Gulf in the News – February 13, 2013

Yemen’s powerful families still cast shadows

Source: The Washington Post (Read full story)

A year after former president Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in a deal brokered by the United States and Yemen’s Arab neighbors, the country’s three most influential families continue to cast a large shadow over the political transition. Unlike leaders of other nations altered by the Arab Spring revolutions, Yemen’s elites were neither jailed nor exiled, and they have remained inside the country, free to operate as they will. The continuity has helped prevent Yemen from descending into a Syria-like civil war or erupting into the violent political turmoil seen in Egypt and Tunisia. But the elites’ lingering influence has also impeded Yemen’s progress, say activists, analysts and Western diplomats.


Prince Sattam’s passing leaves void in Kingdom

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Riyadh Gov. Prince Sattam, 72, passed away yesterday, the Royal Court announced. Funeral prayers for the late prince will be performed after Asr at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque here today.

The prince had been in the forefront of many developmental and humanitarian activities. Some positions included chairman of insolvent prisoners release committee; deputy chairman of the executive committee of Saudization; deputy chairman of the Riyadh Development Authority; deputy chairman of the board of directors of Al-Birr charitable society in Riyadh; deputy chairman of Prince Salman Charitable Housing Program; and deputy chairman of Ibn Baz charity to help youth to get married.

 FNC delays law allowing expats to own more than 49% of UAE businesses

Source: The National (Read full story)

Legislation that would allow expatriates to own more than 49 per cent of a business has been delayed. The Government had planned to include the legislation as part of the Companies Law being discussed at a two-day session of the Federal National Council. However, the Minister of Economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, agreed with council members today that it should instead be part of the Investors Law – which is not due to be discussed by the council until after the summer break.


A Lasting Peace? Yemen’s Long Journey to National Reconciliation

Source: Brookings Doha Center (Read full story)

 The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered settlement signed in November 2011 successfully induced Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down and laid the foundations for a new transitional government. The deal, however, fell short of providing solutions to the massive and intractable problems facing unity and sustainable peace in Yemen. Yemen has not yet investigated and grappled with its past, including the numerous human rights abuses that occurred during Saleh’s 33 years of dictatorship. Yemen’s former ruling party, meanwhile, continues to be a major player in the country’s politics without having engaged in serious internal reform.

Why are SMEs failing in Makkah?

Source: The Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

The failure rate of all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Makkah stands at a shockingly high 70 percent, a local newspaper recently reported quoting the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The chamber, however, did not specify the nature of these enterprises and whether they were commercial or industrial. If these SMEs are commercial or service establishments, such a high failure rate is unacceptable. Makkah is a large and exuberant market and commercial activity in the holy city is no longer tied to the Haj as the Umrah season lasts for several months. I am not exaggerating when I say pilgrims coming for Haj or Umrah are not less than 10 million every year.

GCC construction sector may face skills shortage

Source: The Gulf Daily News (Read full story)

The construction industry in Bahrain and across the region could face skills shortage in the near future. The massive expansion in projects – expected to be worth as much as $4.5 trillion over the next four to five years – could see the Gulf struggling to find people to carry out this work, according to Bahrain Society of Engineers president Abdul Majeed Al Gassab. He was speaking on the sidelines of the ninth International Concrete Conference and Exhibition at the Gulf Hotel which closes today.