Friday, April 20, 2007

South Asian Workers Called Security Threat

Dr. Richard L. Benkin reports from USA
Bangladesh and other South Asian nations have long benefited from and in some cased depended upon millions of dollars in receipts from nationals working in the Arab Gulf States. A prestigious security conference here in March placed the future of those receipts in jeopardy. United Arab Emirates (UAE) analyst, Ebtisam Al Kitbi warned that millions of laborers from South Asia endanger the Gulf States’ security and urged the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to take immediate action.
In an address to the conference on “Internal and External Security Challenges in the Arabian Gulf,” Al Kitbi warned the GCC of a growing “demographic imbalance” in favor of foreign workers who can be expected to demand political rights in the Gulf.
“The imbalance is very stark and it will take many decades for the Gulf states to take remedial measures,” she said. “But the Gulf countries need to take urgent measures to check this imbalance.”
Al Kitbi tied the threat to the “winds of globalization” that seek to subordinate “state sovereignties…to the interests of international organizations.” She gave as another example of the danger speeches by Indian MPs calling for voting rights in the UAE for Indian workers because “they have contributed to the progress achieved in the country.”
In the past year, labor unrest expatriate communities in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, along with other developments in the Gulf has enhanced security concerns over South Asian workers. A proposal by some communities there to award foreign laborers citizenship after five years, according to Al Kitbi could “trigger major problems.”In recent years, the oil-rich Gulf states have been increasingly concerned about security threats from Iran and Islamist terrorists. Courtesy: Weekly Blitz

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