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Sheikh Khalifa Bin Abdulla Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa has been named as Bahrain’s ambassador to Amman, in the latest refresh of heads of missions.

Jordan | Bahrain
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Khalid Bin Salman has been named chairman of the fast-growing state defence industry conglomerate in a reshuffle that reduced the size of Saudi Arabian Military Industries’ board to eight, while bringing in three new well-connected directors

Saudi Arabia
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They may not be popular, but clerics dominate contemporary Iran, its politics and economy to an extent that most Iranians might have thought inconceivable in the years immediately after the 1979 revolution. The latest series of GSN profiles focuses on senior clerics who occupy key positions across Iran’s political system – all of them closely tied to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and committed to the Islamic republic’s long-term survival.

Iran
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Regional elections are expected, with further delays: A polling day for the long-delayed sixth set of elections to the Kurdistan Parliament has yet to be announced. In August 2023, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) President Nechirvan Barzani issued a decree scheduling the elections for 25 February.

Iraq
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The Independent ran a series of interviews with Al-Saud family members in late February in an advertorial campaign to promote the $20m Saudi Cup horse race. GSN asks who was talking up the event and the background to the British newspaper’s partial Saudi ownership.

Saudi Arabia
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Sultan Haitham left Muscat for the UK on 8 February, with no indication of how long he might be away for.

Oman
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The latest series of GSN profiles show how Iran’s clerics – and especially those close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – have a grip over the economy that has got ever tighter over the past three decades. There is no prospect of that changing at the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections on 1 March.

Iran
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After Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah took exception to comments by a member of parliament about his inaugural speech as ruler in December, the emir issued a decree on 15 February to disband the National Assembly – meaning a fresh general election must be held by mid-April.

Kuwait
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Emir Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah travelled to Bahrain and Qatar in mid-February, following trips to Saudi Arabia and Oman earlier in the year. Mishaal has been using the trips to cement regional support for border disputes with Iraq and Iran – although there are signs that Doha is slightly less steadfast than some others over the Iran dispute.

Kuwait
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A trade deal between the UAE and Cambodia came into force in early February, just weeks after negotiations were finalised for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Costa Rica, as more of Abu Dhabi’s preferred Cepa deals are unrolled.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mid-February tour of the UAE and Qatar followed the signing of big energy supply deals and the release of former Indian naval officers sentenced to death in Doha for spying.

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The Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund has been signing contracts with more lobbying and communications specialists, as it continues to face political scrutiny over its investments in the United States.

Saudi Arabia
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Bahrain has set up diplomatic relations with Vanuatu and Qatar with Tonga in a continuation of the trend for Gulf states to expand their diplomatic and development ties with small Pacific Island nations.

Bahrain | Qatar
Issue 1185 - 20 February 2024

UAE ambassador takes up post in Damascus

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Hassan Al-Shehi has presented his credentials, to become the first UAE ambassador in Damascus since 2011, adding further to a bilateral relationship that seemed broken when Abu Dhabi supported opposition groups in the Syrian civil war’s early years.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Alpha Dhabi reported a 25% rise in profits in 2023, alongside a 14% increase in revenues, as the investment firm owned by UAE national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s International Holding Company announced multi-billion-dinar joint venture deals with Adnoc Drilling and Mubadala.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)