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Oman: UN rapporteur criticises human rights

The UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, has criticised what he described as a “pervasive culture of silence and fear affecting anyone who wants to speak and work for reforms in Oman...

Iraqi Kurdistan: IOCs return and hope for exports

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...

Iran: Khammei defies the rumour mill

Reports suggesting that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s illness could lead to a major internal power struggle within the next few weeks, if the rahbar (supreme leader) departed the political scene, were premature. Khamenei (born 17 July 1939 in Mashhad...

Kuwait: Opposition Subdued

Kuwait has traditionally had the most active opposition movement in the Gulf, and barely two years ago was the scene of massive anti-government protests, leading Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah to warn against “chaotic sedition” and anounce...

Saudi Arabia: Solar energy on the agenda again

Contractors are looking at a major new business stream from ambitious projects to exploit Saudi Arabia’s outstanding solarity (some 4,000 hrs/yr of sunshine, and average annual solar irradiation exceeding 1,800kWh/m2); conference organisers are...

Governments seek response to drug trade

Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) and other regional trading centres have long been at the centre of the narcotics trade’s financial links to the world’s number one opium producer, Afghanistan. According to international organisations, including...

View: ISIL ‘vision’ is an abuse of history


The picture across the Middle East is somewhat bleak, as GSN heads off for its brief summer break. The conflict in Gaza may be some way from the Gulf, but the brutality of Israel’s assault reverberates across the whole...

Museveni rule defines polital settlement behind Ugandan oil sector

The development of Uganda’s oil resources, from the upstream production undertaken by Tullow Oil with partners CNOOC and Total, to downstream plans to build a refinery has taken much longer than investors would have liked, amid disagreements...

DR Congo: Global Witness report renews Soco criticism

A 4 September report by anti-corruption campaigner Global Witness has repeated claims of misconduct by Soco International and its contractors in their quest to explore in the Virunga national park. The report, based in part on material gathered...

Rise in Libyan oil production threatened by deepening divisions

The formation of rival governments in eastern and western Libya threatens to drag the country into a full-blown civil conflict even as oil sector activity has reached levels not seen for more than 12 months. The official government appointed by...


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