Excerpts: Egypt intercepts rockets for Gaza. GCC foreign assets.Fighting
sedition in Lebanon.Qatar emir advises Israel May 21, 2012
+++SOURCE: Bloomberg via Egypt Daily News 21 May '12:"Egypt Intercepts
Shipment of Rockets Destined for Gaza Strip
By Ahmed El-Sayed and Tarek El-Tablawy -
SUBJECT: Egypt intercepts rockets for Gaza
QUOTE:"Egyptian authorities maintain (weapons) are ...from Libya"
FULL TEXT:Egyptian security forces seized a weapons cache that includes 191
rockets that were believed headed for Gaza, the Interior Ministry said.
Three men were arrested after some of the weapons, which included
anti-aircraft and Grad rockets, were found in two vehicles, the ministry
said in an e-mailed statement today. The rest, which were believed smuggled
in from Libya, were found in a storage facility, the statement said.
The seizure was the latest in a series of similar discoveries of weapons
that Egyptian authorities maintain are being routed into the country from
Libya. Security in Egypt’s western neighbor has yet to be restored months
after a bloody uprising that ended with the ouster and subsequent death of
longtime Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 21 May '12:"GCC foreign assets at all-time high as
confidence firms up"
JEDDAH – Net foreign assets in the GCC grew by $456 billion to reach an all
time high last year, mainly due to vigorous oil prices, the Institute for
International Finance (IFF) said.
Hydrocarbon exports are expected to experience the massive boom for 2012,
rising from about $685 billion last year to $730 billion in 2012.
Net foreign assets (combined) of the GCC members reached a record high of
almost $1,605 billion by the close of 2011, up from about $1,149 billion at
the close of the previous year. That figure declined in 2009, in response to
the worldwide financial crisis of 2008.
The IIF reported that assets will reach $1,905 billion by the close of this
year, representing an increase of almost $300 billion, and should hit $2,139
billion over 2013 as a result of high oil prices.
Nominal GDP in the GCC rose on the backs of increasing output and prices,
surging by almost 31 percent to hit $1.4 trillion in 2011.
Despite rising imports and fiscal expansions, surpluses across the GCC rose
as a result of increasing hydrocarbon revenues. The external current account
surplus (consolidated) for the GCC is forecasted to hit $358 billion this
year, up from $327 billion last year.
Many of the member states reported higher net foreign assets last year.
Saudi Arabia recorded an increase of $106 billion, hitting almost $551
billion, while the UAE’s assets rose $59 billion to reach $521 billion.
Kuwaiti net foreign assets are forecasted to rise from $396 billion at the
close of 2011 to $457 billion in 2012. Qatar’s assets are expected to nearly
double, moving from $59 billion to $107 billion. Oman and Bahrain are also
forecasted to report modest increases.
The highest levels of business confidence in the Middle East were found in
Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to the ACCA’s most recent Global
Economic Conditions Survey, completed with the help of the IMA (or Institute
of Management Accountants).
Confidence levels were at 42 percent in Saudi Arabia and 38.5 percent in the
Both member states rely on robust and sustainable public spending, but Saudi
Arabia can count on the highest levels of performance in investments and new
orders, according to the report.
Egypt has not recovered from the political turmoil of 2011, even after the
January elections, and reported negative figures for business confidence.
More professionals in the Middle East reported business confidence, up from
26 percent near the end of 2011 to 32 percent in Q1 of 2012, according to a
The latest ACCA/IMA report indicated that business confidence fell from the
same period last year, with 30 percent of respondents reporting higher
confidence levels in Q1 of 2011 and only 24 percent in Q1 of 2012. –
+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 21 May '12:"(Army Commander General)Qahwaji
Says Army Will Not Allow Situation to Deteriorate"
SUBJECT:Fighting:sedition in Lebanon
QUOTE:"Lebanese are holding onto their government and army"
EXCERPTS:Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji urged officials on Monday[21
May] to end sedition in the country, saying the Lebanese are holding onto
their government and army.
“The problem is with the political rhetoric which is the reason behind the
sedition and the tension” among the Lebanese, Qahwaji told al-Joumhouria
He stressed that the army will not allow the situation to deteriorate in the
North or in any other area across Lebanon.
“The army is there to protect the residents not to attack them,” Qahwaji
told the daily.
He offered his condolences over the death of Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Wahed and
his companion Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Merheb in Akkar.
Qahwaji urged everyone not to forestall the investigations and let the law
take its course.
. . .
The army checkpoints are spreading across Lebanon and none witnessed a
similar accident, the sources pointed out in comments published in As Safir.
+++SOURCE:Jordan Times 21 May '12:"Qatar emir urges Israel yo choose
peace",Agence France Presse
Subject: Qatar emir advises Israel
QUOTE:"opt for peace and not bet on Arab leaders against their people amid
sweeping Arab Spring uprisings"
FULL TEXT:DOHA — Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani, on Sunday
[20 May] urged Israel's coalition government to opt for peace and not bet on
Arab leaders against their people amid sweeping Arab Spring uprisings.
"I call on Israel to take a positive step in favour of peace and
coexistence," Sheikh Hamad told a Doha conference.
Israel "can no longer count on the friendship of leaders who were toppled by
Arab Spring revolts and it should also not bet on others against their
people," he said, in a possible reference to Syria, as some in Israel voiced
fear that a regime change in Damascus could be worse for the security of
If it does, Israel "will definitely find itself within a short period
without any friends at all", he said.
Qatar has taken a hawkish stance in favour of the rebellion in Israel's
neighbour Syria, against President Bashar Al Assad, which broke out in March
Sheikh Hamad, whose country lent the support of its air force to NATO-led
operations in Libya and deployed ground troops, has repeatedly called for
arming Syrian rebels and for sending Arab and foreign troops to the
Arab Spring uprisings began in Tunisia late in 2010 toppling its strongman
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and sparked a string of revolts in the region that
ousted three other autocrats, including Egypt's Hosni Mubarak who had strong
links with Tel Aviv.
Sheikh Hamad said the coalition between the Likud Party of Prime Minister
Bejamin Netanyahu and the centre-right Kadima, which was annouced earlier
this month, gives the Israeli leader a strong footing to make concessions
"The head of the Israeli government has managed to create the largest and
strongest coalition throughout his country's history... so he could no
longer argue that the fragile government's coalition does not allow
flexibility and concessions," said the Qatari leader.
Qatar was the only Gulf state to have relations with Israel before ties were
severed during Operation Cast Lead — Israel's massive 22-day assault on
Gaza — at the end of December 2008.
In March 2011, Israel took steps to cut all remaining ties and shut down the
delegation's offices in Qatar.
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA