Archive for the ‘United Arab Emirates’ Category
+There is no evidence that ties Iran to the uprising going on in Bahrain. The forces are to repress internal movements, not to counter Iran. Hillary Clinton has been alleging that Iran is involved even while saying that the U.S. sees “no evidence yet that Iran instigated such protests but we do see activities by Iran to try to take advantage of these uprisings.” -PR+
AP, April 18, 2011
Bahrain’s foreign minister says Gulf troops will stay in his island nation until its rulers believe that threats from Iran have eased.
Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy is backed by a Saudi-led force of about 1,500 troops, invited to help battle a Shiite uprising that Gulf Arab leaders believe could clear the way for greater influence by Shiite powerhouse Iran.
Bahrain’s foreign minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, told reporters on Monday that the Gulf force is needed to counter a “sustained campaign” by Iran in his country. The strategic kingdom hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
The minister spoke on the sidelines of an anti-piracy conference in Dubai.
Al Jazeera loses credibility for censoring coverage of uprisings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, acting as propaganda tool for Qatar’s role in Libya intervention
+Al Jazeera is based in Qatar which just happens to be the most active Arab supporter of the “rebels” attempting to aid the west in overthrowing the Libyan government. Qatar is positioning itself to be the international marketer for the oil exported by the “rebels,” was the second country to recognize the “ransitional government,” and has contributed aircraft to the NATO bombing campaign. Part of Al Jazeera’s advantages in reporting international issues is that it can pretty much criticise anyone it chooses without consequences, the only stipulation is refrain from any serious critique of its host nation and its regional allies. This limitation has greatly jeoprodized the Arab media station’s legitimacy and credibility in covering the events in Libya. So heed the warning that Al Jazeera, while widely recognized as a useful news outlet, is not a reliable source when it comes to current regional issues -PR+
Andrew Hammond, Reuters, April 14, 2011
Pan-Arab broadcasters who played a key role reporting Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are helping dynastic rulers police the gates of the Gulf to stop the revolts from spreading on their patch, analysts say.
Qatar-based Al Jazeera, the leading Arabic language network, was pivotal in keeping up momentum during protests that toppled Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, both entrenched rulers who were no friends of Qatar’s ruling Al Thani dynasty.
When Al Jazeera’s cameras turned to Yemen, it was as though its guns were trained on the next target in an uprising longtime Arab leaders were convinced was of the channel’s making.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose impoverished country of 23 million is not a member of the affluent Gulf Arab club, accused Al Jazeera of running an “operations room to burn the Arab nation.” His government has revoked the Al Jazeera correspondents’ licences over its coverage in Yemen.
For viewers watching protests spread across the region, the excitement stopped abruptly in Bahrain. Scant coverage was given to protests in the Gulf Cooperation Council member and to the ensuing crackdown by its Sunni rulers, who called in Saudi and Emirati troops in March under a regional defence pact.
Protests in Oman and Saudi Arabia have also received scant attention in recent months.
“Bahrain does not exist as far as Al Jazeera is concerned, and they have avoided inviting Bahraini or Omani or Saudi critics of those regimes,” said As’ad AbuKhalil, politics professor at California State University.
“Most glaringly, Al Jazeera does not allow one view that is critical of Bahraini repression to appear on the air. The GCC has closed ranks and Qatar may be rewarded with the coveted post of secretary-general of the Arab League.”
Despite a wealth of material, there were no stirring montages featuring comments by protesters or scenes of violence against activists in Bahrain. Al Jazeera has produced such segments to accompany Egyptian and Tunisian coverage.
The threat posed by Bahrain’s protests was closer to home. Their success would have set a precedent for broader public participation in a region ruled by Sunni dynasties. More alarming for those dynasties, it would have given more power to Bahrain’s majority Shi’ites, distrusted by Sunni rulers who fear the influence of regional Shi’ite power Iran.
From an early stage, Al Jazeera framed the movements in Tunisia, Egypt and then Yemen as “revolutions” and subverted government bans on its coverage by inviting viewers to send in images captured on mobile phones to a special address.
“Despite being banned in Egypt, Al Jazeera went to great lengths to provide non-stop live coverage of events. It did not do that in Bahrain,” said political analyst Ghanem Nuseibeh.
Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters, April 13, 2011
The U.S. government is reviewing arms sales to Middle Eastern countries on a “case-by-case basis” given turmoil in the region, and has already halted some sales, a Pentagon official said on Monday.
Richard Genaille, deputy director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said that two of the biggest deals on the table have been cleared to proceed: a $29.4 billion sale of 84 Boeing Co F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia and a $7 billion sale to the United Arab Emirates of an advanced missile defense system built by Lockheed Martin Corp.
A team of officials from his agency, the State Department, military commanders and the White House National Security Council were carefully reviewing planned arms sales to the region, Genaille told Reuters in an interview after a speech at the annual Navy League conference.
Unrest and violence spreading across the Middle East have sparked questions about U.S. arms sales to the region, deals that many U.S. defense companies had hoped would offset an expected decline in U.S. defense spending in coming years.
Genaille said the current reviews affected specific parts of arms sales that had already been approved by Congress and were being readied for delivery to Middle Eastern countries.
He said other big weapons deals, including a large Boeing helicopter sale to Saudi Arabia, the biggest buyer of U.S. weapons, were still working their way through the congressional notification system.
Gates had delivered a “letter of agreement” to Saudi Arabia for the Boeing F-15 sale during his visit there on April 6, but it had not yet been signed, Genaille said.
A separate deal to modernize Saudi Arabia’s eastern naval fleet could be worth more than $20 billion, depending on details still being discussed, Genaille said. That deal has not yet been notified to lawmakers.
The Navy on Friday said Saudi Arabia has asked the United States for prices for surface warships with integrated air and missile defenses, helicopters and other equipment.
Erika Solomon, Reuters, March 31, 2011
Harsh economic reality has hit Bahrain’s business psyche after martial law was imposed and popular unrest which has left many dead and many missing in the island kingdom, once known for openness and financial stability.
Self-branded “Business Friendly Bahrain” is fighting to save its reputation as a secure and liberal Gulf financial centre. That’s a tough sell after a fierce army crackdown two weeks ago quashed weeks of pro-democracy protests led by the Shi’ite majority in the tiny Sunni-ruled state.
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PAUL SONNE And STEVE STECKLOW, The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2011
As Middle East regimes try to stifle dissent by censoring the Internet, the U.S. faces an uncomfortable reality: American companies provide much of the technology used to block websites.
McAfee Inc., acquired last month by Intel Corp., has provided content-filtering software used by Internet-service providers in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, according to interviews with buyers and a regional reseller. Blue Coat Systems Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., has sold hardware and technology in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar that has been used in conjunction with McAfee’s Web-filtering software and sometimes to block websites on its own, according to interviews with people working at or with ISPs in the region.
A regulator in Bahrain, which uses McAfee’s SmartFilter product, says the government is planning to switch soon to technology from U.S.-based Palo Alto Networks Inc. It promises to give Bahrain more blocking options and make it harder for people to circumvent censoring.
Netsweeper Inc. of Canada has landed deals in the UAE, Qatar and Yemen, according to a company document.
Websense Inc. of San Diego, Calif., has a policy that states it “does not sell to governments or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that are engaged in government-imposed censorship.” But it has sold its Web-filtering technology in Yemen, where it has been used to block online tools that let people disguise their identities from government monitors, according to Harvard University and University of Toronto researchers.
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