Politics

Yemen: More than 200 killed as Houthis seize Amran

On 8 July, Houthi tribal fighters in Yemen overran the provincial capital of Amran, seizing the headquarters of the 310th Armoured Brigade, and installing themselves in the city. More than 200 people were killed in the fighting, and many more...

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Sheikh Khalifa: Good health?


Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) has attempted to dispel rumours that President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed remains in poor health after suffering a stroke in January (GSN 963/1). Sheikh Khalifa has not been seen in public since, and...

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Bahrain: Malinowski expelled, Al-Wefaq leaders charged

The government of Bahrain took the bold decision to expel US assistant secretary of state Tom Malinowksi on 7 July, saying that he had interfered in internal affairs by meeting with one party (the opposition Al-Wefaq), and not others. “US assistant...

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Lots of talk, but little action on GCC subsidy reform

Saudi Arabia’s Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA) released its annual fiscal review on 1 July. Hidden inside the lengthy report was a startling figure: in 2012-13, Saudi government support to the Saudi Electricity Company...

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Kuwait: Protests after Al-Barrak detained

There have been more opposition protests in Kuwait, after prominent opposition figure Musallam Al-Barrak was detained by the authorities for six days. Al-Barrak was summoned by the public prosecutor, who wanted him to be questioned over remarks, made...

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Saudi Arabia: Abu Al-Khair sentenced

A court in Jeddah sentenced lawyer and human rights activist Waleed Abu Al-Khair to 15 years in prison on 6 July; according to Monitor for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (MHRSA), which he chairs, five of those years have been suspended, but the...

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Perspectives

A selection of free articles from GSN's extensive database

GCC Risk Management Report: GCC tensions erupt as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain challenge Qatar

On 5 March, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain announced they were withdrawing their ambassadors from Qatar, because Qatar had refused to abide by the terms of an agreement signed on 23 November, which said states should not interfere in other GCC members’ internal affairs, support ‘hostile media’, or support any group that threatened the security of member states. At the heart ...

Issue 968 - 17 April 2014

Miqrin Bin Abdelaziz named deputy crown prince

On 27 March, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud appointed his half-brother, Prince Miqrin Bin Abdelaziz, as deputy crown prince, in a royal decree that may have answered short-term uncertainties about the much-debated Saudi succession, but once again delayed the more interesting question of which of the next generation of princes will be the first to rise.“Prince Miqrin Bin Abdelaziz ...

Issue 967 - 3 April 2014

Oman and Iran sign gas deal

Oman and Iran have agreed to build a $1bn pipeline across the Gulf, and to export 10bcm of gas per year to Oman. State news agencies reported the deal on 12 March, during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s two-day visit to Oman, his first trip to the Gulf since becoming president in June. Oman has been looking to buy gas from ...

Issue 966 - 24 March 2014

Oman corruption cases

Oman has been cracking down on corruption in recent months, leading to a string of trials and jail sentences for several prominent businessmen and government officials, the longest of which so far has been 23 years. Many of those convicted are expected to appeal. Court reporting is fairly patchy in Oman, and the large number of investigations makes it hard to ...

Issue 966 - 19 March 2014

UAE wins visa-free travel to Europe

The European Parliament (EP) voted overwhelmingly in favour of granting UAE citizens visa-free access to the 26-member Schengen area on 27 February, making the UAE the first Arab state to win the privilege. Abu Dhabi – which has already secured visa-free access to the UK – had been lobbying hard for approval from MEPs, and will be relieved that criticism of the UAE’...

Issue 965 - 6 March 2014

Saudi defence budget hits $60bn

Saudi Arabia has overtaken the UK to have the fourth largest defence budget in the world, with an annual outlay of $59.6bn in 2013, according to newly published estimates from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a London-based think tank. Riyadh’s defence spending has been ramped up massively over recent years. From just over SR69bn ($18.4bn) in 2002, the ...

Issue 964 - 20 February 2014

Yemen: Dialogue ends, Hadi term extended

Yemen’s National Dialogue conference officially came to an end on 25 January. After nearly ten months of deliberations and a closing ceremony that included the release of thousands of balloons into the air above Sanaa, delegates produced a final report with 1,400 recommendations; whether they can be translated into a working nation remains to be seen. Political factions also extended President ...

Issue 963 - 7 February 2014

UAE: 30 convicted in Brotherhood trial

The Federal Supreme Court has sentenced all 30 defendants in a mass trial of Islamists to jail terms ranging from three months to five years. All of those convicted on 21 January were accused of being members of an illegal Muslim Brotherhood cell and of stealing secret information from the security services; rights groups say the charges were vague and the trial ...

Issue 962 - 23 January 2014

Iran: Rouhani tackles IRGC challenge

President Hassan Rouhani’s adept international diplomacy secured a quick win on the nuclear front, with the interim agreement signed by Tehran and the P5+1 on 24 November (GSN 959/1) paving the way for a scaling back of the crippling sanctions regime, and potentially an end to Iran’s years of isolation. But now he faces the arguably more onerous task of ...

Issue 960 - 12 December 2013

Yemen: Security vacuum expands

The security vacuum in Yemen has continued to expand as political factions battle for control of the security forces. Insecurity is plaguing central provinces such as Dhamar, where, on 24 November, deputy governor Abdullah Mayseri was kidnapped, and Taizz, where Mohammed Moneer, a nephew of governor Shawqi Ahmed Hayel, remains in the hands of kidnappers. There have also been a number ...

Issue 959 - 29 November 2013

Improving relations between Baghdad and Ankara put KRG on edge

Recent promises to mend relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad have not led to any real progress on disputes over politics, land and oil. And as Baghdad makes overtures towards its former sparring partner – and close Kurdish ally – Turkey, the government. The 29 April framework accord signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime ...

Issue 958 - 14 November 2013

Bahrain: King Hamad visits China


King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa returned to Bahrain on 18 September after an official visit to China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. It was King Hamad’s first visit to China at the invitation of the president, timed to coincide with the first China-Arab States Expo, whose opening ceremony in Yinchuan he attended. During his visit, on which he ...

Issue 955 - 3 October 2013

BAE submits formal bid to supply Typhoons to UAE

Britain’s BAE has submitted a formal bid to supply 60 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to the UAE, which has been looking to upgrade its fleet for many years, according to BAE house broker UBS. France’s Dassault Aviation is competing for the contract: a deal to buy Dassault’s Rafale has been mooted since at least 2009, and seemed close at times. ...

Issue 955 - 3 October 2013

UAE Federation Risk Management Report: UAE at the heart of regional diplomacy following Brotherhood overthrow in Egypt

The UAE is working hard to shape its profile as an emerging regional and global power. It pulled out of the Gulf Monetary Union in 2009, angry that Riyadh had been chosen over Abu Dhabi as the headquarters for the monetary council, and has reservations about a more integrated Gulf Union. The federation is becoming an increasingly important part of US ...

Issue 954 - 19 September 2013

Qatar gas swap deal with Egypt collapses


Back in April, with relations between Qatar and then Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi looking strong, Qatar agreed to supply between 18 and 24 LNG cargoes to Egypt, which desperately needed gas to fulfill supply contracts and meet summer domestic demand. But disagreements over pricing saw the number of cargoes fall to 13 and, by mid to late August, reports started to surface that ...

Issue 954 - 19 September 2013

Prince Salman Bin Sultan named deputy defence minister

The early August appointment of Prince Salman Bin Sultan Bin Abdelaziz as deputy defence minister left Saudi-watchers puzzled, coming as it did just a few months after Prince Fahd Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed was given the position (GSN 945/1). A son of the late crown prince Sultan Bin Abdelaziz (GSN 911/1), Prince Salman is in his late thirties, and has a degree ...

Issue 953 - 15 August 2013

Kuwait government list

GSN’s listing of the 33rd Kuwait cabinet, announced 4 August 2013.

Issue 953 - 12 August 2013

Provincial polls upend Maliki’s ‘political majority’ 


In the lead-up up to Iraq’s provincial elections on 20 April, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s central theme was the need for a ‘political majority government’ – intended to replace the ‘partnership government’ model upon which the 2010 government was built. The latter sees every major party taking part in government, something Maliki has long complained gives recalcitrant parties a veto, stymying ...

Issue 952 - 1 August 2013

MPs elected to Kuwait National Assembly

A constitency-by-constituency listing of MPs elected on 27 July 2013 and votes received.

Issue 952 - 1 August 2013

Moving on from Iraq: Where are key players now?

GSN has been looking at the fortunes of some of the protagonists in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many have remained connected to Iraq, setting up or investing in Iraq-linked businesses, working as consultants or taking positions on boards of companies requiring Iraq expertise. Those profiled include Lewis Paul (‘Jerry’) Bremer III, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, Lieutenant General Jay ...

Issue 950 - 4 July 2013

Is Qatar poised for a leadership change?

Expectations that Qatar is poised for a leadership overhaul continue to rise. For months, GSN has been hearing rumours the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani is planning to abdicate in favour of his son, heir apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani (GSN 946/1); in recent weeks, these have been augmented by suggestions of a top-to-bottom reshuffle of the cabinet, that ...

Issue 949 - 10 June 2013

Miteb named minister as Sang upgraded

King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz has upgraded the Saudi Arabian National Guard (Sang) to a ministry, meaning his son Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah – previously Sang commander with ministerial rank – now has his own ministry. It is the latest in a string of appointments and reshuffles which has seen a number of third-generation royals promoted, as the ageing king seeks to secure ...

Issue 948 - 6 June 2013

Bahrain: King Hamad at Windsor horse trials


King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa was in the UK for the 2013 Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle Great Park from 8 to 12 May, on the sidelines of which Bahrain supported the inaugural 120km Royal Windsor Endurance CEI2 ride. The winning rider, who finished in a time of 4 hours 32 minutes, was the UAE’s Rashed Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Baloush on Bucanero. Their ...

Issue 947 - 23 May 2013

Prince Khalid sacked as King Abdullah continues to clear out the old guard

Deputy defence minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan was sacked on 20 April, and replaced by a former naval chief from a less prominent branch of the Al-Saud – a surprise to many, even though Khalid had long been considered unpopular with the king. The enfant terrible of Saudi military politics, his 12-year stint at the ministry of defence ended with a brief ...

Issue 945 - 25 April 2013

Saudi Arabia: Miteb Bin Abdullah’s Paris hotel


The Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, belonging to Saudi Arabian National Guard head Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah, is to close its doors for a two-year renovation by the Lebanese architect Aline d’Amman. The Crillon was French-owned until 2005, when ownership passed to US group Starwood Capital and then, in 2010, to Prince Miteb for a reported €250m ($327m). Prince Miteb’...

Issue 944 - 11 April 2013

See more:

Power infrastructure in Iraq map

Published July 2014, this map provides an overview of electricity infrastructure in Iraq.

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Oman: Oil and gas infrastructure

Revised June 2014, this map provides an overview of hydrocarbons infrastructure in Oman.

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Licensed oil and gas blocks in the United Arab Emirates

Published in May 2013, this map provides an overview of licensed blocks in UAE both onshore and offshore.

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GSN View

Malinowski’s expulsion unlikely to change the status quo in Bahrain

The three-year, slow-burning conflict in Bahrain remains a minor headache to most international governments, in a region full...

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Kurdish future depends on slow political ratchet

Violence is once again tearing Iraq apart. The fall of Mosul did not just mark the terrifying rise of jihadists from the...

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There will be no quick fix in Iraq

The blame game began within hours of Sunni extremists taking Mosul. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki blamed members of...

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