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Issue 1130 - 15 July 2021

Tehran replaces UK ambassador

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Deputy foreign minister for international and legal affairs Mohsen Baharvand took over as Iran’s ambassador to London on 6 July.

Iran
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Gulf allies were in attendance to watch Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi inaugurate the 3 July Naval Base at Ras Gargoub, 140km east of the Egypt-Libya border on July.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Bahrain
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The United States State Department on 1 July approved a request from Kuwait to buy $445m worth of heavy tactical vehicles, along with support, spare parts and related equipment. The order covers 517 vehicles including 100 fuel tanker trucks and 188 guided missile transporter trucks to perform resupply missions.

Kuwait
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Defence minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman (KBS) Bin Abdelaziz was in Washington in early July for an extensive series of meetings with all the key figures from the Biden administration.

Saudi Arabia
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The merger of Saudi banks Samba Capital and National Commercial Bank (NCB) was formally completed on 11 July, with Samba rolled into NCB and the enlarged group adopting the new name of Saudi National Bank.

Saudi Arabia | Oman | Qatar
Issue 1130 - 15 July 2021

UAE: Yahsat listing raises $760m

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Shares in Al-Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) made a strong debut on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on 14 July, when its share price rose by 13% in early trading before settling back. Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company raised Dh2.7bn ($731m) in the initial public offering (IPO) of the satellite operator, making it the second largest listing on the bourse after Adnoc Distribution’s $851m IPO in 2017.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS)’s favoured vehicle for implementing economic change and promoting new-look Saudi values, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has proved a source of fascination for foreign analysts and consultants as it transitioned from a fusty state investor into the developer of ‘giga-projects’ and much more.

Saudi Arabia
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Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdelaziz (MBS) ordered SR3.74m ($997,000) to be handed out to nearly 200 men and women around the kingdom as a marriage subsidy.

Saudi Arabia
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Risk grade - B↓2↓ Overview Politics: Governed by the Al-Sabah family since the 18th century, Kuwait gained independence from Britain in 1961, with a constitution confirming the hereditary monarchy but giving significant powers to an independent judiciary and elected assembly.

Kuwait
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On 22 July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated a new oil pipeline running from Goreh in Bushehr province to a terminal at Jask in Hormozgan province, on the Gulf of Oman. The 1,000km, 42-inch link provides a strategically important new export outlet for Iranian crude.

Saudi Arabia | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel
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Rahbar (Supreme Leader) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Rear Admiral Shahram Irani to command the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (Nejada), in succession to Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi. Unprecedented for such a senior armed forces command position, Irani is a Sunni.

Iran
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Qatari ambassador to Afghanistan Saeed Mubarak Al-Khayarin played a significant personal role in the evacuation of Kabul, in an effort that prioritised journalists, activists and female students – and which received very positive coverage from the sort of media Doha likes to cultivate.

Qatar
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Ruler of Sharjah Sheikh Sultan Muhammad Al-Qasimi appointed Sheikh Sultan Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al-Qasimi as deputy ruler of the emirate, in emiri decree No 25 of 2021, issued on 9 August.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1132 - 02 September 2021

Saudi Arabia: Potential mediation effort

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Foreign minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan said on 27 August he had made phone calls to his Algerian and Moroccan counterparts, in the wake of heightened tensions between Algiers and Rabat, suggesting Saudi Arabia may be offering its good offices to mediate.

Saudi Arabia
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Ten Royal Saudi Land Force students completed a gruelling officer training programme at the Far Eastern Higher Combined Arms School (Dvoku), in the far east of Russia, in July, along with peers from Russia and eight other countries, including Namibia, Angola and Kyrgyzstan.

Saudi Arabia