After its withdrawal, Britain established strategic partnerships with Gulf states involving defence, security, investment and energy interests – and the royal family played a role in safeguarding this relationship.
“The Royal Family has provided Britain with a means to forge and maintain decades-long relationships with the region’s ruling elites, particularly in the Gulf, in a way that would be difficult for political leaders elected to replicate,” Kristian Ulrichsen, a Middle East Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told CNN. “Although this has not always translated into measurable results for British interests in the region.”
The Queen had made two rounds of state visits to the Gulf region in 1979 and 2010 and images of her laughing alongside the ruling elite portrayed a strong affinity.
The number of mutual visits between Gulf Arabs and members of the British royal family is comparable to royal family visits to Commonwealth realms, Onley said. “It’s quite surprising considering that [Gulf] not part of the Commonwealth, but in many ways a de facto member… Britain is more than just a strategic ally [in the Gulf]it’s family in many ways,” he said.
The queen began her reign as Britain attempted to reformulate its relationship with countries it previously controlled, Abdel Razzaq Takriti, a history professor at Brown University, told CNN.
“During this period, the region was engaged in a massive series of anti-colonial uprisings…and attempts to overthrow British rule,” he said.
These attempts were successful, and under the reign of Queen Elizabeth Britain’s influence in the Middle East underwent a dramatic change, as colonial structures have now largely disappeared.
“The Queen’s reign can be characterized as overseeing the management of Britain’s decline as an imperial and world power, a period which was summed up by the fallout from the Suez Crisis in 1956, just four years after the start of his reign, and the struggle to rebuild Britain’s position in the region in the years that followed,” Ulrichsen said.
Takriti said it was difficult for people in the Middle East to walk away from Britain’s history when its impact lingers.
Turkish drone maker will build factory in Ukraine, says Zelensky
- Background: Baykar’s Bayraktar TB2 drone was extremely popular in Ukraine, where it helped destroy many Russian artillery systems and armored vehicles. A video posted online shows Zelenskiy presenting Bayraktar with the Ukrainian Order of Merit. In return, Zelenskiy received a traditional embroidered Ukrainian shirt with a drone.
- Why is this important: Russia has already complained to Turkey about its sale of drones to Ukraine. Turkey has not joined its NATO allies in sanctioning Russia for its war in Ukraine and has facilitated talks between the warring parties.
Greek PM wants to keep channels with Turkey open despite ‘unacceptable’ comments
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday that Athens would try to keep lines of communication open with Ankara despite recent “unacceptable” comments by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Reuters reported. He said he had always been willing to meet Erdogan.
- Background: Erdogan has accused Greece of occupying demilitarized islands in the Aegean Sea, saying Turkey is ready to “do what is necessary” when the time comes. Last week, the European Union expressed concern over Erdogan’s statements, while Greece sent letters to NATO and the United Nations, complaining about what it called “inflammatory” comments. .
- why is it important: The two countries – NATO allies but historical enemies – have been at odds for decades over a range of issues, including the start and end of their continental shelves, overflights in the Aegean Sea, the status of the demilitarized islands and the division of Cyprus.
Iran urges Saudi Arabia to show goodwill in talks to rekindle ties
Iran has no preconditions in its talks with Saudi Arabia, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday, calling on Riyadh to take a “constructive approach” to improving relations. reported Reuters. “Iran will respond proportionally to any constructive action by Saudi Arabia,” Kanaani told a televised news conference.
- Background: Last month, Tehran said a delayed sixth round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Baghdad would take place when conditions are right in Iraq. In May, the Saudi foreign minister said there had been some progress in talks with Iran, but “not enough”.
- why is it important: Tehran and Riyadh, the main Shia and Sunni Muslim powers in the Middle East, severed ties in 2016, with both sides supporting opposing sides in proxy wars across the region, from Yemen to Syria and elsewhere. The talks take place as former enemies from the Middle East move in to mend fences. Last month, the United Arab Emirates sent its ambassador back to Tehran.
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Saudi Arabia: Nazar Bahbari insults Saudi women
A renowned Saudi doctor’s research into women’s porn viewing habits has sparked controversy in the Gulf state, with many attacking the practitioner for “offending Saudi women”.
Nazar Bahbari is the director of the Saudi Society for Infectious Diseases in Jeddah which had gained a large following on social media during the Covid-19 pandemic as many logged on to listen to his advice. It has over 230,000 subscribers.
Soon, Twitter accounts run by critics of Saudi Arabia and its leaders began citing the video as evidence of the alleged negative impact of social freedoms being introduced to the kingdom. Pornography is prohibited in Saudi Arabia.
Others attacked the doctor, with the Arabic hashtag “Nazar Bahbari insults Saudi women” on Twitter.
Bahbari revealed his findings against the backdrop of growing concerns about pornography addiction, which he says hinders sex within marriage. He defended his social media research, noting that the survey only included 3,000 women, whose pornography viewing habits do not represent the entire community.
Nazar declined CNN’s request for comment.
By Nadeen Ebrahim
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