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Leaders from the 15-strong Caribbean Community (Caricom) arrived in Riyadh mid-November for the first Saudi-Caricom summit.  Separately, Saudi ambassador to the UN Abdelaziz Bin Mohammed Al-Wasel signed protocols to establish diplomatic relations with Micronesia and Nauru. 

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1181 - 21 November 2023

Oman hopeful a Yemen peace deal is imminent

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Omani officials appear confident that, despite international diplomatic attention having largely switched to the Gaza conflict, a peace settlement can be achieved soon between the warring factions in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, with all parties now appearing to recognise that ending the civil war is in their overwhelming political interest.

Saudi Arabia | Yemen | Oman
Issue 1181 - 21 November 2023

EBRD: Baghdad joins development bank

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Iraq joined the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in November, taking the London-based multilateral's number of shareholders to 74. Joining the bank means Baghdad will be able to apply for financial and policy support from the EBRD.

Iraq
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Revised November 2023, this map illustrates Saudi oil and gas infrastructure.  The locations of oil and gas fields and pipelines are marked alongside associated infrastructure including oil refineries, gas processing plants, tanker terminals and LNG facilities. An accompanying box displays provincial populations as well as their respective governors.  The map is available as a PDF file using eps graphics, meaning that there is no loss of resolution as the file is enlarged.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1180 - 13 November 2023

Qatar: More LNG deals with China

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China LNG deals: QatarEnergy has been lining up long-term sales contracts for its major North Field developments. It signed a deal on 4 November to sell 3m t/yr of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) over 27 years from the North Field South (NFS) expansion project. This followed a string of similar deals with European energy majors

Qatar
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Ras Al-Khaimah's efforts to raise its international profile – and bring in investment as a result – was underlined by Emir Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi’s prominent role in China, as the UAE’s senior representative at the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Saudi Arabia takes the lead in trying to find a regional answer to the Gaza conflict, with two summits due to take place in Riyadh in the coming days in a display of the country’s influence and convening power. GSN explores the impact which the conflict has had on the Gulf region and the foreign policy challenges it has presented.  GSN’s defence and security coverage leads with a new airlift the UAE Air Force has launched to Ethiopia. It is unclear what is being sent, but the development is stoking international interest in light of a similar operation from the UAE to Chad in recent months and the UAE’s involvement in other African conflict zones.  This issue of GSN also contains a special report on Ras Al-Khaimah’s economic strategy and how this often-overlooked emirate is pushing the boundaries to try and attract more international investment. GSN offers a short history of the emirate and its ruling Al-Qasimi family, along with an updated family tree. Western sanctions on Russian diamond exports are due to be stepped up soon, offering a fresh opportunity for the Dubai Diamond Exchange, which has grown rapidly in recent years and already claims to be the world’s largest trading hub for rough diamonds. The GSN View delves into this issue, which is yet another example of how some Gulf states have indirectly benefitted from Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.  This issue’s maps cover oil and gas infrastructure as well as provincial governance and population sizes for Saudi Arabia and Oman.

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Economic slump: The economy shrank by 4.5% year on year in Q3 2023, a sharp change from the 1.2% expansion reported in Q2 23. It was the first decline in real GDP since the start of Q1 21 and was entirely due to a slump in the oil and gas sector, where activity contracted by 17.3% yr/yr due to voluntary production cuts.

Saudi Arabia
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Tiny Ras Al-Khaimah doesn’t often attract great international attention, except at times of succession change and when its state-owned entities have become caught up in poisonous legal disputes or geopolitical tussles. But the leadership’s recent ambitions for a range of business interests have encouraged renewed focus on the northern emirate. Developments include casino giant Wynn Resorts’ plans for an ‘integrated resort’ with ‘gaming’ facilities, which comes alongside increasing investment from Abu Dhabi, a government pushing hard for the tourist dollar and an emir, Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, on the move to raise RAK’s profile. In a Special report, GSN examines RAK’s development plans and provides some historical context. 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

With increasing amounts of Moscow's business now being transacted through Gulf states, impending G7 and EU sanctions on Russian diamond exports offer opportunities and risks for the Dubai Diamond Exchange, which has grown rapidly to become the largest trading hub in the world for the rough gems. 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Al Ahmed Al Sabah used part of his speech at the opening of parliament late October to express his surprise at the Iraqi Constitutional Court ruling in September which annulled an agreement between Kuwait and Iraq to share the Khor Abdullah waterway. 

Kuwait | Iraq
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The Qatar-headquartered International Union of Muslim Scholars (Iums) has called for urgent military intervention in Gaza. Founded and formerly headed by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a senior Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen figure who died in September 2022, Iums is generally regarded as the primary religious authority guiding Hamas.

Qatar | Palestine
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In regions across the Middle East and North Africa where popular support for the Palestinian cause is widespread, the UAE has been trying to walk a fine line, maintaining diplomatic ties with Israel while publicly focusing on the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza and calls for a ceasefire.

Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine
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Houthi spokesman Brigadier Yahya Saree said that the Yemeni group's forces had launched ballistic and cruise missiles at Israeli targets in the occupied Palestinian territories. Houthi Political Council member Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti added that the attack had been carried out despite calls from the US, passed on via Omani mediators, for the Houthis not to intervene.

Iran | Israel | Yemen
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Saudi Arabia is leading a fresh effort from the Gulf to assert its regional influence in an attempt to bring the Gaza war to an end, there has been no indication that Israel would consider reducing the intensity of its relentless bombing campaign as it seeks vengeance for the brutal Hamas assault of 7 October.

Iran | Saudi Arabia | Jordan | Bahrain | Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine | Iraq