GSN View

Tamim’s youth could further set Qatar apart

Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, newly named Emir of Qatar, stands out not just because of the sleek manner of his...

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A Qatari abdication would not signal major change

On 27 June 1995, the news that Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani had deposed his father, Qatar’s then emir Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al-Thani, made news bulletins across the world. A palace coup makes for good headlines: flanked by loyal officers, Hamad, then 43, told the cabinet: “I am not happy with what has happened but it had to be done and I had to do it.” His father, who was in a luxury hotel in Zurich at the time, described the usurpation as the “abnormal behaviour of an ignorant man”, though his protests faded as the level of support for Hamad became clear.

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ACPRA case a stark reminder of Saudi political repression

On 28 May, a lawyer for two of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent civil rights activists – Mohammed Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamid – filed an appeal against the hefty prison sentences they were given in March for charges including disobeying the ruler and inciting disorder (GSN 943/8). Al-Qahtani and Al-Hamid are two of the 11 founders of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), which was set up in 2009.

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Say it with horses: Gulf and British royals at the races

King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s gift of two Bahraini pure-bred Arabian horses to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of the 2013 Royal Windsor Horse Show, is the latest in a long line of equine exchanges to bond the horse-loving royals of the Gulf and Britain.

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New Kuwait media law is a step backwards

On 24 April, Kuwait’s prime minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, met some of the country’s leading editors, and – following a “candid, frank and expanded meeting” (in the words of state news agency Kuna) – put the brakes on a controversial media law, which in its current state would seriously undermine press freedom.

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A dozen bombs? It’s a good day in Iraq

On 20 April, Iraq held its first countrywide elections since the withdrawal of US troops in late 2011. The vote for provincial councils, widely touted as a litmus test for Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki ahead of parliamentary elections in 2014, was seen also as a test of how well Iraq’s political institutions and security forces could handle nationwide polls.

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Understanding Al-Saud genealogy as important as ever in Saudi history

Any discussion of Saudi politics and business quickly turns to questions about the influence of Al-Saud princes and other key players in the royal pecking order, and who will succeed King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz.

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LSE’s problems highlight wider questions for underfunded academics

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) finds itself at the centre of another Gulf-related crisis. Following the furore triggered by the UAE’s decision to stop LSE academic Kristian Coates Ulrichsen from discussing Bahrain at the American University of Sharjah, the university has now cancelled a major Gulf conference planned for London on 25-26 March.

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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.

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Iran, Palestine and Syria: an axis of trouble Washington cannot ignore

US secretary of state John Kerry’s get-to-know-you tour of Europe and the Gulf spelled out the extent of the challenges facing US policy in President Barack Obama’s second term.

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Bahrain's Economic Performance

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Gulf boundaries and hydrocarbons infrastructure

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The Gulf region: economy and society

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Iraqi Kurdistan hydrocarbons infrastructure map

Revised in January 2015, this map provides a detailed overview of hydrocarbons infrastructure in the Kurdistan area of Iraq.

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GSN View

Kuwait struggles to adjust to impact of Covid-19 and low oil

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to override all other issues in Kuwait. While the initial response to the...

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GCC’s coronavirus and other crises offer an opportunity for Iran

The Gulf Co-operation Council states are in a more delicate and divided condition than they have been for decades – a set...

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Coronavirus and oil crisis present MBS with unprecedented tests

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has worked hard to remove any possibility of political opposition emerging from within Al-Saud ranks over the past five years. This campaign has involved several bouts of locking up senior family members, with the clear backing of his father King Salman, most notably in November 2017 but most recently in March when Princes Ahmed Bin Abdelaziz and Mohammed Bin Nayef were moved from house arrest to prison.

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