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The six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) monarchies – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – plus Iran, Iraq and Yemen form the core focus of Gulf States Newsletter (GSN).
Few regions of the world have seen such dramatic social and economic changes as the Gulf monarchies, since the heady days of the 1970s first oil boom. Increasingly educated populations cram into futuristic cityscapes, while rulers have turned to management theories and technical solutions to reshape and reinforce the social compacts that traditionally underpinned their leadership.
This is the brave new world recorded by the region’s mainstream media while, in parallel, communal conflicts, military responses and the demands of the millions seeking refuge from the wider Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region’s crises threaten the monarchies’ much-prized ‘stability.
These conflicts and crises are apparent in the domestic politics, regional and international relations of the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) monarchies – and run through the economics, politics and societies of Iran, Iraq and Yemen.
GSN is fascinated by the region’s personal politics, its work typified by efforts to blend scrutiny, empathy and neutrality. Thousands of pages driven by these values are stored in an impressive archive that has been amassed over four decades.
The online GSN archive stretches over 40 years, providing an incredible depth of independent coverage on Gulf politics and the region's ruling elites.
Register now for free access to GSN and Saudi Arabia Newsletter issues for the 1979-2003 period.
Stretching back to an era where high-level analysis for businesses and embassies operating in the region were only published in paper form, these searchable pdfs provide a wealth of analysis that is not available elsewhere.
GSN introduced its regular Risk Management Reports to complement its core concern: to provide impartial news and expert analysis of the region.
‘Risk grades’ are intended to provide a broad guide to political and economic stability in GSN’s countries of focus: the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member states, Iran, Iraq and Yemen.
The UAE is covered by two reports, and receives both a federal risk rating and grades for Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Iraqi Kurdistan also has its own report. Completing its cycle, GSN produces a regionally focused report monitoring the GCC, League of Arab States and other institutions, along with trends in finance and energy. The regional report package does not have risk grades attached.
'Risk grades’ do not change regularly: upgrades or downgrades are intended to reflect long-term trends or the impact of an exceptionally changed situation. The grades are rated as follows:
This relatively crude ordering is intended only to offer an immediate gauge of where risk stands in this regional pecking order. An A or 1 grade does not mean the polity is devoid of risk, while pockets of hope and opportunity may even remain in the lowest-rated states.
To provide a degree of nuance, risk grades also use trend arrows which go upwards (↑) or downwards (↓) to denote cases where momentum is positive or negative.
GSN View is the newsletter’s editorial space, giving an incisive slant on issues of major concern from the exercise of personalise rule and proxy wars to oil prices, fiscal pressures and tackling graft.
GSN has charted the Gulf region’s politics, international relations, governance, finance and economies for over 40 years, along a route determined by its editors – notably John Christie OBE and during the CbI years including Paul Melly, Nadine Marroushi, Fiona O’Brien and currently Dominic Dudley.
They are supported by correspondents dedicated to reporting and understanding the region, with a frankness that means anonymity is often essential. All correspondents are paid at a standard lineage rate – as with everything at GSN, financed from subscriptions by a genuinely independent institution that functions without advertising, sponsors or anonymous backers.