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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.

Nov 30, 2011

UAE fund plans to help pay debts of poor

DUBAI, Nov 30 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates on
Wednesday set up a 10 billion dirham ($2.7 billion) fund to help
pay low-income citizens’ debts and announced plans to raise
wages of some state employees, which may support its economy but
also increase the fiscal burden.

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan also ordered a
doubling of salaries of some state employees in the judiciary,
health and education sectors from January to mark the 40th
anniversary of the founding of the UAE, state news agency WAM
said.

Nov 24, 2011

Yemen’s Saleh, quitting or dancing on the heads of snakes

DUBAI (Reuters) – After months of evasion, procrastination and defiance, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had one more surprise up his sleeve: he signed a Gulf accord which, on paper at least, stripped him of his powers.

Yemenis now turn to just how the deal will be implemented to secure the dismantling of the rule of the 69-year-old whose iron grip enmeshed his family, friends and allies in the nation’s military, business and economy.

Nov 24, 2011

Analysis: Saleh, quitting or dancing on the heads of snakes

DUBAI (Reuters) – After months of evasion, procrastination and defiance, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had one more surprise up his sleeve: he signed a Gulf accord which, on paper at least, stripped him of his powers.

Yemenis now turn to just how the deal will be implemented to secure the dismantling of the rule of the 69-year-old whose iron grip enmeshed his family, friends and allies in the nation’s military, business and economy.

Oct 21, 2011

Arabs see Gaddafi’s death as lesson to other tyrants

DUBAI (Reuters) – For many Arabs, the humiliating capture and killing of Muammar Gaddafi, the longest-serving Arab leader, is a lesson to other tyrants in a region that has overthrown three long-serving rulers this year.

But some said on Friday that Libya would have been better off if its former leader had been given a fair trial for abuses committed during his 42-year rule, which ended when rebels captured the capital Tripoli in August.