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The launch of the Saudi-backed Hadhramaut National Council on 19 June has underlined fears that Yemen could break up into three distinct areas, with the Houthis controlling Sanaa and other parts of the north, while the rest of the country is divided between the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council and other groups supported by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia | Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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French-headquartered aerospace company Airbus is to set up a facility with Saudi Arabia's Scopa Industries Corporation to build military and civilian helicopters in the kingdom, following an agreement signed on the sidelines of the Saudi-French Investment Forum in Paris.

Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Prince Abdulrahman Bin Mohammed Bin Abdelaziz Bin Ayyaf Al-Muqrin was appointed deputy defence minister in June. He had previously been cabinet secretary-general from spring 2017 to July 2022, when he was appointed an advisor at the Royal Court.

Saudi Arabia
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Gulf leaders have been prominent interlocutors with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the days since an abortive mutiny by the Wagner Group mercenary force led by Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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Saudi Prince Saud Bin Abdulrahman Bin Nasser Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud was removed from his position as Northern Borders deputy governor. No replacement has yet been announced. Prince Saud had held the post for just over a year.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1172 - 29 June 2023

Iran proposes regional forum with GCC

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Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said he received a favourable reception to the idea of forming a new dialogue forum with Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, following a series of meetings with his counterparts around the region in June.

Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) met French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris in June to discuss bilateral relations. MBS was also in town to promote Saudi commercial interests.

Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)-listed Red Sea International (RSI) has bought a 51% stake in Jeddah-based construction company First Fix for SR544.1m ($145m).

Saudi Arabia
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An Iranian naval commander has claimed GCC states are interested in joining a new coalition to patrol regional waters. Given the concerns in many capitals about recent Iranian seizures of oil tankers that seems unlikely to progress, but the UAE has recently pulled out of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces – seemingly due to unhappiness about the amount of support Washington is willing to give to its regional partners.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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Iran reopened its embassy in Riyadh, some seven years after it was shuttered and three months after the two countries agreed to resume full diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by China. Iran also reopened its consulate in Jeddah. 

Iran | Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Industry signed a $5.6bn agreement with Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Human Horizons to set up a joint venture to develop and manufacture cars in the kingdom. Human Horizons makes cars under the HiPhi brand.

Saudi Arabia
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His political affiliations in Qatar will be scrutinised thoroughly – although the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF)’s purchase of Newcastle United has set the bar low on whether a buyer is considered an arm of the state – but banker Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Al-Thani seems to have emerged as the leading bidder for Manchester United Football Club, paying a possible $6bn.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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The multi-billion-dollar revamp of Saudi Arabia's domestic football league and the merger of the Saudi-backed Liv Golf with the more established PGA Tour represent the next step in Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS)'s strategy to make Saudi Arabia a central player in an emerging new world order, and himself a popular leader.

Saudi Arabia | Qatar
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United States secretary of state Antony Blinken visited Riyadh for talks with senior Gulf Co-operation Council figures as well as Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council head Rashad Al-Alimi and Iraqi foreign minister Fuad Hussein.

Saudi Arabia | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Saudi energy minister Prince Abdelaziz Bin Salman (ABS) has adopted a more prolix and confrontational tone than was often apparent in the many years he has spent as a rare senior Saudi royal energy official – although the 63-year-old official has long been known for having a sometimes-quirky nature.

Saudi Arabia