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The IRGC Navy has launched long-range ballistic missiles from one of its ships for the first time, as it continues to flex its muscle in the face of heightened tensions with the United States, but an Iranian spy ship that was thought to have been working closely with Yemen’s Houthis appears to have been sidelined after a US cyberattack.

Iran
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Four Emirati soldiers and one Bahraini officer were killed in an attack on a military base in Mogadishu on 10 February. They had been training the Somali Armed Forces.

Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Deals signed at the World Defence Show with Lockheed Martin, Saab, Thales and other international companies highlight how Riyadh is continuing to push for more weaponry to be developed inside the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia
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Iran launched missiles and drones at targets in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan in mid-January, claiming it was striking back at terrorist groups and Israel-linked sites, in a tough approach that has been accompanied by a domestic clampdown on moderate politicians ahead of elections in March. This suggests the regime continues to feel vulnerable to opposition at home, while speculation builds around the eventual succession to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the subject of the first of a series of GSN profiles.

Iran
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The US and UK have announced sanctions on four senior Houthi figures linked to the campaign against commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. GSN’s latest map of the Yemen/Red Sea conflict zone shows a conflict zone where more than 30 ships have been targeted by Houthi missiles and drones since mid-November, forcing hundreds more vessels to divert around the southern tip of Africa – adding costs and delays to global trade.

Yemen
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The European Union has sanctioned two UAE-based companies over commercial and military ties to Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, while a leaked United Nations expert report says evidence of UAE arms supplies to the rebel RSF are ‘credible’.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The deal by which Edge Group is acquiring International Golden Group brings two of the UAE’s biggest defence equipment suppliers together under one roof.

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Edge is to use its extensive surveillance technologies for a six-month anti-crime initiative in São Paulo; the very active UAE state-owned defence conglomerate has also agreed a tie-up with Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The second former US Navy frigate to join the Royal Bahrain Naval Force has arrived in Manama.

Bahrain
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Efforts to bring the Gaza conflict to an end continue, with little apparent prospect of short-term success. Arab states are pushing for Israel to end its bombardment but there is just as much focus on trying to ensure the war doesn’t escalate into a regional conflagration. A key challenge is the Houthis’ campaign against commercial shipping in the Red Sea, which Washington and allies are struggling to counter despite a major attack on targets in Yemen on 12 January.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Yemen | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine
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Kerman blast: Around 100 people were killed and nearly 300 injured in two explosions at a cemetery in the southern city of Kerman on 3 January, at an event marking the fourth anniversary of IRGC Quds force leader Qasem Soleimani’s death in a United States drone strike.

Iran
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Qatar has taken delivery of the last of four Italian-built Al-Zubarah class corvettes.

Qatar
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Abu Dhabi’s perceived support for General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti)’s RSF rebels led the under-pressure Burhan regime to order 15 UAE embassy staff to leave Khartoum in December. This posed further questions about the Gulf state’s role in the Sudanese civil war, while the RSF has made further strategic gains and is looking for broader regional support.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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A United States-led taskforce has been launched to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea, after Houthi rebels launched more than 100 drone and ballistic missile attacks over the past month. However, most Gulf countries have declined to join, with just Bahrain signing up to date.

Yemen | Bahrain
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Royal Saudi Air Force pilot Prince Talal Bin Abdelaziz Bin Bandar Al-Saud died on 7 December, the same day an RSAF F-15 crashed in Dhahran.

Saudi Arabia