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Feb 14, 2013

Teenager killed as Bahrain marks uprising anniversary

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahraini security forces killed a teenager on Thursday, an opposition website said, as activists demonstrated on the second anniversary of an uprising to demand democratic reforms in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state.

The protests could mar reconciliation talks that began on Sunday between mostly Shi’ite Muslim opposition groups and the Sunni-dominated government to try to end political deadlock in the island kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Jan 23, 2013

Bahrain prepares for reconciliation talks

DUBAI, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Bahrain on Wednesday asked
pro-democracy opposition parties to nominate delegates to
prepare for talks to try to break nearly two years of political
deadlock in the Gulf Arab state.

The small island state has been in turmoil since protests
erupted in early 2011 led by majority Shi’ite Muslims demanding
an end to the Sunni-led monarchy’s political domination and full
powers for parliament.

Jan 22, 2013

Bahrain opposition welcomes king’s invitation to talks

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain opposition groups demanding a parliamentary democracy in the Gulf Arab state gave a cautious welcome on Tuesday to an invitation from the king to talks aimed at breaking nearly two years of political deadlock.

King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa made the reconciliation gesture late on Monday, authorising the Justice Ministry to invite “political societies and independent members of the political community” to try to revive discussions that ended inconclusively in July 2011.

Jan 16, 2013

Gulf activists step up campaigns despite quiet crackdown

DUBAI, Jan 16 (Reuters) – When security forces raided the
home of one of his friends in eastern Saudi Arabia one day last
August, Ali al-Fardan felt a net tightening around him.

“Dear friends, I think I am at risk,” the 37-year-old
activist, who uses a pseudonym to avoid arrest, wrote in a
message to his email contacts.

Nov 13, 2012

Bahrain opens Arabian Nights-themed national theatre

MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain’s King Hamad opened one of the largest theatres in the Middle East this week as part of a drive to smooth over months of unrest that have rocked the Gulf Arab state.

But the creation of an elegant cubic glass structure with a golden-colored roof by the seaside may do little to quell lingering unrest between the minority Sunni ruling elite and majority Shi’ite population of a small oil-producing Gulf kingdom that is also home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Oct 24, 2012

Kuwait protests challenge ruling family

DUBAI (Reuters) – Kuwait risks sliding into Arab Spring-style protests over a forthcoming election that has polarized opinion in the Gulf Arab state and posed an unprecedented challenge to the authority of the once revered emir, a close Western ally.

Kuwait saw some of the worst violence in its recent history when tens of thousands of demonstrators – out of a native population of just 1.2 million – protested this week at changes to election laws they see as an attempt to limit the prospects for the opposition at the parliamentary vote on December 1.

Sep 17, 2012

US, allies in Gulf naval exercise as Israel, Iran face off

DUBAI, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The United States and its allies
have launched a major naval exercise in the Gulf that they say
shows a global will to keep oil shipping lanes open as Israel
and Iran trade threats of war.

Publicly announced in July, the operation, known as
IMCMEX-12, focuses on clearing mines that Tehran, or guerrilla
groups, might deploy to disrupt tanker traffic, notably in the
Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.

Jun 9, 2012

Oman detains poet, blogger amid growing discontent

DUBAI (Reuters) – A poet and a blogger were among 10 people arrested in Oman in the past two weeks in what one source said was a police crackdown on dissent amid rising discontent in the small U.S. ally sitting near key Gulf shipping routes.

Activists said on Saturday that six people arrested on Friday night included blogger Hassan Rukaishi, authors Hammoud al-Rashedi and Nabhan al-Hanashi and poet Hamad al-Kharusi.

Jan 10, 2012

Japan asks UAE, S. Arabia for Iran oil backup

ABU DHABI, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Japan has asked Saudi
Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to supply it with more
oil, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said on Tuesday,
as tighter Western sanctions threaten to reduce its oil imports
from Iran.

Japan is considering cutting its Iranian oil purchases to
secure a waiver from the new U.S. sanctions on the Islamic
Republic over its disputed nuclear programme.

Dec 8, 2011

Analysis: Kuwait needs reforms before elections

DUBAI (Reuters) – Kuwait’s emir has resolved a standoff with parliament by dissolving it, but holding elections without addressing the root causes of the country’s political paralysis risks creating a deeper crisis.

The OPEC oil producer, one of Washington’s closest Gulf Arab allies, has for years been torn by bickering between a loose coalition of opposition lawmakers and a government headed by the emir’s nephew, Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, over allegations of corruption and mismanagement which he denies.