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Issue 1144 - 01 April 2022

Bahrain: Pegasus fallout continues

Subscriber

The mid-2021 revelations about widespread use of the Pegasus spyware platform, developed by well-connected Israeli company NSO Group, have been followed by claims that Bahrain continues to hack the electronic devices of key opposition and other figures.

Bahrain
Free

With little or no space for opposition politics, Bahraini public life is dominated by the ruling Al-Khalifa family, making dynastic dynamics a key factor in an opaque political environment. Competition between King Hamad’s sons Crown Prince Salman and Sheikh Nasser could shape the island’s future direction. GSN analyses the current balance of power in the ruling family and its relationship to other key GCC leaders

Bahrain
Subscriber

The long shadow cast by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa remains a factor (albeit diminishing) in Bahraini political dynamics.

Bahrain
Free

GSN visits the archives and sounds expert opinion to profile senior members of the ruling Al-Khalifa family, focusing on King Hamad Bin Isa, Crown Prince Salman and national security advisor Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad

Bahrain
Subscriber

Personally popular with fellow rulers for his relaxed style, but often criticized for flaws in Bahrain’s management and its troubled relations with its majority Shia population, King Hamad Bin Isa Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa has ruled Bahrain for 22 years, first as emir and, since 2002, as its self-declared king.

Bahrain
Free

The Royal Court announced on 24 March the death of Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, widow of the late Sheikh Isa Bin Rashid Al-Khalifa who died in March 2020 and aunt of King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa.

Bahrain
Subscriber

Prominent royal son Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa was on hand to present the podium prizes to the top three finishers at the Bahrain Grand Prix on 20 March, the first race of the season.

Bahrain
Subscriber

UAE and Saudi foreign policy choices are coming under renewed scrutiny as Washington pushes to encourage the Gulf heavyweights to rethink their links to Russia, particularly over energy policy, and their alignments with other autocrats such as recent visitor to Abu Dhabi Syria’s President Assad. GSN has heard of talks between UAE officials and a key Russian figure in the Ukraine war, Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov, which could raise further important questions about the nature of Abu Dhabi’s involvement.

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

Amid their growing distance from western powers, Gulf states have continued to try and maintain a neutral stance on the Ukraine crisis. However, a weakened Russia could lead to the GCC powers stepping up their outreach to the pariah state of President Bashar Al-Assad’s Syria. That engagement has been energetically driven by the UAE, whose foreign affairs and international co-operation minister Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited the Syrian capital in November for talks with Assad.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Subscriber

King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa was in the UAE in mid-March, following on from his recent trip to Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Subscriber

Bahraini Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa held a number of business meetings while in the United States in early March for the Second US-Bahrain Strategic Dialogue.

Bahrain
Subscriber

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces was widely expected, but most Gulf states were slow to make any public statements in response as they sought to avoid taking sides between the US – which remains the region’s most important international player for all its reduced enthusiasm for policing the Gulf – and Russia, which is an important ally in setting oil prices, selling military equipment and providing a model of 21st century autocracy. Amid the muted rhetoric, clear differences have appeared between GCC states.

Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Yemen | Oman | Qatar
Subscriber

Recently appointed US ambassador Steven Bondy has been reprimanded by his hosts after meeting civil society activists. After Bondy presented his credentials to King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa on 9 February, he later met four activists at his residence, the local Delmon Post reported.

Bahrain
Issue 1142 - 01 March 2022

Bahrain eyes up oil privatisation

Subscriber

The government is hiring financial advisers with a view to selling sell stakes in some of its oil and gas assets. A deal could involve a stock market listing or a private sale.

Bahrain
Subscriber

Amid reports of a possibly imminent reinstatement of a reworked Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement, it is likely that Iran’s progress towards developing a nuclear weapon capability may again slow down. While that will be welcomed by its regional foes, military planners’ attention is likely to switch to missiles and other categories of weaponry. GSN assesses the balance of forces and how Iran, Saudi Arabia, other GCC states and Israel are likely to further arm themselves with missile technology.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar