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Anti-corruption drive: Corruption remains a critical problem, which Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani’s government will be judged on. Sudani said on 11 December the government had recovered another ID134bn ($92m) stolen from the General Commission of Taxes, in a case known as the ‘Theft of the Century’. It took the total recovered to ID317bn, out of some ID3.7tn reported stolen.

Iraq
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GSN Risk Grade: D4↓ Election delay: The federal Supreme Court is due to hear several cases in the coming days over the decision by the Kurdistan Region parliament to postpone elections that were due on 1 October.The parliament voted on 9 October to extend its term until end-2023 due to disputes between parties over the election law.

Iraq
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G20 summit: UAE President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) led the Gulf’s representation at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia on 15-16 November and held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit on the first day.

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GSN Risk Grade: F6 US explosives seizure: The United States Navy said it had intercepted a fishing vessel in international waters in the Gulf of Oman on 8 November and found a large quantity of explosive material which it said was being smuggled from Iran to Yemen.

Yemen
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GSN Risk Grade: A1 World Cup benefits: The UAE is hoping to cash in on the FIFA World Cup taking place in nearby Qatar from 20 November to 18 December, offering multiple-entry tourist visas for fans attending the event.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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GSN Risk Grade Abu Dhabi A1, Dubai – A2↓ Sharjah real estate: Sharjah significantly opened up its real estate market in late October, with a decision by the Sharjah Executive Council (SEC) to allow nationals of any country to own all types of real estate in the emirate.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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GSN Risk Grade – B↓2 Budget surplus: In a preliminary budget statement for 2023, issued on 30 September, the Ministry of Finance predicted a surplus of SR9bn in 2023, around 0.2% of GDP, based on revenues of SR1,123bn and expenditure of SR1,114bn.

Saudi Arabia
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GSN Risk Grade: B↑1 Population boom: The population has increased by 25% in little over a year, reaching a record high of 2,985,029 in September, according to the latest figures from the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA). In July 2021, at the lowest point in that year’s summer lull, there were just 2.38m people in the country.

Qatar
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GSN Risk Grade – B↓2↓ Candidates line up: A total of 376 candidates have registered for the National Assembly (parliament) election, which is due to be held on 29 September. At least one candidate has since been ruled out, after police arrested an un-named former MP who was standing in the second constituency, accusing him of attempting to buy votes.

Kuwait
Issue 1155 - 26 September 2022

Oman: Muscat makes use of oil windfall

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GSN Risk Grade – B3 Hydrocarbons windfall improves rating: Oman is expected to be among the region’s main beneficiaries from elevated oil prices in 2022-23. Along with reforms introduced on Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al-Said’s watch, this feeds into an improved economic outlook.

Oman
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GSN Risk Grade: D4↓ Elections delayed: The election for the Kurdistan parliament is expected to be postponed by at least six months after the existing parliament failed to agree on the details of a new election bill. In a press conference in Erbil on 28 August, MP Yemen Hawrami said the remit of the exiting parliament – which was elected in 2018 for a four-year term – would be extended by six months.

Iraq
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GSN Risk Grade: D4↑ National dialogue: A second round of talks between most of Iraq’s political leaders on 5 September saw them agree to work towards early elections. However, differences remain over the rules for any new vote. 

Iraq
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GSN Risk Grade: C↑3↓ Election preparations: Elections for the Majlis Al-Nuwab (Council of Representatives) are due to be held in November, with 40 single-seat constituencies up for grabs. In preparation, the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs has reportedly written to local political societies to warn them they should only meet representatives from foreign embassies in co-ordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with a MFA representative in attendance.

Bahrain
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GSN Risk Grade: D↓5 GCC ambassadors: The direction of political travel will undoubtedly be set by efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, but there has been some easing of regional tensions as Kuwait and the UAE sent ambassadors to Tehran for the first time since relations soured with the GCC countries in 2016.

Iran
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GSN Risk Grade: D4 Recent developments- Kadhimi to remain? A group of Iran-backed Shia parties known as the Co-ordination Framework may back Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi for another term of office, according to local media reports.

Iraq