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The UAE suffered significant economic shocks over the course of 2015, and now faces low oil prices, accompanying fiscal deficits, rising populations, terrorist threats and sectarian schism.
Shortly after the execution of a Shia cleric by Saudi authorities on 2 January, angry protesters attacked the Kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad, with Saudi breaking diplomatic relations the next day. As this stymies Rouhani’s efforts to open Iran to foreign investors, it begs the question of whether a domestic power struggle may be the real motive behind the attack.
After the military seized the state, there is a strategy of protectionism for military patronage – highlighted in the case of it undermining Arabtec’s housing plan
Less than a month after the nuclear deal, Rouhani challenged the Guardian Council’s ability to disqualify candidates to elected positions. Risky given the conservative camp use the Council to assert political control.
Understanding how elite networks react to the potential empowerment of newly prominent groups and their respective interests will be key in unravelling the dynamics of power in President Sisi’s administration.
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Egypt shows little sign of improvement for 2016. Its political and social status quo has been built on layers of patronage networks; the challenge for predicting economic and political opportunity in Egypt comes from assessing how these informal networks are being reconfigured.
In the aftermath of the 2013 military coup against Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi, the UAE has become the most prominent backer of the new regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The decision is a strategic one.
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As investment potential looks ahead to 2016, it is clear that several of the most pressing issues that have weighed upon decision-makers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will continue to have an effect on domestic and regional stability.
Although tax reforms have been on the government agenda since the 1990s, their implementation has repeatedly stalled, encountering strong resistance from groups reluctant to abandon their economic privileges.
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While the signing of the nuclear agreement in July 2015 marks Iran’s official return to the international stage, the unfolding repercussions of this landmark will form the background of the country’s political and economic developments for 2016.