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The latest phase of tensions in Hadhramaut involves UAE-backed factions competing with groups linked to Saudi Arabia.

Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Former Asir governor Prince Faisal Bin Khalid Bin Abdelaziz has purchased an unspecified stake in White Abarrio, ahead of the champion racehorse’s appearance in the $20m Saudi Cup on 24 February.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1084 - 05 July 2019

Tehran loosens entry rules

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Iran has taken a number of steps to make life easier for visitors to the Islamic republic and attract more foreign capital, in another effort to soften the blow of debilitating United States sanctions. On 23 June, President Hassan Rouhani issued instructions to the Ministry of Interior to stop placing entry and exit stamps in foreign nationals’ passports, lest they attract unwanted attention when crossing other frontiers. (This policy echoes the approach that has been long-used by Israel.)

Iran
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A seven-member delegation from the UAE Coast Guard led by Brigadier General Mohammad Al-Ahbabi made an unexpected trip to Tehran on 30 July to meet their Iranian counterparts, according to local media reports in Iran (but unannounced by the UAE). It was the sixth such meeting between the two countries’ coastguards, but the first since October 2013 and a further sign of Abu Dhabi’s apparent appetite for a diplomatic solution to the threats to Gulf shipping.

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Iran’s influential position in Iraq was on clear display in mid-March, during a three-day visit by President Hassan Rouhani designed to highlight the strong ties between the two countries in the face of United States sanctions on Iran. Iranian security forces have been a vital component of Iraq’s successful battle against Islamic State forces in recent years and Baghdad could now return the favour by providing an outlet for Iranian trade at a time when the Islamic Republic’s economy is struggling to cope with Washington’s reinvigorated trade embargo.

Iran | Iraq
Issue 1016 - 03 June 2016

Jannati election scores old guard win

Free

Analysis that suggested reformists and centrists had won the battle but maybe not the war in Iran’s Q1 16 elections was confirmed when 90-year-old Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, was elected to lead the Majles-e Khobregan (Assembly of Experts) on 24 May. He beat centrist Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini and conservative Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi. Local media reported that Jannati was re-elected by 51 of the assembly’s 88 members. The conservative cleric has chaired the Guardian Council since 1992; having been appointed by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in February 1980.

Iran
Issue 1183 - 10 December 2023

Sharjah: Bodour Bint Sultan profile

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Profile of Sharjah's Bodour Bint Sultan

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1183 - 10 December 2023

Sharjah: Faisal Bin Khalid al-Qasimi

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Former senior official who left government to focus on business interests.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The overhaul of the upper ranks of Iran’s defence and security apparatus has continued this month, with Rahbar (Supreme Leader) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointing Brigadier General Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar as commander of the Basij volunteer forces, in a decree issued on 7 December.It is the latest in a string of senior appointments within Iran’s military establishment this year. Among others, in June Major General Mohammad Bagheri was appointed as Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff, Iran’s highest military policy body, replacing the long-serving Major General Hassan Firouzabadi who had held the job since 1989.

Iran
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Tehran is making a concerted effort to improve relations with Baku, following tensions between the two sides in 2021. Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have tended to be pragmatic rather than warm; Tehran has historically had better relations with Baku’s rival Armenia.

Iran
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Brigadier General Hossein Salami was appointed commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on 21 April, replacing Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, who had been in post since 2007; Jafari was in effect demoted, being given a somewhat humiliating new role as head of an IRGC organisation charged with improving Islamic revolutionary education. The change of leadership came shortly after the United States designated the IRGC a terrorist organisation on 10 April.A number of other factors appear to be behind the move.

Iran
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Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri held a phone call with Saudi  defence minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman on 30 November, which Iranian media described as the first step towards developing bilateral defence ties.

Iran
Free

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on 22 April it had successfully launched a military satellite and placed it into orbit, ending a run of failed launches. The Noor (Light) satellite was carried on the Qassed rocket and launched from a site in Dasht-e Kavir, in central Iran. It coincided with the anniversary of the IRGC’s establishment in 1979. IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami said the satellite “can produce strategic added value for us, and it creates powerful grounds for us in intelligence warfare”.

Iran
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Moody’s sovereign credit upgrade has returned Qatar to the investment grade level it enjoyed before the 2017-21 boycott by regional foes.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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Iran’s ability to launch cross-border cyberattacks has come under fresh scrutiny after allegations of a second assault on Albania’s information technology infrastructure and further accusations and sanctions by the United States.

Iran