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For all the build-up, United States President Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia on 15-16 July ended up being a distinctly underwhelming occasion. The grubby compromises of realpolitik were on clear display, but without the glittering prizes of any ‘historic’ breakthrough, either in political or economic terms.

Saudi Arabia
Free

In his new book, 25 Days to Aden, regional risk and security expert Michael Knights – a former contributor to GSN – has offered an unprecedented view of the UAE as a rising, and effective, military power, as it became embroiled in the Yemen conflict.

Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

The UAE’s attempts to strengthen its control over the Yemeni island of Socotra, some 380km from the mainland, continue to prompt serious concerns in Muscat, where officials see a worrying pattern emerging of Abu Dhabi’s regional territorial ambitions, as it extends its hinterland to the Red Sea littoral and beyond.The latest cause of concern was a report in early May that the UAE had deployed 100 affiliated troops to the island.

Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

There are clear signs of fatigue and apathy among both voters and candidates, as the Kuwaiti electorate and candidates gear up for yet another National Assembly (parliament) election on 6 June. It will be the third national poll in as many years.

Kuwait
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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
Free

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa Al-Sudani's government has launched Iraq down a perilous fiscal path, with an extravagant three-year budget for 2023-25 which gained Council of Representatives (Majlis an-Nuwwab or parliament) approval.

Iraq
Free

As presidential elections approach, on 18 June, attention will grow on which personality and faction succeeds Hassan Rouhani, head of government since 2013. But the most critical variable in Iran’s highly controlled democracy won’t change: the temporal power and (often very pragmatic) spiritual guidance of Rahbar (Supreme Leader) Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran
Free

The recent flurry of senior appointments by Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, including the naming of his brother Sheikh Mansour as federal vice president, highlights the extent to which Abu Dhabi controls all the main levers of power in the UAE – and its competition with Dubai for commercial, as well as political, dominance.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Iranians have been asked to come out in force to vote in elections to the Majlis-e Shura-ye Eslami (parliament) and Majlis-e Khobregân-e Rahbari (Assembly of Experts) on 1 March.

Iran
Free

The late January appointment of Emiri Diwan chief Sheikh Khalid Bin Khalifa Bin Abdelaziz Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al-Thani as Qatar’s prime minister marks a further stage in the growing centralisation of power around the Emiri Diwan since 2013, when Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani took over from his now ‘father emir’, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. In keeping with the style of Emir Sheikh Tamim’s rule, the transition from long-serving prime minister and interior minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s safe pair of hands at the head of government to Khalid Bin Khalifa was a low key affair.

Qatar
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Even since the battle to defeat the Sunni extremists of Islamic State (IS or Daesh) began to make progress, there have been voices warning that Iraq’s fractured political environment and weak economy would remain fertile ground either for a resurgence of the group or the rise of another set of extremists in its place. Now those past warnings are turning into reality, as evidence grows that IS has begun to step up its activities this year.

Iraq
Free

To mark the tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, and to give wider public access to some of our reporting and analysis, GSN has unlocked the archive of its newsletters published in 2003 (accessible at www.gsn-online.com). The invasion was hardly a surprise; US determination to depose Saddam Hussein had been clear for months, but too little thought went into its repercussions. Few of those behind the invasion saw the potential for the turbulence it unleashed. A reading of pre-2003 GSN shows just how inevitable conflict was. ‘Global terrorism’ was high on the agenda as the George W Bush administration came to power.

Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Iraq | Qatar
Free

Obtaining details and confirmations remains as problematic as ever, but some sources are talking about upheavals in the Saudi military/security establishment linked to continuing dynastic struggles in the Kingdom. According to one version of events, as many as 150

Saudi Arabia
Free

The impending official visit of the Jordanian royal couple to Doha signals another step in Qatar’s efforts to rebuild regional relations that were, in part at least, hurt by Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel’s irreverent reporting of regional leaderships.

Jordan | 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