News Centre: Hot topics

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.

Despite holding talks with Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states to defuse tensions, Iran has continued to develop its domestic defence capabilities and to sponsor militias around the region. However, the biggest threat to the regime in Tehran appears to be from within Iran itself.

The regime’s heavy-handedness in dealing with dissenting voices continues to alienate younger Iranians and even regime stalwarts have been urging a change in approach – hardliners appear unmoved by such calls, suggesting that the gap between the regime and many ordinary Iranians is likely to continue growing.


Iran: A question of succession

Issue 1168 - 04 May 2023

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.

Successive governments in Iraq have expressed their commitment to stamping out rampant corruption in the country over the past 20 years, but without much success.

The administration of Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani – which took office in October 2022 – is not expected to be different. Baghdad's ability to tackle corruption is being hampered by obstruction from political parties and their linked militia groups, many of which benefit from the graft.

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Iraqi PM replaces head of central bank

Issue 1162 - 26 January 2023

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