Correspondent, Beirut
Sylvia's Feed
Nov 25, 2013

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait tighten controls on clerics

DUBAI/KUWAIT (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been quietly reining in their clerics on concerns that preachers could use their influence to stir up trouble and inflame sectarian divisions at a time of high tension over the crises in Syria and Egypt.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to a powerful conservative clergy, have declined to respond to local media reports in recent months which said nearly 20 clerics had been sacked or suspended.

Oct 31, 2013

Kuwaiti MP to question prime minister over housing

KUWAIT (Reuters) – A Kuwaiti lawmaker has filed a request to question the prime minister in parliament over housing and graft, in a sign of renewed political discord in the major Gulf oil producer.

The move against Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, a senior ruling family member, comes just two days after the opening of parliament, where officials have said tackling a shortage of government-funded housing is a priority.

Oct 31, 2013

Bahraini bank AUB seeks to complete Gulf jigsaw with M&A

MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank AUBB.BH (AUB) is looking for acquisitions in its existing markets and in new ones as it tries to build a network across the Middle East, its chief executive said.

Its desire to expand across borders reflects a trend among Gulf banks, which are increasingly outgrowing their home markets. Rising trade and travel among the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are also pushing the region’s banks to become more international.

Oct 29, 2013

Housing shortage poses a dilemma for Kuwait

KUWAIT, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Kuwait, one of the world’s
richest countries per capita, must make tackling a shortage of
government-funded housing its top priority, officials in the
Gulf Arab state said at the opening of parliament on Tuesday.

Accustomed to a welfare state which is generous by
international comparisons, Kuwaitis say they may have to wait
for up to 20 years on the housing list.

Oct 28, 2013

Kuwait’s PM says welfare state is “unsustainable”, calls for cuts

KUWAIT, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Kuwait’s prime minister has
called the Gulf Arab state’s welfare system unsustainable and
said the major oil producer needs to cut spending and the
consumption of its natural resources.

In some of the strongest comments yet from a senior
government official on Kuwait’s rising spending bill, Sheikh
Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah said a “transformation” was needed to
avoid future problems.

Oct 27, 2013

Kuwait telco Zain looks to expand into North Africa

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Mobile telecommunications group Zain (ZAIN.KW: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) wants to expand in North Africa by taking controlling stakes in companies or winning management contracts in the region, the Kuwaiti group’s chief executive said.

Expanding abroad would appear to mark a reversal of Zain’s strategy after it sold most of its Africa assets to India’s Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $9 billion in 2010, and attempted unsuccessfully to offload its stake in Saudi affiliate Zain Saudi 7030.SE in 2011.

Oct 24, 2013

Turkey raps international failure to tackle Syria aid crisis

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign minister on Thursday deplored what he called an international failure to tackle the humanitarian crisis in war-ridden Syria, saying food and medicine are running out and snipers are shooting pregnant women.

Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey, which has received more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, would keep its border with Syria open to people fleeing the violence but said the world needed to share the humanitarian burden.

Oct 21, 2013

U.S. tries to calm Saudi anger over Syria, Iran

PARIS/KUWAIT (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought on Monday to calm rising tensions with Saudi Arabia, which has spurned a U.N. Security Council seat in fury at inaction over the crisis in Syria.

Saudi Arabia rejected a coveted two-year term on the council on Friday in a rare display of anger over what it called “double standards” at the United Nations. Its stance won praise from its Gulf Arab allies and Egypt.

Oct 21, 2013

Gulf states, Egypt back Saudi rejection of U.N. seat

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Arab allies and Egypt have applauded its decision to reject a U.N. Security Council seat in protest at the world body’s failure to act on Syria, whose leader is backed by Russia and Shi’ite Iran.

Saudi Arabia turned down a coveted two-year term on the council on Friday in a rare display of anger with what it called “double standards” in the United Nations.

Sep 19, 2013

Insight: Iraqis hesitate on the edge of chaos

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – In Sadr City, an impoverished district of northeastern Baghdad, local people say the anger of Shi’ite Muslims against Sunni militants is ready to erupt into violence.

“Iraq today is boiling like a volcano and it could blow at any minute,” said Ali al-Husseini, a 27-year-old cleric.

    • About Sylvia

      "Sylvia is based in Beirut, covering Lebanon and Syria. She joined Reuters as a graduate trainee in 2006 and has been based in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Kuwait and has reported from South Korea, Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq. She moved to Beirut in 2014."
      Joined Reuters:
      2006
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