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Attending the World Cup in Qatar and lending his backing to everything from major tourism schemes in isolated corners of the kingdom to mega-airports and yet more youth-focused entertainment, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has made himself central to promoting a more dynamic image for Saudi Arabia, even as his regime frightens most of its critics into silence.

Saudi Arabia
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Kuwait Finance House was the target of a complex fraud attempt in which a fictitious arbitration award was presented to the High Court in London and used to secure court orders to seize almost $90m in assets.

Kuwait
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A relatively rare phone call between Bahrain’s King Hamad and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim on 3 March followed signs of progress being made on the long-delayed Friendship Bridge project to create a physical link between the sometimes feuding neighbours.

Bahrain | Qatar
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Bahrain’s ruler reached the 25th anniversary of his time in power on 6 March. A silver jubilee flag was commissioned for the occasion

Bahrain
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The contradictory signs emanating from Riyadh over recent weeks – of socially liberalising reforms, a likely easing of some economic reform targets and a fresh crack-down on ‘unhelpful’ commentators – are often hard to make sense of. But within the kingdom they are being read as meaning just one thing: that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has his eyes firmly on the ultimate prize of taking over from his father and whatever needs to be done to ease his path will be done.

Saudi Arabia
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Among the third-generation princes to watch, deputy prime minister and Crown Prince Nayef Bin Abdelaziz’s eldest son, Prince Saud Bin Nayef, is an assistant to his father, having spent many years as ambassador to Spain (appointed 2003), following a ten-year stint as deputy governor of Eastern Province under Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd (GSN 736/5). In July 2011, he was called home (GSN 904/3).

Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia is leading a fresh effort from the Gulf to assert its regional influence in an attempt to bring the Gaza war to an end, there has been no indication that Israel would consider reducing the intensity of its relentless bombing campaign as it seeks vengeance for the brutal Hamas assault of 7 October.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Jordan | Bahrain | Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine | Iraq
Issue 996 - 03 July 2015

Saudi Arabia: MBS à Paris

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Just days after his visit to Russia (see page 4), Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) flew to Paris for an official visit during which a number of agreements were signed – including a $470m Saudi purchase of Airbus helicopters, and confirmation that Saudi Arabian Airlines is to take delivery of 50 Airbus planes in a deal worth around $8bn. MBS has been travelling quite a lot in recent months as he finds his feet in top-tier politics, attending the United States-Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) summit at Camp David in May, going to Qatar in June and holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 18 June.

Saudi Arabia
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The appointment of Prince Abdelaziz Bin Salman (ABS) to replace Khalid Al-Falih brings to the Ministry of Energy one of its most seasoned officials in the top job he was never expected to get. Very well-liked by the specialist energy press as one of the most engaging senior oil officials to engage with the industry at Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) ministerial meetings and other encounters over decades – reflected in his handling of the mid- September Opec/Opec+ meetings in Vienna – ABS is undoubtedly an industry expert.

Saudi Arabia
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Khalid Bin Salman has been named chairman of the fast-growing state defence industry conglomerate in a reshuffle that reduced the size of Saudi Arabian Military Industries’ board to eight, while bringing in three new well-connected directors

Saudi Arabia
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Who were the main attendees at Saudi deputy defence minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman’s virtual meeting with Chinese national defence minister General Wei Fenghe? GSN runs the names, and explains their significance.

Saudi Arabia
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King Abdullah: Meetings, Sultan Bin Abdelaziz: Brother gives health update, Princes: Marriages, Salman Bin Abdelaziz: Banquet for Andrew, Khalid Bin Salman: Pilot graduation,Khalid Bin Sultan: Coral study funded

Saudi Arabia
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 Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc)’s new 11-member board of directors was appointed on 28 February. Previously, the 16-member Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) functioned as the Adnoc board, but it was merged into the new and powerful 11-member Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs (SCFEA) in late December. At that point it was said the SPC members would sit on the Adnoc board until a new one could be formed. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) now chairs Adnoc.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The UAE's new National Media Office in Abu Dhabi adds another layer of 'Bani Fatima' reporting to Presidential Court minister Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and chaired by President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed’s nephew and son-in-law Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al-Nahyan.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan held a brief conversation with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani while both were in Beijing for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games on 4 February.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar