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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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Iran negotiations "take a break"

Iran negotiations "take a break"

The talks on the Iran nuclear file in Vienna have stopped for a short break. A statement by the European External Action Service on Friday (28 January) said that "the 8th round of negotiations in Vienna in the framework of the JCPOA will take a break. Participants will go back to capitals for consultations with their respective governments. The talks will reconvene next week." Media reports however suggest their is a split in the US delegation on the next steps. 
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In Tehran, at Friday prayers they hail Raisi's visit to Moscow

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Russia this week rolled out the red carpet for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. His visit included a rare invitation to address the State Duma, as well as a long meeting with president Putin. Raisi gave Putin the draft of "a document on strategic cooperation between our two countries" which he said can determine or at least clarify the co-operation between the two countries for the next two decades.
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Houthis attack on Abu Dhabi airport is a dangerous escalation

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