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Issue 1012 - 31 March 2016

Yemen: US to release drone strike data

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The US government has committed to releasing more details of its drone programme in the coming weeks, potentially offering a greater insight into the combat zones in Yemen, as well as well as other theatres for US intervention including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. According to one independent observer, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been at least 113-133 confirmed US drone strikes in Yemen since 2002, killing between 514 and 747 people, including 65-101 civilians and eight or nine children.

Yemen
Free

A long-running case involving Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa made it to the High Court in London in mid-November. Sheikh Hamad is being sued by Egyptian national Ahmed Adel Abdallah Ahmed for allegedly reneging on a deal to pay $1.5m per meeting with a list of 26 Bollywood stars. Baring a last minute out of court settlement, Sheikh Hamad was expected to give evidence in the case.

Bahrain
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Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani took a ride on the recently opened Doha Metro on 16 May, travelling to the Al-Janoub Stadium for the Emir Cup final between Al-Duhail Sports Club and Al-Sadd Sports Club. Tamim watched the game – which Al-Duhail won 4-1 – in the company of FIFA President Gianni Infantino and other international football dignitaries. The metro is a key element of the infrastructure being put in place ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatar
Issue 1100 - 03 April 2020

Iraq: Foreign troop withdrawals

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A number of countries are withdrawing troops from Iraq amid the Covid-19 crisis, in many cases because of Iraq’s decision to suspend all military training until the second half of May. Among those to confirm redeployments is Australia, which on 23 March said the Australian Defence Force was temporarily relocating non-essential personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan to Al-Mindad Air Base in Dubai, its main logistics base in the region. “This temporary measure is to preserve the safety of our people and partners, and to limit the spread of Covid-19 in operational areas,” defence minister Linda Reynolds said.

Iraq
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The sustained discrimination meted out to the Saudi Ismaili population concentrated in Najran province – frequently reported by opposition sources over recent years – has been chronicled in detail by the internationally respected advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Saudi Arabia
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Iraq’s new finance minister Ali Allawi conducted a brief regional tour in late May, visiting key neighbours Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The first stop was Riyadh on 22 May, where Allawi passed on a message from Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to King Salman Bin Abdelaziz. He also held talks with senior officials including energy minister Prince Abdelaziz Bin Salman Al-Saud, foreign affairs minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan and commerce and investment minister Majid Al-Qasabi The talks centred on encouraging Saudi investment in Iraq.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Iraq
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Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah met Turkish President Abdullah Gul on 2 April, and two days later saw him off at Kuwait International Airport. A host of officials joined the emir at the airport to mark the end of Gul’s three-day official visit, including Crown Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, foreign minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, deputy minister of emiri diwan affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah and various other ministers and military officials.

Kuwait
Issue 1018 - 01 July 2016

Dubai/UAE: Landfill WTE option

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Much more expensively than Dewa’s solar pricing (see above), Dubai Municipality has announced plans for a Dh2bn ($544.5m) waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in Warsan district, which would treat 2m t/d of its solid waste and generate 60MW. Start-up is scheduled for mid-2020. WTE is seen as an essential means of tackling Dubai’s diminishing landfill options. This underlines a problem faced by other UAE authorities, of handling huge quantities of solid waste; the federal government wants landfill to be reduced by 75% by 2021.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

The funeral of Princess Lulua Bint Saud Bin Abdelaziz was held on 8 June with funeral prayers performed by former crown prince Prince Miqrin Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud and Riyadh governor Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdelaziz. On 13 June the royal court announced the passing of Princess Al-Jawhara Bint Fahd Bin Abdelaziz; Gulf leaders sent condolences on the news of her death. She was married to Prince Turki Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Kabir.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 850 - 27 March 2009

Portrait of a bomber

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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
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The first shipment of goods from India to Afghanistan to pass through Chabahar arrived on 1 November. The consignment of wheat represents an important ‘proof of concept’ for the huge investments being made in the southern Iranian port, which forms part of a trade route which will enable India to reach markets in Afghanistan and elsewhere in central Asia while bypassing Pakistan.

Iran
Issue 931 - 14 September 2012

Emirates and Qantas announce partnership

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Australia’s struggling Qantas Airways has agreed a 10-year alliance with Dubai’s Emirates to help shore up its loss-making international business. On 28 August, Qantas announced a loss of A$244m ($251m) for the year.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The Iranian Navy has sent a small group of warships to patrol the waters around the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, at the entrance to the Red Sea. The 61st naval group comprises the destroyer Sabalan and the logistical support vessel Bandar Abbas. Rear Admiral Afshin Tashak, commander of the navy’s Southern Fleet, said the group’s mission was “to provide security for the routes used by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines in the area.”

Iran
Issue 990 - 03 April 2015

Kuwait: Coup plot case thrown out

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Kuwait’s public prosecutor has thrown out a case brought by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahd Al-Sabah against former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah and former parliamentary speaker Jassim Al-Kharafi, in which Sheikh Ahmed accused the two men of trying to topple the government. In a statement on 18 March, prosecutor Dherar Al-Assoussi said an investigation had shown the case lacked merit and evidence, and that audio and visual material on which it was based was concocted.

Kuwait
Issue 921 - 05 April 2012

US accuses Iran of meddling

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Summary The US has been talking up Iranian involvement in Yemen, suggesting Tehran is involved not only in the northern conflict between Houthis and Salafis, but also in the southern separatist movement – a view many analysts approach with caution, saying support is most likely to be in the form of money or influence, rather than military.

Iran | Yemen