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By promoting his favourite wifes sons, Sheikh Zayed has moved to clarify the long-term succession line in Abu Dhabi, in the process shaping the future direction of UAE politics.

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New pipeline projects beg a number of critical geo-strategic questions, with the prospect of Russian and Caspian crudes competing in markets where Gulf exporters have reigned supreme. In the proce...

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Al-Sauds and their critics have been edging towards political reforms and a new social compact, but exiled opponents want more. They want to outflank the Jihadi insurgency with a peaceful protest movement.

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Squeezed between liberal critics and threats from the Islamist underground, the Kingdom is attempting to re-brand itself as a moderate state.

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Often seen as an autocratic leader, Sheikh Mohammed occupies a complicated position in the UAEs subtle power mix and may now be ready for political reform to promote Dubais global ambitions.

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In the wake of the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Dubai, several recent moves by the United Arab Emirates indicate a shift toward greater nancial transparency and accountability at least for ...

Issue 718 - 20 September 2003

Across the Region

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Saudi Arabia’s stepped-up campaign against terrorism within its borders may not go far in deflecting new tensions that have led to a breakdown relations with the USA.

Issue 717 - 06 September 2003

Across the Region

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Jamming of pirate radio and televisionbroadcasts into Iran has continued. Interference was originally aimed at calming the inflammatory effects of such media ahead of the 9 July anniversary protests but the struggle over the airwaves goes on.

Issue 716 - 09 August 2003

Across the Region

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Part of the US “hearts and minds” effort involves financing infrastructure improvements in Iraq after Coalition troops have had their way with a region

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With the installation of a new Governing Council in Baghdad representing all of Iraq’s ethnic groups and a diversity of political tendencies, post-conflict “normality” at  last beckons for Iraq. With Uday and Qusay Hussein lying on mortuary slabs, an encouraging report from United Nations envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, and talk of a fresh UN resolution that would open the way to a more multi-national military presence and new sources of foreign aid, it is now just possible to glimpse a stable future in which an Iraqi administration is no longer provisional, and includes local actors.

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Coming months will put the European Union to the test in the Gulf, as it seeks to demonstrate to what extent it can operate as a counterweight to US influence there. In  practice the EU already has a stronger hand than the US in its dealings with Iran, and it  has  begun  mobilising resources to take a more prominent role in Iraq. With a more  flexible view of the region than US policy-makers and more willingness to engage, the EU  has  a  very  real  opportunity  to  strengthen  its hand in the region. But the region has had similar hopes dashed before. By autumn it should become apparent whether Europe’s  willingness is matched by enough diplomatic muscle to make a difference.

Issue 713 - 28 June 2003

Across the Region

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Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah’s “national dialogue” on reform produced few tangible results but gathered a diverse set of voices behind his ambitious agenda for reform. The presence of Defence Minister Prince Sultan at CPA’s palace after the talks indicates the hard-line Wahabi camp may have begun to accept some arguments for liberalisation.

Issue 712 - 14 June 2003

Across the Region

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Saudi Arabia will throw its weight behind the Roadmap plan for Middle Eastern peace, with compromises even on such hot issues as Jerusalem. GEOPOLITICS, PAGE 3 Bahrain’s King Hamad attended MidEast summit talks as a representative of the new, more democratic Gulf, as well as being Arab League President.

Issue 711 - 31 May 2003

Across the Region

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Iraq’s reconstruction and the establishment of an interim authority may have to wait until all the country’s regions have been stabilised.

Issue 710 - 17 May 2003

Across the Region

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Western intelligence agencies believe the attacks on three Western compounds in Riyadh showed again that the Saudi authorities have been far to laid back in tackling Jihadi groups. Their governments are coming to take the same view. This points to a major potential shift