As Rouhani presses on with forming his new cabinet in Iran, the composition of his government is worth reviewing. The President will face a number of political battles in Tehran over the next four years and is thus reliant upon those within the cabinet: a team comprised of those he trusts most as well as those who sit at the table as a result of compromises made within the establishment.
Russia and the KRG have enthusiastically announced a new deal for oil exploitation and commercialisation. While, officially, the economic benefits of this deal are being highlighted, their political implications are much more important. This deal remains obscure and politically exposed to the Kurdish power struggle.
With Youssef Chahed ramping up the fight against corruption in Tunisia, many questions are left unasnwered. Chief among them is the Prime Minister’s intentions behind the crackdown and to what end it will be pursued going forward. The fate of the country’s businessmen exposed to the previous regime will also be determined.
Turkey and Qatar have come to the political rescue of each other twice in the space of 12 months; following the failed coup against Erdoğan in July 2016 and now as Tamim Al Thani faces a regional boycott. For investors, the bloated influence of the political sphere on commercial developments must be noted now more than ever.
In Tehran, political forces may soon turn against one another, leaving onlookers to speculate over who will suffer most in the subsequent fall-out. The President and Supreme Leader each wield considerable power in Iran, but Khamenei’s enduring influence may prove too much for the elected executive during the battle for control.
With the Egyptian presidential election less than a year away, informal power plays are already at work. Elections may give legitimacy to the idea of a democratic political transition but this is merely a façade, designed to conceal the shadow forces influencing the real outcome.
Historically, Syria has represented a safe space for armed groups that follow the regime’s line with regards to domestic and international policies. These groups are somewhat of a double-edged sword that have spread terrorism and instability in the region, to the detriment of even the Syrian regime.
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The recent political appointments in Saudi Arabia cap a period of over two years defined by change. King Salman will go down in history as ‘the reformer’ due to the volume, and audacity, of the political reshuffling he has overseen – ostensibly to force through political and economic change befitting of Saudi Arabia in the 21st century.
Sitting at the intersection of arguably the world’s busiest sea route, Egypt’s maritime sector is a flow with investment possibilities. However, opportunities must not be considered without first understanding the lay of the land. Given that the maritime sector in particular is notoriously opaque in most EMEA markets, the need to understand its governance model in Egypt is paramount.
The Mayor of Tehran is an influential position in Iranian politics; but it is a seat that has been held by the conservatives for decades. This may change with the rise of moderate Mohsen Rafsanjani, but will he give up his council seat to take the risk?
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In a jurisdiction where transparency is largely absent, Egypt’s military is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of opaque dealings. In fact, the military’s private-sector interests muddy Egypt’s investment waters to such an extent that it is thought to have a hand in almost every economic sector. The lay of the land is thus intertwined with the armed forces’ business exploits.
Subdued and on the peripheries of society, the financial interests of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite figures should not be glossed over. It is no exaggeration that President Sisi is targeting, financial or otherwise, the organisation’s most influential commercial and political personnel. While the regime goes about its business of co-opting or repressing these individuals, investors would do well to err on the side of caution when exploring opportunities with MB-affiliated entities.