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Subscriber

Spanish sporting giant Real Madrid (RM)’s president Ramon Calderón has been in talks with Ajman Crown Prince Sheikh Ammar Bin Humaid Al-Nuaimi with the idea of training talented young Emirati footballers in Spain, as well as opening RM football schools in the UAE.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1074 - 07 February 2019

Iran: Crude exchange fails again

Subscriber

A plan by National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to sell up to 1m barrels (bbls) of oil on a domestic exchange flopped on 4 February, when no offers were made for the crude.

Iran
Issue 1094 - 13 December 2019

GCC security academy by 2023

Subscriber

The Gulf Co-operation Council is moving forward with setting up a long-planned Gulf Academy for Strategic and Security Studies, to be funded equally by the six member states from 2022 onwards. The academy is due to start offering courses from the 2023/24 academic year, according to the final communiqué issued at the end of the 40th GCC Supreme Council in Riyadh on 10 December

Subscriber

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s latest Article IV consultation for Oman concluded with a polite restatement of the macroeconomic problems confronting the sultanate, and the recommendation that further fiscal reform is essential, amid continuing pressure on macroeconomic balances from the soft oil price and a tendency towards overspending by the government, to buy social peace. The overall fiscal deficit is projected at 14.8% of GDP in 2015 and seems set to rise further unless the government takes urgent remedial action.

Oman
Issue 1054 - 22 February 2018

5 March-3 June: The Louvre in Tehran

Subscriber

Having finally opened in Abu Dhabi, the Louvre is taking French cultural diplomacy to another level with a major exhibition opening at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran. The Louvre in Tehran will include 50 works drawn from the Paris museum’s collection and from the Musée Eugène Delacroix; it is sponsored by car-maker Renault and Fondation Total. The exhibition, themed around the Louvre’s development since 1793, will include Greek, Roman and Persian artefacts.

Iran
Subscriber

UAE joint defence committee with US; Mayall tour of UAE and Yemen; Yemeni coastguard base on Miyoun Island

Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

The much-publicised initiative for Morocco and Jordan to join the Gulf Co-operation Council surprised many when it was announced by new GCC secretary-general Abdelatif Al-Zayani, but it was not a new suggestion – it was proposed some years ago but quietly dropped – and has a political and economic logic for most of those involved.

Subscriber

Government ministries and entities will in future be required to certify that consultancy services cannot be supplied by Saudi providers before signing contracts with foreign firms, according to a royal decree published on 7 September.In 2018, the General Audit Bureau estimated foreign consulting firms undertook business worth $3.2bn in the kingdom, up 9% on the previous year largely because of the growth in work related to the healthcare sector and to Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s national strategic plan.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1057 - 17 April 2018

Saudi Arabia: US approves $2.4bn deals

Subscriber

A number of large defence contracts were unveiled between Saudi Arabia and the United States, during the visit of Crown Prince and defence minister Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) in late March/early April – a noted contrast to the lack of deal making during his visit to the UK earlier in March, where the only development was a commitment to continue discussing an order for Typhoon jets. The American deals totalled close to $2.4bn and came in two batches. The largest element was a $1.3bn order for howitzers announced by the State Department on 5 April.

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

The politics were long in the making before the crisis erupted between Qatar and three major Gulf Co-operation Council partners turned adversaries – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (the ‘GCC-3’) – plus Egypt and other allies from the wider Muslim world, but several of the immediate consequences emerging from the conflict are nevertheless unexpected.

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

Sheikh Nasser Mohammed is suffering a political realignment, with the Islamic Constitutional Movement’s move from cabinet to grilling sponsor reflecting an erosion of support for his government.

Kuwait
Issue 1042 - 04 August 2017

Hamad Bin Abdullah: Defamation action

Subscriber

Qatar Investment and Projects Development Holding Company (Qipco) and its chief executive Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al-Thani have brought an action for defamation against the unnamed owner of US-based website The Muslim Issue. The complaint, filed in the Wisconsin district court on 17 July, describes the website as a “hate site against Muslims throughout the world”. The Muslim Issue claims it has more than 26m readers.

Qatar
Subscriber

A report on farsnews.com says that newly installed Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani is due to participate in the 4 August inauguration ceremony of Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani. Asharq Al-Awsat said on 29 July that representatives of 40 countries were due to attend the ceremony. Rouhani himself has tweeted (@HassanRouhani) that this is the first time foreign officials have been invited to the ceremony, and that the emir of Qatar will “certainly” attend, alongside ten presidents, three prime ministers, five heads of parliament (including Oman’s), five vice-presidents and ten foreign ministers.

Iran | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Free

Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid Bin Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s younger brother, arrived in Washington on 5 December. It was the first time he has returned to his post since some of the murkier details of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi came to light. Prince Khalid has been accused by the newspaper’s editorial board of “an epic campaign of lies” to cover up the murder; it said his return was “a stunningly arrogant act”.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 936 - 22 November 2012

Bahrain inaugurates $50m theatre

Subscriber

King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa inaugurated a $50m National Theatre on 13 November, an elegant glass structure with a golden roof that seats 1,001 people and symbolises the union of Bahrain and sea. The theatre, commissioned long before the political crisis, was designed by France’s AS Architecture-Studio, also responsible for the Muscat Cultural Centre and Doha’s Pier Exhibition Centre.

Bahrain