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With great power competition rising between the US and China over the development of artificial intelligence, the major Gulf economies are being forced by Washington to pick a side. The UAE appears to have come down firmly in favour of working with American AI firms, while Saudi Arabia has been divesting its American AI investments and striking deals with Chinese rivals.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Two months after Majles-e Khobregan-e Rahbari (Assembly of Experts) elections, 93 year-old Mohammad Movahedi Kermani has been named to lead the sometimes influential body.

Iran
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Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah formed his new cabinet just two days after parliament was suspended, with most of the key figures retained from ex-premier Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah’s previous government. Although the usual limits on cabinet size are also now suspended, this government is smaller than usual with only 13 members.

Kuwait
Free

Born in 1952, Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah went to secondary school in Lebanon, before earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from the University of Illinois in the United States in 1976.

Kuwait
Free

As the GCC region’s big economic powers vie for global business, Dubai is reviving plans to turn Al-Maktoum International into the world’s largest airport, not least preparing for the challenge posed by Saudi Arabia’s eye-watering aviation strategy. The Dubai megaproject’s revival comes as Riyadh pushes to grab a big slice of the international aviation market – if Saudi carriers can overcome the challenge of securing sufficient planes, pilots and passengers needed to meet the kingdom’s hugely ambitious plans.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was born in 1970, a son of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan (who became the UAE’s founding president a year later) and his wife Sheikha Aisha Bint Ali Al-Darmarki (of the Dhawahir tribe).

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Born to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan’s wife Amina Bint Saleh Al-Darmaki in 1967, Sheikh Nasser Bin Zayed died in June 2008 when travelling in a helicopter which crashed into the Gulf.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Sheikh Khalid Bin Zayed is the youngest son of President Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan with his wife Sheikha Mozah Bint Suhail Bin Awaidha Al-Khaili.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

The fourth election in as many years seems unlikely to lead to any dramatic change in Kuwait’s slow-burning political crisis, as most members of the outgoing parliament retained their seats and Abdulkarim Al-Kandari – whose comments about Emir Sheikh Mishaal precipitated the latest poll – increased his vote, suggesting voters were happy to reward the authorities’ outspoken critics.

Kuwait
Free

Edge’s radar venture will target non-Nato customers, in a similar arrangement to a recent agreement between Edge and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to manufacture frigates in Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

The UAE has set its sights on carving out a leading international role in artificial intelligence, with national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Khaled Bin Mohammed vying for national AI leadership – but the pursuit of the powerful technology is also causing friction with the US

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Iranians have been asked to come out in force to vote in elections to the Majlis-e Shura-ye Eslami (parliament) and Majlis-e Khobregân-e Rahbari (Assembly of Experts) on 1 March.

Iran
Free

None of the Gulf’s emerging ´middle powers’ have issued a detailed policy document setting out their approach to projecting soft power, even as they continue to spend extravagantly while drawing in investment and talent. Autocracies have no real need to orchestrate the sort of public debate that might follow, even if they regularly sound out local opinion via traditional diwans or more modern polling techniques — not to mention ever more pervasive surveillance of their citizens and others’ communications.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Khalid Al-Shamlan takes over the real estate and infrastructure file at the Abu Dhabi government’s investment fund.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Emir Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah has repeatedly called for a new approach to overhaul Kuwait’s factionalised politics and boost economic reform – a position he restated in his inaugural address on 20 December. But changing a system that appears to encourage stasis rather than co-operation will not be easy for Kuwait’s new, 83 year-old ruler. 

Kuwait