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Gulf states could expand anti-IS combat role DUBAI: Gulf monarchies taking part in US-led air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) militants group in Syria could deploy special forces on the ground but only if certain conditions are met, analysts say.Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have joined air strikes on the IS, which has seized swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.But they want to assess their potential gains and fear that Shiite-majority Iran may emerge the ultimate winner, the experts added.Any decision by Gulf states to send in troops would depend on whether Turkey decides to use its own ground forces, according to Mathieu Guidere, professor of Middle East Studies at Toulouse University."A ground intervention from Arab countries depends on the Turkish decision to engage or not ground troops. We are likely to see Arab boots on the ground if Turkish forces engage in the Syrian territory," he said.Turkish forces are gathered ...

Islamic State claims downing Iraqi military helicopter BAGHDAD: Islamic State militant (IS) claimed that it shot down an Iraqi army helicopter in northern Iraq, the SITE monitoring group reported early on Thursday.The helicopter crashed on Wednesday in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad near the Baiji oil refinery, the largest such facility in the country, according to an Iraqi army officer.The officer confirmed two army personnel died, but said the crash was still under investigation. IS said on Twitter that it downed the ...
Yemen's PM-designate turns down nomination after rebel protest SANAA: Yemen's newly appointed prime minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak has turned down his nomination following strong opposition by Shia rebels who overran Sanaa on September 21, state media said Thursday.President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has accepted Bin Mubarak's "request to be relieved" of forming a new government which is stipulated by a UN-brokered peace deal, Saba state news agency said.Bin Mubarak took this decision "in a bid to preserve the national unity and protect the ...
Tears, prayers as 1.4mn Muslims mark peak of hajj MOUNT ARAFAT: Tears flowed and prayers filled the air as the annual Muslim hajj by about 1.4 million believers from around the world reached its zenith on a vast plain in western Saudi Arabia Friday."I am now a newborn baby and I don't have any sin," Nigerian pilgrim Taofik Odunewu told AFP, standing at the foot of Mount Mercy on the Arafat plain, tears streaming down his face.Odunewu raised his hands to the heavens in ...
120 Saudis performing Haj on behalf of Syrian martyrs ISLAMABAD: One hundred and twenty young Saudis are performing Haj this year on behalf of Syrian martyrs, Mohammed Al-Nuaimi, supervisor of the Haj campaign for the Syrian martyrs, has said.The Saudi youth are part of the 450-strong contingent offering Haj on behalf of those who have laid down their lives in fighting against the brutal regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, Al-Nuaimi was quoted by Makkah daily as saying, Saudi Gazette Reported.About 100 Syrian extremists, have ...
10 dead as Kurds battle IS for Syria border town: monitor BEIRUT: Fierce fighting between Kurdish militia and Islamic State (IS) militant for a strategic Syrian border town killed at least 10 people overnight, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.Nine Kurdish fighters of the People's Protection Units (YPG) and one IS militant died in the clashes around Ain-al-Arab on the border with Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.The militant are just two to three kilometres (a couple of miles) from the town, known as ...
Two killed as Yemen rebels tighten grip on capital SANAA: Two Yemeni rebels were killed Saturday in clashes with troops loyal to President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in the capital which was largely overran last week by the Shiite insurgents.Fierce battles erupted overnight Friday near the presidential complex in southern Sanaa after Huthi rebels attacked the nearby residence of the head of the national security apparatus, witnesses said.The attack, the second of its kind since last week, took place a day after Hadi urged the ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-2.309 bln
Exports $1.957 bln
Imports $4.266 bln
WeeklyDecember 18, 2014
Reserves $14.04 bln