Oman A visit by Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Omar to Iran has provoked speculation that it was an effort to mediate between Tehran and Washington. Sultan Qaboos is not a frequent traveller.
Qatar: storm in a World Cup Qatar under the new Amir Tamim bin Hamad has not withdrawn from the forward policies of his father but has so far not tried new ones.
The Arab Gulf States and the social media The social media were credited with an important role in the overthrow of the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in the Arab spring, and it is not surprising that other regimes view them with suspicion as a likely source of subversion.
Closing embassies On 4 August the State Department spokeswoman announced the closure of 19 US embassies and consulates, mostly in the Middle East “out of an abundance of caution”, adding that “This is not an indication of a new threat stream, merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution.”
Kuwait: elections again With all its weaknesses, the Kuwaiti parliamentary system is the most democratic in the Arab Gulf monarchies. Parliament can pass legislation and interrogate ministers, but parliaments have repeatedly been dissolved after challenging governments.
Gulf states: a crackdown? There have been a number of recent trials and arrests on political/security charges in the Gulf monarchies.
Kuwait In the latest development in the struggle between Parliament and government in Kuwait, unique in the Gulf monarchies, the Constitutional Court has again ordered Parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections to be held. A decision on the date for elections is expected imminently, and is urgently needed to end a period of political …