GCC IN REVIEW: 12-16 November
A Weekly Publication of the main news surrounding the GCC States
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 12 November—Bahrain’s Attorney General, Ali bin Fadhel Al-Buainain, announced the trial of Ali Salman, head of the banned Al-Wefaq bloc. Salman will be tried alongside two of his colleagues, Hassan Sultan and Ali Mehdi-charged with spying on behalf of Qatar. Salman was also charged with revealing defence secrets to a foreign country and disseminating information that would harm Bahrain’s national interest.
Thursday, 16 November—Bahraini police announced the arrest of two individuals, allegedly trained by Iran’s IRGC. According to the investigators, the pair planned to kill public figures and target three oil pipelines. Bahrain is currently stepping-up security to counter new terror tactics.
State of Kuwait
Wednesday, 15 November—Kuwait confirmed its decision to buy a new fleet of 218 upgraded M1A2 Abrams tanks. The investment is linked to growing regional instability and the consequent need to reassure Kuwaiti civilians.
Thursday, 16 November—Kuwait's Emir, Sheikh Sabah Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, hosted a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The leaders discussed regional and international issues of common concern, including problems deriving from the ongoing Qatar situation.
Sultanate of Oman
Tuesday, 14 November—The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Business of the Republic of Ireland, Frances Mary Fitzgerald, led a delegation to Oman, to enhance enterprise and innovation with the Sultanate. In particular, Oman’s Technology Fund, signed an agreement with Irish Ahead Association, to receive training and knowledge exchange programmes in the technical field. A second agreement involved the Irish Ahead Association to improve the JAWSOUR programme in the areas of training and technical education in the health sector.
Wednesday, 15 November—Oman’s crude oil production, including condensates, rose by 2.4 % to touch 29.98 million barrels. China retained its position as the leading destination for the Sultanate’s crude oil exports, constituting 53.65 % of Oman’s oil total exports.
State of Qatar
Monday, 13 November—Qatar’s Finance Minister, Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, arrived in Sudan for a state visit. Sudanese media emphasised the long-standing relations between the two countries and the political and financial support Doha provided to Sudan in the past.
Thursday, 16 November—Turkish President, Recep Erdogan, arrived in to meet Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani-and to attend the third meeting of Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee. Erdogan supports Doha in the Gulf crisis and has ordered the deployment of an increasing number of Turkish troops to Qatar.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 13 November—Amin Nasser, Chief Executive of Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco, declared that Aramco is set to spend close to $300 billion over 10 years in upstream oil and gas projects. This comes as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, stated that Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO), was on track to go ahead in 2018.
Tuesday, 14 November—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz received Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. The Lebanese patriarch’s visit is the first time a Maronite Patriarch visits Saudi Arabia. The meeting stressed the importance of religious tolerance in rejecting violence, extremism and terrorism and achieving peace.
Wednesday, 15 November—Saudi Arabia’s, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has directed the King Salman Relief Center efforts towards the establishment two new facilities to treat and combat cholera in Yemen. Advisor at the Royal Court and the General Supervisor of the Relief Center, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, and the representative of World Health Organization signed agreements to launch the 22USD million project.
Wednesday, 16 November—Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has met with France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Riyadh. The French Foreign Minister unveiled the prospects of Saudi-French cooperation in various fields. The two also discussed regional developments.
Thursday, 16 November—Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, during a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, said that Hezbollah is the root of the problem in Lebanon as it has hijacked the Lebanese political system. He also said that the Hezbollah militia is a weapon in Iran’s hands, noting that Hezbollah’s secretary general himself has acknowledged such.
United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, 15 November—The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, stated the importance of Arab consensus to confront sectarianism and said Arab consensus is also the solution to confront growing Iranian influence in the Middle East.
Thursday, 16 November—The UAE’s Director-General of the Federal Customs Authority (FCA), Mohammad Juma Buossaiba, announced that the total value of foreign trade between the UAE and India reached 760.4 billion Dirham during the period from 2012 to the end of the first quarter of 2017. Buossaiba made his statement during his meeting with Panjek Pudki, India’s Economic Consul to the UAE.
By Antonino Occhiuto