UAE state-owned defence conglomerate Edge Group has been showcasing its drones, guided munitions, electronic warfare products and other wares at the Expodefensa 2023 trade fair in Bogota, Colombia, held from 5-7 December.
Amid the attention garnered by the UAE with the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai, a number of female members of Gulf royal families have been getting involved in the environmental debates.
The Saudi government has set out SR1.25tn ($333.6bn) worth of spending plans for 2024, in a budget statement issued on 6 December.
Polls will be held on 18 December in all parts of Iraq other than the Kurdistan region. The vote will be an important test for the relative strengths of the main Shia and Sunni blocs, but will also offer an insight into the standing of those behind the 2019 Tishreen protest movement.
Red Sea attacks: Houthi forces launched missile and drone attacks against three commercial ships and a United States Navy vessel in the southern Red Sea on 3 December. The first attack targeted Bahamas-flagged bulk cargo ship Unity Explorer at 9:15 am Sanaa time, but the missile missed. Later in the day Unity Explorer was hit by another missile, causing minor damage.
The decision by Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court to remove Mohammed Rikan Hadid Al-Halbousi from his position as speaker of the Council of Representatives (parliament) could undermine the court’s standing and increase the likelihood that it will turn it into another political battleground.
Saudi-headquartered multilateral the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) unveiled a new identity, rebranding as The Arab Energy Fund, during the COP28 climate talks on 4 December.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan approved a package of AED7.6bn ($2bn) worth of housing loans and other benefits for UAE nationals in the emirate in late November.
Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri held a phone call with Saudi defence minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman on 30 November, which Iranian media described as the first step towards developing bilateral defence ties.
The Royal Court announced on 1 December the death of Prince Mamdouh Bin Abdelaziz, a half-brother of King Salman Bin Abdelaziz. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) performed the funeral prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on the same day.
With a change of leadership, more macroeconomy savvy approach and an embrace of new technologies, Oman has found a private sector-led recipe for diversification that should prepare it for life beyond hydrocarbons dependence.
The prospect of the UAE vice president gaining control of the influential right-wing newspaper is causing concern among many in the UK’s ruling Conservative Party – and may yet be thwarted by an official investigation. But the prospective deal highlights how Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan is steadily expanding his international media portfolio, increasing Abu Dhabi’s soft power in the process.
For all its public emphasis on post-carbon development, Oman remains dependent on oil and gas revenues – and National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) data suggest it has marshalled that income well, despite Opec+ production cuts. The pain of those cuts has been cushioned by record condensate production, which is classed as ‘liquids’ from gas output.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made an unexpected visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia on 6 December – a rare foreign excursion for a leader who has tended to stay close to home since launching the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Notably, neither Gulf country is a signatory to the International Criminal Court, which in March issued an arrest warrant for Putin over Russian war crimes in Ukraine.
A showcase mega-event has its downsides, even while the climate talks place the UAE at the centre of the global stage.
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