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Regular Twitter user and Rice University history professor Ussama Makdisi made a fair point among the cacophony of noise around the £305m ($415m) Saudi takeover of English Premier League (EPL) club Newcastle United FC when he tweeted @UssamaMakdisi: “The message of Western liberals so concerned seems to be: please buy our military hardware and jetliners and Range rovers but don’t buy our football clubs?”

Saudi Arabia
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GSN Risk Grade: D↓5 Recent developments Central Bank governor: Ali Salehabadi has been appointed governor of Bank Markazi-ye Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran (Central Bank of Iran) in an appointment announced on Twitter by finance and economic affairs minister Ehsan Khandouzi on 6 October.

Iran
Issue 1136 - 26 October 2021

Qatar: Profiles of the cabinet

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Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Al-Thani (prime minister and interior minister): appointed premier in January 2020, replacing Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani who had held the position since Sheikh Tamim became emir in 2013.

Qatar
Issue 1136 - 11 November 2021

Yemen: Envoys seek path to new talks

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There has been escalation in Shabwah province and terrorist incidents in the interim capital of Aden. Events on the ground are developing quickly and often to the surprise of warring parties. Against that backdrop, the recently-appointed UN special envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg has launched a fresh shuttle diplomacy effort.

Yemen
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Sheikh Hassan Bin Nasser Al-Thani appeared at the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court) in London on 19 October to plead guilty to causing death by careless driving. His purple Rolls-Royce Wraith car struck 66-year-old Charles Roberts at Hyde Park Corner in August 2019.

Qatar
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Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani on 10 November appointed Fahd Bin Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Attiyah as ambassador to the Court of St James’s. He will replace Yousef Ali Al-Khater who has held the position since 2014.

Qatar
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The Dubai authorities plan to list ten state-owned companies on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) in an effort to boost activity on the bourse and counter a string of delistings.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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GCC governments are pursuing different strategies to tackle climate change but, in most cases, their PR-laden statements leave them open to charges of ‘greenwashing’, given that major oil and gas producers insist on the right to continue pumping ever more hydrocarbons out of the ground.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the 26th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), is rarely short of a pithy quip aimed at his support base. Indeed, whole policies have been woven around his notion that the UK electorate can “have its cake and eat it”, however misleading that may be. Johnson’s allies – and even his critics – in the Gulf’s oil and gas producing states would appreciate that sentiment as they emerge from the climate talks, due to end on 12 November.

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 The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth II, returning with escorts from its deployment to the Far East, has conducted joint training exercises with the Royal Navy of Oman off the Batinah coast. As Exercise White Shark concluded on 4 November, deputy prime minister for defence affairs Sayyid Shihab Bin Tarik Al-Said visited the aircraft carrier and watched as F-35 aircraft were launched.

Oman
Issue 1137 - 25 November 2021

Iraq: Government sells $686m of bonds

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The Ministry of Finance completed the sale of ID1trn ($686m) of Binaa (construction) bonds in its first domestic bond issuance since the  2003 invasion.

Iraq
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Sohar International Bank (SIB) has proposed a merger with Bank Nizwa, in the latest effort at consolidation in the banking sector. 

Oman
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Saudi Water Partnerships Company (SWPC) has said its Jubail 3A reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plant should start commercial operations by Q4 2022. SWPC’s latest independent water project (IWP) is a 600,000 m3/d unit, located 18km south of Jubail Industrial City, in Eastern Province.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1138 - 09 December 2021

Saudi Arabia: A view from Riyadh

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A well-placed source in Riyadh describes the attitude of locals towards the Yemen conflict as “quite gloomy” with “a sense that there is no end in sight”. The recent dynamics in the war are seen as giving the Houthis little incentive to negotiate.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1138 - 09 December 2021

Qatar: Arab Cup begins with home team win

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Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani opened the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 at Al-Bayt Stadium on 30 November and watched as his team beat local rivals Bahrain 1-0 in the opening match. The tournament is serving as a dry run for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatar