Are Trump's plans for an Arab NATO realistic?

Al Jazeera

To be sure, much of the tension between Arab capitals has to do with disputes over the question of who in the Sunni Muslim world qualifies as an extremist and questions about how or when the Arab states could or should engage with Tehran. Among the eight states that are supposed to constitute MESA, half have allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to legitimately operate in their domestic and/or foreign politics (Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, and Qatar). Others (Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) have cracked down on the Islamist movement's local branches, with Abu Dhabi leading the effort to make the Gulf Muslim Brotherhood-free. Regarding Iranian ascendancy in the Arab world, certain members of the so-called "Arab NATO", namely Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait - and to a lesser extent Egypt and Jordan - favour a more accommodating relationship with the Islamic Republic due to a host of national interests stemming from internal sectarian dynamics, energy needs, security dilemmas, trade, and investment. Yet, Abu Dhabi (but not so much Dubai), Bahrain and Saudi Arabia see a more confrontational approach towards Tehran as best serving their security interests at a time when the Iranian regime is flexing its muscles in the region.


DNA evidence reveals early farmers were 'already really connected' to their dogs

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The world's first farmers were already reliant on their'wolf-like' dogs who followed them into Europe and Asia 9,000 years ago, according to a new DNA study. Domesticated dogs faithfully tagged along with early agriculturalists who were'already really connected' to their hounds when they spread out of the Fertile Crescent. This recent study shows that not only were dogs useful to early hunters but they were'an integral component of the Neolithic farming package' too. The world's first farmers were already reliant on their dogs who followed them into Europe and Asia 9,000 years ago, according to a new DNA study (stock image) The Fertile Crescent is an ancient area of fertile soil arcing around the Arabian desert from Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and ending in Iraq and Iran. According to a paper by researchers from the University of Rennes in France, dogs accompanied humans when they first spread out from this area.


Kuwait: Flights resume after flooding disrupted air traffic

Al Jazeera

Flights have resumed at Kuwait International Airport, Kuwait Airways said in a tweet on Thursday, a day after bad weather forced a suspension of air traffic. Earlier on Thursday, Kuwait's civil aviation authority had said air traffic at the airport would remain suspended until 4pm local time (1300 GMT) as another round of severe weather battered the Gulf nation. On Wednesday, Kuwait had halted all departing flights from the airport and redirected those landing to nearby Manama, Dubai and Dammam airports. "Rains overnight on Wednesday submerged main passages at the airport, resulting in diverting several incoming flights to Dubai, Bahrain and Dammam airports," said the head of Kuwait's civil aviation, Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah. Heavy rain has been lashing the country for the past two days, with the national meteorological department reporting 98mm rainfall.


Saudi Prince Turki says CIA cannot be trusted on Khashoggi

Al Jazeera

A senior Saudi prince cast doubt on the reported CIA finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, saying the agency could not be counted on to reach a credible conclusion. "The CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations. The examples of that are multitude," Prince Turki al-Faisal, a senior member of the royal family, told journalists in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. The prince, a former Saudi intelligence chief who has also served as ambassador to the United States, said the agency's conclusion that Iraq possessed chemical weapons before the US invasion in 2003 showed it could be unreliable. "That was the most glaring of inaccurate and wrong assessments, which led to a full-scale war with thousands being killed," he said, speaking at an event hosted by the Beirut Institute think tank.


Military-linked Iran media outlet publishes video that threatens missile strikes on UAE and Saudi Arabia

The Japan Times

TEHRAN – An Iranian media outlet close to the country's hard-line Revolutionary Guard published a video Tuesday threatening the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with missile attacks, further raising regional tensions after a weekend militant attack on a military parade in Iran. The video tweeted and later deleted by the semi-official Fars news agency comes as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for the attack in the city of Ahvaz on Saturday, which killed at least 25 people and wounded over 60. The threat amplifies the unease felt across the greater Persian Gulf, which is seeing Iran's economy upended in the wake of America's withdrawal from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers and Saudi and Emirati forces bogged down in their yearslong war in Yemen. Meanwhile, Iranian officials on Tuesday identified the five men who carried out the parade attack, which authorities have blamed on Arab separatists. At least two of the men identified have appeared in a video distributed by the Islamic State group in its own claim of responsibility for the Ahvaz attack.