Terrorism in the GCC: 27 November – 4 December 2017

Terrorism and the war against it require functioning collective action which, in itself, requires a flow of information that can help decision makers understand the challenges posed by collective adversaries and the manner in which allies develop their counter-terrorism capabilities. 

The Euro-Gulf Information Centre (EGIC) is proud to announce a weekly bulletin service that presents country briefings on terrorism-related news each week. In this way, we hope to make a contribution to enhancing EU-Gulf relations in the war against terrorism and extremist ideologies.

By: Wouter Jansen

Kingdom of Bahrain

29 November – Bahrain’s Ambassador to Iraq, Salah al Maliki, said that Bahrain has submitted a document to the Iraqi government, containing the names of people that are wanted by the Bahraini government, but who are currently residing in Iraq. The individuals on the list are wanted for carrying out acts of terrorism. Al Maliki also stated that the wanted individuals might be planning terrorist plots from Iraq to be carried out in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the UAE. 

2 December – Bahrain is conducting major counter-terrorism drills at Seef Mall, on the 5th and 6th of December this year. The drills are coordinated by the Bahrain Defence Force, the Interior Ministry and the National Guard. Major Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad al Khalifa, commenting on the drill that is called ‘The Kingdom’s Guard 1’, said that counter-terrorism is a key responsibility for both the military and security institutions, adding that the security of Bahrain is worth all sacrifices. 

Sultanate of Oman

28 November – According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), Oman comes first in a list of Arab countries least affected by terrorism. Oman is also listed among 30 countries world-wide that did not face any terrorist incident in 2016. 

State of Qatar

30 November – The British think tank, the Henry Jackson Society, released a report which implies the ongoing ties of Qatar to terrorism. The report states that up to $200 million has been paid to jihadist groups such as Al-Nusra and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in the form of ransom payments, which sometimes were made directly by the Government of Qatar. The document also states that Qatar has been the host of various terrorist organisations. Furthermore, the think tank made a four-point plan of action for the British government in order to pressure Qatar to change its policies. 

1 December –The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which was recently added to a terrorism blacklist by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, has dismissed the move as unacceptable. 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

3 December – CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, during the Reagan National Defense Forum, said that Saudi Arabia is working closely with Israel and other Sunni Arab countries in fighting terrorism, adding that such cooperation will likely result in more secure Gulf states and Middle East in general. 

4 December – Pakistani and Saudi Arabian special forces have been taking part in joint military, counter-terrorism training programme exercises at the Prince Naif Security City in Riyadh since November 25. The programme is called “Al-Shebab 2” and will continue until December 10. 

30 November – France’s President, Emanuel Macron, said that he will be drawing up a list of extremist organisations and convey it to Saudi Arabia which in return pledged to cut their funding. This comes after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated his vision of modernising the Kingdom. 

The United Arab Emirates

3 December – According to the television service of Yemen’s Houthi group, Saba news agency, a cruise missile was fired towards the al-Barakah nuclear reactor, a nuclear powerplant in Abu Dhabi. However, no evidence was provided. UAE officials have also denied the claims of such attack. 

Special note on the assassination of former Yemeni President on the 4th of December. Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was the President of Yemen for 33 years, has been killed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on Monday (4/12). Some reports suggest he tried to flee the capital, but was stopped and killed at a Houthi checkpoint.