Gulf in the News – February 19, 2014

Bomb attacks in Iraq kill at least 49

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Bombs exploded in different districts of the Iraqi capital and in the southern city of Hilla on Tuesday, killing at least 49 people, police and hospital sources said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

9 dead, 14 soldiers seized after Yemen clash

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Nine people were killed and 14 soldiers kidnapped on Tuesday after a clash between gunmen and Yemeni troops in the southern city of Dalea, a separatist stronghold, local residents and the defense ministry said.

Salafists condemn Gulf security pact: Kuwait

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

The Islamic Salafist Alliance joined political groups in Kuwait that announced their rejection to the Gulf security pact, indicating in a statement Monday that the agreement contains ‘ambiguous’ articles and are suspected to be in violation of the constitution.

In an official statement made available to the press Monday, the Salafist alliance expressed reservation on some articles of the security pact “and suspicions of constitutional violations that they carry”.

GCC states need to rein in spending for sustainable growth

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

Gulf nations, which enjoy limited monetary policy maneuverability with their currencies pegged to the US dollar, should work to build a self-sustaining private sector, which can cushion the economy from oil revenue volatility, says Amit Tyagi, vice president at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. He also suggests decoupling spending decisions from oil prices to evaluate the non-oil economy on a stand-alone basis.

Highly imports-dependent Gulf countries should take advantage of the oil windfall to finance longer-term labour market and intellectual property reforms. They need to rein in hard-to-reverse expenditures to pursue high-quality capital investments and social programmes to ensure sustainable growth, according to the IMF.

Saudis use nine times more electricity than fellow Arabs

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Saudi individuals use on average nine times more electricity than their fellow Arab counterparts in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan and Morocco, according to a report published on Tuesday.

These countries have 185.6 million people, seven times more than Saudi Arabia. Egypt has a population of 79.39 million, Algeria 37.76 million, Sudan 36.43 million and Morocco 32.06 million. Saudi Arabia has a population of 28.4 million.