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Indian PM to visit KSA 28, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia, The Sub Continent.
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For the first time in nearly 30 years, an Indian Prime Minister will visit Saudi Arabia. Manmohan Singh will meet King Abdullah and address Riyadh’s consultative assembly.

Al Arabiyya reports that India imports 70% of its energy needs and that Saudi is in fact India’s biggest trade partner in terms of heavyweight oil. This makes it all the more surprising that no Indian PM has been to Saudi more recently, especially given that Singh was in Qatar and Oman in 2008.

Qatar: MOUs with Iran and US 28, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Iran, Qatar.
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Within 24 hours, Qatar signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Iran and America. The former in terms of a military agreements for greater cooperation etc and the latter for greater cooperation in the realm of renewable energy.

A small microcosm of Qatar’s politics in 24 hours.

World Press Photo Awards 28, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Islam, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Jewish settler throws wine at an Arab woman in Hebron

A man is stoned to death in Somalia by Islamic Insurgents for adultery.

Israeli UAVs can reach Iran 26, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iran, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Israel has brought into production unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can reach Iran. The Mideasti blog has a nice article on this which raises two particularly good points.

– Contrary to surprised/concerned/hyperbold-ridden headlines, the existence of this UAV has been known for some time

– It is intrinsically too slow, cumbersome and light-weight to pose any direct threat to Iran. I.e. it can relatively easily be shot down and could not carry heavy ‘bunker-buster’ bombs

Gaddafi: holy war against Swiss 26, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Africa.
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Libya’s idiotic leader has called for a holy war against Switzerland. Do I even need to bother…

Qatar to offer nationality to Indian artist 25, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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MF Husain the Indian artist who has been forced to flee his country after drawing a series of pictures of a nude Hindu goddesses has been offered Qatari citizenship.

The BBC reports that there are at least 900 cases against him in courts throughout India and that over the years he has been “harassed by mobs in the country and his exhibitions have been vandalised”.

So far it is not known if Husain has not chosen to accept the accolade or not.

Qatar and Saudi strengthen links 25, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, Saudi Arabia.
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Yes, I realize that this sounds like the typical Gulf newspaper headline. The only real reason that I post this is to inform you good people that Qatar and Saudi have signed various economic, political and media (?) type agreements is to highlight, as I have done before, that it is Crown Prince Tamim of Qatar and the presumed next leader of Saudi Prince Naif that have done the signing. Obviously setting things up nicely for the future, inshallah.

US London Embassy to cost $1bn 24, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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Plans have finally been announced for America’s new embassy in South West London in an area currently famous for an old coal-fired power station and for its gay clubs. The huge new project is expected to be the most expensive Embassy ever constructed, surpassing even the new behemoth Embassy in Iraq at around $1billion. As the picture illustrates, the Embassy will be surrounded by a moat for extra protection.

The desire to leave its current plush location in Mayfair comes after local residents bitterly complained that new security measures since 9/11 made their houses and properties more vulnerable.

I make two quick predictions. Firstly, that the costs will sail majestically over the $1billion mark. Secondly, that the moat will become something of a magnet for anti-US/capitalism/Iraq/Afghanistan/Bush/Monsanto/Walmart/McDonalds hippies that currently picket Grosvenor Square. At least this way they’ll get a wash.

Son of Hamas founder an Israeli spy for 10 years 24, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas’ revered co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, has revealed himself as a spy for Israel’s domestic intelligence service Shin Bet. For more than 10 years Yousef helped Israeli authorities prevent dozens of suicide attacks and reported key intelligence to Israel “on an almost daily basis from 1996 onwards.”

The Times of London continues and describes his pivotal role in arresting some of Israel’s most wanted such as Marwan Barghouti, his invaluable insight into the organization and his role in literally tracking down a suicide bomber in 2007. Yousef is revealing all these fascinating details in his book Son of Hamas, much to the displeasure of Shin Bet who are worried that it will reveal too many of their procedures and methods.

Further to the cringing embarrassment of Hamas et al, Yousef has since converted to Christianity.