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Princess Hassa Bint Salman has been given a ten-month suspended sentence by a French court, after being convicted in absentia for her role in an assault on Ashraf Eid, who had been carrying out repair work at her Paris apartment in 2016. She was also given a fine of €10,000. The court heard that Eid was tied up, punched and kicked by the princess’s bodyguard Rani Saida after Eid had inadvertently taken a photo of her on his mobile phone. Hassa is expected to appeal against the verdict.

Saudi Arabia
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Iran’s famously mercurial presidential elections proved as unpredictable as ever on 14 June, when the moderate conservative cleric Hassan Rouhani swept to victory, winning over 50% of the vote in a poll that also saw an unexpectedly high turnout of 72%. The streets of Tehran and other major cities were transformed into street parties, with thousands of young people and families honking horns, blaring music and chanting support for the country’s imprisoned opposition leaders.

Iran
Issue 922 - 27 April 2012

Governors: Activities

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Eastern Province governor Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd laid foundation stones in Abqaiq in early April. He was joined by his deputy, Prince Jiluwi Bin Abdelaziz Bin Musaid. In Riyadh, governor Prince Sattam Bin Abdelaziz opened the environmental rehabilitation project ofWadi Nammar andWadi Laban. Asir region governor Prince Faisal Bin Khalid Bin Abdelaziz attended a graduation ceremony on 10 April at King Khalid University, where female students recently protested against conditions. Prince Faisal met student representatives and formed a youth council to address their concerns.

Saudi Arabia
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Attention has focused on Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed following his appointment as education minister. For several years he has served as the General Intelligence Directorate deputy chief and before that was long involved with the Saudi Arabian National Guard at a senior level.

Saudi Arabia
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Interior minister Prince Abdelaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Al-Saud travelled to the UAE and Oman in mid-January for talks with a number of senior royals and other officials, in what appeared to be an effort by Riyadh to counter Qatar’s burgeoning links with Oman and possibly also to undermine Iranian interest in using Oman’s Duqm port. First stop was Abu Dhabi where he met UAE deputy prime minister and presidential affairs minister Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on 11 January.

Saudi Arabia
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In early November, Kuwait’s assistant undersecretary for citizenship and passport affairs, Major General Mazen Al-Jarrah, was quoted by Al-Jarida as saying tens of thousands of bidoon would be offered the chance to apply for economic citizenship of Comoros. Those who applied would be given residence permits in Kuwait, along with added incentives like free education and healthcare and the right to work. According to local press, the application process is slated to begin when Comoros opens its embassy in Kuwait in around nine months’ time; it is not clear exactly how the process would work, or how likely it is to go ahead.

Kuwait
Free

Sweden’s defence minister quit last week after outcry at government plans to help Saudi Arabia build a weapons plant. Swedish outrage at the idea of signing military agreements with undemocratic countries is admirable; British and US newspapers have also recently decried massive arms deals to the Gulf. But arguably, the provenance of weapons – while important to the domestic politics of source countries – is only a sideshow.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain
Issue 995 - 19 June 2015

Saudi Arabia: MBS in Qatar

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Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) was in Doha on 12 June for a meeting with Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. He was accompanied on his visit by minister of information and culture Adel Bin Zaid Al-Turaifi and minister of state Khalid Bin Abdelrahman Al-Essa, who until recently was deputy chief of the royal court. After talks, Emir Tamim hosted a dinner in MBS’ honour. MBS was greeted and seen off by the deputy emir of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Saudi Arabia
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King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa flew to Saudi Arabia on 4 May to inspect Bahrain’s forces taking part in the Yemen campaign. At Taif airport, he was received by Mecca governor Prince Khalid Al-Faisal (when Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed did the same on 26 April, see below, he was greeted by the far more senior Prince Mohammed Bin Salman). At King Fahd Air Base, King Hamad watched planes taking off for their missions, as well as a parade by the coalition jet fighters. He was briefed, and visited the Al-Faisal Aviation Sciences Museum.

Bahrain
Issue 946 - 10 May 2013

Sheikh Tamim’s busy schedule

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Apart from the usual round of chairing domestic-related meetings (such as the Supreme Committee for Development Planning meetings) and ribbon cutting, heir apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani has had a busy start to the year.

Qatar
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The start of construction on the new Kuwaiti Mubarak Al-Kabir port near Iraq has reignited long-standing resentments over territory, security and the legacy of reparations from the Saddam era

Kuwait | Iraq
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The United States is continuing to push for an extension to a United Nations embargo on conventional arms sales to Iran, which is due to expire on 18 October, despite clear opposition from fellow UN Security Council (UNSC) members China and Russia. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said the US will “exercise all diplomatic options to ensure the UN arms embargo is extended.”

Iran
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While the Riyadh book fair has attracted attention for all the right reasons, in a lesser-reported event, Saudi security confiscated the books of former literature professor and leading liberal Islamist Abdullah Al-Hamid

Saudi Arabia
Issue 939 - 24 January 2013

Talabani in hospital in Germany

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Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was taken to hospital on 17 December after suffering a stroke, and was later flown to Germany. The first official reports said he had suffered “fatigue and tiredness” as a result of his recent efforts to try to defuse tensions between Baghdad and Erbil, but rumours of the gravity of his condition were quick to follow.

Iraq
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The mid-October meeting of Iran and the P5+1 (GSN 956/6) ended on 16 October with a joint statement by Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union high representative Catherine Ashton. The negotiations on nuclear proliferation in Iran, between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) plus Germany, were described as “substantive and forward looking”, building on the positive atmosphere that developed in New York during the UN General Assembly (GSN 955/1).

Iran