West Asia News and Discussions

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brihaspati
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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 18 Apr 2012 02:51

An interesting bit from the same excerpt :

The December 12, 2011 Iran’s Intelligence Minister Haydar Moslehi met with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Nayef in Riyadh. Two days later, at the OPEC meeting in Vienna, the Iranians reveled that the Saudis agreed not “to replace Iranian crude if Iran faces any sanctions."

Accommodating their supposedly biggest enemy - the radical Shiite regime in Iran - while betraying their self-proclaimed ally - the United States, is a long held Saudi strategy. Support of radical Islamic regimes and groups helped keep the House of Saud in command.

“Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) , and other terrorist groups, including Hamas,” read a cable dated December 30, 2009, from United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, This was one of the cables published by Wikileaks in late November 2010.[1]

Another leaked cable, sent from the US Embassy in Riyadh in February 2010, stated that the Saudi interior ministry “remains almost completely dependent on the CIA to provide analytic support and direction for its counterterrorism operations.”[2]

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Arav » 18 Apr 2012 05:12

Rumor of failed coup attempt in Qatar....

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby svinayak » 18 Apr 2012 07:32

Why Qatar?

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Arav » 18 Apr 2012 08:20

Iranian & some other sites reporting a failed attempt. Western & Al Jazeera has no news, But even they have not reported previous coup attemps. There is internal family struggle with ruling emir & his brother exiled in france.

Shyamd might clear the doubt, he has good contacts.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby abhischekcc » 18 Apr 2012 09:22

Qatar has the following things that makes it important for all parties:
1. Large US military base.
2. Large Shia population, ruled by Sunni king, who is backed by KSA monarchy.
3. Natural Gas (of course).
4. In the leaked US diplomatic cables by wikileaks, it was named as one of the few critical infrastructures to the US strategic security.

Interesting that Iran chose to escalate in Qatar. Are they being aggressive in expanding their influence, or sending a signal to KSA/USA to back off in Syria?

I respect their persistence and defiance.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 18 Apr 2012 12:11

Qatar coup: there have been umpteen attempted coups there since sheikh Hamad took over. The rest of the GCC were against the coup there from the beginning and didn't want hamad in power. Even last year there were attempts. Their family is also split with liberals on one side and extremists on one side. The GCC will use the salafi's to do a coup if they have to.

Although of late it has been been iranian press spreading rumours.

I did hear the rumour a few days ago, not sure if it's true.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby abhischekcc » 18 Apr 2012 14:50

There were rumours of a coup in India also, some days ago. 8)

Perhaps the definition of coup is mucho liberal these days.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 18 Apr 2012 16:26

No coup will succeed there unless it has the backing of the GCC and the US.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 20 Apr 2012 09:12

Eight Iranian sailors executed in Saudi city of Dammam: Reports
Officials in Saudi Arabia have reportedly executed eight Iranian sailors in the city of Dammam without any legal proceedings, a Saudi news channel reports.


According to Al-Tagheer, the eight Iranian nationals were executed in a prison in Dammam, the capital of Eastern Province, on April 15.

The channel also reported that the executions were carried out on the order of the Saudi Interior Ministry, which has been implicated in the unrest in Syria and the violence in Iraq.

Saudi officials have so far refused to make any statement about the issue.

The sailors were arrested on a fishing boat in the international waters near Saudi Arabia six years ago on charges of possessing drugs.

Meanwhile, the families of the sailors have called on Riyadh to provide information about their loved ones. The brother of one of the sailors said they have been informed by some sources in the city of Dammam that the detainees have been executed.

On Monday, Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Tehran Osama Ahmed Snoussi over concerns about a number of Iranian prisoners kept in the kingdom’s jails, after the ministry received worrying news about Iranian nationals jailed in Dammam.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Singha » 20 Apr 2012 09:39

I have lost track of Iraq these days. yday there were 30 explosions which means bigtime resources are at play.

what is the fight about these days? saddam is long dead and his loyalists wiped out....al sadr is not a power anymore...bad khan has withdrawn....iran is not a threat.....so who is fighting who and why? usual Shia vs Sunni power struggle ? or just a contest to see who is more pure and faithfool ?

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 20 Apr 2012 12:55

Maliki is going to Iran on the 22nd to set up a trilateral summit with Iraq Iran and Kuwait. The purpose f this summit is to give Iran a face saving exit from the region.

Had a frank discussion about Islam in the GCC. He hinted that it is mainly for show and I described GCC as salafi, he completely disagreed and said that they are like any regime, they rule by hook or crook and half the rules are unislamic. But he said that Saudi has more Islamic imperatives in their decision making circles compared to the rest.

Took him on regarding OIC and Kashmir, he says india's soft power is way stronger and it doesn't really matter. But I think it was message delivered anyway.

I spoke about the security treaty between pak and KSA, he says that know one knows what the Saudis think on the nuclear subject, they even guard their secrets from their allies in the gulf!

He says that they don't trust pak and they lied to Saudi about AQK. They won't be involved much in security and he asked me into the 5 year program on defence and it isn't really reliant on pak.

Turkish are backing the MB to take over Syria which is annoying the GCC, as i posted earlier there is a western plot to remove the ruling regimes and put the Muslim brotherhood into power.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 21 Apr 2012 12:58

Iran's propaganda mouthpiece PressTV is carrying this report at this time:

Two Indians enslaved in Saudi Arabia
Two Indian workers who were promised construction jobs in Saudi Arabia but were sold as slaves to a camel farm owner are languishing in the kingdom without food and money.


47-year-old A. Muniyasamy and 46-year-old M. Jagabar, who hail from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, had gone to Saudi Arabia in January, The Asian Age reported on Saturday.

They were promised construction work, but when they landed in Saudi Arabia, agents took them to a far-off desert where they were forced to work as slaves at a camel farm.

The two of them paid 300,000 rupees ($5,760) to local Indian agents to take them to Saudi Arabia. Their families told the media that the duo dreamt of making big money in the kingdom but they became “bonded laborers.”

The wife of one man said the local agent had promised a monthly salary of 12,000 rupees (US$230) for her husband and she sold her jewelry to pay the 150,000 rupees ($2,880).

“I had the shock of my life when my husband called two months after reaching Saudi that he was working as a slave in a camel farm,” she said before breaking into tears.

“We thought we will give better education to our children with his salary, but our dreams are shattered,” the woman lamented.

International human rights organizations routinely criticize the Saudi monarchy for failure to provide basic rights to guest workers from Asian countries.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 21 Apr 2012 22:52

Carl wrote:Iran's propaganda mouthpiece PressTV is carrying this report at this time:

Two Indians enslaved in Saudi Arabia
Two Indian workers who were promised construction jobs in Saudi Arabia but were sold as slaves to a camel farm owner are languishing in the kingdom without food and money.


47-year-old A. Muniyasamy and 46-year-old M. Jagabar, who hail from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, had gone to Saudi Arabia in January, The Asian Age reported on Saturday.

They were promised construction work, but when they landed in Saudi Arabia, agents took them to a far-off desert where they were forced to work as slaves at a camel farm.

The two of them paid 300,000 rupees ($5,760) to local Indian agents to take them to Saudi Arabia. Their families told the media that the duo dreamt of making big money in the kingdom but they became “bonded laborers.”

The wife of one man said the local agent had promised a monthly salary of 12,000 rupees (US$230) for her husband and she sold her jewelry to pay the 150,000 rupees ($2,880).

“I had the shock of my life when my husband called two months after reaching Saudi that he was working as a slave in a camel farm,” she said before breaking into tears.

“We thought we will give better education to our children with his salary, but our dreams are shattered,” the woman lamented.

International human rights organizations routinely criticize the Saudi monarchy for failure to provide basic rights to guest workers from Asian countries.


But has any Indian new channel highlighted this? For every such isolated incidents there are gazillions of happy and satisfied Indians prospering with life and liberty in the Gulf countries, whose happiness and continued prosperity requires India to lick up to GCC, who in turn will make India sooper power.

I guess this is a glaring example of trusting Iran too much over and above GCC. GCC sachha hai, sat hai. Bad apples and criminal enslaving gangs exist everywhere. We should first talk about how slavery and enslavement goes on in India under casteist repression - which are gazillions in number.

GOI is and will continue doing everything within legal and international framework to look after the interests of Indian labour.

In fact the very story itself, if true, points to the utmost importance that we should place on development and prosperity of India, which would prevent poorer labour to seek their fortune abroad - and therefore more investments from GCC and Saudis, and everything to facilitate such investments! We should always look at the positive side of things - which in such cases means ignoring isolated incidents while increasing the demand for better relations and investments from them. Iranians want to spoil such investment futures. See?

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Philip » 23 Apr 2012 03:26

So much for morality,saving "civilian lives",etc.,etc.The double-cross that the Brits gave Ghaddaffi and the exposes on how they screwed his enemies-now in control of Libya makes riveting reading.

Secret documents reveal MI5 agents betrayed Libyan dissidents to Gaddafi spies in London rendezvous just 700 yards from Harrods
British spies supplied the Libyan dictator's secret agents with intelligence, mobile phones and an upmarket London safe house
Experts say the explosive documents suggest breaches of the Geneva Conventions, the Human Rights Act and criminal law

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1soDhVkKa

Xcpts:
By ROBERT VERKAIK, BARBARA JONES and DAVID ROSE
UPDATED 22 April 2012

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MI5 betrayed enemies of Colonel Gaddafi given refuge in Britain in a covert joint operation with Libyan spies working on UK soil, documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal.
Gaddafi’s secret agents were supplied by MI5 with intelligence, secure mobile phones and a luxurious safe house in the heart of London’s Knightsbridge.
The extraordinary revelations emerge from hundreds of secret documents unearthed from Libyan spymasters’ archives after the Gaddafi regime was toppled – with British military help – last year.
Shockingly, they reveal tactics of intimidation and coercion – and expose the British agents’ specific fears that their actions might be reported by the press in the UK.

Under pressure: Tony Blair with Jack Straw in 2005, and some of the documents seen by the MoS, below

The documents disclose that MI5 betrayed the confidentiality that all refugees are promised when they apply for asylum, and told the Libyans that the targets could be threatened with deportation to Libya if they refused to co-operate.
The revelations will cause a political storm. David Davis, the senior Tory MP, said they made clear that the 2004 operation to arrange the ‘rendition’ of former Gaddafi opponent Abdel Hakim Belhadj from Bangkok to Tripoli was ‘merely the start of a continuing intelligence saga’.

More...
Now Blair could be sued over Libya torture claims by man who alleges MI6 sent him into the hands of Gaddafi's regime
How ironic! The ministers accused of backing torture now want even more secrecy in public life
He added: ‘The documents seem to say that British agencies exposed people who had been given refuge here to the very people they had fled. This is an appalling betrayal of Britain’s obligations and traditions, apparently for reasons of realpolitik, not national security. What the documents reveal is coercion at best, and at worst blackmail.’
He said it was ‘essential’ that the Scotland Yard investigation into the case of Mr Belhadj – who is suing former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for allegedly authorising his kidnap and rendition – is extended to include the joint MI5-Libya operations.
Experts in refugee law say the documents imply flagrant breaches of the Geneva Conventions on refugees, the Human Rights Act and the ordinary criminal law.
Lord Carlile, QC, the former reviewer of UK anti-terror laws, said the allegations were ‘serious’ and called for an inquiry.

Revelations: The documents were unearthed from Libyan spymasters' archives after Colonel Gaddafi was toppled with the help of British forces
A senior former intelligence officer said it was ‘difficult to imagine’ that the joint operations were not sanctioned by Ministers and it was likely that the Home and Foreign Secretaries were involved, as well as the Prime Minister – at the time, Tony Blair.
But the then Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said: ‘I don’t think I knew anything about this. I certainly have no recollection of it.’ She thought that as an ‘operational matter’ it would not have needed ministerial authorisation.
Lord Reid, who was Home Secretary, failed to return phone calls asking for comment. A spokesman for Mr Blair said he had ‘no recollection’ of the operations.
The documents reveal meetings between the British and Libyan services in both Tripoli and London, and visits by the Libyan agents to make ‘approaches’ to their targets in London and Manchester in August and October 2006.
They make clear that the Libyans had at least some success, and that some of the refugees they approached did agree to co-operate.
MI5, the documents say, wanted then to turn the refugees into sources of their own, in the belief that the body to which they belonged – the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – was linked to Al Qaeda, and a threat to UK national security.
But, according to the minutes of one meeting, MI5 also knew that its decision to do business with a regime that, despite having abandoned its WMD programme, was still torturing and murdering its opponents, was controversial and had to be kept secret.
Last night a security source defended co-operation with Libya, saying: ‘Many of Jihadist fighters picked up in Afghanistan after 2001 were Libyans. They posed a threat and had to be closely monitored.’
Just 700 yeards from Harrods, a covert rendezvous between Libyan spies and MI5 agent Caroline sparks demand for criminal inquiry
Special Investigation by Robert Verkaik, Barbara Jones and David Rose
As MI5 had promised, it had left nothing to chance. Waiting for the two Libyan intelligence officers as they got off the plane at Heathrow was Caroline, the charming Security Service operative they knew from her recent visit to Tripoli.
No need for the agents to wait in line at immigration: Caroline – whose full name, together with that of other UK officers, The Mail on Sunday has chosen not to publish – met them ‘airside’, and they bypassed the usual formalities.
She was carrying two, prepaid, secure mobile phones, one for each of the Libyans, Colonel Najmuddin Ajeli and Ahmed Abdanabi.

Upmarket: MI5 accommodated the Libyan intelligence officers in a luxury serviced flat near Harrods in Knightsbridge, London
Naturally, Caroline had organised transport: an MI5 car in which she escorted them to MI5’s safe house – a luxury service flat at one of the best addresses in London, in the heart of Knightsbridge.
This was almost certainly in Egerton Place, a brief stroll from Harrods, and less than a mile from St James’s Square, where WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot by a Libyan diplomat in 1984.
Next day, August 10, 2006, the joint operation between MI5 and the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s External Security Organisation would begin. Meanwhile, Ajeli and Abdanabi were free to enjoy a night on the town.
Details of the two Libyans’ visit are contained in a new and extraordinary cache of documents, classified UK/Libya Secret, unearthed in Gaddafi’s archives after his regime was toppled – thanks in large part to RAF airstrikes – last year.
The documents reveal that collusion between the dictator’s security agency, a byword for torture, brutality and murder throughout the Middle East, and its British counterparts was far greater than hitherto realised.
The case of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who is suing the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for allegedly authorising his illegal ‘rendition’ from Thailand to prolonged torture in Libya in 2004, has already become notorious.

Serious as the Belhadj case is, however, in that instance the British supplied intelligence only about his whereabouts: the actual rendition was done from a distant foreign country by the American CIA.
But the new documents disclose that for at least two years after that, MI5 and MI6 developed a close and active working relationship with the Libyans.
It extended to flagrant breaches of the law that is supposed to protect political refugees, and ‘joint operations’ in which such people – whose families and friends were vulnerable to savage reprisals in Libya – were cold-bloodedly ‘targeted’ on British soil, where they thought they were safe, by the Libyan service, with direct assistance from MI5.
This breaks every convention of acceptable behaviour between governments.
‘When you ask for asylum in Britain, the form you fill in promises that the mere fact of applying will be treated by the British Government as strictly confidential, since if it became known, your friends and family would be exposed to persecution,’ a top QC and refugee law expert said yesterday.
‘But these documents suggest that not only was this rule ignored, but refugees were threatened with deportation if they refused to co-operate with the very regime they had fled – a core breach of both the 1951 Geneva Convention, and the Human Rights Act. It also appears they were coerced. Any Britons involved could also have committed the offence of misconduct in a public office.’
The documents contain a detailed narrative of the 2006 operation mounted by Caroline, Ajeli, Abdanabi and their colleagues. It began with a meeting in Tripoli on May 17, attended by X, an MI6 officer stationed in Libya (whom The Mail on Sunday has agreed not to name), Caroline from MI5, and the two Libyans who came to London in August, along with others whose names are not recorded in the meeting’s minutes – which were taken in Arabic by a member of the Libyan service.
‘We are here with you to share some co-operation and suggestions to work with your secret department,’ Caroline explained. Right from the outset, she abandoned any pretence that asylum seekers should be protected.
According to the minutes, she said: ‘Target 2 could become a very good source and we can pressure him to work for us because he’s not a British citizen.’ Another individual is identified as a possible target because he is ‘very emotional’ and would be deeply affected if any of his friends were to be arrested. The document records: ‘He could be a good source because he works in a library inside a mosque and he has close links to Libyan Islamic Fighting Group [then a banned group which operated as a political party opposing Gaddafi, and from whose ranks many of last year’s revolutionary fighters were drawn].’

After Caroline left Tripoli, plans were made for the August visit by the two Libyans. MI6’s officer X sent the details of its logistics in a memo to General Sadegh Krema, the head of the Libyan service’s external relations section, on August 8, the day before they left. As well as the safe house and the phones, MI5 would be providing lunch, and a series of meetings to formulate ‘operational plans’ for approaching their main target.
The Mail on Sunday is aware of the identity of this person, who was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) based in Didsbury, in Manchester, and an habitué of the Didsbury mosque, one of the main centres of anti-Gaddafi activity in Britain. We also have the minutes of the meeting held between the Libyans, Caroline, her colleague Tony and other MI5 staff at MI5 headquarters on August 11.
MI5 justified its participation in these operations by asserting that the LIFG was a jihadist group with links to Al Qaeda, and hence a threat to UK security – although it is a matter of record that the only Libyan ever arrested or charged with any terrorist offence committed in Britain was not from the opposition at all: the sole example is Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber freed on compassionate grounds nearly three years ago when he was said to have three months to live. In 2004, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that the LIFG was only interested in opposing Gaddafi – not mounting terrorist attacks in Britain.
Be that as it may, MI5 knew that by working so closely with Gaddafi’s agents it was taking a risk. According to the minutes, one of the MI5 staff said: ‘The target person has the right to make a complaint or seek police protection. British intelligence must be careful how they approach a target because this individual could call on human rights or the press and cause a security scandal that exposes the co-operation between British and Libyan secret services.’
The minutes suggest that MI5 preferred to use the carrot, rather than the stick, in inducing the target to start giving up information about his associates: ‘We might allow him to visit his family in Libya, then return to Britain. We could offer to help clear his name with Libyan authorities. We could offer to help with citizenship or residency. This could open the door to his co-operation. We could enter his office frequently, do business with him and open the door to further conversations.’
But if that didn’t work, then they could resort to coercion: ‘Libyan operatives could ask him [the target asylum seeker] about problems at home in Libya or in Britain.
‘They offer to help in return for giving information we want about other targets. If he refuses, British police will arrest him and accuse him of associating with Libyan secret agents. He will be told that as a non-resident of Britain he could be deported if found guilty.’
A memo dated September 27 from officer X to General Krema makes clear that the August operation had gone well, and suggests further activity against other targets in Didsbury. The Libyan agent Najmuddin Ajeli had ‘established contact’ with members of the Didsbury mosque, and the next step would be ‘joint casework between our services’.
On October 14, Ajeli and Abdanabi flew back to Britain. Another unnamed MI5 officer, says a further memo, was due to meet them, though if there were any problems, they could call Caroline.
This time, the plan was to set up further meetings with the target in Didsbury, with the hope of introducing him to MI5. The Libyans were not to stay at the safe house, however, but at the five-star City Inn Hotel, which conveniently is next to MI5’s headquarters on the Thames.
There the documentary record ends. But former Libyan dissidents who are now supporters of the revolution say they know of several individuals who were approached by Libyan intelligence and MI5 while refugees in Britain, and threatened in the ways the documents suggest.
Gareth Peirce, the solicitor who acted for several Libyan refugees, said yesterday: ‘This has been a common methodology. If you think someone is vulnerable, facing deportation, you exploit that. It is a common currency I have come across again and again.’

SPIED ON BY UK AGENTS WORKING FOR GADDAFI

Shaken: The accountant who was spied on
A Libyan accountant who lived in England for ten years was spied on by British Intelligence working with Colonel Gaddafi’s tyrannical regime.
Granted asylum here in 2002 as a member of Libya’s opposition, he has discovered his mobile phone was monitored and information about him and his wife sent to Libya’s External Security
Organisation (ESO) in a sinister exchange that ended only with Gaddafi’s death.
He believes one phone conversation he had with fellow Libyan dissident Abu Bakr Ighrebel led to Ighrebel’s arrest, imprisonment and torture for five years in Tripoli’s Abu Salim detention facility.
The accountant, who lived in Pinner, North London, wishes to remain anonymous because of security fears for family members in Britain.
He was shaken to discover a file containing his personal information and a photograph, which he recalls submitting for his British passport application in 2002, among documents taken from the ESO building after Tripoli fell last year.
The Mail on Sunday has seen the file and had it independently translated. A series of internal memos written in Arabic by Libyan agents gives feedback on meetings with their British counterparts. One memo reports a conversation the accountant had in 2007 with Ighrebel, who sought advice about seeking asylum in Britain.
Another, written at the ESO and dated December 16, 2007, reports the British as telling the Libyan agents: ‘We do not think you should take any action towards the Libyan user of this phone number because it may expose our operation monitoring this individual.’
The accountant said: ‘Libyan agents wrote back claiming I had been in Sudan working with Osama Bin Laden and that I had been seriously ill and Bin Laden had paid my hospital bills. This is totally untrue.’


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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 23 Apr 2012 04:48

Philip,
this is not the first time the Brit secret services as well as political regime has been accused of collaborating with official enemies. If one looks at the trail, it is a long time practice of British and in fact most "western" regimes. Even at the height of the cold war - there were speculations based on uncanny coincidences - of collaboration between British intel [not the Cambridge spies - but which in itself might hold another deeper story never brought out] and the KGB.

Many of the immediate post-war British "interest" related incidents connected to India - can be explored based on a similar model of close British secret collaboration with its overt political enemy states.

So why is this so shocking and surprising?

The only positive aspect of this is that one maneater wolf has been forced to turn against his fellow maneater wolf and tear the fellow-wolf's belly apart. At least the world has one maneater wolf less!

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Prem » 23 Apr 2012 08:29

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/331430/ ... kistan.htm
Iran And India: A Tangled Web Of Oil And Geopolitics

India and Iran have had a long relationship stretching back to ancient times. Iranian (or Persian) influence has produced a deep imprint upon Indian art, poetry, architecture and literature. With periodic invasions, military adventures and constant cross-migrations between the two empires, the people of Iran and northern India share many cultural and ethnic characteristics.In the 21st century, the relations between these two great nations must be framed along the lines of geo-politics and oil, rather than art and culture.Although India was greatly worried by the 1979 revolution in Iran that toppled the Shah and established an Islamic state, New Delhi and Teheran have generally enjoyed good relations. That tie became stronger with India's insatiable appetite for energy in tandem with western sanctions that have pressured Iran to find customers for its crucial oil exports.Indeed, India -which criticized the sanctions by the U.S., United Nations and European Union - recently became Iran's top oil buyer. ACHILOV: The bilateral relations between India and Iran go back for centuries. However, after the Iranian revolution, the dynamics of cooperation changed to a certain degree. Even thought the 1979 revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan complicated the relations between Tehran and New Delhi, strategic and regional cooperation between two states continued to exist, but in a more wary and cautious fashion.
The newly formed theocratic Iranian regime was not warmly received by India at first. In particular, India's main concern was a potential strong alliance that could emerge between Iran and Pakistan. However, given the strong anti-American sentiments in the post-1979 Iran, Pakistan's close relations with the U.S. was a complicating aspect (i.e., a major roadblock) for future Iran-Pakistani cooperation.
On the other hand, the new Iranian regime was concerned about India's regional aspirations with regards to Central Asia and India's growing cooperation with the U.S./West.After the Cold War, nonetheless, the bilateral relations entered a new phase. With its booming economy, India realized that it needed Iran's rich energy resources. For Iran, India was a huge market and a potential regional partner (as Iran had become isolated or disconnected from the world after the Khomeini revolution). It is fair to say that trade and economic relations embedded in energy politics are key defining features of Iran-India relations.IB TIMES: Obviously, India desperately needs oil from Iran - but has India made any comments on Iran's nascent nuclear program? Surely, New Delhi does not want another nuclear-armed Muslim country in its proximity?

ACHILOV: India realizes that it needs to walk the fine line between keeping Iran as a major oil supplier while maintaining its security interests in the region. India does not want a nuclear-capable Iran. Yet, siding with the Western sanctions would hurt discounted oil imports flowing from Iran.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby abhischekcc » 23 Apr 2012 16:30

What is shocking and surprising is that it has come out!

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby abhischekcc » 23 Apr 2012 16:37

One must also explore the oil angle in discussing Brit and Soviet collaboration. The rise in oil prices in 1973 helped both the Western and Soviet blocs.

Even today, the 'crisis' in Iran is a dance between both countries to help keep oil prices up.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 23 Apr 2012 20:22

Egypt halts gas supply to Israel?
Egypt has terminated its contract to supply natural gas to Israel, a move which has caused a political earthquake in Tel Aviv.
Ampal, an Israeli partner in the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) joint venture that operated the pipeline between the two countries, announced Sunday night that Egyptian suppliers notified EMG that they were terminating the gas supply, according to a report posted on Kansas City website.

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz expressed "great worry" about reports of the Egyptian termination. His office said cancellation would set a "dangerous precedent that darkens the peace treaties and the atmosphere of peace between Israel and Egypt."
An Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it would be the "final bit that breaks the camel's back" in the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

"The peace deal between us and Egypt has been on very shaky ground and now the final earthquake has happened. It appears the new Egyptian government is giving all the signals that it is no longer interested in the partnership and agreements it has established with Israel," the official said.

In 2005, a deal was reached between the Israeli and Egyptian governments under which Egypt allocated 7 billion cubic meters of Egyptian gas to the Israeli market for 20 years, with an option to double the supply. According to the deal, Egypt would supply Israel with about 40 percent of its natural gas needs.

For nearly six years, Egypt fulfilled its end of the deal. But a series of attacks by activists over the last year have targeted the pipeline that carries the Egyptian gas through the Sinai Peninsula to Israel.

In recent months, Israeli officials have become more outspoken about what they call a "threat from Egypt." On Sunday morning, Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, publically warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Egypt presented more of a security danger to Israel than Iran.

"We have to be prepared for all possibilities," said Lieberman, recommending that Israel's military form three to four new brigades along its southern border with Egypt.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979 that provided for Egypt to supply Israel with oil. Egypt's capacity to do so, however, dwindled in the next two decades, and a clause was added to the peace treaty which stipulated that Egypt would provide Israel with natural gas.

Knesset member Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who signed the gas deal with Egypt during his term as infrastructure minister, said on Israeli television that the deal's termination was another indication that a conflict between Israel and Egypt is possible. He said the Egyptian energy companies could not have terminated the deal without the government's backing.

In Egypt, the gas deal between the two countries has long been seen as a symbol of the corruption of the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak has been accused of profiting from the agreement.

Protesters in Egypt, however, have continued to deride the deal and call for new terms to be negotiated.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 23 Apr 2012 22:15

Ayalon met with his Egyptian counterpart who basically said it was a purely business decision not a political one. It was revealed last year that the Egyptians were selling gas to the Israelis at a very cheap price.

People too quick to jump

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby nachiket » 23 Apr 2012 22:37

shyamd wrote:Ayalon met with his Egyptian counterpart who basically said it was a purely business decision not a political one. It was revealed last year that the Egyptians were selling gas to the Israelis at a very cheap price.

People too quick to jump

Then a "business decision" would have been to increase the price to standard levels, no? How can stopping the sale completely be a business decision?

The article also mentions this:
For nearly six years, Egypt fulfilled its end of the deal. But a series of attacks by activists over the last year have targeted the pipeline that carries the Egyptian gas through the Sinai Peninsula to Israel.

"Activists" don't attack gas pipelines. Terrorists do.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 23 Apr 2012 22:43

shyamd wrote:Ayalon met with his Egyptian counterpart who basically said it was a purely business decision not a political one. It was revealed last year that the Egyptians were selling gas to the Israelis at a very cheap price.

People too quick to jump

shyamd ji, I think its more than just business. They could have opened negotiations to increase the price, or lobbied for more US aid to compensate for losses, etc if it was just fiscal.

The MB has been courted by Iran for a long time, and the Saudis are fielding more Salafist elements to counter that alignment. MB-influenced Egypt could become a potential Iranian ally.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 23 Apr 2012 22:51

Yes, it will probably be renegotiated. What I said was from the press release from the Israelis.
FYI, Egyptian army was building and deploying in Sinai with the permission of Israel to protect the pipeline to reduce the attacks. CNN showed this a few months ago.

Carl ji, they are sanctioning Egypt. GCC probably won't give any money to make sure the MB doesn't come back to power. Businesses are dieing as every worker wants higher wages and is on strike. Economy is going down the dumpster. This is what everyone wants for now to ensure MB gets voted out.
US is backing the MB and trying to reach an accommodation.

MB aren't stupid and they know this. As I said earlier that the MB say they don't want full power and want a coalition because people will blame them. Name tainted etc

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 24 Apr 2012 03:26

GulfNews: Harsh realities of Turkey-Iran honeymoon
If Ankara increases its cooperation with the West against Iran, Tehran might start using the PKK as leverage against it.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Philip » 24 Apr 2012 08:27

In bringing down Mubarak (The UK daily Telegraph reported during the Egyptian uprising that the CIA had been plotting his downfall for two years),hoping to usher in one of its stooges to replace him,as his re-election through fraud would've brought upon a revolution -which ultimately happened,the US/CIA opened a pandora's box instead in the Middle East.The largest and most influential of Arab nations in the region,Egypt,had through the Camp David accord ushered in a long period of peace with Israel,even if a crucial nation like Syria was left out of the deal.An Israeli-Egyptian accord would benefit Israel immensely,which could then deal with the smaller regional entities at will.The Palestinians have been largely kept at bay in their ghettoes that masquerade as autonomous entities and the two-nation final settlement is nowhere on the horizon.Under Bibi,the Israeli attitude ,like that of pharaoh of old,has hardened and he is unwilling to "let the Palestinians go" and enjoy their own sovereign state.

The wheel has turned in Egypt and alarmingly may even turn full circle bringing open outright hostility between Egypt and Israel.Egypt is still gripped in political turmoil,with no sign of it ending.All parties might look at earning major points by adopting an anti-Israeli attitude and extremists like the MB might actually be pro-active in pushing it at a moment in time when Israel is under huge international criticism for going slow on a final peace deal.Add to the timing of the stoppage of Egyptian gas is that of the daily threat by Israel to attack Iran's N-facilities.In fact,this threat might be one reason why the Egyptians have cut off the gas,perhaps in sympathy with Iran or even at Iran's behest,to show the Israeli's that Iran also has some influence in the region and a way of getting back economically in this instance.

Whatever the truth of the decision to turn off the gas,it marks a definite turning point in Israeli-Egyptian relations which now looks like unravelling.With the Palestinian "pot" permanently on the boil and the Syrian situ in a state of flux,with the US/west itching to take the military route to usher in another round of ME "regime change",The temperature is hotting up by the day,that too in an overheated year which contains a US presidential election.The worst is yet to come.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby gunjur » 24 Apr 2012 10:06

Apologies if already posted.
In Bahrain, Twitter tells the story of police, protesters and Formula One race

Attendance may have been low at the prestigious Formula One Grand Prix Race in Bahrain, but once Sebastian Vettel clinched the title, Bahraini officials took to Twitter to express their satisfaction with the race. They did not mention the violent, ongoing protests taking place around the island state.

"F1 cars will never Stop .. Neither will Bahrain inshAlla" Ahmed H. Alkhalifa, Bahrain's foreign minister, tweeted. He has more than 78,000 followers and describes himself as a "reader" and "bon vivant." The general secretary of the Bahrain Olympic Committee posted a picture of the revelry.

Outside the arena, however, protesters painted a less chipper portrait of a country in turmoil, where mostly Shiite protesters have been demanding more rights in this Gulf monarchy since last year. Their tweets, organized under the same #Bahrain hashtag that government officials were using, included pictures of protesters walking peacefully and a woman kneeling in traffic.

Their images were also gruesome -- of tear gas flooding streets and of men whose backs were ravaged with bruises, welts and wounds from being shot with shotgun pellets.

Non-protesters described a scene fraught with tension. A woman who identified herself as Fatima Haji wrote: "My 3yrs old son, my husband and I are suffocating in our flat in Bani Jamra as security forces are shooting tear gas in Duraz!!"

Dr. Ala’a Shelabi, a leader among the protesters, tweeted, ominously: "Under arrest. Surrounded by" without finishing her tweet.

The foreign editor for Channel 4 News in England tweeted that he and his crew had been arrested, and that his driver had been dragged out by security forces, bleeding from slashes to his arms.

Alkhalifa, the foreign minister, took to Twitter to express his disdain: "Channel 4 news crew admit to working without accreditation .. Not acceptable. Laws of the land should be respected."

Non-sports reporters had been denied visas into the country.
A man identifying himself as RedBelt boldly replied to the foreign minister: "Your excellency, that link says local driver was beaten and taken away. He had nothing to do with their accreditation."

To which Alkhalifa replied, "Well that’s what they say! Do you and I know the full story?"

The tension did reach at least one Formula One team. A bomb exploded next to a car carrying four team members of Force India on Wednesday. Two team members returned to the UK the next day.

Force India members became increasingly anxious when protester Salah Abbas, 37, was killed by shotgun pellets fired by riot police on Saturday.

The team felt the wrath of race organizer Bernie Ecclestone when they didn’t show up to a practice out of concern for their safety. Their car got little coverage on the main television feed, prompting angry calls to networks from around England, the Guardian of London reported.

Ecclestone, irritated by the team’s decision, told the Guardian: "None of the other teams seem to have a problem."

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 26 Apr 2012 00:24

Bahrain and KSA will call their union the: "Arab Gulf Union" opening other GCC members to join. Will announce officially next month.

--------------------
Iran deployed now in the israeli northern and southern borders inthe sinai. Will respond if Israel conducts nuclear strikes
---------------------
KSA SF continue to train with TSPA SSG
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Turkey is asking for private contractors in the US to run surveillance missions in Syria and Kurdistan


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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 28 Apr 2012 14:09

x post

Sohum wrote:Comments by Sayyid Fahd, deputy prime minister for council of ministers of Oman to US ambassador to oman

Oman is encouraging India to engage in the region diplomatically and politically. He said that as Iran wants to be seen as a regional power, Oman wants a balance of power and sees India possibly as that balance. India does not need to present a military presence, according to Sayyid Fahd, a political presence will do. He termed India as a reliable country and a reliable partner, and that India would contribute to regional stability and security. .. Sayyid Fahd said that Pakistan is quite a different issue. It is a large country "with so many fanatics." The social fabric and the cultural fabric are under real threat and Pakistan needs help, both material and psychological support from its friends. He continued, noting that the situation spreads beyond Pakistan's borders, citing the problem in Great Britain, with its substantial Pakistani population. Sorting out who is a fanatic, and who is not, "is a big problem." It doesn't stop there, he noted, it spreads throughout Europe, as these Pakistanis are British, with freedom of travel.

Source: http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.ph ... 20pakistan

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby JE Menon » 28 Apr 2012 16:24

Thx for that shyamd... Am on the road in interior eastern Africa quite a bit so posting is difficult and connections are erratic...but browsing every minute i can. That's a very significant view from the Omani official.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 28 Apr 2012 17:09

Thanks JEM but it should go to BRF member Sohum for finding it. Look at the clarity of how they see the British paki problem as well. He could be a successor to HM SQ.

JEMji, I bring good news on east Africa as well which I will post late tonight in the india africa thread and also Qatar India relations at around 2200 GMT.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 29 Apr 2012 02:55

India, Qatar Broaden Ties Beyond Energy Trade
By Saurav Jha | 27 Apr 2012
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With the Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline project a casualty of U.S. opposition and persistent mistrust between New Delhi and Islamabad, India has increasingly turned to Qatar to meet its growing natural gas requirements over the past decade. Holding the world's third-largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran, Qatar is a natural choice for such a role. But after the recent visit of Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to India, the two states are looking to broaden their economic ties beyond trade in energy. Qatar is set to emerge as a strategic investor in India's infrastructure plans, while India is holding steady on its security guarantees to the Persian Gulf emirate.

Beyond relying on nuclear and solar energy, India's climate change mitigation strategy envisions a major switch from oil to less-carbon-intensive natural gas, especially in the transportation sector.[/[b]b] For the better part of the past 10 years, New Delhi envisioned Iran as the key international partner in executing this strategy. But given the geopolitical issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program and India's lingering security concerns over a route traversing Pakistan, New Delhi is now looking to Qatar to fill that role, at least for the near-to-medium term. The fact that Qatar has an operational gas-liquefaction terminal -- Iran's is still under construction, with Indian support -- is also a factor in this decision.

India already has locked in supplies of 7.5 million metric tons per annum (mmtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatari RasGas and has been looking to boost this by an additional 3 mmtpa for the past year. Hamad's recent visit is believed to have resolved a disagreement over pricing that had held up a deal. The Qatari minister of energy and industry, Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, also reportedly assured Indian officials recently that the ongoing negotiations between RasGas and Indian importers will be made a priority. India is now reportedly looking to take overall gas imports from Qatar to the 15 mmtpa level by 2015-2016, a move that will considerably boost overall bilateral trade, which stood at $4.6 billion in 2010, up from $1.2 billion in 2005. India also imported 5.6 million tons of crude oil from Qatar in 2010-2011.

The Indo-Qatari hydrocarbon relationship is also being upgraded, with the countries signing a pact during Hamad's visit that envisages cooperative investments in both upstream and downstream oil and gas projects in both countries. The pact is expected to facilitate joint activities by state-owned petroleum majors such as ONGC, Indian Oil and Gail on the Indian side and Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and RasGas on the other.

Looking to operationalize the pact quickly, in the past two weeks India has offered Qatar a stake in some major Indian projects, including the petrochemicals complex at Dahej, situated in a special economic zone (SEZ) in Gujarat; Indian Oil's LNG project in Ennore, Tamil Nadu; Bharat Petroleum's petrochemical project in Kochi; the petrochemical project in Mangalore; and the Paradip refinery in Orissa. These moves suggest that the government of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is looking to bring Qatar in as a strategic partner to revive its SEZ policy.

In all, Qatar's sovereign fund -- one of the largest in the world -- will apparently invest at least $10 billion annually in India, with just more than half of that going to India's infrastructure sector. Clearly the trajectory of the Indo-Qatari economic relationship is very much in keeping with the broader Gulf Cooperation Council plan to scale up strategic investments in India.

In addition to the pact on hydrocarbon sector investment, five other agreements were signed during the visit, including one between the Indian and Qatari central banks to share supervisory information and enhance cooperation in banking supervision. Coupled with another agreement on the exchange of experience, information and expertise in the field of legal affairs, these developments show that industry leaders in both countries are serious about enhancing cooperation. Indian majors are looking to enter Qatar's prosperous fertilizer industry, which could supply India's massive agricultural sector. Indian companies are also keen to secure engineering procurement and construction contracts related to the infrastructure buildup for the 2022 World Cup in Doha.

Hamad's visit was his third to India, with the first taking place in 1999 and the second coming in 2005. Since deposing his father in 1995, Hamad and his government have consistently looked toward India as a net provider of security to supplement the significant American military presence in Qatar and to help manage the emirate's relationships with Saudi Arabia and Iran. In addition to providing Qatar with a large hydrocarbon export market, India can also secure the maritime routes for Qatar's exports to other countries. Indeed, India responded favorably to Qatari interest by sewing up a defense accord with Qatar in 2008 during Singh's visit to Doha that year. The agreement, which binds the two in a deep relationship encompassing joint training exercises, training of personnel and maritime cooperation, was described by one Indian official as just short of "stationing Indian troops" in its significance.

With more than 500,000 Indians in Qatar and Indian warships patrolling the northern Indian Ocean, India helps provide Hamad's government with needed stability. India's vote in favor of the failed Syrian resolution at the United Nations Security Council in February can also be seen, in part, as an endorsement of Qatar's policy in Syria. More broadly, India's engagement with Qatar is part of its Look West policy, wherein it emerges as a net provider of regional security, while upgrading its traditional buyer-seller relationship with Middle Eastern petrostates to one that enables them to become major participants in India's growth story.


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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Philip » 29 Apr 2012 06:59

The Qataris are punching way above their weight.In fact,they and some other Gulf sheikhdoms are in truth doing the dirty work of the Saudis who cannot allow the trail of mischief to be directly traced back to them.The most intimate relationship between the Saudi royalty and the Bush family,tied into the Bin Laden family too,was an acute embarrassment during 26/11.The sordid details of this insidious,machiavellian relationship was sanitised and airbrushed post 26/11.

India will gravely damage its own legitimate regional interests by sidelining Iran at US behest.Today with Saddam gone,the Shiite dominance of Iraq keeps on growing and the Iranian influence is all to evident.In truth,it has been Iran who has emerged the unlikely victor after GW-2,that too without firing a shot,a remarkable achievement !The Shiite dominance in the region now encompasses the territories of the two nations,despite rebels in the north (Kurds) and the Sunni enclaves in the major cities.The pendulum however has swung in favour of the Shiites and when you look at the map and see that this Shiite zone of influence has a border with Syria,one realises why the US/west are desperate to enforce regime change in Syria,using all means fair and foul to achieve the desired result.A triumivrate of Iran,Iraq and Syria ,would have reach from the Gulf and Arabian Sea to the Meditt. waters and the threat of Iran going nuclear is Israel's worst nightmare,seen in this context.Despite the criticism of the current Israeli regime by its own top army general and ex-Shin Bet chief,who advocate a wiser and less campaign against Iran ,the ruling regime of Bibi N has not stopped its rhetoric against Iran and military action against it this year cannot be ruled out.Should the Syrian regime of Assad survive the onslaught of the west ,thanks to the Chinese and Russian support,despite every attempt of the west to achieve another "Libyan" style victory,Iran will emerge as the regional superpower and India can afford to ignore her at its own peril.

Now for the latest Saudi-Egyptian spat as relations head south.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/ap ... ambassador


Saudi Arabia recalls Egypt ambassador and closes consulates

Worst diplomatic row with Jeddah since Cairo's peace deal with Israel follows Saudi arrest of Ahmed el-Gezawi
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 28 April 2012

Egyptian protesters demonstrate at the Saudi embassy in Cairo over the arrest of Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed el-Gezawi. Photograph: Uncredited/AP

Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Egypt and threatened to close its embassy and all its consulates in protest at a series of demonstrations against the arrest of an Egyptian man.

The Saudi state news agency said the reason behind the diplomatic move was "unjustified protests" in Egypt and attempts to storm the Saudi embassy and consulates which "threatened the safety of its employees".

The unexpected escalation followed days of protests by hundreds of Egyptians outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo and consulates in other cities to demand the release of Ahmed el-Gezawi. Relatives and human rights groups say he was detained for insulting King Abdullah while Saudi authorities said he was arrested for trying to smuggle anti-anxiety drugs.

The arrest has prompted the worst diplomatic row between the two regional powerhouses since Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries broke off diplomatic ties with Egypt after it signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979. Diplomatic relations were restored in 1987.

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it had recalled its ambassador from Egypt for "consultation" and would close its embassy and consulates in the Arab nation.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the army council governing Egypt, was working to "heal the rift".

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Prem » 29 Apr 2012 09:47

A Rise in Nationalism in Eastern Kurdistan
http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/iran/4675.html
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region -- In the southern parts of Iranian Kurdistan, nationalist sentiments are on the rise. These parts extend across eight provinces, with a population of around 7 million people.
Kurds of this area are Shia Muslims and speak Kalhuri, Lori and Lak dialects. The borders of this region start at the city of Kamyaran in Sanandaj province and stretch to the Persian Gulf in Buhsahir province.Historians, among them Hamdullah Mustafa, author of Nazhat al-Qulub, consider the Lor part of the Kurdish nation.ue to the suppressive policies of successive Iranian governments in the past, there has always been a political disconnect between the Kurds of this region and the rest of Iranian Kurdistan.However, national sentiments have recently grown among the Lors. The formation of an armed group called the Partisans of Southern Kurdistan is emblematic of this shift. Gulmurad Muradi, a writer and researcher in Kermanshah province, thinks lack of political freedom in Iran is the cause of this new militant group.
“Iranian authorities have left no space for any civil or political activities and activists have had no choice but to try every available path in order to gain their rights,” said Muradi.At the same time, Muradi believes the time for armed struggle has passed.“The age of armed struggle has ended,” he said. “It gives the Iranian authorities the excuse to openly suppress Kurdish activists and turn the region into a military zone under the pretext of fighting terrorism.”Arsalan Ahmed, a political activist from Kermanshah, has a different view.
In my opinion, armed struggle can attract more brave people to the civil struggle; armed struggle supports the civil struggle, after all,” said Ahmed.Shaho Nadiri, a journalist in Kermanshah, says that Kurds in these areas haven’t been aware of their Kurdish identity, but this is changing now.“Unfortunately, speaking Farsi in Kermanshah and the southern region has become the norm, but now there is a reverse attitude towards Kurdish culture and more people are showing interest in the language and national cause,” says Nadiri. Wahid Kemali, a resident of the area, says he is a Lor Kurd and accepts no other identity.
“We are now witnessing a positive change in these regions and Kurdish nationalism is slowly emerging. National demands have grown here,” he says.“This can generate new momentum for Kurdish parties in Iran and create enthusiasm for the political struggle of Kurds in these regions,” adds Kemali, describing the benefits of the recent changes.According to Muradi, information technology and the media have influenced the level of Kurdish awareness in the south, leading to an increase in national ambitions.Nadiri says that 70 percent of Kurdish economic resources and manpower are located within this part of Iran. “The key to success for any Kurdish movement in Iran lies in the south of the Kurdish region. History has proven that the support of the south leads to the success of any movement,” says Nadiri.Nadiri says that up until recently there was a misunderstanding of Kurdish identity in the Lor areas of Iran.“We need to redefine Kurdish nationalism in a new and scientific way so as to include the Kurds of the south as well,” he adds.People in this area think that mainstream Kurdish parties have ignored the potential of the Lor Kurds. Kemali says that the Kurdish political struggle should include the Lors.“They need to start fresh struggles in those regions and must incorporate people of that region in the lines of their parties, especially now when the people there are eager for national rights,” he says.For his part, Nadiri blames Iranian Kurdish parties for not giving any important roles to Kurds of the southern regions.Najmaddin Gulparwar, a senior leader of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan, admitted to a lack of attention to the southern region by Kurdish parties. “Now, due to the dilution of ethnic ideology and the strengthening of nationalist sentiment, it has become easier for Kurdish parties to operate in the south,” he said. “Komala is planning to become very active in the area and allocate a key post within its ranks to that region.”

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 30 Apr 2012 08:32

^^ There is also an upsurge in the number of "Salafi cells" being cracked by the Iranians in Sunni Kurdish areas inside Iran.

I agree with Philip that India can take Qatar's money for infrastructure development, but must continue a careful balancing act between Iran and GCC. We cannot afford to tilt away from Iran or hurt their feelings too much, but must continue to repair relations there. Oman may be an important Gulf player in that sense, since it enjoys closest relations with both Iran and India.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby shyamd » 01 May 2012 22:10

India considers ‘visa on arrival’ facility for GCC nationals

Issac John / 1 May 2012

The Government of India is pondering to provide “visa on arrival” facilities to GCC nationals as part of a major drive to attract increased tourist traffic from the Gulf region, the country’s minister for tourism said on Sunday.

Sultan Ahmed, Indian Minister of State for Tourism said, the government is already providing visa on arrival facility to 17 nationalities and is seriously thinking of extending it to include more countries, particularly the GCC nations from where Asia’s third largest economy is drawing steadily increasing inbound traffic.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market, Minister Ahmed said India was pressing ahead with a plan to boost its tourism industry by encouraging direct foreign investment, or FDI, in hospitality infrastructure projects by enabling 100 per cent ownership in hotels.

“As we target to attract eight million tourists in three years, up from 6.3 million arrivals registered in 2011, our country faces a shortage of more than 200,000 hotel rooms offering big opportunities to investors, especially those from the Gulf region,” Ahmed said.

He said India tourism is taking steps to upgrade the infrastructure facilities, including the modernization of airports across the country, and boosting hotel room capacity along with a clean India.

M. K. Lokesh, India Ambassador to the UAE, said the UAE is one of the major sources of FDI flowing into the country with an estimated direct investment of $10 billion by 2011 in India.

The Indian envoy also drew the attention of the minister to the multiple entry visa restrictions Gulf nationals currently face while visiting India for medical treatment. Minister Ahmed pledged to look into the issue that is impeding the flow of Gulf visitors.

Vikas Rustagi, regional director of Indian tourism, said more than 50 participants representing the tourism diversity of heritage, nature, culture and wellness tourism from India are participating at the ATM 2012.

“The Incredible India” pavilion includes 32 individual booths. State tourism boards from Kerala, Uttrakhand, Meghalaya and Jammu & Kashmir.

Rustagi said Emirati tourist traffic to India grew seven per cent in 2011 to 53, 000 while the number of Saudi tourist jumped 40 per cent.

“There has been a consistent and positive growth of foreign tourist arrivals from the Gulf and the Middle East region to India and in 2010 there was an overall growth of around 17 per cent. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and Turkey are emerging as major tourism generating markets for India from this region,” he said.

Foreign tourist arrivals into India have witnessed a steady increase over the years, touching 6.29 million in 2011, up 8.9 per cent on 2010. Till March 2012, foreign tourist arrivals in India stand at 1.98 million while the foreign exchange earnings are around $5 billion. The Ministry of Tourism has set a goal to increase India’s share in international tourist arrivals from 0.6 per cent to one per cent by 2016. To meet the demand created by above growth, India will require approximately additional 200,000 classified and 230,000 unclassified hotel rooms, said Rustagi.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby ramana » 01 May 2012 22:56

Philip, The Islamic Middle East is reverting to the old normal. The fear in the Sheikhdoms including the KSA which is a large Shiekhdom, is the revival of their nemises the fourth Caliph Ali. Its the fear of a Shia Iran that spurs their drive to kafir India.
Most of the Gulf Sheikdoms are Sunni rule Shia population as the Gulf is so close to Iraq, the Shia holyland with Najaf and Kerbala.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby paramu » 01 May 2012 22:57

^^
How will India restrict wahabbis from exploiting this visa on arrival facility?

Also, there has to be some form of give and take. GCC should also provide non-employment visa on arrival for Indians for few days, for ECNR passport holders.

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Re: West Asia News and Discussions

Postby Mahendra » 01 May 2012 23:11

Looks like the MMS govt is hell bent on making it easy for the terrorists and human traffickers to enter india, firstly a liberalised visa regime for the Pajis is in the offing and now for the GCC supersheiks. Now all supersheiks may not be g-hadis but a fair chunk of them are human traffickers. I guess no body in the govt wants to talk about that because the supersheiks are investing in our fyoochar building fyoocharistic wahabi monuments equipped with the latest dolby stereo azaan system

How about the GCC supersheikdoms granting VOA for Indians? bout time they started treating us as the super power they want us to be


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