Gulf in the News – November 25, 2013

GCC states fear N-deal will boost Iran’s regional desires

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies feel let down by their US ally and want good relations with their Shia neighbour Iran but also fear the Geneva nuclear deal will boost its regional ambitions, analysts say. Saudi Arabia and the oil- and gas-rich nations of the Gulf were weighing their reactions yesterday hours after the agreement was signed between Iran and Western powers. Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in the breakthrough interim deal that world powers claimed was the biggest step in decade-long efforts to deny Iran an atomic bomb. But Gulf states have never made a secret of their concerns about Iranian regional ambitions. “In principle, the Gulf states want good relations with Iran,” Saudi analyst Jamal Khashoggi said.

Cement industry in KSA, Kuwait set to flourish

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

The cement industry in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait is expected to flourish due to the current construction boom in GCC region where the total value of projects planned or underway is estimated at $2.3 trillion, according to Kuwait Finance House (KFH). The weekly economic report of KFH, also known as Baitak, said government support has been a key factor driving growth in regional construction and cement sectors. Most GCC countries have allocated large portions of their respective budgets for construction activities. For the 2013-14 fiscal period, GCC’s aggregate budget expenditure stood over $400 billion.

Solar power plant to boost Oman’s energy resources

Source: Times of Oman (Read full story)

US-based company Astonfield and the Omani Rural Areas Electricity Company recently signed the first agreement to generate electricity from renewable energy resources like the sun in Oman. Astonfield, in cooperation with the local firm Multitech, will establish a pilot solar power plant in the state of Al Mazyunah in the Dhofar Governorate, which will begin commercial operation in mid-2014 with a 303 KW capacity.

Shaikh Khalifa renews UAE’s solidarity with the Palestinian people

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday renewed the United Arab Emirates’ continued solidarity with the Palestinian people to fully realize their inalienable rights, including the declaration of an independent and viable Palestinian state with Al Quds Al Sharif (East Jerusalem) as its capital. This was conveyed on Monday morning in a letter from Shaikh Khalifa to Ambassador Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, celebrated by the UN Secretariat at its headquarters in New York.

Ooredoo poised to end Qatar’s Islamic bonds drought

Source: The National (Read full story)

Ooredoo, the biggest phone operator in Qatar, is poised to end the country’s two-year drought of corporate Islamic bond sales, paving the way for further issues from the host of the Fifa World Cup 2022.  The company formerly known as Qatar Telecom plans to hold investor meetings this week before a potential dollar-denominated sale. The last Sharia-compliant corporate issue from Qatar was the US$215 million sale from Almana Group in June 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Six dollar sukuk have been sold from the country in the past five years.

Bahrain arrests 2 ex-Gitmo suspects

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

 Bahraini authorities have arrested two Gulf citizens who are former Gitmo inmates on suspicion of preparing a “terrorist act,” state media reported on Sunday. A police chief, quoted by official news agency BNA, said the two suspects, whose names and nationalities were not disclosed, had entered Bahrain with fake passports from Saudi Arabia. The two would be referred to court, he said. “The initial investigation revealed that the arrestees are former detainees of the Guantanamo detention center.