[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 Relations
Oman content with current Israel relationship, foreign minister says – Oman is satisfied with its current relationship with Israel, Foreign Minister Badr al-Busaidi said on 11 Feb. Oman, he added, was committed to peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution.
Qatar pledges $360 million in aid to Hamas-ruled Gaza – The Qatari government on 31 Jan said it would provide $360 million in assistance for the Gaza Strip during the coming year, renewing a program that has helped reduce fighting between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers. Qatar has been providing $20 million to Gaza each month since 2018. The Qatari aid has provided some relief to the local economy and is seen as a factor in preventing lingering tensions between Israel and Hamas from spilling over into renewed fighting.
UN court says it doesn’t have jurisdiction in Qatar-UAE case – The International Court of Justice said on 4 Feb that it does not have jurisdiction to rule in a case brought by Qatar against the UAEalleging “discrimination against Qatar and Qatari citizens” linked to a boycott by four Arab nations. The decision brings to an end the case filed by Qatar in 2018. The UN court’s rulings are final and legally binding. The end of the case comes just weeks after the end of the boycott.
Minister says Qatar working for a return to Iran nuclear accord – Qatar is working to de-escalate tension in the region by advocating for a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
Qatar envoy: Lebanese leaders must form government to get aid – Qatar told Lebanese leaders on 9 Feb they need to form a new government before they can get aid to pull the country from economic crisis. Foreign donors have made clear they will not bail out the heavily indebted state without key reforms. Still, Lebanon’s wrangling politicians have failed to agree a new government, drawing rebuke from donors and warnings of “a social catastrophe” from UN agencies.
Biden ends U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, says war 'has to end' – President Joe Biden on 4 Feb declared a halt to US support for a Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen, demanding that the war “has to end.” Biden also named Timothy Lenderking as the US special envoy for Yemen in a bid to step up American diplomacy.
IOC urges US government to help curb Saudi broadcast piracy – Qatar-owned sports broadcasts, the International Olympic Committee has urged the US government to keep the country on its watch list for intellectual property protection.
Saudi Arabia says Biden's speech reiterates U.S. commitment to work with allies – Saudi Arabia said President Joe Biden’s speech reiterated US commitment to work with “friends and allies” to resolves conflicts. The kingdom is looking forward to working with the US administration to end conflicts and face challenges, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said.
Ardern orders inquiry into Air New Zealand's work for Saudi Arabia navy – Engineers for the New Zealand’s national carrier, which is majority-owned by the government, worked on engines and a power turbine for the Royal Saudi Navy. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has asked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to investigate after it was revealed an Air New Zealand company worked on the engine of a Saudi Arabian navy ship.
White House says no call planned to Saudi Arabia – White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on 12 Feb that no call was planned to the leader of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “Well obviously there’s a review of our policy as it relates to Saudi Arabia.”
U.S. Blinken, Saudi foreign minister discuss Yemen, defense – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed diplomatic efforts to end the war in Yemen and bolstering Saudi Arabia’s defenses in a call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on 10 Feb. Saudi state media and the state department said the two ministers also discussed the need to find a political solution to the war in Yemen. On 10 Feb, Yemen’s Houthi group said it carried out a drone attack on Saudi’s Abha airport.
Dubai Alliance to Distribute 2 Billion Vaccine Doses Globally – Leading Dubai companies have formed an alliance to move 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines around the globe this year. Air carrier Emirates, ports operator DP World and Dubai Airports have teamed up to speed up the distribution of inoculations through Dubai, the Gulf trade and tourism center that now aims to become a vaccine hub as well. The move “will particularly focus on emerging markets, where populations have been hard hit by the pandemic, and pharmaceutical transport and logistics are challenging.”
Netanyahu postpones UAE, Bahrain trip due to COVID-19 lockdown – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on 4 Feb he was postponing a trip planned next week to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain due to Israel’s COVID-19 lockdown.
UAE drastically cut funding for Palestinian refugees in 2020 – The UAE drastically reduced its funding to the UNRWA in 2020. The UAE donated $51.8 million to UNRWA in 2018 and again in 2019, but in 2020 it gave the agency just $1 million, agency spokesman Sami Mshasha said Friday, after it was first reported by Israeli media. The Palestinian Authority, however, viewed the agreements as a betrayal and harshly criticized the UAE.
U.N. Delays Salvage of Yemen Oil Tanker Amid Fears of Major Spill – The United Nations had planned to start a maritime salvage operation to prevent leaks from a dilapidated tanker holding four times the oil that spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. But Houthi insurgents have failed to provide a written security guarantee, the UN said.
US lawmakers urge UK to help end complicity in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen – Senior US lawmakers have called on the UK to live up to its “moral responsibility” and help end both countries “complicity” in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, in a sign of the pressure the UK will face in Washington to join the Biden administration and end weapons sales to the kingdom. The question now is how far the administration will go to push allies to take similar steps. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat who has led the push to end offensive US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, commented that “the United States and the United Kingdom acting in concert is more powerful than either of us acting alone.”
Australia will not ban arms sales to countries involved in Yemeni civil war – Australia is not planning a blanket ban on military equipment sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – but says it will weigh up “emerging risks” when considering export applications. Australia has issued five permanent permits for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia between August 2019 and October 2020, and nine such permits for the UAE over the same period. The defence spokesperson said each application was assessed on a case-by-case basis “using contemporary information”. It included consideration “of whether an export would be prejudicial to the security, defence or international relations of Australia”.
U.S. Yemen envoy meets Saudi foreign minister in Riyadh – US special envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking met Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Riyadh on 10 Feb. “Developments concerning Yemen were discussed, and joint efforts to support reaching a comprehensive political solution to the Yemen crisis were reviewed.” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen was also at the meeting.
Greece seeks Gulf allies to counter tension with Turkey – Foreign ministers and senior officials from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates were meeting in Athens on 11 Feb, as Greece seeks to expand alliances to counter tension with Turkey over boundaries and offshore resource rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Huddersfield University's Bahrain degree 'providing torture hub with legitimacy' – Forty cross-party MPs and peers have urged the University of Huddersfield to close a master’s course it runs at the Royal Academy of Policing in Bahrain, after allegations that political dissidents were being tortured in the same building.
UK urged to follow US in restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia – Britain is under increasing pressure to restrict arms sales to Saudi Arabia after Joe Biden said the US would no longer sell munitions that could be used in Riyadh’s “offensive operations” in Yemen. Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chair of the defence select committee, called on the government to “follow suit and rethink military sales”, seven months after the British government restarted them following a high-profile court defeat.
Three Saudi youths get prison sentence instead of death – Three young Saudi men who faced death sentences for acts they were accused of committing as minors have been handed a 10-year prison sentence instead, the Saudi Human Rights Commission said. The youth from Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority, were detained separately on charges stemming from their participation in anti-government Shiite protests over discrimination that rocked the country’s eastern province in 2011-2012. The court would credit time served, Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission announced, setting the release date of all three men for 2022.
Biden administration expects Saudi Arabia to improve human rights – The United State expects Saudi Arabia to improve its human right record, including releasing political prisoners, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “We, of course, expect Saudi Arabia to improve its record on human rights. That includes releasing political prisoners such as women’s rights advocates from Saudi jails,” Psaki told a White House briefing, adding that the administration was “encouraged” by the release of two dual Saudi-US citizens.
Saudi Arabia frees two jailed activists with U.S. citizenship on bail – Saudi authorities have released two activists; Bader al-Ibrahim, an epidemiologist and journalist, and Salah al-Haidar, a media commentator whose mother Aziza al-Yousef is a prominent women’s rights campaigner, with US citizenship on bail pending their trials. The move comes as the kingdom moves to address criticism from the new U.S. administration over its human rights records.
Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist released from prison – One of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent political activists was released from prison 10 Feb, after serving nearly three years on charges that sparked an international uproar over the kingdom’s human rights record. Loujain al-Hathloul, who pushed to end a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to almost six years in prison last December under a broad counterterrorism law.
"Now we want real justice," say sisters of freed Saudi rights activist Hathloul – The sisters of prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul have said they wanted real justice for her, and the lifting of a travel ban, the day after she was released from prison on a suspended sentence.
Activists welcome Loujain al-Hathloul release and urge other Saudi women be freed – Saudi campaigners and human rights groups have welcomed the release of the prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul from prison, while urging the international community not to forget the other female prisoners of conscience still behind bars for their activism in the kingdom. The journalist and activist Nouf Abdulaziz, who had written in support of Hathloul and was detained at the same time, was also released on 10 Feb. The pair’s release means that seven of the 10 women arrested in 2018 are now out of jail either on temporary release or serving suspended sentences – but Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sadah and Mayaa al-Zahrani are believed to still be in prison.
U.S.-Linked Forces Are Detaining A Prominent Journalist In Yemen – Yemeni journalist Adel Al-Hasani spent years working with foreign reporters to shed light on the crisis in Yemen. In September, he intervened with officials in Yemen’s port city of Mokha to help two international journalists who had been detained when they traveled there to cover the war. After Al-Hasani negotiated their release, they were deported back home to Europe. Soon afterward, when he tried to return to his own home in Aden, authorities there arrested him. He’s been behind bars ever since, where he has been tortured into providing false testimony and repeatedly provided differing explanations of his charges. Al-Hasani’s detention poses a stark threat to journalism highlighting the dire conditions in Yemen, sending the message that even the best-connected reporters and their partners are vulnerable.
Calls grow for release of Yemeni journalist held by UAE-backed forces – Calls are growing for the release of a prominent Yemeni journalist held by local forces with links to the United Arab Emirates in the country’s civil war. Adel al-Hasani was arrested at a checkpoint between the southern city of Aden and neighbouring Abyan province in September last year by Southern Transitional Council (STC) soldiers and has been held at al-Mansoura prison in Aden since, where his health has been deteriorating.
Bahrain's preliminary estimates of 2020 fiscal deficit up $2.17 billion from approved budget – Bahrain’s preliminary estimates of the 2020 total fiscal deficit have reached 1.624 billion dinar ($4.31 billion), an increase of 817 million dinar ($2.17 billion) from the 2020 approved budget.
Fitch cuts outlook on Kuwait's debt rating to 'negative' – Rating agency Fitch on 11 Feb downgraded its outlook on Kuwait’s sovereign debt rating to “negative” from “stable”, warning of near-term liquidity risks associated with the state treasury fund. The agency, which affirmed Kuwait’s long-term rating at “AA”, said liquid assets in the General Reserve Fund (GRF) faced being depleted in the absence of parliamentary authorisation for the government to borrow.
Oman Air Abandons Plan to Expand Fleet as Pandemic Poses Risks – Oman Air, the state-run carrier, has abandoned a planned expansion to 70 aircrafts, and now aims to reduce its fleet of 36 planes, focussing more on code-sharing with other airlines as restrictions to curb the pandemic slash demand for flights.
Oman, Saudi Arabia exposed to declining uplift from wealth funds – Oman and Saudi Arabia are expected to tap their sovereign wealth funds to cover rising funding needs, but this will likely weaken their fiscal position more than other countries in the oil-dependent Gulf region, Moody’s said on 10 Feb.
Qatar Petroleum signs deal for mega-LNG expansion – Qatar Petroleum (QP), the world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplier, signed a contract for the first phase of its North Field LNG project expansion, aiming to boost the country’s LNG output by 40% a year by 2026. The expansion, which will take Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 110 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) from 77 million mtpa, is the largest single LNG project ever to be sanctioned, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Saudi wealth fund to raise more than $10 billion with loan – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund may raise $10 billion or more through a revolving loan, exceeding what it initially targeted, sources said, as the Public Investment Fund (PIF) seeks extra liquidity to fund its plans. The fund, which is the engine of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic transformation plans for Saudi Arabia and manages a portfolio worth $400 billion, has boosted its firepower by tapping several funding sources in recent years.
Saudi PIF invests in NBK Capital Partners' shariah credit fund – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has become an anchor investor in a new $300 million shariah credit fund launched by NBK Capital Partners (NBKCP) that will provide capital to mid-market companies in the Middle East, NBKCP said. It did not disclose the stake taken by Public Investment Fund (PIF), which manages $400 billion in assets, but NBKCP said it was a nine-digit figure, meaning at least a third of the targeted $300 million.
Saudi Arabia’s central bank faces biggest overhaul in decades – Central Bank of Saudi Arabia is expected to see its most significant changes in decades with the entry into force of a new law this month that will formalize efforts to diversify away from oil. Reforms to the Saudi Monetary Authority and the bank could diminish its role of investing the country’s hard currency surpluses in favor of the sovereign fund chaired by the crown prince. It also underlines the kingdom’s radical shift from a conservative investor to a more aggressive and risky approach.
UK authorised £1.4bn of arms sales to Saudi Arabia after exports resumed – British officials authorised the export of almost £1.4bn of weapons to Saudi Arabia in the quarter after the UK resumed sales of weapons that could be used in the war in Yemen. Britain had resumed unrestricted arms sales early in July, after concluding there were only “isolated incidents” of civilian casualties from bombing raids conducted by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels. Official figures released showed that in the period following the restart – the quarter between July and September – the UK authorised £1.39bn worth of arms exports, in the category that includes missiles and bombs.
Yemen government appoints Ernst & Young to audit central bank – Yemen’s government has appointed Ernst & Young to audit its central bank accounts,, in response to accusations by United Nations officials that it laundered Saudi money. The audit will include internal supervision and control, as well as a review of Saudi deposits’ spending.
Yemen in Crisis
Pariah with benefits: US aiding Saudi defense despite chill – Despite saying he was delivering his campaign promise of taking a tougher line with Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden’s administration is making clear it won’t abandon US military assistance for the kingdom. It also plans to help Saudi Arabia strengthen its own defenses, approaches that broadly reflect the complexities of the US-Saudi relationship.
UN Yemen envoy makes first visit to Iran to push for peace – The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, arrived on his first visit to Iran on 7 Feb for talks on a political solution to the nearly six-year conflict in Yemen. Griffiths’ “immediate priority” in Tehran is to push a nationwide ceasefire, urgent humanitarian measures and the resumption of the political process, his office added.
Biden revokes terrorist designation for Yemen’s Houthis – President Joe Biden’s administration is moving to revoke the Trump administration’s designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, citing the need to mitigate one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
Aid groups hail US taking Yemen’s Houthis off terror list – The International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and other aid agencies working in war-torn Yemen welcomed plans by President Joe Biden’s administration to revoke the terrorist designation of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Yemen gov’t says willing to work with Biden to end Saudi war – Yemen’s foreign minister, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, said his government will work with President Joe Biden’s administration to end the war in the country. Mubarak maintains that the country’s Houthi rebels and their Iranian backers remain the main obstacle to peace — an apparent defense of Saudi military involvement in Yemen.
Yemenis give cautious welcome to US shift in policy on conflict – Yemenis have cautiously welcomed Joe Biden’s announcement that the US is ending its support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in the country’s war, saying the decision is an important step on the long road towards finding a peaceful solution to the conflict. However, it is understood the US will continue to provide defensive support to Saudi Arabia against cross-border missile and drone attacks by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. US forces will continue operations against al-Qaida cells based in Yemen’s desert.
US warns Yemen’s Houthi rebels after terrorism delisting – The Biden administration on 7 Feb warned Yemen’s Houthis against ongoing attacks against civilians just 48 hours after moving to strike the group from a terrorism blacklist. The demand came only two days after removing the Houthis from its list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” and just three days after Biden ordered an end to US support for the Saudi-led offensive military operations against the rebels.
Yemen to get first COVID-19 shots by March through COVAX, Saudi could pay for others – Yemen expects a first batch of 2.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by March through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, and Saudi Arabia could separately finance shots for around 50% of the population. The aim is to vaccinate 70% of Yemen’s population, with the government intending to distribute the COVAX vaccines throughout the country, including to Houthi areas.
New U.S. stand on Yemen war can be 'step towards correcting past mistakes' - Iran – Iran’s foreign ministry said a new US stance on the Yemen war can be a “step towards correcting past mistakes”, after President Joe Biden announced the end of the country’s support for a Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen.
UK declines to follow US in suspending Saudi arms sales over Yemen – British ministers have refused to join the US in suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia for offensive use in war-torn Yemen, saying the UK makes its own decisions about selling weapons. On 8 Feb, the UK Foreign Office minister, James Cleverly, said he had noted the US review, but said British arms sales licences were issued with great care to ensure they did not lead to any breach of humanitarian law. The UK has previously suspended arms sales in response to a court order, but resumed them last year. The Ministry of Defence officials also advise Saudi on its bombing campaign.
Yemen rebel attack on airport sets plane on fire – Yemen’s Houthi rebels on 11 Feb, targeted Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia with bomb-laden drones, causing a civilian plane on the tarmac to catch fire. No one was hurt in the assault, but the move served as a powerful reminder of the danger that Houthis pose to Saudi Arabia. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the assault, with military spokesman Yehia Sarea stressing that they consider the airport to be a military, not civilian, target.
At least 400,000 Yemeni children under 5 could die of starvation this year – At least 400,000 Yemeni children under 5 could die of starvation this year without urgent intervention amid soaring rates of severe malnutrition driven by war and the coronavirus pandemic, four UN agencies said on 12 Feb. Another 2.3 million under 5s are expected to suffer acute malnutrition in 2021.
Saudi-led coalition says destroyed ballistic missile launched by Yemen's Houthis – The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said on 11 Feb it had thwarted and destroyed a ballistic missile that Yemen’s Houthis launched towards Khamis Mushait in Saudi Arabia.
U.S. Prepares to Lift Terrorist Designation Against Yemeni Rebels, Despite New Attacks – Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the designation of the Houthi rebels would be formally revoked on 16 Feb in “recognition of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.”
Yemen's Houthis say 'important target' hit at Saudis' Abha airport – Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said it had hit an “important target” at Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport on 13 Feb, in response to the Saudi-led coalition air strikes in Yemen.
Bahrain says it foiled 'terrorist plots' to bomb two bank ATMs – Bahrain security services foiled “terrorist plots” to bomb two ATMs belonging to a national bank, according to the interior ministry. The bombs had been placed at the locations at different times on the morning of 4 Feb, and a number of suspects had been arrested and the case had been referred to public prosecutors.
US charges son in civilian Navy staffer's killing in Bahrain – US prosecutors have charged 27-year-old Giovonni Z. Pope, the son of a civilian Navy staffer, in Bahrain over her stabbing death in the kingdom on 31 Jan. Bahraini police arrested Pope, where he told Bahraini investigators at one point that he killed his mother as she “was blocking him from achieving his goals by not letting him return to the United States to work on his clothing business,” the agent’s affidavit claims.
Saudi Arabia announces new judicial reforms in a move towards codified law – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to approve a set of new draft laws designed to enhance the efficiency and integrity of the kingdom’s judicial system, a step that would eventually lead to an entirely codified law. The four new laws - the personal status law, the civil transactions law, the penal code of discretionary sanctions and the law of evidence - are currently being finalised and will then be submitted to the cabinet and relevant bodies as well as the advisory Shura Council, before they are finally approved.
China's Sinopharm vaccine offered to elite few in UAE tourist deal – China’s Sinopharm vaccine is being offered to a handful of wealthy people paying for access to the United Arab Emirates’ Covid-19 vaccination programme as part of a partnership to “bring tourism into the area”, according to Knightsbridge Circle, an exclusive “travel and lifestyle” London-based club that claims to be brokering the service.
Mars Mission From the U.A.E. Prepares to Orbit Red Planet – The Hope spacecraft will fire its engines on 9 Feb, in the UAE. Controllers at the mission operations center in Dubai will receive word from the spacecraft that it has started firing thrusters to slow itself down and allow it to fall into the thrall of the gravity of Mars. The mission is to spend two years studying how dust storms and other weather conditions near the surface affect the speed at which Martian air is leaking away into outer space.
Arab spacecraft enters orbit around Mars in historic flight – A spacecraft from the United Arab Emirates swung into orbit around Mars on 9 Feb, reaching the end of its seven-month journey, in a triumph for the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission. About 60% of all Mars missions have ended in failure, crashing, burning up or otherwise falling short in a testament to the complexity of interplanetary travel and the difficulty of making a descent through Mars’ thin atmosphere.
UAE women scientists lead Arab world's first space mission to Mars – The Emirates Mars Mission aims to provide a complete picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time. Women make up 80% of the program's scientific team.
In Dubai’s COVID vaccine scramble, Sikhs serve doses to all – Sikhs of Dubai have found another way to practice “seva,” or selfless service. They’re providing what has become a coveted prize: 5,000 shots of the Chinese-made vaccine offered to people of all ages and backgrounds. As the coronavirus pandemic surges to previously unseen heights in the UAE, residents are scrambling to get vaccines in the world’s second-fastest inoculation drive. “We found a lot of people who wanted to take this vaccine and they’re having difficulty,” Surender Singh Kandhari, the temple’s chairman, said. “This is the only way we can serve the community,” he said.
Reports and Opinions
A decade after 2011 protests, Bahrain suppresses all dissent – A decade after demonstrators massed in Bahrain’s capital in 2011, authorities continue to suppress all signs of dissent. Activists behind those turbulent days say the memory of the protests that threatened the monarchy’s grip on power is all but extinguished. But many live with the consequences. Although many activists and protesters have escaped into exile or been imprisoned, the threat of dissent persists, as their country is far less free than it was in 2011. Authorities have targeted not only Shiite political groups and religious leaders, but also human rights activists, journalists and online opponents.
Saudi Women’s Rights Defenders Released, But Not Free – While Loujain al-Hathoul is now home, she remains banned from travel and has a suspended sentence of nearly three years on charges that define her women’s rights activism as crimes under Saudi Arabia’s terrorism regulations. The same is true for Nouf Abdelaziz, another rights activist, who has also reportedly been released from custody. Her arrest took place after she expressed solidarity with activists amidst the May 2018 crackdown. This means authorities can return them to prison at any time if they decide to speak out or resume their activism.
Saudi Arabia's release of Loujain al-Hathloul an overture to Biden – Prince Mohammed views the decision to release the women’s rights activist as an attempt to belatedly engage the new administration, whose strident tone on human rights issues in its early weeks of office has all but conditioned a working relationship with Riyadh on righting the wrongs of the Trump years. Ending the imprisonment of Hathloul, was near the top of Joe Biden’s foreign policy to-do list. Two weeks into the job, Biden is yet to make direct contact with Prince Mohammed or his father, King Salman. The silence has been deafening in Riyadh.
Gulf Ambassador Yelled At Member Of Congress Pushing To End Yemen War – UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s was so angry about Rep. Ro Khanna’s push to end US support for the war in Yemen that he shouted at him during a meeting, said Khanna. Khanna, the lead sponsor of a war powers resolution aimed at ending US involvement in the Yemen war, said that he was startled by the diplomat’s approach. “I was just taken away. It led me to think that there’s a real arrogance, a real sense of entitlement, a sense that he thought himself so powerful that he could act that way. And I’ve never really seen that before.” Al Otaiba’s posture toward Rep. Ro Khanna reflects the evolving nature of the world’s governing elite.
Ten years after the Arab spring, Yemen has little hope left – A decade since Yemenis dared to dream during the 2011 uprisings that swept across the Arab world, and six years after foreign actors piled in, unleashing a war of devastating proportions, Yemen resembles a jigsaw puzzle for which there is no simple solution. As the conflict grinds on, the accompanying humanitarian crisis is on the verge of a terrible new zenith, in the form of the worst famine the world has witnessed in 40 years. Racked by war, cholera and now coronavirus, the country faces the world’s worst famine in decades – the possibility that the jigsaw pieces can fit back together again is becoming more and more remote.
The U.S. is changing tack on the Saudi-led war in Yemen. That’s the easy part. – On 4 Feb, President Biden ended the remnants of US support for a Saudi-led coalition's offensive operations in Yemen, pledged to intensify diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting and named a highly regarded new special envoy to the country. Now comes the hard part. Today, Yemen is an arena for multiple overlapping tussles over power, influence and ideology, fueled by regional players seeking to enhance their own strategic and security interests. It also remains a haven for an al-Qaeda affiliate. “Ending U.S. support won’t automatically mean an end to the war, at all,” tweeted Peter Salisbury, senior Yemen analyst at the International Crisis Group. The announcement in fact appeared to be largely political and symbolic, elevating the importance of ending Yemen’s war as a US foreign policy priority and potentially signaling the intent to invest major diplomatic weight in the effort to clinch a peace deal.
Can Biden actually help Yemen? – President Biden announced what amounts to a major — if symbolic — course correction on US policy toward Yemen, reflecting his administration’s desire to unlock the US from the embrace with UAE and Saudi Arabia. But Biden officials also stressed that they remained committed to protecting Saudi territory, which has been periodically struck by Houthi rocket fire. While halting support to the Saudis sends a political message, it may mean less in practice. Humanitarian agencies hope the shift in emphasis will be a boon to ordinary Yemenis. There are also signs of new openings – Martin Griffiths, the United Nations envoy to Yemen, arrived in Iran for two-days of meetings as part of his push to secure a nationwide ceasefire. But the facts on the ground may be neither in his nor Biden’s favor. “A key question is whether Yemen’s warring parties will accept the sharp turn in US policy and view Washington as a neutral and trustworthy diplomatic broker.”
Critic Of U.S. Role In Yemen Responds To Biden's Plans To Pull Back – Shireen Al-Adeimi is a Yemen-born professor at Michigan State University who has opposed the US role in the war. She argues that the US has done "really everything except for pulling the trigger." Al-Adeimi says she was relieved to hear about Biden's push for renewed diplomacy to end the war, but remains skeptical.
Biden's announcement on Yemen is a hopeful sign – now the UK must follow suit – Changes in US policy will have significant ramifications for the UK. First, the UK risks being isolated diplomatically, the same time as EU states continue to operate more restrictive arms export policies. Second, the US the halt of precision-guided munitions sales will also impact UK’s arms exports. Third, depending on the reasoning behind and scope of changes to US policy, the UK government’s position in the course of justice may become even harder to sustain. For these reasons, there are grounds to be somewhat hopeful that something will have to change in UK arms export policy, to restrict, suspend or halt transfers – including actual deliveries, not just licences – to the Saudi-led coalition. However, there are no guarantees in terms of the details and practical implementation of Biden’s announcement, and there is room for manoeuvre afforded by the qualifiers around what constitutes “offensive” operations and what the “relevant” arms sales are that will be cancelled.
علاقات إقليمية ودولية
خططوا لاستهداف سفارة الإمارات في أديس أبابا والخرطوم.. استخبارات إثيوبيا تعتقل 15 عنصرا بجماعة إرهابية
كشفت وكالة الأنباء في إثيوبيا عن إلقاء القبض على 15 عضواً من الذين كان يخططون للهجوم على سفارتي الإمارات في أديس أبابا والخرطوم.
بدأت منذ 2014 واستهدفت قطر.. الكشف عن شبكة تجسس إلكتروني أنشأتها الإمارات من محللين سابقين بوكالة الأمن القومي الأميركي
كان هدف الإمارات هو البحث عن معلومات لإثبات مزاعم أن قطر مولت جماعات إرهابية من خلال تجنيد موظفين سابقين من وكالات استخبارات أمريكية لإجراء تحقيقات اليكترونية.
خلال استقبال نظيره التركي.. وزير الخارجية القطري: الدوحة وأنقرة تشجعان واشنطن وطهران على حل دبلوماسي للأزمة
بحثت تركيا وقطر ـعددا من القضايا ذات الاهتمام المشترك والعلاقات الثنائية بين البلدين وحثتا أمريكا وإيران على إيجاد حل إلى المسألة النووي.
الانقسامات الداخلية والعلاقات مع تركيا ومصر والإمارات.. هذه أبرز تحديات السلطة الجديدة في ليبيا
بدأت ليبيا تشكيل حكومة انتقالية لتوحيد البلد وإقامة تحالفات في المنطقة بيد أنه توجد مخاوف مشروعة من وجود عرقلة وتعطيل داخلي وخارجي تحديدا من الإمارات.
ألمانيا.. الاستثمارات القطرية تدخل حلبة اللقاحات ضد كورونا
استثمرت قطر في قطاعات متنوعة في ألمانياً تحديدا في أبحاث عن اللقاح المرتقب، العقارات والشركات المتوسطة والصغيرة.
النفط: الدول النفطية "قد تخسر 13 تريليون دولار" بحلول 2040
تشير دراسة إلى أن التحول العالمي إلى الطاقات المتجددة وترك المحروقات يكلف الدول النفطية خسارة تصل إلى 13 تريليون دولار بحلول عام 2040.
هل يعد الإفراج عن لجين الهذلول مقدمة لخروج سجناء سعوديين آخرين؟
رحب الرئيس الأمريكي، جو بايدن، بقرار السلطات السعودية إطلاق سراح الناشطة الحقوقية، لجين الهذلول، واصفا إياه بالإجراء الصحيح.
ناسا تهنئ بنجاح مسبار الأمل مقتبسة بيت شعر للمتنبي
أطلقت الإمارات مسبار الأمل في الفضاء إلى مدار حول كوكب مريخ وعقب هذا النجاح، تقدمت ناسا بالتهنئة على وصول المهمة إلى المريخ.
البيت الأبيض: لا توجد خطط للاتصال مع السعودية
أعلن البيت الأبيض أن "هناك مراجعة لسياستنا فيما يتعلق بالسعودية. لا أعلم بخطط لاتصال" مع المملكة.
بايدن يصف إفراج السعودية عن لجين الهذلول بـ”الأمر الصائب”- (فيديو)
قامت السعودية بإفراج عن الناشطة الحقوقية لجين الهندول التي اشتهرت في المملكة بتمكين المرأة وكانت مدافعة قوية عن حقوق الانسان.
الحرب في اليمن
بايدن يتعهد بدعم الديمقراطيات وحقوق الإنسان في العالم ويعلن وقف دعم الحرب في اليمنألقى الرئيس الأمريكي جو بايدن بعض الكلمات في مقر وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية وعهد بوقف كافة أشكال الدعم العسكري في اليمن وفي هذا الصدد أعلن تعيين تيموثي ليندركينغ كمبعوث أمريكا الخاص إلى اليمن لحلحلة الأزمة الإنسانية من خلال سبيل دبلوماسي.
الخارجية الأميركية: واشنطن والرياض حددتا نهجا دبلوماسيا لتسوية سياسية في اليمن
تسعى أمريكا إلى وقف الحرب في اليمن وفي نفس الوقت جددت التزامها بأمن السعودية قائلة: "أمريكا لن تقف مكتوفة الأيدي بينما يهاجم الحوثيون المملكة."
جوائز قدرها 13 مليون ريال.. جمال خيول العالم يتجلى على شاطئ كتارا في قطر
تحظى رياضة الفروسية في قطر بشعبية واسعة والثقافة تعود إلى الوقت القديم وأطلقت قطر مرهجان سنوي لحفاظ على تراث دولة قطر.
الجائحة تعطل شركات الطيران الخليجية، ولكن لن تمنعها من الطيران
بعد عام كارثي على شركات الطيران في جميع أنحاء العالم، لابد لشركات الطيران الخليجية - رموز وقادة ثورة السفر الجوي في العقد الماضي – من التحلي بالجاهزية والمرونة لتحافظ على بقائها وازدهارها في بيئة غير مضمونة أبداً.