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Gulf and Red Sea Regions

Stories under this heading cover the Gulf and the Red Sea regions, including the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and the countries bordering the Red Sea.

Dubai scraps 30% alcohol tax and fees for personal alcohol licences

The UAE emirate of Dubai has announced that it has scrapped the 30% tax on alcohol, and will no longer charge for personal alcohol licences.

Known as the Gulf's "party capital", where expatriates outnumber nationals by nine to one, Dubai has historically been more attractive to tourists and wealthy foreign workers than its neighbours, partially because of its tolerance of a more liberal lifestyle.

Despite this, the high alcohol tax had led to residents often driving to Umm al-Quwain and other emirates to buy alcohol in bulk.

patrickn97 Mon, 01/02/2023 - 10:33 The free market in foreign policy on display as Xi meets the Arabs
It appears that the principles of the free market now dominate the international system, not only in areas of trade, but also in defence, security and foreign policy, writes Dennis Sammut in today's Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu. Bigger countries are wooing smaller countries, unashamedly displaying their goods, and dismissing those of others. China’s president Xi was in Saudi Arabia last week, to seal China’s new partnership with the Arabs. This week, it will Joe Biden’s turn to host African leaders at the White House. "For the moment small countries are making the most out of this new free market atmosphere in the international system. But they must also keep in mind that, as in the market, demand sometimes slumps abruptly. It is at this point countries will not need just customers, but also friends."
dennis2020 Mon, 12/12/2022 - 05:29

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Intra-Yemeni consultations conclude kindling a hope for peace to country

Intra-Yemeni consultations conclude kindling a hope for peace to country

After years of intense fighting, Yemeni activists, politicians and key figures concluded a week-long consultation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia aimed at discussing ways to end the conflict. The consultations witnessed politicians from across the spectrum discussing for the first time since 2015, ways  forward for peace in Yemen. In the meantime, UN Envoy Hans Grundeberg met with a delegation of Houthis in Muscat where both sides discussed the need to re-open Sana’a airport as soon as possible and maintain the current ceasefire. It is also expected that Grundberg will visit Sana’a soon for the first time since his appointment.
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Yemeni president transfers his powers to a new presidential leadership council

Yemeni president transfers his powers to a new presidential leadership council

In a televised address, Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi relinquished his powers today (7 April) after being elected in 2012 and announced the formation of a new Presidential Leadership Council. Hadi, who had led Yemen through one of its most turbulent times, said the Council was established to complete the implementation of the transition phase and will have the authority to negotiate with the Iran-backed Houthi militia to end the war.
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Intra-Yemeni consultations kick off in Riyadh under the auspices of the GCC

Intra-Yemeni consultations kick off in Riyadh under the auspices of the GCC

Under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council, several Yemeni leaders, politicians and activists are meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for a week-long consultation aimed at ending the war in Yemen. The Riyadh consultations are considered to be the largest Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue event since the National Dialogue Conference in 2013.