Arabian Peninsula

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Posted by motoman 02/25/2009 @ 12:18

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Corrupt data: Customs seizes drug-filled drives - York Daily Record
Khat is an illegal plant commonly grown as a stimulant in the Arabian Peninsula. The leaves are typically chewed or can be dried and brewed like tea. Customs officials say khat is frequently shipped by air mail because its potency begins to decline...
Tunisia: Gordon Gray, US Ambassador to the Republic of Tunisia -
Prior to his assignment in Iraq, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2005 to 2008; his responsibilities included the promotion of US interests in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, and oversight of the...
German Zoo Presents Newborn Panther Twins - NTDTV
But it's an absolute rarity to have the male present during birth and the upbringing." Black panthers are a natural color variation of leopards. The animals' habitat stretches from western Africa to the Arabian Peninsula to South East Asia,...
Soldier Inspired to Sing at Army Birthday Celebration - Systems
Summer military duty on the Arabian Peninsula is exhausting, given the hot desert climate. To relax in a cooler evening ambiance, Ratliff frequently participates in the installation's biweekly karaoke nights, organized by the Area Support Group Qatar...
Some 400 Sudanese arrive to Yemeni Island - Yemen News Agency
The Rashaida are a Bedouin tribe populating either side of the Red Sea as well as other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. They descend from a major Arab tribe in the Peninsula called Banu Abs. Most of the Rashaida live in the Arabian Peninsula....
AF 447 may have been victim of terrorist attack - Sify
The circumstantial evidence for terrorism includes a history of Islamic extremism in and around Brazil, where the flight originated, as well as the recent opening of a French military base on the Arabian Peninsula, according to Woodwell....
Yemen's Medi Island new passing-through point for African refugees ... - Yemen Observer
The Rashaida are a Bedouin tribe populating either side of the Red Sea as well as other parts of the Arabian Peninsula. They are descendents from a major Arab tribe in the Peninsula called Banu Abs. Most of the Rashaida live on the Arabian Peninsula....
In Somalia's break-away corner, an oasis of stability - Christian Science Monitor
With 3.5 million citizens and an economy based largely on livestock – much of it destined for markets on the Saudi Arabian peninsula – Somaliland was once a nation easily forgotten. But Somaliland's bid for recognition seems to be gathering steam....
Briefly... CITY/REGION - Philadelphia Daily News
Cracked open, the shipment revealed 101 pounds of khat, an amphetamine-like green leafy plant grown in the Arabian Peninsula and in East Africa. It is chewed for its narcotic effect. The plants were confiscated and destroyed....

Arabian Peninsula

The Arabian Peninsula

The Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية šibh al-jazīra al-ʻarabīya or جزيرة العرب jazīrat al-ʻarab), Arabia, Arabistan, and the Arabian subcontinent is a peninsula in Southwest Asia at the junction of Africa and Asia. The area is an important part of the Middle East and plays a critically important geopolitical role because of its vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

The coasts of the peninsula are, on the west the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, on the southeast the Arabian Sea (part of the Indian Ocean), and on the northeast, the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf. The peninsula and the Syrian Desert have no clear line of demarcation, but the commonly accepted boundary is the northern border of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.. The most prominent feature of the peninsula is desert, but in the southwest there are mountain ranges which receive greater rainfall than the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.

Sometime, when discussed as a geographical, rather than a political term, parts of the Syrian Desert countries (Iraq, Jordan and Syria) are also considered to be part of the peninsula and some usage includes the entire subcontinent of Arabia is.

Six countries of the list above, excluding Yemen, form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), mainly known as the Arab gulf states. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia covers the greater part of the peninsula. The majority of the population of the peninsula live in Saudi Arabia and in Yemen. The peninsula contains the world's largest reserves of oil. It is home to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, both of which are in Saudi Arabia. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are economically the wealthiest in the region. Qatar, a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf on the larger peninsula, is home of the famous Arabic-language television station Al Jazeera and its English-language subsidiary Al Jazeera English. Kuwait, on the border with Iraq, was claimed as an Iraqi province and invaded by Saddam Hussein during the first Persian Gulf War; it is an important country strategically, forming one of the main staging grounds for coalition forces mounting the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

As of 2008, the estimated population of the Arabian Peninsula is 77,983,936.. In the Gulf states there are many residents who are non-nationals: in Saudi Arabia it is 20% and in the United Arab Emirates it is 75%.

Geologically, this region is perhaps more appropriately called the Arabian subcontinent because it lies on a tectonic plate of its own, the Arabian Plate, which has been moving incrementally away from northeast Africa (forming the Red Sea) and north into the Eurasian plate (forming the Zagros mountains). The rocks exposed vary systematically across Arabia, with the oldest rocks exposed in the Arabian-Nubian Shield near the Red Sea, overlain by earlier sediments that become younger towards the Persian Gulf. Perhaps the best-preserved ophiolite on Earth, Semail ophiolite, lies exposed in the mountains of the UAE and northern Oman.

Arabia has few lakes or permanent rivers. Most are drained by ephemeral watercourses called wadis, which are dry except during the rainy season. Plentiful ancient aquifers exist beneath much of the peninsula, however, and where this water surfaces, oases form (e.g. Al-Hasa and Qatif, two of the worlds largest oases) and permit agriculture, especially palm trees, which allowed the peninsula to produce more dates than any other region in the world. The climate being extremely hot and arid, the peninsula has no forests, although desert-adapted wildlife is present throughout the region.

A plateau more than 2,500 feet high extends across much of the Arabian Peninsula. The plateau slopes eastwards from the massive, rifted escarpment along the coast of the Red Sea, to the shallow waters of The Gulf. The interior is characterised by cuestas and valleys, drained by a system of wadis. A crescent of sand and gravel deserts lies to the east.

Most of the Arabian Peninsula is unsuited to settled agriculture, making irrigation and land reclamation projects essential. The narrow coastal plain and isolated oases, amounting to less than 1% of the land area, are used to cultivate grains, coffee and exotic fruits. Goats, sheep, and camels are widespread throughout the region.

The fertile soils of Yemen have encouraged settlement of almost all of the land from sea level up to the mountains at 10,000 feet. In the higher reaches elaborate terraces have been constructed to facilitate crop cultivation.

The Arab inhabitants used a north-south division of Arabia: Al Sham-Al Yaman, or Arabia Deserta-Arabia Felix. Arabia Felix had originally been used for the whole peninsula, and at other times only for the southern region. Because its use became limited to the south, the whole peninsula was simply called Arabia. Arabia Deserta was the entire desert region extending north from Arabia Felix to Palmyra and the Euphrates, including all the area between Pelusium on the Nile and Babylon. This area was also called Arabia and not sharply distinguished from the peninsula..The Hejaz, or the 'barrier', is assumed to refer to its location between Al Sham (Syria) in the north and Al Yaman (Yemen) in the south.

The Arabs and the Ottoman Empire considered the entire region where the Arabs lived 'the land of the Arabs' - bilad al-Arab (Arabia or Arabistan). The Ottomans used the term Arabistan in a broad sense for the subcontinent itself starting from Cilicia, where the Euphrates river makes its descent into Syria, through Palestine, and on through the remainder of the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas.

The provinces of Arabia were: Al Tih, the Sinai peninsula, Hedjaz, Asir, Yemen, Hadramaut, Mahra and Shilu, Oman, Hasa, Bahrian, Dahna, Nejd, Nufud, the Hammad, which included the deserts of Syria, Mesopotamia and Babylonia.

Until comparatively recent times knowledge of the Arabian Peninsula was limited to that provided by ancient Greek and Roman writers and by early Arab geographers; much of this material was unreliable. In the 20th century, however, archaeological exploration has added considerably to the knowledge of the area.

In his book, 'The Real Eve', Oppenheimer claims based on mitochondrial evidence in conjunction with the contemporary environment (ie glaciation, sea levels) corresponding to these molecular clock timelines that the first humans to leave Africa crossed the virtually dry mouth of the Red Sea onto the Arabian peninsula. They travelled along the coastline of the peninsula before crossing into Southern Asia.

The better-watered, higher portions of the extreme south-west portion of the Arabian Peninsula supported three early kingdoms. The first, the Minaean, was centered in the interior of what is now Yemen, but probably embraced most of southern Arabia. Although dating is difficult, it is generally believed that the Minaean Kingdom existed from 1200 to 650 BC The second kingdom, the Sabaean (see Sheba), was founded around 930 BC and lasted until around 115 BC; it probably supplanted the Minaean Kingdom and occupied substantially the same territory. The Sabaean capital and chief city, Ma’rib, probably flourished as did no other city of ancient Arabia, partly because of its controlling position on the caravan routes linking the seaports of the Mediterranean with the frankincense-growing region of the Hadhramaut and partly because a large nearby dam provided water for irrigation. The Sabaean Kingdom was widely referred to as Saba, and it has been suggested that the Queen of Sheba mentioned in the Bible and the Quran, who visited King Solomon of Israel in Jerusalem in the 10th century BC, was Sabaean. Both the Bible and the Quran mention that under Soloman's rule the Kingdom of Israel included territories on the peninsula east of the Jordan river. The Islamic view of Solomon holds that those territories reached as far south as Yemen. The Himyarites followed the Sabaeans as the leaders in southern Arabia; the Himyarite Kingdom lasted from around 115 BC to around AD 525. In 24 BC the Roman emperor Augustus sent the prefect of Egypt, Aelius Gallus, against the Himyarites, but his army of 10,000, which was unsuccessful, returned to Egypt. The Himyarites prospered in the frankincense, myrrh, and spice trade until the Romans began to open the sea routes through the Red Sea.

During the Roman period the peninsula was divided by three districts: Arabia Felix, Arabia Deserta, and Arabia Petraea. The latter included the Sinai Peninsula, which is no longer considered part of the modern Arabian Peninsula.

Shamir of Dhu-Raydan and Himyar had called in the help of the clans of Habashat for war against the kings of Saba; but Ilmuqah granted . . . the submission of Shamir of Dhu-Raydan and the clans of Habashat.

The ruins of Siraf, a legendary ancient port, are located on the north shore of the Iranian coast on the Persian Gulf. The Persian Gulf was a boat route between the Arabian Peninsula and India made feasible for small boats by staying close to the coast with land always in sight. The historical importance of Siraf to ancient trade is only now being realised. Discovered there in past archaeological excavations are ivory objects from east Africa, pieces of stone from India, and lapis from Afghanistan. Sirif dates back to the Parthian era.

There is a lost city in The Empty Quarter known as Iram of the Pillars and Thamud. It is estimated that it lasted from around 3000 BC to the first century AD.

The seventh century saw the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. The Islamic prophet Muhammad established a new unified political polity in the Arabian peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Arab power well beyond the Arabian peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Arab Empire with an area of influence that stretched from northwest India, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees.

Muhammad began preaching Islam at Mecca before migrating to Medina, from where he united the tribes of Arabia into a singular Arab Muslim religious polity. With Muhammad's death in 632, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Umar ibn al-Khattab, a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr, who was Muhammad's intimate friend and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated his successor. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to avenge a recent defeat by Byzantine (or Eastern Roman Empire) forces, although he first had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode known as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy".

His death in 634 resulted in the succession of Umar as the caliph, followed by Uthman ibn al-Affan and Ali ibn Abi Talib. These four are known as al-khulafā' ar-rāshidūn ("Rightly Guided Caliphs"). Under them, the territory under Muslim rule expanded deeply into Persian and Byzantine territories.

The provincial Ottoman Army for Arabia (Arabistan Ordusu) was headquartered in Syria, which included Lebanon, Palestine, and the Transjordan region. It was put in charge of Syria, Cilicia, Iraq, and the remainder of the Arabian Peninsula.

The Damascus Protocol of 1914 provides an illustration of the regional relationships. Arabs living in one of the existing districts of the Arabian peninsula, the Emirate of Hejaz, asked for a British guarantee of independence on behalf of 'the whole Arab nation'. Their proposal included all Arab lands south of a line roughly corresponding to the northern frontiers of present-day Syria and Iraq. They envisioned a new Arab state, or confederation of states, adjoining the southern Arabian Peninsula. It would have been comprised of Cilicia - İskenderun and Mersin, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.

In the modern era, the term bilad al-Yaman came to refer specifically to the southwestern parts of the peninsula. Arab geographers started to refer to the whole peninsula as 'jazirat al-Arab', or the peninsula of the Arabs.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the Ottomans embarked on an ambitious project: the construction of a railway connecting Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the seat of the Islamic Caliphate, and Hejaz with its holiest shrines of Islam which are the yearly pilgrimage destination of the Hajj. Another important goal was to improve the economic and political integration of the distant Arabian provinces into the Ottoman state, and to facilitate the transportation of military troops in case of need.

The Hejaz Railway was a narrow gauge railway (1050 mm) that ran from Damascus to Medina, through the Hejaz region of Arabia. It was a part of the Ottoman railway network and was built in order to extend the previously existing line between Istanbul and Damascus (which began from the Haydarpaşa Terminal) all the way to the holy city of Mecca (eventually being able to reach only Medina due to the interruption of the construction works caused by the outbreak of World War I).

The railway was started in 1900 at the behest of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II and was built largely by the Turks, with German advice and support. A public subscription was opened throughout the Islamic world to fund the construction. The railway was to be a waqf, an inalienable religious endowment or charitable trust.

The major developments of the early 20th century were the Arab Revolt during World War I and the subsequent collapse and partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The Arab Revolt (1916–1918) was initiated by the Sherif Hussein ibn Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Empire and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen. During World War One, the Sharif Hussein entered into an alliance with the United Kingdom and France against the Ottomans in June 1916.

These events were followed by the unification of Saudi Arabia under King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. In 1902 Ibn Saud had captured Riyadh. Continuing his conquests, Abdul Aziz subdued Al-Hasa, the rest of Nejd, and the Hejaz between 1913 and 1926, defeating the Sherif Hussein ibn Ali, and founded the modern state of Saudi Arabia.

The second major development has been the discovery of vast reserves of oil the 1930's. Its production brought great wealth to all countries of the region, with the exception of Yemen.

The adoption of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine led to armed conflict between the Arab and Jewish communities of Palestine and to the invasion by neighboring Arab countries, with volunteer Saudi and Yemenite forces. That led to a series of conflicts between the newly established State of Israel and many of the Arab States of the peninsula, starting with the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

The North Yemen Civil War was fought in North Yemen between royalists of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and factions of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1962 to 1970. The war began with a coup d'etat carried out by the republican leader, Abdullah as-Sallal, which dethroned the newly crowned Imam Al-Badr and declare Yemen a republic under his presidency. The Imam escaped to the Saudi Arabian border and rallied popular support.

The royalist side received support from Saudi Arabia, while the republicans were supported by Egypt and the Soviet Union. Both foreign irregular and conventional forces were also involved. The Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, supported the republicans with as many as 70,000 troops. Despite several military moves and peace conferences, the war sank into a stalemate. Egypt's commitment to the war is considered to have been detrimental to its performance in the Six-Day War of June 1967, after which Nasser found it increasingly difficult to maintain his army's involvement and began to pull his forces out of Yemen.

By 1970, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia recognized the republic and a truce was signed. Egyptian military historians refer to the war in Yemen as their Vietnam,.

The British proposed a treaty with the Ottoman Empire in 1913 to establish Kuwait as an autonomous kaza. It was a district of the vilayet of Basra. The treaty was never ratified due to the outbreak of WWI. In 1990 Iraq made claims upon Kuwaiti territory, and insisted that the borders had never been properly delimited by the British in 1951.

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq forces, led to the 1990-91 Gulf War. Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia joined a multinational coalition that opposed Iraq. Displays of support for Iraq by Jordan and the Palestinians resulted in strained relations between many of the Arab states. After the war, a so-called "Damascus Declaration" formalized an alliance for future joint Arab defensive actions between Egypt, Syria, and the GCC states.

The extraction and refining of oil and gas are the major industrial activities in the Arabian Peninsula. The region also has an active construction sector, with many cities reflecting the wealth generated by the oil industry. The service sector is dominated by financial and technical institutions, which, like the construction sector, mainly serve the oil industry. Traditional handicrafts such as carpet-weaving are found in rural areas.

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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Arabic: القاعدة في جزيرة العرب‎) (AQAP) is a Khawarij terrorist organization, primarily in Saudi Arabia. It was named for al-Qaeda and claims to be subordinate to that group and its leader Osama bin Laden. Like al-Qaeda, it opposes the Saud monarchy. In addition to a number of mass murders in Saudi Arabia, and the kidnap and murder of Paul Johnson in Riyadh, this group is suspected in connection with one bombing in Doha, Qatar in March 2005. The group also publishes the al-Qaeda online magazine Voice of Jihad.

For a chronology of recent terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, see Insurgency in Saudi Arabia.

The following is a list of names of people who have been purported in one way or another to be AQAP members. Most, but not all, are or were Saudi nationals. Roughly half have appeared on Saudi "most wanted" lists. In the left column is the rank of each member in the original 2003 list of the 26 most wanted.

Riyadh published a new list of wanted suspects on 28 June 2005. Of its 36 members, the Saudis believed 15 to be within the country and 21 abroad. The following version of the list was current in 2006.

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Arab Socialist Action Party – Arabian Peninsula

Coat of arms of Saudi Arabia.svg

The Arab Socialist Action Party – Arabian Peninsula (Arabic: حزب العمل الاشتراكي العربي ـ الجزيرة العربية‎), was an underground oppositional political party in Saudi Arabia. It was founded in 1972 by elements of the erstwhile Arab Nationalist Movement.

The party was able to attract a following amongst intellectuals and middle class elements, and became a prominent force of the secular opposition. Ideologically it adhered to Marxism and Arab nationalism. It considered armed struggle as the only option to overthrow the ruling system of Saudi Arabia. The membership was predominantly Shi'ite.

The party was able to attract former members from the People's Democratic Party, which ceased to function in the mid-1970s.

The party raised three main demands, introduction of political liberties, nationalization of oil resources, and the end to foreign military presence in Saudi Arabia. It also opposed discrimination against Shi'ites.

The party published al-Masira as its central organ. It was printed inside Saudi Arabia clandestinely on an irregular basis. Moreover, until the 1982 crackdown, the cadres of the party were well represented amongst the staff of the legal newspaper al-Yaum (اليوم).

The party was a section of the Arab Socialist Action Party, a Pan-Arab party led by the PFLP general secretary Dr. George Habash. But unlike other sections of the Arab Socialist Action Party, the linkage to PFLP was weaker due to the lack of a strong PFLP presence in Saudi Arabia. By 1975, the linkage between the Saudi party and PFLP began to decline and in 1978 the Saudi party broke its affiliation with PFLP. Instead the party began orientating itself towards cooperation with other groups in the region. In 1981, the party established relations with the Communist Party in Saudi Arabia and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Bahrain in exile.

Five days after Islamic insurgents had seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca on November 20, 1979, the party issued a statement in Beirut, clarifying the demands of the insurgents. The party, however, denied any involvement in the act.

In April 1982 the party was dealt a severe blow, as Saudi state forces arrested hundreds of its members. Many of the arrested were journalists connected to the al-Yaum newspaper. In the end of 1982 an amnesty was declared for the arrested. However, several of the released had problems returning to government services or were denied to travel abroad. Al-Yaum was closed down. Following the 1982 crackdown, the party critically reviewed its past performance. In January 1984 a provisional leadership was reconstituted.

By 1987 there were reports that the party had begun to reconstruct its organizational structure.

In the 1990s, the party agreed with the government to disband, in exchange for amnesty of political prisoners. Five jailed party members were pardoned in April, 1990. A group of militants of the party were pardoned on Eid-ul-Adha 1991.

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Source : Wikipedia