Qatar: Missile found among arms seized in Italy sold 25 years ago


Doha says the seized air-to-air missile was sold to a 'friendly' third country that wishes not to be named.

A French missile once owned by Qatar's military and found among a huge arsenal of weapons seized inItaly was sold by the Gulf state 25 years ago to a third country, Qatar's foreign ministry said. 
Italian police said on Monday that a French-made Matra air-to-air missile belonging to Qatar's armed forces was discovered during raids on neo-Nazi sympathisers.
In a statement on Tuesday, Doha said the missile was part of a larger weapons sale made to a third "friendly" country more than two decades ago, though it did not identify it.
"The authorities in Qatar have immediately started an investigation alongside the respective Italian authorities and the authorities of another friendly nation to which the Matra missile was sold 25 years ago," foreign ministry spokeswoman Lolwah Alkhater said.
"The captured Matra Super530 missile was sold by Qatar in the year 1994 in a deal that included 40 Matra Super 530 missiles to a friendly nation that wishes not to be named at this point of the investigation," said Alkhater.
Italian police said the suspects tried to sell the missile in conversations with contacts on the WhatsApp messaging network. Subsequent checks showed the weapon was in working condition but lacked an explosive charge.
"Qatar is working very closely now with the pertinent parties including Italy to unveil the facts and it is very concerned as to how a missile sold 25 years ago ended up in the hands of a third non-state party," said Alkhater.
Elite police forces searched properties across northern Italy following an investigation into Italians who had fought in eastern Ukraine in the conflict between the Kiev government's forces and Russian-backed separatists.
Among other weapons uncovered in the raids were 26 guns, 20 bayonets, 306 gun parts, including silencers and rifle scopes, and more than 800 rounds of various calibres. The arms were primarily from Austria, Germany and the United States.


8 French MPs Send Letter to Bahraini King Raising Concerns Over the Upholding of the Death Sentences of Ali AlArab and Ahmed AlMalali


8 July 2019 – On 19 June, eight French Members of Parliament (MPs) sent a letter to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa AlKhalifa. In the letter they raised concerns over the recent upholding of the death sentences against torture victims Ali AlArab and Ahmed AlMalali. They called on King Hamad to immediately establish an official moratorium on the death penalty with a view towards abolition and to commute all outstanding death sentences to terms of imprisonment. Additionally they called on him to conduct a comprehensive review of Bahrain’s death row to ensure victims of human rights abuses unlawfully sentenced to death receive redress. This letter was a result of ADHRB’s international advocacy efforts, and similar concerns have been echoed by an Italian MPFrench Senator Pierre LaurentSwiss MPsinternational NGOsUnited Nations experts, aSpanish Member of Parliament, and a Member of the European Parliament. Read an English version of the letter here and a French version here.

US State Department Keeps Bahrain on Tier 1 in 2019 TIP Report, Ignoring Concerns


10 July 2019 – On 20 June, the United States (US) Department of State (DoS) released its 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which assesses the actions individual countries are taking to combat human trafficking. Countries are rated on their efforts and progress according to a four-‘tier’ system, with Tier 1 being the highest ranking. In the 2019 report, Bahrain remained on Tier 1 for the second consecutive year after having been bumped up from Tier 2 by DoS in 2018 – indicating the kingdom “fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” and “continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts.” Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) is deeply disappointed with the State Department’s decision to keep Bahrain at Tier 1 given the continuing incidences of forced labor and trafficking in Bahrain. We further emphasize that the measures taken by the kingdom do not offer significant prospect for improvement.
The 2019 report touts Bahrain’s increase in trafficking convictions and the ability of workers to sponsor themselves through the “flexi permit” program as justification for its Tier 1 status. Yet the report highlights several areas where Bahrain has ultimately failed – specifically by neglecting to treat indicators of forced labor as potential trafficking crimes. The Bahraini government does not regularly investigate cases of unpaid or withheld wages or passport confiscation by employers, and infrequently investigates, prosecutes, or convicts perpetrators of forced labor.
The report noted that “some employers subject migrant workers to forced labor in Bahrain” and signs included “passport retention, strict confinement, contract substitution, non-payment of wages, debt bondage, threats or intimidation, and physical or sexual abuse.” While the government of Bahrain originally planned to institute a wage protection system in January 2018, its implementation has now been delayed until September 2019 and, once implemented, will take over a year until all migrant workers are covered by it. Additionally, there are serious questions about how the system will flag wage theft. The consequences for employers who do not comply with the measure are unclear.
While the flexi permit program is showcased in the report as an anti-trafficking accomplishment, the program can actually exclude more workers from protections and has strong limitations. There are no contracts to ensure wages and working conditions are not exploitative, and workers have to pay extraordinary fees that can lead to debt bondage. During the reporting period, the fees for the one- or two-year permits actually increased. The State Department report further highlighted concerns from NGOs and labor rights organizations that the permits “created a system of day laborers, overly shifted legal responsibility to the employees, and generated economic coercion given the associated cost of eligibility.” The program also reduces employer liability for abuses, in practice. At present, there is no evidence that the flexi program offers any additional protection or legal redress to permit holders, and it appears that a flexi permit holder will be unable to pursue a labor or TIP case against an employer.
On top of the specific concerns related to forced labor and trafficking in Bahrain, there is the broader issue of the kingdom’s lack of openness to international organizations. The ability for civil society to operate is indicative of greater access to fundamental freedoms, but Bahrain routinely denies access to international NGOs, human rights organizations, and United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteurs. The kingdom has also clamped down domestically, with all major opposition political societies forcibly dissolved and the last independent newspaper shuttered. This clampdown on civic space directly undermines civil society’s ability to independently monitor and track human trafficking and related abuses, and for migrant workers themselves to report exploitation, raising further concerns about the veracity of government claims accepted by the State Department in the TIP Report.
The Tier 1 designation for Bahrain in the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report is neither appropriate nor earned, and no country without democratic freedoms should be able to achieve such a ranking. ADHRB calls on Bahrain to implement the prioritized recommendations listed in the TIP Report – including reforming the sponsorship system by extending labor law protections to encompass all workers, such as those with flexi permits, and to increase efforts to investigate and prosecute suspects of labor trafficking crimes. We also urge the State Department to reconsider Bahrain’s Tier 1 ranking until the kingdom takes concrete and measurable steps to improve the situation of human trafficking and forced labor and allows for independent monitoring.


Italian honour for film on iconic Bahraini poet Qassem Haddad

A DOCUMENTARY about the life of iconic Bahraini poet Qassem Haddad is making waves internationally. The film, Qassem Haddad… The Last Door’s Hour, has won the Best Documentary Film Award at the Oniros Film Awards in Italy.
On Revolution and Bahrini Poet Qassim Haddad


Arabic Literature and Translation

During the middle days of the Egyptian revolution, a group of 137 Bahraini writers, artists, and intellectuals issued a statement in solidarity with the Egyptians’ struggle for freedom and dignity.
One of the signatories, according to Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News, was celebrated Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad.
I don’t know where he is in the current Bahraini uprising. However, inTradition, modernity, and postmodernity in Arabic literature, Bassam Frangieh notes that Haddad was “tortured and imprisoned for five years for his belief in the need for a radical revolution in Arab society in order to achieve freedom and justice. An important figure in the process of modernity, he called for democracy and protested tyranny and oppression.”
However, as a poet, Haddad told Al Ahram reporter Rania Khallaf in 2006 that he can only effect a certain sort of change:
Changing the world is not the poet’s responsibility. Giving in to the illusion that literature can bring about political change is detrimental on both fronts. It’s a totally different mechanism. This is an important lesson that writers involved in ideology can benefit from. Literature effects only a sort of change — in the spirit of people, their sensibility and their convictions…
Haddad was born in Bahrain; he did not finish his secondary schooling and is largely self-educated. He came to prominence in the 1970s after publishing his first collection of poetry, Good Omen. By 2002, when Haddad received the prestigious Owais Cultural Foundation Prize for Poetry, he was one of Bahrain’s most celebrated authors.
“Sin 2,” translated by Frangieh
When a rag conceals the map
Shame will not do
For all these naked nations.
“Sin 3”:
O King
We are your flocks, of whom you boast to the nations.
We are fed up with this glory.
“Sin 4”:
O fire o queen of time
Where shall I hide you,
while the dry stalk is the ruler of this place?
And the final sections of “Words from a Young Night,” translated by Khaled Mattawa:
The clicking of my chains fills the place,
who claim freedom.
My lip trembles now before a word…
My lip is defeated.
Be prepared… the past is coming.
None of these are poems are exactly populist. But a number of the poems and translations on Qassim Haddad’s website—the translations being by respected poets and translators like Frangieh, Khaled Mattawa, Sharif Elmusa, Lena Jayyusi and Christopher Middleton, Naomi Shihab Nye—are interesting, textured, worth reading and re-reading.
In addition to these few poems, two AUC professors recently won a $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to translate more of Haddad’s work. Ferial Ghazoul and John Verlenden have been working with Haddad’s poetry and prose since 2003.
An Al Ahram profile of Haddad, “The penman of Manama,” by Rania Khallaf


Court revokes stripping 92 of citizenship


They were among 138 convicted in April of setting up pro-Iran Hezbollah party


Droga, auto d’oro, ereditiere in fuga: le vite inquiete dei rampolli del Golfo


Il principe stilista Qasimi, morto a Londra dopo un festino, è l’ultimo capitolo di una serie: sultani violenti, principesse fatte sparire, lussi estremi

di Irene Soave
Tre giorni di lutto nazionale e bandiere a mezz’asta: così l’emirato di Sharjah, uno dei sette che compongono la federazione degli Emirati Arabi Uniti, piange il principe ereditario Khalid al Qasimi, morto lunedì a Londra a 39 anni in circostanze misteriose. Almeno ufficialmente: nel suo attico a Knightsbridge sono state trovate eroina, cocaina, funghi allucinogeni, crack, e dalle prime indagini della polizia emerge che era reduce da un festino. Nel 1999 era morto suo fratello Mohammed, maggiore di cinque anni e allora 24enne, per overdose, sempre a Londra. Lo scenario non è insolito. È nella capitale del Regno Unito che si svolge la seconda vita dei giovani miliardari del Golfo Persico: emiratini, sauditi, qatarini che quando arriva il caldo nella Penisola arabica volano a Londra, con auto di lusso al seguito (trasportate in aereo a 30 mila dollari a macchina) a vivere una vita di eccessi opposta a quella che le loro famiglie, regnanti di alcuni dei regimi islamici più conservatori al mondo, impongono ai sudditi in patria.
La prigione delle giovani Maktoum
Proprio in questi giorni un’altra vicenda getta uno squarcio inquietante sulle vite apparentemente dorate dei ricchissimi del Golfo: la fuga della principessa Haya, sesta moglie dell’emiro di Dubai scappata a Londra (con un bottino di 56 milioni di dollari) per rifarsi una vita lontana da Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, primo ministro degli Emirati oltre che emiro di Dubai, che se in patria è celebrato come uno statista, un amante della poesia e un modernizzatore — a lui si deve la svolta cosmopolita di Dubai e molti degli edifici cittadini più noti, come il Burj al Khalifa— è dipinto dalle sue donne come un satrapo crudele. La fuga, infatti, che è riuscita alla 45enne Haya grazie alla mediazione di un diplomatico tedesco, era stata tentata prima, invano, anche da due figlie dell’emiro. Prima nel 2000, la maggiore, Shamsa: aveva 19 anni quando trovò un cancello aperto nella tenuta di famiglia nel Surrey e non pensò due volte a imboccarlo e guidare a rotta di collo più lontano che poteva. Fu trovata dagli uomini del padre, però, poche settimane dopo. Riportata in patria, fece otto anni di carcere e poi fu fatta interdire. Della sua storia parla la sorella Latifa, classe 1985, nell’agghiacciante video che aveva diffuso, nel 2018, prima di tentare la fuga: se state vedendo questi fotogrammi, diceva, vuol dire che mi hanno trovata, e che le cose per me si sono messe molto male. Aveva tentato di fuggire con l’aiuto di un’istruttrice di capoeira e di una spia francese, a bordo di una moto nautica e poi di una barca da sub. Gli uomini del padre, che lei nel suo video descrive come «violento, il male assoluto», l’hanno rimpatriata a forza. Ora, essendo «psichicamente vulnerabile», è praticamente ai domiciliari, sottoposta a cure psichiatriche, e di lei si sa pochissimo.
Principesse in fuga
Dello stile di vita delle figlie e delle mogli dei ricchissimi arabi favoleggia chiunque ci abbia a che fare. In un gustoso memoir intitolato Driving the Saudis (2012) l’americana Jayne Amelia Larson racconta i suoi giorni da autista privata a Los Angeles, al servizio di un gruppo di principesse saudite in vacanza. Per lei, aspirante attrice che faceva la chaffeur per arrotondare, le loro vite «pur recluse e confinate» erano favolose. «Entravano nei negozi più lussuosi e si limitavano a indicare vestiti e accessori: la servitù poi li pagava e li prendeva, e loro passavano al prossimo negozio. Una una volta mi vide mangiare una barretta. Le piaceva e ne comprò un migliaio, facendo pagare una sua assistente che tirò fuori un rotolo di banconote». I racconti di Larson nel suo libro sono pieni di glamour. 
Eppure periodicamente una donna tenta di fuggire dalla «gabbia dorata» che è la ricchissima vita di corte delle giovani del Golfo. Nel 2014 quattro figlie femmine del re saudita Abdullah erano riuscite a contattare per telefono il New York Post, raccontando che il padre le teneva segregate ai domiciliari in quattro residenze diverse, impedendo loro di sposarsi, per vendetta contro la loro madre, da lui ripudiata. Quest’anno la figlia diciottenne di un governatore saudita, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, è riuscita a scappare da una vacanza di famiglia in Kuwait e ora si trova in Canada. In Arabia Saudita sarebbe condannata a morte per apostasia, per avere rifiutato la religione e le nozze combinate previste per lei dal padre. Il precedente illustre che terrorizza le giovani saudite è la principessa Misha’al, giustiziata in piazza insieme al suo amante, che venne decapitato, nel 1978.
L’overdose dell’erede al trono di Dubai
La principessa Haya, le giovani Shamsa e Latifa: tutte e tre scappavano invece dallo stesso tiranno privato, il premier emiratino Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Tra i ventitré figli del capo del governo, Shamsa e Latifa non erano le sole a non passarsela benissimo. Rashid, già erede al trono, è morto nel 2015 a 33 anni per un attacco di cuore. Un attacco che subito un fiume inarrestabile di voci e fonti anonime — perlopiù ex membri della maltrattatissima servitù della famiglia Maktoum — mise in relazione con i suoi ripetuti soggiorni in rehab e al suo notorio abuso di cocaina e steroidi. Rashid, cavaliere e allevatore di cavalli competitivo quanto il padre Mohammed, aveva un’ossessione per la forma fisica. Nel 2008 la famiglia lo aveva eliminato dalla linea di successione: formalmente aveva un burnout da troppo lavoro, ma nella cerchia dei reali non c’era dubbio, era ricascato nella droga. Le voci che già circolavano in questo senso furono se possibile peggiorate nelle settimane di Wikileaks, nel 2010. Tra i documenti trapelati, una conversazione fra due alti funzionari inglesi rivelava che in un attacco di «rabbia da steroidi» — tra gli effetti collaterali dell’abuso di queste sostanze ci sono accessi di furia cieca — il pazzo Rashid avrebbe ucciso uno dei suoi assistenti con le proprie mani.
La movida segreta di Riyadh
I nastri di Wikileaks raccontavano anche di una «movida segreta» a Riyadh, la capitale dell’Arabia Saudita, che pretende dai sudditi condotte specchiatissime e poi è teatro di una vita notturna a base di alcolici, cocaina, hashish e legioni di prostitute — che per anni sono state reclutate in apposite spedizioni nei night di Damasco — accessibile solo ai reali e ai loro ospiti dagli altri Paesi del Golfo. Di questi eccessi si sa poco o nulla: e quello che viene fuori, magari documentato da video sui social, viene punito in modo esemplare. Fu arrestato, per esempio, nel 2017, il principe di basso rango — la famiglia reale saudita conta 15 mila membri viventi, ma sembra che solo 2 mila siano effettivamente potenti in patria e fuori — Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz: aveva postato lui stesso una serie di video sui suoi account social in cui rompeva a pugni il naso a un suddito, allineava una ventina di bottiglie di whisky su un tavolo, puntava un fucile da assalto in faccia a un conoscente. La famiglia reale lo aveva fatto arrestare, e aveva pubblicato il video dell’arresto in lungo e in largo per dare un messaggio ai sudditi: non c’è pietà per chi sgarra. Andò meglio nel 2017 a un altro principe, l’allora 28enne Majed Abdulaziz Al-Saud: una ragazza sanguinante riuscì a scappare dalla sua villa a Beverly Hills e denunciò che lui l’aveva costretta a un rapporto orale. Spuntarono le denunce di altre cinque donne, relative alla stessa sera. Majed fu arrestato, ma la sua famiglia pagò la cauzione — 300 mila dollari — sull’unghia, e lo fece rimpatriare.
La movida sfrenata degli arabi a Londra
Nella capitale britannica — o negli Stati Uniti, soprattutto in California — non si nascondono invece gli eccessi dei giovani rampolli del Golfo. Negli aeroporti londinesi sbarcano più o meno una volta l’anno aerei che trasportano automobili di lusso placcate oro, o rivestite di loghi come Louis Vuitton: i «rich kids of Dubai» — o del Qatar, o dell’Arabia Saudita — le portano con sé, come un lussuoso corredo, quando per sfuggire alla calura estiva si trasferiscono a Londra. Ne aveva una dotazione del valore di un milione di dollari, per esempio, il principe saudita Turki Bin Abdullah, poi arrestato per corruzione. A bordo della sua Ferrari gialla, anch’essa spedita per via aerea, viaggiava invece il qatarino principe Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, classe 1980, quando nel 2015 fu arrestato a Beverly Hills per una gara clandestina con una Porsche, finita con un motore fuso e per fortuna nessuna vittima. Il vizio delle corse clandestine rispunta qua e là nelle cronache: nel 2015, a Sloane Street, nel centro di Londra, un pensionato è stato costretto a risarcire con 60 mila sterline un arcimiliardario arabo per avergli rigato il Suv in segno di protesta. Infastidito dal rumore aveva chiamato la polizia, ma i giovani arabi a bordo dei loro bolidi non si erano fermati nemmeno con l’arrivo delle volanti.
Mappa di Londra per arabi straricchi
Il Dorchester, il Claridge’s, il Berkeley, il Connaught: sono tra gli hotel di lusso preferiti dagli arabi in trasferta, che dopo la fine del Ramadan ne prendono in affitto anche interi piani, sistemandovi il loro staff (e pagando il conto: solo nel 2013 la principessa saudita Maha Al-Sudairi «dimenticò» di saldare i dovuti 7 milioni di euro all’hotel parigino Shangri-La, per cinque mesi di permanenza suoi e della sua corte). E la massima riservatezza garantita da questi servizi di ultralusso consente loro di tirare il fiato rispetto allo stile di vita più severo che sono costretti a mantenere a casa. È stata la suite di un albergo di lusso, il famoso Dorchester Hotel, a fare da sfondo nel 2015 a un’altra morte «misteriosa» per arresto cardiaco: quella del sultano del Kuwait Aldabbous, morto a 38 anni nella sua stanza dopo quella che i tabloid inglesi definirono subito «un’abbuffata di cocaina». Anche di lui — come di Rashid Maktoub e Khalid Qasimi — online si trova poco. Non solo sulle circostanze della loro morte: anche le loro fotografie, tranne quelle ufficiali, e i resoconti non agiografici delle loro vite sono periodicamente rimossi dal web, racconta un articolo del magazine americano The Daily Beast. Meno è evidente la differenza fra la morale pubblica dei severi stati del Golfo e la vita privata dei loro rampolli, meglio è. Il mondo riesce solo a ricostruirla per frammenti, per leaks, o attraverso gli sporadici e tragici fatti di cronaca che ne fanno parte. Il mondo ci si sta abituando.


Bahrain recalls Iraq ambassador over embassy attack


200 demonstrators break into courtyard of Bahrain’s embassy in Baghdad

Baghdad: More than 200 demonstrators broke into the courtyard of Bahrain’s Embassy in Baghdad and took down the kingdom’s flag on Thursday night to protest a US-led meeting in Bahrain on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Police used live rounds to disperse the crowd, police sources told Reuters, with no injuries reported.
“We used our vehicle loudspeakers to encourage protesters to leave the compound,” a police officer stationed near the embassy said. “After they refused, police had to fire into the air.”
One protester, who identified himself as a member of the Islamic Resistance Groups, a term usually used by Iranian-backed militias, said they wanted to send a strong statement.
“We took down the Bahraini flag to send a clear message to all those who participated in the Bahrain conference, that we strongly reject normalising relations with the Zionist occupiers and will never abandon our support of Palestinians,” said the protester, who identified himself as Abu Murtadha Al Moussawi.
“We are ready to fight for this.” Bahrain recalled its ambassador to Iraq for consultations on Thursday after the protests.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain condemns the attack on the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Republic of Iraq by the demonstrators (which) led to sabotage in the embassy building,” a statement on the ministry’s website said.

UAE condemns storming of embassy

The UAE strongly condemned the storming of the embassy compound.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) labelled the storming as a blatant violation of diplomatic norms and conventions, and called on the Iraqi government to live up to its responsibility towards international obligations and conventions which guarantee diplomatic security and immunity.
The ministry underlined the necessity of protecting the premises of diplomatic missions and ensuring their safety under international law and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“The UAE re-affirms its categorical support for the Kingdom of Bahrain vis-a-vis all menacing threats to its security and the safety of its diplomatic missions,” added the statement.
While denouncing all attempts to spark protests by some parties against Bahrain, the Ministry expressed concern over the security of diplomatic missions in Iraq.
The Iraqi government also condemned the protesters, and expressed “its deep regret” over the security breach at the embassy.
“The government of Iraq affirms its absolute rejection of any acts which threaten diplomatic missions, their safety and the security of their personnel,” said in a statement. On his part, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash said: "The attack on the Embassy of the brotherly Kingdom of Bahrain in Baghdad is unacceptable and reprehensible and a dangerous escalation at the legal and political level, and we call on the Iraqi government to fulfill its responsibilities and legal obligations to protect diplomatic work and the mission headquarters in the capital and Iraqi cities."


Saudi Arabia: Women use pre-wedding contracts to stipulate driving, working rights after marriage


A breach of wedding conditions in the contract can be used by women as grounds for divorce.

DAMMAM: Saudi salesman Majd had just begun his wedding preparations when his fiancee sought to enshrine in their marriage contract a condition already guaranteed by law — her right to drive.
Such legally binding contracts typically codify anything from the woman's right to have her own house, hire a maid, or to study or work.
But after the kingdom last year lifted a ban on female motorists, a popular new condition in the contracts is the right to own and drive a car, according to documents seen by AFP and interviews with wedding clerics.

“Why not?”

Majd, 29, who is due to marry this month in his native Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia, signed off on two demands from his 21-year-old fiancee — the right to drive and to work after marriage, according to the contract he shared with AFP.
"She said she (would) like to be independent," explained Majd, who requested his last name be withheld as the discussion was a private family matter.
"I replied: 'sure, why not?'"

A promise

"Some women prefer to include the driving condition in their contract to avoid any 'marital conflicts' over the issue," said Abdulmohsen Al-Ajemi, a Riyadh wedding cleric who received his first such enquiry from the family of an engaged woman last week.
"It's a way to guarantee the husband will keep his promise."
A breach of wedding conditions can be used by women as grounds for divorce, clerics say.

'I don't want you'

There are no official statistics on the number of such contracts. But Munirah Al-Sinani, a 72-year-old housewife in Dhahran, a city in the kingdom's east, said she had come across two such cases recently among her acquaintances.
"If you don't let me drive, if you say 'no', then khallas (finished) — I don't want you," Sinani quoted one of the women as telling her potential spouse.
The trend underscores how women appear to be using the contracts to assert their newfound rights — and the conditions appear to be getting bolder.
A man in eastern Al-Ahsa city told AFP that during a marriage within his extended family, the bride demanded that her husband-to-be give up smoking.
Another woman asked that her husband have no access to her salary and another stipulated that she should not fall pregnant in the first year of marriage, according to cleric Ajemi.
A Saudi woman took social media by storm recently when she posted her wedding contract online. The document prohibited her husband from taking a second wife. Angry online trolls rebuked her husband as "unmanly" for accepting the condition.

Men too

Men also sometimes use wedding contracts to stipulate that the "wife will never work" or that she must agree to live with his mother, senior cleric Adel Al-Kalbani told AFP.
These conditions could also cause strains in marriages in a society where such conditions may be deemed insulting or signify a lack of trust in the husband, typically the head of a household.
"In the past, society did not listen to women. Husbands would turn around and firmly say 'No'," cleric Ajemi said.
"But now they are listening to the aspirations of women."


'Slightly illusory': Low expectations for US-led Bahrain workshop


Conference where the US will present part of the 'deal of the century' has little to do with peace, analysts say.