• April 23rd, 2014 Edition

    Did Yemen, U.S. kill al Qaeda’s chief bomb maker?

    CNN | Mohammed Jamjoom, Barbara Starr, Holly Yan | 4.23.14

    At least 65 suspected terrorists killed. Assaults from both the ground and the sky. And elite, clandestine U.S. forces joining Yemeni commandos in targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- considered al Qaeda's most dangerous affiliate. hide

    Instability In Oil And Gas Producing Counties Brings Risk To Some, Rewards To Others

    Oil Price | Claude Salhani | 4.23.14

    The oil business in particular does not react well to sudden disturbances in the economy or drastic political changes like what happened in Kiev last month. So many things can go wrong between when oil is extracted from a field in, say, Kuwait, ... Continue Reading Saudi Arabia, or Azerbaijan, and when it’s piped to a refinery and shipped to a port facility to await loading onto a tanker for transportation to its final destination. hide

    STC posts 54% jump in Q1 profits

    AME Info | 4.23.14

    The GCC region’s largest telecoms operator by market value, which competes domestically with Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi, made a net profit of SR2.39bn ($637.3m) in the three months to March 31 hide

    Saudi schools keen to enhance their students’ English skills

    Arab News | Fouzia Khan | 4.23.14

    The research, carried out in eight countries by Euromonitor International, shows that English fluency can have a major impact on income in the MENA region. The salary gap between similarly-skilled individuals who speak English and those who do ... Continue Reading not ranges from 5 percent in Tunisia to 75 percent in Egypt — and even 200 percent for some workers in Iraq’s capital Baghdad. hide

    Bahrain’s disappearing moderates

    Al Monitor | Elizabeth Dickinson | 4.23.14

    The toll from a string of car bombings in Bahrain is mounting. Over the last two months, five people have died and a handful more have been injured. Talks between the government and political groups — close to restarting in February — have been ... Continue Reading derailed. Businesses were questioning whether the turmoil that set back investments in 2011 was really coming to an end as they had hoped. hide

    Israel must take on Palestinian governance if talks fail: Abbas

    Reuters | Ali Sawafta | 4.23.14

    Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas told a group of Israeli journalists on Tuesday that if peace talks do not continue, Israel will have to take on the burden of governing Palestinian lands. Though Abbas has repeatedly hinted that he could ... Continue Reading devolve some of the limited powers his Palestinian Authority exercises in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, his statement added urgency to a U.S. effort to extend negotiations set to expire next week. hide

    Dexter Filkins: What We Left Behind in Iraq

    The New Yorker | Dexter Filkins | 4.23.14

    The capture of Iraqi territory by Islamic extremists, barely two years since the last American soldiers left, prompted an extraordinary wave of soul-searching in Iraq and the United States, which lost more than thirteen hundred men and women in ... Continue Reading Anbar Province. Much of that reflection, in both countries, centered on Maliki, the man in whom the United States invested so much of its hopes and resources. Among many Iraqis, the concern is that their country is falling again into civil war, and that it is Maliki who has driven it to the edge. On April 30th, Iraqi voters will go to the polls to choose a parliament and ultimately a Prime Minister; after eight years in office, Maliki is seeking a third term. Many fear that victory would allow him to tighten his hold on the state. “If he wins this time, he will never leave,” the longtime Maliki associate told me. hide

    Homs Emerges as Turning Point in Shaping Syria’s Future

    New York Times | Anne Barnard | 4.23.14

    On the edge of the Old City here, children play beside a house blown open by shelling. An antique wood-framed mirror leans against the wall, so that soldiers can watch for threats from around the corner. A block closer to one of the city’s last ... Continue Reading front lines, trash, rubble and rusted cars litter streets of charred and sagging buildings. hide

    Saudi Arabia Seeks Outside Help to Combat Deadly MERS Outbreak

    Bloomberg | Deema Almashabi and Kambiz Foroohar | 4.23.14

    Saudi Arabia Seeks Outside Help to Combat Deadly MERS Outbreak Saudi Arabia said it’s consulting global experts on how to combat a deadly respiratory virus, as the first case was reported in neighboring Jordan. Specialists from Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S. are helping tackle the outbreak of ... Continue Reading Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Mohammed Zamakhshary said in a telephone interview in Riyadh yesterday. hide

    Unemployment rate among Saudi women hits 34%

    Arab News | Fadia Jiffry | 4.23.14

    The rate of unemployment amongst Saudi women in 2013 has been pegged at 34 percent, up 2 percent from the previous year, according to recent statistics issued by the Central Department of Statistics and Information (CDSI). hide

    Saudi Arabia’s healthcare model and U.S. Republicans

    Al Arabiya | Jamal Khashoggi | 4.23.14

    Saudi Arabia’s healthcare model and U.S. Republicans The good news is that the Saudi health ministry is heading in the direction of the socialized medical care model to provide the required healthcare for its citizens, including retired ones. This decreases the ministry's direct administrative ... Continue Reading responsibility over hundreds of hospitals and medical centers, as ministry spokesperson Khaled Marghlani said last Monday. hide

    ‘Saudi America’: Mirage?  

    New York Times | Clifford Kraus | 4.22.14

    Industry executives note that the typical oil shale well needs a price of roughly $50 a barrel to break even, given the expense of drilling horizontally and hydraulic fracturing. “Bankers don’t want to see oil near $65,” said Mr. Faulkner, the ... Continue Reading chief executive of Breitling Energy, an active shale driller in Oklahoma and Texas. “Capital would dry up quickly like it did for gas.” hide

    April 22nd, 2014 Edition

    The Middle East Policy Council: A Conversation with Ford Fraker

    SUSRIS | Pat Ryan | 4.22.14

    The Middle East Policy Council: A Conversation with Ford Fraker In December the MEPC named Ford Fraker its new president. Board Chairman Omar Kader noted at the time that, “We believe that the Ambassador’s unique appreciation for U.S. national interests in the Middle East — as a banker, Ambassador and ... Continue Reading through continued engagement with the current U.S. administration – will advance the MEPC mission as the organization enters its fourth decade.” It has been four decades, as well, that Ford Fraker has been engaged in the Middle East, mostly in the world of finance. hide

    Egypt to lift natural gas prices for homes, businesses

    Asharq Alawsat | 4.22.14

    Egypt plans to double the price of natural gas piped into some homes and businesses from next month, but the move will trim its huge fuel subsidy bill only slightly because few premises are connected to the gas network. hide

    Iran admits nuclear agency reshuffle to pave way for 5+1 talks

    Reuters | Mehrdad Balali | 4.22.14

    Iran admits nuclear agency reshuffle to pave way for 5+1 talks President Hassan Rouhani's government confirmed rumors on Monday it had reshuffled the leadership of Iran's atomic agency to sideline nuclear experts opposed to talks on its atomic program with the West. Rouhani and his negotiators have been ... Continue Reading under intense pressure from Islamic hardliners opposed to the talks with the United States and five other powers seeking greater transparency in the hide

    Opinion: Saudi’s Prince Bandar did not fail Syria: the West lost its nerve

    The National | Faisal Al Yafai | 4.22.14

    Opinion: Saudi’s Prince Bandar did not fail Syria: the West lost its nerve In the swirl of rumours and gossip that passes for informed comment on Saudi Arabia’s secretive politics, the removal of Prince Bandar has been seen as part of a shift in policy of the Gulf state towards Syria. That is true, although the ... Continue Reading shift is subtle, in tactics not in intent. Saudi Arabia still seeks the removal of the Assad regime, but recognises that the reality on the ground has changed, that the dynamics of the conflict have altered. No longer is this simply the rebels versus the regime. The long drawn out civil war has brought in new actors, some with the agendas of foreign governments, some with their own religious wars. hide