Source: The Economist
The kingdom is raising tensions with its immediate neighbours as well as with Iran and Yemen.
Tribal feuding among the Al Thanis, Al Khalifas, Al Sabahs and Al Sauds has been the norm for centuries. From their beginnings in Nejd, the barren interior of the Arabian peninsula, they sparred for the best coastal spots from which to launch pirate raids into the Gulf. But even at the height of acrimony, they always observed unwritten rules of refuge and hospitality. When the tribes became states five decades ago, their people still travelled, lived and intermarried across lines in the sand. Their sheikhs might withdraw their ambassadors when tempers flared, but even when King Salman of Saudi Arabia went to war in Yemen in 2015, he let more than a million Yemenis in his kingdom stay.
For Gulf Arabs, the expulsion of Qataris by Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia ordered on June 5th is more shocking than a declaration of war. It has torn up their code of conduct. With two weeks’ notice to leave, Saudi husbands fear they might forfeit their livelihoods if they follow their Qatari wives. The queues at Qatar’s only land border, with Saudi Arabia, already tail back for miles. The dunes have become barriers, preventing the entry of people and goods, including much of Qatar’s food supply. Short-haul tourism has collapsed. The UAE has criminalised any expression of sympathy for Qatar, tweets included. Diplomatic ties have been severed, and air, land and sea links closed by the three neighbours, as well as by Egypt and Yemen. READ MORE…
The internet and social media were once hailed for creating new opportunities to spread democracy and freedom. But authoritarian regimes soon began cracking down on internet freedom. They feared the brave new digital world, because it was beyond the reach of their analogue security establishments. Their fears proved unfounded. In the event, most social media-enabled popular uprisings failed for want of effective leadership, and traditional political and military organizations retained the upper hand. Technology does not stand still, and nor should democracy.read more
ISIS threat ‘is going to morph’ and possibly go underground in Iraq, says Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleauread more
Government corruption provided Daesh and local militias with the umbrella they needed to seize power in Iraq, officials and lawmakers told Arab News on Thursday. They said Iraq’s security and political stability will remain threatened as long as corrupt officials continue to control the country’s assets. Iraq is high on the list of the most corrupt countries. The Iraqi Parliamentary Committee of Integrity told Arab News that the estimated value of “looted” amounts during the past 12 years has been more than $200 billion.read more
US companies are eager to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Iraq in all industrial sectors, especially in oil and gas, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said on Thursday after US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman met with Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi. Al-Luaibi invited US companies to take part in tenders called by the Iraqi ministry and said Iraq was preparing more favorable work conditions for foreign companies investing and doing business in Iraq, Oil Price reported. The two US supermajors, ExxonMobil and Chevron, already have operations in parts of Iraq. Exxon signed an agreement in 2010 with Iraq’s South Oil Company to redevelop and rehabilitate the West Qurna I Oilfield in southern Iraq.read more
Mr Al Abadi has faced internal pressures to postpone the elections for at least six months but is adamant they will go ahead. Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi has assured the nation that parliamentary and provincial elections will be held in Iraq in May as scheduled. Mr Al Abadi has faced internal pressures from the State of Law Coalition and the Union of Sunni forces in addition to Kurdish parties to postpone the elections for at least six months, Al Hayat, the pan-Arab newspaper reported. But in his weekly press conference, the prime minister dismissed any doubts, saying, “The cabinet today reiterated that provincial and parliamentary elections will be held on 12 May 2018.,” Mr Al Abadi said. “There is no reason for delaying the elections.”read more