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Risk grades: Abu Dhabi A1, Dubai A2. RAK’s Russian links: A delegation from the Ural region of Russia visited Ras Al-Khaimah in early November, comprising business owners involved in real estate, engineering services, IT development, food production and investment.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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In a major coup for Qatar, Doha has been credited with brokering a four-day truce in Gaza, which was due to come into effect as GSN was going to press, in a deal where Hamas would start freeing its 7 October hostages while Israel releases Palestinian prisoners from its jails. There is still a huge amount of work to do by international partners if a wider peace settlement is to be achieved, but what is clear is that Qatari actors have emerged as international players after years of effort to position Doha as a deal-broker that can be all things to all men.

Israel | Palestine | Qatar
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Climate goals: Ahead of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, the UAE has set out a national action plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 – while also remaining a world-leading oil producer.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The usual dizzying number of civil and military contracts were unveiled at the mid-November Dubai Airshow where, included among the 54 deals signed by the UAE government's Tawazun Council, was an air defence order with the unknown Black Diamond company, which GSN's research suggests is an Israeli venture created after Abu Dhabi's Abraham Accord was concluded.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel
Issue 1180 - 07 November 2023

Iraq: Counter-terrorism chief replaced

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Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani removed Lieutenant General Abdulwahab Al-Saadi as Counter Terrorism Service chief on 1 November.

Iraq
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The decision by Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court to remove Mohammed Rikan Hadid Al-Halbousi from his position as speaker of the Council of Representatives (parliament) could undermine the court’s standing and increase the likelihood that it will turn it into another political battleground.

Iraq
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Saudi-headquartered multilateral the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) unveiled a new identity, rebranding as The Arab Energy Fund, during the COP28 climate talks on 4 December.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain
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The Saudi offer of long-term tax incentive comes just before new rules are introduced in January stipulating that international companies must base their regional headquarters in the kingdom if they want to compete for government contracts. Saudi Arabia has made the most high-profile recent moves to attract foreign investment, but even the more conservative Kuwait and ‘revolutionary’ Iran are easing terms for incomers.

Saudi Arabia
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Emir Meshaal Al-Ahmed’s appointee as prime minister is a former ambassador to the US, who served in government for a decade from 2001, before resigning over a corruption scandal.

Kuwait
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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has made three cross-border acquisition deals, as it seeks to better position itself for the global transition away from hydrocarbons, taking stakes in fertiliser and ammonia producer Fertiglobe, German chemical company Covestro and carbon capture and storage company Storegga.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Qatar has taken delivery of the last of four Italian-built Al-Zubarah class corvettes.

Qatar
Issue 166 - 03 March 1986

The Palestine question

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Saudi Arabia Newsletter: The present urgent political concerns of Saudi Arabian leaders may be concentrated on the latest Iranian irruption into Iraqi territory,' but not so exclusively that the breakdown of the King Hussein-Yasser Arafat joint peace process is not a matter of equal pre-occupation for the Saudi government.

Israel | Palestine
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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is aiming to use its $23bn decarbonisation budget to develop its domestic and international carbon management platforms, following a wave of deal-making in December and January aimed at bolstering bolster the UAE’S energy transition credentials.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 960 - 12 December 2013

Iran: Rouhani tackles IRGC challenge

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President Hassan Rouhani’s adept international diplomacy secured a quick win on the nuclear front, with the interim agreement signed by Tehran and the P5+1 on 24 November (GSN 959/1) paving the way for a scaling back of the crippling sanctions regime, and potentially an end to Iran’s years of isolation. But now he faces the arguably more onerous task of ensuring Iran’s opening to the West is not frustrated by domestic interests, headed by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Iran
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Opposition to the idea of signing up to a set of requirements from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) appears to be hardening, after the Assembly of Experts issued a statement on 13 March in which it said that meeting the FATF recommendations would be a “strategic mistake”. It is unusual for the hardline-dominated Assembly of Experts to issue a statement on government policy – its formal role is to appoint the Rahbar (supreme leader).

Iran