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The influence and financial muscle of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states was more apparent than ever at the 6-9 October International Monetary Fund/World Bank annual meetings in Washington.

Free

While the Dubai PR machine seeks to persuade the outside world that all is well following the commercial emirate’s debt crisis, the senior Al-Maktoum leadership has looked to itself to take a leading role in dragging injured financial institutions back to health. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR) has, in many respects, adopted a conservative response to cleaning up after the debt bubble, which burst in late 2008 and continues to make waves.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

When foreign ministers of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) met recently in Jeddah to discuss (among other issues) proposals for a Gulf Union, the outcome – in so far as there was one – was further delay.

Free

When devastating earthquakes hit Iran’s north-east on 11 August, questions were raised about the impact of sanctions on the rescue of survivors. “Helicopters had to suspend rescue operations during the night as Iran — under international sanctions over its nuclear programme — is barred from purchasing night-vision material,” the New York Times wrote on 12 August.

Iran
Free

Plenty of financial issues remain to be resolved, and analysts observe that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) is still less prominent on the world stage than he was before becoming UAE premier in 2006. But something of the old strut is returning to Dubai.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Seen from the corridors of power in other Gulf capitals, Kuwait has long been a poor argument for allowing a more open political environment. Recent weeks have been no exception, with the National Assembly (parliament) still refusing to pass a long-needed debt law. This position is accentuating a fiscal crisis caused by low oil revenues and the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kuwait
Free

The latest report by the Panel of Experts on Yemen to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), released in late January, has highlighted how all parties to the conflict are guilty of economic profiteering which, alongside the fighting and human rights violations, is exacerbating the country’s dire situation. The UN Panel offered more details on the strength of the Houthi-Iran relationship, as well as corruption within the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and violations of UNSC resolutions by the Southern Transition Council (STC).

Yemen
Free

A series of talks between Iranian and GCC officials have been held during December and early January in Gulf capitals, as well as on the sidelines of events in Jordan and Brazil, in moves that suggest Tehran is recalibrating its relations with neighbouring monarchies during a period of intense domestic tensions.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Oman's Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al-Said was unusually active in late May, making trips to Cairo and Tehran in quick succession, just as Egypt and Iran were edging towards a diplomatic rapprochement. Recent reports also suggest Oman may once again be acting as a mediator between Washington and Tehran.

Oman
Free

The UAE has set its sights on carving out a leading international role in artificial intelligence, with national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Khaled Bin Mohammed vying for national AI leadership – but the pursuit of the powerful technology is also causing friction with the US

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

With great power competition rising between the US and China over the development of artificial intelligence, the major Gulf economies are being forced by Washington to pick a side. The UAE appears to have come down firmly in favour of working with American AI firms, while Saudi Arabia has been divesting its American AI investments and striking deals with Chinese rivals.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Qatar’s gas-fuelled economic boom is reflected in a burgeoning population, which has soared by 128% in just six years to 1.69m people, according to the preliminary results of Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA)’s latest census.

Qatar
Free

Confronted with long-term concerns over the budget’s ability to support such huge levels of public spending (GSN 906/12), and more immediate criticism over governance issues – highlighted by new reports of corruption linked to subsidiaries of European aerospace giant EADS  – how wealth is shared out in Saudi Arabia is a hot issue that will not go away, with the ‘Arab Spring’ adding urgency to complaints that many citizens are excluded from jobs and social benefits. 

Saudi Arabia
Free

GSN was recently shown an email from a Gulf-based international law firm touting for business on the back of the UK Bribery Act 2010, which will be implemented on 1 July.

Free

Towering over the London skyline, the gleam of the Shard can be seen for miles around. When Western Europe’s tallest building, a 310 metre (1,016ft) vertical city of offices, restaurants, apartments and luxury hotel rooms, is officially inaugurated on 5 July, Britons can expect a spectacle: lasers and searchlights will striate the night sky as the London Philharmonic thrashes out the dramatic crescendos of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

Qatar