different from oil. Vitally important to some MENA economies – Qatar, Algeria, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt.
Impressions of the Vienna OPEC meetings. Complicated interpretation of the final communiqué. All more or less satisfied, price likely to settle around $75. Long-term issues ducked.
OPEC plus Russia respond vaguely to Trump’s tweets – “need to keep prices down!” Russia plays it soft but everything hangs on Saudi Arabia.
Syria – next major fighting expected in the south-west, near Golan Heights, Israel and Jordan.
Messy developments following the May election. Alliance between Sadr and Amiri not the end of the story. US and Saudi influence down, Iranian up.
Kuwait dependent on US protection. Could be in the Saudi firing line after Qatar? A row with Kushner over Palestine.
Protest takes the form of a mass boycott of some consumer products of which prices have risen. Relations broken with Iran, cooperation with Qatar.
Asad government strengthens its position, but still faces rebels in two main areas. US does a deal with Turkey and concentrates on mopping up IS. Coalition bombing of Raqqa criticised.
Trump has reneged on the Iran nuclear deal. Aim to cut Iran down to size but without a strategy to achieve it. Other parties to the deal unlikely to play his game. Tehran’s position likely to harden, sharper confrontation with Israel, impact on world oil.
Iraq elections – Muqtada al-Sadr has the initiative as coalition building begins – a changed man? Iraq and Iran.