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A meeting of the Unesco World Heritage Committee, held in Riyadh, caused a diplomatic stir when it voted to include the pre-historic site of Tell Es Sultan near Jericho as a World Heritage Site in Palestine. Israel objected to the decision. 

Saudi Arabia | Israel
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Conservative tribal and Islamist voices are increasing their power and influence in the Kuwaiti political arena, with the government providing tacit support to their growing dominance over liberal and urban merchant figures.

Kuwait
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Emirati Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al-Maktoum was named president of a new medical education body named after his late father, a veteran finance minister who died in 2021. 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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There was speculation that during his five-day private visit to Oman, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) may have crossed the border into Yemen. 

Saudi Arabia | Oman
Issue 1176 - 15 September 2023

Bahraini prisoners end hunger strike

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Inmates at Bahrain's Jau Central Prison halted their hunger strike on the evening of 11 September, amid the deteriorating health of some inmates and a pledge by the authorities to improve conditions within two weeks. More than 800 prisoners had joined the protest, which began on 7 August.

Bahrain
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Some $6bn of Iranian funds that have been frozen in South Korea are expected to be sent to Qatari banks in the coming days, prompting the release of five US citizens held in Iran and the same number of Iranians in American prisons.

Iran | Qatar
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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stopped in Muscat on 11 September on his way home from the G20 summit in India. Although billed as a "private visit" he arrived with a large delegation and held talks with Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al-Said, covering the Yemen war, Iran and trade.  

Saudi Arabia | Oman
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A senior Iranian security official has threatened to resume bombing of targets in northern Iraq if Baghdad fails to meet a 19 September deadline to halt cross-border attacks by exiled Iranian Kurdish opposition groups.

Iran | Iraq
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A total of 309 candidates are competing in elections for the Federal National Council (FNC), the UAE's nearest equivalent to a parliament – fewer than in any of the previous four election cycles and significantly less than the 478 people who stood in 2019.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The UAE's early September announcement that it had set up a federal gambling regulator is a further sign of how the competition between regional economies is pushing them to diversify into areas that would previously have been regarded as too sensitive or even taboo.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Iraq's Constitutional Court ruled early September that a maritime border agreement between Kuwait and its northern neighbour was annulled for being 'unconstitutional'. The dispute highlights the fragile Kuwaiti position in a changing region and the reduced status of its foreign policy. 

Kuwait | Iraq
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With Kuwait's emir regularly out of the country to receive medical treatment, Crown Prince Mishaal Al-Ahmed is overseeing a fragile political system in which ministerial resignations are almost as frequent as clashes between parliament and the executive, and deteriorating public services are undermining public confidence. Inertia and dysfunction have led Kuwait to fall behind its wealthy neighbours to the south, with medicine shortages just the latest indication of an unhappy direction of travel which adds to pressures for an eventual revised social compact to avoid even greater troubles. 

Kuwait
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G20 summit: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was a prominent figure at the G20 summit in New Delhi on 9/10 September. He held talks with a series of other leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Saudi Arabia
Free

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani flew to Guyana on 12 September, meeting President Irfaan Ali and overseeing the signing of economic and legal agreements. Ali was in Doha in May to open an embassy and discuss investment opportunities.

Qatar
Issue 1176 - 12 September 2023

Saudi princes involved in food ventures

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Several Saudi ruling family members are involved in the food and hospitality sectors, including Prince Saud Bin Abdelaziz Bin Fahd Al-Farhan,  Prince Waleed Bin Nasser Bin Fahd, Prince Abdelaziz Bin Saud Al-Saud and Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed. 

Saudi Arabia