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
The consensus is that Iranian actors were responsible, but the US is finding it hard to gather support for its anti-Iran policies
The weight of evidence points to Iranian culpability for the mid-June attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, but many US allies are still cautious, fearful of enabling another rush to war. The geopolitical calculations are complicated by uncertainty over who is driving policy and covert operations in Tehran
Wealthy investors would be well advised to take note of the growing use of unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA). UWOs are a power given to the NCA and a number of other bodies in January 2018, via the Criminal Finances Act 2017. London property, a favoured asset class for many Gulf nationals, is proving to be the main target of the orders so far.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo returned to the Gulf in March, amid signs the United States is pushing its allies even harder on the issue of isolating Iran, with uncertain consequences.
Russia’s foreign affairs minister Sergey Lavrov visited a number of Gulf capitals in early March, starting with Doha and Riyadh, who are locked in a diplomatic standoff that has split the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Public-private partnership is a viable option for regional governments, but such models are not without risks
Private sector healthcare provision is increasingly prevalent in the GCC, easing the cost burden on the state. But governments cannot rely on private companies to provide for all their healthcare needs.
The cost of renewable energy is now falling so fast that it should be a consistently cheaper source of electricity generation than traditional fossil fuels within just a few years, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
From 1 October, the cost of tobacco and sugary drinks in the UAE spiked upwards, with the introduction of excise tariffs of up to 100 per cent. That was merely a precursor to a more wide-ranging value-added tax (VAT), which will be introduced in early 2018 and comes in the wake of a wave of other additional costs over recent years, including subsidies being lifted on fuel, charges levied on airport passengers and paid-for parking.