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Article catch up 27, May 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Egypt, French IR, Saudi Arabia, The Emirates.
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– Reuters have an interesting article about Saudi’s dealings with their Shia minority. The most interesting sentence is in the middle:

Saudi King Abdullah removed the governor of the Najran region last year after the Ismaili Shi’ites, a majority in the area, complained about efforts to settle Sunni Yemenis and give them housing and jobs in an effort to marginalise them further.

– The Independent on Sarkozy’s recent trip to the Gulf. It is a neat summary, though quite how it fails to mention the recent case Abu Dhabi torture case (here and here)¬† or their nuclear ambitions is beyond me.

The presence in Abu Dhabi is seen by President Sarkozy as part of a radical shift of French foreign and security policy away from the independent or “multi-polar” approach taken by the former President, Jacques Chirac. Together with the decision to rejoin the military structures of Nato, the Gulf base is intended as a move towards the “Anglo-Saxon” way of looking at the world. At the same time, both moves are intended to give France a greater stake in Western decision-making.

– It appears as if Obama will be speaking at Cairo University and not at the Al Azhar as some had hoped.

– The extraordinarily optimistic¬† Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdulrahman Al-Attiyah is still hopeful that the Gulf monetary Union will go ahead, despite the UAE pulling out of the deal this past week. I am not that sure how, exactly, the Emirates could have made their wishes any clearer…