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A five-year contract for Bahrain Steel to supply Emirates Steel Arkan with iron ore pellets appears to be motivated by both commercial and geopolitical considerations, with the Abu Dhabi government-owned steel-maker saying it was designed to “strengthen economic ties within the GCC”.

Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Emir Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah’s first cabinet retained just three ministers from the previous administration in Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Sabah’s new government. However, many of the new ministers have served in cabinets before as shown in GSN’s round-up of the new administration’s CVs.

Kuwait
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Kuwait’s new Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al-Sabah appears to have taken note of the recently enthroned Emir Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed’s desire for change, with new ministers being appointed to all the major posts in cabinet, including defence, finance, foreign affairs and oil, while some portfolios have been rationalised to deliver more rational government.

Kuwait
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Efforts to bring the Gaza conflict to an end continue, with little apparent prospect of short-term success. Arab states are pushing for Israel to end its bombardment but there is just as much focus on trying to ensure the war doesn’t escalate into a regional conflagration. A key challenge is the Houthis’ campaign against commercial shipping in the Red Sea, which Washington and allies are struggling to counter despite a major attack on targets in Yemen on 12 January.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Yemen | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine
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The emirate’s authorities deployed some 1,200 police to enforce the ban on celebrations, in a move which underlined Sharjah’s willingness to plough its own furrow.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Emir Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah has repeatedly called for a new approach to overhaul Kuwait’s factionalised politics and boost economic reform – a position he restated in his inaugural address on 20 December. But changing a system that appears to encourage stasis rather than co-operation will not be easy for Kuwait’s new, 83 year-old ruler. 

Kuwait
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Kerman blast: Around 100 people were killed and nearly 300 injured in two explosions at a cemetery in the southern city of Kerman on 3 January, at an event marking the fourth anniversary of IRGC Quds force leader Qasem Soleimani’s death in a United States drone strike.

Iran
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In a noticeable uptick in President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s recent overseas travel, MBZ has gone to Azerbaijan and India to cement commercial ties, in his first visit to another Brics member since the UAE joined the big emerging economies’ club at the start of the year.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1183 - 09 January 2024

Princess Haifa named ambassador to Spain

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From the ruling family’s Al-Muqrin branch, new Saudi ambassador in Madrid Princess Haifa Bint Abdelaziz previously served as the kingdom’s envoy to the UN’s cultural and educational arm Unesco.

Saudi Arabia
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UAE attorney-general Hamad Saif Al-Shamsi said on 6 January that a case had been launched at the State Security Court against 84 people.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani made a number of changes to his cabinet on 8 January, less than a year after his last major overhaul to the executive team. Among the most significant changes was the promotion of minister of state for foreign affairs Sultan Bin Saad Al-Muraikhi to the cabinet. 

Qatar
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The UAE’s latest Cepa agreement is another step in Abu Dhabi’s plans to build its global profile by negotiating bilateral trade deals.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1183 - 08 January 2024

Iran names new ambassador to Oman

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Iran has a new ambassador to Oman, one of the Islamic Republic’s most strategically – important neighbours.

Iran | Oman
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Abu Dhabi’s perceived support for General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti)’s RSF rebels led the under-pressure Burhan regime to order 15 UAE embassy staff to leave Khartoum in December. This posed further questions about the Gulf state’s role in the Sudanese civil war, while the RSF has made further strategic gains and is looking for broader regional support.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Subscriber

The Saudi offer of long-term tax incentive comes just before new rules are introduced in January stipulating that international companies must base their regional headquarters in the kingdom if they want to compete for government contracts. Saudi Arabia has made the most high-profile recent moves to attract foreign investment, but even the more conservative Kuwait and ‘revolutionary’ Iran are easing terms for incomers.

Saudi Arabia