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Diplomatic solution sought to Iranian threat to shipping

A seven-member delegation from the UAE Coast Guard led by Brigadier General Mohammad Al-Ahbabi made an unexpected trip to Tehran on 30 July to meet their Iranian counterparts, according to local media reports in Iran (but unannounced by the UAE...

Mixed signals over region’s tolerance for alcohol

Rules governing alcohol consumption have long varied from Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member state to state, as governments try to balance local sensitivities with the demands of the tourism industry and a desire to appear open to the world....

Qatar’s exchange of ambassadors with Amman marks turning point

The appointment by Jordan in mid-July of Zeid Mufleh Al-Lozi as ambassador to Qatar ends a period of reduced diplomatic representation between the two countries. At the same time, Jordan approved Qatar’s nomination of Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Bin...

Oman: Mystery continues over budget numbers

Given an unusual delay in the delivery of official figures, economists are struggling to work out how Oman fared in 2018 and what the impact was on the government’s finances. At this point in the year, official data for the preceding year would...

Jordan backed into a corner, goes on the offensive to court Gulf allies

Jordan has been facing protracted pressure from its key international ally the United States, as well as from Saudi Arabia and the UAE acting in tandem, to sign up to the US administration’s plan to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, as led...

Shipping threats provide rough introduction to Johnson administration

The drama affecting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz is not quite yet a full-blown crisis – characterised as it is by plausible deniability for Iran on attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman and dubious claims on the legality of other vessels...

Bahrain/Qatar: Al-Khalifa organise mass show of allegiance

Close to 190 Bahraini tribes and families have issued statements condemning Qatar and stressing their allegiance to King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, all reported by the official Bahrain News Agency. Many of the statements have named the “seditious...

Riyadh and Manama set up bilateral body

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have formed a co-ordination council, in a move that echoes the Saudi-Emirati Co-ordination Council set up in late 2017. It suggests that Riyadh remains intent on developing more bilateral channels to augment or even...

Yemen: UAE pulls back as war continues to wreck lives

UAE drawdown: UAE officials have confirmed the Emirates are reducing their military commitment, in the process starting a new phase in the war. The extent of the UAE drawdown remains unclear. Most of the focus has been on a scaling back of...

British ministers’ regional exposure

Many of the senior figures in the new UK government have at least some experience of Iran and the Arab Gulf countries. GSN has rounded up some of the formally reported contacts. Informally, what is traditionally a very close relationship –...

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