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Grundberg diplomacy: United Nations special envoy Hans Grundberg has been meeting senior figures around the region, in an effort to inject new momentum into the peace process. He was in Riyadh on 9 August where he met Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) head Rashad Al-Alimi, Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik, foreign minister Ahmed Bin Mubarak and Saudi ambassador to Yemen Mohamed Al-Jaber. The following week, Grundberg was in Muscat for talks with Foreign Ministry undersecretary Khalifa Al-Harthy and Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdel Salam.

Yemen
Issue 1176 - 15 September 2023

Oman expands its oil storage capacity

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Oman offers significant oil storage facilities at sites including Sohar and Ras Markaz, with the latter having the advantage of being outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Oman
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Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani flew to Guyana on 12 September, meeting President Irfaan Ali and overseeing the signing of economic and legal agreements. Ali was in Doha in May to open an embassy and discuss investment opportunities.

Qatar
Issue 1176 - 15 September 2023

Bahraini prisoners end hunger strike

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Inmates at Bahrain's Jau Central Prison halted their hunger strike on the evening of 11 September, amid the deteriorating health of some inmates and a pledge by the authorities to improve conditions within two weeks. More than 800 prisoners had joined the protest, which began on 7 August.

Bahrain
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The US and Bahrain signed a Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement (C-SIPA), during a visit to Washington by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al-Khalifa. Analysts said it could provide a framework for deals with others in the region.

Bahrain
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Four people were killed in Kirkuk on 2 September, as Arab and Turkmen protestors tried to stop the Kurdistan Democratic Party from reclaiming its old headquarters building, in violent clashes that point to more trouble ahead in the sensitive city and wider Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Tensions could ratchet up further as two thorny anniversaries approach, before provincial elections scheduled for 18 December – unless the federal and Kurdish authorities find a way to better manage the situation. 

Iraq
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Personnel from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the 8,000 troops from 19 African, European and Middle East countries involved in the Bright Star 23 exercise, which is being led by the United States and Egypt, and is centred around the Mohammed Neguib Military Base, west of Alexandria.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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With the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and other state-owned bodies driving many developments in the Saudi economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s annual Article IV consultation places the development of a Sovereign Asset-Liability Management (Salm) framework as "a high priority to support fiscal sustainability".  

Saudi Arabia
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A joint exercise between the Chinese and UAE air forces appears to have gone ahead in August, although neither side has since offered any clear details of an event that could trouble western allies on several fronts, while emphasising Abu Dhabi’s determination to become a 'middle power' in a multi-polar international environment.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Kuwaiti Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah was named president of the Asian Shooting Confederation (ASC) for another four-year term, during a general assembly held in Kuwait early September.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Qatar
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Israeli foreign affairs minister Eli Cohen inaugurated Israel's embassy in Manama early September, during his first visit to Bahrain which came just ahead of the third anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords. 

Bahrain
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Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle declined to answer questions from federal police about jewellery, watches and other gifts given to them by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and never declared.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain
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Saudi Prince Fahad Bin Jalawi Bin Abdulaziz Bin Musaed was named president of the International Camel Racing Federation (ICRF), during a general assembly held in Taif. He will hold the position for five years.

Saudi Arabia
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With Kuwait's emir regularly out of the country to receive medical treatment, Crown Prince Mishaal Al-Ahmed is overseeing a fragile political system in which ministerial resignations are almost as frequent as clashes between parliament and the executive, and deteriorating public services are undermining public confidence. Inertia and dysfunction have led Kuwait to fall behind its wealthy neighbours to the south, with medicine shortages just the latest indication of an unhappy direction of travel which adds to pressures for an eventual revised social compact to avoid even greater troubles. 

Kuwait
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Qatar’s ambassador to Australia Saad Abdulla Al-Mahmoud Al-Shareef and Qatar Airways executives are expected to be called to testify at an enquiry by the Australian Senate over a growing scandal around the Canberra government’s alleged protection of local flag carrier Qantas against international competition.

Qatar