13 December, 2017

Terrorism in the GCC: 4 – 11 December 2017

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Kingdom of Bahrain

9 December – Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al Khalifa, speaking at the Manama Dialogue, stressed that many challenges are still present in the security and stability of the region, explicitly naming the spread and support of terrorists by countries and non-governmental organisations. He also named the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon as examples of terrorist groups interfering in other countries, both with Iranian support. 

State of Kuwait

9 December – Kuwait’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Sheikh Azzam Mubarak al-Sabah, said during the 13th Manama Dialogue that his country is fully committed to support all international efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism. He called the event a good opportunity for both military and security experts to share thoughts, views and visions on the best way of maintaining regional stability. 

Sultanate of Oman

7 December – The UK’s foreign travel advice for Oman specifically mentions the threat of a terrorist attack in the country as tension rise in the Middle East after President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. According to the travel advise, terrorists continue to make statements in which they threaten to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.  

State of Qatar

7 December – The French President Emanuel Macron visited the al-Ubeid Air Base in Qatar, where, next to 10,000 American troops, a regiment of French troops is stationed. After this, he met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, to chair a meeting for “bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the financing of terrorism and radicalisation.” 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

4 December – A new regional military force in West Africa’s Sahel region, also called the G5 Sahel, – which consists of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad – is said to receive $100 million from Saudi Arabia to boost its commitment in battling jihadist groups in the region. 

7 December – Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, speaking to RT, said that Saudi Arabia should start to produce ‘prosperity rather than terrorist organisations and dictators,’ pointing at Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, ISIS and Al Nusra, claiming that they were produced by Saudi Arabia. 

9 December – Officials of the United Nations, who investigated the missile attacks from Yemen to Saudi Arabia, say that the missiles, fired by Houthi rebels, appear to have a “common origin.” However, an investigation into the claims of Iran’s involvement in providing these missiles is still ongoing. 

The United Arab Emirates

4 December – The United Arab Emirates restated its support for Egypt in confronting its challenges, including the fight against terrorism, at the extraordinary meeting of the Arab League’s Council. This comes after the deadly attack on the Al-Rawda mosque in the Sinai region. 

5 December – The United Arab Emirates and India are working together to fight terrorist groups and individuals designated as such by the United Nations and other countries. The move comes after India pressured Pakistan after their release of the Lashkar-e-Taliba chief, Hafiz Seed, who India considers the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack. Ahmed Al Banna, UAE’s ambassador in India, said that counter-terrorism is always a crucial part of bilateral ties.