Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Arab states of the Persian Gulf’

LIGNET: US Shift on Iran Forcing Saudis to Shore up Gulf Alliance.


Image: LIGNET: US Shift on Iran Forcing Saudis to Shore up Gulf Alliance

Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Abdul Latif Al Zayani, left, and Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, Kuwait’s minister for foreign affairs, attend the last session of the 34th GCC summit in Kuwait on Dec. 11, 2013. (AP)

Iran’s recent diplomatic breakthrough with the United States has invaded the comfort zone of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council and forced it to embrace unification of militaries as well as true political and economic union. Rising suspicion of the Saudi push for closer solidarity could be linked to aggressive Iranian lobbying of several Gulf countries in recent months.

Click here to read the full analysis from top intelligence experts at LIGNET.com.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

UAE Sentences American to 1 Year in Jail for Youth Parody Video.


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An American man detained for months in the United Arab Emirates and seven co-defendants were fined and sentenced to jail Monday after being convicted in connection to a satirical video about youth culture in Dubai.

The case, which has drawn the attention of international human rights advocates, centers around a mockumentary uploaded to the Internet.

Officials charged that the film spoofing would-be Dubai “gangstas” ran afoul of a 2012 cybercrimes law that tightened penalties for challenging authorities, according to supporters of one of the filmmakers, Shezanne Cassim.

Cassim, 29, is a U.S. citizen from Woodbury, Minn., who was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Dubai for work after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2006. He became the public face of the defendants after his family launched an effort to publicize his months-long incarceration following his arrest in April.

He was sentenced Monday to a year in prison followed by deportation and a 10,000 dirham ($2,725) fine, according to family spokeswoman Jennifer Gore.

American consular officials have been following the case closely and attended Monday’s hearing at the State Security Court in the federal capital, Abu Dhabi.

The U.S. Embassy had no official comment following the verdict. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf last week said American officials were troubled by Cassim’s “prolonged incarceration” and called for “a fair and expedient trial and judgment.”

Two Indian defendants received similar sentences, while two Emirati brothers were sentenced to eight months behind bars and received 5,000 dirham fines, according to state-owned newspaper The National. A third brother was pardoned.

The paper said the defendants had been accused of “defaming the UAE society’s image abroad.”

Three other defendants, a Canadian, Briton, and an American, were convicted and sentenced in absentia to the penalties given to their other foreigners. They have never been detained by authorities and so are unlikely to serve their sentences.

The paper identified the defendants only by their initials, which is common in the Emirati media.

Gulf Arab authorities have been cracking down on social media use over the past two years, with dozens of people arrested across the region for Twitter posts deemed offensive to leaders or for social media campaigns urging more political openness.

The video, called “Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs,” is set in the Satwa district of Dubai. It is a documentary style clip that pokes fun at Dubai youth who style themselves “gangstas” but are not particularly thuggish, and shows fictional “combat” training that includes throwing a sandal and using a mobile phone to call for help.

It opens with text saying the video is fictional and is not meant to offend.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Kuwaiti gets five years for insulting ruler.


KUWAIT (Reuters) – A Kuwaiti court sentenced a man to five years in prison on Sunday for insulting the emir on Twitter, a rights lawyer and news websites said, in the latest prosecution for criticism ofauthorities via social media in the Gulf Arab state.

The court gave Kuwaiti Mohammad Eid al-Ajmi the maximum sentence for the comments, news websites al-Rai and alaan.cc reported.

In recent months Kuwait has penalized several Twitter users for criticizing the emir, who is described as “immune and inviolable” in the constitution.

“We call on the government to expand freedoms and adhere to the international (human rights) conventions it has signed,” said lawyer Mohammad al-Humaidi, director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights, commenting on the case.

Courts in Kuwait generally do not comment to the media.

Amnesty International said in November Kuwait had increased restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly.

It urged Kuwait to ensure protection for users of social media, whether they supported or opposed the government, as long as they did not incite racial hatred or violence.

Kuwait, a U.S. ally and major oil producer, has been taking a firmer line on politically sensitive comments aired on the internet. Twitter is extremely popular in the country of 3.7 million.

In January, a court sentenced two men in separate cases to jail time for insulting the emir on Twitter.

In June 2012, a man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was convicted of endangering state security by insulting the Prophet Mohammad and the Sunni Muslim rulers of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on social media.

Two months later, authorities detained Sheikh Meshaal al-Malik Al-Sabah, a member of the ruling family, over remarks on Twitter in which he accused authorities of corruption and called for political reform.

The recent Twitter cases have been carried out under the state security law and penal code. Last year Kuwait passed new legislation aimed at regulating social media.

Public demonstrations and debates about local issues are common in a state that allows the most dissent in the Gulf, but Kuwait has avoided the kind of mass unrest that unseated four heads of Arab states in 2011.

But tensions intensified between authorities and opposition groups last year ahead of a parliamentary election deemed unfair by opposition politicians and activists.

The opposition movement said new voting rules introduced by Sheikh Sabah by emergency decree in October would skew the December 1 election in favor of pro-government candidates. The emir said the old voting system was flawed and that his changes were constitutional and necessary for Kuwait’s “security and stability”.

(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy, Writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Sami Aboudi and Andrew Roche)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

Kuwait’s parliament approves decree curbing popular vote.


KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait‘s parliament on Tuesday approved a royal decree amending voting rules that sparked mass protests and an opposition boycott of elections last month in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab country, the official news agency KUNA said.

The emergency decree issued by Kuwait’s emir in October – a week after he dissolved parliament – reduced the number of votes per citizen to one from four.

While the government said these changes bring Kuwait into line with democratic norms elsewhere, the opposition, which includes Islamist, liberal and leftist politicians, said their aim was to skew polls in favor of pro-government candidates.

Parliament’s decision to ratify the decree may help deflect any legal challenge to the election and lends the measure political and legal weight ahead of hearings before Kuwait’s constitutional court in the coming months.

“The approval was expected since this parliament was elected on the back of this decree,” said Ghanim al-Najjar, professor of political science at Kuwait University. “What we really need to watch is what will happen at the constitutional court.”

The court will consider several legal complaints related to the elections, including whether there was a need for the emir to issue the decree changing the election law.

Under the former voting system, citizens could select four candidates using four votes of equal weight, which meant candidates could call on supporters to cast their additional ballots for allies in the 50-seat legislature.

The opposition held a majority in the last assembly elected in February and raised pressure on the cabinet, forcing two ministers to quit the body, which is dominated by the Al Sabah royal family that has ruled Kuwait for 250 years.

Kuwait has the most open political system among the Gulf Arab states. Parliament has legislative powers and the right to question ministers. But the emir, head of the Al-Sabah family, appoints the prime minister, who chooses the cabinet.

The government says opposition lawmakers have used parliament to settle scores rather than pass laws to develop the economy. Opposition politicians accuse the government of mismanagement and have called for an elected cabinet.

Parliament also approved a decree issued by the emir that bans the incitement of sectarian or tribal hatred in Kuwait, imposing lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines.

(Reporting by Mahmoud Harbi and Raissa Kasolowsky in Abu Dhabi; editing by Sami Aboudi and Mark Heinrich)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

Reports: Twitter ‘insult’ brings 2-year Kuwait prison sentence against social media activist.


KUWAIT CITY – Kuwaiti media say a social media activist has been sentenced to two years in prison for a Twitter post deemed insulting to the Gulf nation’s ruler.

Authorities across the Western-allied Gulf Arab states have sharply increased crackdowns on perceived dissent among bloggers and others using social media. The sentence passed Sunday inKuwait is not the harshest in region, but is likely to bring further denunciations from international rights groups.

Several websites, including the pro-government Al-Watan newspaper, reported the sentence against 26-year-old Rashed al-Enezi, who was accused of insulting Kuwait‘s emir in a Twitter post.

In November, a poet in Qatar was sentenced to life in prison for an Arab Spring-inspired verse that officials claim insulted Qatar’s emir and encouraged the overthrow of the nation’s ruling system. He is appealing.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By The Associated Press | Associated Press

Egypt’s Brotherhood says UAE arrests unfounded.


CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on Wednesday some of its members had been wrongfully arrested in United Arab Emirates (UAE) on allegations of helping to train local Islamists in subversion tactics.

“I know 11 people were detained. I know that some of them are from the Brotherhood,” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman in Cairo. “The claim that they are a cell seeking to destabilize the country is devoid of truth.”

The arrests came to light on Tuesday when a UAE newspaper reported the authorities had arrested an “Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cell”, citing an unnamed source.

The oil-rich UAE, which has long voiced distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood that helped propel Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi to power this year, arrested about 60 Islamists last month, accusing them of being linked to the Egyptian group and plotting to undermine governments in the Gulf region.

In what appeared to be an effort to ease tensions, Egypt’s intelligence chief, General Mohamed Shehata, headed to the UAE for talks, airport officials said.

An aide to the Egyptian president also handed over a message from Mursi to UAE’s president, a statement from the Egyptian presidency said, without giving details.

“We are in contact with the authorities there and will see what will happen in the next period,” Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr was quoted as saying by the state news agency.

The son of one of the arrested Egyptians said in Cairo that his father, Ali Sonbol, is a medical doctor and is not involved in political activities.

“They didn’t say where they were taking him and what were the charges,” Ahmed Sonbol told Reuters. “The Egyptian embassy only assured us that he was detained by UAE authorities and he is well.”

UAE officials were not available for comment.

Relations between Egypt and the UAE soured after Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak – a longtime Gulf ally – was toppled in Egypt’s 2011 revolution.

Last month, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan summoned Egypt’s ambassador over claims carried by Egyptian media the UAE was behind a plot against Egypt’s leadership, saying they were “fabricated”.

Thanks to their state-sponsored cradle-to-grave welfare systems, the UAE and other Gulf Arab monarchies have largely avoided the Arab Spring unrest which has unseated long-serving rulers elsewhere in the past two years.

The Brotherhood has sought to reassure Gulf states it has no plan to push for political change beyond Egypt’s borders.

(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal in Dubai; Writing by Tamim Elyan; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Michael Roddy)

 Source: YAHOO NEWS.
By Shaimaa Fayed and Tamim Elyan | Reuters

Kuwait urges Iran to address worries on nuclear plant.


 

RELATED CONTENT

MANAMA (Reuters) – Kuwait urged neighboring Iran on Monday to cooperate more with the U.N. nuclear watchdog to allay Gulf Arab concerns about the safety of an Iranian nuclear power plantthat lies just across the waterway from the emirate.

The emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, said a recent shutdown at the Bushehr plant indicated Tehran had to work with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy (IAEA) to ensure the safety of the facility near the coastal town of Bushehr.

He was speaking in Bahrain at the annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a grouping of six oil-exporting Gulf Arab countries at odds with Tehran over a series of issues and who see the Islamic Republic as a rival for regional influence.

Bushehr, a Russian-built symbol of what Iran calls its peaceful nuclear ambitions, was shut down in October to limit any damage after stray bolts were found beneath its fuel cells, a Russian nuclear industry source said in November.

The explanation for the procedure at the 1,000-megawatt plant contradicted assurances by Iran that nothing unexpected had happened and that removing nuclear fuel from the plant was part of a normal procedure.

Sheikh Sabah said: “The news that was reported recently about the technical failure that hit the Bushehr reactor confirms what we mentioned about the importance of Iranian cooperation with the IAEA, and committing to its criteria and rule, to ensure the safety of the region’s states and its people from any effect of radioactivity.”

LONG-STANDING DISPUTE

Iran is the only country with an operating nuclear power plant that is not part of the 75-nation Convention on Nuclear Safety, which was negotiated after the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

Although the West suspects the Islamic Republic of trying to develop the means to build nuclear arms – a charge it denies – Bushehr is not considered a major proliferation risk by Western states, whose fears are focused on sites where Iran has defied global pressure by enriching uranium beyond levels needed to fuel civilian atomic power plants.

Nevertheless Western officials voiced concern in November about what they described as an unexpected unloading of fuel at Bushehr and said Tehran, which has dismissed it as a normal step, must clarify the issue.

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA said in November that Tehran was determined to make sure safety at Bushehr was guaranteed after the plant is turned over to Iranian operators.

The plant, whose start-up has been delayed for years, was finally plugged into Iran’s national grid in September 2011, a move intended to end protracted delays in its construction. The plant’s Russian builder was quoted in October as saying Bushehr would be formally “handed over for use” to Iran in March 2013.

Sheikh Sabah also appealed to Iran to resolve separate long-standing disputes with GCC members, who comprise Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait.

“We renew our calls to our brothers in Iran to respond to our invitations to put an end to pending issues between the GCC countries and Iran … through direct negotiations or by resorting to international arbitration,” he said.

Bahrain has repeatedly accused Tehran of meddling in its internal politics. Saudi Arabia has complained about alleged border breaches by Iran, and the UAE has a long-standing dispute with the Shi’ite Muslim power over three Gulf islands. Iran denies seeking subvert Bahrain or any other Gulf Arab state, and says its intentions in the region are purely peaceful.

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif, Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Asma Alsharif | Reuters

Tag Cloud