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Issue 1027 - 01 December 2016

Kuwait: Emir Sheikh Sabah in Malabo

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Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was co-president of the Arab-African Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, which opened on 23 November. The summit placed Kuwait in an unexpectedly difficult situation, as other other GCC states pulled out on the summit’s eve in solidarity with Morocco, which boycotted the event because of the presence of the Polisario Front’s Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. Kuwait could hardly leave an event it hosted last time out, in 2013, and which the emir was committed to chair and then hand over the co-chairmanship to President Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz of Mauritania.

Kuwait
Issue 862 - 10 October 2009

Mysterious goings-on at Notts County

Free

Among this season’s crop of strange, apparently Gulf-related football stories is the case of England’s oldest football league club, Notts County, which was purchased in July by Munto Finance, described as a special purpose vehicle of the unknown Qadbak Investments Ltd. There was immediate speculation that Gulf businessmen or ruling family members were involved – particularly the Qataris – although the club’s board remained coy, saying they did not know the identities.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Qatar
Issue 1020 - 29 July 2016

UAE places large order for US bombs

Free

The UAE has been given approval from the US State Department for a large new order of aircraft-mounted bombs. The UAE wants to buy 14,640 bombs, including 500 BLU-109 bombs, 5,940 Mark 82/BLU-111 bombs and 8,200 of the heavier Mark 84/BLU-117 bombs, along with guidance kits and FMU-152 fuses for all of them. The total value of the order is $785m, including support services, according to the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which announced the approval on 19 July.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 962 - 23 January 2014

Budget brings new crisis with Kurdistan

Subscriber

The Iraqi cabinet passed the 2014 budget on 15 January, continuing the trend of dramatically increasing spending, based on the assumption that oil prices will remain high. For 2014, the draft budget provides for $139,791,717,710 in spending, set against $119,453,061,236 in revenues, based upon projected oil production of 3.4m b/d at $90/bbl, including 400,000 b/d from the Kurdistan region. These topline figures compare to spending of $119.2bn for 2013 (GSN 943/1), $100.5bn for 2012, $83.5bn for 2011 and $72.4bn for 2010.

Iraq
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It has been just over eight months since Iraq’s 79-year-old President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke and was transferred to Germany for treatment (GSN 939/4). Since then, the presidency has been left unoccupied, its duties carried out by vice-president Khudair Al-Khuzaei, a Dawa Party member and ally of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat in February, Khuzaei said he thought it would be “disloyal” to replace such a well-respected man. “The constitution allows the vice-president to undertake presidential powers under such circumstances,” he said. “I find myself morally and ethically bound to follow the same balanced line, and I do not believe that there is an urgent need to replace Talabani because he has offered Iraq a great deal.”

Iraq
Issue 970 - 23 May 2014

Kuwait: Justice minister resigns

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Kuwait’s justice minister, Nayef Al-Ajmi, whom the US accused of involvement in jihadist funding networks, has resigned. Al-Ajmi, who was also minister of awqaf and Islamic affairs, denied accusations that he had a history of supporting terrorism, following a speech in March by US undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen. Cohen told an audience at the Center for a New American Security in Washington that the 6 January appointment of Al-Ajmi (GSN 961/6) was a “step in the wrong direction”, noting that his image had been featured on fundraising posters for a prominent financier for Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Al-Qaeda wing operating in Syria.

Kuwait
Issue 1088 - 20 September 2019

Tamim Bin Hamad: African visitors

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Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani hosted Angola’s President João Manuel Lourenço on 8 September, throwing a lunch banquet and witnessing the signing of a number of agreements and memorandums of understanding covering maritime transport, port development, investment promotion and economic co-operation.

Qatar
Subscriber

A very substantial element of the UAE political, military and tribal leadership was in Abu Dhabi to attend the UAE Armed Forces’s Hosn Al-Ittihad (Union Fortress) multi-service show (see also Defence and security). Most of those in attendance were noted to be close to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces deputy supreme commander Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ), who was much in evidence during the Idex event.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 881 - 17 July 2010

The unique case of Anbar

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Across Iraq the Iraqi Security Forces are less motivated by a need to defeat the remaining cadre of militants. There is a pervasive sense that the security issue is mostly under control and that (in most places) the insurgents are finished and do not

Iraq
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Finance minister Nayef Al-Hajraf announced his resignation on 6 November, after being chosen as the Kuwaiti government’s nominee to be the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)’s next secretary-general. Deputy foreign minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said Kuwait hoped other members would support the nomination at the GCC’s next summit (whose date has yet to be agreed).

Kuwait
Free

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Tehran ran a high-profile, three-day naval exercise in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman with Russia and China in late December, under the title Marine Security Belt. China’s Type 052D Xining guided-missile destroyer took part, along with three vessels from Russia’s Baltic fleet: the Neustrashimyy-class anti-submarine warfare frigate Yaroslav Mudry, a tanker and a tug boat. Both Russia’s Yaroslav Mudry and China’s Xining are relatively modern vessels frequently seen in the region.

Iran
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Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani made a two-day trip to Moscow in late March, labelled a ‘working visit’. The agenda included talks with President Vladimir Putin on Palestine, Syria, Yemen and other conflicts in the Middle East.

Qatar
Subscriber

Iran has again been agitating over the disputed islands of Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunbs, which lie in the Strait of Hormuz and are also claimed by the UAE. On 4 November, according to Iranian news reports, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inaugurated a naval base in the city of Bandar Lengeh, in the southern province of Hormozgan, north of the islands.

Iran | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Sharjah-based port management and logistics company Gulftainer has bought a 51% stake in Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Stevedoring Contracting Company. In a statement on 23 June, Gulftainer said the acquisition had allowed it to assume full management of three Saudi terminals in Jeddah and Jubail. On the west coast, Gulftainer will operate the Northern Container Terminal at the Jeddah Islamic Port, and on the east coast, it will operate Jubail Commercial Port and Jubail Industrial Port.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)