Wave of Fossil Fuel Dislike amongst the Young

Further to our Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does, here is an interesting article on the side-lines of one of the Oil Industry’s concerns as elaborated on this report of the IBT on the recently held 22nd World Petroleum Congress – Istanbul, 2017 where it was a question of how age and gender could obviously affect the industry to survive this wave of fossil fuel dislike amongst the young.  The unleashing of a frenzy amongst today’s youth as Fossil Free is a growing international divestment movement calling for organisations, institutions and individuals to demonstrate climate leadership and end their financial support for the fossil fuel industry.

No industry for old men: Why ‘Big Oil’ needs to woo younger, female workforce

Energy industry’s lack of appeal for women and the young remains a major cause for concern.

Further to our Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does, here is an interesting article on the side-lines of one of the Oil Industry’s main concerns as elaborated on this report of the IBT on the recently held 22nd World Petroleum Congress – Istanbul, 2017 where it was a question of how age and gender could obviously affect the industry to survive this wave of fossil fuel dislike amongst the young.  The unleashing of a frenzy amongst today’s youth as Fossil Free is a growing international divestment movement calling for organisations, institutions and individuals to demonstrate climate leadership and end their financial support for the fossil fuel industry.

No industry for old men: Why ‘Big Oil’ needs to woo younger, female workforce

WPC 2017

Energy industry’s lack of appeal for women and the young remains a major cause for concern.

By Gaurav Sharma in Istanbul, Turkey

Updated on July 14, 2017 20:22 BST

It may not be as pressing an issue for the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) as the crude oil price slump, but had you asked around the oil and gas industry’s recently concluded triennial jamboree held in Istanbul, Turkey, plenty of high profile people would point to a lack of female executives as a major concern.

Furthermore, equally concerning is the perceived loss of the industry’s appeal for young professionals choosing a career pathway. To his credit, Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, which has been organising the congress since 1933, acknowledged the problem in his very first quip of the event.

“Oil and gas will play a role in the energy mix for decades to come. Yet, at the same time the number of people joining the energy industry is declining.”

Much more needs to be done when it comes addressing the gender balance in the business, he added. “We are committed to changing this, as well as showcasing the talent of female industry executives to inspire.”

That’s all well and good; but a cursory look around the WPC plenary halls, auditoriums and corridors by your correspondent found an overwhelming number of delegates of the male and middle-aged variety, regardless of which country they were travelling from.

Of course, there was a young professionals’ floor and youth congress, and events such as a youth night and a ‘Women in Energy’ breakfast.

Despite being well-intentioned objectives aimed at promoting dialogue, to many participants interviewed by IBTimes UK they seemed to be perfunctory box-ticking exercises being conducted because a mega industry event of the WPC’s size could not possibly, not have them. The previous Congress in Doha (2011) and Moscow (2014) had the very same events.

Hope is that the hard work in attracting young recruits and tackling the gender imbalance will finally begin in earnest once WPC’s 6,000-odd delegates, 500 CEOs, 50 Ministers and heads of state go home and ponder about it.

For that to happen, it is worth getting a deeper understanding of the problem first, according to Deborah Byers, US Oil & Gas Practice leader at global consultancy EY. A recent polling exercise in the US by Byers’ colleagues found that most of the younger generation perceive oil and gas jobs as a bit too blue collar and dangerous.

“That’s generation Z – or post-Millennials – typically born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s to you and me. We also find a disconnect between what oil and gas executives think young people want from a career and what they actually want. There’s a general lack of awareness about the industry and the careers that power it, and a substantial gender gap.”

When EY asked which three considerations are the most important in selecting a future career, both Millennials and Generation Z, as a whole, prioritised salary (56%), good work-life balance (49%), job stability (37%) and on-the-job happiness (37%).”

However, oil and gas executives polled expected the leading career drivers for young people to be salary (72%), technology (43%), good work-life balance (38%), and the opportunity to try new roles (28%). The study also found that only 24% of women in the 16-35 age group find oil and gas jobs appealing, while 54% of men in the same age range find them appealing.

The findings were based on a survey of 1,204 US consumers and 109 industry executives conducted earlier this year. In the wider scheme of things, the consultancy’s findings offer only a glimpse into the thinking of female and young people hunting career prospects. However, what it also does is flag up the enormity of the task ahead.

“In an era of lower for longer, some say lower forever oil prices, the industry has a call to action to solve this perception problem for the sake of their future workforce and their success,” Byers concludes.

Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, says the industry must improve its appeal to younger recruits and female aspirants.Gaurav Sharma / IB Times UK

Paradoxically, Eithne Treanor, a seasoned energy sector broadcaster and conference moderator based in Dubai, feels it’s the low price environment that is putting people off.

“Oil and gas companies aren’t in hiring mode in any case to begin with, as opportunities from geology to engineering, management to on-site operations dwindle. Furthermore, young people and suitable female candidates ask themselves should I really choose a future in an industry that’s in decline or at least appears to be.”

While the oil price environment is a relatively recent development, Treanor said the industry’s problem of attracting fewer qualified female professionals and its lack of appeal to youngsters also has to do with historical reputational problems.

“The industry has been quite poor at engaging with young people, something I feel it is attempting to rectify. When the idea is to catch them young, leaving it till they are at university is a bit too late; I’d say go all the way lower to junior school.

“For example – a programme started by a science professor in Lebanon called ‘The Young Engineer’ has been running for 10 years and piques the interest of kids when they are 5-6 years old.”

Specifically on the subject of attracting female talent, Trainer said: “Look around the WPC, majority of the panel discussions and deliberations have mostly male speakers. The lack of diversity is visible. Some women have risen through the industry ranks and have become role models, and are indeed here, but there are not that many.”

Positive discrimination is needed, she added, including perhaps an introduction of the Norwegian model of mandatory quotas for women to be on corporate boards and in positions of authority.

iStock

Time is running out, and the industry needs to act fast, according Aleek Datta, Managing Director at consultancy Accenture.

“In 2011, around $590bn (£455bn) was spent on petrotechnical workforce development, which rose to a commendable $760bn in 2014. However, oil price slump hit and spending on talent fell to $570bn in 2015, and has been in decline ever since.

“If we assume oil demand will increase, yet spending on talent continues at its current level, the global industry will have 30% deficit of petrotechnical professionals as early as 2020.

“The oil and gas industry is losing the fight for top millennial talent, as young professionals prefer other industries, like the technology industry. Only 2% of US graduates, according our research, consider oil and gas as a primary career choice.”

To some it might seem counterintuitive to invest in attracting and training young professionals and wooing more women to the industry when the oil price is down, but the risk of not doing so could be even more dire.

 

Oman’s Miraah Project uses Solar Energy

In order to keep ourselves abreast of our recently published article on solar power development, we propose this article of a Gulf daily, the Times of Oman.  It does elaborate on an exceptional project not only by its size but also because of its ground-breaking technology utilisation. 
The Oman’s Miraah project uses solar energy to produce steam to tap into the country’s heavy oil reserves.

In order to keep ourselves abreast of our recently published article on solar power development, we propose this article of a Gulf daily, the Times of Oman.  It does elaborate on an exceptional project not only by its size but also because of its ground-breaking technology utilisation. The Oman’s Miraah project uses solar energy to produce steam to tap into the country’s heavy oil reserves.
Below are excerpts of this article together with links to the original document site. 
Enjoy! Thank you for your readership!

Oman technology: Is this the world’s biggest greenhouse?

July 12, 2017 | 4:47 PM


Muscat: One of the world’s largest solar steam plants is being built in Oman, and it’s about to complete phase 1, according to GlassPoint, the developers.

The $600 million 1GW Miraah project is expected to generate 6,000 tonnes of steam to tap into heavy oil reserves of the country. The “enclosed trough” technology used by GlassPoint to harness solar energy, is ripe for industrial and commercial use, said an official of GlassPoint.

The technology uses curved mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a pipe filled with water. Heat from the sunlight boils the water to create steam that is of same quality, temperature and pressure as steam produced by burning natural gas steam. The steam in turn is fed directly to the oilfield’s existing steam distribution network. A greenhouse protects the solar array from harsh oilfield conditions like wind and dust storms.

Siddiqa Al Lawati, Project Development Analyst at GlassPoint says this is the right time to deploy solar to secure availability of scarce resources in the future.

“We are currently building Miraah, which uses thermal energy to extract heavy oil. Previously we achieved excellent results from the pilot project. We are studying other heavy oil fields in Oman and there is a huge potential. It is a groundbreaking technology that can be used for many other applications in the oilfield, like produced water treatment.”

The first phase of the Miraah project located at Amal West oil field will begin production of steam this year to replace gas generated steam saving Oman’s natural gas, reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable footprint in the country. The process increases the amount of oil that can ultimately be recovered. The Amal oilfield can produce oil for the next 25 years using Solar EOR.

“Our aim here is to not use energy to produce energy but rather innovate to produce energy and use our resources for generating revenues,” Al Lawati said.

“Due to this, we can use lightweight and inexpensive components inside the greenhouse,” Al Lawati explained.

“GlassPoint also identifies the scarcity of water and uses it very efficiently. Every barrel of oil is produced, is extracted with nine barrels of water. We use this water to produce steam for EOR purposes. Water used to wash the greenhouse is also recyclable,” Al Lawati said. With more than 50 per cent Omanisation and many materials used processed locally, the Miraah project is also a huge job driver. According to a study conducted by Ernst Young in 2014, over the next decade, Oman can have thousands of direct, indirect and induced jobs created in the renewable energy sector.

Nearly 40 percent of Oman’s reserves are of heavy oil, which is both expensive and harder to extract due to its viscosity. Due to its high cost of extraction, estimates show that only 2 per cent of these reserves have been tapped into thereby creating a huge market for it in Oman, the largest non-OPEC oil producer in the Middle East.

Written by Syyied Haitham Hasan / haitham@timesofoman.com

Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does

France, Norway, Sweden headquartered Volvo are all about to do away with the use of anything to do with fossil oil. Such momentous decisions amongst others tend to vulgarise as it were all renewable forms of energy.  Meanwhile, there has been over the years so much talk and speculation about oil peaking this or that year, that up to recently, scepticism prevailing, everyone went about one’s business fairly insouciant that as put by Javier Blas, writer of the proposed article of Bloomberg; “Some Big Oil executives expect demand for the commodity to shrink faster than anticipated, with dire consequences for Middle East producers.”  Would It then matter as and when demand may top out before supply does or is it perhaps the other way around.

France, Norway, Sweden headquartered Volvo are all about to do away with the use of anything to do with fossil oil. Such momentous decisions amongst others tend to vulgarise as it were all renewable forms of energy.  Meanwhile, there has been over the years so much talk and speculation about oil peaking this or that year, that up to recently, scepticism prevailing, everyone went about one’s business fairly insouciant that as put by Javier Blas, writer of the proposed article of Bloomberg; “Some Big Oil executives expect demand for the commodity to shrink faster than anticipated, with dire consequences for Middle East producers.”  Would It then matter as and when demand may top out before supply does or is it perhaps the other way around.
Here is a Middle East related excerpt of that article with our due compliments to the author and thanks to the publisher.
Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does: Bloomberg

Remember Peak Oil? Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does

. . .  .

For Middle East nations that sit on huge hydrocarbon reserves, peak demand is more of an existential threat. “If you have 100 years’ worth of oil reserves, then 25 years looks like a very short time frame,” says Martijn Rats, a Morgan Stanley oil analyst in London. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait depend on oil for as much as 90 percent of their income. They and other Middle East nations have used their oil wealth to provide their populations with well-paid employment in the public sector and generous handouts—a tacit social contract underpinning their absolute petromonarchies.

The current bout of low prices offers clues about how these countries would handle a permanent drop-off in demand. With oil revenues sharply down, Middle East producers are dipping into their foreign exchange reserves—Saudi Arabia has drawn almost $250 billion since mid-2014. They’re also borrowing more. The combined public debt of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi, and the United Arab Emirates is set to jump to almost $800 billion by 2020, more than double its 2015 level, according to the International Institute of Finance, a group representing large banks. The situation is direst in such places as Nigeria and Venezuela, where corruption and mismanagement have drained state coffers.

BP’s Dudley and his counterparts at Total and Shell acknowledge that their forecasts hinge on many variables and could easily turn out to be wrong. And even if they’re right, oil consumption wouldn’t suddenly plunge; it might plateau for several years or begin a slow decline.

This view isn’t universal inside the industry. The International Energy Agency, which advises rich countries on policy, sees consumption growing steadily at least through 2040, the cutoff date for its long-term outlook. That’s also the view at Exxon. And Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s two largest oil exporters, don’t see a peak until 2050 at the earliest.

Others point out that a few years ago all the talk was of a peak in supply. Then new technologies unlocked fresh production, notably from shale formations in the U.S. “I’m very skeptical about peak oil demand,” says Bob McNally, a former White House energy expert and founder of Rapidan Group, a consulting firm. “The next big surprise is when we reach the peak of  ‘peak demand’ talk and people realize that consumption continues to rise.”

Short-term trends back the view that peak oil consumption is a long way off. Last year global demand growth was 1.6 million barrels a day, above the 10-year average of 1.1 million.

Still, oil companies need only to look at the electricity sector for clues about how quickly technology can disrupt an industry. The U.K., for instance, marked a significant milestone this year: a 24-hour period in which not a single power plant burned coal, a first  in 200 years. Despite its famously rainy weather, Britain at times gets 10 percent to 20 percent of its electricity from solar photovoltaic panels. Technology, some executives say, is the wild card. “The pace at which electric cars will be adopted could be surprising,” says Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel SpA, one of the largest utilities in Europe.

Philip Verleger, an energy consultant, thinks oil majors and oil-exporting countries are confronting a similar situation to the likes of Kodak, Polaroid, and Encyclopedia Britannica. “Sadly, these seem destined to make the same mistakes,” he says. —With assistance from Jack Farchy

 

$1 billion project of Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park

Of all the achievements that Dubai could claim to have realised since or after the formation of the United Arab Emirates, is this semi-loony $1 billion project of Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park that is not really such a loony one.  It may however seem so at first glance but at a closer look, the city has dramatically changed since dredging of what is called its “creek”, that is a finger of the Gulf sea water coming into the desert shore land.  What followed after that is a succession of more and more amazing developments as decidedly helped by the unprecedentedly ginormous inflow of petrodollars and the accompanying expatriates to service them. 

It would be interesting to follow up on the current Qatar crisis as intimated in our Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region and its direct effect on such a project.

Of all the achievements that Dubai could claim to have realised since or after the formation of the United Arab Emirates, is this semi-loony $1 billion project of Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park that is not really such a loony one.  It may however seem so at first glance but at a closer look, the city has dramatically changed since dredging of what is called its “creek”, that is a finger of the Gulf sea water coming into the desert shore land.  What followed after that is a succession of more and more amazing developments as decidedly helped by the unprecedentedly ginormous inflow of petrodollars and the accompanying expatriates to service them. 
It would be interesting to follow up on the current Qatar crisis as intimated in our Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region and its direct effect on such a project.
We feature this article of India Times written by Anjali Bisaria and published on July 8, 2017. 

Dubai’s Largest Indoor Theme Park Costs $1 Billion & Is As Big As 28 American Football Fields

When it comes to building the world’s ‘firsts’ buildings, hotels, or artificial islands, trust Dubai to be ahead of the game, all the damn time!

For Dubai is now home to the globe’s first largest indoor theme park – IMG Worlds of Adventure. Sprawled across 1.5 million square feet with a capacity to hold 30,000 visitors at a time, the $1 billion theme park threw open its doors on August 31, 2016, reports The Independent.  

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

The size of the theme park equals 28 American football fields which also houses a 12-screen cinema complex with IMAX screen. Its opulence is Dubai’s yet another promise of becoming the country’s entertainment capital.

And by 2019, IMG Worlds of Adventures is expected to see a rise in its revenues by 78% to $837 million!

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

The park is divided into four zones – MARVEL, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure, and IMG Boulevard. There are 22 rides and attractions including the Velociraptor roller-coaster that speeds up to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds.

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE

Apart from this, visitors can check out 25 shops and 28 restaurants and bars with prices soaring through the sky. Imagine buying a pen worth 115,000 dirhams, i.e., $31,300!

A land that also sees soaring temperatures, this indoor theme park is both a respite and a delight.

 ANJALI BISARIA

JULY 08, 2017

Libya, a country that has known nothing but unrest

The MENA region is yet again under horrendous pressures not only within the usual northern part of the Middle East and lately in the Gulf area but still in that part of the North African desert. This story is about Libya, a country that has known nothing but unrest and upheaval since its forced change of regime in 2011. More recently a UN report informed that the UAE violated Libya’s arms embargo by secretly supplying the concerned in this article.  Would this have any bearing with the outcome as proposed in this article? 

Would also this liberation mean reunification and a unique and central authority over the country? Only time can tell but one thing is sure in that all countries surrounding Libya would sight with relief if this is achieved.

The MENA region is yet again under horrendous pressures not only within the usual northern part of the Middle East and lately in the Gulf area but still in that part of the North African desert. This story is about Libya, a country that has known nothing but unrest and upheaval since its forced change of regime in 2011. More recently a UN report informed that the UAE violated Libya’s arms embargo by secretly supplying the concerned in this article.  Would this have any bearing with the outcome as proposed in this article?
Would also this liberation mean reunification and a unique and central authority over the country? Only time can tell but one thing is sure in that all countries surrounding Libya would sight with relief if this is achieved.
Would this be accounted for in the Qatar blockade resolution? In any case, here is the BBC’s story.

Libya eastern commander Haftar declares Benghazi ‘liberated’

From the section Africa

The image above is of  REUTERS — Benghazi saw fierce clashes between the LNA and Islamist militants this week


The head of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has said his forces “liberated” the eastern Benghazi city after years of fighting with Islamists.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar said the city now enters a new era of “security, peace and reconciliation”.

If confirmed, victory would mark a major advance for the one-time commander in the army of late strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

The LNA is not recognised by Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli.

Libya’s unrest since the 2011 ousting of Gaddafi saw extremist organisations, including so-called Islamic State, gain a foothold in the country.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Field Marshal Haftar said that “after a continuous struggle against terrorism and its agents that lasted more than three years… we announce to you the liberation of Benghazi”.

Image copyright REUTERS – – – – Khalifa Haftar has backing from some foreign powers

His announcement comes after bloody battles this week in Benghazi’s Sabri district in which dozens of LNA fighters and various local Islamist militants died.

Pictures posted on social media sites showed some civilians in Benghazi and other parts of the country celebrating the end of a bitter conflict that left large parts of the country’s second city in ruins and displaced thousands of people in recent years.

But Field Marshal Haftar also has many political and armed opponents in Libya. He does not recognise the government in Tripoli, and instead backs the authorities in the east. Opponents accuse the commander, who has backing from some foreign powers, of trying to impose autocratic rule in Libya.

Divided opinion – analysis by Rana Jawad, BBC North Africa correspondent

Benghazi’s conflict over the last three years at times appeared to have no end in sight, and – as it grew – so too did the Field Marshal Haftar’s political and military ambitions.

This is a significant gain for him, and a city that has been aching for respite from the war. Opinions over the conflict in Benghazi are largely divided; many will be celebrating what they see as a war brought to their doorstep by Islamist militias at a time when political actors in Libya barely acknowledged there was a problem there, despite the near daily bombings and killings in the city.

Others view it as a product of a man who was power-hungry and lumped up all of his enemies under the banner of “Islamist terrorists” to pave the way for a future political role through the might of the gun. His short address dedicated to the people of Libya had an unusually reconciliatory tone, but it is not one that will ease worries over what his, or his opponents’ next move might be.

In Libya today, a military victory in one battlefield often opens the door to conflict in others.

Read more :

 

A new Saudi Arabia will gradually be emerging

A new Saudi Arabia will gradually be emerging as this seems to be the word that is the leitmotiv of the young and fresh at the helm prince MbS (Mohammed bin Salman).  This latter’s elevation to heir to the crown at the age of 31 that was already showing in quiet and unheard of boldness is now blatantly in full sight.  Would this possibly generalise to a whole generation of leaders in the country’s life and take it towards modernity?  Would a radical reform program as embodied in the prince’s “Vision 2030” generate a new self-sufficient country living in good harmony with its neighbours and for this purpose would it need all that accumulated wealth from oil related revenues since its advent in the 30s to be ploughed in to generate conditions that are perhaps propitious to another vision?  Or would all this just lead to more clinging to Tradition, survival endurance and frictions of all sorts as restricted OPEC oil output and US shale oil production seem to be the other leitmotiv of the time.

A new Saudi Arabia will gradually be emerging as this seems to be the word that is the leitmotiv of the young and fresh at the helm prince MbS (Mohammed bin Salman).  This latter’s elevation to heir to the crown at the age of 31 that was already showing in quiet and unheard of boldness is now blatantly in full sight.  Would this possibly generalise to a whole generation of leaders in the country’s life and take it towards modernity?  Would a radical reform program as embodied in the prince’s “Vision 2030” generate a new self-sufficient country living in good harmony with its neighbours and for this purpose would it need all that accumulated wealth from oil related revenues since its advent in the 30s to be ploughed in to generate conditions that are perhaps propitious to another vision?  Or would all this just lead to more clinging to Tradition, survival endurance and frictions of all sorts as restricted OPEC oil output and US shale oil production seem to be the other leitmotiv of the time.
In any case, lots of speculative writings are coming to enlighten us on the situation of the country.  Bloomberg’s Donna Abu-Nasr  and Zainab Fattah and published on June 23, 2017.

Saudi Arabia’s New Heir Leads Revolution of Powerful Millennials

The youngest crown prince in living memory represents a broader youth revolution in Saudi Arabia.

While the elevation of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, as heir to the throne this week caught the attention, some of his cousins and relatives whose fathers held key posts in past decades have been installed in the royal court as advisers, sent to the U.S. and Europe as ambassadors and appointed to government institutions in Riyadh.

Together, they are some of the world’s most powerful millennials, increasingly in control of a Gulf kingdom where two-thirds of the population is under 35. The challenge will be to sell Prince Mohammed’s “Vision 2030,” his road map to a post-oil economy that will require social upheaval and financial sacrifices never experienced by this generation.

“Having young princes at the helm, who understand young people’s needs, is the message being sent,” said Sanam Vakil, associate fellow at Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa program. “Perhaps the princes can talk in the same language as the youth and listen to their concerns so they would be able to address them in more effective ways.”

Prince Mohammed is likely to be among his country’s youngest kings with a potential for his rule to last half a century. He joins a roster of youth wielding more power elsewhere. French President Emmanuel Macron is 39, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the U.S. are 36 and 35 and Ireland’s new prime minister is 38. Then there’s North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He’s thought to be around 33.

The decision by the prince’s father, King Salman, to pick some of his younger children as well as grandsons and great-grandsons of the kingdom’s founder is meant to ensure a smooth transition in the royal household. It also comes under the watchful eye of the older traditionalists.

Saudi Arabia is going through arguably the biggest changes since the kingdom’s founding in 1932. The new crown prince is aiming to effectively tear up a lot of the social contract that’s kept the royal family in power to create jobs and modernize the economy. It was one of state handouts in return for adherence to an autocracy underpinned by an ultra-conservative brand of Islam.

The appointments are a way to protect Prince Mohammed when he becomes monarch, said Nabeel Khoury, a former U.S. State Department official who is now non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, an American organization focusing on foreign affairs.

It avoids the dangers of the old guard “using their old contacts against the new king,” he said. “The transition to youth is a good story,” but the way it was done “does not necessarily imply good things for the future of the country,” he said.

The new appointees include Prince Khalid bin Bandar, who is being sent to Germany as ambassador. His father, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was one of the most powerful Saudi envoys to Washington and later was in charge of intelligence. Another is Prince Abdullah, now an advisor to the royal court and son of Prince Khalid, who served as deputy defense minister.

Along with Prince Mohammed, the king has appointed another young son — he is under 30 — as ambassador to the U.S. and another one as minister of state for energy. While other kings have sought to help and encourage their children, “this was the most blatant act of nepotism ever in Saudi Arabia,” said Khoury.

There’s also the new interior minister. Born in 1983, Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef will succeed his uncle, the ousted crown prince who successfully managed to halt al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia when he headed the ministry.

With so many young faces in charge, change may come faster to Saudi Arabia, but also potentially without the careful deliberation about the effects on society, said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Middle East fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

“King Salman has been, for decades, the family ‘enforcer’ of discipline and the keeper of the family secrets,” said Ulrichsen. “If the family files are not picked up by someone of similar stature to Salman, there is a risk that discipline within the Al Saud may begin to fragment if the unifying glue becomes loosened.”

Read More: a QuickTake Explainer on Saudi Arabia

Qatar Crisis that is Widening by the Day

This is the 5th day MENA-Forum is dedicated to the Qatar Crisis that is Widening by the Day and getting to be centre stage despite what is happening elsewhere in the MENA region.  A border closed between Morocco and Algeria, Libya ruled by 2 governments, the Palestinian territories lead by 2 separate peoples organisations, Somalia in the middle of nowhere, Syria on its way to total destruction and Iraq coming out of years of upheaval as shrunk as it never has been.
These are only but a few of the on-going traumatic tragedies that are still unfolding as times flies.  We are not trying to belittle the currently on-going internal saga between the GCC countries by any mean but we believe it is worthwhile to place it within its regional context.
Meanwhile here is the same as seen Dawn from Pakistan where a number of residents in the Gulf originate as well from.  These along with others such as citizens from India, Nepal, the Philippines, etc. form indeed the large majority of the populations.  They are the expatriate work force that literally make and keep making the Gulf going on about providing the world with oil and gas all year round.

Arab nations add names to terror list amid Qatar dispute

AP Published by June 9th, 2017

Arab countries put 12 organisations and 59 people on a terror sanctions list early Friday they described as being associated with Qatar, the latest in a growing diplomatic dispute that seen the country isolated by Saudi Arabia and others.

Qatar dismissed the terror listing as part of “baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact,” standing by earlier defiant statements by its top diplomat to The Associated Press that Arab nations had no “right to blockade my country.”

The sanctions list further tightens the screws on Qatar, home to a major US military base and the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and shows the crisis only escalating despite Kuwaiti efforts to mediate an end to the rift.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said they sanctioned the groups and individuals because of “the continuous and ongoing violations of the authorities in Doha of Qatar’s commitments and obligations.”

 

Six of the organisations are already considered militant groups in Bahrain, an island home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base. Bahrain has been gripped by a government crackdown on dissent for over a year now.

Among the individuals named is Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric considered a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Qaradawi has been tried and sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt since the 2013 military overthrow of elected President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member.

Other names involving Egypt include more Brotherhood members and those once belonging to Gamaa Islamiya, a group that carried out a series of bloody attacks in Egypt in the 1990s before renouncing violence in 2000s. One is the brother of the Gamaa Isalmiya assassin who killed Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Egypt separately has asked the United Nations Security Council to investigate reports that Qatar “paid up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq” to recently free 26 hostages, including members of its ruling family, saying it would violate UN sanctions.

Names involving Libya include militia commanders and the Benghazi Defence Brigade, which is battling forces commanded by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who has the backing of Egypt and the UAE amid that country’s chaos.

The sole Yemeni, Abdel-Wahab al-Humayqani, is the leader of a Salafi party whose has been accused by the US of financing Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s branch in Yemen.

Qatar long has denied supporting or funding terror groups. However, Western diplomats accuse Qatar’s government of allowing or even encouraging the funding of some Sunni extremists, like Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

Responding to the list overnight, Qatar issued a statement saying: “We do not, have not and will not support terrorist groups.” “We lead the region in attacking the roots of terrorism by giving young people hope through jobs, replacing weapons with pens by educating hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and funding local community programs globally to challenge extremist agendas,” it said.

In a wide-ranging interview Thursday with the AP, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani repeatedly denied that his country funded extremists and he rejected the idea of shutting down its Al Jazeera satellite news network, something suggested as a demand of the Arab nations.

He said Qatar, as an independent nation, also had the right to support groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the fact that its neighbours view it as a threat to their hereditary rule.

Sheikh Mohammad’s hard line mirrored that of a top Emirati diplomat who told the AP on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates believes “there’s nothing to negotiate” with Qatar. “If anyone thinks they are going to impose anything on my internal affairs or my internal issues, this is not going to happen,” Sheikh Mohammad said.

Worried residents have responded to the crisis by emptying grocery stores in the capital of Doha, and Saudi Arabia has blocked trucks carrying food from entering the country across its only land border. Doha is a major international travel hub, but flagship carrier Qatar Airways now flies increasingly over Iran and Turkey after being blocked elsewhere in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, Emirati officials shut down the airline’s offices in the UAE. Al Jazeera’s offices have been shut down by authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The network also said Thursday night that its websites had come under a sustained cyber attack.

Turkey’s parliament, on the other hand, has approved sending troops to an existing Turkish base in Qatar as a sign of support.

US President Donald Trump, who tweeted Tuesday about Qatar funding extremists, called Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Wednesday and offered to host leaders at the White House to resolve the crisis.

But Sheikh Mohammed told the AP on Thursday that Sheikh Tamim “is not going to leave the country while the country is in blockade,” in effect turning down the mediation offer. Analysts have raised the prospect of a palace coup in Qatar, a hereditary monarchy ruled by the Al Thani family that has a history of such changes in leadership.

Trump’s administration later suggested US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who as Exxon Mobil’s CEO had business with Qatar, as a possible mediator.