Politics

Gulf countries braced for Syrian blowback and sectarian divides

The Gulf countries that have led international support for the campaign to topple the government of Bashir Al-Assad face a number of negative consequences as the bloody civil war drags on, with the increasing likelihood that the Baathist regime or...

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Anbar voters disenfranchised and leading Sunni candidates barred in Iraq’s elections

Clashes between the Iraqi army and Sunni insurgents in the Sunni majority province of Anbar over the past three months mean that voting cannot take place in many localities on 30 April. On 1 April, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission...

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Saudi Arabia: Tuwaijri tweets

The powerful – and usually behind-the-scenes – head of Saudi Arabia’s royal court, Khalid Bin Abdelaziz Al-Tuwaijri, has started using Twitter. The private secretary to King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud has had a dormant account since 2012;...

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Saudi Arabia: Prince Bandar replaced

Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan has been removed from his post and will be replaced by his deputy, state news agency SPA said on 15 April. “Prince Bandar was relieved of his post at his own request and General Youssef...

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Saudi Arabia: 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...

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Obama visit: less pomp, more circumstance

It is still too early to say whether US President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated 28 March meeting with King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud will bear fruit, and relieve the tensions between the long-standing allies. The two men spent more than two...

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Perspectives

A selection of free articles from GSN's extensive database

Ten years after the Iraq invasion, the GSN 2003 archive opens to general readership

To mark the tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, and to give wider public access to some of our reporting and analysis, GSN has unlocked the archive of its newsletters published in 2003 (accessible at www.gsn-online.com). The invasion was hardly a surprise; US determination to depose Saddam Hussein had been clear for months, but too little thought went into its repercussions. Few of those behind the invasion saw the potential for the turbulence it unleashed. A reading of pre-2003 GSN shows just how inevitable conflict was. ‘Global terrorism’ was high on the agenda as the George W Bush administration came to power.

Issue 942 - 5 March 2013

Concerns over democracy and human rights

The mood of crisis in Gulf affairs, with decisions on a war against Iraq perhaps just weeks away, is proving a delicate test for the West’s readiness to promote a democracy and human rights agenda.

Issue 697 - 7 November 2002

Peninsula Shield and Abu Musa

Defence ministers of the GCC states, meeting in Kuwait, endorsed an earlier proposal by Oman that the Peninsula Shield joint defence force be increased tenfold to 100,000 men. Currently the Peninsula Shield force, based at Hafr Al-Batin in north-eastern Saudi Arabia, has a strength of about 10,000 men.

Issue 450 - 30 November 1992

Iran, Iraq and Baghdad’s troubled finances

Iraq’s financial situation is far from satisfactory. The Gulf states and Saudi Arabia have provided the country with something like $30bn but there are some signs of a growing reluctance to lend any more.

Issue 200 - 28 November 1982

Loves me, loves me not: Ten years of the Qatar/Bahrain causeway

This week’s story on Qatar and Bahrain notes that plans for a causeway linking the two countries remain dead in the water, despite hopes they might be revived before the 2022 soccer World Cup.

Issue 933 - 11 October 2012

Growing tensions with Baghdad over oil law, Hashemi

long- standing political tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad have escalated in recent months, putting the Kurds at the centre of Iraqi politics: issues at stake include the presence on Kurdish soil of fugitive vice president Tariq Al-Hashemi, wanted by Baghdad, and a dispute over oil contracts which shows no signs of resolution.

Issue 919 - 8 March 2012

Saleh accepts UN resolution, but escalating unrest continues to claim lives

Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has accepted the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2014 of 24 October condemning the country’s violence on all sides and demanded a political transition.

Issue 911 - 28 October 2011

Senior Al-Saud still absent abroad, huge 2011 budget announced

Four senior royals (King Abdullah, interior minister and second deputy premier Nayef, Riyadh governor Prince Salman and Crown Prince Sultan) have long-standing health problems, highlighted by their various absences from Saudi Arabia in the past two years.

Issue 892 - 17 January 2011

Some signs of economic recovery in Dubai, but yet more debt is revealed

Dubai Group, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, has revealed $4bn of debt in addition to the $6bn already declared. The group is now looking to restructure all $10bn, of which the original $6bn is owed to banks and $4bn made up of inter-company loans.

Issue 899 - 29 April 2011

Critics attack ‘regressive’ Saudi press law

Amendments criticised for undoing all the gains in freedom of expression made under King Abdullah. The Kingdom has amended its Press and Publications Law of November 2000.

Issue 902 - 10 June 2011

Iraqiya suspends talks until demands are met

Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi’s decision to suspend talks with prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki until demands on reform are met is the biggest threat to Iraq’s political stability since the current government was formed

Issue 902 - 10 June 2011

Emir reappoints prime minister despite opposition

Emir reappoints prime minister despite opposition, Nigerian kingpin released, Rafsanjani son accused of cheating, Al-Attiyah in line for Arab League job

Issue 898 - 8 April 2011

No sign of an official retreat from the Bahraini crackdown

King Hamad shows no sign of relaxing a security campaign that seems intended to squeeze opposition outside parliament and depress voter turnout in support of opponents within the constitutional framework, when legislative elections are held on 23 October

Issue 885 - 17 September 2010

From tense Basra and Baghdad to ‘relaxed’ Anbar: Iraq’s security outlook as US withdrawal looms

With the 31 August deadline looming for the withdrawal of US combat forces in Iraq, GSN has visited locations across the country to conduct a wide-ranging assessment of the security situation and the likely impact of withdrawal. We asked what the drawdown would mean on the ground and whether the Iraqi Security Forces will cope.

Issue 881 - 16 July 2010

Yemen-based networks take fight to the Kingdom

Yemeni-based militants constitute one external threat to expatriates. Indeed, the prospect of establishing bases in Yemen has been mentioned prominently in militant communiqués and in Saudi government statements since 2006.

Issue 839 - 24 October 2008

Bahrain commission chief’s comments raise questions over impartiality of inquiry

The storm over comments made by the chair of the body set up to investigate human rights abuses since February, has cast doubts over its credibility. Some observers believe this could work against the interests of the king, who may have a vested interest in the panel digging deep and its findings being deemed credible

Issue 907 - 2 September 2011

UAE internet activists got used to arrest and detention before Arab Spring

While many chose anonymity, Ahmed Mansoor Ali Abdullah Al-Abd Al-Shehi argued that, as a proud Emirati who simply wanted to help his nation develop, he had no reason to hide his identity. “It’s because I care for my country that I feel these issues need to be discussed,”

Issue 899 - 29 April 2011

Yemeni opposition cages in Saleh as violence prompts high-profile defections

As the president’s close allies declare open support for protesters demanding regime change, the balance of power in the capital has shifted

Issue 897 - 25 March 2011

Crown Prince Salman takes centre stage to facilitate dialogue

Salman has emerged as a major player only in the past few years. As recently as 2007, it was thought he was marginal in shaping government policy and overshadowed by his powerful great-uncle, prime minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa,

Issue 895 - 25 February 2011

Government cracks down as opposition regains momentum

Tehran’s security forces and riot police were on the streets on Sunday 20 February using batons and tear gas to prevent opposition groups and individuals from commemorating the deaths of two young Iranians, Sanee Zhaleh, a Kurd, and Mohammad Mokhtari, who were shot dead during anti-government protests on 14 February.

Issue 895 - 25 February 2011

Bahrain government starts national dialogue process, but further unrest continues

The streets of Manama remained tense as GSN went to press, though political opposition groups are beginning a national dialogue. Disagreement over whether the Al-Khalifas should stay or go threatens to undermine the process

Issue 895 - 25 February 2011

Minister’s resignation accepted

Interior minister Sheikh Jaber Khaled Al-Sabah’s 13 January resignation request has been accepted by Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, following allegations that a man was tortured to death while in police custody.

Issue 894 - 11 February 2011

Silence over future of assembly

The mandate for the current Federal National Council (FNC) expires in February, but there is still no news on whether the government plans to allow another election. Last week, several FNC members pressed the government to announce arrangements for the election of a new house, and to give the council more power. But the UAE’s ruling Supreme Council has failed to clarify the situation.

Issue 887 - 15 October 2010

US confirms Omani role in Iranian release

The US State Department on 15 September confirmed the role of the Omani government in securing the release of imprisoned hiker Sarah Shourd, who was arrested with two other Americans by Iran 13 months ago when walking in the mountainous Iranian/Iraqi border region

Issue 885 - 17 September 2010

Border issues pose potential for conflict

Public tensions have died down following reports of a skirmish between Emirati and Saudi vessels that was blamed on a dispute over the route of the Dolphin pipeline which brings Qatari gas to the UAE

Issue 875 - 23 April 2010

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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. The location of oil and gas fields and associated existing and planned pipeline, refineries, processing facilities and tanker terminals are shown.

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Power generation plans in Saudi Arabia

Published in February 2013, this file groups together a series of graphics showing Saudi Arabia's energy comsumption mix, electricity generation capacity gap, and 2032 generation targets.

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GSN View

Bahrain Grand Prix outmanoeuvres political resistance

In 2011, political unrest forced the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix and, each year since, those campaigning for...

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Could repression of Brotherhood work in Qatar’s favour?

The non-executive chairman of the Qatar Investment Fund, Nick Wilson, published an op-ed in Arabian Business on 12 March in...

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Saudi-US relations: from mutual affection to marriage of convenience

The last time US President Barack Obama met King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz in Saudi Arabia, he was on his way to Cairo to...

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