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 UAE’s plans to develop a new generation of military surveillance capabilities suffered a setback on 11 July, when an Arianespace Vega rocket carrying its French-built Falcon Eye 1 satellite deviated from its course two minutes after launch and was lost.
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.
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 Arabian Military Industries (Sami), the defence arm of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s favoured investment vehicle the Public Investment Fund (PIF), stepped up its deal-making activity in late June, with a string of acquisitions and joint ventures.
The consensus is that Iranian actors were responsible, but the US is finding it hard to gather support for its anti-Iran policies
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.
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.
Despite the instability in several corners of the region, many governments have been trimming their defence budgets
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.