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The Al-Qasimi family has old origins, especially compared to some of the region’s younger ruling families. They are part of the Qawasim tribe, a leading sub-section of the widespread Sunni Huwalah. The Huwalah migrated between Persia and Arabia, and produced other well-known families, such as the famous Qatari merchants the Darwish. Members of the Qawasim are a key base of support for the Al-Qasimi. This family tree illustrates how the line of succession has changed between branches of the family and shows how the current Emir is connected to his crown prince and deputy rulers.

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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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)
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The Saudi government said its non-oil mineral resources are now thought to be worth some $2.5trn, based on recent discoveries and rising demand for rare earth elements. It is following the UAE’s lead in looking to strike deals with African mineral producers such as Democratic Republic of Congo.

Saudi Arabia
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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)
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National Media Office chairman Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al-Nahyan was appointed to chair new holding company 2PointZero four days after it was set up. He will work alongside chief executive Mariam Bint Mohammed Almheiri, who also serves as the UAE’s climate change and environment minister.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Slowing economic growth: The economy posted year-on-year growth of 2.5% in Q3 2023, according to data released by the Information and eGovernment Authority on 26 December. The expansion was led by the non-oil sector, which grew by 4.5%, offsetting a 6.8% decline in the oil sector. 

Bahrain
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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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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has made three cross-border acquisition deals, as it seeks to better position itself for the global transition away from hydrocarbons, taking stakes in fertiliser and ammonia producer Fertiglobe, German chemical company Covestro and carbon capture and storage company Storegga.

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
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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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