Iranian Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani has been taking the lead in the recent diplomatic rapprochement with Iran’s Gulf neighbours. Analysts suggest that Shamkhani has been recognised as a more skilled messenger than foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.
The leadership of Abu Dhabi’s two main wealth funds – the $790bn Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) and the $285bn Mubadala Investment Company – has been reshuffled, with national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan becoming chairman of Adia and Presidential Court minister Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan taking that role at Mubadala. Their brother UAE President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) had previously been chairman of both funds.
Bahraini officials issued an apology to the Cyprus House of Representatives’ speaker Annita Demetriou, after she complained that the flag of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) had been displayed alongside other national flags at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, held in Manama.
Turkmenistan’s President Serdar Berdimuhamedow was in Doha to oversee the opening of his country’s embassy, some 27 years after diplomatic relations were established between the two gas-rich countries and nine years after Qatar opened its embassy in Ashgabat.
The population of Oman has broken through the 5m barrier, as the National Centre for Statistics and Information reported in March that the population had reached 5,000,772, made up of 2,881,313 Omanis and 2,119,459 resident expatriates.
Government of Iraq in Baghdad and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil reached a new agreement on control of Kurdish oil exports on 1 April, days after the crude pipeline to Turkey was shuttered in response to an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration ruling. However, many questions remain over both sides’ longer-term approach, as well as the attitude of Turkey and international oil companies to the new arrangements.
In the late March round of appointments Sheikh Hazza lost his long-held position as Abu Dhabi Executive Council (ADEC) deputy chairman but gained the position of deputy ruler. It is not clear what powers or duties this new role will have and some analysts suspect it will be largely ceremonial.
Khalid Bin Mohammed's star has been rising for some time, as his father has awarded him a string of senior jobs, but even as the 'Bani Fatima' further consolidate their power, President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed’s favoured son still had to overcome competition from powerful rivals to secure the position of the UAE's heir-apparent.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani reshuffled the country’s security establishment in a series of decrees and orders, naming his brother and interior minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani as commander of the Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya).
Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa is to take over as chief executive of Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat from 1 May, replacing Khalid Al-Rumaihi who has been in the post since September 2019.
An unnamed Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) air defence commander has been sentenced by a Tehran military court to 13 years in prison for their role in the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS 752 shortly after it took off from Tehran in January 2018.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has partnered with British major BP in a bid to buy 50% of Israel’s NewMed Energy, the largest shareholder in the Leviathan gas field offshore Israel. The deal was presented by the partners as a first step in a potentially broader eastern Mediterranean play.
Construction work is underway on a 2,400-metre runway on Abd Al-Kuri, the westernmost island in Yemen's Socotra archipelago, according to recent satellite imagery. Local press reports have said the UAE is behind the project, but there has been no official confirmation of its involvement.
The Saudi authorities have launched a new anti-drugs campaign, amid continued concern about the use of narcotics, in particular fenethylline hydrochloride, an amphetamine better known by the brand name Captagon, which is being smuggled in large quantities into Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.
A fresh outbreak of violence in Sudan between the country’s two military strongmen, General Burhan and Hemedti, has shown the limits of UAE and Saudi influence, despite years of close involvement by the Gulf powers.
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