Sheikh Mohammed was keen to initiate reforms and transform Dubai into an international trade and tourist hub while also making it less reliant on dwindling oil reserves. He thus launched several initiatives to further the emirate’s modernization and development process. Known as a man generally not satisfied with the status quo, Sheikh Mohammed’s first shake-up as prime minister came in April 2007, when he announced a strategic review of the UAE’s governance at both the federal and local government levels.
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Haftar has now secured a place in Libya’s political transition, and his demands – becoming the head of a new unified Libyan army under a central government and keeping the army out of civilian hands – will perhaps be met in future political negotiations. Consequently, the fate of the GNA, and by extension Libya’s peace and unity, looks increasingly uncertain.
Saudi Arabia’s new assertiveness has been linked in the first place to the growing influence of the king’s 30-year-old son and deputy crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. Prince Mohammad has been accumulating power since he was appointed minister of defense immediately after his father became king. He has also dominated economic policies, rocking the commodities world by announcing the creation of a $2 trillion megafund to make the country less depend on oil.
The nuclear deal was based on a basic give-and-take principle. In exchange for Iran agreeing to intrusive international inspections and monitoring, and limits on its enrichment and heavy water capacity, the P5+1 would respect Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment and remove all nuclear-related sanctions. However, the future of this quid pro quo is under threat.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 was announced on 25 April 2016 with much fanfare and received a positive reception from many quarters. In a nutshell, this ambitious plan calls for the weaning off of the country’s near total dependency on its oil resources and the introduction of a more diversified economic portfolio, with 2030 set as the target by which oil resources would factor insignificantly in the total GDP.
The low oil prices are no longer seen as only temporary. And the way things look—with continuing low demand and OPEC not fundamentally changing its position—this will not change anytime soon. “It may actually be a blessing in disguise,” says a Bahraini businessman working in Al Khobar (Saudia Arabia). “In the past, when you saw a project with a budget of 100 million, you could be sure that it could be done for half the price,” he says. “Now, costs are cut on all sides, which is a good thing.”
Historically, Saudi Arabia and Iran have not stood head-to-head, and while several factors played into the historical deterioration of relations between the two regional powers, oil was the main cause. The consequences of the economic face off are felt by both nations, and, most importantly, their populations.