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Gulf States News - Issue 1063 - 20/07/2018

UAE continues its proxy conflict against Qatar in Libya

The standoff between Qatar and its GCC-3 rivals Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE seems intractable more than a year after the embargo began, with new fronts in the dispute steadily opening up in other nearby regions. The battle for diplomatic influence and control of strategic assets in the Horn of Africa – enlivened by the UAE’s desire for military bases close to the Yemen conflict (GSN 1,055/6) – has been one notable arena. Libya has been a theatre of activity for Gulf and other regional players, notably Turkey, since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the late dictator Muammar Qadhafi. Recent manoeuvres involving Qatar and the UAE fit into what is becoming a familiar pattern.

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African Energy - Issue 373 - 12/07/2018

Shadow of debt has not yet deterred Zambia’s investors

An announcement by finance minister Margaret Mwanakatwe on 6 July that the government had completed a three-week investigation into its debt sustainability and “we know what debt we have and also we have shared the facts and figures with the [International Monetary Fund] IMF” illustrates how perilous its debt situation has become. A combination of inept governance and ugly politics means that President Edgar Lungu’s administration has lost credibility to the point that investors are sceptical of both its figures – the government claims to have $9.3bn of external debt – and its ability to get control of its finances.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1062 - 05/07/2018

Northern Emirates at play as Abu Dhabi flexes its centralising muscle

Events over last month have highlighted the strains being created by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces deputy supreme commander Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ)’s assertive political leadership of the United Arab Emirates, where he is seen as the most powerful political player, with dominant political influence in the smaller less powerful emirates. This has been reflected in British newspapers reports of the defection to Qatar of Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamad Al-Sharqi. The second son of Fujairah Ruler Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi apparently fled to Doha having taken refuge in a hotel on Park Lane, London; reports said he feared for his safety when it became apparent that MBZ was pressurising his father to change the line of succession in a family where hand-overs of rule have traditionally gone smoothly.

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African Energy - Issue 372 - 28/06/2018

Turmoil in Libya’s oil crescent threatens new blockade

The deal between the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) and Cyrenaica-based Libyan National Army (LNA) that has ensured steady oil production of around 1m b/d for the past two years has broken down, threatening a new extended blockade of oil exports, the further destabilisation of the critically weak economy and possibly the opening of a new phase in Libya’s lengthy civil war.

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African Energy - Issue 371 - 14/06/2018

Islamist attacks in northern Mozambique highlight challenges facing LNG scheme

Scores of people have been killed since late May in attacks on villages in the northern Cabo Delgado province blamed on Islamist militants. In one attack near the coastal town of Palma, the attackers abducted residents from Monjane and Ulumbi villages who were found beheaded on 27 May in nearby bush. Security forces have deployed in the area, where consortia led by Anadarko and Eni are planning big liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1061 - 07/06/2018

GCC still split as Qatar crisis enters year two, with regional alliances up for grabs

It was not immediately obvious how serious the issue would become when the Qatar crisis began with the planting of ‘fake news’ stories on the Qatar News Agency (QNA) website on 24 May 2017 (GSN 1,037/7). The region has seen plenty of divisions and arguments between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before – not least in 2014 when Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE briefly withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar (GSN 965/1). However, it soon became clear this was something different. As GSN noted in the early days of the dispute, it quickly began to look like the most consequential dispute among GCC members for years had erupted (GSN 1,038/1).

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African Energy - Issue 370 - 31/05/2018

Libya generation tenders undone by accountants and gunmen

Libya’s independent national audit authority has cancelled two power plant construction contracts worth $700m awarded by General Electric Company of Libya (Gecol) to Siemens and Turkey’s Enka Teknik in December because of irregularities in both the financing and the tender. African Energy understands that a powerful Tripoli-based militia may also have threatened violence to prevent the financing documents from being signed.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1060 - 24/05/2018

Oman bars tribal gatherings as the spectre of Dhofar rises once again

The Public Prosecution Office has vowed to take “all relevant legal measures” against anyone who helps to organise tribal meetings and gatherings in Oman, or who promotes such events on social media, in what looks to be the latest sign of a clampdown on the sultanate’s (already heavily circumscribed) political arena.

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African Energy - Issue 369 - 17/05/2018

Equatorial Guinea woos neighbours with regional gas scheme

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons and GEPetrol signed an agreement on 9 May with Noble Energy to provide additional gas as backfill for Marathon’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant as the first phase of the government’s planned Gas Megahub project.

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Gulf States News - Issue 1059 - 10/05/2018

Sanctions beckon as Trump cannot resist pulling down the Iran nuclear deal

Anew countdown has begun for Iran’s relations with the world. Following President Donald Trump’s heavily telegraphed 8 May decision that the United States would no longer honour its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the US is set to reinstate the sanctions on Iran it dropped in January 2016 when the nuclear deal was implemented.

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