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The situation in Qatif has deteriorated sharply since 2011. Historically, the Saudi government has given the predominantly Shiite population a relatively unfettered existence, at least by the Kingdom’s strict standards. Though almost unrepresented in the security forces or local government, Shia from Qatif have been allowed to establish Shiite cemeteries and husseiniyas, undertake open-air sermonising and the sale of Shia religious materials, and even publicly celebrate Ashura.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 943 - 21 March 2013

Saudi Arabia: ‘Spy ring’

Free

Saudi Arabia has arrested 18 people it accuses of spying for a foreign country, including one Iranian, one Lebanese and 16 Saudis. On 19 March, the interior ministry said that the suspects had “gathered information on vital installations which they provided to the country” they had been working for, and that they would be handed over to judicial authorities.

Iran | Saudi Arabia
Issue 861 - 26 September 2009

UAE arrests suspected RAK terror cell

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When a 'terror plot' emerges everyone is quick to rush in with their interpretation of the (usually shadowy) events. "An armed cell related to a regional government" was reportedly uncovered over the summer in the northern emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK). Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida,

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Western governments are reluctant to back popular revolts for fear Al-Qaeda will fill the vacuum if President Saleh goes. But Marib province shows there are several Islamist interests to consider, reports Our Yemen Correspondent

Yemen
Issue 887 - 15 October 2010

Security fears hit tourism

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There has been a severe decline in tourism, the Yemen Times reported on 3 October. A recent study by Yousef Saeed Ahmed, associate professor at University of Aden’s economics faculty, showed the sector has lost some $10bn in the past decade because of terrorism and poor infrastructure.

Yemen
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The Iraqi government’s 20 December raids on staff of finance minister Rafi Al-Issawi triggered the strongest protests Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has faced since coming to power in 2006. The surge of anger in restive Al-Anbar combined with that over army presence and alleged prison rapes in Nineveh, and later spread to Salah Ad-Din and Sunni parts of Baghdad. In the weeks since, tens of thousands of Sunnis have poured onto the streets to express a range of frustrations, blocking the main trade route to Jordan and Syria, and sharpening the sectarian divide.

Iraq
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As well as being an economic linchpin for the global and US economy, Qatar is also one of Washington’s trickiest regional partners, with internal politics and neighbouring Iran making this a less than straightforward relationship

Qatar
Issue 1011 - 04 March 2016

Qatar: Pakistani CoS visit

Free

Pakistan’s chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif in late February visited Doha for talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani and the premier and interior minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani. Sharif held separate meetings with the new defence minister Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah and the commander of the Qatari Emiri Land Force Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Ghanim.

Qatar
Issue 920 - 22 March 2012

Kuwait assured over Hormuz

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Iran has assured Kuwait it will not try to close the Strait of Hormuz, according to Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah.

Iran | Kuwait
Issue 918 - 23 February 2012

AQAP’s Tariq Al Dhahab killed

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Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced on 19 February, that Tariq Al Dhahab – the man who briefly took control of the town of Radaa in January – had died. According to newspaper reports, Dhahab was killed by his half-brother, Hizam Al Dhahab, who was subsequently killed himself, apparently when another brother, Qaid, blew up their father’s former home, in which Hizam was hiding.

Yemen
Issue 939 - 24 January 2013

The case of Rafi Al-Issawi

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The December 20 arrests on terrorism charges of staff of finance minister Rafi Al-Issawi – a Sunni from Fallujah – were a spark for mass protests, which have since come to focus on broader grievances. There were raids on Issawi’s home in Baghdad, the office of his personal security detachment, the finance ministry, and an Issawi family home in Fallujah.

Iraq
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Reports of an upcoming sale of the Russian-built SA-20 systems to Iran will focus Israeli minds on the need to acquire F-22 fighter aircraft technology, whose export is currently banned by US law

Iran | Israel
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Experienced flying aces are pushing for a big procurement of fighter aircraft, but the Iraqi Air Force’s reconstruction may have to wait a lot longer than military leaders in Baghdad would like, according to GSN’s reading of government statements and canvassing of Iraqi officers

Iraq
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A $60bn arms deal, the single largest in Middle East history, has sealed an enduring partnership and seen off competition from the UK and Europe

Saudi Arabia
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A suspected associate of Osama Bin Laden, Saudi national Yasin Abdullah Ezzedine Qadi, has been removed from the UN sanctions list after more than a decade. The UN Security Council Sanctions Committee said on 5 October it had removed the 56-year-old Egyptian-born man from the list of individuals associated with Al-Qaeda, and rescinded his asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, after a report from the Ombudsman.

Saudi Arabia