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Kuwait is preparing for legislative elections on 5 December in what is shaping into one of the most important polls in recent history. Candidate registration closed on 4 November, by when 395 individuals had put  themselves forward. That is significantly down from the last election in 2016, when 440 candidates signed up. Among the new crop are 33 women, the largest number of female contenders yet.

Kuwait
Free

Regional rivalries are not necessarily forever – they may dissolve into historic rapprochements, which is how senior diplomats in the Gulf would probably prefer to interpret recent political and diplomatic manoeuvres involving Qatar, the UAE and Egypt in East Africa.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Free

On 22 July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated a new oil pipeline running from Goreh in Bushehr province to a terminal at Jask in Hormozgan province, on the Gulf of Oman. The 1,000km, 42-inch link provides a strategically important new export outlet for Iranian crude.

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

The UAE’s relationship with the United Kingdom has become characterised by warm state-to-state interactions and large investment deals. The wealth of Abu Dhabi coupled with the commercial drive of Dubai make an attractive partner for the idea of a ‘Global Britain’ that Prime Minister Boris Johnson likes to promote following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Protocol often seems to overwhelm normal news flow in Bahrain, as senior officials – most of them from the Al-Khalifa family – receive foreign visitors and congratulate each other at dutifully-reported occasions and in myriad telegrams. Any hint of speculation about the balance of power in the ruling Al-Khalifa family remains deeply hidden.

Bahrain
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An attempt by GCC secretary-general Nayef Al-Hajraf to convene a fresh round of dialogue in Riyadh for Yemen war belligerents appears to have failed, with the Houthis refusing to take part. However, there are signs of further Saudi-inspired political initiatives to break the stalemate on the ground, which could have significant consequences for President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the wider political process.

Saudi Arabia | Yemen
Free

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to roil global oil and gas markets – particularly in Europe where countries are chasing alternative supplies to reduce their heavy energy dependency on Russia.

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

Tempers are fraying over the early-October decision by members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies in the Opec+ group to cut oil production. The most prominent members, Russia and Saudi Arabia, remain in a cosy alliance and western efforts to drive a wedge between Moscow and the Gulf countries have yet to show any returns. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi seem unfazed by any possible reputational risks, while they continue to sweat the global economy for revenues.

Free

The UAE is preparing for its 51st National Day on 2 December with the usual talk of unity and joint endeavour. However, one consequence of the wide-ranging social and economic reforms introduced in recent years is that the idea of Emirati national identity may now be more contentious than it has been for decades.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Kuwait has all but left behind its former status as a pre-eminent hub of regional diplomacy, as the leadership is widely perceived to have walked away from its role as mediator in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and its neighbours. Concerned by this apparent inaction on the regional stage, GSN has been asking: why has Kuwait apparently retired from playing such a significant diplomatic role?

Kuwait
Free

Even while Iranian diplomatic efforts are focused on talks with global powers to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear deal whose revival would significantly improve the economic outlook – the domestic situation remains fragile.

Iran
Free

The failure of Yemen’s warring parties to renew their truce in October is regarded by many observers as a sign of both the increasing strength of the Houthi rebel group and a failure of the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) to resolve its own internal differences.

Yemen
Free

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has worked hard to remove any possibility of political opposition emerging from within Al-Saud ranks over the past five years. This campaign has involved several bouts of locking up senior family members, with the clear backing of his father King Salman, most notably in November 2017 but most recently in March when Princes Ahmed Bin Abdelaziz and Mohammed Bin Nayef were moved from house arrest to prison.

Saudi Arabia
Free

Isolated by its erstwhile ‘GCC-3’ allies, Qatar gave some very public thanks to those who had stuck by it following the boycott launched by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in June 2017 when, in the first half of October, it invited senior officials and companies from the likes of Iran, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan to Doha to share a stage with Qatari government ministers.

Qatar
Free

A summit of regional leaders, held in Abu Dhabi on 18 January, appeared to be hastily arranged and did not include representatives from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. It has nevertheless prompted widespread speculation about what may have been discussed and the meeting’s wider meaning. Such interest reflects its host’s apparently ever increasing prominence in international affairs.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Oman | Qatar