Thou shalt not use thy neighbor’s WiFi: Dubai authorities issue fatwa

Special to In Dubai, it is against Islamic Law to covet your neighbor’s WiFi. Dubai’s Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department recently published a fatwa (Muslim religious ruling) forbidding Muslims from using open WiFi networks without permission, the Associated Press reported. The department’s official statement says “there is nothing wrong in using the line […]

Saudi companies fail to make payrolls, Gulf states weigh taxes as oil prices strain economies

Special to Sinking oil prices are weighing heavily on Mideast economies. In Saudi Arabia, the construction sector has been hit hard by low oil prices as several firms with government contracts are failing to make payroll. The Riyadh government has significantly cut spending on building projects as it seeks to reduce a budget deficit […]

UAE’s new ‘Minister of Happiness’ one of 8 women in cabinet

Special to The United Arab Emirates has named an official “Minister of Happiness” who will be tasked with creating “social good and satisfaction.” UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid appointed Ohood Al Roumi to the post as he announced his new Cabinet on Feb. 10. Al Roumi is one of eight women in […]

Saudi Arabia and Turkey weigh military action in Syria

Special to Saudi Arabia and Turkey are considering sending ground troops into Syria to support rebels fighting the Russia-backed Bashar Assad regime, analysts say. “The Saudis believe that the chance of a peaceful solution for the Syrian crisis is very limited,” said Mustafa Alani of the independent Gulf Research Center. “They don’t see that […]

Gulf States jointly condemn ‘Iranian interference’ in Saudi affairs

Special to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty The Sunni Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf have expressed support for Saudi Arabia in its diplomatic row with Iran, condemning what they described as Iranian interference in Riyadh’s internal affairs. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism and warned that the kingdom was considering […]

Gulf states helping secure Saudi border with Yemen

Special to Some 1,000 troops from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have been deployed to Saudi Arabia. The troops, mostly from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, were sent to Saudi’s southern border with Yemen for a border security operation against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The rebels have launched several missiles at the Saudi southern […]

UAE, Bahrain, Sudan join Saudi in curbing ties to Iran

Special to Bahrain and Sudan on Jan. 4 followed Saudi Arabia’s lead in cutting diplomatic ties with Iran. United Arab Emirates said it would also downgrade its ties to Teheran. The escalating tensions between Saudi and Iran came after Riyadh’s execution of a Shi’ite Muslim cleric. Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Teheran […]

Happy (post-shutdown) days are here again: Obama OKs missile sales

Special to WASHINGTON — The United States, ending its government shutdown, has resumed arms sales to the Middle East. The administration of President Barack Obama has approved billions of dollars worth of weapons and munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Defense Department notified Congress that the two Gulf Cooperation Council […]

Gulf states see Obama’s hand in rise of Muslim Brotherhood

Special to ABU DHABI — Gulf Arab states have detected a U.S. role in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. The Gulf Cooperation Council was said to have been examining the growth of Brotherhood-aligned groups in the six member states over the last year. GCC sources said the Brotherhood’s expansion in […]