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uler Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi delivered a speech to a drive-in graduation ceremony for the RAK Academy’s class of 2020. The unusual arrangement was in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sheikh Saud congratulated students for “achieving their goals in the face of adversity”, as they sat in their vehicles.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani held talks with FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the Emiri Diwan office on 23 October to discuss preparations for hosting the 2022 World Cup. Head of football’s world governing body Infantino was in town to tour the stadiums under construction and to see the progress on the Doha Metro which will ferry fans around during the tournament.

Qatar
Issue 1074 - 07 February 2019

Bilateral Forum: Talking economic ties

Free

A Saudi-UAE Economic Forum met in Riyadh on 31 January, highlighting once again the trend towards greater bilateral co-operation between the two countries. This has also been seen in the development of the Saudi-Emirati Co-ordination Council. The wide-ranging discussions included talk of investment opportunities in trade, industry, technology, media, financial services, food and energy. UAE economy minister Sultan Al-Mansouri told the gathering that the two countries “have managed over the past few years to make great strides toward effecting economic integration”.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

The perennial headache of how to ‘nationalise’ Gulf workforces and reduce dependence on foreign workers has taken on a new urgency since the ‘Arab Spring’.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Around 100 lingerie shops in Riyadh have been told to close because they have male sales staff, according to a report by AFP on 17 September. The decision by the labour ministry follows a law announced in July 2011 banning male shop assistants in lingerie outlets.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1072 - 10 January 2019

United States: Pompeo tour

Free

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo embarked on a nine-country tour on 8 January, designed to reassure allies about US commitment to the region following the surprise decision by Donald Trump by pull US troops out of Syria and the abrupt resignation of defence secretary General James Mattis in December. Jordan and Egypt were the first stops, followed by Iraq on 9 January and then visits to all six Gulf Co-operation Council states. The visits to Qatar and Kuwait were due to include bilateral strategic dialogues with those countries.

Issue 962 - 23 January 2014

UAE: 30 convicted in Brotherhood trial

Free

The Federal Supreme Court has sentenced all 30 defendants in a mass trial of Islamists to jail terms ranging from three months to five years. All of those convicted on 21 January were accused of being members of an illegal Muslim Brotherhood cell and of stealing secret information from the security services; rights groups say the charges were vague and the trial politically motivated. It was the second mass trial of Islamists in the UAE in the past year. Indeed, ten of those found guilty in the second trial were Emirati nationals also found guilty in the first, known as the UAE94 trial, which resulted in 69 members of Islamist group Al-Islah being sentenced for threatening to overthrow the government.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani made a short visit to the UAE on 17 March to meet some recently appointed officials. He held talks with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) in a meeting attended by new national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, State Security Department chairman Sheikh Khalid Bin Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ’s son), deputy secretary-general of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Al-Shamsi (appointed 2014), Executive Affairs Authority chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak and undersecretary of MBZ’s diwan Mohammed Al-Mazroui.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Issue 1020 - 29 July 2016

Kuwait: Emir hosts Qataris in Germany

Free

In Europe, Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Qatar’s Father Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his son Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al-Thani on 23 July at the Kuwaiti ruler’s residence in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany. The Qataris had flown in to the nearby Salzburg Airport in Austria. Sheikh Sabah left on 24 July to head to the Arab Summit in Mauritania.

Kuwait
Issue 1032 - 24 February 2017

Kuwait: KIA head to step down

Free

Kuwait Investment Authority managing director Bader Al-Saad, in the post since 2003, has resigned, but remains on the KIA board. He will be replaced by Farouk Bastaki, local media reported. KIA has recently considered a switch in its strategy, bringing more asset management responsibilities in-house.

Kuwait
Free

Foreign journalists seem unable to mention the phrase ‘Qatari foreign policy’ without including the adjective ‘maverick’. But there is much more to the peninsula’s unusually prominent role in international relations than mere game-playing. Qatari international relations have long included backchannel diplomacy and high-profile conflict resolution, allowing Doha to become a key regional actor.

Qatar
Free

Regional aircraft manufacturers used the Dubai Airshow to showcase some of their wares, in search of orders. They included Abu Dhabi-based Calidus, which unveiled its B-250 counter-insurgency attack aircraft; reportedly designed in collaboration with Brazil’s Novaer and US-based Rockwell Collins, it is due to be manufactured in Al-Ain.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1003 - 29 October 2015

Bahrain: Zainab Al-Khawaja sentence

Free

An appeals court has upheld the conviction of opposition activist Zainab Al-Khawaja, sentencing her to one year in prison for insulting King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa by tearing up his photograph last year in front of a judge as she was being tried on charges that she insulted the monarch in exactly the same way in 2012. Khawaja defended her act as legitimate peaceful protest; she faces other charges.

Bahrain
Free

In the lead-up up to Iraq’s provincial elections on 20 April, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s central theme was the need for a ‘political majority government’ – intended to replace the ‘partnership government’ model upon which the 2010 government was built. The latter sees every major party taking part in government, something Maliki has long complained gives recalcitrant parties a veto, stymying his efforts to rebuild Iraq. His hope was that the April elections would be a first step towards a model more favourable to him; the notion that ‘majority governments’ would first be formed at provincial level was already on his lips in December, well before official campaigning began.

Iraq
Free

Yemeni-based militants constitute one external threat to expatriates. Indeed, the prospect of establishing bases in Yemen has been mentioned prominently in militant communiqués and in Saudi government statements since 2006.

Saudi Arabia | Yemen