Middle East Government


Global AI competition held in Dubai

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An international competition in artificial intelligence and robotics is set to take place in Dubai this week. The First Global Challenge aims to foster a culture of innovation and creativity in students across the UAE. The four-day event begins on October 24 at the Dubai Festival Arena and more than 1,500 young people are expected to attend. The theme of this year's contest is'Ocean Opportunities', with students competing to tackle issues from pollution to sustainability. "This event comes amidst repeated international calls to strengthen cooperation to find effective solutions to the issue of marine pollution by working on the adaptation of the latest technology," said Ahmed Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills.


European News Agencies discuss artificial intelligence

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Anadolu Agency called on other European news media organizations to be more sensitive towards the ongoing tragedy in Syria. A three-day general assembly of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) came to an end on Friday in the Czech capital Prague. Anadolu Agency editor-in-chief Metin Mutanoglu said in a speech that Syria's northwestern Idlib area was under heavy fire by Bashar al-Assad regime forces and that the region was facing a fresh wave of migrants. Mutanoglu underlined that though tens of thousands were forced to leave their homes due to regime attacks, the European news media were not interested enough in the issue. A new migration wave would affect not only Turkey but the rest of Europe as well, he stressed, adding that EANA should thus make a greater effort to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in war-torn country .


Tulsi Gabbard says U.S. should re-enter Iran nuclear deal, end sanctions in response to Saudi Arabia drone attack

FOX News

Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said Thursday that she would re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and end sanctions in response to Iran's involvement in drone attack against Saudi Arabia oil facilities if she was president. "What I would do is, I would re-enter the Iran nuclear deal to prevent Iran from continuing to move forward in building a nuclear weapon that puts us and the world further at risk," Gabbard said on "The Story with Martha MacCallum." Every day that we don't do this, every day we continue down this failed strategy Iran gets closer and closer to a nuclear weapon. U.S. officials told Fox News on Tuesday that Iranian cruise missiles and drones were both used in the attack on the two Saudi Arabian oil facilities, and that they were fired from inside southwest Iran this past weekend. Gabbard called the attack a "retaliation" against "extreme sanctions."


Expert on why Saudi Arabia won't explicitly blame Iran for attacks: 'They would be toast'

FOX News

On Fox Nation's "Deep Dive," a panel of experts analyzed the world response to last weekend's crippling attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure and explained why the Saudi government seems hesitant to explicitly accuse Iran of carrying out the strikes. "If you look at the sophistication of the attack, the ranges of the weapons used, and how this was perpetrated, it can only be Iran really," said Lt. Col. Dakota Wood, who is a retired Marine and Senior Research Fellow for Defense Program at the Heritage Foundation. At a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, the Saudis displayed broken and burned drones and pieces of a cruise missile that military spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki identified as Iranian weapons collected after the attack. Tehran has denied that it carried out the attacks and Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility. Speaking from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran is responsible for the attack, telling reporters that the strike was "an act of war."


Saudi Arabia says Iranian missiles and drones attacked oil sites but stops short of blaming Tehran

The Japan Times

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia alleged Wednesday an attack by drones and cruise missiles on the heart of the kingdom's oil industry was "unquestionably sponsored by Iran," naming but not directly accusing Tehran of launching the assault. Iran denies being involved in the attack claimed by Yemeni rebels, and has threatened the U.S. that it will retaliate "immediately" if Tehran is targeted in response. The news conference by Saudi military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki comes after a summer of heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. over President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The U.S. alleges Iran launched the attack, which Yemen's Houthi rebels earlier claimed as a response to the yearslong Saudi-led war there that's killed tens of thousands of people. Al-Malki made a point not to directly accuse Iran of firing the weapons or launching them from inside of Iranian territory.


Precision attack on Saudi oil facility seen as part of dangerous new pattern

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The assault on the beating heart of Saudi Arabia's vast oil empire follows a new and dangerous pattern that's emerged across the Persian Gulf this summer of precise attacks that leave few obvious clues as to who launched them. Beginning in May with the still-unclaimed explosions that damaged oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the region has seen its energy infrastructure repeatedly targeted. Those attacks culminated with Saturday's assault on the world's biggest oil processor in eastern Saudi Arabia, which halved the oil-rich kingdom's production and caused energy prices to spike. Some strikes have been claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been battling a Saudi-led coalition in the Arab world's poorest country since 2015. Their rapidly increasing sophistication fuels suspicion among experts and analysts however that Iran may be orchestrating them -- or perhaps even carrying them out itself as the U.S. alleges in the case of Saturday's attack.


Trump strains to balance diplomacy and military threat to Iran

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration tried to balance diplomacy with fresh talk of military action Tuesday in response to the fiery missile and drone attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry -- a strike marking the most explosive consequence yet of the "maximum pressure" U.S. economic campaign against Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was headed to Jiddah in Saudi Arabia to discuss possible responses to what U.S. officials believe was an attack coming from Iranian soil. President Donald Trump said he'd "prefer not" to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at next week's U.N. session but "I never rule anything out." Iran continued to deny involvement in last weekend's attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil processing plant and its Khurais oil field, a strike that interrupted the equivalent of about 5 percent of the world's daily supply. Saudi Arabia's energy minister said Tuesday that more than half of the country's daily crude oil production that was knocked out by the attack had been recovered and production capacity at the targeted plants would be fully restored by the end of the month.


Second Artificial Intelligence Week kicks off in Dubai

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IQPC Middle East's second Artificial Intelligence Week was hosted at the Oberoi Hotel Dubai and organized with the official support of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi. Inaugurated by Sheikha Maryam Al Qasimi, Government Relations and Protocol Specialist for Lead Ventures at The Office of Sheikh Sultan bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, and Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President International Affairs at Emirates, the event saw participation from influential and leading organizations including the Prime Minister's Office, Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation (DCHR), UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention, Smart Dubai, ING, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Al Zahra Hospitals, Saudi Aramco, King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology, and many more. Knowing the central role AI plays, the Department of Health -- Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the Emirate, has been the first entity in the MENA region to pursue and launch an artificial intelligence policy for the healthcare sector. Dr. Hamed Al Hashemi, Director, Strategy Division at Department of Health, Abu Dhabi said: "In utilizing tech-based solutions like AI we can build a future-proof healthcare system. These systems are capable of providing more efficient, safe and evidence-based quality of care while forging ahead with bringing new, innovative ways of healthcare services delivery."


Iran detains United Arab Emirates-bound ship, crew for alleged diesel smuggling amid regional tensions: report

FOX News

Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Pregent says he believes without a doubt that Iran was involved in the attacks on Saudi oil facilities. Iran on Monday reportedly seized a vessel in the Persian Gulf for allegedly smuggling diesel to the United Arab Emirates -- a close ally of Saudi Arabia -- amid the ratcheting up of regional tensions after a group of Iranian-backed rebels said they were responsible for the attack on a Saudi oil facility over the weekend. The vessel seized Monday morning was carrying 250,000 liters of fuel when it was intercepted by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to the Islamic Republic's semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency. "It was detained near Iran's Greater Tunb island in the Persian Gulf...the crew have been handed over to legal authorities in the southern Hormozgan province," ISNA reported, according to Reuters. The nationalities of those aboard the vessel were not immediately clear.


Aramco attacks show firm's entanglement in Saudi politics

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The weekend drone attack on one of the world's largest crude oil processing plants that dramatically cut into global oil supplies is the most visible sign yet of how Aramco's stability and security is directly linked to that of its owner -- the Saudi government and its ruling family. The strikes, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed on Iran despite staunch denials by Tehran, led to suspension of more than 5 percent of the world's daily crude oil production, bringing into focus just how vulnerable the company is to Saudi Arabia's conflicts outside the country's borders, particularly with regional rival Iran. That matters greatly because Aramco produces and exports Saudi Arabia's more than 9.5 million barrels of oil per day to consumers around the world, primarily in Asia. It also comes as the state-owned company heads toward a partial public sale. To prepare for an initial public offering, the company has recently taken steps to distance itself from the Saudi government, which is controlled by the Al Saud ruling family.