Bitcoin has promised many things for Iran, not least a route to bypass U.S. sanctions, but now it threatens to be a source of problems rather than solutions. According to local media reports, the Iranian government is blaming bitcoin miners for a potentially unsustainable surge in electricity use.
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
Bahrain has had to defend itself against widespread criticism of the Palestinian economic summit it is due to host later his month, in conjunction with the United States, as the first element of the White House’s efforts to rekindle an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. The ‘economic workshop’ scheduled for 25-26 June is being shunned by the Palestinian leadership and most of its business community, as well as by China and Russia.
Further battles between the National Assembly and the executive beckon, as opposition MPs continue to raise concerns about corruption and mismanagement in ministries. Latest in the firing line are interior minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, who is being targeted for a grilling (official questioning) by MP Riyadh Al-Adasani over lax border controls, and health minister Sheikh Basel Al-Sabah, who MP Omar Al-Tabtabai wants to question over alleged corruption during the construction of the KD 179m ($589m) Sabah hospital.
An attempt by Riyadh to foster a unified front against Iran fell flat, as Doha and Baghdad both voiced their opposition. As the region marks two years since the start of the Saudi and UAE-led boycott of Qatar, the GCC is as divided as ever
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.
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.
The cost of renewable energy has tumbled even further over the past year, to the point where almost every source of green energy can now compete on cost with oil, coal and gas-fired power plants, according to new data released today.
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.