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Israel, Palestine and the Gulf

The signing of ‘Abraham Accords’ by Bahrain and the UAE, and growing speculation that even Saudi Arabia would also normalise relations with Israel, seemed to fit in with the emergence of a new Gulf economy that would leave behind the Middle East region’s traumatic history of conflict.

But a new war in Gaza has energised a somnolent ‘Arab street’, as populations in many countries react to Israel’s response to Hamas’ 7 October attacks on peaceful communities. There is terrifying potential that a wider conflict could engulf the region.

For the best part of five decades, GSN has tracked the Israel-Palestine conflict and its impact on the Gulf states.

Mansour Bin Zayed

UAE: Mansour Bin Zayed’s growing media interests

UAE’s presidential court minister and deputy prime minister Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s bid to acquire the Telegraph Media Group (TMG) has become a political as well as a commercial controversy in the UK. But while this is Mansour’s most high-profile foray into international media deal-making, it is far from his first.

As part of a wider profile of his role, Gulf States Newsletter (GSN) has investigated Sheikh Mansour’s international media interests, which include publications in the UK and the US and other international and Arabic language TV channels.

GSN has also looked at the influential people understood to be advising him on his TMG bid.

Kuwait National Assembly

Kuwait: Government versus Parliament

The Kuwaiti government, led and appointed by the country's ruling family, is often at odds with the country’s elected parliament, the National Assembly. Tensions and disagreements – over issues ranging from government debt to corruption – have at times forced ministerial resignations, cabinet reshuffles and the dissolution of the legislature itself.

The differences have also stymied much-needed economic reforms. Adding to the sense of political instability is the ill health of both the Emir and Crown Prince. While some senior royals are keen to defuse tensions, there is no clear path to resolving the rivalry between the government and MPs.

Saudi Crown Prince MBS

Saudi Arabia: A kingdom made in MBS's image

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has embarked on a series of ambitious reforms to reshape the kingdom’s economy, society and international reputation. He has also overseen a push to get more international corporates to set up bases in the kingdom and has been the driving force behind giga-projects and the Public Investment Fund's investment spree.

However, critics point to unrealistically-high ambitions and zero tolerance of public dissent; in the minds of many international onlookers, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues to cast a shadow over the efforts to remodel the country’s image.

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