Gulf in the News – May 13, 2013

US-led action in Syria would empower Iran, not weaken it

Source: The National (Read full story)

The Iranian leadership has a successful track record of emerging as the winner whenever a sovereign state in the Middle East experiences instability, civil war or foreign intervention. For instance, the protracted civil war in Lebanon created a ripe environment for Iranian leaders to give birth to one of the strongest non-state actors in the region, Hizbollah. Also, after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Iranian leaders were immediately able to help create a powerful Shiite proxy in Iraq – the Mahdi Army – as well as coordinate with Shiite leaders to infiltrate Iraqi governmental affairs. The Iranian leadership and Revolutionary Guard’s strategies are characterised not by public or foreign interventions, but by clandestine investments in local, community-based, organised groups that empower a proxy capable of fighting not only regional governments but world powers.

$ 600 bn Saudi projects to be awarded in 2013

 The GCC projects industry is expected to have another stellar year in 2013 as the value of contracts to be awarded is expected to reach $1.35 trillion by year-end, significantly higher than the $ 730 billion total last year. “The huge projects being delivered across the GCC today are the foundation for the region’s long-term success,” said an industry expert. “Through the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, in association with Ernst & Young, we seek to support this vital activity by recognizing and celebrating the best achievements in the GCC projects industry,” added Edmund O’Sullivan, chairman, MEED Events, organizer of the event.
Bahrain opposition warned over calls to subvert polls

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Bahrain has warned against calls to subvert the coming legislative elections, scheduled to be held in 2014. “Incitement to violence and chaos, reminiscent of the February 2011 unrest, to derail the forthcoming fourth legislative term polls would be deterred with the force of the law,” Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa said on Saturday. He was responding to a call by Al Wefaq Society secretary-general Shaikh Ali Salman, who while addressing an event held at a worshipping venue in Samaheej, asked for escalation of protests in the run-up to the legislative elections.

Doha Forum on region’s new democracies

Source: The Peninsula Qatar (Read full story)

Discussions at the two-day forum will also evaluate the impact of the digital era on foreign affairs, looking at both the challenges for national security and opportunities for digital diplomacy, he added.“We will also be welcoming Dr John Ashe, President-elect of the UN General Assembly as well as several former leaders, including former Prime Minister of the UK, Gordon Brown and Former Prime Minister of France, Francois Fillon, – both of whom stewarded their countries through the onset of the global economic crisis,” Jabr Al Thani said.

Unemployment and gender in Saudi Arabia

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

This low rate of employment for Saudi women is quite low by international standards, where the rate of employment for women reaches an average of (57) percent in industrialized countries. Saudi Arabia has made great advances in educating women, but that has not enabled them to find gainful employment outside the house. In one generation, Saudi women went from having one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, to having one of the highest rates of university education. There are in fact more women university students than men in Saudi Arabia. However these significant achievements in educating women have not translated into significant employment opportunities. According to CDSI figures, nearly (80) of unemployed Saudi women hold university degrees.

 USA, Saudi Arabia talks to hasten setting up fund to support Yemen

Source: Yemen News Agency (Read full story)

 The US ambassador to Yemen on Monday revealed talks between the USA and Saudi Arabia to accelerate measures to establish a fund to support Yemen during the next stage. Gerald Feierstein said that Washington will continue to provide all aspects of support to the Yemeni government to succeed the transitional stage. The U.S. ambassador’s statement made during a meeting held in Sana’a gathered Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mohammed al-Sa’adi and Finance Minister Sakhr al-Wajih with US treasury deputy assistant secretary for Africa and the Middle East Andrew Baukol.