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The 'Axis of Resistance' bloc of state and non-state actors, Shia and Sunni militias, has been long in the making, as Iran's revolutionary elite has sought to project its influence via a disparate group of organisations ranged across the Middle East. Its components are of differing sizes and capabilities, and their links to Iran also vary.

Iran | Yemen | Israel | Palestine | Iraq | Syria | Lebanon
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Governments across the region are trying to ensure the war between Hamas and Israel doesn’t escalate, with potentially disastrous expansion to other fronts. Meanwhile the monarchies and others are trying to assuage the anger many of their citizens feel towards Israel’s actions in Gaza, in a conflict that has profoundly upset recent comfortable assumptions about the regional status quo.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine | Qatar
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China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has used a routine rotation of its ships based in Djibouti to double its presence in the region, just as the United States Navy is preparing to deploy its first aircraft carrier strike group (CSG) to the region for two years.

Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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In a surprise announcement, the Iranian authorities said that the length of mandatory military service had been cut by three months.  Military service will now range from between 14 and 21 months, depending on the location and mission of a conscript.

Iran
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Eight years after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal was adopted, a wave of restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile programme have automatically fallen away. The US, Europe and others have vowed to keep up the pressure, imposing fresh restrictions on Iran, but the flows of drones and other weapons from Iran to Russia – and perhaps other consumers – seems only likely to increase.

Iran
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Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering buying up to 54 Rafale jets from France's Dassault Aviation. Dassault has built up a sizeable customer base for its jets in the Gulf: Qatar has taken delivery of 36 Rafales, and the UAE has ordered up to 80 of the fighter bombers. 

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
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The turmoil that has broken out in Israel and Gaza in recent days may lead to a recalibration by Yemen's Houthis of what they should put on their list of demands and how much pressure they can exert on Saudi Arabia in any further rounds of talks. It might also concentrate minds in Riyadh about the need to secure a viable settlement in Yemen, so that the land beyond its southern border is not a long-term harbour of potential danger.

Saudi Arabia | Yemen
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An analysis of Hamas' lightning invasion points as much to Israeli weaknesses as to the Palestinian group's abilities. Hamas clearly knew its enemy well and was well set up to exploit Israeli weaknesses, both before battle was joined and as it developed.

Israel | Palestine
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The UAE is facing further accusations it is using a field hospital in north-east Chad as a cover for supplying arms to Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (often known as Hemedti), as well as to treat the militia group’s injured fighters.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) announced late September that First Lieutenant Hamad Khalifa Al-Kubaisi had succumbed to the injuries he had sustained during a Houthi attack on Bahraini forces on the Saudi/Yemen border four days earlier, becoming the fourth casualty from the incident.

Bahrain | Yemen
Issue 1178 - 12 October 2023

Riyadh plans naval exercise with China

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Saudi Arabia is planning to hold a naval exercise with its counterparts in the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. Exercise Blue Sword is scheduled to take place during October in Zhanjiang, where China’s South Sea Fleet is headquartered.  

Saudi Arabia
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Iran has released video imagery of a new jet-powered suicide drone, similar in configuration to the Shahed-136 drone which has been heavily used by Russia in Ukraine.

Iran
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Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (Nedaja) commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani has said Tehran is planning to establish a permanent presence in Antarctica which will have both military and scientific components.

Iran
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Yemen deaths: The Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) announced on 25 September that First Lieutenant Mubarak Hashel Zayed Al-Kubaisi and Corporal Yaqoub Rahmat Moulai Mohammed had been killed while serving along the Saudi-Yemen border. Several others were wounded in what it described as a drone attack by Houthi forces; Warrant Officer Adam Salem Naseeb succumbed to his injuries two days later.

Bahrain | Yemen
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A drone strike on Arbat Airport in Sulaymaniyah governorate in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in September killed three members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's elite Counterterrorism Group and wounded three others. Iraqi military officials blamed Turkey for the attack.

Iraq | Turkey