Heroin mostly enters the Arab world from Afghanistan via Iran enroute to markets in Europe. Arab countries close to the main smuggling routes are the most impacted by the trade. The Syrian war has led traffickers to re-route heroin shipments via the Black Sea and Africa.
Tourism is a crucial economic sector for MENA that has been ravaged by the Covid pandemic and recovery is still a long way off.
The Gulf sultanate of Oman has seen a steady rise in pandemic numbers that, coupled with low oil prices, is presenting significant challenges.
When Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City square off in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg 28 April rival heads of state in Doha and Abu Dhabi will watch with more than passing interest.
The Saudis would like to find a path out of the Yemen war but the Houthi offensive in Marib tangles them ever deeper in a quagmire.
With the US pivoting to Asia and further disengaging from the Gulf, Abu Dhabi and the Chinese are enjoying a warm economic embrace.
Joe Biden talked about taking away the free pass human rights abusers enjoyed with his White House predecessor but politics and pragmatism, rather than human rights prevail.
Arab Digest · Qatar and Saudi Arabia: on the road to reconciliation
King Abdullah is secure after his half-brother and former crown prince is detained along with other high level figures known to have close connections to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE.
Opportunity beckons for a MENA regional security initiative but it requires a leadership role from the GCC.