[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 email@example.com.]
Regional and International Relations
Qatar Ships First Oil Cargo to UAE Since Gulf Embargo Ended – Qatar exported what appeared to be its first oil cargo to a the UAe since ties were restored in January. Qatar loaded about 700,000 barrels of oil onto the tanker Abu Dhabi-III on March 4 and the vessel delivered the fuel to Dubai’s Jebel Ali port 3 days later. The exports may be a sign that business is getting back to normal now that the three-and-a-half year suspension of diplomatic and trade ties has come to an end.
Senators hope for more Saudi sanctions in wake of Khashoggi report – Lawmakers of both parties expressed a desire for the Biden administration to go further in sanctioning Saudi Arabia — and particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — in the wake of the release of an intelligence report directly implicating him in the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.
Australian facing extradition from Morocco to Saudi Arabia arrested hours after meeting his baby, wife says – An Australian citizen, Dr Osama AlHasani, facing potential extradition from Morocco to Saudi Arabia was detained just hours after meeting his newborn child, his wife says. The wife of Dr. AlHasani – a dual Australian and Saudi citizen – has also raised fears about his welfare and says the family is confused about the precise nature of the accusations against him.
US refuses to say whether crown prince one of 76 Saudis hit by visa ban – The US state department has refused to say whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is one of the Saudi officials subject to US visa restrictions under the new “Khashoggi ban”.
White House defends move not to sanction Saudi crown prince – The White House has defended its decision not to directly sanction Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as criticism grew before Washington’s unveiling of a new policy towards Riyadh.
Spanish princesses' Abu Dhabi vaccinations spark controversy – The COVID-19 vaccinations of two Spanish princesses in the UAE -- much earlier than they would have received them in Spain -- have sparked controversy. Several Spanish ministers publicly criticized the two princesses, who were vaccinated while visiting their father, Spain’s former King Juan Carlos, in Abu Dhabi, where he’s living.
US senator urges UK to follow Biden in curbing arms sales to Saudi Arabia – Chris Murphy, key opponent of Saudi war in Yemen, says UK and US should not be interested in ‘perpetuating war crimes’. He believed the Biden administration was poised to continue using arms sales as a lever in its relationship with the Saudi government, in addition to the ban on offensive weapons sales for use in Yemen it has already announced.
Moroccan court starts hearing Saudi Australian extradition case – A Moroccan court began hearing the extradition case of Osama al-Hasani, a Saudi-Australian national, whose wife fears he may face torture and even death if sent to Saudi Arabia. Al-Hasani was arrested on 8 Feb when he arrived in the Moroccan city of Tangier, where he was planning to join his wife and four-month-old baby. A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced Hasani, a businessman who previously worked at a Saudi university, to two years in prison.
Saudi foreign minister meets Qatar's emir in Doha – Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud held talks on 8 Mar with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Doha about improving relations between the two countries,
Saudi-backed Yemeni government says restores ties with Qatar – Yemen’s internationally recognized government said it had restored diplomatic ties with Qatar after four years of boycott led by Saudi Arabia and joined by other Arab countries.
US refuses to say whether crown prince one of 76 Saudis hit by visa ban – The US state department has refused to say whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is one of the Saudi officials subject to US visa restrictions under the new “Khashoggi ban”. The Biden administration has said 76 Saudi nationals are subject to restrictions under the ban, which also covers those deemed to have been involved in efforts to intimidate Saudi dissidents in the US.
U.S. urges Saudi Arabia to give up special developing nation status at WTO – The US called on Saudi Arabia to renounce its special and differential treatment in negotiations at the World Trade Organization, noting the G20 member was designated as a high-income country by the World Bank.
Saudi Arabia to invest $3 billion in Sudan investment fund – Saudi Arabia has committed to investing $3 billion in a joint fund for investments in Sudan, and to encouraging other parties to participate, according to Sudanese minister of Cabinet affairs Khalid Omer Yousif. Saudi Arabia and the UAE had jointly promised $3 billion in aid to Sudan and Sudanese officials previously indicated that $750 million of that aid had been delivered, including a $500 million deposit in the central bank.
Netanyahu to visit UAE on Thursday – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will pay his first visit to the UAE on 11 Mar, 10 days before his own election in Israel. There was no immediate confirmation of the trip, which Netanyahu postponed last month due to the coronavirus pandemic, from the Israeli prime minister's office or the UAE.
Israel’s Netanyahu cancels UAE trip in pre-election setback – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a visit to the UAE on 11 Mar, citing a diplomatic disagreement with Jordan, in an embarrassing setback for his re-election campaign just days before the vote.
Israel Aerospace, UAE weapons maker team up on anti-drone tech – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said on 11 Mar it will jointly develop an advanced drone defence system with UAE’s state-owned weapons maker EDGE. State-owned IAI, a major Israeli defence firm, said the companies will develop a Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System “tailored to the UAE market, with wider ranging benefits for the MENA region and beyond”. EDGE, tasked with supplying advanced weapons to the UAE armed forces, is focused on developing drones, unmanned vehicles, smart weapons and electronic warfare equipment rather than conventional weaponry.
UAE minister: US sanctions on Syria challenge rapprochement – In a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan pushed for “joint action with Syria,” saying that the American economic pressure campaign “as it is today makes the matter difficult.”
UAE, Israel in talks to establish quarantine-free travel corridor – United Arab Emirates and Israel’s governments have entered formal talks to establish a quarantine-free travel corridor between the two countries to boost bilateral exchange following a normalisation deal. The travel corridor, which will apply to passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, will help facilitate travel for commercial, tourism and official purposes.
U.S. says Yemen's Houthis have to stop attacking and start negotiating – US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on 9 Mar that the Houthis must demonstrate willingness to engage in a political process to achieve peace in Yemen, after the group claimed responsibility for drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.
UK 'balancing books on backs of Yemen's starving people', says UN diplomat – Ministers have decided to “balance the books on the backs of the starving people of Yemen” in an act that will see tens of thousands die and damage the UK’s global influence. The former permanent secretary at the Department for International Development Mark Lowcock said he was shocked by the decision, and cause direct harm to Yemenis as well as UK’s influence globally. The UK will give Yemen about £87m in aid this year, down from £164m in 2020.
Keir Starmer attacks 'unconscionable' cut in aid to Yemen – Boris Johnson has been accused of an “unconscionable” decision of cutting aid to war-ravaged Yemen, at a bad-tempered PMQs in which the prime minister accused Keir Starmer of prioritising the Arab country over the UK. Johnson blamed the pandemic for the decision to cut spending, saying it was due to the “current straitened circumstances.”
Italian judge extends inquiry into Yemen deaths – A judge in Rome has ordered a six-month extension of an investigation into the alleged involvement of Italian-made weapons in a Saudi-led bombardment that killed a family of six in Yemen on 6 October 2016.
Some progress made toward ceasefire in Yemen – Following a visit to the region, Timothy Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen, said on 11 Mar that “some hopeful progress” has been made toward a ceasefire in Yemen, but more commitment was needed from the parties to the civil war.
Kuwait’s #MeToo moment: Women denounce harassment, violence – In recent weeks, a growing number of women have broken taboos to speak out about the scourge of harassment and violence that plagues Kuwait, in an echo of the global #MeToo movement. An Instagram page has led to an outpouring of testimony from women fed up with being intimidated or attacked in a country where the criminal code doesn’t define sexual harassment and lays out few repercussions for men who kill female relatives for actions they consider immoral. A wide variety of news and talk shows have taken up the subject of harassment for the first time. And one journalist used a hidden camera to document how women are treated in the streets.
Khashoggi's fiancée says Saudi crown prince should be punished "without delay" – The fiancée of Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz, called for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to be “punished without delay”, after a US intelligence report found he had approved the killing.
Criminal complaint filed against Mohammed bin Salman in German court – Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-ranking Saudi officials have been accused of committing crimes against humanity in a criminal complaint filed in Germany by Reporters without Borders (RSF), the press freedom group. The 500-page complaint centres on the “widespread and systematic” persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, including the arbitrary detention of 34 journalists there and the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.
Supporters of detained Saudi princess call for UK to help secure release – Supporters of a prominent Saudi Arabian princess, Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and her daughter, detained with her daughter in Riyadh have appealed to both the British foreign secretary Dominic Raab and Commonwealth general secretary Patricia Scotland, to help secure their release. The two were arrested in Jeddah two years ago.
U.N. rights experts urge Saudi Arabia to release three young Shi'ites – UN human rights experts called on Saudi Arabia to free three young Shi’ite Muslims whose death sentences for taking part in protests as minors have been commuted, citing allegations of torture and unfair trials.
Saudi rights activist al-Hathloul hopes for sentence change ahead of appeals hearing – Women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was released last month after three years in prison, said she hoped a Saudi court would amend her sentence as she headed to an appeals hearing.
Saudi court confirms Loujain al-Hathloul sentence – A Riyadh court upheld the sentencing of Loujain al-Hathloul. She had appealed the original sentence, which includes probation and a five-year travel ban. Her parents are also barred from leaving Saudi Arabia, although they have not been charged with a crime.
Bahrain expects $3.2 billion deficit in 2021, 5% economic growth – Bahrain expects to post a deficit of 1.2 billion dinars ($3.20 billion) in 2021. The government projected a budget of 3.6 billion dinars for 2021 with revenues expected to amount to 2.4 billion dinars. For next year, total expenditure is estimated at 3.57 billion dinars, against total revenues of 2.46 billion dinars, resulting in a slightly lower deficit of 1.1 billion dinars. Bahrain’s economy contracted by 5.4% last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated, due to the pandemic. Sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat will double its contributions to government revenues, as Bahrain seeks to boost non-oil revenues.
Bahrain's SWF discusses investment opportunities with Israel's National Economic Council – The chief executive officer of Bahrain’s Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund, Khalid Al Rumaihi discussed investment opportunities and joint projects with the head of Israel’s National Economic Council, Avi Simhon.
Saudi Aramco, BP discuss role of electrification, hydrogen in energy transition – Saudi Aramco and BP officials discussed some of the technologies that could help reduce the emissions of the oil industry, including electrification and carbon capture. Electrification is the most potent force in the energy transition. Saudi Aramco’s chief technology officer Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter added that carbon capture and sequestration will loom large as well. The panel also discussed the future of hydrogen to help in the transition.
Oman agrees $2.2 billion loan with large group of banks – Oman has raised $2.2 billion with a loan in a deal which attracted interest from a large group of regional and international lenders. Oman expects a 2021 budget deficit of 2.24 billion Omani rials ($5.82 billion). To make up the shortfall, the government aims to raise about 1.6 billion rials through borrowing and draw 600 million rials from its reserves. It was the first Gulf government to tap the international bond markets this year, raising $3.25 billion in three-part bonds in January.
Oman to cut income tax on SMEs, offer investors long-term residency – Oman will reduce income tax for small and medium businesses for 2020 and 2021 and will offer long-term residency permits for foreign investors. The plans are part of Oman’s Vision 2040 aimed at diversifying the economy away from oil, which makes up the bulk of state revenues.
Qatar resumes condensate exports to UAE after blockade lifted – Qatar has resumed exports of condensate to the UAE after a three-year blockade was lifted, with a tanker offloading at the port of Dubai’s Jebel Ali port this week, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.
‘Everyone is freaking out’: Saudi Arabia’s ultimatum rattles big business – Multinationals face pressure to relocate headquarters to kingdom as crown prince seeks to transform Riyadh. Some foreign executives are worried that their lives, and those of their families, could be upended after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivered an ultimatum to multinationals: move your regional headquarters to the kingdom or forget about securing prized government contracts. Many executives are struggling to work out exactly what it would mean for those that have traditionally preferred to locate their regional headquarters in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Manama.
Saudi prince pushes on with $500 billion megacity as U.S. points the finger over Khashoggi killing –Preparations for NEOM, the $500 billion signature project in Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, are well underway. The organisation behind the development, expected to be close to the size of Belgium when it is completed, will hire 700 people this year, according to Simon Ainslie, the venture’s chief operating officer.
US decision not to punish crown prince puts us in grave danger, Saudi exiles say – Exiled dissidents who have been warned about threats against them by Saudi Arabia said they have been put in greater danger by the Biden administration’s decision to forgo direct sanctions on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – even as US intelligence agencies acknowledged that he was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
'I'll believe it when I see it' - Saudi Arabia doubts oil recovery and keeps taps tight – This week’s surprise decision by Saudi Arabia and other top oil producers to broadly stick with output cuts despite rising crude prices was influenced by events in Italy.
Attack on Saudi oil site fuels upward march for crude prices – Oil prices remained elevated on 1 Mar as Saudi Arabian oil facilities were targeted by drone strikes just days after the OPEC agreed they would not increase output. Brent crude, the international standard, surpassed $70 per barrel for the first time in over a year.
Saudi Arabia’s Bold Plan to Rule the $700 Billion Hydrogen Market – As governments and industries seek less-polluting alternatives to hydrocarbons, the world’s biggest crude exporter doesn’t want to cede the burgeoning hydrogen business to China, Europe or Australia and lose a potentially massive source of income. So it’s building a $5 billion plant powered entirely by sun and wind that will be among the world’s biggest green hydrogen makers when it opens in the planned megacity of Neom in 2025.
Oil price jumps above $70 after attacks aimed at Saudi oil facilities – Oil prices jumped above $70 a barrel for the first time in 14 months after Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, said no production had been affected, the attacks have still unsettled oil markets that have rebounded strongly in recent months.
Saudi central bank extends deferred payment, guaranteed financing programmes – Saudi Arabia’s central bank announced it had extended a deferred payment programme to support private sector financing for an additional three months until 30 Jun as part of measures to stem the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. A statement published on the central bank website also said a guaranteed financing programme had been extended for an additional year until 14 March 2022 to support small and medium enterprises.
Saudi non-oil private sector growth slows in February – The growth of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector slowed in February as business activity and new orders both decelerated, though it kept up a six-month expansionary streak. The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 53.9 in February from 57.1 in January, the headline index’s lowest reading since October.
UAE non-oil private sector grows at marginal pace in February – The UAE’s non-oil private sector expanded for the third consecutive month in February, but indicated new disruptions as the country imposed more COVID-19 restrictions.
Dubai Developer Emaar to Take Over Mall Unit as Virus Weighs – Emaar Properties, plans to take over its malls unit as the coronavirus pandemic exacerbates a property downturn in the Middle East business and tourism hub. The shares of both companies gained. The developer, which already owns 85% of Emaar Malls, proposed to pay 0.51 share for every Emaar Malls share, valuing the business at 24 billion dirhams ($6.5 billion). A property glut and faltering demand in Dubai have driven prices down by more than a third since the market peaked some seven years ago.
UAE's first independent digital banking platform launches –The first independent digital banking platform in the UAE launched on 7 Mar, a neobank hoping to become a leader in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Dubai-based YAP does not have a banking licence itself but has partnered with RAK Bank which provides international bank account numbers for YAP users and secures their funds under its own banking licence.
United Arab Emirates attracts corporate billions to climb tax-haven ranking – The UAE has emerged as one of the fastest-growing corporate tax havens, according to a study that highlighted $200 billion-plus flowing into the country. The index by the Tax Justice Network, which documents countries that attract companies to shrink their tax bills, added the UAE to its top-10 ranking, which includes Switzerland and Bermuda.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways reports $1.7 billion loss in 2020 – Abu Dhabi’s national carrier Etihad reported core operating losses of $1.7 billion in 2020, reflecting the severe toll of the coronavirus pandemic on the long-troubled airline that has lost billions in recent years. Etihad reported revenues of $2.7 billion in 2020 compared to $5.6 billion the year before, a precipitous decline it attributed to “drastically fewer people traveling” as the surging pandemic crippled air travel.
Yemen in Crisis
Yemen condemns international donor funding shortfall as UK cuts aid – Yemenis and aid organisations have condemned a shortfall in international donor funding for Yemen – including the UK government’s decision to cut roughly 50% of its support for humanitarian efforts as a death sentence. The UN hoped to raise $3.85bn from more than 100 governments and donors at a virtual pledging conference to avert famine in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, but received $1.7bn – less than half.
War and famine could wipe out the next generation of Yemenis – Half of Yemen’s population – 16 million people – are already going hungry. As the UN struggles to raise funds for its humanitarian programming for 2021 – even from countries such as the UK and the Gulf monarchies, which play an active role in the conflict – the situation is only going to get worse. Aid agencies warn that 400,000 children under five are at risk of dying from malnutrition.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim missile hits Saudi oil facility – Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they attacked a Saudi oil facility in the port city of Jeddah on 4 Mar amid their campaign of drone and missile attacks on the kingdom, though satellite pictures showed no new apparent damage at the site.
Yemen's Houthis say fired drones, missiles at Saudi oil facilities – Yemen’s Houthi movement fired 14 drones and eight ballistic missiles at facilities of oil firm Saudi Aramco in Ras Tanura and at military targets in the Saudi cities of Dammam, Asir and Jazan. The Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen said it had intercepted 12 Houthi drones earlier, without disclosing locations.
Saudi-led coalition says it downed six Houthi drones fired at Khamis Mushait – The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said it intercepted six explosive drones fired towards the kingdom on 5 Mar, with the Houthis claiming to have launched attacks into southern Saudi Arabia since dawn.
Saudi-led coalition destroys five Houthi drones – The Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen said it destroyed five armed drones launched by the Houthis.
Saudi-led coalition strikes Yemen’s rebel-held capital – The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen said that it had launched a new air campaign on the country’s capital and other provinces, in retaliation for a series of missile and drone strikes targeting key military and oil facilities across Saudi Arabia. It was the first time in months that Sanaa was bombed by Saudi warplanes, an escalation that comes as the kingdom grapples with a major increase in cross-border strikes on its own infrastructure, including an attack on a major offshore oil loading facility.
UN urges Yemen’s rebels to allow access to injured migrants – The UN migration agency urged Yemen’s Houthi rebels to allow access to dozens of migrants injured in a fire at an overcrowded detention center in the capital. Some 900 migrants, most of them from Ethiopia, were detained at a facility inside the Passports and Naturalization Authority complex in Sanaa, which is controlled by the rebels, when the fire took place.
Yemen condemns international donor funding shortfall as UK cuts aid – Yemenis and aid organisations have condemned a shortfall in international donor funding for Yemen – including the UK government’s decision to cut roughly 50% of its support for humanitarian efforts – as a “death sentence” for people suffering in the country’s civil war.
U.S. 'alarmed' by frequency of attacks on Saudi after Houthis target oil heartland – The US expressed alarm at “genuine security threats” to Saudi Arabia from Yemen’s Houthis and elsewhere in the region after attacks on the heart of the Saudi oil industry, and it would look at improving support for Saudi defences. The US Embassy in Riyadh said Washington was committed to defending Saudi following Sunday’s volley of drones and missiles, including one aimed at a Saudi facility vital to oil exports.
‘This is hell’: UN food aid chief visits Yemen, fears famine – The head of the World Food Program, David Beasley, warned after a visit to Yemen that his underfunded organization may be forced to seek hundreds of millions of dollars in private donations in a desperate bid to stave off widespread famine in coming months, describing conditions in the war-stricken nation as “hell.” The World Food Program needs at least $815 million in Yemen aid over the next six months, but has only $300 million.
Saudi-led coalition destroys Houthi 'hostile aerial target' in Yemen's Marib – The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen destroyed on 10 Mar a “hostile aerial target”, belonging to Houthi forces in Marib.
US resumes aid to Yemen’s rebel north as famine threatens – The United States announced a resumption of aid to Yemen’s rebel-held north on 12 Mar to fight a looming famine. UN officials warned that a blockade of fuel deliveries to a main port was heightening the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
As Biden pushes for peace, Yemeni rebels ramp up strikes on Saudi Arabia – Yemeni rebels have dramatically ramped up attacks on targets inside Saudi Arabia over the past month, complicating the Biden administration’s efforts to broker a peaceful resolution to Yemen’s years-long conflict and ease its humanitarian crisis. Although rebel attacks inside the kingdom have rarely caused significant damage, the Houthis have demonstrated they can carry out more-complex assaults, using “drones at longer ranges accompanied by ballistic missile attacks,” according to Ian Williams, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has researched Houthi missile operations.
Fire at migrant facility in Yemen kills at least eight, U.N. says – A fire at a holding facility for migrants in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, killed at least eight people, including guards, and injured more than 170 others on 7 Mar, the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) said. The total death toll from the fire, whose cause remains unclear, could be higher.
Yemen war: mass displacement fears as fighting intensifies in Marib – Residents in the Yemeni province of Marib are bracing for what could be the worst mass displacement of the war as a Houthi rebel offensive intensifies, leaving more than 2 million people trapped. Marib, which is controlled by parties loyal to the Yemeni government, has faced intermittent attacks from rebel forces over the last year as the Houthis have steadily gained ground in the area. A renewed assault since last month, however, has quickly morphed into one of the most ferocious battles of the seven-year-old war. The frontline is getting closer to Marib city – a development that threatens to exacerbate what is already the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and severely undercut the peace process.
Food trucks park for free in Bahrain mall to ease COVID-19 finances – A mall in Bahrain has been letting food trucks and stalls feeling the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic use its car park for free in an effort to boost local businesses. Al Aali Mall, in the capital Manama, has removed outdoor food vendor rental charges this winter.
Kuwait swears in new government amid mounting crises – Kuwait’s new Cabinet was sworn in 3 Mar, weeks after the government quit amid a deepening deadlock with parliament that has blocked badly needed reforms. Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah swapped out four ministers whose selections had angered various lawmakers for less contentious, veteran politicians, an apparent gesture to appease parliament.
Kuwait reappoints oil, finance ministers in new Cabinet – Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah issued a decree approving a new Cabinet that reappointed the oil and finance ministers. The previous government had resigned in January in a standoff with parliament. Oil Minister Mohammad Abdulatif al-Fares, Finance Minister Khalifa Hamade and Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah were reappointed in the new Cabinet.
Kuwait says its ruling emir flies to US for medical checks – The 83-year-old ruling emir of Kuwait flew on 4 Mar to the US for his “usual” medical checks, just months after he ascended the throne. Given his age, Sheikh Nawaf’s medical trip raises concerns over his health condition.
Saudi king approves support for Islamic pilgrimage operators after COVID-19 – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approved a range of initiatives aimed at assisting firms and individuals operating in support of Islamic pilgrimages, to mitigate the financial and economic effects of the pandemic.
Military projectile fell in Saudi Arabia's Jazan, injured five civilians – Saudi Arabia’s civil defense said a military projectile launched by Yemen’s Houthis fell in Saudi’s Jazan and injured five civilians.
Saudi Arabia confirms attacks on Ras Tanura port, Aramco residential area – Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry said that a drone hit a petroleum tank farm at Ras Tanura port, one of the world’s largest oil shipping ports, and shrapnel from a ballistic missile fell near Saudi Aramco’s residential area in Dhahran. Neither attack resulted in any injury or loss of life or property.
Saudi Arabia to take action to protect oil facilities – Saudi Arabia will take action to deter attacks on its oil facilities following an attack by Yemen’s Houthi movement. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud also said Riyadh would continue to cooperate with Moscow in the OPEC+ framework to ensure oil prices that are fair for producers and consumers after prices spiked briefly following the attack.
Emirates tells staff to get vaccinated or pay for regular COVID-19 tests – Dubai’s Emirates has told employees to take a free coronavirus vaccine or pay for tests to prove they are not infected with the deadly disease, cautioning that an unvaccinated workforce could create operational issues.
UAE licenses second unit of Barakah nuclear power plant – The nuclear regulator in UAE has issued an operating licence for the second unit of the Barakah nuclear power plant, the first nuclear power station in the Arab world and part of the country’s efforts to diversify its energy mix.
Gulf opens door to public Jewish life amid Israel ties – Half a year after the UAE and Bahrain established diplomatic relations with Israel, discreet Jewish communities in the Gulf are adopting a more public profile. Kosher food is now available. Jewish holidays are celebrated openly. There is even a fledgling religious court to sort out issues such as marriages and divorces.
Reports and Opinions
Bahrain: Police Beat, Threaten Children – Bahrain police beat children arrested in protest-related cases in February 2021 and threatened them with rape and electric shocks, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Human Rights Watch said. Prosecutors and judges enabled the abuses. Police and prosecutors refused to allow parents or lawyers of the children, ages 11 to 17, to be present during their interrogations, and judges unnecessarily ordered their detention. One of the children spent his 12th birthday in jail. Four children remain in detention and are being tried as adults, including a 16-year-old with a serious medical condition whose next court hearing is set for 11 Mar. On 11 Mar, a judge sentenced the four children to six months in prison. But the judge granted a request by their lawyers for an alternative, non-custodial sentence, in the spirit of Law No. 4/2021 on Child Restorative Justice and Protection from Abuse, which will come into force in August. The children were released.
US failure to act against Saudi Arabia will embolden Iran – Joe Biden’s administration released a report saying Mohammed bin Salman, authorised a hit-squad to “kill or capture” Jamal Khashoggi. Although President Biden threatened to treat Saudi Arabia as a pariah, after a long build-up, his team seems to be saying: well, it’s complicated. That will only feed doubts, shared by the US’s friends and foes, about American reliability. Trump did penalise 17 Saudis. Now, 76 will be denied visas under a new “Khashoggi ban” to deter regimes that persecute dissidents and journalists. Failure to act against Saudi Arabia, paradoxically, will embolden Iran. Tehran is refusing an invitation to talks with the US on reopening the 2015 nuclear accord that Trump withdrew from in 2018. It is another paradox that the Biden team’s so far weak response may also push the Gulf Arabs, including Saudi Arabia, into a military alliance with Israel against Iran.
Rethink or reset? Joe Biden's dilemma over Mohammed bin Salman – Daniel Benaim, a policy wonk who worked for Biden as a speechwriter, and for Hillary Clinton and John Kerry before that, first travelled to Saudi Arabia and then began interviewing dozens of Democratic and progressive policy experts to come up with a blueprint. The experts he asked, were divided on a single question: was the US relationship with Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Salman, worth salvaging? For so-called “rethinkers”, the answer was no, the partnership with Saudi Arabia was unreliable, unpalatable, outdated and overrated. The “resetters”, on the other hand, believed there was enduring value in the relationship but that it needed some “tough love”.
Saudi Arabia's Alhokair to take stake in e-commerce platform VogaCloset -- Saudi Arabian retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair has agreed to buy a minority stake in e-commerce platform VogaCloset, seeking to boost its online presence. Alhokair said it will acquire 25.5% of the share capital in the UK-based e-commerce company, with the 68.9 million riyal ($18.4 million) transaction funded through its own resources.
Understanding the Conflicts Leading to Saudi Attacks – Before Yemen’s civil war began in 2014, the country had strong regional divisions but there was no tradition of sectarianism between its Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities. With outside powers having chosen sides along those lines, the conflict now pits the Middle East’s biggest rivals, Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran, against one another, with consequences for the entire world. Devastating attacks on Saudi oil production facilities in September 2019 knocked out roughly 5% of global supply, triggering a record surge in oil prices. Another serious attack in March 2021, while less disruptive, lifted oil prices to levels unseen since the start of the global pandemic.
We’ve cut aid to Yemen and children will starve – is this what global Britain means? – Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham and chair of the international development committee, fears that not even those in the most desperate crises, including Yemen, are safe from aid cuts.
Khashoggi was killed in cold-blood. Yet Biden refuses to hold culprits accountable – Mohamad Bazzi, a journalism professor at New York University, is a former Middle East bureau chief at Newsday. He says Biden’s longstanding US foreign policy that looks the other way as America’s autocratic allies commit atrocities at home and abroad, such as holding Prince Mohammed accountable for Khashoggi’s murder, raises doubts about whether the new administration will follow through on its pledges to remake the US-Saudi relationship.
Even inaptly named Cleverly sees fault lines in Yemen aid argument – Yemen remained among the worst humanitarian crises in the world, said James Cleverly, junior Foreign Office minister responsible for the Middle East, in answer to an urgent question from fellow Tory Andrew Mitchell. Yet, Cleverly chose to justify by cutting the budget by over 50% during the next financial year. If it played its cards right, the minister might even bung in an extra £100,000 as a goodwill gesture. John Crace and Mps reckons that the government is taking calculated risk in assuming Tories are keener on money being spent at home.
A massive famine is creeping into Yemen, we need to stop it devouring a generation – On 1 Mar, the UN, Sweden and Switzerland will convene a high-level pledging event for donors to pledge their support for the people of Yemen. The UN humanitarian response needs $4bn this year. That is what it takes to hold back a massive famine and address other acute needs. If the UN receives this funding, it will be able to help 16 million people across Yemen with the basics they need to survive.
Shameful cut in UK aid to Yemen is indefensible – When Andrew Mitchell says that “cutting aid to Yemen by 50% is unconscionable”, and adds that “this is not who we are”, John Crace disagrees, and is right up to a point. It is what the nation has become, because of brainwashing. Being told constantly by the media that the national debt needs repaying urgently and foreign aid has to be cut leads to a gradual acceptance of such falsehoods – as Boris Johnson well knows when claiming to have popular support, and mocking Keir Starmer for devoting all six of his questions at this week’s prime minister’s questions to the subject of a poor country’s imminent famine.
The Saudi Test Case: How to Put Values Into Biden’s Foreign Policy – The defenders of Biden’s decision avoiding sanctions on Mohamed bin Salman, argue that the national interest requires the president to retain the ability to engage with Saudi leaders, just as he does with Chinese and Russian leaders who are responsible for equally heinous human rights abuses. But the Biden administration can also put US values into the relationship in a way that has never really been attempted before. He should insist that MBS continue the reforms he has introduced to modernize Saudi society and grant women equal rights—but without the accompanying repression and aggressive behavior abroad that have become his hallmark. Whether MBS can play this role for the US is doubtful, based on past behavior.
Profit for Propaganda: Twitter Still Complicit in Whitewashing the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi – Marc Owen Jones reasserts that Twitter should not directly profit off attempts to whitewash the brutal killing of journalists on the pretext of respecting 'local protocols and cultural customs. Unfortunately, unless more is done to regulate how US tech firms operate abroad, the Biden administration's decision to let MBS off the hook is going to embolden his propaganda machine, while giving Twitter the green light to continue business as usual.
علاقات إقليمية ودولية
مسؤولة بالأمم المتحدة تدعو لمعاقبة بن سلمان على مقتل خاشقجي
انتقدت مسؤولة بارزة في الأمم المتحدة، في مجال حقوق الإنسان، بشدة قرار واشنطن عدم فرض عقوبات على ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، فيما يتعلق بمقتل الصحفي جمال خاشقجي.
أمير قطر وقائد القيادة الوسطى الأميركية يبحثان تعزيز العلاقات الإستراتيجية والتطورات في المنطقة
التقى أمير دولة قطر الشيخ تميم بن حمد آل ثاني قائد القيادة الوسطى الأميركية بالشرق الأوسط، الجنرال كينيث ماكينزي. واستعرض الطرفان العلاقات الثنائية الإستراتيجية وآفاق تعزيزها، وتطورات الأوضاع بالمنطقة.
محادثات أفغانستان.. مبعوثة الأمم المتحدة تصل الدوحة وأسوشيتد برس تنشر مسودة الخطة الأميركية
استضافت قطر بعض المسؤولين من عدة دول لبحث مستجدات عملية السلام في أفغانستان والتي تتزامن مع تسريب مسودة الخطة الأمريكية لإنهاء الحرب في أفغانستان وطلب طالبان للتخلي عن الملاذات الآمنة في الدول المجاورة.
مباحثات قطرية عراقية حول التعاون الأمني
بحثت العراق وقطر عددا من القضايا ذات الاهتمام المشترك والعلاقة الثنائية بين البلدين.
وزير خارجية قطر: تجمعنا مع تركيا شراكة وثيقة- (تغريدة)
وتشهد العلاقات التركية القطرية تطورا متناميا وتعاونا متواصلا على مختلف الأصعدة، مع وجود تناغم سياسي كبير واتفاق في وجهات النظر، تجاه كثير من القضايا الإقليمية والدولية، لا سيما قضايا الشرق الأوسط.
نتنياهو يتهم إيران بالمسؤولية عن انفجار بسفينة إسرائيلية في خليج عمان
وزير الدفاع الإسرائيلي، بيني غانتس، يرجح أن إيران وراء انفجار أصاب سفينة إسرائيلية تجارية في خليج عمان.
تطبيق كلوب هاوس الجديد يتمدّد في جميع أنحاء الشرق الأوسط
انتشر تطبيق كلوب هاوس منصة جديدة ومشهورة للدردشة الصوتية وباتت هذه المنصة شائعة وشعبية في السعودية لأنها أقل عرضة للتعقب من قبل السلطات.
سؤال مباشر: يكشف أضرار لدعاية الإيرانية على الشيعة في الخليج
سلط الباحث والكاتب الكويتي خليل حيدر الضوء على الأسباب التي تجبر الشيعة للبقاء في صمت عن تصاعد الدور الإيراني في المنطقة وذكر أن إمكانيات إيران محدودة.
العالم يواجه فشلا جديدا في خفض انبعاثات الطاقة الأحفورية والاعتماد على الطاقات البديلة
تناقش هذه المقالة انخفاض الغازات الدفيئة في الدول المنتجة للنفط كالسعودية فقد سجلت
انخفاضات بنسبة 0.2% والإمارات بنسبة 1.5%. في العام الماضي بسبب انتشار فيروس كورونا.
تعذر الرؤية يولد الخلاف.. فمتى يبدأ شهر شعبان هذا العام؟
.يشرح هذا المقال كيفية تحديد بداية شهر رمضان وأنواع مختلفة من المناقشات الفقهية التي تدور حول طبيعة ومكان الهلال
مستقبل أسعار النفط: موعد ثان مع 100 دولار
تجاوزت أسعار النفط عتبة ال70 دولارا للبرميل الأسبوع الماضي و هناك تكهنات أن أسعار النفط ستصل ال100 دولار في المستقبل القريب وتأتي هذه الأخبار بعد سنة صعبة للدول المنتجة للنفط بسبب إجراءات القيود على الأنشطة الاجتماعية وناهيك عن دخول النفط الصخري إلى السوق في السنوات القليلة الماضية.
انتقال الطاقة.. هل يؤدي إلى ارتفاع النفط ونقص المعادن؟
سيشهد العالم طفرة اقتصادية في السنوات القادمة استناداً على قرائن من بعض التقارير التي تشير إلى أنه سيحدث نقص في معدلات العرض للنفط بسبب زيادة من طلب وتقلص عملية الاستكشاف.
التطبيع: الإمارات تؤسس صندوقا لدعم الاستثمار في إسرائيل بقيمة 10 مليار دولار
سيركز الصندوق على الاستثمارات الاستراتيجية وعلى رأسها قطاعات الطاقة والفضاء والصحة والتقنية الزراعية.
لماذا استحدث دولة الإمارات منصبا وزاريا لريادة
أطلقت الإمارات منصباً وزاريا للريادة سعيا لتحفيز التأسيس من الشركات المتوسطة والصغيرة ولاحتضان المواهب للمستقبل.
البحرين تستنكر بث قناة الجزيرة القطرية فيلما تلفزيونيا مسيئا للمملكة
نددت البحرين بث برنامج تلفزيوني بعنوان "خارج النص" لما احتوى عليه من معلومات كاذبة وادعاءات باطلة. والجدير بالذكر أن البرنامج سلط الضوء على التعذيب الذي تعرض له السجناء في البحرين.
فشل دبلوماسي كبير للبحرين في البرلمان الأوروبي.. وانتقادات لـ”الحالة المزرية” لحقوق الإنسان- (تغريدات)
ندد البرلمان الأوروبي بالبحرين لتقييد وانتهاك حقوق المعارضين الذين يواجهون الاحتجاز بدون تهمة ومحاكمة. والجدير بالذكر أن هذه انتقادات تأتي عقب مزاعم تشير إلى تعرض بعض الأطفال الذين شاركوا في الاحتجاجات للتعذيب والاعتقال.
الحرب في اليمن
معارك ضارية.. الجيش اليمني يستعيد مناطق بتعز والحوثيون يطلقون صاروخا على مأرب
استنكر وزير الخارجية الأمريكي الأعمال العدوانية من الحوثيين وقال إنهم أفسدوا عملية السلام.
الحرب في اليمن: طائرات مسيرة تابعة للحوثيين تشن هجوما على منشآت نفطية سعودية
ضربت طائرة مسيرة تابعة للحوثيين منشأة لتخزين النفط في رأس تنورة، وهي ميناء رئيسي لشحن النفط لكن دون وقوع إصابات أو أضرار، حسبما أعلنت السلطات السعودية.
الحوثيون يكثفون هجماتهم بالطائرات المسيرة والصواريخ على السعودية
تكثف جماعة الحوثي هجماتها بالطائرات المسيرة والصواريخ على المنشآت النفطية الحيوية في السعودية، وأمريكا تصف الهجمات بـ "غير المقبولة".
أنطونيو غوتيريش: خفض المساعدات الإنسانية الخاصة باليمن أمر كارثي سيدفع ثمنه الأطفال
دق الخبراء ناقوس الخطر بسبب تدهور مستوى الأمن الغذائي في اليمن جراء عدة عوامل من ضمنها عدم اتخاذ إجراءات لدرء وقوع كارثة إنسانية وانخفاض التمويل لعمليات الإغاثة.
واشنطن ترفض التعليق.. جماعة الحوثي تؤكد لقاء مسؤولين أميركيين في عُمان
كشف مصدر مطلع عن اجتماع عقد في سلطنة عمان بين المسؤولين أمريكيين و مسؤولين من جماعة الحوثيين حيث حثتهم أمريكا على إجراء المحادثات مع السعودية.
جماعة الحوثي: العقوبات الأميركية ستطيل الحرب وتفاقم الأزمة الإنسانية في اليمن
فرضت الولايات المتحدة عقوبات على القياديين الحوثيين عقب سلسلة من الهجمات استهدفت المدنيين والتي أدت إلى مفاقمة التوتر بين السعودية واليمن.
العالم لن يتغلّب على فيروس كورونا قبل نهاية العام والسعودية تشترط التطعيم للحج
أعلنت السلطات المعنية في السعودية أن اللقاح سيكون شرطا رئيسيا للمشاركة في موسم الحج، وجاءت هذه الكلمات في ظل تكهنات أن السعودية ستفرض الإجراءات الاحترازية على الحج لهذا العام.
القضاء الكندي يرفض طلب الجبري رفع تجميد أصوله عالميا
.يواجه مسؤول المخابرات السعودية السابق سعد الجبري بعض المزاعم من ضمنها الفساد والاختلاس وفيما يتعلق بعدة التقارير، الحبري لم يقدم إفادة خطية حول كيفية حصوله على أصول بمئات الملايين من الدولارات
مسؤولة بالأمم المتحدة تدعو لمعاقبة بن سلمان على مقتل خاشقجي
انتقدت مسؤولة بارزة بالأمم المتحدة، في مجال حقوق الإنسان، بشدة قرار واشنطن عدم فرض عقوبات على ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، فيما يتعلق بمقتل الصحفي جمال خاشقجي.
"زفرات" المعتقلين في سجن "جو" البحريني.. تعذيب ممنهج أم حالات فردية؟
.كان هناك تداول على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي في عدد من الدول الخليجية بسبب برنامج "خارج النص" الذي سلط الضوء على التعذيب الممنهج في سجن جو المركزي في مملكة البحرين
مقتل جمال خاشقجي: ضغوط أمريكية على السعودية لتبني إصلاحات ووقف استهداف المعارضين
حثت الخارجية الأمريكية السعودية على اتخاذ المزيد من الإجراءات التي تضمن عدم المساس بالشخصيات المعارضة وتفكيك قوات التدخل السريع التابعة لولي العهد محمد بن سلمان.
جمال خاشقجي: فيلم "المنشق" يشير بإصبع الاتهام إلى ولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان
يقول المخرج بريان فوغل، المتوج بالأوسكار والذي أخرج فيلما وثائقيا استقصائيا يحقق في مقتل الصحفي السعودي جمال خاشقجي، إنه يعتقد أن ولي العهد السعودي لن يواجه أي تحقيق رسمي بشأن عملية القتل.
محمد بن سلمان: مراسلون بلا حدود تقاضي ولي العهد السعودي بسبب مقتل جمال خاشقجي
قالت منظمة "مراسلون بلا حدود" إنها رفعت دعوى قضائية جنائية أمام القضاء الألماني على ولي العهد السعودي الأمير محمد بن سلمان تتهمه فيها بارتكاب "جرائم ضد الإنسانية" في مقتل الصحفي جمال خاشقجي.
لجين الهذلول: محكمة جزائية ترفض الاستئناف الذي تقدمت به الناشطة السعودية
قالت أسرة الناشطة السعودية المدافعة عن حقوق المرأة، لجين الهذلول، إن المحكمة الجزائية المتخصصة في المملكة رفضت الاستئناف الذي تقدمت به.
السعودية ومأزق إدانة بن سلمان بمقتل خاشقجي
تواجه السعودية تراجعاً في العلاقات الثنائية مع الولايات المتحدة عقب الاستنتاجات المذكورة في التقرير الاستخباري بشأن اغتيال جمال خاشقجي.