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The Gulf Region & Yemen in October 2023

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October 3, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Forecasts $21 Billion Deficit (Al Monitor). Saudi Arabia expects a $21 billion deficit for the financial year ending in 2024, revising its earlier forecasts of surpluses. The deficit is attributed to oil cuts and funding for Vision 2030 projects aimed at diversifying the economy. Despite global challenges, the kingdom maintains it is in a resilient fiscal position.
  2. Gulf Nations to Invest $325 Billion in Energy Projects, UAE Leads (Khaleej Online). Gulf countries plan to spend $325 billion on future energy projects, including oil, gas, and petrochemicals. The UAE leads with 29% of the planned spending, amounting to $93.9 billion. Saudi Arabia and Oman follow with $84.4 billion and $79 billion, respectively. The region is also focusing on reducing fossil fuel dependency by investing in renewable energy.
  3. Yemen Special Forces Chief Survives Car Bomb: 6 Injured, AQAP Suspected (Xinhua). Chief Fadhal Baash of Yemen’s special security forces survived a car bomb attack in Abyan province. The attack injured six bodyguards but Baash was unharmed. Authorities suspect al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is behind the attack. The incident highlights ongoing instability in Yemen.
  4. Yemen Food Crisis Worsens: Prices Soar 300% (Yemen Online). Humanitarian organizations warn of a dire economic crisis in Yemen, particularly in areas controlled by the Internationally Recognized Government (IRG). Food prices have surged 300%, and over 50% of households in IRG-controlled areas can’t meet basic food needs. The crisis exacerbates unemployment, poverty, and malnutrition, disproportionately affecting women and children.
  5. Houthis Attack Yemen Military Camp: Drone and Rocket Strike Kills One (Sharq Awsat). Houthi militias launched a drone and rocket attack on a military camp in Yemen’s Saada province, killing one and injuring several. The attack targeted a military parade and came days after Houthis attacked Bahraini troops, killing four. The military repelled the attack, downing several drones, and warned that such actions hinder peace efforts.

October 4, 2023

  1. Sanaa Rejects Bilateral Deal with Saudi Arabia, Calls for Inclusive Negotiations (Al Khaber Al Yemeni). Sanaa has declined a bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia, insisting on the inclusion of all relevant parties. The announcement comes as Oman-led negotiations between the two sides are set to resume. Abdul Qadir Al-Murtada, head of the Prisoners’ Committee, stated that Sanaa holds Saudi and Sudanese prisoners and is open to a comprehensive prisoner exchange deal. The move underscores Sanaa’s demand for addressing key humanitarian issues before engaging in political talks.
  2. Bahraini Forces Conduct Retaliatory Operation on Saudi-Yemen Border(Al Khaber Al Yemeni). Bahraini forces have carried out an operation on the Saudi-Yemen border in response to an attack that killed several of their officers. The operation followed an investigation into an earlier attack on forces led by Yasser Majli, brother of pro-Emirati Presidential Council member Othman Majli. Saudi officers leading the investigation have indirectly implicated the Majli forces in the attack on the Bahraini unit and have requested the handover of those described as “Houthis.” Tensions are rising as Saudi leaders aim to prevent a clash between Emirati and Bahraini forces in the border region.
  3. Qatar Initiates Expansion of North Field, Aiming to Boost LNG Production by 60% by 2027 (Al Nahar). Qatar has begun the expansion of its North Field, one of the world’s largest natural gas fields, with the aim of increasing its LNG production by 60% to 126 million tons annually by 2027. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, attended the foundation-laying ceremony and emphasized the project’s role in strengthening Qatar’s global LNG production. The expansion comes due increasing demand for Qatari gas, particularly from Asian countries and Europe, which has been seeking alternatives since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  4. Saudi Arabia’s E-commerce Sector Soars with 21% Growth in Q2 2023: A Pillar of Vision 2030 (Sharq Awsat). Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce sector surged by 21% in Q2 2023, reaching 35,314 registered companies. Bolstered by digital infrastructure and government initiatives under Vision 2030, online sales hit $33 billion in 2022. The sector is poised for continued growth.

October 5, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia to Maintain Voluntary Oil Production Cut Through December 2023 (Sharq Awsat). Saudi Arabia has announced the continuation of its voluntary reduction in oil production by one million barrels per day through December 2023. This decision is an extension of a policy initiated in July 2023 and is in addition to another voluntary reduction announced in April 2023, which will last until December 2024.

October 6, 2023

  1. UAE Approves Mega Gas Project Ahead of COP28. The UAE has approved a large-scale gas project just weeks before the COP28 climate conference, sparking debates on its commitment to environmental sustainability (New Arab). 
  2. Saudi Women in Workforce Lag Behind Global Average. Despite recent reforms, the number of women in Saudi Arabia’s workforce still lags behind the global average (Middle East Eye). 
  3. Newly Planted Landmines Discovered in Yemen After Each Ceasefire. Saudi-backed Project Masam has removed over 417,000 landmines and other explosives in Yemen since June 2018. Despite truces, Houthi forces continue to lay mines, posing significant risks to civilians. The managing director of Project Masam, Ousama Algosaibi, urges international organizations to document the ongoing crisis (Arab News).

October 10, 2023

  1. Gulf States Spearhead Efforts to De-escalate Israeli-Hamas Tensions. The Saudi Foreign Minister and Iraqi Prime Minister discussed strengthening bilateral relations. Qatar’s Emir engaged in diplomatic efforts, discussing Palestine with the Turkish President and Iraqi Prime Minister, emphasizing the need to stop the escalation and protect civilians amidst the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Qatar’s diplomacy aims to prevent further violence and instability (Ahram Online, Khaleej Online).
  2. Qatar Mediates Israel-Palestinian Prisoner Swap Talks, Says Source. Qatar is mediating talks between Palestinian groups and Israel for a potential prisoner exchange, according to an anonymous Palestinian source. Palestinian groups are demanding the release of all 36 female detainees in Israeli prisons. No details have been disclosed about Israeli captives in Gaza, estimated to be over 100 (Anadolu Agency).

October 11, 2023

  1. UAE President Allocates $20M in Urgent Aid to Palestinians. Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has ordered $20 million in urgent aid for Palestinians facing humanitarian crises. The aid will be channeled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as part of the UAE’s ongoing support for the Palestinian people (Al Nahar).
  2. Qatar Holds Talks with Turkey, Iran, UK, and Jordan on Gaza Crisis. Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani discussed the escalating situation in Gaza with his counterparts from Turkey, Iran, Britain, and Jordan. The talks focused on regional and international efforts to de-escalate the conflict and protect civilians. Al Thani expressed Qatar’s deep concern and called for utmost restraint (Khaleej Online). 
  3. Saudi Arabia Calls for Urgent OIC Meeting on Gaza Situation. Saudi Arabia, currently chairing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has called for an urgent ministerial meeting to discuss the escalating conflict in Gaza. The announcement comes as the death toll rises on both sides, with the OIC condemning Israeli military aggression (Al Qudos). 
  4. Houthis Warn U.S. Against Interference in Gaza Conflict. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, leader of the Yemeni Houthi militia, warns that the group will respond with military action if the U.S. directly intervenes in the Gaza conflict. The statement comes as Israel bolsters its northern border forces, anticipating responses from other Iranian-backed groups like Hezbollah (i24).

October 12, 2023

  1. Saudi Crown Prince Engages in Diplomatic Talks with Iranian and French Presidents on Gaza Crisis.  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held phone discussions with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and French President Emmanuel Macron about the escalating tensions in Gaza. The Crown Prince emphasized Saudi Arabia’s efforts to engage with international and regional parties to halt the escalation, condemned the targeting of civilians, and expressed concern for the humanitarian situation. He also discussed lifting the siege on Gaza and restoring stability (Sharq Awsat, Akhabriya).

October 13, 2023

  1. Lavrov and Omani Foreign Minister Discuss Palestinian-Israeli Ceasefire. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and his Omani counterpart, Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, emphasized the necessity of a ceasefire in Gaza and the opening of humanitarian corridors during a recent phone conversation. The discussion revolved around Middle East peace efforts, particularly in light of the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone. Both ministers highlighted the urgency of halting hostilities and establishing humanitarian pathways to prevent further casualties and aid affected civilians and the wounded (RT-Arabic).
  2. Assad’s Overture to Saudi Arabia: Yemeni Embassy Handover Orchestrated by Iran. Syria’s decision to return the Yemeni embassy in Damascus to the internationally recognized government appears to be a calculated move to appease Saudi Arabia. Likely orchestrated by Iran, the move suggests that Assad’s regime is acting under Tehran’s directives to maintain Saudi support, casting doubt on the sincerity of the decision (Belqees).
  3. US Magazine Reports Houthi Militants Amassing Arsenal, Contemplating Israel Strikes. According to the American magazine Newsweek, Iran-affiliated Houthi rebels possess a substantial stockpile of drones and missiles and are prepared to enter the conflict, potentially targeting Israel should the situation in Palestine and the region escalate, and Iran becomes involved. The Houthi group is closely monitoring developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and expressed its readiness to join the war to support the Palestinian people’s resistance (Almashhad Alyemeni).
  4. Saudi Crown Prince Receives Calls from Global Leaders Urging Gaza De-escalation. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received phone calls from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, discussing the situation in Gaza, the necessity for de-escalation, ending the blockade, and protecting civilians. The Crown Prince emphasized Saudi Arabia’s efforts to intensify regional and international communication to halt the ongoing military escalation, including lifting the Gaza blockade, and promoting peace while ensuring Palestinian rights (Alhadath).

October 16, 2023

Expert Analysis: The Gulf region nations, especially those who have already normalized relations with Israel, find themselves in a difficult position due to the ongoing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and the rising death toll of civilians. Although Secretary Blinken conducted several discussions with Gulf leaders, no consensus was reached on Israel’s planned mission of a ground invasion into Gaza. Arab leaders were unanimous in their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor into Gaza. This unified stance has had an impact on the American administration, leading both President Biden and Secretary Blinken to caution Israel against a ground invasion.

Saudi Arabia Halts Normalization Talks, Gulf States Unite for Gaza Ceasefire and Aid. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Frahan revealed the kingdom’s decision to halt discussions on normalization through conveying the message to US officials ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit. During the meeting, bin Farahn stressed the necessity of a ceasefire in the Gaza strip and the entry of humanitarian aid. A second visit by the United States Secretary of State to Saudi Arabia followed in the next 72 hours to meet with MBS. The meeting focused on stopping Hamas attacks, securing hostage releases, and preventing the conflict from spreading. Bahrain Crown Prince Slaman bin Hamad Al Khalifa during his meeting with Secretary Blinken also stressed and echoed Saudi Arabia’s calls for the urgent need to protect civilians and ending the escalation of the conflict. The UAE’s position was not different and emphasized the calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities stressing that most of the dead on both sides are civilians. Furthermore, the International Humanitarian City in Dubai initiated an air bridge to deliver urgent medical supplies and relief aid to Gaza through Egypt and Lebanon and UAE’s President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, recently pledged $20 million in aid to Palestinians through UNRWA. 

 Yemen and Kuwait Discuss Relief Oil Shipments at International Meeting. Yemeni government ministers met with their Kuwaiti counterpart during an international conference in Marrakesh. They discussed development projects funded by the Kuwait Fund for Development and explored relief oil shipments for Yemen’s energy sector. Concurrently, Yemen’s Foreign Minister held discussions with the EU’s representatives during the Munich leaders’ meeting in Nairobi where the situation in Yemen was discussed, bilateral cooperation, humanitarian concerns, the role of Yemen’s Central Bank, and the regional developments. 

Gulf Cooperation Council Achieves 7.3% GDP Growth Despite Challenges. Secretary-General Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi Highlights Commitment to Multilateral Cooperation, with Structural Reforms Boosting Business Climate, Competitiveness, and Women’s Workforce Participation, 4.8% Non-Oil Sector Growth.

October 17, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia’s Crude Oil Exports Hit 28-Month Low in August. In August, Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports experienced a 7.1% decline, reaching their lowest point in 28 months at 5.58 million barrels per day, down from 6.01 million in July. This drop marks the fifth consecutive monthly decrease. Saudi Arabia had agreed to a voluntary oil supply cut of 1.3 million barrels per day in partnership with Russia, and this reduction in production contributed to the decline in exports. Additionally, Saudi crude production decreased to 8.92 million barrels per day in August, while inventories increased by 4.16 million barrels, reaching a total of 150.89 million (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Netanyahu and UAE Leader Discuss Regional Developments. In the first conversation between an Israeli Prime Minister and an Arab leader since the conflict began, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone call with the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. They discussed regional developments in the aftermath of the recent deadly attack by Hamas against Israeli citizens. Netanyahu emphasized Israel’s determination to destroy Hamas’ military and government capabilities while preventing harm to uninvolved parties (Anadolu Agency).

October 18, 2023

  1. OIC Convenes to Address Gaza Crisis; Saudi Arabia Calls for Aid. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an extraordinary meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the Israeli aggression in Gaza and its humanitarian impact. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan emphasized the need to lift the siege on Gaza and establish an independent Palestinian state. He also called for international action to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The meeting, attended by the majority of the OIC’s 57 member states, comes in the wake of a devastating attack on a hospital in Gaza that resulted in over 500 deaths (Al Khaleej Online).
  2. Gulf Nations Erupt in Protests Over Gaza Hospital Bombing. Public outrage has surged in Gulf countries following the Israeli army’s massacre at the Baptist Hospital in Gaza, which resulted in over 500 deaths. Demonstrations took place in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain, with calls to expel American and Israeli ambassadors. The protests also sparked online campaigns and statements from public figures condemning the Israeli aggression and Western complicity. The events have intensified the debate on international intervention and the role of the U.S. in supporting Israel (Al Khaleej Online).
  3. UAE and Russia Call for Emergency UN Security Council Meeting on Gaza. The United Nations Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting at the request of the UAE and Russia following a devastating bombing in Gaza that targeted a hospital, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The meeting comes as U.S. pressure mounts to postpone a Brazilian draft resolution aimed at bringing aid into Gaza. The U.S., which has veto power, has not yet indicated whether it will allow the resolution to pass. The situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate, with over 3,200 deaths and 11,000 injuries reported (Al Khaleej Online).
  4. Kuwaiti Public Calls for Expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Over Gaza Bombing. Kuwaitis are demanding the expulsion of the American ambassador in response to the U.S. support for Israel following the bombing of the Baptist Hospital in Gaza. The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry has condemned the attack and called for international intervention. Demonstrations have taken place in Kuwait, and a social media campaign under the hashtag “The expulsion of the American ambassador from Kuwait is a popular demand” has gained traction. The bombing in Gaza has resulted in over 3,200 deaths and 11,000 injuries so far (Al Khaleej Online).

October 19, 2023

  1. Gulf Stock Markets Decline Amid Israel-Gaza Conflict. Gulf stock markets faced early trading losses due to ongoing unrest resulting from the Israel-Gaza conflict. The Saudi index dropped by 0.4%, impacted by declines in Elm Digital Solutions Company and the National Bank of Saudi Arabia shares. Meanwhile, the Dubai index fell by 0.7%, primarily due to drops in Emaar Properties and Salik shares. Qatar’s index also decreased by 0.8%, with Qatar National Bank shares falling (SBI).

October 20, 2023

  1. U.S. Warship Thwarts Missiles Possibly Aimed at Israel. An American warship in the northern Red Sea intercepted three missiles and several drones launched from Yemen. While the Pentagon could not confirm the intended targets, it is suspected that they may have been aimed at Israel. The missiles were reportedly fired by the Iran-backed Houthi group (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Malaysia PM Advocates for ASEAN-GCC Free Trade Agreement. Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim proposed a free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at a summit in Riyadh. He emphasized that the agreement would be a first-of-its-kind and crucial for sustainable growth amid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical uncertainties (The Strait Times). 
  3. Qatar and UK Leaders Agree on Urgent Humanitarian Aid for Gaza. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed on the need for urgent humanitarian aid in Gaza and preventing regional violence escalation. The agreement occurred during a summit in Riyadh. Sunak also thanked Qatar for efforts to release hostages held by Hamas (Al Jazeera). 
  4. IDF Prepares for Houthi Attacks, Intensifies Gaza Airstrikes. The Israeli Air Force is ready to counter potential attacks from Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen while escalating its airstrikes in Gaza. IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari stated that Israel’s military is prepared for threats and has struck over 100 targets in Gaza. The IDF also ordered the evacuation of Kiryat Shmona due to rising tensions on the northern border. Three Hezbollah terrorists were killed in a drone strike (Times of Israel).

October 23, 2023

Analysis: The recent developments stemming from the Houthis in Yemen indicate Iran’s deployment of its regional proxies in the Gulf. In addition to Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq as Iranian battlefronts against Israel, the recent Houthi missile aimed at Israel and intercepted by the U.S. Navy was merely an Iranian show of force to exert influence without direct military engagement with the U.S. or Israel. What is clear now is that the Houthi militia is indifferent to whether it is listed or delisted from American designations, and that diplomacy and even sanctions are not effective deterrents against terrorism and aggression. What is also crystal clear is that all the overtures of appeasing Iran have not only proven to be failures but may also have prolonged the empowerment of what transpired on October 7, 2023. Isolationism has proven to be another failure, even for those who may not care about Israel. This is not just Israel at war; it is also a daring test of American will and resolve. How the United States chooses to correct policy mistakes will have a significant impact on Israel’s destiny. 

Intercepts: 

Yemen’s Iran-Backed Proxy Threatens Israeli Ships in Red Sea. Abdul Aziz Saleh bin Habtour, a prominent figure in the Houthi militia stated, “The Americans intercepted missiles and drones en route to the occupied territories, shooting down some of them.” He emphasized, “Sanaa will use all its capabilities to respond to the Gaza massacres,” warning that “continued attacks on Gaza could expose Israeli ships in the Red Sea to potential threats.” Hebrew media commented on Habtoor’s threat, stressing the need for a serious response to the Houthi threat against Israeli ships crossing Bab al-Mandab (Al Nahar).

Qatar and U.S. Cooperate on Gaza Prisoner Release Efforts. Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani confirmed ongoing coordination with the United States and international partners to release prisoners and de-escalate tensions in Gaza. They discussed bilateral relations, the situation in Palestinian territories, and efforts to reduce the conflict’s intensity. The U.S. Secretary of State thanked Qatar for helping secure the release of two American citizens held in Gaza. Qatar’s mediation efforts have been instrumental in facilitating these releases, with potential for more in the near future (Al Jazeera).

Saudi Arabia and South Korea to Sign $15.6 Billion Agreements. Saudi Arabia and South Korea are set to sign 52 agreements and memorandums of understanding, totaling $15.6 billion. These deals will encompass various sectors, including crude oil, energy, hydrogen, statistics, food, and medical products, strengthening their cooperation on the 50th anniversary of construction collaboration (Sky News Business). 

UAE President and Singapore Prime Minister Strengthen Partnership. UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the latter’s official visit. They discussed enhancing their comprehensive partnership, which includes economic, trade, and cooperation in various sectors such as trade, industry, transportation, logistics services, and more. Both leaders expressed a commitment to deepen cooperation and build on their strong economic and trade relations (Khaleej Online). 

Gulf Stock Markets Decline as Fed Interest Rate Fears and Middle East Tensions Persist. Gulf stock markets experienced declines as concerns mounted over the possibility of the US Federal Reserve raising interest rates. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments about stricter borrowing conditions to control inflation weighed on sentiment. Monetary policy in Gulf Cooperation Council countries often follows US Central Bank decisions due to their currency pegs to the dollar. Additionally, escalating Middle East tensions, with the US sending military assets to the region and recent events involving Israel, added to market unease (Sky News Arabia).

October 24, 2023

  1. Emirati Aircraft Allegedly Join Israeli Strikes on Gaza. France 24 has reported that Emirati warplanes are participating alongside the Israeli Air Force in airstrikes on Gaza, causing casualties among Palestinians. Recent intelligence suggests that private Emirati planes have conducted repeated secret flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, further implicating the UAE’s involvement in the ongoing Israeli war in Gaza. The UAE has openly supported Israel diplomatically and in the media, while also assisting in mobilizing Israeli reserve soldiers. This marks a significant departure from traditional Arab support for Palestine (26sep).
  2. Yemeni President-In-Exile Attributes Attack on Israel to Houthi Militants. Yemen’s Houthi group has pushed the acting government’s president in Sanaa to claim responsibility for the attack that the U.S. defense had announced foiled off the Red Sea coast, suggesting it was possibly targeting Israel. The Houthi leadership didn’t officially claim the attack, raising questions about the event. Experts doubt Houthi capabilities to launch missiles on U.S. ships or Israel, considering it a political move to justify potential strikes on Gaza and disrupt Arab solidarity with Palestine (Mareb Press).

October 25, 2023

  1. Iran-Backed Militia Threatens UAE and Kuwait in Response to Israel-Hamas Conflict. The Iran-backed militia, Alwiyat al-Waad al-Haq, has issued threats to target American bases in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in retaliation for the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. This move comes as part of increased tensions across the region, with Iran-backed militias issuing threats against Israel and the US, and carrying out various attacks, including rocket and drone strikes on US forces in Syria Qatar Rejects Israeli Accusations While Mediating for Hostage Release in Gaza and Iraq (Jerusalem Post).
  2. Qatar Rejects Israeli Accusations of Politicizing Aid to Gaza. Qatar’s UN representative dismissed Israeli claims of politicizing aid to Gaza, emphasizing the need for cooperation to end violence. Concurrently, Qatar and the US are mediating talks between Hamas and Israel for the release of over 200 civilian hostages in Gaza. Qatar urges Hamas to expedite the release of women and children, arguing it would ease logistical burdens and improve Hamas’ international image (Khaleej Online, Jerusalem Post). 
  3. Saudi Non-Oil Exports Decline by 23.4% in August. Saudi Arabia’s non-oil commodity exports fell by 23.4% YoY in August, attributed to a decline in petroleum exports by 27.1%. While exports increased by 11.3% compared to July, they reached 102.4 billion Saudi Riyals, or approximately $27.3 billion (SNA Business).
  4. Yemeni Missiles Reach Palestine, Israel Officially Confirms: ‘We Were Targeted. Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, acknowledged that they were struck by a missile attack from Yemen during a UN Security Council session on Gaza. He suggested that the attack was linked to Sanaa and the Houthi movement. Cohen reiterated threats against Hamas and affirmed continued aggression against Gaza. The warnings from Yemen triggered Israeli media to take the Yemeni threat seriously, including potential missile launches from Yemen and Iraq in response to Israeli attacks on Gaza (Aljadeed Press).

October 26, 2023

  1. Gulf Stock Markets Fall as Middle East Conflict and Interest Rate Worries Persist. Gulf markets slump as Middle East conflict and interest rate concerns persist. The Saudi stock index dropped 0.7%, influenced by a decline in Saudi Aramco and Ma’aden Mining shares. Arabtec Construction Services rises over 5% after signing a 10-year contract. Dubai’s main index falls 1.1% due to a decrease in Emirates NBD. QNB Al Ahli Bank shares decline 1.1% in Qatar. Immune Complex shares plummet by up to 7.6% after announcing sharp net profit decline (Banker).
  2. Hurricane Tej Devastates Yemen: Over 40 Casualties and Thousands Displaced. Cyclone Tej has wreaked havoc in southeastern Yemen, resulting in 42 dead and injured, and displacing over 13,000 people, more than half of whom are children. Al-Mahra was the hardest-hit governorate, with two deaths and 40 injuries. The cyclone also damaged 500 homes and prompted UNICEF to prepare medical and nutritional supplies (Al Hadath). 

October 27, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia’s Enigmatic Absence from the Israel-Hamas Conflict. While the world saw progress in hostage releases by Qatar and Egypt, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s focus appeared elsewhere as he engaged in discussions about hosting the Esports World Cup with Cristiano Ronaldo. This article questions his diplomatic involvement in the Israel-Hamas conflict (Foreign Policy). 
  2. Jared Kushner Highlights Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh. The seventh edition of the “Future Investment Initiative” (FII7) conference in Riyadh concluded with more than 6,000 participants from over 90 countries. The event covered various topics, including investment, technology, aerospace, biotechnology, and more. Speakers discussed the potential of artificial intelligence, with global investments in AI expected to reach $200 billion by 2025. The conference also addressed carbon markets and the governance of environmental and social risks, with total investments announced at the event reaching approximately $17.9 billion in various sectors. Jared Kushner was among the notable attendees (Sharq Awsat). 
  3. Gaza Conflict Raises Concerns of Yemen Peace Deal. Saudi officials fear that the Houthi support for Hamas in the Gaza conflict may jeopardize the Yemen peace agreement. Saudi Arabia’s strategic alignment with the United States against the Hamas alliance could lead to renewed conflict with the Houthis. The recent Houthi missile launch raised concerns about the peace agreement’s viability. Yemeni factions also have reservations about the proposed agreement, and there are doubts about the Houthis’ willingness to end the war while they continue attacks (Al Arab). 
  4. UAE and Saudi Markets Gain $167 Billion in Q3. During the third quarter of this year, the UAE and Saudi financial markets led Arab stock exchanges, generating approximately $167 billion in market gains, as reported by the Arab Monetary Fund. Saudi Arabia’s financial market saw gains of about $134.1 billion, while the UAE markets, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, gained approximately $32.5 billion. Other Arab markets also experienced gains, contributing to a positive overall performance in the region (Sky News Arabia).
  5. Qatar to Reassess Hamas Ties Following U.S. Talks, Israeli Hostage Crisis in Focus. Qatar is considering a review of its relationship with Hamas, following discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The move comes as Washington pressures Qatar to change its stance on the Gaza conflict. The potential reassessment raises questions about the future of Hamas leaders in Qatar and could impact ongoing negotiations, including peace talks and prisoner exchanges (i24, Al Nahar, Euro News).

October 30, 2023

Gulf Nations Amplify Calls for Gaza Ceasefire Cites Regional Security Concerns. The Arab Parliament‘s call for the implementation of a UN ceasefire in Gaza, led by its president Adel bin Abdul Rahman Al-Asoumi, reflects a broader regional sentiment against Israel‘s military actions and emphasizes the need for international intervention. This sentiment is echoed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who has been in talks with his counterparts in Egypt, Jordan, Iran, and Morocco. The discussions have focused on the need for international pressure to halt the military escalation in Gaza and to ensure humanitarian aid access. Adding another layer of complexity, Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman is set to visit Washington for high-level talks, signaling Saudi Arabia’s active engagement with the U.S. amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The United Arab Emirates has also called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting to address the situation, a move that comes as casualties in Gaza continue to rise. The Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General, Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, has expressed concern over Israel’s actions in Gaza, describing them as “barbaric warfare.” He emphasized that the Gulf countries are committed to ending the Palestinian people’s plight, irrespective of any regional normalization efforts with Israel. In a significant development linking the Gulf to the wider regional conflict, Israel has accused Yemen’s Houthi group of launching missiles and drones that struck Egypt. These attacks were originally aimed at Israel, according to both Israeli and Egyptian military spokesmen. This has led to heightened security measures in Egypt and indicates a complex, multi-layered regional security environment where conflicts are not isolated but interconnected.

October 31, 2023

  1. Thailand Turns to Qatar and Egypt for Help in Resolving Hamas Hostage Crisis. The Thai Foreign Minister embarks on urgent visits to Qatar and Egypt to discuss the fate of 22 Thai citizens held by Hamas in Gaza since the group’s attack on Israel three weeks ago. This comes as Thailand intensifies efforts to secure the release of these hostages (Sky News Arabia).
  2. Mossad Chiefs Secretly Visit Qatar to Discuss Gaza Hostages. Mossad Chief David Barnea and former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen made a secret trip to Qatar to meet with Qatari leaders and discuss the ongoing hostage situation in Gaza. The details and results of the visit have not been disclosed yet (Jerusalem Post).
  3. Israeli Airline Suspends Gulf Airspace Routes. Israel’s “El Al” airline has halted flights through Gulf airspace due to security alerts. Flights to Thailand now avoid Saudi Arabia and Gulf states, lengthening travel time. This comes amid increasing regional tensions following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and Oman’s cancellation of an agreement allowing Israeli flights to cross its airspace (Alkhaleej Online).
  4. Iranian Foreign Minister Visits Qatar for the Second Time Since the Gaza War. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, visited Qatar for the second time since the Gaza conflict began. He delivered a message from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, discussing regional and international matters, particularly the situation in the Palestinian territories. Qatar plays a mediation role in seeking a ceasefire in Gaza amid ongoing Israeli airstrikes (Alkhaleej Online).
  5. Oman Calls for Israel’s Trial Over Gaza Crimes. Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Albusaidi, has called for an independent investigation and trial of Israel for its deliberate targeting of civilians during the Gaza conflict. Oman continues its diplomatic efforts to halt the Israeli aggression and condemn its violations of international law, emphasizing the need for a ceasefire and the protection of innocent lives (Alkhaleej Online).

 

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