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State-owned Saudi Arabia Military Industries (Sami) announced on 7 November that it had signed a joint venture with Spain’s firm Navantia to produce five Avante 2200 corvettes. It is the first major arms deal to make progress since the Jamal Khashoggi affair came to light; given that a €2bn ($2.3bn) contract was inked by the two sides in July, the decision to stage another formal signing at this time was perhaps motivated more by Riyadh’s desire to portray a sense of ‘business as usual’ rather than any commercial imperative.

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

In a major revamp of the domestic defence industry, “more than 25” local companies and 12,000 staff have been brought together into a new umbrella group called Edge. The new group includes subsidiaries of Emirates Defence Industries Company, Emirates Advanced Investments Group and Tawazun Holding, who together have some $5bn in annual revenues. To date only 23 entities have been named, including small arms maker Caracal, armoured vehicle firm Al-Nimr and electronic warfare player Sign4l.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1053 - 08 February 2018

Bahrain: Review of UK security pact

Subscriber

Interior minister Lieutenant-General Sheikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa travelled to the UK in late January for talks with government ministers and backbench MPs, in an effort to impress upon London the terrorist threats his government says it is facing.

Bahrain
Free

Sweden’s defence minister quit last week after outcry at government plans to help Saudi Arabia build a weapons plant. Swedish outrage at the idea of signing military agreements with undemocratic countries is admirable; British and US newspapers have also recently decried massive arms deals to the Gulf. But arguably, the provenance of weapons – while important to the domestic politics of source countries – is only a sideshow.

Saudi Arabia | Bahrain
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The campaign of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to stay in office at the head of a new administration has been given fresh impetus with the support of a number of former enemies. Iran has timed a switch of policy to support

Iraq
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Despite the cooling of relations after 9/11, the Kingdom has worked hard to maintain close security ties to the US, and mutual hostility towards Iran will further deepen the relationship. The death of Crown Prince Sultan, the longstanding defence and aviation minister, marks the end of a remarkable career during which he worked with 13 US defence secretaries.

Saudi Arabia
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A report by the Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat that the suspected mastermind of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing had been handed over to Saudi authorities threatens further complications in Riyadh’s relations with Iran and the United States, ahead of congressional votes on the nuclear deal and President Barack Obama’s scheduled 4 September meeting with King Salman Bin Abdelaziz at the White House. Ahmed Al-Mughassil, a senior leader of Iranian-backed Saudi group Hizbollah Al-Hijaz, had been living in Beirut under Lebanese Hizbollah’s protection.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1094 - 13 December 2019

GCC security academy by 2023

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The Gulf Co-operation Council is moving forward with setting up a long-planned Gulf Academy for Strategic and Security Studies, to be funded equally by the six member states from 2022 onwards. The academy is due to start offering courses from the 2023/24 academic year, according to the final communiqué issued at the end of the 40th GCC Supreme Council in Riyadh on 10 December

Subscriber

UAE joint defence committee with US; Mayall tour of UAE and Yemen; Yemeni coastguard base on Miyoun Island

Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1057 - 17 April 2018

Saudi Arabia: US approves $2.4bn deals

Subscriber

A number of large defence contracts were unveiled between Saudi Arabia and the United States, during the visit of Crown Prince and defence minister Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) in late March/early April – a noted contrast to the lack of deal making during his visit to the UK earlier in March, where the only development was a commitment to continue discussing an order for Typhoon jets. The American deals totalled close to $2.4bn and came in two batches. The largest element was a $1.3bn order for howitzers announced by the State Department on 5 April.

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

Amid all the talk of war on Iran, it is worth noting that Israeli deputy foreign minister Daniel Ayalon took the time last week to distance his country from any notion of imminent conflict.

Iran | Israel
Issue 1040 - 07 July 2017

UAE: Border patrol aircraft deal

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The UAE is reportedly close to finalising a deal with US-based Iomax to buy 12 more Archangel border patrol aircraft, with options for a further dozen, according to defence industry specialist Jane’s.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 962 - 23 January 2014

UAE: Plans to start conscription

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The UAE plans to introduce compulsory military service for all males aged 18-30. The cabinet endorsed a draft federal law to that effect on 19 January and has submitted it to the National Federal Council (FNC); the length of service is to be set at two years for those who have not completed high school, and nine months for those who have. National service will be optional for women. The news came as a surprise, though it has been several years in the making. One source noted that, a couple of years ago, an official delegation went to visit army recruitment centres in Switzerland to look at how the Swiss ran their programme

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Widening their scope of operations, Somali pirates are posing an ever greater challenge to regional governments. While energy producers are rethinking their export strategies, governments are concerned that the Horn of Africa’s instability will encroach on the Gulf region’s southern flank. Yemen is especially vulnerable as the collapse of export revenues piles further pressure on President Saleh. GSN analyses developments in the Gulf of Aden, Somalia and Yemen, and talks exclusively to the Southern Movement’s new figurehead Ali Salem Al-Baydh.

Somalia | Yemen
Issue 1025 - 03 November 2016

Bahrain: Gulf security exercise

Free

Gulf Co-operation Council countries began the Gulf Security 1 exercise on 26 October in Prince Naif Security City, Bahrain. The drill is a collaboration by GCC interior ministries and is intended to improve preparedness for security events and to develop co-operation and co-ordination between the GCC member states’ forces.

Bahrain