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Issue 1112 - 15 October 2020

Ahad Bint Abdullah visits Kuwait

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Ahad Bint Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, wife of Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al-Said, made a relatively rare public appearance in early October, travelling to Kuwait to offer condolences to the women of the ruling Al-Sabah family on the death of Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Sayyida Ahad traveled with a delegation of women from the Oman royal family and other, high-ranking Omani women.

Kuwait | Oman
Free

GSN’s long-serving editor and (from 1985 to 2000) proprietor, John Christie, was a man of action, and veteran of government and private sector operations across the Middle East and North Africa. A fluent and colloquial Arabist – Saudi King Faisal Bin Abdelaziz once summoned him to be flown up to Riyadh from Jeddah by saying ‘Send me the Syrian’ (a reference to John’s north Syrian accent) – he was known as the “sage” in many circles. John sold the title in 2000, before his death on 16 June 2001 after a long illness.

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In the wake of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s 20 August visit to the United States, wheels are in motion to mobilise a clutch of large energy-focused deals estimated to be worth $8bn struck in meetings with US President Donald Trump and his advisers.

Iraq
Subscriber

King Salman Bin Abdelaziz on 31 August issued a royal order retiring Joint Forces commander Lieutenant General Prince Fahd Bin Turki Bin Abdelaziz. His son Al-Jouf deputy governor Prince Abdelaziz was also removed from his post.

Saudi Arabia
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An incident in July off the coast of Dubai, which has came to court, highlights the problem of fuel smuggling between Iran and the UAE – a persistent cause of friction between the countries, both of which are attempting to clamp to down on the illegal trade.

Iran | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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There is confusion over a series of reported pardons by Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al-Said of Omani critics who have been living in self-imposed exile.

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The UAE’s commitment to broadcasting its now overt relationship with Israel has seen cabinet ministers holding phone calls with their Israeli counterparts, the formal scrapping of the boycott of Israel on 29 August and an El Al plane landing at Abu Dhabi International Airport on 31 August carrying a delegation including US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Israel’s National Security Council leader Meir Ben-Shabbat.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel
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Risk Management Report – GSN Risk Grade – D↓4↓ Baghdad Dialogue: Federal Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi flew to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on 10 September for talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). He was met at Erbil International airport by KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani.

Iraq
Free

Announcing job losses and investment cutbacks, many of Big Oil’s flagship companies have been making dramatic announcements of changes in strategic direction. This is most marked among European majors BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, if not by their US peers ExxonMobil and Chevron Corporation; it suggests that many industry leaders now see their futures as diversified energy companies, rather than old-style international oil companies (IOCs).

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) announced on 27 July that it had transferred part of the concession rights for its Lower Zakum and Umm Shaif and Nasr offshore fields from China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), marking the first such deal with a dedicated Chinese offshore energy company. 

Issue 1108 - 30 July 2020

UAE: GlobalEye agreement

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The UAE has signed a support agreement with Swedish defence firm Saab to cover support and maintenance for its airborne surveillance system GlobalEye. The $145m deal runs until 2022, with the work to be carried out in the UAE.

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Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has launched the first of five corvettes it is building for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) in what is known as the Al-Sarawat project. A ceremony was held in San Fernando shipyard on 22 July, attended by RSNF commander Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily. 

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President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government continues to lose ground against the Houthis in Marib province, where the rebels are close to encircling Marib city. Since taking control of the Al-Awadh tribal area in Al-Baydha province’s Radman district, south of Marib governorate, Houthis have advanced into the Qayfah area and have pushed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State elements further away from their stronghold in Rada, Al-Baydha.

Yemen
Issue 1112 - 15 October 2020

UAE: Dubai debts estimated at $110bn

Free

Dubai’s total debts are likely to be far higher than the $33.6bn the emirate stated in a $2bn bond and sukuk prospectus last month, according to London-based Capital Economics.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Subscriber

Developments in recent weeks suggest that local resistance to outside interference has stiffened in Yemen’s Mahra governorate, which borders Oman. It has not reached the point where Mahris wish to secede from Yemen, but there is an insistence that they enjoy a high degree of autonomy in any post-war settlement.  

Saudi Arabia | Yemen