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Federal Vice President and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum unveiled a new set of green energy targets on 10 January. By 2050, the UAE aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total mix from 25% to 50% (including 6% from nuclear energy); it also envisages cutting the power generation sector’s carbon footprint by 70% and reducing average residential energy consumption by 40%. The UAE is expected to invest Dh600bn ($163bn) by 2050 to meet rising energy demand.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa held a meeting with members of the Al-Nuaim tribe at Safriya Palace on 16 August, in a move that appears designed to increase tensions with neighbouring Qatar. According to the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) report on the meeting, King Hamad talked about the Al-Khalifa’s ancestral seat of Zubara on the Qatar peninsula and noted “the allegiance of the tribes of the peninsula to Al-Khalifa”.

Bahrain
Issue 1059 - 11 May 2018

Ramadan and subsequent festivals

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The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is predicted to start in the Gulf on 15-16 May and will end with Eid Al-Fitr on 14-15 June, at the end of the lunar month, pending official confirmation. According to UAE dates (subject to official confirmation), the next major festivals are Arafat (Hajj) Day (12 August) and Eid Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice – 20 August), followed by Al-Hijri (Islamic New Year – 1 Muharram 1440) on 11 September and Milad Al-Nabi (the Prophet’s birthday) on 19 November.

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To what extent could Gulf polities become more pluralist and different groups, like Christian congregations, Asian workers and other marginalised communities, gain greater political expression in states where they’ve settled? This question, from an academic new to the region now researching social groups in the Gulf, seems perfectly normal for a discussion over coffee in Europe. But across the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) such a question would elicit knowing looks from expatriates and nationals alike. ‘Post-modern city states’ like Qatar and UAE emirates may boast several denominations of church; migrant workers are increasingly protected by regulations (albeit coming from an often very low level) in many parts of the GCC.

Issue 1042 - 04 August 2017

Oil price sticks around $50/bbl

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Production cuts by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have helped maintain oil prices at around $50 a barrel, through production cuts and co-ordination with non-Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) members led by Russia. The price has weathered the remarkable upturn in Libyan output, to nearly 1m b/d, an upturn in Nigerian production and, most important of all, the reopening of investment flows for US unconventional production.

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Tamim was born to Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa’s second of three wives, the charismatic and ambitious Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Misnad. He has four full brothers and two full sisters, and 17 half-siblings. Diplomats have described him as warm, relaxed and pragmatic. He had just turned 15 when his father deposed his grandfather Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al-Thani, on 27 June 1995.

Qatar
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A parlous situation is getting worse by the day, as Sudan heads towards the first anniversary of General Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s overthrow on 11 April. A botched assassination attempt on technocrat Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok on 9 March was followed on 25 March by the death by heart attack of defence minister Jamal Aldin Omar during talks in Juba with South Sudanese officials. Two coronavirus deaths, both Sudanese citizens who had travelled from the UAE, have triggered fears that the Arab world’s second largest country may soon face a health emergency on top of its desperate economic conditions.

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Travels, Denies allegations,Talking up the Makkah metro, New ruler’s representative, US meetings, Extensions

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Saudi Arabia
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Recent promises to mend relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad have not led to any real progress on disputes over politics, land and oil. And as Baghdad makes overtures towards its former sparring partner – and close Kurdish ally – Turkey, the government. The 29 April framework accord signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani was intended to steer the process of resolving disagreements over issues such as customs and border procedures, proposals for a new oil law, and the status of disputed areas. It was followed by a series of meetings in June and July when the two sides promised further co-operation.

Iraq
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Recently appointed ambassador to Washington Prince Khalid Bin Salman, embarked on his first tour around the United States in late August. The first stop was Nellis Air Force Base, on the outskirts of Las Vegas, where he met Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) pilots participating in the Red Flag and Green Flag exercises. He went on to San Francisco to meet Silicon Valley firms, and to Dallas where he visited defence giant Lockheed Martin’s missiles and fire control site, in nearby Grand Prairie, to discuss its investments in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1063 - 20 July 2018

Iraq clamps down on protests

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Prime Minister Haidar Abadi’s government has clamped down on a wave of protests that began in Basra on 5 July and spread to eight other provinces. The first demonstrations focused on a lack of jobs, but complaints about corruption, lack of electricity and other poor public services also featured.

Iraq
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The Saudi government has at last signed the contract to buy five corvettes from Spanish ship-builder Navantia, according to local media.

Saudi Arabia
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Iraq’s fast-approaching 30 April general election has so far been overshadowed by the ongoing armed conflict in the western province of Al-Anbar, and a deteriorating security climate nationwide. The instability has cast doubts on whether the elections will need to be postponed, though, on 25 February, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki stressed the importance of holding the vote on time. Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has so far approved 107 political entities to run (down from more than 270 on a list issued in November), and there are 328 seats being contested. Having emerged from the 2013 provincial elections with the largest number of seats, Maliki’s State of Law Coalition (SLC), which remains popular among Iraq’s Shia population, is expected to dominate the polls.

Iraq
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Another round of fevered speculation about splits in the most senior ranks of the Al-Saud was set off on 5 March, with a report that King Salman Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud has clashed with his son Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) over the Yemen war, the fallout from the Jamal Khashoggi affair and other matters. In the most dramatic allegation, the king’s advisors were said to have changed the personal security team that accompanied the monarch during his recent trip to Egypt, due to suspicions about where their true loyalties lay.

Saudi Arabia
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Former ambassador Peter Galbraith, who retired from the US State Department in 2003, and who recently made headlines after resigning as deputy head of the United Nations in Afghanistan, has admitted that he was negotiating a potentially lucrative oil deal in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2004 at the same time as he was advising the regional government on constitutional issues.

Iraq