- Gulf nations to create joint military command
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Six Gulf Arab nations wrapped up a summit meeting in Kuwait by agreeing to establish a joint military command, paving the way for tighter security coordination as their regional rival Iran pursues outreach efforts.
- Gulf leaders concerned by Iran's plans for more nuclear plants
Gulf Arab states expressed concern at a summit on Wednesday over Iran's plans to build more atomic power plants, while welcoming a nuclear deal it struck with six world powers last month. Iranian media have said Tehran is in serious talks with Russia to construct new nuclear power stations, based on a 1992 agreement with Moscow. Abdullatif al-Zayani, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said after the two-day summit in Kuwait: "The council expressed concern regarding announcements over plans to build more nuclear reactors on the banks of the Gulf that threaten the environmental system and water security." The Gulf states, especially Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, the regional heavyweight, see Shi'ite Iran as their chief rival but have cautiously welcomed its November 24 interim accord with world powers.
- Gulf states call on foreign forces to leave Syria
Kuwait City (AFP) - Gulf Arab states called on Wednesday for the withdrawal of "all foreign forces" from Syria, where Iran-backed Shiite militias from Iraq and Lebanon are supporting regime troops against mostly-Sunni rebels.
- Iran guards chief says foreign min not qualified to comment on military: report
The commander of Iran's elite revolutionary guards force, Mohammad Jafari, said the foreign minister was not qualified to comment on military matters, after the minister said the West could easily destroy the country's defenses. Last week Mohmmad Javad Zarif was quoted by local media as saying the West had little fear of Iran's military defenses and could destroy them if it wished, although Zarif has said his statement was skewed and taken out of context. "We consider him an experienced diplomat, but he has no experience in the military field," Fars news agency reported Jafari as saying on Tuesday, without naming Zarif. The commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Jafari was answering a question about whether U.S. forces could destroy Iran's military capability with a few bombs.
- Syrian opposition head urges Gulf states to launch aid fund
The head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) opposition group urged wealthy Gulf Arab states on Tuesday to set up an aid fund for millions of Syrians stricken by civil war. Well over 100,000 people have been killed in the two-year conflict between President Bashar al-Assad and rebels. The United Nations says about 6.5 million people have fled their homes within Syria and 2.3 million sought refuge abroad. SNC chief Ahmed Jarba issued the plea at a high-profile summit in Kuwait of leaders of the six Gulf Arab monarchies.
- Gulf leaders focus on union, Iran ties
Leaders of the oil-rich Gulf states meet in Kuwait on Tuesday to discuss plans to boost integration at a time of differences over a proposed union and ties with Iran. Foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday night drew up a final agenda for the two-day summit, which will also tackle the Syrian conflict. The summit follows a rare public spat between bloc leader Saudi Arabia and Oman over Riyadh's proposal to upgrade the GCC into a union -- 32 years after its establishment. Omani Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi threatened that Muscat would pull out of the loose alliance if a union was announced, while Saudi Arabia, solidly backed by Bahrain, insisted it was time to move ahead.
- Saudi call for Gulf Arab union faces hurdles at summit
By Rania El Gamal KUWAIT (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's dream of binding the Gulf Arab states into a union will get a skeptical hearing at a summit this week, with differences over Iran, Egypt and Syria demonstrating that the Gulf's absolute monarchs do not all speak with one voice. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah proposed two years ago for a stronger union with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emeriates.
- Kuwaiti court acquits 70 accused over 2011 storming of parliament
A Kuwait court on Monday acquitted 70 people, including nine former lawmakers, of storming the parliament in 2011 in an unprecedented protest against the then prime minister, a senior member of the ruling family. Kuwait, a U.S. ally and major oil exporter, has largely weathered the popular uprisings that ousted autocratic rulers elsewhere in the Arab Spring, thanks in part to its generous welfare state. But the blocking of a request by lawmakers to question then prime minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah about corruption allegations prompted the 2011 protesters to force their way into parliament, in contrast to previous peaceful sit-ins. Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir, denies the allegations.
- Kuwaitis cleared of parliament raid
Seventy opposition activists, including nine former MPs, have been acquitted of storming the parliament building in the Gulf state two years ago.
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