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Qatar: Rising tension in the Gulf

09-06-2017

On 5 June 2017, several Arab nations, including Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), simultaneously announced that they were severing ties with Qatar, a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Accusing Qatar of supporting and financing 'terrorism and extremism' in the region, the above countries announced that they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expel its diplomats and ask Qatari citizens to leave their territory within 14 days. Oil prices ...

On 5 June 2017, several Arab nations, including Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), simultaneously announced that they were severing ties with Qatar, a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Accusing Qatar of supporting and financing 'terrorism and extremism' in the region, the above countries announced that they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expel its diplomats and ask Qatari citizens to leave their territory within 14 days. Oil prices rose initially as markets responded nervously to the worst crisis to involve the GCC since its creation in 1981, but then dropped again. Any escalation in the crisis would likely lead to more sustained increases in oil and gas prices.

Relations between the EU Member States and Saudi Arabia in the Field of Security and Defence

14-12-2016

The workshop was organized on October 13, 2016 at the initiative of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) with the aim of assessing relations between Saudi Arabia and the Member States in the field of armaments cooperation, touching on the absence of a common European position in this area. Agnès Levallois, lecturer at Sciences Po Paris and ENA, is affiliated to the Académie Diplomatique and works as a consultant, specialising in political, strategic and economic issues in the Middle East ...

The workshop was organized on October 13, 2016 at the initiative of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) with the aim of assessing relations between Saudi Arabia and the Member States in the field of armaments cooperation, touching on the absence of a common European position in this area. Agnès Levallois, lecturer at Sciences Po Paris and ENA, is affiliated to the Académie Diplomatique and works as a consultant, specialising in political, strategic and economic issues in the Middle East. Jane Kinninmont is a senior research fellow and deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House.

Parlamendiväline autor

Agnès LEVALLOIS (Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, FRS) and Jane KINNINMONT (Chatham House) with contribution from Antoine VAGNEUR-JONES (Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, FRS)

Humanitarian policy of the Gulf States

17-05-2016

At a times of rising global terrorist threats and humanitarian crises affecting the region, the prosperous oil-producing monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – have come under sustained criticism for their policy towards asylum-seekers, their support to Syrian rebels, including jihadists, and their alleged laxity towards private financing of terrorism. Although the huge increase in their humanitarian spending ...

At a times of rising global terrorist threats and humanitarian crises affecting the region, the prosperous oil-producing monarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – have come under sustained criticism for their policy towards asylum-seekers, their support to Syrian rebels, including jihadists, and their alleged laxity towards private financing of terrorism. Although the huge increase in their humanitarian spending has been interpreted by a number of commentators as a means to counter those criticisms, it seems also to be part of a longer-term foreign policy strategy.

Yemen: at a political crossroads

13-04-2015

The instability in Yemen may seem to be just another sectarian conflict; however, the reality is much more complex. Yemen's pluralistic political environment is shaped by an explosive mixture of tribal, sectarian and national ambitions, which underpin the implementation of the national dialogue that concluded in January 2015.

The instability in Yemen may seem to be just another sectarian conflict; however, the reality is much more complex. Yemen's pluralistic political environment is shaped by an explosive mixture of tribal, sectarian and national ambitions, which underpin the implementation of the national dialogue that concluded in January 2015.

Yemen: in a security vacuum

13-04-2015

The absence of functioning state institutions and weak security forces in Yemen provide a fertile ground for anti-government insurgency and terrorism. To date, the ongoing military conflict between the central government and Houthi rebels affects half of Yemen's 22 governorates. With 'Operation Decisive Storm' underway, many fear that we are witnessing a proxy war between regional powerhouses, with potential spillover effects across the region.

The absence of functioning state institutions and weak security forces in Yemen provide a fertile ground for anti-government insurgency and terrorism. To date, the ongoing military conflict between the central government and Houthi rebels affects half of Yemen's 22 governorates. With 'Operation Decisive Storm' underway, many fear that we are witnessing a proxy war between regional powerhouses, with potential spillover effects across the region.

Yemen in Crises: What Role for the EU

05-01-2015

This briefing scrutinises the status of the transitional process taking place in Yemen. It analyses the political, economic, humanitarian and security conditions in Yemen. This briefing aims at helping Members of the European Parliament to have a better understanding of the country's situation and the latest developments. The case of Yemen suggests that overthrowing a despotic regime could be relatively easy but building new democracy to replace it is much harder. Adding to these difficulties is ...

This briefing scrutinises the status of the transitional process taking place in Yemen. It analyses the political, economic, humanitarian and security conditions in Yemen. This briefing aims at helping Members of the European Parliament to have a better understanding of the country's situation and the latest developments. The case of Yemen suggests that overthrowing a despotic regime could be relatively easy but building new democracy to replace it is much harder. Adding to these difficulties is the fact that Yemen remains one of the least developed countries in the region making the short-term socioeconomic impact of the transition pose further challenges. Moreover, the prevailed conflicts in various parts of the country and the absence of state institutions exacerbate the crisis. While the GCC initiative was successful in facilitating the appointment of a new president and forming a new transitional government, it fell short of providing solutions to the massive and intractable challenges threatening the unity and a sustainable peace in Yemen. This briefing provides a policy-oriented action plan to strengthen state building in Yemen, which is the core of many problems Yemen is suffering from. It is only through effective state building that an accountable and transparent state could be created. The EU, in the context of the GCC initiative, can play an important role to facilitate the process of state building in Yemen. This role varies from consultation, training, diffusing experience, to direct contribution to the process.

Parlamendiväline autor

Ahmed A. Saif (Sheba Centre for Strategic Studies, Sanaa, Yemen)

Handover of Power to a New Generation in Qatar

28-06-2013

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa transformed his country into a bold and assertive presence on the world stage. He supported new Islamist forces in countries affected by the Arab Spring, but ensured continuity in the Gulf. The appointment of the new cabinet suggests a slightly more domestic orientation. The youthful ruler may coordinate more with regional partners, but will maintain an independent approach to international questions.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa transformed his country into a bold and assertive presence on the world stage. He supported new Islamist forces in countries affected by the Arab Spring, but ensured continuity in the Gulf. The appointment of the new cabinet suggests a slightly more domestic orientation. The youthful ruler may coordinate more with regional partners, but will maintain an independent approach to international questions.

Cautious Reforms in Saudi Arabia

28-05-2013

While a number of recent 'firsts' have suggested that Saudi Arabia may be open to reform, particularly for women, the reforms have not altered the basic structure of the Saudi legal and administrative system. Saudi Arabia traditional position of leadership within the Islamic and Arab worlds is being seriously challenged. The judicial system is configured to maintain the status quo. Shari'a (Islamic law) is applied by ultraconservative religious leaders, slowing down efforts to reform Saudi society ...

While a number of recent 'firsts' have suggested that Saudi Arabia may be open to reform, particularly for women, the reforms have not altered the basic structure of the Saudi legal and administrative system. Saudi Arabia traditional position of leadership within the Islamic and Arab worlds is being seriously challenged. The judicial system is configured to maintain the status quo. Shari'a (Islamic law) is applied by ultraconservative religious leaders, slowing down efforts to reform Saudi society. Saudi Arabian judges apply shari'a (Islamic law) based on their individual interpretations. The judicial system lacks basic safeguards of fairness. Ignoring international and EU condemnation, Saudi Arabia has continued to execute criminals, including minors, for a wide range of offences. In Saudi Arabia, all women are subordinated to a male guardian. They face discrimination and lack of protection. It is important to maintain intensive political dialogue with Saudi Arabia on a wide range of issues, including the country's adherence to universally recognised human rights.

Yemen: current situation and background

01-07-2011

For over 20 years, President Ali Abdullah Saleh kept tribal and north-south divisions in check. His regime broke down in 2011 as a result of Yemen's Arab Spring, sparked by pervasive poverty, unemployment and corruption. Violence and chaos are on the rise, particularly in the south. Powerful tribal groups and Islamist militants may overwhelm those demonstrating for democracy through descent into civil war.

For over 20 years, President Ali Abdullah Saleh kept tribal and north-south divisions in check. His regime broke down in 2011 as a result of Yemen's Arab Spring, sparked by pervasive poverty, unemployment and corruption. Violence and chaos are on the rise, particularly in the south. Powerful tribal groups and Islamist militants may overwhelm those demonstrating for democracy through descent into civil war.

Forces of Reform and Education Systems of GCC Countries

25-10-2010

Social change and transformation in the GCC countries is only possible with the active internal involvement of citizens in political and social dialogue, leading to a coordinated and gradual “change from within”. However, having been led by autocratic rulers for centuries, the region’s citizens lack the resources and understanding of political mobilisation and responsibility. An educational system that delivers real outcomes can broaden the economic and social opportunities of its citizens, empowering ...

Social change and transformation in the GCC countries is only possible with the active internal involvement of citizens in political and social dialogue, leading to a coordinated and gradual “change from within”. However, having been led by autocratic rulers for centuries, the region’s citizens lack the resources and understanding of political mobilisation and responsibility. An educational system that delivers real outcomes can broaden the economic and social opportunities of its citizens, empowering and preparing them to assume their role as “agents of change” while reinforcing their social and intellectual development. Although the GCC countries have come a long way in enhancing enrolment and literacy rates, the region’s educational systems still suffer from low quality, misaligned incentives, lack of public accountability, inability to provide the skills needed in the market, and equipping pupils with critical thinking capacities. The EU has to a take more active role in providing assistance and sharing its know-how, instead of narrowly focusing on venues of cooperation in higher education, typically oriented for industrialised nations.

Parlamendiväline autor

Rym AYADI (Senior Research Fellow, CEPS)

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