[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Regional and International Relations
Kuwait’s new emir asks Cabinet to stay on, despite custom
Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah has asked the cabinet to continue performing its duties. This avoids the difficulties of forming a new government ahead of elections when the cabinet will end its term anyway.
Kuwait's new emir meets senior U.S., Iranian officials
Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah met with senior US and Iranian officials who separately paid respects over the death of the state’s former ruler.
Oman reinstates ambassador to Syria after years-long hiatus
Oman is the first Gulf Arab state to reinstate its ambassador to Syria, after eight years.
Oman’s new sultan quietly makes his mark as challenges loom
Sultan Haitham has continued Sultan Qaboos’ path of neutrality in the international realm, but within the sultanate, there are economic and social obstacles that he needs to resolve.
Qatar makes a formal request for F-35 jets
Qatar has submitted a formal request to the United States to purchase F-35 fighter jets, a deal that could strain United States’ ties with Israel and their Gulf neighbors.
Saudi media softens tone on normalization, offering a clue to kingdom’s thinking on Israel
State media in Saudi Arabia is giving hints as to whether they will follow the United Arab Emirates’ and Bahrain’s lead in establishing relations with Israel.
Saudi minister stresses bringing Israel, Palestinians into talks
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister suggests any Saudi-Israeli normalization is unlikely to happen soon, and the focus should remain on bringing Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table for peace.
Saudi foreign minister hints at resolving Qatar blockade
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has signaled that progress may be underway for resolving the three-year-old rift with Qatar, following a meeting in Washington with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Saudi Arabia presides over G-20 interfaith forum
Saudi Arabia is hosting a virtual global interfaith forum, with participation from religious figures of different faiths, as part of its presidency this year of the group of twenty leading rich and developing nations.
Saudi Arabia fails to join UN human rights council but Russia and China elected
Saudi Arabia failed to win a place on the United Nations body, losing out to Russia and China, which is a severe blow to improve its image in the wake of the admitted killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Pilgrims return to Mecca as Saudi eases virus restrictions
Saudi Arabia has begun its first phase of reopening Mecca for umrah, only admitting domestic pilgrims and at thirty percent of its capacity.
Top Israeli, UAE diplomats meet in Berlin for talks
Berlin hosted the foreign ministers of the Emirates and Israel for its first talks after the signing of their peace deal and discussed broader peace efforts in the Middle East.
UAE visit to Israel may be held at airport due to coronavirus
According to Israel’s Science minister, the first official delegation to Israel from the United Arab Emirates for 20 October, may remain at the airport rather than conduct a wider visit, due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Yemen in Crisis
Marib’s Tribes Hold the Line Against the Houthi Assault
Gaining power over Marib will be a significant deciding factor in Yemen’s war, particularly for the Houthis.
Two Americans Held Hostage by Iran-Backed Forces in Yemen Freed in Trade
Two Americans held hostage by Houthis were freed on 14 October as part of a US-backed trade that returned more than two hundred of the group’s loyalists.
Yemen's warring parties start exchanging 1,000 prisoners
In the largest prisoner swap of its kind, the warring sides will return over one thousand detainees home, and help build the trust to enable prospects of fresh talks to end the war.
Yemen’s rival sides complete war’s largest prisoner exchange
The Houthis and the internationally recognized government have completed the major UN-brokered prisoner swap on 16 October, a development that could revive the country’s stalled peace process.
War and COVID-19 in Yemen
COVID-19 has added a new layer to the unspeakable suffering for millions of civilians in Yemen, Europe has failed to support the need for accountability in the conflict.
Schools Reopen in Yemen After Months of Closure due to COVID-19
The education of children in Yemen has already been severely affected by conflict, and COVID-19 has compounded the strains.
U.N. access to decaying Yemen tanker could take weeks, say sources
A United Nations team will have to wait several weeks to finalize details of the agreement and logistics to access a tanker off Yemen that has been deteriorating since 2015, which is threatening to spill 1.1 million barrels of crude oil in the Red Sea.
Funding, fuel, and ‘famine’: Unpacking Yemen’s overlapping crises
There is a significant shortfall in international funding to Yemen, which is forcing aid groups to scale back their work. The report highlights six dimensions of Yemen’s worsening humanitarian catastrophe.
Yemen’s Accelerating Economic Woes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The economic collapse precipitated by the war, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, has had profound ramifications on the value of Yemen’s domestic currency and therefore the intensification of the humanitarian crisis. This paper presents policy recommendations to address this situation for the United Nations and other stakeholders.
Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and WHO join forces with the Government of Yemen to respond to COVID-19 –
The IsDB and the WHO have partnered with Yemen’s government to provide emergency support to assist the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic through strengthening the operational and testing capacity of treatment centers.
Oman to impose value-added tax amid pandemic fallout
A five percent tax will be applied to most goods and services beginning in April 2021 to handle the fallout of the pandemic and low oil prices. Necessary items like food staples, healthcare, education, and financial services are exempted.
NCB and Samba announce merger to form Saudi Arabia’s $220 billion mega-bank
Two of Saudi Arabia’s biggest banks signed a deal for a merger, as part of the financial sector development program of Vision 2030.
Saudi Staycations Lay Bare Obstacles to Kingdom’s Tourism Drive
The resultant surge in domestic tourism has highlighted the kingdom’s shortage of tourism infrastructure.
Saudi Prince and Putin Urge OPEC+ Compliance as Oil Prices Sag
Mohamed bin Salman and Vladimir Putin reviewed their efforts to balance the supply and demand in the oil market, as energy prices come under renewed pressure from the coronavirus.
Informal Saudi ban on Turkish goods hits global fashion retailers
A de facto ban on Turkish goods by Saudi Arabia has hit global fashion brands in the latest sign of the escalating regional rivalry.
Dubai launches new residency programme for overseas remote working professionals
Dubai launched a new residency program that will allow overseas remote working professionals—and their families—to relocate and live in the emirate, while continuing to work for their overseas employer.
Reports and Opinions
COVID-19 is New Pretext for Old Tactics of Repression in GCC
GCC countries have used the pandemic as a pretext to continue their practice of suppressing the right to freedom of expression.
Israel's pact with the UAE is not about peace. It's a business deal
The “peace” agreement is foremost a business deal that establishes diplomatic relations, and cannot be taken out of the context of the US presidential election. The agreement that is written in all three languages—Arabic, English, Hebrew—were distinctively tailored to their respective audiences.
Demise of Gulf wise men bodes ill for Middle East conflicts
After the deaths of long-time leaders of Oman and Kuwait, their successors have been expected to follow in their footsteps as regional peacemakers. However, the new leaders seem more interested in asserting themselves militarily than making peace.
'To Protect Myself And My Family': Saudi Critics Abroad Fear Long Reach Of The Crown
This article details the efforts and lengths that the Saudi government is willing to go to silence rivals or dissidents, including tracking down critics who have left the country, hacking into cellphones, and arresting their relatives back home.
Hillary Clinton emails: Why the Saudi-led disinformation network is recycling old news
Tens of thousands of old tweets were repackaged to look like recent news, whereby the disinformation Twitter campaign was aimed at the US Democratic Party's alleged anti-Saudi bias.
What Would Happen If Israel and Saudi Arabia Established Official Relations?
Saudi Arabia’s recognition of Israel will risk depriving Saudi Arabia of its soft power leverage and exceptional outreach they have on Islamic and Arab states, as well as their domestic legitimacy that comes with such status.