Bottom Line Up Front The latest attack by Houthi rebels against Saudi oil and gas infrastructure involved ten drones equipped with improvised explosives. The Saudis have achieved none of their goals in Yemen, while Iranian influence in the conflict, including Tehran’s support of the Houthis, has increased over time. ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In a region where popular democratic revolutions have repeatedly been marginalized or crushed through force, Sudan appears to be on the brink of achieving something remarkable. The new agreement still leaves the military with too much power but the deal sets into motion a move ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Amidst escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf, officials from the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) recently met with their counterparts in Iran to discuss maritime security. Both the United States and the United Kingdom are exploring potential options to increase maritime security in the Gulf. Unlike ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The situation in Yemen continues to devolve into anarchy, with Emirati-trained forces battling troops from the Saudi-supported internationally recognized government. Fighters from the Southern Transitional Council (STC), whose objective is to secede from Yemen, seized control of military bases and government installations in Aden, one ...

  The withdrawal of UAE troops from the disastrous war in Yemen is forcing Saudi Arabia to shoulder more of its own burden. There is not likely to be a serious public rift between the UAE and Saudi Arabia; the two still share a common vision of a Gulf region ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The United Arab Emirates has dumped weapons into conflict zones throughout the Middle East. Given how unstable the situation in Libya remains and the more external actors involved, the more prolonged and bloody the conflict is likely to become. Following the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Following months of fighting, Sudan’s current ruling military government and the political opposition have forged a power-sharing agreement.  What happens next in Sudan will depend in large part on the rivalries and divisions that characterize the current regime, which is far from a monolith. One ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On July 5, the U.N. Security Council issued a statement condemning an airstrike on a migrant detention camp in Libya that killed 53 people. Despite the 2011 U.N. arms embargo in Libya, countries like the UAE and Turkey continue to provide heavy weapons to the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While the UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi is now seeking to distance itself from Riyadh on critical issues of foreign policy. Following a string of tanker attacks believed to be perpetrated by Iran, the UAE cited a lack of evidence ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Pro-democracy protesters in Sudan reemerged in full force to demand a transition to a civilian-led government; demonstrations were met with widespread violence. After Sudan’s longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir was deposed in April, a military government seized power, backed by external forces including Saudi Arabia and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Since April, Houthi rebels have conducted at least ten separate missile or drone strikes on Saudi targets, including airports, oil pipelines, and other energy infrastructure. Despite boasting the world’s third largest military budget, the Saudis’ Patriot missile-defense system has performed inconsistently in the face of ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On June 13, two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were damaged by apparent sabotage, as explosions ripped through the side of the ships. The U.S. has publicly blamed Iran for the attacks, as well as for similar incidents in May. American allies have ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Civilian pro-democracy protesters were gunned down on Monday by Sudanese security forces in Khartoum, the country’s capital. According to various media reports, at least thirteen protesters were killed and approximately 200 injured. Concerned about pro-democracy protests spreading beyond Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Trump administration is reportedly considering designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). Given the history of the group and its deep roots in society and religion, the designation would complicate existing issues and comes with significant drawbacks. The Muslim Brotherhood is ...

The anti-regime convulsions currently underway in Algeria and Sudan are the latest version of an “Arab Spring” that erupted in 2011 and that Arab autocrats and their security regimes ultimately quashed. The massive street protests in Algeria and Sudan forced the presidents of both countries—Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Omar al-Bashir—to resign. ...

It’s difficult to feel anything other than disappointment after reading Reuter’s investigation of activities by a U.S. contractor in the UAE.  The allegations that former NSA analysts working for a private U.S. contractor may have aided in the surveillance of U.S. citizens raises troubling issues about the activities of private contractors ...

In the second part of a Cipher Brief two-part series on the significant implications of the battle for Hodeida, Cipher Brief Expert Norm Roule, who is also the ODNI’s former National Intelligence Manager for Iran, shares his secrets for understanding how today’s actions are influenced by the past and how ...

The failure of the recent Gulf Cooperation Council 2017 summit to resolve the six-month long crisis that pits Qatar against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain obscured a little-known outcome of the meeting—that the council at least agreed on several mechanisms to move forward. In the end, the ...

The U.S. and its Gulf allies have clawed back Yemeni territory from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has exploited the Yemeni conflict to expand, Gulf military officials tell The Cipher Brief. Troops from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have paired with U.S. advisors and Yemeni forces to ...

Nearly five months on, the “crisis” between Qatar and a coalition of nine countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has reached a relatively stable equilibrium. The countries’ resultant blockade of Qatar - over its alleged support for terrorist groups and ties to Iran – has not ...

The use of cyber capabilities to influence geopolitical confrontations has become more and more common. Even those countries who are not major global powers are turning to digital avenues to engage in information warfare and covert influence. The Cipher Brief’s Levi Maxey spoke with Rhea Siers, the former Deputy Associate Director ...

More mixed signals have emerged on the rift between Qatar and some of its Arab neighbors, as a new report citing U.S. intelligence officials says the United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari websites to post false information that spurred the region’s diplomatic crisis. Qatar has said its state ...

The crisis between an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side, and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar on the other, shows no signs of abating. Qatar has responded to the list of 13 demands presented to Doha last month. At a meeting ...

Two weeks have passed since I wrote the column about the Saudi-Qatar split, and as of today the Trump administration seems still unable to get its mixed messages together so Washington can play the traditional U.S. leadership role in keeping its Gulf partners together. While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ...

Recent years have witnessed a series of increasingly audacious and unprecedented cyber attacks, leading up to the recent accusations of Russian hacking throughout last year’s U.S. presidential election season. In the Middle East, the Gulf region has also experienced its fair share of the threat from cyberspace. In fact, proportional ...