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Issue 849 - 13 March 2009

KHALIFA BIN ZAYED: Exxon meeting

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Khalifa Bin Zayed: Exxon meeting

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Attention has focused on Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed following his appointment as education minister. For several years he has served as the General Intelligence Directorate deputy chief and before that was long involved with the Saudi Arabian National Guard at a senior level.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 848 - 27 February 2009

CP Sultan goes back to America

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Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdelaziz has left his residence in Agadir, Morocco, for the United States for follow-up medical checks and treatment (GSN 845/1). The state Saudi Press Agency said the prince had completed a

Saudi Arabia
Issue 848 - 27 February 2009

UAE Royals: meetings and travels

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ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED: Travels. MOHAMMED BIN ZAYED: Meetings. MANSOUR BIN ZAYED: AC Milan rumours squashed. HAZZA BIN SULTAN BIN ZAYED: Bangor PhD

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Sheikha Budoor: Emir names daughter as Shorouq head, Hoor Bint Sultan: Sharjah Biennial

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 848 - 27 February 2009

Doha media watchdog breaks with tradition

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Free speech has taken a small but notable step forward in Qatar with the publication of a report on media freedom and transparency in the Middle East and North Africa by the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, established just over a year ago by Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

Qatar
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Oman has all the ingredients for becoming the Gulf’s most attractive tourist and living destination, but projects remain prey to the vagaries of local politics, as well as more recent credit crunch concerns. A case in point seems to be the legal dispute over ownership of Blue City – said to be the Sultanate’s largest real estate development, costing an estimated $20bn – that for more than three years has pitted Bahrain’s Al-Janahi business family against the local Cyclone company.

Oman
Issue 848 - 27 February 2009

Religious bodies

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At the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Sheikh Abdelaziz Bin Humayen Al-Humayen has been appointed head, replacing Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Abdullah Al-Ghaith. The new head of the religious police (known as the Mutawa) has described their role as

Saudi Arabia
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It will take more than a reshuffle to resolve the deep-seated contradictory pressures within Saudi Arabian politics and society. Even so, King Abdullah’s recent personnel changes send a powerful signal at a time of renewed succession concerns.

Saudi Arabia
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Sheikh Abdelrahman Bin Abdelaziz Al-Colleyia was named chairman of the Supreme Court, with ministerial rank. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Fahd Bin Saad Al-Dosari was appointed Supreme Administrative Court president with ministerial rank.

Saudi Arabia
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Will Mohammad Khatami secure the backing of Rahbar (Supreme Leader) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his presidential comeback bid this summer? Unlikely as this might have seemed even weeks ago, Iranian political observers, whose debates GSN has joined in the past week, are agreed that this may be the decisive question

Iran
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King Abdullah: Meetings, travels, Miqrin Bin Abdelaziz: To Syria and Taliban talks, Salmam Bin Abdelaziz: Support for divorcee centre, Al Waleed Bin Talal: Dubai, cinema, Saud Bin Mansour: SFO in Dubai

Saudi Arabia
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The Obama administration’s decision to attempt diplomatic re-engagement with Iran provides a moment of excruciating discomfort for many US politicians and generals. GSN has been exposed to some of the thinking going on inside the Pentagon, as well as in the think tanks and State Department offices charged with charting a path through this dangerous territory.

Iran
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King Abdullah’s reshuffle has brought in new ministers, a change of central bank governor and other senior officials across a wide range of government departments and official agencies. Below, GSN lists the newcomers. Ministerial changes:

Saudi Arabia
Issue 847 - 13 February 2009

Trade unionists under fire in Basra

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Local trade unionists were targeted by the Iraqi military for leading a “peaceful” demonstration on 28 January in Basra, the Petrochemical Workers’ Union of Basra (PWUB) has reported.

Iraq