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Free

Attempts to reassure world markets that the emirate’s debt is no more than $80bn have been overshadowed by the revelation that Dubai World alone owes $59.3bn. Last November, Emaar Properties chairman Mohammed Ali Alabbar – for long a key ally of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR) – attempted to reassure financial markets that Dubai’s debt was no more than $80bn. It now appears the figure is higher.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Turbulent times push everyone to buck up their thinking – and in this respect, Gulf Co-operation Council governments are no different from their international counterparts. Soaring oil revenues may provide Arabian states with a wealth cushion against global volatility; but an economic storm

Free

Two thirds of business executives in the Middle East believe corruption is widespread, with backhanders, facilitation payments and bribes often used to win contracts, according to an April report by Ernst & Young, the Middle East Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Survey.

Saudi Arabia
Free

Saudi Arabia, after all, is to house the planned Gulf Co-operation Council central bank. Following the 11th GCC consultative summit, held in the Kingdom on 5 May, the GCC’s outgoing secretary-general Abdelrahman Al-Attiyah announced that Riyadh would be the new joint monetary council’s base; this institution will eventually evolve into the GCC central bank.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia
Free

Kuwait’s press has rightfully earned itself a reputation as one of the most vibrant and free in the Arab world. It is not uncommon to see Kuwaiti papers splash on political and economic scandals and controversies, or even report on infighting within the ruling Al-Sabah, something which would scarcely be imaginable in the other Gulf monarchies. But over the last few months, the press in Kuwait has grown increasingly silent; uncannily so. The silence does not reflect a period of political calm, however. Rather it shows a growing fear among journalists and politicians that reporting anything about brewing political issues might get them into trouble

Kuwait
Free

While the secession of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) area has occupied most attention, a failure of state-building in post-Baathist Iraq might also see other regions looking for at least Kurdish levels of autonomy, if not outright independence. Of most concern to Baghdad would be the hydrocarbons-rich south. GSN spoke to a range of decision-makers in Basra to test the support for different kinds of decentralisation in the province, which has been called ‘the failed Gulf state’ by historians of the area

Iraq
Free

It is a question often asked, the frequent subject of private conversations and regional chat show debates: how Islamic is Islamic finance?

Free

Expatriates in the Gulf are used to horror stories about exit permits refused, passports withheld and people being held indefinitely under house arrest, but most accept it as one of the risks of working in a developing country

Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Free

Confronted with long-term concerns over the budget’s ability to support such huge levels of public spending (GSN 906/12), and more immediate criticism over governance issues – highlighted by new reports of corruption linked to subsidiaries of European aerospace giant EADS  – how wealth is shared out in Saudi Arabia is a hot issue that will not go away, with the ‘Arab Spring’ adding urgency to complaints that many citizens are excluded from jobs and social benefits. 

Saudi Arabia
Free

Towering over the London skyline, the gleam of the Shard can be seen for miles around. When Western Europe’s tallest building, a 310 metre (1,016ft) vertical city of offices, restaurants, apartments and luxury hotel rooms, is officially inaugurated on 5 July, Britons can expect a spectacle: lasers and searchlights will striate the night sky as the London Philharmonic thrashes out the dramatic crescendos of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

Qatar
Free

GSN was recently shown an email from a Gulf-based international law firm touting for business on the back of the UK Bribery Act 2010, which will be implemented on 1 July.

Free

Qatar’s gas-fuelled economic boom is reflected in a burgeoning population, which has soared by 128% in just six years to 1.69m people, according to the preliminary results of Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA)’s latest census.

Qatar
Free

The extent of Dubai’s economic downturn is preoccupying many GSN readers. Here are some short attempts at answers to some deep, difficult questions: How deep is the crisis? – Dubai’s economic survival rests on its ability to refinance debt, but the extent of that debt is unknown.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

After months of speculation that the ruling Al-Thanis would make a grand gesture to unite a swathe of the Qatari population behind them, heir apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani on 6 September announced Decree 50/2011, ordering salary, social allowance and pension increases for civil service and military employees (current and retired).

Qatar
Free

Two decades after Saddam Hussein’s invasion and in the fifth year of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s rule, is a more positive investment and policy implementation story starting to emerge from Kuwait? The sometimes beleaguered prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah seems to think so.

Kuwait