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Michael Fisher

Saudi Arabia by the Numbers | Foreign Policy - 1 views

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    To achieve an accurate measurement of Saudi public opinion, pollsters must pull some tricks out of their sleeves to overcome the roadblocks thrown up by one of the Middle East's most conservative societies.
Michael Fisher

U.S. Speeding Up Missile Defenses in Persian Gulf - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.
Erin Gold

UN commissioner urges move forward on women's rights - The National Newspaper - 0 views

  • Women around the world are denied fundamental freedoms according to the UN’s human rights chief, citing in particular Sudan, Afghanistan and Gulf states.“Women’s rights continue to be curtailed in too many countries,” and efforts must be made to address this,
  • She highlighted recent positive developments in the Gulf, such as the election of nine women in 2006 to the UAE’s Federal National Council [FNC], the election of four women to the 50-member Kuwaiti parliament, and the recent appointment of the first female deputy minister in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.But, Ms Pillay said, the overall situation of women in the region “falls well short of international standards”.
  • South African legal expert, formerly the top judge on Rwanda’s war crimes tribunal, urged Gulf governments to adopt international conventions and reject home-grown laws that discriminate against women.“A crucial step in the right direction is the ratification and implementation of key human rights conventions, as well as the removal of the numerous reservations expressed by many Gulf countries regarding those human rights treaties they have chosen to accept,”
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  • She described “huge gaps” between the “lofty pledges” made by states and the realities of daily life for many of their inhabitants, pointing out that “no country in the world can claim to be free of human rights violations”.
  • All six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) have been censured for laws that block female nationals from passing on their nationality to their children if the father is a foreigner.
  • Saudi Arabia’s record comes under particular scrutiny, with activists criticising a ban on female drivers and a system of male guardianship that sharply curtails a woman’s right to travel and control her own life.
  • “We’ve raised several concerns about the situation for women in the Gulf, including a report on the system of guardianship in Saudi Arabia and the problems faced by female migrant workers,
  • Emirati and other Gulf envoys have proven responsive to such criticism at past council meetings.
  • Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign and FNC Affairs, acknowledged the UAE is “not a perfect society” and listed improving conditions for women as at the top of the Government’s agenda. He said limitations on Emirati women passing on citizenship to their children should be “reviewed and debated” with the focus on liberalising such laws.
Carl Kjellman

Mideast climate change and its strategic implications « Right Sided American ... - 0 views

  • One of the less discussed considerations of the Israel-Palestine conflict has been access to fresh water. Two of the three primary fresh-water aquifers in Israel and Palestine lie under the West Bank: the Eastern Basin and the Northeastern Basin. Israel also shares a coastal aquifer with the Gaza Strip. Israel cannot relinquish control over those aquifers without severely compromising its national security.
  • Among the many maladies plaguing Iraq, the absence of fresh water has assumed new importance given that some of the country’s other issues are in the process of being addressed. Iraq’s two main sources of fresh water, the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, are drying up
  • Iraq remains at the mercy of Turkey and Syria for its fresh water resources. Part of Iraq’s problem is that there is no international law that obligates Turkey or Syria to share their water
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  • Overall, perhaps it is a lack of historical data to make comparisons about the climate over the ages – necessary to gauge what is happening to the global environment today – that makes current projections inevitably dependent on largely unproven models, both scientific and non-scientific.
  • These events also showed the acute need for horizontal integration within states to enable efficient and rapid coordination between government and non-government bodies to mobilize resources in support of humanitarian and disaster relief, and for rebuilding affected areas in the aftermath.
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