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Finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan on 24 April said the kingdom could make huge savings by replacing liquid fuel with gas and renewables in domestic consumption. The displacement of liquids, “would represent savings for the government of about SR800bn [$213.3bn] over the next ten years which can be utilised for investment,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Saudi Arabia
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GSN Risk Grade – B↓3 Overview Politics: Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Bin Taimur Al-Said was named ruler in January 2020, succeeding the late Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said as the 15th ruler of the Al-Busaidi dynasty (founded in 1750). Qaboos was a monumental figure who, having deposed his father in 1970, had led Oman since 1970. The succession process was quick and smooth, orchestrated via the Royal Family Council. Haitham has moved cautiously in the opening period of his rule, broadly following his predecessor’s domestic and regional policies.

Oman
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The sustained barrage of rockets fired by Hamas into Israel during the May conflict has highlighted once again the Islamist group’s capability and the impact that Iranian support can have on regional militia at a relatively low cost and risk for Tehran. The Palestinian group’s capability is similar in character to that which Iran has furnished to others across the region, including Hizbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the Assad regime in Syria and Iraqi Shia militias such as Harakat Hizbollah Al-Nujaba.

Iran
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Just when international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq were getting used to receiving funds again, giving comfort to shareholders, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has changed its payment terms without consulting partners – who would like to discuss the issue. Oslo Stock Exchange-listed DNO, London-listed Genel Energy and Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), and TSX Venture Exchange and Nasdaq First North Growth Market-listed ShaMaran Petroleum Corporation were among those who, on 13 May, reported receiving a letter from the KRG proposing amended terms as of the March 2021 production invoice.

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Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa arrived in Abu Dhabi on 10 May for a short visit. He held talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at Al-Shati Palace and attended a banquet held in his honour before heading back to Manama the same day.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

Dubai Deputy Ruler Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum has been appointed chairman of the Ruler’s Court of his father, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR).

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The Iranian consulate in Karbala was attacked by protestors on 9 May, following the murder of local activist Ihab Jawad Al-Wazni, who had been a key figure in anti-government protests in late 2019, when there was a wave of demonstrations that spread around the country.

Iran | Iraq
Issue 1126 - 20 May 2021

Qatar: Kenyan activist detained

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Human rights groups have expressed concern about the fate of Kenyan labour rights activist Malcolm Bidali, who was arrested on 4 May and taken in for questioning by the Qatari authorities. A week before his arrest Bidali had given a presentation to civil society organisations and trade unions about his experience of working in Qatar, since arriving in 2016 to work as a security guard.

Qatar
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Oman could revive plans to import Iranian gas via a subsea pipeline, provided the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal is reinstated, oil and gas minister Mohammed Al-Rumhy told S&P Global Platts on 17 May.

Oman
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Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was in Saudi Arabia on 1 June for talks with his counterpart Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. It was Sheikh Mishaal’s first official trip overseas since his appointment in October 2020.

Kuwait
Free

Ruler Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi has raised the minimum wage for local citizens by 43%, to Dh25,000 ($6,800) from Dh17,500. It follows a Department of Social Services study into Sharjah living standards.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled that Iran owes an unspecified amount of damages to relatives of the 176 people who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, which was shot down by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) missiles soon after taking off from a Tehran airport on 8 January 2020.

Iran
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Foreign affairs minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al-Thani began a multi-country tour of North African states on 23 May, to discuss tensions and instability around the region. His first stop was Libya, where he had meetings with President Mohammed Manfi, vice-presidents Mossa Al-Koni and Abdullah Hussein Al-Lafi, key player prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and foreign minister Najla Mangoush.

Qatar
Issue 1127 - 03 June 2021

Saudi Arabia: Frigate contract starts

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A keel-laying ceremony was held at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin on 26 May for HMS Saud, the first frigate to be produced under the Tuwaiq programme for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF). v

Saudi Arabia
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The growing popularity of Chinese armed drones may come into question in the coming years, according to a GSN analyst, not least because United States President Joe Biden’s administration has warned that purchases of weapons systems from China comes with a political price.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)