Gulf in the News – April 15, 2013

GCC urges IAEA to send team to Iran nuclear plant

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

The Gulf Co-operation Council yesterday called for international inspectors to be sent to Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant over concerns of possible radiation leaks after an earthquake hit the area. The body demanded the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “send a specialised technical team to inspect the Bushehr nuclear plant and investigate potential damage”, GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani told an emergency meeting of top Gulf officials. A 6.1 magnitude quake hit Iran on Tuesday at a depth of 12km in the area of Kaki, according to the Iranian Seismological Centre.

Saudi Arabia Sees Limited Impact from US Shale Oil While SABIC Eyes Gas

Source: Saudi-US Trade Group (Read full story)

According to the source, Ibrahim al-Muhanna, that psychological fear is likely “misplaced” because “the increases in the production of shale oil during the remaining part of this decade will be restricted to the U.S. and Canada within the limits of 1.5 million barrels per day, which is a small quantity in a market where demand exceeds 90 million barrels per day.” Although the shale boom may or may not significantly affect crude oil markets, the boom in natural gas production and its effects on other energy markets (coalrenewables, etc.)can’t be ignored. And for the world’s largest petrochemical company, Saudi Arabia’s SABIC, watching from the sidelines is apparently not the strategy.

Four ministers targeted amid ‘reshuffle’ demands – Attempt to put pressure on PM

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)


Amid repeated threats to grill the First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah, efforts are under way to put pressure on the Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah to carry out a Cabinet reshuffle during the summer, according to recent reports. Al-Qabas reported yesterday, quoting sources with knowledge of some MPs’ views that minister Al-Hmoud could eventually find himself facing two grilling motions “if lawmakers failed to agree on a unified interpellation.” The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, further pointed out that efforts, led by MP Yousuf Al-Zalzalah, were being made with regard to questioning the interior minister “which are expected to finish very soon.”

UAE opens Emirati mission’s headquarters at NATO

Source: The National (Read full story)

The opening of the UAE mission embodies the strong relationship between the UAE and NATO, which has developed significantly since the UAE joined the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative in 2004. it did so with the aim of consolidating stability and peace in the Gulf region. The UAE has been a strong contributor to the Atlantic Alliance’s efforts to provide security and stability in many areas of the world, such as Afghanistan and Libya.

Saudi prince supports women driving

Source: Gulf News (Read full story)

The business tycoon who insists on the significance of reforms last week tweeted that the era of the “ostrich” was over and the era of “openness” has begun, in reference to the mythical ostriches that choose not to see problems by burying their heads in the sand when confronted with difficulties. The debate over allowing women to drive has been heating up in Saudi Arabia and the remarks by Al Waleed have accentuated the arguments of the camp supporting the much anticipated breakthrough in the socially conservative society. The presence of thousands of male drivers to drive mainly Saudi women and girls has been regularly used by supporters of allowing women to drive to highlight negative social and economic problems.

Military restructure moves ahead with fresh leadership 

Source: Yemen Times (Read full story)

 Newly-appointed military leaders began work on Saturday following President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s Wednesday announcement of a military shake-up. In a meeting, officials said the leaders were eager to assume their roles and unite the army by its May deadline, dissolving former divisions.   The Republican Guards—previously headed by Ahmed Ali Saleh, son of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh—were integrated into the newly-created Spare Forces, under the command of General Ali Al-Jaifi. The Spare Forces are composed of six brigades and will continue to be “elite,” just like the Republican Guards, meaning they will be equipped and trained to a higher standard.