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Issue 847 - 13 February 2009

France: Sarko’s regional play

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In a fast-evolving regional situation, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is touring the Gulf again, visiting Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait

Kuwait | Bahrain | Oman
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With the provincial elections successfully and peacefully out of the way, Nouri Al-Maliki’s Daawa Party appears stronger, and Iraq appears more stable than at any time since the invasion. But the advances are fragile, with fundamental tensions unresolved and the task of developing the country’s oil wealth facing mounting complications.

Iraq
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The GCC is struggling to develop coherence as a diplomatic player at a critical moment for the region, with the domestic politics of Israel and Iran in play, and the cast of key players going through a period of change. News that ex-president Mohammad Khatami will bid to recover his old job in this summer’s Iranian elections will be welcomed by the United States and its

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Deep concerns across the region about political developments in Iran and Israel, communal tensions and ever more spats over policy between Gulf Co-operation Council member states (all discussed in Politics, below) are starting to claim victims – which seem to include the semi-public rapprochement between Israel and Qatar’s determinedly independent-minded leadership.

Israel | Qatar
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The UAE has deliberately stepped up its rhetoric to support US policy in the region while the Obama administration is settling in and preparing to receive its first briefings on Centcom’s region-wide assessment of Gulf policy. Personal and collaborative technology relations between the two militaries have become very close, even on such thorny policy issues as Iran’s nuclear programme.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 847 - 13 February 2009

HBJ: Shuttle diplomacy and business

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Prime and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani has been travelling, holding meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and new US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

Qatar
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King Abdullah: Meets Chinese President, Princess Amira: Ready to motor, Khalid Bin Sultan: Horse show

Saudi Arabia
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Iraq’s border areas are a wild frontier, marked by intense mafia activity and low-level tribal violence. But the security situation is becoming more manageable than seemed likely even one year ago.

Kuwait | Iraq
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Despite approaching legislative elections, Yemen’s president will worry more about northern security, jihadist groups and the return of Guantanamo detainees than the political challenge from a quarrelsome opposition. But no one is yet focused on the real long-term danger – economic disaster as oil revenues collapse.

Yemen
Issue 846 - 30 January 2009

Alwaleed Bin Talal: Kingdom loss

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Kingdom Holding Company posted a $8.26bn net loss in Q4 08, compared with a gain of $68.2m in Q4 07.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 846 - 30 January 2009

Mushaima seized in Bahrain crackdown

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Exasperated by Haq's persistent campaigning, the authorities arrested the extra-parliamentary opposition group's president Hassan Mushaima, human rights commission head Abdeljalil Al-Singace and outspoken Shiite scholar Mohammed Habib Almuqdad on the night of 25-26 January. Al-Singace was released after 24 hours but remains on bail and is subject to a travel ban. Mushaima and Almuqdad remained in solitary confinement, and were denied contact with their families or lawyers, as GSN went to press.

Bahrain
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Busy as usual; Ever prominent, Al-Abdullah alliance; Marriage to KBS daughter; Kuwait visit; Funerals of prominent mothers; Marriages in the cadet branches

Saudi Arabia
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Regional tour spurs Petrobras talk; Algerian business and Congo-B visit; Spring marriage

Qatar
Issue 870 - 29 January 2009

Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum

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Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 845 - 16 January 2009

Al- Maktoums, MBR and others

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Al Maktoums: Family wedding attracts big guns but is then postponed, MBR and others: Victory in the new sport of kings

United Arab Emirates (UAE)