Gulf in the News – April 5, 2013

Influence of Iran, Brotherhood on GCC states

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

There is confusion among Gulf citizens about the role of Iran and its intervention in their domestic affairs, and the role of Muslim Brotherhood, or what is called political Islam, which is dominating the Arab Spring states.  With the uprising in Syria in its third year, it is clear for any observer that Iran has spread its security and intelligence influence in the Gulf. Recently, the Saudi Ministry of Interior disclosed that it has busted an Iranian spy network comprising of 16 Saudis and two others from Iran and Lebanon. Similarly, Bahrain revealed the arrest of a terrorist cell which was planning to form an armed opposition force under the name “Al Emam Army” with the aim of attacking military bases in the country.

 Yemen remains region’s “only” example of peaceful transition

Source: Kuwait News Agency (Read full story)

UN Secretary General Ban -Ki-moon’s Special Advisory on Yemen Jamal Ben Oman on Thursday said that despite the challenges ahead, Yemen remains the region’s “only” example of peaceful transition thanks to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprehensive road map. He told reporters after his quarterly oral briefing to the Security Council that a number of reforms have been announced but still not implemented, ” nevertheless, Yemen continues to stand as the only example in the region of a peaceful negotiated transition that is based on a comprehensive road map and a genuine National Dialogue.”

Texas Refinery Is Saudi Foothold in U.S. Market

Source: The New York Times (Read full story)

Saudi Aramco’s investment in the refinery expansion is meant to ensure that Saudi Arabia will retain an important market for its crude in the United States at a time when American politicians are declaring their intention to wean the country off imported oil. Adding to the urgency for the Saudis is the fact that the United States is vastly increasing its production and replacing OPEC crude with that from oil sands in Canada. The expansion of the Port Arthur refinery comes during a particularly complicated period in United States-Saudi relations, as the two countries try to manage changes sweeping the Arab world.

Qatari embassy likely within months in Kabul

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

The diplomat, who declined to be named, said a delegation from the Qatari foreign ministry would soon visit Kabul to kick start the process for which negotiations were under way for more than a year-and-a-half now.
The exact date and composition of the proposed delegation was not known yet because there hasn’t been any official word from Qatar side so far. In Kabul, however, a spokesperson for President Karzai’s secretariat confirmed to media that Qatar would soon establish its embassy in Kabul in a move aimed at further strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.

Health tourism to be world-class

Source: Gulf Daily News (Read full story)

Bahrain has taken a giant step towards becoming a world-class health tourism destination, with Dilmunia at Bahrain, the developer’s top official has said. “This milestone has significant and far-reaching implications for Bahrain,” Ithmaar Development Company (IDC) chief executive and board member Mohammed Khalil Alsayed told the GDN on the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony of the project. “It will, for example, help create potentially thousands of new jobs both directly and indirectly, bolstering the kingdom’s key construction, real estate and tourism industries. “This, in turn, helps attract millions of dollars in investment and contributes to further boosting the national economy,” he said.

 New era’ as Dubai’s second airport gets ready with cheap travel to Europe

Source:  The National (Read full story)

DWC will be looking to emulate the success of its predecessor, Dubai International Airport, which recently overtook Charles De Gaulle in Paris, to become the world’s second-busiest airport for international passenger traffic behind London Heathrow. The data was made available by the Airports Council International monthly traffic report from February. For nasair, which launched in 2007, the move to operate from DWC was inevitable, said Capt Francois Bouteiller, its chief executive. “Dubai’s strategic location, with its continuous growth in travel demand, has encouraged nasair to expand its operation to Dubai World Central, the city’s future hub,” Capt Bouteiller said.