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Maysan province provides a pointer to the evolution of politics and security under Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, in the Bush administration’s last months, where huge resources are needed to assist the traumatised, impoverished population in arguably Iraq’s most under-developed and wildest province.

Iraq
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The ‘hard stop’ armed takedown of a vehicle at a government checkpoint – a regular occurrence in 2004-05 – has become so rare that the unsuccessful 14 October attempt to stop a suspected terrorist vehicle in Eastern Riyadh was big news. The authorities seem to have the jihadist challenge under control, but Yemeni-based militants still pose a threat, as does potential ‘blow-back’ from Iraq

Saudi Arabia | Iraq
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Iraq is the other major source of advanced terrorist capability in Saudi Arabia, leading the Kingdom to quietly take steps to reduce potential blowback. The September announcement of a mutual extradition treaty between Saudi Arabia and Iraq received little media coverage but represents a significant development. The treaty stipulated “the exchange of convicted prisoners… so that they serve the rest of..

Saudi Arabia | Iraq
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The government’s alternative energy arm is teaming up with foreign players to lead the way in sustainable development. With Abu Dhabi’s enormous petrodollar wealth and its enthusiasm for renewable energy, its strategy to partner with foreign companies who can offer technical expertise looks set to create powerful partnerships that will bring

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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When Qatar bought 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5 combat aircraft in the late 1990s it was catapulted into pole position as the world’s highest per capita defence spender. Nearly ten years after the first Mirages

Qatar
Issue 839 - 25 October 2008

SWFs to the rescue

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As the crisis spreads, sovereign wealth funds are being called on to help rescue ailing institutions abroad and at home. Many have already done so: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) invested in Citibank last year, followed by the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), which invested $5bn in Citi and Merrill Lynch. Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has invested in

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Qatar plans to host a peace conference for Darfur, where the regime of Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir is accused of conniving in human rights crimes. Al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court.

Qatar
Issue 839 - 25 October 2008

CORPORATE WATCH

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Dubai Investments (DI), a Dubai Financial Market-listed investment vehicle in which the government has an 11% stake, has acquired a 5% stake in …. Geneva and Riyadh-based investment bank Swicorp has agreed to provide funding to a privately-owned Algerian oil products marketer, Petroser, through its $250m private equity vehicle Intaj Capital.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Emir Sheikh Hamad visited Syria in early October for talks with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Qatar
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Gulf financial institutions have been exposed to US defaults, but on a relatively small scale. Worst-affected have been Dubai and Bahrain, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia apparently the least-affected. Foreign banks have slowed down their lending dramatically and local banks are having their international credit lines pulled, causing them to freeze inter-bank lending.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Issue 839 - 25 October 2008

QIA remains busy

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Despite the global financial downturn, Qatar Investment Authority remains busy. It led a capital injection of some $8.8bn into Credit Suisse Group. According to The Wall Street Journal, this boosts Qatar’s stake in the Swiss bank to around 10%, from just under 2%.

Qatar
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GCC policy-makers are taking decisive steps to shore up confidence, as local markets suffer from global financial meltdown, tumbling oil prices and wavering enthusiasm. In articles below, GSN talks to key GCC and international players about the regional impacts of a global crisis. Troubled institutions can expect support, but US banks

Issue 838 - 11 October 2008

Sheikha Latifa: New horse

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Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum’s daughters, Sheikha Latifa; Yorkshire press; purchase of champion Arab gelding

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Egypt’s Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali has been selected as the new chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), which sets the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) political direction and overall policy priorities. The chairmanship lasts for a term of up to three years.

Egypt
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Bank Markazi (Central Bank of Iran) governor Tahmasb Mazaheri has been replaced, at least on a temporary basis, by the bank's general secretary Mahmoud Bahmani, who is generally regarded as more malleable. Mazaheri had been increasingly isolated in his resistance to the president's high-spending populism since the departure, earlier this year, of Economics Minister Davoud Danesh Jaafari.

Iran