Deep in the Gulf waters between Qatar and Iran lies the world's largest gas field, a 9,700-sq-km expanse that holds at least 43 trillion cubic metres of gas reserves. Qatar's southern portion is known as North Field, while Iran's slice to the north is called South Pars. The two countries share exploration rights in the area, and its one of many ties that bind them. But Doha's relationship with Tehran has been put to a new test on Monday, after Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia led four other countries in cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member of undermining security in the region by siding with Iran, among other actions. Saudi also urged "all brotherly countries and companies" to follow its lead in isolating Qatar, a call that GCC members Kuwait and Oman have so far sidestepped.
As more details emerge about the'electronics ban' imposed by the U.S. on a raft of Middle East airlines, it increasingly looks like a crude attempt to damage those airlines and dissuade people from traveling to the U.S. from the Middle East. News first emerged on March 20 of a new regulation barring passengers from bringing any electronics device larger than a cell phone into the cabin on non-stop flights from the Middle East to the U.S. Since then, further details have been revealed. No on-the-record statements have yet been made by administration officials, but the broad terms of the ban have been set out in anonymous briefings to the media. The routes affected are direct flights to the U.S. from Amman in Jordan; Cairo in Egypt; Istanbul in Turkey; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Doha in Qatar; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; and Casablanca in Morocco. The airlines that fly from these airports to the U.S. are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad and Royal Air Maroc.
The United States lifted a ban Wednesday that required laptops and other electronic devices to be put in the luggage when flying on Emirates Airlines and Turkish Airlines. U.S. Homeland Security introduced the ban in March over concerns that the large devices could be used to smuggle explosives into the cabins of planes. "Emirates has been working hard in coordination with various aviation stakeholders and the local authorities to implement heightened security measures and protocols that meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's new security guidelines for all U.S. bound flights," the airline said in a statement Wednesday. The ban was put in place in March and restricted items such as laptop computers, tablets, cameras, travel printers and games bigger than a phone. The ban has affected foreign-carrier planes flying from 10 countries to America: Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jidda and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
WASHINGTON/OTTAWA – U.S. and British officials said Tuesday the decision to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some international flights wasn't based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about terrorists targeting jetliners. Unimpressed, some travelers and civil liberties groups denounced the ban, raising concerns that included lost worktime on long flights and worries that checking laptops in baggage will make them more vulnerable to theft. Under the new bans, electronic devices larger than smartphones, such as laptops, tablets and gaming devices, will have to be checked on some international flights. American officials announced the U.S. ban early Tuesday, and the British followed later in the day after discussions between the countries. The U.S. ban affects flights from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It may not be necessary to expand a ban on laptops and other large electronics in the cabins of many international flights into the United States right now, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday. Homeland Security first banned laptops and other large electronics from the cabins of flights headed to the United States from 10 cities in March amid concerns about an undisclosed threat described only as sophisticated and ongoing. The current ban applies to nonstop flights to the United States from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. An electronics ban affecting nonstop flights from Europe would impact as many as 400 daily flights carrying about 85,000 passengers.