Defence & Security

Shipping threats provide rough introduction to Johnson administration

The UK’s new Brexit-driven government is weakened by domestic political turmoil and finding it hard to identify a credible response to Iran’s threats to shipping. While a majority of senior ministers in Boris Johnson’s administration lack experience in high office, many of them know the Gulf fairly well. Meanwhile, an under-resourced Royal Navy cannot act alone, posing questions about whose alliance to join

Iraqi PM clamps down on militia

Prime Minister Adil Abdel-Mahdi on 1 July moved to assert his authority over the country’s many semi-autonomous militias, known as the Hashd Al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Units or PMUs), issuing executiveorder no.37 stating that they be integrated into the national armed forces by the end of the month, continuing a process begun by his predecessor Haider Al-Abadi.

Withdrawal of Emirati forces from Yemen isolates Riyadh

The UAE has been scaling back its military commitment to Yemen, in an unannounced move which appears to have been at least partly prompted by the Hodeidah peace agreement between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi signed in Stockholm in December.

Saudi and UAE allies search for loopholes to continue arms sales

Western allies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are having to get creative in order to continue delivering weaponry to the Gulf. The United States and United Kingdom governments are both seeking loopholes to be able to fulfil previously agreed contracts. However, some deals continue to be held up, notably in France where another shipment of arms destined for Saudi Arabia has failed to leave port.

How The Gulf's Appetite For Shisha Is Fuelling One Of The Deadliest Terrorist Groups In The World

Someone relaxing in a Gulf café by smoking a shisha pipe may not realise it, but the burning coals carefully placed on top of the hookah to heat the tobacco are not just fuelling their pleasure; they are also helping to fund a campaign of violence in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Iraq: Air base contracts under scrutiny amid bribery claims

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating allegations of bribery involving Iraqi government officials, a US contractor and a Kuwaiti-based but Iraqi-owned subcontractor linked to former prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki. The corruption claims – which first emerged in filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in late 2018 by Caliburn International – centre around Balad Air Base, where Caliburn subsidiary Sallyport Global Services has won a series of large contracts in recent years.