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Baghdad claims to have disarmed and moved Iranian Kurdish exiles from the border area with Iran, but the reality is that compliance has been more limited, meaning further Iranian military strikes on the area are a distinct possibility.

Iran | Iraq
Issue 1177 - 27 September 2023

UAE/OMAN: Sharjah ruler visits Muscat

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Sharjah Ruler Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al-Qasimi visited Muscat for a two-day official visit – the second Emirati ruler to make the journey in recent months, following a visit by Ras Al-Khaimah Ruler Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi in June.

Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Iran's Foreign Ministry have reportedly developed a network of academics and foreign policy advisers in the west who worked for high-profile thinktanks and as aides to senior United States officials.

Iran
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Sheikh Khalifa Bin Tahnoon Bin Mohammed Al-Nahyan was named chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court , in an emiri decree issued by Abu Dhabi Ruler and UAE President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ). 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1177 - 27 September 2023

Iran and Djibouti reset diplomatic relations

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Iran and Djibouti have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations that were severed by the African country in 2016 following the storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran. The decision follows the recent rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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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
Free

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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Fresh fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in September has left Azerbaijan empowered and it could now try to realise long-held ambitions to create a land route through Armenia to its Nakhichevan exclave. For Iran, this could mean a de facto end to its own border with Armenia and a sometimes-hostile neighbour stretching across its northwest frontier.

Iran
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An inquiry into alleged corruption at the European Parliament involving Qatari cash and other gifts has been delayed after a Belgian court ruled that an investigation should first be carried out into the way prosecutors handled the case. 

Qatar
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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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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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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)
Free

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)