Region

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.

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The Emirates in mourning following the death of Sheikh Khalifa

The Emirates in mourning following the death of Sheikh Khalifa

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have started a forty days mourning period after the death was announced yesterday of the country's second president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan. Khalifa succeeded his father as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE in 2004. However since 2014, following a stroke, he has played only a symbolic role in public life, with most day to day government decisions taken by his heir and brother, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Sheikh Khalifa was laid to rest on Saturday (14 May) in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.  The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates, each of which still have control over many internal issues. However all defence, foreign policy and security issues are decided at the federal level. The accession of Sheikh Mohammed as president is not automatic, since the rulers of the seven emirates will have to meet in the next thirty days to formally elect the new president. But tradition and real politik has it that the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, by far the richest and the strongest of the seven emirates, gets the position of President.

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Fighting escalates in Yemen, whilst diplomacy fails to deliver a much awaited ceasefire

Fighting escalates in Yemen, whilst diplomacy fails to deliver a much awaited ceasefire

Fighting has escalated in the last weeks in Marib and Al-Jawf, as intense diplomacy is failing to deliver any tangible progress towards reaching a ceasefire. Both the Houthis and the coalition admitted several airstrikes conducted by the coalition on various parts of Yemen over the last week. Meanwhile, government forces say they are keeping the Houthis at bay as they defend Marib city. 
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UN Envoy in Aden in an attempt to salvage the Riyadh agreement

UN Envoy in Aden in an attempt to salvage the Riyadh agreement

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, is in Aden where he met with prime minister Maeen Abdulmalik to discuss ways to salvage the Riyadh agreement between the recognised Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC). Grundburg stressed the need to implement the Riyadh agreement noting its economic, social and political benefits. 
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Qatar holds its first ever legislative elections

Qatar holds its first ever legislative elections

Qatar has concluded its first-ever elections for the Shura Council – a consultative assembly that helps the Emir draft legislature, monitor the ministerial performance and approve the national budget. Qataris voted for 30 members out of the 45 seat council. The other 15 members will be chosen directly by the Emir. 
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Opinion
Opinion: In the South Caucasus, Tehran has its red lines too

Opinion: In the South Caucasus, Tehran has its red lines too

For 30 years, Iran has adopted a cautious approach to developments in the South Caucasus, wary of the risk of encirclement. Iran's current massive military drills on the border with Azerbaijan are meant to send a signal that Tehran has its red lines too, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
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Ethiopia expels seven UN officials accusing them of hindering aid

Ethiopia expels seven UN officials accusing them of hindering aid

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday (30 September) told seven senior UN officials to leave the country within the next 72 hours accusing them of 'meddling in internal affairs. The decision to expel came two days after the UN Humanitarian Chief, Martin Griffiths, warned of a government man-made blockade of aid that would likely lead to a famine.