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Issue 1001 - 02 October 2015

Risk Management Report: Iraq

Free

Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932, and became a republic in 1958. The 1980s saw the long war with Iran, the 1990s the Gulf war and ensuing sanctions, and the 2000s the US-led occupation which removed the Baathists and Saddam Hussein. Twelve years after the US-led war, the country has yet to emerge from conflict. GSN’s political risk graderecently moved from D to E, reflecting the worsening violence, as Sunni extremists from Islamic State (IS, or Daesh) dramatically extended their territorial control. The United Nations mission in Iraq said that at least 12,282 civilians were killed in 2014, and 23,126 injured. IS was able to harness the huge frustrations of Iraq’s Sunnis, who felt marginalised during the years of Nouri Al-Maliki’s autocratic premiership; the ensuing conflict has dragged the US and allies back to Iraq as they wage an air campaign against the jihadists.

Iraq
Free

Investor interest in Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil exploration sector was strong before ExxonMobil signed up to six Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) exploration blocks in mid-November. The deal shocked the Ministry of Oil in Baghdad but delighted the regional Ministry of Natural Resources and the more than 40 international companies that preceded the super major into the territory.

Iraq
Free

Qatar has been increasingly isolated in the Gulf Co-operation Council because of its perceived support for the Muslim Brotherhood. On 5 March, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain announced they were withdrawing their ambassadors from Doha in response to Qatar’s refusal to abide by the terms of a GCC security agreement; while Qatar has played down the spat, and suggested it is over, the diplomats have yet to return. Bahrain’s state news agency affirmed on 25 May that the GCC was still working on overcoming its differences, and that there was no plan for the Bahraini ambassador to be reinstated in Doha.

Qatar
Issue 1015 - 20 May 2016

Risk Management Report: Iraq

Free

Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932; it became a republic in 1958. Saddam Hussein’s presidency was marked by conflict, including the 1980-88 war with Iran, the 1991 Gulf war and the US-led occupation in 2003, which removed the Baathist regime. Thirteen years after Saddam’s demise, Iraq has yet to emerge from conflict. GSN’s political risk grade was moved from D to E, reflecting continuing levels of violence. Sunni extremists from Islamic State (IS or Daesh), an alliance of jihadists and former Baathists, dramatically extended its territorial control in 2014, harnessing the huge frustrations of Sunnis, who felt marginalised during Nouri Al-Maliki’s autocratic premiership. The ensuing conflict has dragged the US and allies back to Iraq in a campaign against IS. According to the United Nations mission in Iraq, at least 7,515 civilians were killed in 2015, and 14,855 injured.

Iraq
Free

In November, Mohammed Bin Nayef was the first of the next generation to be appointed to a top post when he was named interior minister, but on 1 February, all eyes were back on the second generation as the king appointed his half brother Miqrin second deputy prime minister – a post traditionally viewed as equivalent to third in line to the throne

Saudi Arabia
Free

The Kurdish region is a controversial issue in Iraqi politics. The region has an identity very distinct from that of Iraq, and since 1991 has been de facto autonomous. The 2005 constitution stipulated that Iraqi Kurdistan was a federal entity recognised by Iraq and the United Nations, and the 2010 Erbil agreement with Baghdad outlined how power would be shared.

Iraq
Free

Foreign and local construction firms are preparing for a decade of intense infrastructure development in preparation for the World Cup. There has already been considerable work on Doha’s roads and amenities. The $14bn New Doha International Airport, which will eventually handle 24m passengers annually, should see its first phases open next year.

Qatar
Issue 1024 - 21 October 2016

Risk Management Report: Qatar

Free

Politics: Al-Thanis have ruled since the mid-19th century, reinforced by British recognition of the family’s right to govern; independence was declared in 1971. In recent decades, the peninsula has gained hugely in power, confidence and wealth, thanks to ‘Father Emir’ Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s drive to develop gas reserves. The population has boomed, from around 111,000 in 1970 to 2.2m-plus today (85%-90% expatriate), almost exclusively concentrated in Doha. Between 1995 and 2013, Sheikh Hamad and prime minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim remodelled Qatar as an ultra-modern city state, with a multi-facted foreign policy, funded by extreme wealth. Relations with Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) members deteriorated as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain took umbrage at Doha’s support for Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. When Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad took over in June 2013, his age alone broke the region’s gerontocratic mould, which several senior GCC heads hardly appreciated (GSN 950/1). He has worked to return to the GCC fold, while further modernising Qatari governance. Tamim’s January 2016 cabinet reorganisation was aimed at injecting vigour into a slimmed down government. Tamim is reputed for a canny understanding of his people and Qatar’s potential, but in many respects he remains an enigma; GSN has described his government as “less activist, still active”.

Qatar
Issue 1009 - 04 February 2016

Risk Management Report - Qatar

Free

The Al-Thani family has ruled Qatar since the mid-19th century, its power entrenched at the end of the Ottoman Empire with British recognition of its right to govern. Independence was declared in 1971. In recent decades, the tiny state has gained hugely in power, confidence and wealth; the population has boomed, from around 111,000 in 1970 to 2.4m today (around 85% expatriate). Instrumental in Qatar’s rapid development were former emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa and his prime minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim (HBJ).

Qatar
Issue 1007 - 07 January 2016

Risk Management Report - Iraq

Free

Politics: Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932, and became a republic in 1958. The 1980s saw the long war with Iran, the 1990s the Gulf war and ensuing sanctions, and the 2000s the US-led occupation which removed the Baathists and Saddam Hussein. Twelve years after the US-led war, Iraq has yet to emerge from conflict. GSN’s political risk grade was moved from D to E, reflecting the worsening violence, as Sunni extremists from Islamic State (IS, or Daesh) dramatically extended their territorial control, harnessing the huge frustrations of Iraq’s Sunnis, who felt marginalised during the years of Nouri Al-Maliki’s autocratic premiership; the ensuing conflict has dragged the US and allies back to Iraq in a campaign against the jihadists that could strengthen Abadi’s admittedly weak position (hence the political risk ‘up’ arrow). According to the United Nations mission in Iraq, at least 7,515 civilians were killed in 2015, and 14,855 injured.

Iraq
Free

In a Special Report on Qatar, GSN reviews Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad’s first year in office, which has been – as widely expected – a period of continuity and consolidation, not change. In this special report, GSN reviews Tamim’s first year, considering the economy, domestic and foreign politics, the energy sector, the non-oil sector, infrastructure development, international investment, and the young emir’s ‘vision’ for his country. It finds that, while Sheikh Tamim’s promises to streamline bureaucracy, to maintain an independent foreign policy, and to consolidate economic growth do all seem to be making (slow) progress, there is still much that is unknown about the new emir.

Qatar
Free

Dubai is working hard to demonstrate it has regained its pre-crisis verve. In 2012, it unveiled a series of mega-projects, including Mohammed Bin Rashid city (to include 100 hotels and the world’s largest mall), a modern art museum and a replica of the Taj Mahal. The latest to be announced is a Dh1bn expansion of the Mall of the Emirates, which houses an indoor ski slope, by Majid Al Futtaim. There have been some questions over the wisdom of such grand development.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Oman has been governed since 1970 by Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said, the 14th ruler of the Al-Busaidi dynasty, founded in 1750. Oman’s sultan, who deposed his father in a bloodless coup, relies on a variety of allies typically drawn from the merchant elite to rule, rather than his relatively small family. Qaboos was briefly married but has no children or heir apparent; his successor is expected to emerge from a small pool of family members.

Iran | Oman
Free

Although Bahrain’s lower national assembly chamber the Majlis Al-Nuwab is elected, power to implement constitutional reform lies with the royally appointed government and upper chamber, the Majlis Al-Shura. Following demonstrations beginning on 14 February, the political environment has deteriorated significantly, with a renewed and uneasy status quo of state force and opposition suppression now apparent.

Bahrain
Free

The Syrian National Council (SNC) convened in Istanbul on 2 October to announce its official formation and outline its structure and goals. The council set out the formation of a ‘national body to represent the Syrian revolution, build a modern civil state and achieve democratic change’.

Syria