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Issue 491 - 26 July 1994

What Now for Yemen?


The fall of Aden to Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces on 7 July heralded the final collapse of the short-lived Democratic Republic of Yemen. Although pockets of resistance continued to hold out across the country, the capture of Aden marked the effective end of the two month-old war which left between 1,000 and 7,000 dead and between 5,000 and 15,000 wounded.


Nouriyah Al-Subaih owes her survival in office to personal ability, social change and the clout of Kuwaits recently enfranchised female electorate. Her successful battle of recent weeks to surv...

Issue 152 - 06 August 1985



The Reagan Administration has delivered to Congress the long-awaited strategic review of US arms sales to the Middle East. The study was presented at a confidential briefing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by high ranking officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials delivered a 'threat analysis' of the dangers posed to Israel by arms sales to Arab states, together with a similar analysis of external threats to Saudi Arabia and Jordan from, respectively, Iran and the Soviet Union and from Syria.

Issue 229 - 30 January 1984



DOMINATED BY THE ISSUE OF EGYPT'S RE-ADMISSION to the Islamic Conference Organisation (ICO), the 4th Islamic Summit at Casablanca was notable more for the heated controversies it engendered than the harmony it was supposed to promote.

Issue 47 - 26 May 1981



OFFICERS AND MEN of the Saudi armed forces are to receive pay increments of between 40% and 80% effective from 5 May. This is the first pay rise since 1977, and represents a major step in the government's aim to attract more personnel to the security services. Officers will be given rises of between 40% and 60% and enlisted men rises of between 60% and 80%. The director-general of planning and budgets in the the Defence Ministry, Lieutenant General Yusuf al-Salloum, said that the increments will cover personnel in the armed forces, the National Guard, the Interior Ministry and the Intelligence Directorate. (The scale of the increases is reflected in the growth of the defence and security allocation under the new budget - see Economy and Trade).

Issue 156 - 20 February 1981



APPREHENSION OVER the effects of the Iraqi Iranian war has prompted six Gulf states to form a Council of Gulf Co-operation which is intended to formulate defensive strategies to protect their own oil installations from a similar occurrence. Speaking in London recently, UAE Oil Minister Dr Mana al-Otaiba stated that his country, together with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, will develop a three point strategy which will improve land, sea and air defence systems, perimeter defence and early warning systems - the group will improve existing systems to a sophisticated level, stockpile vital equipment and spares and place strategic systems underground - thirdly possible new routes for oil pipelines will come under discussion in order to by-pass the vulnerable sea route through the Straits of Hormuz in the Gulf.


While the opposition’s triumph in Kuwait’s general election has opened the way for Al-Saadoon to stage a comeback bid to recapture the speakers’ chair, the government is trying to adjust to an election result that represented a clear rebuff to several of its most prominent figures


On 27 March, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud appointed his half-brother, Prince Miqrin Bin Abdelaziz, as deputy crown prince, in a royal decree that may have answered short-term uncertainties about the much-debated Saudi succession, but once again delayed the more interesting question of which of the next generation of princes will be the first to rise.

Issue 514 - 04 July 1995

Iran: Votes and Dollars


Iran's parliamentary elections are still nine months away but there are already signs that the Iranian political scene is undergoing significant change as potential participants prepare themselves for the campaign trail. The recent US trade embargo on Iran has had the immediate effect of bolstering the Republic's 'radicals' but Iran-watchers are detecting signs that real forces for change and 'moderation' are gathering pace.


On 15 February, a picture was circulated of Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee set up less than a week before as Houthi rebels swept aside Yemen’s established organs of power. The photograph showed him presiding over a meeting inside the presidential palace in Sanaa, and its symbolism was clear: with Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who resigned as president of Yemen on 22 January (GSN 986/11), under house arrest, Al-Houthi was effectively being anointed head of state, even as the state he was intended to govern was disintegrating around him.


Domestic human rights campaigns and international pressure have combined to persuade an increasingly imageconscious government down the path of a reform that has social and economic implications for the whole region.

Issue 666 - 24 July 2001

Across the Region


Mohammad Khatami is expected to announce Iran’s new government soon after his 5 August investiture as a second term President. Accelerated reforms are needed if his Presidency is to succeed, which may mean doing deals with conservatives while taking a harder line on those trying to bring

Issue 124 - 26 June 1984



Saudi Arabia and its fellow partners in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) have pinned their hopes on the United Nations to prevent a further escalation of the Gulf war. The emergency GCC Foreign Ministers' meeting, which met in Taif after the Iranian attacks on neutral shipping in the Gulf, decided, as Secretary General Abdullah Bishara put it, 'to pursue the path of amicable settlement and dialogue as the effective and viable means for finding positive and common background'. Bishara also reiterated the Gulf countries' deep conviction on self reliance in defence, and emphasised that the policy of 'open bridges and constructive dialogue' can never be at the expense of national interests.


President Ahmadinejads domestic support may be withering as Iranians come to terms with rampant inflation and some poor economic policy calls, but GSNs soundings in Tehran found solid support fo...


Capital from the Gulf Co-operation Council region, oil from Iraq and flourishing markets across the region are playing a key role in the efforts of President Bashar Al-Assad and his allies to reintegrate Syria into the global economy and give the country a new regional role more than a decade after the former Soviet Union’s collapse.