More moves on the Gulf chessboard

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There has been no apparent progress in repairing relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. On 25 May Bahrain announced that the Bahrain Ambassador will not return to Qatar at present and that "GCC committees are still working on overcoming differences." According to the Doha News the Saudi and UAE ambassadors also …

Road deaths

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Note by WAND: at the suggestion of a subscriber we introduce today an occasional additional feature to the WAND: a conversation point "What's trending" which could be used in the small talk which precedes a business conversation in the Middle East. Comments welcome.
The Middle East is regarded as a dangerous area, and that is true at …

Expat labour: Qatar and wider

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First, we thank James Spencer for the following comment on yesterday's posting on MERS:
One small quibble, if I may: "around a quarter of those infected have died." I think it more accurate to say "around a quarter of those known to be infected have died." Many of those who died had underlying, often chronic, conditions.
We …

Hunting (2)

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Our posting yesterday attracted some valuable comments, for which we thank subscribers. The picture is more complex and in some respects more encouraging than the one we presented. A number of national organisations in the countries of the region are involved in conservation and in several cases reintroduction of endangered species. A list at link …

Hunting

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is part of the culture of the desert Arab. But the fauna of Arabia and North Africa was never abundant in historical times, and with guns everywhere and now the all-terrain vehicle the leopard and the oryx have been following the lion and the ostrich into extinction. The houbara bustard, the preferred game for hunting with falcons, has …

GCC: crisis papered over

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On 17 April the Omani minister of foreign affairs Yusuf bin Alawi told the press that the crisis between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on one hand and Qatar on the other was over, a "temporary tempest that already passed". The GCC foreign ministers meeting in Riyadh (including the Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Atiya …

GCC: finding a solution?

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The row which broke out last month when Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain announced withdrawal of their ambassadors from Qatar has not been settled, but nor has it developed. The Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal said on 18 March “There will not be any breakthrough unless Qatar — which caused the crisis …

Kuwait

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Apart from its role in chairing the difficult Arab summit meeting last month, has not been much in the news. The Minister of Justice, Islamic endowments and Islamic affairs Nayef al-Ajmi is an exception, with an on-off story of resignation following his denunciation by the US Treasury undersecretary David Cohen. In a lecture at the Washington-based …

Cameron and the Muslim Brotherhood

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The Prime Minister David Cameron has commissioned a review of the Muslim Brotherhood "to get a better understanding of the organisation through its philosophy, approach and influence, and what that means for Britain.". Answering a question at a joint press conference with the Italian Prime Minister on 1 April, following a report …

Now thrive the armourers

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Arms sales in the Middle East are rarely out of the news. A recent example is a Reuters report that Iran is selling Iraq arms worth $195 million, contrary to the UN embargo on weapons sales by Iran. Separately Reuters last month reported that according to a study by the Stockholm International …