Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shariyah Review Bureau wins CBB green light

from the Gulf Daily News

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) yesterday announced it has granted a licence to the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), a provider of independent services related to Sharia review and compliance. SRB, which will operate under the 'Ancillary Service' licence category, is the first entity of its kind to be licensed by the CBB ... SRB's chairman is well-known Sharia scholar and member of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, Dr Mohammed Ali El Gari. Dr El Gari, who is director of the Centre for Research in Islamic Economics at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, also sits on the Sharia supervisory boards of a number of Islamic financial institutions. Other shareholders are prominent bankers from the region ... SRB chief executive Yasir Dahlawi described his firm as a specialised entity, which provides external Sharia review services to Islamic financial institutions. "We aim to provide high quality opinions that are practical and compatible with the principles of the Islamic Sharia," he said.

Saudi-Qatar dispute resolved

from The News

Saudi Arabia and its tiny Gulf neighbour Qatar have reached a settlement to their years-long dispute following a summit, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Monday. Under the deal, Riyadh will send its envoy back to Doha by the end of the year and will allow Qatar-based Al Jazeera television to open an office in the Saudi capital, Al Jarida said, quoting Arab and Qatari sources. In return, Qatar has agreed to a Saudi demand that Al Jazeera stop "undermining" and "campaigning" against the desert kingdom, the daily quoted the sources as saying. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Doha in 2002 when Al Jazeera aired a debate in which participants strongly criticised the Saudi royal family, and the two neighbours often snipe at each other through their respective media. But in a bid to ease tensions, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani held talks with Saudi King Abdullah in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Saturday during a brief visit.

Yemen Inks Nuclear Power Plants Deal

by Fagr Qassim Ali from The Associated Press

"The energy issue is a very important issue, and it is the main force that drives our developments," said Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujur at a ceremony after the signing of the agreement with Houston-based Powered Corporation. Yemen's plan to build plants to generate 5,000 megawatts of energy follows similar announcements made by other Arab Gulf and Middle East countries to develop peaceful nuclear energy programs. Bahran said the project will also attract foreign investment and bring Yemen closer to meeting the requirements needed for a full membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council. The association of energy-rich Arab states in the Persian Gulf includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. The GCC as well as Jordan, Egypt and Turkey in recent months have announced that they were interested in developing peaceful nuclear programs.

Saudi Religious Police Attacked by Girls

by Sultan al-Kholaif from Asharq Al-Awsat

Head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Eastern province Dr. Mohamed bin Marshood al-Marshood, told Asharq Al Awsat that two of the Commission's employees were verbally insulted and attacked by two inappropriately-dressed females, in the old market in Prince Bandar street, an area usually crowded with shoppers during the month of Ramadan. According to Dr. Al-Marshood, the two commission members approached the girls in order to "politely" advice and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing. Consequently, the two girls started verbally abusing the commission members, which then lead to one of the girls pepper-spraying them in the face as the other girl filmed the incident on her mobile phone, while continuing to hurl insults at them. The two females were then escorted to the police station where they apologized for the attack, were cautioned and then released.

Dual Loyalties Book Review: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Poilcy

by Leslie H. Gelb from The New York Times

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt's book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, is an extended version of their highly controversial article of a year ago. I believe that the authors are mostly wrong, as well as dangerously misleading, but they are raising fundamental, gut-check issues about American security and who controls policy .... As part of their incomplete picture, they minimize the lobbying influence of the Saudis and the oil companies. The Saudis, along with the Egyptians, have been significant voices in Washington, arguing for a Palestinian state. Moreover, if Mearsheimer and Walt had asked policy participants over the years, they would have been told that the Saudis are the single most potent regional voice in American policy toward the gulf. And Riyadh, at least as much as Jerusalem, has been urging Washington to confront Iran. As for the oil companies, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Iraq war has added tens of billions to their coffers.

Deconstructing Iraq's Sunni armed groups

by Muhammad Abu Rumman from The Daily Star

First, Jihadist Salafism, which is an extension of Al-Qaeda. This bloc consists primarily of the Islamic State of Iraq and is close to Ansar al-Sunna as well. Second, nationalist Salafism, which observers believe toes the Saudi Salafist line and receives material and moral support from abroad. The groups in the Jihad and Reform Front belong to this bloc. Third, the Muslim Brotherhood trend, mainly Hamas-Iraq and the Resistance Islamic Front. Observers believe it is associated with the Islamic Party, which participates in politics within the Iraqi Accord parliamentary bloc. And fourth, the nationalist Islamist trend, including the Jihad and Change Front groups (such as the 1920 Revolution Brigades and Al-Rashideen Army). This bloc is ideologically close to the Brotherhood trend and is considered an extension of the Association of Muslim Scholars, the leading group of Iraqi Sunni clerics. Political and military struggles among armed Sunni factions are likely to persist for some time.