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Subscriber

The rail system was thrown into “unprecedented chaos” on 7 July, when state media said trains were halted or delayed. Official reports first blamed cyber attackers for hacking into the network’s system which controls train movements, although the authorities later denied that had happened.

Iran
Subscriber

Despite indications in April that the United States planned to push ahead with the sale of 50 F-35 fighter bombers to the UAE, there has been little sign of movement, while doubts continue to be raised by a number of groups inside Washington and beyond.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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While Jizan (Jazan) has provided an increasingly frequent target for Houthi missile attacks from Yemen, Saudi Aramco has continued the process of ramping up its 400,000 b/d Jizan refinery project. Commodity data company Kpler reported that 8.72m bbls of crude were discharged at the unit in March, up from 4.69m bbls in February.

Saudi Arabia
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Denmark's public prosecution service announced on 15 April that it had charged three members of an Iranian opposition group, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (Asmla), with financing and supporting terrorist activity in Iran in cooperation with an unnamed Saudi intelligence service.

Iran | Saudi Arabia
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The United Kingdom government plans to improve existing defence facilities in Oman and boost trade and investment with the Gulf counties as part of a wide-ranging appraisal of it’s international strategy published in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy on 16 March. Introducing the strategy document in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it described how the UK will “relearn the art of competing against states with opposing values” and be “more dynamic abroad” following its ‘Brexit’ departure from the European Union.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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One year into power, Haitham Bin Tariq seems to have completed sweeping changes at the top of the military as the sultan and key allies, including his brother Sayyid Shihab, emerge from the long shadow of the late Sultan Qaboos’s rule by placing their appointees into revised security structures.

Oman
Free

Ethiopian authorities said they had foiled a plan to attack the UAE embassy in Addis Ababa. A 4 February Ethiopian Press Agency report cited a National Intelligence Security Service statement that said 15 people were arrested, and arms and explosives seized.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The new coalition government has had a torrid opening month marked by internal rifts and deadly attacks by opponents. The US designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organisation risks further suffering in the Yazidi movement’s area of control.

Yemen
Issue 1118 - 21 January 2021

Bahrain/UAE: US major security partners

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In one of its last decisions on the region, the Trump administration on 15 January designated the UAE and Bahrain as “major security partners” of the United States. A White House statement described the move as recognising the “exceptional security partnership” and commitment of both countries to counter extremism in the region.

Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The Public Investment Fund (PIF)’s Saudi Arabian Military Industries (Sami) subsidiary in late December said it had acquired Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) as “part of the largest military industries deal ever concluded” in the kingdom. The purchase of the local/UK venture, after which AEC will be 100% Saudi-owned, should be completed by end-March following regulatory approvals. The acquisition (#TheMajorDeal) was announced during a ceremony attended by officials from the PIF, Sami, AEC, BAE Systems Saudi Arabia, General Authority for Military Industries and the Ministry of Defence.

Saudi Arabia
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The assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist, on 27 November has thrown the Iranian establishment into turmoil. Although Fakhrizadeh had a security team with him and had previously been identified by Israel – notably by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu personally – as a target, he was attacked in a populated area and his attackers seem to have disappeared without trace. According to a former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) officer, he was the seventh Iranian nuclear scientist to be assassinated.

Iran
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The vulnerability of Saudi oil infrastructure was underlined by two separate incidents in late November. At 3.50am local time on 23 November, a fuel tank at a distribution terminal north of Jeddah was hit by a missile that Houthi rebels said they had fired from Yemen. A Ministry of Energy spokesman said the explosion had caused a fire but there were no casualties and Saudi Aramco’s fuel supplies to customers were not affected.

Saudi Arabia
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Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi may be trying to undo the state patronage machine that has guaranteed rule by political factions and militias for years, but analysts warn the threat posed by armed groups remains high – and increasingly complex – despite a recently announced pause on attacks on the US and other diplomatic missions in Baghdad.

Iraq
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Court proceedings against former Airbus subsidiary GPT Special Project Management and a number of businessmen began on 14 September.The case involves charges of corruption between January 2007 and December 2012 related to a £2bn ($2.6bn) contract to provide communications services to the Saudi Arabian National Guard (Sang).

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

Major General Sheikh Salem Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah has been appointed as the new head of the State Security Bureau, replacing Talal Saqr who was ousted as part of investigations into corruption linked to Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Kuwait