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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

U.S. keeps India waiting on Iran sanctions waiver

Posted by Admin on May 7, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/clinton-hopes-india-even-more-cut-iran-oil-051703966–finance.html

By Andrew Quinn | Reuters – 2 hours 48 minutes ago

KOLKATA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaned harder on India on Monday to deepen cuts of Iranian oil imports, saying Washington may not make a decision on whether to exempt New Delhi from financial sanctions for another two months.

Clinton, on a three-day visit to India, said the United States was encouraged by the steps its ally had taken so far to reduce its reliance on Iranian oil but that “even more” action was needed.

The oil issue has become an irritant in ties between India and the United States. India is unwilling to be seen to be bowing to U.S. pressure and is reluctant to become too reliant on Saudi Arabia for its oil needs, which officials say privately would be strategically unwise.

The sanctions threaten to shut out Iranian oil importers from the U.S. financial system unless they make significant and continuing cuts to their crude purchases by an end-June deadline.

India is Iran‘s second-biggest crude customer, so it is crucial to the U.S. strategy of choking off the Iranian economy to force Tehran’s leaders to curb their nuclear programme.

(For slideshow: Hillary Clinton in India, click http://reut.rs/IQVrji)

“We do not believe Iran will peacefully resolve this unless the pressure continues. We need India to be part of the international effort,” Clinton told a townhall-style meeting in Kolkata.

Publicly, India has rejected Western sanctions but privately it has pushed local refiners to start cutting imports. India’s refiners signed new yearly contracts with Iran running from April 1 and Reuters calculations suggest imports could plunge about 25 percent in 2012/2013.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in April that India had already substantially cut Iranian oil imports. But Clinton’s comments on Monday suggested that Washington expected more action before it would grant the sanctions waiver.

The United States in March granted exemptions to Japan and 10 European Union nations. India and China, Iran’s biggest crude importer, remain at risk.

Clinton held up Japan as an example, saying it had cut imports despite having suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami that crippled its Fukushima nuclear reactor. Japan’s cuts of between 15 and 22 percent were enough to get a waiver.

Washington has not stated specifically what cuts it expects from each country, only that they must be substantial.

“We think India, as a country that understands the importance of trying to use diplomacy to try to resolve these difficult threats, is certainly working toward lowering their purchase of Iranian oil,” Clinton said.

“We commend the steps that they have taken thus far. We hope they will do even more,” said Clinton, who was due to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi later on Monday.

ADEQUATE MARKET SUPPLY

Clinton noted that Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other oil-producing nations were supplying more crude to the markets to offset any loss of supply from Iran.

“If there were not the ability for India to go into the market and meet its needs we would understand that. But we believe there is adequate supply and that there are ways for India to continue to meet their energy requirements,” she said.

She added that the United States would make a decision on whether to exempt India from the U.S. sanctions on Iran in “about two months from now”.

An Indian official privy to the Indian talks with Iran and the United States had earlier expressed hope that Clinton might announce a waiver during her visit. The official said the government had done enough to secure the exemption.

A senior U.S. official said on Sunday that Carlos Pascual, the U.S. special envoy who has been negotiating with Iranian oil importers to cut their imports, would visit India in mid-May to discuss the issue.

Clinton said at the town-hall event that Iran posed a grave threat to the region and that Indians should not view it as a “far-off threat”. Iran had dispatched “terrorist agents” to target Israelis and others in India, she said.

Clinton’s trip coincides with a visit by a large Iranian trade delegation, which is in Delhi to discuss how the two countries can trade via a rupee mechanism set up to skirt sanctions. U.S. officials played down the importance of the Iranian visit.

Trade disputes and frequent U.S. complaints that it is difficult for American companies to do business in India have also strained ties. Ambiguously worded Indian proposals to crack down on tax evasion and tax indirect investments have also alarmed Washington and sown confusion among foreign investors.

Finance Minister Mukherjee announced in parliament on Monday that he would delay by one year, until fiscal 2013/2014, the introduction of the tax evasion measures.

In her meeting with Singh, Clinton was expected to push for the government to open up India’s retail sector to foreign supermarkets such as Walmart – a major economic reform that has stalled and become emblematic of the policy paralysis gripping Singh’s government.

Clinton held talks earlier with Mamata Banerjee, the firebrand chief minister of West Bengal and Singh’s key ally in government, who has blocked the retail reform. Clinton said before meeting Banerjee that she planned to raise the issue but the chief minister said afterwards that it was not discussed.

(Writing by Ross Colvin, additional reporting by Matthias Williams in New Delhi; Editing by John Chalmers and Jeremy Laurence)

 

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Posted in Economic Upheavals, Geo-Politics, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on U.S. keeps India waiting on Iran sanctions waiver

Loader found dead in container; Suffocation suspected

Posted by Admin on February 14, 2012

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/loader-found-dead-in-container-suffocation-suspected-2012-02-12-1.442629

Taxi driver found hanging in Ras Al Khaimah

By VM Sathish
Published Sunday, February 12, 2012
An onion loader at the Al Awir Fruits and Vegetable market. A co-worker of his was found dead in a container (File)

A 55-year-old Indian porter found dead inside a massive onion container is likely to have died of suffocation because of the onion odour, the chief of Dubai’s criminal investigation was reported on Monday as saying.

Brigadier Khalil Al Mansoori said the body of worker at Al Awir vegetable market had been handed to the coroner to determine the precise cause of death.

“It was noticed that the dead man had blue signs on the face and lips, which indicate his dead was caused by suffocation because of low oxygen levels,” he said, quoted by the Sharjah-based Arabic language daily ‘Al Khaleej’.

“According to forensic experts, onion inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, which leads to asphyxia and eventually death.”

Mansoori urged shipping firms not to allow their workers to sleep in loaded containers, adding that he had instructed Rashidiya police to mount an awareness drive for porters to alert them about the risks of sleeping inside containers and other places which lack ventilation.

“We are now awaiting a final forensic report about the exact cause of death of that Indian loader…details will be released later,” he said.

The worker from Tamil Nadu state was found dead inside an onion container on Sunday morning. He had worked till night loading onions in a 40-feet container and decided to sleep inside the container because of the cold weather.

EARLIER STORY:

An Indian worker from Tamil Nadu at the Al Awir Fruits and Vegetables Market was found dead inside an onion container on Sunday morning.

The worker, in his 50s, worked till night loading onions in a 40-feet container. Because of the cold weather, he chose to sleep inside the container, partially filled with onions.

According to Dubai Police, the dead man was found on Sunday morning and the cause of death is being investigated. Preliminary reports suggest that he died of carbon dioxide inhalation from the container. His body has been moved to the police morgue.

“Because of the cold weather, many workers who usually sleep on the pavements and under the trees have shifted to containers, which are warmer. It is not known whether the  man died of suffocation after someone closed the container without knowing that someone was sleeping inside,“ said a trader at the vegetable market. “He could have died of carbon dioxide produced by the onions in the locked container,” sources said.

The worker, who lives in the Hor Al Anz area, chose to sleep in the container rather than travel back to his accommodation and return to work early next morning.

“There are no fixed timings for workers in the fruit and vegetable market. After the market was shifted from Deira to Al Awir. Many workers continued to stay in their old accommodation. They have to work at odd hours, sleep wherever they find temporary shelter and resume work. It is common to see workers sleeping under the trees, on pavements and containers. During the cold season, many workers find it convenient to sleep in containers,” said an Asian worker.

According to sources in the vegetable market, containers with Advanced Fresh Air Management systems allow low levels of oxygen as onions can tolerate up to 10 per cent carbon dioxide which helps reducing sprouting, root growth and decay of the vegetable. By increasing the carbon dioxide level and minimising the ventilation openings, such containers can minimise water loss from onions and build up carbon dioxide levels, which can help to preserve onions.

Taxi driver found dead in RAK

Meanwhile, a 40- year-old Indian taxi driver was found dead on Sunday morning.

Manikuttan, a Keralite from Thiruvananthapuram, was found hanging from the celing at his accommodation in Al Julan area of Ras Al Khaimah.

According to his friends, Manikuttan, who is survived by two children and wife, returned from work and reportedly committed suicide.

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Networking Business and UFO/ET Disclosure

Posted by Admin on June 18, 2011

http://exopolitics.blogspot.com/2011/02/networking-business-and-ufoet.html

Networking Business and UFO/ET Disclosure
By Ed Komarek
2/18/11

Copy and Distribute Freely
My blog: http://exopolitics.blogspot.com/

Jonothon Boutler has come up with a really good concept to network global pro-disclosure business interests with extraterrestrial disclosure interests. He is already executing on this concept and would like folks with both business interest and UFO/ET disclosure interests around the globe to get in touch with him at synarc2000@yahoo.com

I have been communicating with Jonothon via Facebook and email for awhile and am impressed with what he is trying to do and that he is being persistent in pushing this idea. I hope those in my networks with business interests anywhere around the globe will communicate with Jonothon and help to build this network.

The idea is to mirror the CIA’s anti-disclosure business networks around the globe with pro-disclosure business networks. At about the same time as Jonothon got in touch with me I was made aware that Carol Rosin had also come up with this concept of a civilian pro-disclosure organization mirroring the UFO/ET control structure of MJ 12-NSA . My thinking is that Jonothon’s business pro-disclosure network could become a very significant part of the larger model as envisioned by Carol.

Robert Salas has also been thinking along these same lines in this article. Robert makes the case that disclosure is a zero sum game and the key is to learn from the other players so as get ones freedom and liberty back. This involves a mirroring operation as I see it.http://www.theufochronicles.com/2011/01/ufo-disclosure-as-zero-sum-game.html

Jonothon said, “The aim is to link Saudis who have an interest in alternate energy, and or UFOs and its disclosure, and who want to link with business projects in Europe and the States. We also have an interest in archaeological history and cover-ups in the Arab peninsula.” Jonothon also tells me he is very interested in South America where I am developing good contacts on Facebook.

Jonothon continues. “This business will fund the disclosure projects and also act as a cover in the outer world. We need to know what business and the aspects the people are interested in and then we can know how to link them.

Jonothon elaborates further in a recent email to me. “I am meeting my Saudi friend tonight and then organizing a meeting with Saudi expats who are interested in the link of Disclosure, Alternate Energy and business.. Can you ask your Saudi connections if they are interested in this combo?”

Also there is a lot of hidden antique/archaeological sites that are covered up in Saudi that the Wahhabi’s don’t want people to see like the Giant tomb of Eve at Jedd-ah [The name Jedd-ah means Grandmother] Also the true Mt Sinai is in the North of the country. Also I would like any info from your Saudi contacts on any crashed craft and UFOs.

We need to know the various business potentials so that we can link the various business projects together with various skills. The aim in Saudi is like it will be in South America, to combine a business project as an overlay to the Disclosure project, this will also pay for the Disclosure and you may need to go to Saudi and meet people so the funding will pay for you to go and expenses etc. I spoke to my Lebanese diplomat friend in Paris and she is interested linking on the disclosure via business. Regards Jonothon.”

Posted in Exopolitics by Ed Komarek and Others | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Networking Business and UFO/ET Disclosure

Fighting turns southern Yemen town into “hell”

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011

Ali Abdullah Saleh

Ali Abdullah Saleh

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110608/wl_nm/us_yemen

By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Asma Alsharif Wed Jun 8, 1:42 pm ET

ADEN/JEDDAH (Reuters) – Bodies lay in the streets of a southern Yemeni town Wednesday as government forces battled Islamist militants, a local official said, underscoring the gravity of Yemen’s multiple conflicts.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, 69, wounded Friday when rockets hit his palace, is having treatment in the Saudi capital Riyadh but there were conflicting reports about his condition — ranging from fairly minor, to life-threatening 40-percent burns.

A truce between his forces and tribesmen who back pro-democracy protesters was holding in Sanaa. Western and Arab powers have been working to persuade Saleh to stay away and allow a long-negotiated transition of power to begin.

Saleh has left a country in crisis, with Yemeni civilians bearing the brunt of fighting. Medical staff are having trouble reaching the wounded, and electricity and water are scarce, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

Some 20 bodies have been retrieved in and around Sanaa since Saturday by ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent teams, including seven Tuesday in al-Hassaba, north of the capital, the ICRC said.

“Because of the fighting, it has often been difficult for medical personnel to reach certain parts of Sanaa,” said Jean-Nicolas Marti, the head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen.

The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) said Yemenis are going hungry as the fighting disrupts food supplies and pushes up the price of gas, water, fuel and other basic commodities.

“There is a sharp deterioration of the food security situation in Yemen,” WFP’s representative in Yemen Gian Carlo Cirri told Reuters in an interview. “We are close to food prices having doubled on average since last year when it comes to key commodities such as wheat flour, vegetable oil and sugar.”

Sanaa was calm in Saleh’s absence, with a ceasefire holding between government forces and tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, head of the powerful Hashed tribal confederation, who have turned against the president.

More than 200 people have been killed and thousands have fled Sanaa in the last two weeks as fighting intensified.

Al-Ahmar’s men withdrew from around seven government buildings, including the state news agency Saba which suffered heavily in fighting last week.

But many government ministries were not functioning as staff stayed away Wednesday and much of the city was suffering from cuts in electricity, fuel and water supplies.

GUNFIRE AND BLOOD

Officials and residents described dire scenes in the southern Abyan province where the army and Islamist militants have fought for days, causing thousands of residents to flee.

“There is a cat-and-mouse game going on in the streets now between the army and armed men. I can’t tell who’s who among them any more,” said resident Khaled Abboud by telephone. “There is a smell of gunfire and blood in the air. I only stayed to protect my home, but now I want to get out of this hell.”

The fighting has reduced Zinjibar, once home to more than 50,000 people, to a ghost town without power or running water.

Health official Alhadar Alsaidi said disease was spreading from dead bodies on the streets and wild dogs eating them. “I call on local and international health organizations to help us removing bodies from the streets and burying them,” he said.

The Yemeni army said this week it had killed 30 militants in Zinjibar, where a local official said 15 soldiers had also died in battles for the town seized by gunmen nearly two weeks ago.

Some of Saleh’s opponents have accused the president of deliberately letting al Qaeda militants take over Zinjibar to demonstrate the security risks if he were to lose power.

The volatile situation in Yemen, which lies on oil shipping lanes, alarms Western nations and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, who fear that chaos would give al Qaeda free rein there.

They see Saleh’s absence as an opportunity to secure his exit after nearly 33 years ruling the poorest Arab state.

The United States and Britain have called for a peaceful, orderly transition in Yemen, based on a Gulf-brokered plan.

There was no clear word on Saleh’s health.

“I visited him yesterday evening and he was good. He talked to us and asked about the Yemeni expatriates and he is better than the others who were injured. He is very good and talks. He was sitting on a chair,” said Taha al-Hemyari, head of Yemeni community affairs at the Yemeni embassy in Riyadh.

A Saudi doctor familiar with Saleh’s case also said his burns were not as serious as some officials suggested, saying he may be able to leave Saudi Arabia in less than two weeks.

SEVERE BURNS?

The Yemeni embassy in Washington said in a statement Saleh’s health was improving and reiterated that his deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was in charge in a caretaker capacity.

“President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s health condition is stable and continues to improve… President Saleh will return to Yemen … to reassume his duties soon after he recovers,” it said.

Yemeni and U.S. officials said Tuesday that Saleh was in a more serious condition with burns over roughly 40 percent of his body. Saudi newspaper al-Watan cited a Yemeni diplomat on Wednesday as saying another operation on Saleh was possible.

Saleh was initially said to have been hit by shrapnel and Hadi said Monday the president would return within days.

Forty percent burns would mean Saleh’s life could be in danger: “Somebody of that age, with that percentage of burns, has got a pretty poor prognosis, especially if these are full thickness burns,” Brendan Eley, chief executive of the Healing Foundation at Britain’s Royal College of Surgeons.

Saudi officials say it is up to Saleh whether he returns home but they, and their Western allies, may want to revive a Gulf-brokered transition deal under which the Yemeni leader would quit in return for immunity from prosecution.

Yemen said a donation of three million barrels of crude oil from Saudi King Abdullah had arrived in Aden Wednesday.

Thousands of protesters, who have been in the streets since February demanding Saleh quit, gathered at his vice president’s residence Tuesday. They want him formally to assume power in order to effect Saleh’s final removal from office.

Troops loyal to army general Ali Mohsen, who has sided with the protesters, shot into the air in an effort to persuade them to leave, but the activists stayed put.

(Additional reporting by Martina Fuchs, Mohammed Ghobari, Reem Shamseddine, Kate Kelland and Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay; writing by Andrew Hammond; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Alastair Macdonald)

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Thousands of Yemenis protest for Saleh to stay out

Posted by Admin on June 7, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110607/wl_nm/us_yemen

By Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf 22 mins ago

SANAA (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Yemeni vice president’s residence on Tuesday, demanding the acting leader for wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh form a transitional council to create a new government.

Outside the peaceful protest in the capital of Sanaa, battles raged in a southern town held by Islamist militants.

Around 4,000 demonstrators in Sanaa, who have been calling for Saleh to step down for five months, called for a “million-man march” for him to stay in Saudi Arabia, where he has been treated for injuries since an attack on Friday.

“The people want to form a transitional council, we will not sleep, we will not sit until the council is formed,” the protesters chanted.

Protesters carried banners saying “The blood of the liberated achieved victory,” while others waved banners saying “Our revolution is Yemeni, not Gulf or American.”

“We will remain in front of the residence of the vice president for 24 hours to pressure him for the formation of a transitional council,” youth activist Omar al-Qudsi said.

“The era of Saleh has ended,” he told Reuters.

Saleh, 69, was wounded on Friday when rockets struck his Sanaa palace, killing seven people and wounding senior officials and advisers in what his officials said was an assassination attempt. He is being treated in a Riyadh hospital.

The volatile situation in Yemen, which lies on vital oil shipping lanes, alarms Western powers and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, who fear that chaos would enable the local al Qaeda franchise to operate more freely there.

They see Saleh’s absence for medical treatment in Riyadh as an opportunity to ease the president out of office after nearly 33 years ruling the impoverished Arab nation.

“We are calling for a peaceful and orderly transition,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Vice President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, appointed by Saleh as acting president, and pushed for a ceasefire.

Hadi has insisted that Saleh would return within days.

Saudi officials say it is up to Saleh whether he returns home or not, but they and their Western allies may want to revive a Gulf-brokered transition deal under which the Yemeni leader would quit in return for immunity from prosecution.

“Saleh’s departure is probably permanent,” said Robert Powell, Yemen analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“The Saudis, as well as the U.S. and European Union, are pushing hard for him to stay in Saudi Arabia, as they view the prospect of his return as a catastrophe.

“Prior to his departure, the country was slipping inexorably into a civil war. However, his removal has suddenly opened a diplomatic window to restart the seemingly failed GCC-mediated proposal. It seems Saudi Arabia and other interested parties are unwilling to allow Saleh to derail it this time.”

CLASHES IN SOUTH

Saudi Arabia is worried by the activities of the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has staged daring if not very effective attacks on Saudi and U.S. targets.

The army said it had killed dozens of Islamist militants including a local al Qaeda leader in the southern town of Zinjibar, capital of the flashpoint Abyan province.

A local official said 15 soldiers had been killed in the battles for control of the town seized by militants some 10 days ago.

Some of Saleh’s opponents have accused the president of deliberately letting AQAP militants take over Zinjibar to demonstrate the security risks if he lost power.

The fighting has reduced Zinjibar, once home to more than 50,000 people, to a ghost town without power or running water.

Fighting also flared again in the city of Taiz, south of Sanaa, where anti-government gunmen have clashed sporadically with troops in the past few days.

A Saudi-brokered truce was holding in the capital after two weeks of fighting between Saleh’s forces and tribesmen in which more than 200 people were killed and thousands forced to flee.

POWER TRANSFER

Saleh has defied pressure to accept the transition plan brokered by the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Three times, he has backed away from signing it at the last minute.

“The transition seems to be on track as per the GCC initiative. There will be many obstacles down the road, but without Saleh’s destructive presence, we can overcome them,” said Yemeni political analyst Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani.

The future of Yemen, where shifting alliances of tribal leaders, generals and politicians compete for power, is uncertain. Saleh’s sons and relatives remain in the country, commanding elite military units and security agencies.

Other contenders in a possible power struggle include the well-armed Hashed tribal federation, breakaway military leaders, Islamists, leftists and an angry public seeking relief from crippling poverty, corruption and failing public services.

Youthful protesters have been celebrating Saleh’s departure, but are wary of any attempt by the wily leader to return.

“In the near term, the biggest challenge is to set up a viable political reform process that has the general backing of the population, and allows Yemen to return to normal after months of unrest,” the EIU’s Powell said.

“In the medium term, Yemen’s biggest challenge is economic — already the poorest country in the Middle East, it is running out of oil and water, and unless it can find alternative drivers of growth an economic collapse is entirely feasible,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Nour Merza in Dubai, Arshad Mohammed in Washington and Alistair Lyon in London; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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Saudi Arabia brokers new truce in Yemen: Saudi source

Posted by Admin on June 5, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110604/wl_nm/us_yemen;_ylt=AkB46xdRf6XpfNqkl7K..d9vaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTI5djdoMW0wBGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTEwNjA0L3VzX3llbWVuBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNzYXVkaWFyYWJpYWI-

SANAA (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has brokered a fresh truce between a powerful Yemeni tribal federation and forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Saudi source said on Saturday, and a tribal leader said his followers were abiding by it.

A Saudi-brokered truce agreed a week ago held for only a day before fresh street battles broke out in the capital Sanaa, leading to the most intense fighting there since the uprising against Saleh’s 32-year role began.

Broadcasters Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, citing Yemeni and Saudi sources, said Saleh was on his way to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, a day after suffering head wounds in a shelling attack on a mosque in the presidential compound, but Yemen’s deputy information minister denied the reports.

Seven people were killed when what appeared to be rockets hit the presidential palace and several government officials were wounded. Saleh blamed a tribal federation for the assault.

“The rocket was devastating. It was a clear assassination attempt against the president,” said Abdulla Ali al-Radhi, Yemen’s ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The BBC reported that the attack left Saleh with shrapnel near his heart and second-degree burns to his chest and face. It said sources close to the president had told the broadcaster Saleh had a piece of shrapnel almost 7.6 cm long under his heart.

Four months into a deadly revolt, worries are mounting that Yemen, already on the brink of financial ruin and home to al Qaeda militants, could become a failed state that poses a threat to the world’s top oil exporting region and to global security.

Saleh’s forces retaliated by shelling the homes of the leaders of the Hashed tribal federation, which has been engaged in street fights with his forces. Spokesmen for the group said 10 tribesmen were killed and dozens injured while denying responsibility for the palace attack.

A growing number of people in Saleh’s inner circle feel the attack may have carried out by General Ali Mohsen who has broken from Saleh, sided with the protesters and called the president a “madman who is thirsty for more bloodshed.”

An expert on Yemen with close ties to Sanaa’s leadership said: “Nobody could have done this with such military precision other than a military man.”

Global powers have been pressing Saleh to sign a Gulf-brokered deal to end his 33-year rule. Leaving Yemen, even for medical care, would make it hard for Saleh to retain power and could be seen as the first step in a transfer of leadership.

A Yemeni official told Reuters that Saleh “had suffered minor wounds to his head and I believe his face.”

“It’s not easy for the president. He has lost people close to him and who were sitting next to him when it happened,” the official said.

Saleh has exasperated his former U.S. and Saudi allies, who once saw him as a key partner in efforts to combat Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Defying world pressure, Saleh has thrice reneged on a deal brokered by Gulf states for him to quit in return for immunity from prosecution, even as he haemorrhages support at home.

‘BULLETS EVERYWHERE’

Residents in Sanaa faced worsening fears after fighting between the Hashed tribal federation and Saleh’s forces spread to new parts of the divided capital on Friday, prompting a fresh exodus of war-weary civilians.

Tensions in the flashpoint of Taiz, about 200 km (120 miles) south, eased after police and military units withdrew from the city following a week of clashes with pro-reform demonstrators that left dozens dead.

The U.N. human rights chief was checking reports that more than 50 people had been killed in Taiz since Sunday.

Nearly 200 people have been killed in the capital in the past two weeks as street battles using machineguns, mortars and rocket propelled grenades shuttered shops and forced Sanaa’s airport to ground flights twice.

Sanaa roads were clogged when the sun rose by civilians fleeing violence that has engulfed more of the city.

“Bullets are everywhere, explosions terrified us. There’s no chance to stay any more,” said Sanaa resident Ali Ahmed.

Spain said it was evacuating its citizens and diplomats in Yemen, while Germany ordered the temporary closure of its embassy, adding to the number of countries shutting the doors on their diplomatic missions in Sanaa due to the fighting.

At least 420 people have been killed since the uprising against Saleh began in January, inspired by the movements in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled their long-standing leaders.

The battles are being fought on several fronts, with popular protests in several cities and military units breaking away from Saleh to protect the protesters.

There has also been a week-long campaign in Zinjibar by locals and Saleh’s soldiers to oust Islamist and al Qaeda militants who seized the southern coastal city near a shipping lane where about 3 million barrels of oil pass daily.

(Additional reporting by Mohammed al-Ramahi in Sanaa, Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden, Khaled al-Mahdi in Taiz, Mahmoud Habboush in Dubai, Samia Nakhoul in London, Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin and the Madrid bureau; writing by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Tim Paerce)

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Yemen on brink of civil war as clashes spread

Posted by Admin on May 28, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110527/wl_nm/us_yemen

By Samia Nakhoul and Mohammed Ghobari Fri May 27, 4:16 pm ET

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemeni tribesmen said they wrested a military compound from elite troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside the capital Sanaa on Friday as fighting spread, threatening to tip the country into civil war.

Yemeni fighter jets broke the sound barrier as they swooped over Sanaa, where battles between Saleh loyalists and the Hashed tribal alliance led by Sadeq al-Ahmar erupted this week after failure of a deal to ease the president out.

Clashes spread northeast of Sanaa on Friday, where tribes said in addition to seizing a military post in the Nahm region, they were also fighting government troops at two other positions south of the capital.

In Sanaa, tens of thousands of people gathered after Friday prayers for what they branded a “Friday of Peaceful Revolution” against Saleh, releasing white doves and carrying the coffins of about 30 people killed in clashes this week.

Tens of thousands turned out for the rally, inspired by the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, though their numbers had dwindled compared to previous weeks after thousands fled Sanaa and the government closed roads around the city to keep out tribes trying to reinforce the Ahmars.

Machinegun fire and sporadic blasts rattled the city before fighting eased after mediation efforts. Ahmar’s fighters evacuated government ministry buildings they had grabbed this week in return for a ceasefire and troops quitting their area.

“We are now in mediation and there has been a ceasefire between the two sides,” Ahmar, close to an Islamist opposition party, told protesters in “Change Square.” “But if Ali Abdullah Saleh returns (to fighting) then we are ready. We are steadfast and victorious.”

“We wanted it (revolution) to be peaceful but Saleh, his sons and his clique wanted war. We will not leave them the opportunity to turn it into a civil war,” Ahmar told Reuters.

But in a sign of hostility between the sides, a government source ridiculed Ahmar for his grandiose statements, saying the state had taught him a “small lesson” and urging him and “his gangs” to turn themselves in to face justice.

Battles this week, the worst since protests began in January, killed around 115 people and let Saleh grab back the initiative, overshadowing the protest movement with the threat of civil war. Yet protesters were determined to see him go.

“We are here to renew our resolve for a peaceful revolution. We reject violence or being dragged into civil war,” said Yahya Abdulla at the anti-Saleh protest camp, where armed vehicles were deployed to protect those praying.

A few kilometres (miles) away, government loyalists staged a short rally, waving Yemeni flags and pictures of Saleh, who has ruled the Arabian Peninsula state for nearly 33 years.

Worries are growing that Yemen, already a safe haven for al Qaeda and on the verge of financial ruin, could become a failed state that would erode regional security and pose a serious risk to neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of foiled attacks by a wing of al Qaeda based in Yemen, are concerned any spread of anarchy could embolden the militant group.

BATTLE AT MILITARY COMPOUND

In Nahm, 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Sanaa, a tribal leader said fierce fighting over three military posts killed 19 and wounded dozens. He said tribesmen had seized one post and were battling for two more as military planes bombed the area.

“There had been some skirmishes between the tribesmen supporting the youth revolution from time to time, but today it became a big armed confrontation,” Sheikh Hamid Asim said.

He had earlier said anti-Saleh fighters killed the commander of the military post they seized. A separate tribal source said the Yemeni air force dropped bombs to prevent the tribesmen from seizing an arms cache there.

The defense ministry blamed the opposition coalition, comprised of Islamists and leftists, for the fighting in Nahm. State television, citing a military source, denied any posts were seized. “These are lies with no basis in truth,” Yemen TV quoted him as saying.

If confirmed, the Republican Guard’s loss of a military post to tribesmen armed with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades would be an embarrassing setback for Saleh, whose country has become the poorest in the region.

Mediators have been increasingly exasperated with Saleh, saying he had repeatedly imposed new conditions each time a Gulf-led transition agreement was due for signing, mostly recently demanding a public signing ceremony.

Leaders of the G8 leading industrialized nations called on Saleh to step down during a summit in France, but analysts said global powers have little leverage in Yemen, located on a shipping lane through which 3 million barrels of oil pass daily.

FEAR OF CIVIL WAR

Sanaa residents had been streaming out of the capital by the thousands to escape escalating violence in recent days. Others stocked up on essentials and waited in trepidation.

“There is absolute poverty because of this regime. We want change,” said Abdulrahman al-Fawli, 42, an engineer. “But I’m terrified of civil war. I dread this prospect.”

The recent fighting between tribal fighters and loyalists has ignored a commitment to peaceful demonstrations by protesters, many of whom are sceptical about the vested interests of both sides in the armed conflict.

“Saleh and his forces and the al-Ahmar tribe cannot make the civilian state that the protesters want. They stole the limelight of the revolution and undermined it with their fighting,” said Ali Mohammed Subaihy, a doctor.

In the south, dozens of armed men believed to be from al Qaeda stormed into the city of Zinjibar in the flashpoint province of Abyan, chasing out security forces while seizing several government buildings and setting off blasts in others, residents said.

The army had withdrawn from Zinjibar after a battle with militants in March, but later regained control.

Friday’s violence, which killed at least seven people including a civilian, sent hundreds of families fleeing their neighborhoods as shelling continued and warplanes roared overhead. Smoke billowed from a military building.

Similar clashes broke out in Lawdar, also in the south, a government official said.

Saleh has said his removal would be a boon to al Qaeda, but the opposition, which includes the Islamist party Islah, accuses him of exploiting militancy to keep his foreign backing and argues that it would be better placed to fight al Qaeda.

Washington, which long treated Saleh as an ally against al Qaeda, has said it now wants him to go. Saleh’s attempts to stop protests by force have so far killed around 280 people.

(Additional reporting by Mohamed Sudam and Khaled al-Mahdy in Sanaa, Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden, Erika Solomon in Dubai and from Barbara Lewis in Geneva; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Louise Ireland)

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OPEC worried by high oil price, patchy global recovery

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/OPEC-worried-high-oil-price-reuters-5695835.html

On Monday 18 April 2011, 2:37 PM

 

OPEC building is pictured in the centre Vienna September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer/Files

By Eman Goma

KUWAIT (Reuters) – High oil prices represent a potentially major burden for importers with global economic recovery still fragile, leading OPEC ministers said on Monday.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, a day after confirming the kingdom slashed oil production by more than 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) in March due to weak demand, warned of continued weakness in the global economy.

“The recovery remains patchy, in many countries unemployment remains at unacceptable levels,” Naimi told a meeting of Middle Eastern and Asian energy officials, according to the text of his speech obtained by Reuters.

Consuming nations have warned that rising oil prices, which earlier this month touched $127 a barrel, their highest level since July 2008, pose a threat to economic growth.

OPEC ministers for the most part have acknowledged the risk high oil prices pose but say there is little the group can do about it as demand for crude is being met with sufficient supplies.

“At these high price levels, spending on oil imports could represent a significant economic burden for many import dependent countries,” Kuwait ‘s Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah said in a speech at the meeting.

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badri called on consuming nations to rein in speculators, saying they had added a $15 to $20 risk premium to the price of crude.

SAUDI SPECIAL BLEND REJECTED

Oil has been pushed higher since the start of the year by the wave of discontent that has swept through the Arab world, toppling the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and touching off a civil war in Libya that has brought oil exports to a halt.

Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates boosted output when Libyan supplies were lost but they have struggled to find buyers for the extra crude they are pumping.

Saudi Arabia tried to replicate Libya’s very low sulphur, high quality sweet oil with a special blend of crude, but refiners have only bought 2 million barrels of the blend.

“The market doesn’t want to change the Libyan crude, they still wait for the Libyan crude … I am surprised that nobody is buying the new ( Saudi ) crude,” Al-Badri, a former head of Libya’s OPEC delegation, told reporters.

The bulk of the crude oil produced by OPEC is sour, or high sulphur, while sweet crudes, like Libyan barrels, are highly prized for making transport fuels that have tight sulphur restrictions.

Iran ‘s OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters the market was well supplied with sour crude.

“There is a shortage of sweet crude, the Libyan kind, and as we enter the driving season there is higher demand for sweet crude,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Amena Bakr and Reem Shamseddine; writing by Robert Campbell; editing by James Jukwey)

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Iran says oil prices to reach $150 per barrel

Posted by Admin on April 6, 2011

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran

Belligerence and Hypocrisy

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Iran-says-oil-prices-reach-reuters-728569414.html

On Monday 4 April 2011, 9:22 PM

 

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that oil prices will reach $150 per barrel and the current crude prices were “not real”.

“The price of oil will increase to $150 per barrel in a period of time … the current oil prices are not real,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference.

Oil traded above $119 a barrel for Brent on Monday, just off a two-and-a-half year high touched in February, spurred by political instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

Iran is OPEC ‘s second biggest crude producer after Saudi Arabia .

Disruption of Libyan exports because of violent unrest in the OPEC member country also provided an opportunity for Iran to sell some of the crude that had built up in floating storage.

A popular uprising in Libya has shut down almost all of the country’s 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil production, prompting Saudi Arabia to boost crude output to try to compensate for the loss and rein in oil prices.

(Editing by Jason Neely)

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Economic Roots of Bahrain’s Crisis and a Needed GCC Response

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://www.truth-out.org/economic-roots-bahrain%E2%80%99s-crisis-and-a-needed-gcc-response68782

Monday 21 March 2011

by: James Zogby  |  Arab American Institute | News Analysis

All too frequently these days, I am asked whether our past polling at Zogby International gave us any advance clues to the uprisings that have occurred in several Arab countries. The answer, of course, is no. We were surprised, as, I believe, were the demonstrators themselves by the outpouring of support and the rapid growth of their movements in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond.

But while our polling couldn’t predict the uprisings, it nevertheless has been helpful in contributing to our understanding of the issues and concerns that define the political landscape in countries across the region.

In preparing for a talk on Bahrain earlier this week, I took a look at a survey of the “middle class” in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain we conducted a few years ago for McKinsey and Company. It was most instructive. What I found, back then, in that in-depth look into the economic status and outlook of Gulf Arabs were yellow flags flying all over our Bahrain data, warning that the country’s citizens were distressed.

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We found that not only are Bahrain’s neighbors in Saudi Arabia and the UAE wealthier, in terms of macro-economic indicators, their citizens are also more satisfied with their current status and more optimistic about their prospects for the future. Ask the questions “are you better off than your parents were when they were your age” and between two-thirds to three-quarters of Saudis and Emiratis say “yes”. On the other hand, only one-third of Bahrainis would agree that they are better off than their parent’s generation. And when asked whether their children would be better off in the future, more than a half of Saudis and Emiratis agreed that they would be better off, while only 17% of Bahrainis are optimistic about the future of their offspring.

Hard data establishes that Bahrain’s unemployment is significantly more than double that of its neighbors, but this is only part of the story. Most unemployed Saudis and Emiratis report having incomes (with some being fairly substantial coming from family support; others report income from rental properties or investments, etc). And most of those reporting themselves to be “unemployed” in those two countries come from households in which two or more individuals are employed. In Bahrain, on the other hand, most of the unemployed report having no sources of other income, most have no savings, and most come from households where only one person or no one at all is a wage-earner.

One doesn’t have to make the leap to a crude type of economic determinism to conclude that this economic stress in Bahrain would have consequences. Bahrainis report being less satisfied with their jobs and the salaries they receive, and give lower grades to government services than their neighbors in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

While this obvious economic distress in Bahrain is only one factor among others to which one can point in an effort to account for the turmoil in the country – it is a revealing and important factor nonetheless.

The issues of political reform, concerns with discrimination, and government accountability have now been brought to the forefront in Bahrain and are the key agenda items for a much needed national dialogue. But as this broader political discussion advances (and one can only hope that it does), the economic needs of Bahrain’s people should not be ignored. Meeting economic concerns will not substitute for political reform, but not addressing these economic matters will only make advancing on the political front all the harder.

In this area, Bahrain’s neighbors have a key role to play. Earlier this year, Gulf Cooperation Council members made a commitment of long-term financial assistance to Bahrain. And now they have sent troops into the country deepening their commitment to their neighbor and fellow member. More must be done. Bahrain needs help. Just as other GCC countries realized that the long-term standoff that shut down a vital part of the country was not sustainable or constructive, so too they must realize that the government’s crack-down that ended the standoff will also not solve the country’s problems or even contribute to a resolution. An honest, open, and good faith dialogue on all key issues is the only way forward. As that occurs, the GCC can design a more comprehensive economic package for Bahrain – as an incentive to move the reform process forward, as a sign of GCC solidarity with the Bahraini people and government, and as a way of demonstrating that Arab problems can be solved by Arabs.

All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.

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Bahrain sweeps into protest camp; 6 dead

Posted by Admin on March 16, 2011

02_20_2011_DC Bahrain Protest014.jpg

Bahrain Crisis

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110316/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_protests

By BARBARA SURK and REEM KHALIFA, Associated Press Barbara Surk And Reem Khalifa, Associated Press 25 mins ago

MANAMA, Bahrain – Soldiers and riot police used tear gas and armored vehicles Wednesday to drive out hundreds of anti-government protesters occupying a landmark square in Bahrain’s capital, a day after emergency rule was imposed in the violence-wracked Gulf kingdom. At least six people were killed, according to witnesses and officials.

The full-scale assault launched at daybreak swept into Pearl Square, which has been the center of uprising against Bahrain’s rulers since it began more than a month ago. Stinging clouds of tear gas filled streets and black smoke rose from the square from the protesters’ tents set ablaze.

Witnesses said at least two protesters were killed when the square was stormed. Officials at Ibn Nafees Hospital said a third protester later died from gunshot wounds in his back. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisals from authorities.

Meanwhile, Bahrain state TV also reported that two policemen died when they were hit by a vehicle after anti-government protesters were driven out. The Interior Ministry also at least one other policeman was killed, but did not give the cause.

It was unclear whether the offensive included soldiers from other Gulf nations who were dispatched to help Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy, which has been under relentless pressure from the country’s majority Shiite Muslims to give up its monopoly on power.

But state TV broadcast video showing military vehicles in the square flying Bahrain’s red-and-white flag as security officials moved through the wreckage of the encampment, set up at the base of a towering monument to the country’s history as a pearl diving center. The video showed the ground littered with debris, including satellite dishes and charred tent poles.

Helicopters crisscrossed over the square, which was cleared by security forces late last month but was later retaken by protesters after a deadly confrontation with army units.

Protesters fled for cover into side streets and security forces blocked main roads into Manama. Mobile phones were apparently jammed in central Manama during the height of the attack and Internet service was at a crawl.

Hamid Zuher, a 32-year-old protester who slept at the square, said riot police first moved in on foot through a haze of tear gas, firing in the air.

“They fired tear gas and then opened fire,” Zuher said. “We lifted our arms and started saying ‘Peaceful, Peaceful.’ Then we had to ran away. There was so much tear gas and shooting.”

In Shiite villages, people went to mosques to pray in a sign of protest against the Pearl Square crackdown. Others lit fires in anger. Clashes were reported in other mostly Shiite areas of the country, where traffic was tightly controlled by military forces in an apparent attempt to prevent protest gatherings or a surge of people toward the capital.

The roadblock also kept protesters possibly injured in the Pearl Square raid from reaching the main state hospital, which was working on generator power. The extent of the blackout in Manama was not immediately clear.

The official Bahrain news agency said the emergency rule bans “rallies and disrupting the public order” and imposes “movement restrictions” and possible curfews in some locations.

For Bahrain’s authorities, clearing Pearl Square would be more of a symbolic blow against protesters than a strategic victory as opposition groups are still be able to mobilize marches and other actions against the leadership.

Bahrain’s king on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency and instructed the military to battle unrest in the strategic nation, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Shortly after the announcement, clashes erupted across the island nation, killing at least two civilians. Saudi officials also said one of it’s soldiers was killed.

Bahrain’s sectarian clash is increasingly viewed as an extension of the region’s rivalries between the Gulf Arab leaders and Shiite powerhouse Iran. Washington, too, is pulled deeply into the Bahrain’s conflict because of it’s key naval base — the Pentagon’s main Gulf counterweight to Iran’s growing military ambitions.

On Tuesday, Iran and it’s allied force in Lebanon, Hezbollah, denounced the presence of foreign soldiers in Bahrain. Iran has no direct political links with Bahrain’s main Shiite groups, but Iranian hard-liner in the past have called the tiny island nation that “14th Province” of the Islamic Republic.

Gulf rulers, particularly Saudi Arabia, fear that the collapse of Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy could embolden further revolts across the region and embolden the Saudi Shiite minority whose home region is connected to Bahrain by a causeway.

The state of emergency in the U.S.-backed regime gives Bahrain’s military chief wide authority to battle protesters demanding political reforms and equal rights for the majority Shiites.

Also Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rhodium Clinton expressed alarm over “provocative acts and sectarian violence,” and said she telephoned Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi to stress the need for the foreign forces to promote dialogue.

“We call for calm and restraint on all sides in Bahrain,” Clinton told reporters in Cairo, where she was urging on democratic currents that chased Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak from power last month.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon authorized military family members and civilians with non-emergency jobs to leave Bahrain as violence spread. A spokeswoman for Bahrain’s Gulf Air, Noof Buallay, said flights were operating normally at Manama’s airport.

The intervention of more than 1,000 Saudi-led troops from several Gulf nations was the first major cross-border military action to challenge one of the revolts sweeping across the Arab world. The Al Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain for 200 years.

The foreign troops are from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council‘s Peninsula Shield Force. The bloc is made up of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — all largely Sunni countries that have nervously watched the Arab world’s protests. The Saudi government on Tuesday withdrew accreditation to the chief Reuters correspondent there, complaining about a recent report on a protest in the kingdom. Reuters stood by its coverage.

Iran denounced the foreign intervention as “unacceptable” and predicted it would complicate the kingdom’s political crisis.

A senior Bahraini foreign affairs official, Hamad al-Amer, called the remarks “blatant intervention in internal Bahraini affairs” and said Iran’s ambassador to Bahrain was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.

A security official in Saudi Arabia said a Saudi sergeant was shot and killed by a protester in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. No other details were immediately given on the death of the soldier, identified as Sgt. Ahmed al-Raddadi. The Saudi official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

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