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US President Joe Biden’s imminent trip to the Middle East has prompted renewed discussion about the idea of a region-wide defence pact to counter Iran. Such ideas have long been floated for the GCC states alone – and always failed due to a lack of commitment among the six countries to pool their defence resources and command-and-control structures. The talk these days is of an even wider arrangement, involving the likes of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Israel.

Israel | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) is to take over responsibility for maintenance of its Hawk aircraft engines from Rolls-Royce, while the Royal Army of Oman is to take charge of maintenance and repair services for its fleet of armoured personnel carriers from Turkey’s FNSS.

Oman
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Sultan Haitham bin Tarik promoted Brigadier Mohammed Bin Rabe Bin Jamaan Al-Shujaibi to the rank of Major General and appointed him as operations assistant to the Internal Security Service head Lieutenant General Said Bin Ali Al-Hilali.

Oman
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UK defence secretary Ben Wallace has approved the procurement of the first elements of a mobile urban training facilities capability in Oman.

Oman
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Oman's Royal Court Affairs secretary general Nasr Bin Hamoud Bin Ahmed Al-Kindi – who was appointed in March 2011 under then Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said  – has been given further responsibilities for the finances and administration of the Diwan of the Royal Court.

Oman
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Oman's energy and minerals minister Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Rumhi has retired from the job he held since December 1997, as part of a mini-reshuffle of the cabinet. There also have been some changes to governor positions.

Oman
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Gulf Co-operation Council countries formally launched the process to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK. The GCC is the UK’s seventh largest export market.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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GSN Risk Grade - B3. Hydrogen developments: The government is among those that have seen an opportunity to be an early mover in the potentially huge global hydrogen economy.

Oman
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Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al-Said restored citizenship to 115 Omanis who had been stripped of it for their political activities or for taking a second citizenship, in a decree issued in May. It followed a similar decree in March, when 48 Omanis had their citizenship restored.

Oman
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Oman's energy and minerals minister Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Rumhi has said Oman’s oil production is likely to increase by 5-10% over the next three years, with new discoveries outpacing production.

Oman
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The United States is reportedly drawing up plans for a defence co-operation agreement between Israel and the six Gulf Co-operation Council states, as well as Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, to counter the perceived threat from Iran.

Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Oman | Qatar
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Muscat and Tehran have revived long-discussed plans for a gas pipeline to deliver Iranian gas to Oman. A fresh commitment to the project was made by Iranian petroleum minister Javad Owji during a recent visit to the sultanate.

Iran | Oman
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The Omani government’s decision to roll out a OR130m ($338m) package of benefits to its citizens is the first indication that Gulf governments are starting to loosen their fiscal policies in response to the oil windfall that has come their way this year.

Oman
Subscriber

Saudi Aramco is said to be considering a stock market listing for its Aramco Trading arm. Analysts have predicted the unit could be valued at more than $30bn. Omani state energy company OQ is reportedly considering a sale of shares in some of its upstream and downstream assets. Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Nogaholding is due to complete a comprehensive energy strategy in six months, which could pave the way for an “asset monetisation” programme.

Bahrain | Oman
Subscriber

Regional and international leaders have descended on Abu Dhabi in the days since the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was announced on 13 May, both to offer condolences and to congratulate Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) who has moved from being the country’s de facto leader to formally becoming its president.

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