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Nov 13, 2013

Analysis: Yemen fighting risks deepening sectarian divisions

DUBAI (Reuters) – A deadly assault by Shi’ite Houthi rebels on a Salafi Islamic school planted in their mountain heartland could ignite wider sectarian conflict in Yemen, where instability has already helped al Qaeda militants to take root.

The Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite Islam, have bombarded the sprawling Dar al-Hadith seminary in Dammaj village for two weeks, killing at least 100 people.

Nov 13, 2013

Yemen fighting risks deepening sectarian divisions

DUBAI, Nov 12 (Reuters) – A deadly assault by Shi’ite Houthi
rebels on a Salafi Islamic school planted in their mountain
heartland could ignite wider sectarian conflict in Yemen, where
instability has already helped al Qaeda militants to take root.

The Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite
Islam, have bombarded the sprawling Dar al-Hadith seminary in
Dammaj village for two weeks, killing at least 100 people.

Aug 12, 2013

Bahrain will ‘forcefully confront’ planned August 14 protests: PM

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain’s prime minister said on Monday his government would “forcefully confront” protests called for later this week, and warned those behind planned demonstrations that they would be punished, state news agency BNA reported.

Protesters inspired by youth-led protests in Egypt that pushed the army to oust Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last month called for rallies on Wednesday, at a time of escalating clashes between police and pro-opposition demonstrators.

Jul 4, 2013

Gulf Arabs greet Egypt’s new leader, Turkey slams ‘coup’

DUBAI (Reuters) – Gulf Arab states welcomed Egypt’s interim leader on Thursday, hopeful his appointment would stem the rise of Islamists in the Middle East, but the military overthrow of an elected president drew a guarded response from Iran and condemnation from Turkey.

The United States expressed concern at the ouster of Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday and called for a swift return to democracy, as did the European Union. But they stopped short of calling it a coup, which might have led to sanctions.

Jul 3, 2013

Wary of Mursi, Gulf Arabs keen to appear neutral in Egypt crisis

DUBAI/RIYADH, July 3 (Reuters) – Gulf Arab rulers are
resisting the temptation to gloat in public about the political
woes of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, a group most of them
mistrust, for fear of deepening unrest in a country that remains
a potential ally in their standoff with Iran.

Officials and analysts said official Gulf Arab silence
reflected a longstanding belief among the mainly small,
U.S.-allied Sunni Muslim-ruled oil producers that their security
is closely linked to that of Egypt, the most populous country in
the Arab World, which is also Sunni.

Jun 24, 2013

Qatar readies new leadership, little policy change expected

DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar appeared on Monday to be readying its population of nearly 2 million for new leadership that could see the emir and prime minister step down, a move analysts say would not herald big changes in energy, investment or foreign policies.

The tiny country, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is a global investment powerhouse, a growing force in international media and sport, and a financial backer of Arab Spring revolts in alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Jun 14, 2013

In Mecca, Saudi cleric urges followers to back Syria rebels

DUBAI (Reuters) – A senior cleric in Islam’s holy city Mecca exhorted followers on Friday to support Syrian rebels by “all means”, the latest in a series of rhetorical attacks on President Bashar al-Assad reflecting rising sectarian tension across the Middle East.

His appeal came at a time when momentum on the battlefield has been shifting in Assad’s favor, just a few months after analysts wrote him off, making the prospect of his swift removal and an end to Syria’s civil war look remote in the near future.

Jun 13, 2013

Saudi Arabia arrests dozens in protest over prisoners: activists

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi security forces arrested dozens of people this week during protests by families seeking freedom for relatives detained on security charges, activists and witnesses said.

Families of security detainees have regularly staged small protests in Riyadh and some other cities over the past two years in defiance of a government ban on demonstrations.

Jun 12, 2013

Gulf Shi’ites fear rising sectarian rhetoric over Syria

DUBAI, June 12 (Reuters) – Shi’ite Muslims in the Gulf,
alarmed by the shrill sectarian rhetoric of some Sunni clerics
after Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia entered Syria’s civil war,
fear they will be blamed and may be victimised for the
bloodshed.

“Hate language is on the rise, in the press, on social media
and even at lectures in mosques. Shi’ites in general are being
blamed for what’s happening in Syria,” said Waleed Sulais, a
researcher at the Saudi Adalah Centre for Human Rights.

Jun 10, 2013

Zawahri steps into row between Syrian and Iraqi al Qaeda wings

DUBAI (Reuters) – Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has intervened in a dispute between the Iraqi and Syrian branches of his network, telling both to “stop arguing”, Qatar-based Al Jazeera television reported.

Al Qaeda in Iraq announced in April that it had united with Syria’s Nusra Front, which now spearheads the fight against President Bashar al-Assad. This upset Nusra, which affirmed its loyalty to Zawahri but said it had not been told of any merger.