Qatar: land of peace?

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The Institute for Economics and Peace, an Australia-based research organisation with an impressive reputation, has issued its Global Peace Index report for 2014 ranking Qatar as the most peaceful country in the Middle East, but with a slightly lower ranking than in previous years. Qatar is one of the case studies in the report, page …

Labour conditions: GCC states

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Perhaps as a result of the public criticism of Qatar related to the preparations for the football World Cup in 2022 there have been a number of reports about possible action to improve conditions for workers in the GCC countries. According to reports from Oman the first meeting of the GCC Labour Ministers’ Committee will …

Oman and more on Duqm

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Following our posting of 11 April on the new Omani port development at Duqm on the Arabian Sea there have been further reports on developments including consideration of rail links and launch of a Frontier Town project to provide residential accommodation for management staff. Opening a new hotel in Duqm on …

Saudi Gazette appoints woman editor

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Sumayya Jabarti has become the first woman editor-in-chief of a Saudi national newspaper, the English-language Saudi Gazette. She was previously deputy editor, and before that was at the rival Arab News. Speaking to the Saudi-owned Al Arabiyya she said “There’s a crack that has been made in the glass ceiling. And I’m hoping it will be …

Oman: unusually assertive

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Reports that Sultan Qabus bin Said of Oman facilitated a secret dialogue between the US and Iran that culminated in the recent Geneva agreement, and the blunt statement by the Omani foreign minister Yusuf bin Alawi in advance of the GCC summit in Kuwait that Oman opposed Saudi proposals for closer union and was prepared to withdraw from …

The Gulf states, the GCC and America

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We have described in earlier postings the near-crisis in US/Saudi relations over disagreements on the Arab spring, Egypt, Syria and Iran, and the reaction of other Gulf states to Iran in particular. One Emirati commentator Mish’al al-Gergawi wrote in the Dubai-based Gulf news on 4 December of a sense of betrayal across the Arabian gulf; “A new generation is taking the helm in many Arab Gulf states. Questions abound over where it will direct their interests and capacities and address the region’s …

Oman

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A visit by Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Omar to Iran has provoked speculation that it was an effort to mediate between Tehran and Washington. Sultan Qaboos is not a frequent traveller. But has important common interests and good relations with Iran, and the visit concluded with the announcement of an agreement by to buy Iranian gas worth …

The Arab Gulf States and the social media

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The social media were credited with an important role in the overthrow of the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in the Arab spring, and it is not surprising that other regimes view them with suspicion as a likely source of subversion. The first article below from the Al Monitor website considers a number of examples of oppressive action in the Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Omar and Qatar, accusing governments of a desperate rearguard action and failure to adapt to technological change; …