Energy and Commodities Correspondent, UAE
Amena's Feed
Oct 6, 2014

Saudi Arabia relieved as well-protected haj nears close

MENA Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia breathed a sign of relief on Monday as the haj pilgrimage neared its close without the militant attacks or deadly epidemics that threatened to upset the huge annual Muslim journey of faith.

The kingdom said this year’s tighter security and sanitary precautions had paid off, allowing 2.085 million pilgrims to visit Mecca and other holy sites in safety this year, just slightly higher than the 1.98 million pilgrims last year.

Oct 4, 2014

At haj, Saudi Arabia clerics step up anti-Islamic State drive

MINA Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Taking aim at Islamic State, Saudi Arabia has mounted a battle for hearts and minds at this year’s haj, warning pilgrims that the hardline group is “evil” and seeking to recruit their children to fight in Iraq and Syria.

As millions of pilgrims visited the holiest sites in Islam on the second day of the annual pilgrimage on Saturday, global leaders condemned the fourth beheading of a Westerner by Islamic State insurgents.

Oct 3, 2014

Sentiment divided at haj pilgrimage over role of Islamist militants

ARAFAT Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Former Egyptian army officer Suliman Ouda minced no words as he climbed Mount Arafat, denouncing Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq as terrorists.

But Syrian engineer Ahmed Orabi, standing nearby on the hill where Muslims on their haj pilgrimage beg God’s forgiveness, disagreed.

Oct 2, 2014

Saudi authorities on Ebola watch as millions gather for haj

MECCA, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Anxious to safeguard Islam’s haj
pilgrimage from the threat of Ebola, Saudi authorities are
screening pilgrims arriving from West Africa and have deployed
mobile laboratories to test any suspected cases quickly.

The kingdom expects nearly 3 million pilgrims in Mecca this
year, including 1.4 million from abroad. The health ministry
said on Thursday it has been working with the World Health
Organisation and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
to contain the threat of Ebola, which has killed 3,300 people in
West Africa this year.

Oct 2, 2014

Mecca gold sales down as pilgrims still recovering post Arab Spring

MECCA, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s retail gold
merchants used to look forward to brisk sales during the annual
hajj pilgrimage to Mecca but lingering economic hardships since
the Arab Spring have left shops eerily empty this year,
retailers said.

Traditionally, Arab visitors to the Muslim holy city
generated the bulk of jewellery sales during the hajj period,
buying necklaces, rings and bracelets as gifts to take home.

Sep 16, 2014

Al Qaeda groups urge warring militants in Iraq, Syria to unite

DOHA (Reuters) – Two al Qaeda branches urged warring militant factions in Iraq and Syria to stop fighting each other and unite against a U.S.-led alliance preparing to attack the ultra hardline Islamic State armed group, according to a joint statement posted online.

“Stop the infighting between you and stand as one rank against America’s campaign and that of its satanic alliance that lies in wait for all of us, to break us stick by stick,” al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said in a rare joint statement.

Aug 28, 2014

Hamas leader says Gaza only a ‘milestone to reaching our objective’

DOHA (Reuters) – Hamas will not cease its resistance against Israel until all its demands are met, the group’s overall leader Khaled Meshaal said on Thursday, adding that the latest conflict over Gaza was only “a milestone to reaching our objective”.

    Speaking at a news conference in Doha, where he lives in exile, Meshaal said the group would never give up its arms as part of any deal. He also said the group’s military commander, caught earlier this month in an Israeli air strike, was “fine”.

Aug 26, 2014

Qatar seeks to free more U.S. hostages in Syria: source

DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar is working to help free four Americans held hostage in Syria by various armed groups, a Gulf source familiar with the matter said on Monday, a day after the Gulf Arab state’s diplomacy helped free a journalist held since 2012.

The source declined to name the four or provide details, and Reuters could not independently verify the assertion, but his account was broadly supported by other sources.

Aug 6, 2014

Qatar emir issues law raising foreign ownership limits for stocks

DOHA/DUBAI, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Qatar’s emir has issued a law
providing for foreign investors to own up to 49 percent of
listed Qatari companies, part of reforms to expand the stock
market and develop the financial industry.

“The law stipulates that non-Qatari investors are allowed to
own no more than 49 percent of the shares of Qatari shareholding
companies listed on Qatar Exchange,” the official Qatar News
Agency (QNA) said on Wednesday.

Jul 21, 2014

Analysis- Arab rifts may complicate search for Gaza truce

DOHA/CAIRO (Reuters) – The push for a Gaza ceasefire risks becoming mired in a regional tussle for influence between conservative Arab states and Islamist-friendly governments, with rival powers competing to take credit for a truce, analysts and some officials say.

The main protagonists are Arab heavyweight Egypt and the tiny Gulf state of Qatar, on opposite sides of a regional standoff over Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, and its ideological patron the Muslim Brotherhood.