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The volume of seizures of the amphetamine-like stimulant Captagon by Saudi border guards appears to have dropped sharply over the past year – it could be a sign the diplomatic rapprochement with Syria (the main source of the illegal drug) is bearing fruit, or it may just be that the authorities are being less transparent.

Saudi Arabia
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Distantly related to Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Sheikh Ali announced plans to set up a $500m family office in the Chinese territory in March, but that now appears to have been pushed back until late May. 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Former military officer Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan, who suffered serious injuries in a helicopter crash in Yemen in 2017, has become an influential official with a role in some of the most sensitive media and AI dossiers backed by his Bani Fatima uncles.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Allies and enemies are anxiously waiting to see if the Israeli government will escalate regional conflict further after more than 300 projectiles were fired from Iran at Israel on 13-14 April in Tehran’s retaliation to the Israeli strike that killed IRGC commanders in Damascus. Most of the drones and missiles were shot down, but a few hit Israeli military bases, causing limited damage.

Iran | Israel | Palestine
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UAE national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (TBZ) controls a $1trn-plus investment empire that, mixing private and public funds, is in full expansion mode. Although now widely commented on, the structure of Tahnoun’s business empire and the identities of those individuals who work most closely with TBZ often remain opaque, as is the nature of financial links with his powerful Bani Fatima brothers.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The opening of another field hospital in Chad and talk of a ‘foreign legion’ project have led to renewed focus on the UAE’s involvement in the Sudan conflict and Abu Dhabi’s efforts to extend its influence in Africa and other parts of President Mohammed Bin Zayed’s ‘near abroad’

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Oman and Switzerland have been acting as go-betweens in the wake of the Israeli airstrike that destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus, sharing messages between Iran and Washington.

Oman
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First among equals in the UAE – as well as a major player in an expanding ‘near abroad’ – President Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) and his Bani Fatima brothers dominate national politics and business. MBZ and his siblings are among the first in a major series of profiles of Abu Dhabi’s Al-Nahyan family.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Emir Sheikh Mishaal has sought to push back the opening of the new parliament until mid-May, after his initial pick for prime minister turned down the job. However, some MPs have claimed the delay is unconstitutional, setting off another political crisis within days of the 4 April election

Kuwait
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Manama will host the meeting of League of Arab States leaders on 16 May

Bahrain
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Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa travelled to Mecca in early April for talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and also sat in on MBS’ meeting with the visiting Pakistani prime minister.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain
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Ajman Ruler Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al-Nuaimi launched the Ajman Principles document in early March, covering areas such as sustainability, inclusivity, accountability and government agility.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Former minister Najah Al-Shammari is alleged to have fraudulently claimed benefits in Sweden at the time he was serving as defence minister in the Baghdad government.

Iraq
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More than 1,500 prisoners were pardoned by King Hamad Bin Isa All-Khalifa on 8 April to mark Eid Al-Fitr, a majority of whom appear to be political prisoners.

Bahrain | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Commerce and industry minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani has been appointed to chair Qatar’s free zones regulator, replacing Ahmed Al-Sayed who had led QFZA for more than seven years.

Qatar