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Dec 11, 2013

Kuwait spy chief worried by turmoil in Iraq

MANAMA (Reuters) – Kuwait is anxious about instability in Iraq and disappointed at its neighbour’s failure to arrest a militia leader who said his group was behind a mortar attack on Saudi Arabia, a Kuwaiti intelligence chief said.

Sheikh Thamer al-Sabah, President of Kuwait’s National Security Bureau intelligence service, said in a rare interview that his working relationships with his counterparts in Iraq, which occupied Kuwait in 1990-91, and Iran needed improvement.

Dec 8, 2013

Iran, Saudi strategists spar, swap ideas, over Gulf security

MANAMA (Reuters) – Invoking religious faith and desert folklore, Gulf Arab officials proclaim wariness about a possible thaw in relations between their ally the United States and regional rival Iran.

A former Iranian official says the Islamic Republic and its neighbours should learn peaceful coexistence, without Gulf Arabs relying on the West for security. U.S.-Iranian d├ętente could bolster stability from north Africa to central Asia, he says.

Dec 8, 2013

India not keen on U.S.-style Gulf security role: Khurshid

MANAMA (Reuters) – Foreign minister Salman Khurshid said India had no interest in filling the breach if Washington decided to reduce its military footprint in the Gulf, and cautioned that the region would not be well-served by turning to other Asian powers, like China.

“We have never played the classical role of intervening with military assistance in the same way that the U.S. has been doing,” Khurshid told Reuters.

Dec 7, 2013

Rising power India sees no U.S.-style Gulf security role

MANAMA (Reuters) – Rising naval power India has no intention of becoming a U.S.-style protector of Gulf Arab states, even if the region’s states asked it to take on that role, its foreign minister said on Saturday, citing his country’s avoidance of foreign military deployments not mandated by the United Nations.

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid added without elaborating that any effort by fellow Asian powers Japan and China to become a strategic security partner of the Gulf would not necessarily help secure the region, where deployed U.S. forces are currently the dominant military power.

Dec 7, 2013

India says has no interest in U.S.-style Gulf security role

MANAMA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – India’s foreign minister said his
country had no interest in filling the breach if Washington
decided to reduce its military footprint in the Gulf, and
cautioned that the region would not be well-served by turning to
other Asian powers, like China.

“We have never played the classical role of intervening with
military assistance in the same way that the U.S. has been
doing,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Reuters.

Dec 7, 2013

Qatar pushes for Gulf Arab inclusion in Iran talks

MANAMA (Reuters) – Gulf Arab states must have a seat at nuclear talks between world powers and neighbouring Iran because of their own stake in regional stability, Qatar’s foreign minister said on Saturday.

Gulf Arab capitals cautiously welcomed an interim nuclear accord between Tehran and six powers agreed on November 24, but some officials said Western allies had not briefed them adequately on a deal central to regional as well as global security.

Nov 24, 2013

U.S.-Iran thaw starts to reshape Mideast power balance

DUBAI (Reuters) – An interim international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme could tilt the balance of power in the Middle East towards Tehran after two years of popular revolts that have weakened leading Arab nations.

Sunday’s agreement opens the way for a thaw in U.S.-Iranian confrontation that has lasted almost as long as the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, alarming Israel and Gulf Arab rulers who fear a new regional hegemon deeply hostile to their interests.

Nov 24, 2013

Analysis: U.S.-Iran thaw starts to reshape Mideast power balance

DUBAI (Reuters) – An interim international deal on Iran’s nuclear program could tilt the balance of power in the Middle East towards Tehran after two years of popular revolts that have weakened leading Arab nations.

Sunday’s agreement opens the way for a thaw in U.S.-Iranian confrontation that has lasted almost as long as the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, alarming Israel and Gulf Arab rulers who fear a new regional hegemony deeply hostile to their interests.

Nov 21, 2013

Gulf buyers eye future purchases of Lockheed’s F-35 jet

DUBAI (Reuters) – Gulf buyers are nearing decisions to buy more current generation fighter jets, but the buzz at the Dubai Airshow was about Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) radar-evading F-35 fighter – a plane not yet operational and not even on display there.

The U.S. government sent a big delegation to this year’s show, eager to reassure Gulf leaders about their continued commitment to the region despite policy differences over Syria and Iran and signs that Egypt is looking at buying Russian weapons after a slowdown in U.S. military aid.

Nov 20, 2013

U.S.-Arab strains hand Russia chance to regain some Mideast clout

DUBAI/CAIRO (Reuters) – Unfamiliar strains between Washington and its Arab allies have given Russia an opportunity to regain some lost influence in the Middle East, capture arms sales from U.S. competitors and enjoy the unusual spectacle of its old rival looking puny.

No one expects Moscow to challenge the United States as the dominant security guarantor in the Gulf. Nor will Washington cede its place as the main outside player in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Iran’s nuclear dispute or other regional issues.