IN 2016 Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, announced the latest stage of “Saudisation”—the replacement of foreign workers with Saudi ones. It now appears the policy does not stop at swapping out bankers and bakers, but extends to ballistic missiles. Satellite photos analysed by researchers from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and reported by the Washington Post, appear to show that Saudi Arabia has been building a factory for rocket engines, at an existing missile base in al-Watah, south-west of Riyadh
FLUSH WITH victory at home in 1980, Iran’s new rulers turned their attention abroad. “I hope that [Iran] will become a model for all the meek and Muslim nations in the world,” Ayatollah Khomeini said.
[Deutsche Welle] President Ali Bongo is returning to Gabon after receiving treatment for a stroke he had in October, government sources say. It comes a week after a coup attempt was thwarted and days after he appointed a new government.
[The Conversation Africa] The past year may have felt politically tumultuous, between Saudi Arabia’s brazen killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, the resurgence of authoritarianism in Eastern Europe and Donald Trump’s unorthodox approach to U.S.
QATAR WAS the first Arab state to join OPEC after its founding in 1960. Now it will be the first to leave. On December 3rd the emirate’s energy minister, Saad al-Kaabi, said his country was quitting the oil cartel to focus on gas production.
[RFI] Gabon’s President Ali Bongo has for the first time, since his hospitalisation in Saudi Arabia last month, appeared in two videos filmed in Rabat where he is continuing treatment for an unknown illness.
QATAR FOUNDATION stadium has no fans or grass, but the action on the pitch is frantic. Two years ago it was a hole in the ground.
[Guardian] President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Super Eagles on their qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations following the 1-1 draw against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, in Johannesburg, yesterday.
THE STREETS are quiet and the tear gas has dissipated, but no one knows for sure how many protesters were killed in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, at the end of October. The army claims six people died when soldiers stopped demonstrators from overrunning a checkpoint. Human-rights groups say at least 45 were killed—and that the demonstrations were peaceful
Bibi shakes his Qaboos TWO UNUSUAL photographs have been making the rounds on Arab social media. The first (pictured) is of Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, being received by Sultan Qaboos of Oman at his palace in Muscat on October 26th.