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Issue 936 - 22 November 2012

Saud Al-Faisal’s meetings abroad

Free

Foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal has resumed his busy schedule after returning to the Kingdom on 2 November following months abroad after surgery.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 980 - 30 October 2014

Al-Wefaq suspended for three months

Free

Bahrain’s High Administrative Court ruled on 28 October that the main opposition group Al-Wefaq was in contravention of the law, and should have its activities suspended for three months. The case against Al-Wefaq, filed in July, argued that the society had failed to hold a legal general assembly, or to make the necessary legal filings about the assembly’s outcomes; a similar case filed against Al-Waad, another opposition group, was adjourned after the defence submitted documents it said showed Waad had convened its general conference in accordance with the law, and chosen Radhi Al-Mousawi as its secretary-general.

Bahrain
Issue 934 - 25 October 2012

Kuwait: Timeline of the political crisis

Subscriber

Should Kuwait’s next election take place, as scheduled, on 1 December, it will be the sixth in a decade. Parliamentary polls have been held in July 2003, June 2006, May 2008, May 2009 and, most recently, February 2012. The following timeline notes some of the key events in the current crisis.

Kuwait
Issue 890 - 26 November 2010

Kuwait imposes UN sanctions on Iran

Subscriber

On 11 November, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) issued a circular to all local banks, investment companies and money exchanges, ordering them to freeze assets and cease dealing with Iranian financial institutions that contribute to the country’s nuclear activities, according to Kuwait’s Al-Qabas newspaper and other local media.

Iran | Kuwait
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International oil companies (IOCs) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have been eager to send out a strong ‘business as usual’ message, as the immediate threat posed by Islamic State (ISIL) to territory under the KRG’s authority has receded. ISIL’s withdrawal from some key areas has allowed a significant number of IOCs and service companies to resume operations. Even so, stakeholders in Kurdistan’s emerging oil industry and wider economy cannot disguise the fact that the risk-reward balance may have permanently shifted.

Iraq
Subscriber

The arrival of Crown Prince and defence minister Mohammed Bin Salman in Paris on 8 April proved a useful opportunity for activists to turn up the heat on the government of President Emmanuel Macron over French arms deals with Riyadh. France is the third largest supplier of defence equipment to Saudi Arabia, accounting for 3.6% of total imports in 2013-17, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri); it is comfortably eclipsed by the UK (23% of total Saudi imports) and the United States (61%).

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

The United States’ decision to withdraw its funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was intended by President Donald Trump to add to pressure on the Palestinian National Authority (PA) to buy into his administration’s ‘ultimate deal’ to reach a very Israel-friendly accommodation on decades of conflict in the region. Trump’s 31 August decision may also have been intended to add to pressure on other donors to pay more – Germany and Japan are already among those to commit new funds to UNRWA.

Subscriber

Russian-Iranian dialogue stepped up a gear in 2014, having cooled off during the tail end of Dmitry Medvedev’s 2008-12 presidency. Serious efforts have been made at the political level to give economic substance to the relationship, but with bilateral trade continuing to fall and few substantial new contracts, success is far from guaranteed. While the relationship is nowhere near the levels of co-operation seen between the Soviet Union and the Shah’s pre-revolution Iran in the 1970s, the intensity of the current dialogue is unprecedented in the history of modern Russia since 1991.

Iran
Subscriber

Abdullah Abdul Mohsen Al-Khodari Sons Company has become the latest large Saudi contractor to be pushed into bankruptcy, after a ruling by the Commercial Court in Dammam. The court decision, announced by the company on 30 May in a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), followed a request for a financial reorganisation made by one of the company’s creditors. The company announced in February that its accumulated losses were twice the size of its capital.

Saudi Arabia
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Manohar Parrikar was due to set out for the Gulf as GSN went to press, visiting Oman on 20-21 May and the UAE on 22-23 May. He is the first Indian defence minister to visit the UAE. According to Indian media reports, the trip was delayed by a few days because of “scheduling issues” or because Parrikar had been ill. The UAE and Indian air forces are due to conduct a joint exercise later in May. UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan discussed defence co-operation at a meeting with Parrikar in New Delhi last September 2015.

Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 918 - 23 February 2012

SHEIKHA MAI: Art in Paris

Subscriber

Culture minister Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa was in Paris on 20 February for the re-opening of the Institut du Monde Arabe after a three-year revamp in which it extended its Islamic art collections to cover all aspects of the Arab world.

Bahrain
Issue 1044 - 22 September 2017

Dubai signs for CSP mega-project

Subscriber

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) on 16 September announced the award of a $3.9bn contract to build and operate a 700MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant to a Chinese/Saudi consortium of Shanghai Electric and Acwa Power. The project includes a 260 meter-high tower, which the emirate government said would be the world’s tallest CSP tower.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has signed a contract with Pasargad Energy Development Company (PEDC) for the development of the Sepehr and Jofeir fields, the first time it has nominated a domestic company as the main developer on an upstream oil project.The Sepehr and Jofeir fields in Khuzestan province, south-west Iran, were discovered in 1976. The deal signed on 18 March by NIOC chief executive Ali Kardor and chief executive PEDC Mehdi Mir Moezi aims to take production to 110,000 b/d, with accumulated output of 512m bbls from the two fields over a 20-year period.

Iran
Subscriber

UK heir apparent Charles, Prince of Wales (known to his familiars as PoW), embarked on another tour of the region from 7 to 12 February, this time taking in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. Charles was in Saudi Arabia in late January to offer condolences on the death of King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz; he made an official visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar in February 2014, and a nine-day tour of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman in 2013.

Subscriber

Most investors refused to question starry-eyed statements about Dubai’s mega-investments or assumptions that oil-rich Abu Dhabi would step in if the emirate’s bold investment strategy foundered. The crisis shows that Gulf leaders can no longer shirk their public responsibilities in a globalised economy – and leaves difficult questions to be answered about other firms’ finances and the impact of likely further shifts in the UAE balance of power

United Arab Emirates (UAE)