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Issue 858 - 25 July 2009

A jihadist presence in Bahrain

Subscriber

Like Yemen, the militant threat in Bahrain is intimately linked to Saudi Arabia. This was underlined by recent attempts to secure the extradition of three Bahrainis being held in Saudi Arabia on terrorism charges. Bahrain’s Al-Adala group (National Justice Movement) and National Detainees Committee are demanding the release of the men. The first is Guantanamo detainee Abdullah Majid Al-Naimi, who was detained by Saudi police at the King Fahd causeway on 10 October; he is one of six Bahrainis detained at Guantanamo, a surprisingly high number given Bahrain’s tiny population.

Bahrain
Subscriber

Dealing with a growing number of returned prisoners from Guantanamo Bay is burdening an already complex process of putting terror suspects on trial, testing relationships between states and exacerbating sectarian rifts

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Yemen
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In a partial success for German and French diplomacy, this €2bn electronic security contract award is primarily a technological security decision for a project long coveted by Paris.

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

Widening their scope of operations, Somali pirates are posing an ever greater challenge to regional governments. While energy producers are rethinking their export strategies, governments are concerned that the Horn of Africa’s instability will encroach on the Gulf region’s southern flank. Yemen is especially vulnerable as the collapse of export revenues piles further pressure on President Saleh. GSN analyses developments in the Gulf of Aden, Somalia and Yemen, and talks exclusively to the Southern Movement’s new figurehead Ali Salem Al-Baydh.

Somalia | Yemen
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The Maliki government faces a daunting task in the last year of its present mandate: not only must it maintain security improvements while its own forces replace departing Coalition troops, it must also create an economic renaissance in the teeth of a harsh fiscal squeeze.

Iraq
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Eleven alleged Al-Qaeda fighters arrested just north of the Yemeni border in early April were experienced jihadists who carried with them the components for a staggering 35 suicide vests. This raises the alarming prospect that jihadist activity may be poised to burst out again, with this group emerging as the tip of the iceberg as Saudi security forces set to work investigating their ties in the search for a suspected network of safe houses and arms caches.

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

The 15 March suicide bombing of Korean tourists in Yemen and the 18 March follow-up attack on a foreign convoy in Sana’a have underlined the danger of trying to draw a line under Yemen’s terrorist threat.

Yemen
Issue 850 - 27 March 2009

Portrait of a bomber

Subscriber

The Shibam bomber, Abdulrahman Mehdi al-Ajiri, has been quickly profiled, giving an interesting insight into the new generation of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Al-Ajari was born in the Al-Salam (Peace) district of Sanaa in 1990. He spent most of his life in the Al-Jamhori Hospital area in Taiz, a city associated with strong recruitment of Islamist militants for the Afghan jihad in the 1980s and 1990s. Al-Ajiri is not the only

Yemen
Subscriber

The cadre of politicians that loosely follow Moqtada Al-Sadr’s leadership did surprisingly well in the provincial elections, given they were largely written off as being politically splintered and militarily humbled after 18 months of pummelling by government forces, operated by their rivals and supported by the United States.

Iraq
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The problem of Iranian penetration of Qatar's exclusive economic zones (EEZs) has long been a thorny one for the Qatari Emiri Navy (QEN), the emirate's coast guard and Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF). GSN's periodic surveys of the Project National Security Shield (NSS) system of radar and coastal surveillance has focused on the deep paranoia and touchiness that Doha feels when confronted with Iran's powerful and unpredictable naval forces. With the giant North Field/South Pars gas reserve not yet unitised, the shared field still has a 'wild west' feel about it, with the Iranians and Qataris staking out their claims with rigs instead of fence posts.

Qatar
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As Saudi security forces in Makkah and Medina remain busy preparing for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, securocrats continue to fret at the possibility of a major anti-western attack in Riyadh or Eastern Province. Memories of the recent interrupted reconnaissance

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

KAF Apache support deal for DynCorp BAE Systems in Eurofighter Typhoon talks with Oman. Qatar-India defence co-operation

Kuwait | Oman | Qatar
Free

Yemeni-based militants constitute one external threat to expatriates. Indeed, the prospect of establishing bases in Yemen has been mentioned prominently in militant communiqués and in Saudi government statements since 2006.

Saudi Arabia | Yemen
Subscriber

The ‘hard stop’ armed takedown of a vehicle at a government checkpoint – a regular occurrence in 2004-05 – has become so rare that the unsuccessful 14 October attempt to stop a suspected terrorist vehicle in Eastern Riyadh was big news. The authorities seem to have the jihadist challenge under control, but Yemeni-based militants still pose a threat, as does potential ‘blow-back’ from Iraq

Saudi Arabia | Iraq
Subscriber

Iraq is the other major source of advanced terrorist capability in Saudi Arabia, leading the Kingdom to quietly take steps to reduce potential blowback. The September announcement of a mutual extradition treaty between Saudi Arabia and Iraq received little media coverage but represents a significant development. The treaty stipulated “the exchange of convicted prisoners… so that they serve the rest of..

Saudi Arabia | Iraq