Castlereagh’s back catalogue includes weekly coverage of important events with a link to the Gulf.
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This week has been marked by a high-level Saudi diplomatic visit to Iraq. Taking part in the second Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid bin Abdullah al Qassabi met with Iraqi President Barham Salih to boost ties between the two countries.
Following last week’s tensions between India and Pakistan, Castlereagh Associates has interviewed an expert on South Asia, Arjun Chawla.
Last week, President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un met for the second time during the Hanoi Summit in Vietnam. This reunion followed their first encounter in Singapore in June 2018, when the two leaders accepted to start a process of normalisation of bilateral relations and pacification of the Korean Peninsula.
Yesterday, the British Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared that the UK was planning to ban the political branch of Hezbollah, Lebanon’s Shia socio-political movement. Claiming that UK authorities were no longer able to distinguish between Hezbollah’s political and military wings, the Home Secretary decided to outlaw membership or support to this group, which has for long been accused of terrorism across the world and backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Last week, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman effectuated a tour in three of Asia’s nuclear powers: Pakistan, India and China. Spending 2-days in each of those countries, the Crown Prince was accompanied by a large contingent of Saudi businessmen who looked to expand the international reach of their companies and investments.
From the 13th to 14th February, Warsaw hosted a multilateral conference inviting delegates from 60 countries, including 34 ministers. Theoretically aimed to tackle issues such as nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Syria and Iraq’s reconstruction, the main topic undoubtedly became Iran and its “nefarious activities” across the Middle East.
Theresa May does not have parliamentary confidence in her approach to securing Brexit. This is the second blow to the Prime Minister’s authority in a month. The previous setback for May was on the 15th January when 68% of present MPs voted against her Withdrawal Agreement, mostly citing the Irish backstop question as a dealbreaker.
A new report from Tankertrackers allows us to take the pulse of Iran’s oil industry three months after the full imposition of US sanctions on the country. In spite of a lower level of production of 2.9 million bpd, Iranian exports seem to have significantly increased compared to previous months. In fact, Iranian oil exports have grown by 30% from December 2018 to January 2019, from 1,100,724 bpd to 1,432,605 bpd.
As Assad forces have reclaimed the majority of Syria, the issue of reconstruction is brought to the table by countries such as China, Iran, Turkey and Russia. Increasingly, Arab states which excluded Syria from the Arab League in 2011 are considering investing in Syria to tone down Iranian influence in the Levantine country, but their financial involvement are likely to be directed toward non-Assad territories and assigned to strictly humanitarian purposes.
Since the drop in oil prices in 2014, GCC countries are undergoing extensive consolidation with the rate of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) increasing in value over the last few years. Representing 79% of deal values and 73% of deal volumes for the MENA region in 2018, the six GCC countries represent a formidable opportunity for overseas investors and are far from solely being outbound dealmakers.
The Kingdom seeks $450 billion in private investments
How future sanctions might impact Venezuela and the global oil market