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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Iran might be using Kuwaiti water to smuggle weapons to Houthis, Qatar buys Italian war ships

Elsewhere in the region: The GCC is becoming a hotbed for arms trade and transfer. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have started using waters between Kuwait and Iran to transfer arms to Houthi rebels in Yemen, Jonathan Saul writes in a Reuters exclusive. “Parts of missiles, launchers and drugs are smuggled into Yemen via Kuwaiti waters … The route sometimes is used for transferring cash as well,” an Iranian official says. Kuwait denies Saul’s suggestion and says its “waters were under the total control of the Kuwaiti navy and coast guard and there were no reports of suspicious movements at sea.”

…In related news, Qatar has concluded a EUR 5 bn agreement to buy seven warships from Italy, Qatar’s foreign ministry says, according to Reuters. The announcement included no further details and did not name the companies involved. The likely supplier is Fincantieri, Business Insider suggests.

Permanent residency in Qatar for expats? Separately, the Qatari government approved yesterday an “unprecedented” draft law that will grant some expats permanent residency cards if they fulfill certain criteria, Bloomberg says. “Under the law, those eligible for the card include children of Qatari women married to foreigners, those who have special talents “needed by the state,” and others who have extended notable services to the country.” The law’s executive regulations will be issued “later,” Bloomberg says, explaining that the bill passed after Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani “instructed officials to expedite measures to lure investments and to reduce the economy’s reliance on energy” after the Saudi-led boycott.

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