Gulf in the News – August 15, 2013

‘Al-Douri apologized to former premier for Iraqi Invasion’

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

Kuwait’s former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah received an official apology from a senior Ba’ath Party figure for the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait on August 2, 1990, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported yesterday quoting an Iraqi lawmaker. Furthermore, MP Hassan Al-Alawi, himself a former Ba’athist who defected from the group before former President Saddam Hussein assumed power, claimed possession of ‘secrets regarding the Iraqi – Kuwaiti relationship’ which he said could lead to “catastrophic results” if exposed.

Qatar ‘strongly denounces’ force against peaceful sit-ins

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

Qatar strongly condemned a bloody crackdown in Cairo yesterday by security forces against supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi.  “Qatar strongly denounces the means by which peaceful protesters in Rabaa al-Adawiya camp and Al-Nahda square have been dealt with and which led to the killing of several unarmed innocent people among them,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement published on the official Qatar News Agency (QNA). It urged the Egyptian authorities to end the use of force and “preserve the lives of protesters” and the “peaceful nature” of the protests.

Saudis avoid GCC tourism investments

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Despite the effort of GCC countries to boost tourism investments, Saudi investors still prefer investing in Europe and the Far East and avoid investment in GCC countries. Ibrahim Al-Nabhani, chairman of the Tourism Committee at the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry Union, explained that Gulf countries are seeking to attract both Gulf and foreign investors to revive the tourism sector, following reluctance of local companies and individuals to invest in the sector despite the strong components available.

Bahrain’s police, protesters clash

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

Bahraini police fired tear gas and birdshot at demonstrators yesterday, witnesses said, as protests called for by activists to press demands for democratic change in the US-allied Gulf kingdom turned violent. Activists have stepped up a two-and-a-half-year-old campaign to push the Sunni Muslim ruling family into allowing more democracy in the Shiite-majority state of 1.25 million people. Bahrain is an important US regional ally against Shiite Iran. Opposition figures had called in social media for mass rallies yesterday in Bahrain, prompting the authorities to tighten security and warn of tough measures and leading the United States to temporarily close its embassy.

GCC’s bilateral trade with Japan falls in H1

Source: Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

GCC exports to Japan dropped by around eight percent in the first half of 2013 after they soared to their highest level in 2012, the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) data showed. Oil prices dropped to an average $105 in the first half of 2013 from over $110 in the first half of 2012. Imports from Japan by the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries also reversed a steady increase over the past few years and declined in the first half of 2013, the data also revealed. From around $81.64 billion in the first half of 2012, the GCC’s combined exports to Japan slumped to nearly $74.83 billion in the first half of this year.

UAE follows Egyptian govt’s sovereign measures

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has issued the following statement on Wednesday: “The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is following with great concern the developments of the situation in Egypt. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs re-affirms its understanding of the sovereign measures taken by the Egyptian government after having exercised maximum self-control, and also after having called for a comprehensive national reconciliation that does not exclude anyone from contributing to the political process within the framework of the roadmap to the future, which came in response to the will of the Egyptian people, and which was demonstrated on the 30th of June 2013.