly intercepted “Iranian-made” ballistic missiles targeting Mecca believed to be fired by Houthi forces. The Houthis have denied targeting Islam’s holiest site, claiming that the accusation is part of Saudi Arabia’s strategy to rally international support for the war.
Yemen war: UN appeals to Houthi rebels over aid The United Nations reports that vital food aid is being redirected by uncooperative officials in Houthi-held areas of Yemen, where millions of people are believed to be on the verge of famine.
Rising US-Iran tensions risk endangering Yemen peace efforts, UK government warns The UK’s foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt expresses concern over impediments to progress in Yemen’s civil war due to rising tensions between the United States and Iran. Hunt plans on raising this issue to President Trump during his upcoming visit to Britain.
Houthi drone attack 'hits arms depot' at Saudi airport in Najran Saudi Arabia has confirmed a Houthi drone attack on a Saudi airport and military facility in the southern city of Najran. The Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that it hit the airport in Najran with a Qasef-2K drone, striking an "arms depot."
Yemen's Houthi rebels attack Saudi's Najran airport - again Houthi forces have launched yet another drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Najran airport. Saudi air defenses report that they were able to intercept the week’s third attempt on the kingdom.
US citizens detained in Saudi Arabia amid new crackdown on supporters of women’s rights activists Saudi Arabia has arrested eight more people, including two dual Saudi-US citizens, in another crackdown on women’s rights activists and their supporters. Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to reveal the whereabouts of the detainees, ensure their protection from torture and other ill-treatment, and allow them access to lawyers, as well as contact with their families.
Bahrain strips over 100 of nationality on 'terror' charges One hundred and thirty-eight members of the Shi‘i community receive sentences from a Bahraini court on “terror-related” charges, ranging from three years to life in prison in addition to the revocation of their citizenship. The regime has accused the convicts of forming a “terror” cell linked with Iran and have been referred to as the “Bahraini Hizballah.” Rights groups Amnesty International and Britain-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy have condemned the unfairness of the trial and the court’s arbitrary use of nullifying citizenships.
Saudi sisters trapped in Georgia after fleeing their country beg for help and say they are 'in danger' Saudi sisters Maha and Wafa al-Subaie have appealed for asylum after fleeing the kingdom. The sisters were trapped in Georgia after their passports were suspended, and they claim that Saudi Arabia’s laws are too weak to protect them from their abusive family if they are forced to return.
Saudi Arabia executes 37 people, crucifying one, for terror-related crimes Saudi Arabia executes thirty-seven men, the majority of which are reportedly Shi‘a, after being convicted of crimes such as spying for Iran and violently participating in anti-government demonstrations in Saudi’s Eastern Province. One of the convicts was publically crucified in an attempt to deter others.
Nigeria student arrested for 'drug trafficking' in Saudi Arabia freed The Nigerian government reports the release of Nigerian student, Zainab Aliyu, who was arrested for alleged drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia. Aliyu was arrested in December of last year after Saudi authorities found two thousand packs of pain killers in her luggage that had been left at the airport. Nigerian authorities recently found that a criminal gang had planted the illicit drugs in her baggage.
Saudi Arabia: Second Case Against Jailed Shia Cleric Saudi authorities are reportedly looking to lengthen Sheikh Mohammad bin Hassan al-Habib’s seven-year prison sentence. Al-Habib is known for supporting protests against the systematic discrimination of Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority.
Saudi Arabia Frees Four More Women on Trial over Rights Issues Saudi Arabia has released four more 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 identified as Hatoon al Fassi, Amal al Harbi, Maysaa al Manea and Abeer Namnakani.
Qaṭar: Authorities arbitrarily close Doha Centre for Media Freedom Qatari authorities have arbitrarily closed the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, abruptly terminating the employment contracts of its employees and journalists without compensation.
U.N. Says UAE Activist Mansoor's Prison Conditions "May Constitute Torture" The United Nations reports that detainment conditions of prominent UAE pro-democracy activist Ahmed Mansour may amount to torture, including prolonged solitary confinement.
UAE: Cancer-Stricken Female Prisoner Dies Alia Abdel Nour, detained in the United Arab Emirates over purported terrorism charges, has died after being mistreated and denied adequate medical care for breast cancer. Despite her deteriorating health, the authorities ignored repeated calls by international rights groups, European parliamentarians, United Nations experts, and her family members for a compassionate release.
Saudi Arabia: Human rights defender Mohammed Al-Otaibi ill-treated in prison Rights defender Mohammad al-Otaibi has reportedly been denied contact with his family, in violation of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
British teachers detained in Oman after 'attempting to rescue abused dogs' Two English teachers, employed by the British Council in Oman, are being detained on accounts of theft for trying to save two dogs left outside in the heat. Omani officials further report that the women were drunk in public—an illegality in Oman. The case has been tagged a “cultural misunderstanding.” The British Council remains in touch with the United Kingdom’s consulate in Oman to resolve the issue.
Saudi mother-of-three seeking asylum in Greece begs for help on Twitter saying her life is 'in danger' A Saudi woman seeking asylum in Greece says that if her asylum request is denied she will be separated from her Syrian husband and three children. She claims that her family cannot enter the kingdom because the Saudi authorities in 2011 refused to register her marriage on the grounds that her husband is a foreigner.
Saudi Arabia to execute three scholars after Ramadan: Report Prominent scholars Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari await conviction of “terrorism” and subsequent execution in Saudi Arabia after the holy month of Ramadan.