Kuwaiti Emir hospitalised due to sudden health emergency, condition stable

2 missiles fired by Houthis fall near US vessel

Turkey’s Central Bank hikes interest rates to tackle inflation

Lebanon’s hospitality sector faces crisis amid border tensions

Israeli Security Council announces delay in hostage swap

Landmines impact largest on children: Syria, Ukraine and Yemen worst affected

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The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, has been admitted to a local hospital after a sudden health issue, according to reports from the Kuwaiti media on Wednesday. The state-run Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) further added that the Emir’s health condition is presently stable.

Citing medical sources, KUNA also provided assurance that Sheikh Nawaf is slated to receive necessary medical treatment and will further undergo comprehensive medical examinations to determine the nature of the health emergency.

Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, widely known as Emir Nawaf, is the current reigning monarch of the State of Kuwait. He took the reins of leadership following the passing of his half-brother, Sheikh Sabah IV, in September of 2020. Managing the affairs of the country at a critical time amidst the pandemic, he remains an influential figure in the region, making his health a matter of national significance.

Health updates of rulers in the Gulf Arab monarchies are closely watched due to their tremendous influence on their respective countries’ political and socio-economic landscapes. The incident has stirred a sense of worry among domestic and international observers, drawing widespread attention as speculation swirls regarding the natural progression of leadership in this oil-rich country.

However, the prompt assurance about the Emir’s stabilised condition has somewhat allayed potential speculation over immediate succession or any burgeoning political crisis in the country. As it is, succession in Kuwait is a relatively transparent process, typically passing to the most capable among the senior members of the Al Sabah family. What potential implications this situation may have regarding any possible leadership transition remains a subject of profound speculation.

Reportedly, Emir Nawaf has been taken to a local hospital for the emergency health issue, further details of which are yet to be disclosed. It could give more context to the gravity of the situation, which is evidently a significant concern for the people of Kuwait and other regional actors alike.

In times past, health crises concerning the leaders of the Gulf have at times led to major leadership reshuffles, sparking changes in regional geopolitics. The reconsideration of political alignments might be an implication that may warrant attention, bearing in mind the intricate geopolitical dynamics of the region.

It is hoped that the swift medical response to Emir Nawaf’s emergency health crisis, as reported, will soon lead to his speedy recovery. Efforts to stabilise his condition will remain an immediate priority, and the ongoing medical examinations will reveal more about the situation in due course.

Drawing attention towards the numerous variables at play, this incident is a stark reminder of how the health of leaders can at times critically impact the socio-political landscape of a nation. For now, the spotlight is firmly on the Emir’s health, not only in Kuwait but across the broader Middle East region.

Until further information regarding the Emir’s health is made available, much remains speculative. It serves as a subtle yet potent reminder of the inherent fragility of life and leadership. It underscores the pivotal role leaders such as Emir Nawaf play on the national and global political stages. Meanwhile, prayers and well-wishes for the speedy recovery of the leader are pouring in from across the globe.

While the Gulf region keeps a keen eye on the Emir’s health, the world too watches with bated breath as the situation continues to unfold.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Nasser Waggi

In a startling event that raised significant concerns within the international naval community, two ballistic missiles launched by the Houthi rebels came to rest near a US Navy tanker stationed in the Gulf of Aden, off the Yemeni coast. The tanker was in the midst of a routine operation to assist a commercial vessel when the incident occurred. This alarming event carries grave implications, given the backdrop of spiralling tensions due to a surge in attacks on ships tied to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Decoding the geographical importance, the Gulf of Aden is a strategic waterway, nestled in the Arabian Sea between Yemen on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. An estimated 20,000 ships pass through its waters each year, directly contributing to the global oil transportation network. This incident has stirred anxiety around the existing climate of instability in the region.

Although the source of the missiles has not been officially confirmed, early analysis suggests that they were fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have previously targeted Saudi-led coalition forces in and around Yemen. The Houthis have of late been embroiled in an intensifying conflict with the Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging war in Yemen since 2015. The resultant turmoil and human tragedy have drawn international scorn, yet the conflict shows alarming signs of escalating further.

The timing of this incident troubles many within the maritime security community. It comes hot on the heels of a recent spate of ship attacks that are seemingly interlinked with the ever-inflating diplomatic and military standoff between Israel and Hamas. The current pressure-cooker situation in the wider Middle East is inducing an undercurrent of tension in these crucial maritime channels.

The potential implications of these missile strikes cast a shadow over the activity of naval relief work, which at times necessitates the assistance of military vessels like the US Navy tanker implicated in this incident. The tanker’s primary mission was to provide support to a civilian commercial vessel when it became the unwitting target of the ballistic missiles.

International reactions have been immediate, with grave concerns raised about the security of global maritime trade, particularly involving the transport lanes for crude oil. Questions have swelled regarding the adequacy of current protocols for naval vessels operating in regions rife with conflict and the potential for international escalation of the ongoing Israel-Hamas tension within the maritime domain.

The precarious scenario in the Gulf of Aden is symptomatic of the broader issues afflicting the Middle East, including issues of maritime security, territorial disputes, and continued instability. This event not only raises critical questions regarding the assured safety of vessels in the region and the potential threats to global trade activities, but it also further reroutes attention towards the deep-seated issues that have led to such a volatile environment in the maritime sector and beyond.

With the discourse on geopolitics, conflict management, and maritime security becoming increasingly relevant in the aftermath of these incidents, it falls upon the global community to muster an effective, balanced, and enduring solution to these challenges. As of now, the consequences of this missile attack near the US Navy tanker remain to be seen, and the unfolding geopolitical narrative seems to hint towards an intricate confluence of regional tensions, global interests, and ever-evolving naval security obligations.

Image Credit: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Blake Midnight/Handout via Reuters

In a bold move to combat soaring inflation, Turkey’s central bank has increased its main interest rate to 40%, a significant rise from the previous rate of 35%. This increase surpassed expectations and marks a decisive shift in the country’s monetary policy.

The central bank, now under the leadership of Hafize Gaye Erkan, a former Wall Street banker, has been granted the freedom to escalate interest rates significantly. This move, which has seen rates jump from 8.5% to 40%, aims to curb the escalating cost of living by making borrowing more expensive and thus slowing down price rises.

In a statement, the central bank indicated that the rate hikes were nearing the level necessary to begin reducing inflation, which hit a staggering 61.36% in October. Inflation is expected to continue its upward trend, potentially peaking at around 70-75% by May next year.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had previously resisted raising interest rates despite global trends and economic orthodoxy, has altered his stance following his re-election in May. Erdogan had earlier argued that higher rates would lead to increased prices, a view at odds with conventional economic wisdom.

This policy shift comes at a critical time for Turkey’s economy, which experienced substantial growth in the early years of President Erdogan’s administration but has faced significant challenges recently. The central bank’s prior strategy of cutting interest rates amidst high inflation had precipitated a currency crisis in 2021, forcing the government to implement measures to protect lira deposits from currency depreciation.

The central bank has expressed that the current pace of monetary tightening will soon slow down, and the tightening cycle will be completed in a short period. It also stressed that interest rates would remain elevated for as long as necessary to ensure sustained price stability, reflecting a determined approach to stabilising the nation’s economy.

Image Credit: Tarik Haiga on Unsplash

Lebanon’s once-thriving hospitality industry is experiencing a severe downturn due to escalating border tensions in the Israel-Hamas conflict. In Byblos, a coastal city north of Beirut and home to a World Heritage site, the war’s specter has led to deserted streets and empty establishments. Bartender Richard Alam, 19, has seen a dramatic drop in customers, reflecting a broader trend across the country’s hospitality venues..

The impact is not limited to Byblos; it extends throughout Lebanon. Customer scarcity is evident in souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, and hotels, with many business owners like Mona Mujahed, 60, reporting a significant loss of income. The conflict has deterred not only international tourists but also domestic visitors, further straining an industry already weakened by an economic crisis since 2019, which forced the closure of half of Lebanon’s hospitality establishments.

Tony Ramy, head of an industry syndicate, notes that the sector was just beginning to recover from multiple setbacks, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut port explosion in 2020. However, the recent conflict has led to a considerable decline in clientele, with up to an 80% drop on weekdays and 30-50% on weekends.

The conflict’s toll has been deadly, with cross-border skirmishes resulting in casualties on both sides. Lebanon has reported at least 88 deaths, primarily Hezbollah combatants and 10 civilians, while northern Israel has recorded nine deaths, including six soldiers.

The repercussions extend to air travel, with Lebanon’s national carrier Middle East Airlines reducing flights due to a significant drop in passenger numbers from the region and Europe. This decrease has contributed to the struggle of hospitality venues in Beirut, where places like the Hotel Cavalier in the Hamra area have seen a surge in cancellations and a drastic reduction in new bookings.

Hotel occupancy rates have plummeted, according to Pierre Ashkar, head of the hotel owners’ syndicate. He mentioned that even if the conflict ends soon, it would take months for travel advisories to change and business to return to normal. Despite these challenges, there is a sense of resilience among the Lebanese, born from years of navigating through crises, including the civil war and other conflicts. This enduring spirit gives hope to the sector’s eventual recovery once stability returns.

The Israeli National Security Council has declared that the commencement of a prisoner exchange agreement with the Islamist organisation Hamas has been postponed until at least Friday. This crucial decision, which impacts the fate of several hostages in custody, was disclosed by the council’s president, Tzachi Hanegbi.

Hanegbi, who was instrumental in the intricate negotiation process, revealed that discussions concerning the release of the hostages have been “constantly progressing”. The steady development suggests that while there might be complexities in finalising this critical pact, both parties are committed to a resolution.

This announcement is significant in the context of the turbulent history between Israel and Hamas. It provides a crucial snapshot into the ongoing struggle to establish dialogue and agree on terms that could potentially alleviate some elements of the prolonged tensions. Indeed, it indicates a willingness and desire for peaceful negotiation over militaristic conflict.

The concept of a hostage exchange deal is not new in the conflict-laden relationship between Israel and Hamas. They have a precedent of similar negotiations over the years. However, the present case provides an opportunity for a brand new perspective on the way forward for these two entities.

The Israeli National Security Council, acting as a pivotal fixture in this ongoing scenario, is tasked with managing the state’s overall national security. The council’s strategies and decisions are often viewed as instrumental in influencing the course of the nation’s history. Its president, Tzachi Hanegbi, is a notable figure in Israeli politics, renowned for his diplomatic approach towards critical national matters.

Details of the hostages or the specifics of the swap deal have not been released in the council’s initial announcement. It remains a matter of speculation as to who these individuals are and what their release could mean to both Israel and Hamas. This sensitive issue carries profound implications, both human and political, which are likely to resonate beyond the immediate context of this deal.

The decision to postpone the initiation of the hostage swap suggests the intricate dynamics and probable challenges that the Israeli National Security Council is grappling with. It underpins the complex, diplomatic panorama of Middle East politics, bearing testimony to the region’s intricate weave of conflicts and alliances.

This development warrants close monitoring due to the potential it carries for affecting the broader narratives surrounding the Israeli-Hamas relationship. The subtle diplomacy at work in such arrangements, and what they imply about the wider social, political and security implications, remain points of interest for observers around the globe.

The stage is now set for Friday’s proceedings with the world watching carefully. The emphasis is not only on the release of the hostages but also on the broader political implications of the agreement. This incident presents yet another episode in the layered narrative of the Middle East, a narrative whose repercussions resonate far beyond the region’s geographical boundaries.

The Israeli National Security Council’s announcement of a delay in the hostage exchange deal with Hamas serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and realities of maintaining peace and stability within the volatility of the Middle East.


In the undulating rhythm of Syrian resistance, the spirits of rebellion have once more swelled to the surface in the Druze majority al-Suwayda governorate, shocking an international community that perceived the uprising’s final chord had been struck. A dozen years have eclipsed since the inception of the popular 2011 revolution, and against the odds, the echoes of dissent continue to permeate through the war-torn tapestry of Syria, particularly within the al-Suwayda governorate in southern Syria, where the largely Druze minority population has astoundingly engaged in peaceful protests daily for over a month.

The resurgence of civil unrest exposes the unhealed wounds of a nation brutalised by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Over a grisly 12-year reign, the regime has not merely clung to power but has enacted a torrent of human rights violations, including indiscriminate bombing of civilians, chemical weapon attacks, and targeted onslaughts against hospitals and schools. It’s a horrifying tableau where, according to the United Nations, over half the nation’s populace has been displaced, marking one of the most harrowing humanitarian crises in contemporary history.

In light of these atrocities and the insatiable appetite for change among Syrians, thousands have coalesced in recent weeks to rally against Assad’s iron-fisted rule, demanding his ouster and the realisation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. Adopted unanimously in 2015, the resolution mandates the inception of an “inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers”. Yet, the Assad regime, despite the cacophony of international outrage and demands, has remained impervious, continuing its tyrannical rule unbridled.

The winds of opposition are not confined to al-Suwayda. In the coastal birthplace of Assad, voices of opposition have daringly pierced through the regime’s fortress of fear. Yet, these brave souls in al-Suwayda and beyond not only battle against a dictator but grapple with an economy in tatters. Whilst Syrians languish in destitution, Assad and his inner circle bask in opulence, their regime simultaneously entwined with the burgeoning Captagon trade, positioning Syria as a pivotal manufacturer and supplier of the drug, per multiple international reports.

Nevertheless, the regime, bolstered by staunch support from allies Russia and Iran, has withstood the tempest of rebellion, which has embroiled Syria in a ceaseless conflagration. The global response has largely oscillated between tepid and ineffective, allowing Russia, in particular, to overstep boundaries with seeming impunity, not only in Syria but subsequently in Ukraine as well. And now, with China’s burgeoning interest in liaising with the Syrian regime, the geopolitical stakes are further elevated.

The stoic resilience of the protestors in al-Suwayda is emblematic of the unquenchable desire for not only political reformation but also a clamouring for fundamental human rights: freedom and dignity. Amidst the palpable fear of violent reprisal and the regime’s vehement accusations of Western collaboration amongst protestors, the spirit of rebellion remains indomitably fervent.

The ripples of the al-Suwayda movement have cascaded throughout Syria, igniting demonstrations in Daraa, northern Syria, and various other governorates, encapsulating the profound, universal aspirations for democracy and accountability for war crimes amongst Syrians.

For surrounding Arab nations, the rekindled Syrian resistance presents a complex geopolitical conundrum, particularly in light of Jordan’s King Abdullah’s stark proclamation at last month’s UN General Assembly: “Jordan’s capacity to deliver necessary services to refugees has surpassed its limits.” Thus, the Syrian regime is transmitted an unambiguous directive: the resort to violence must not be replayed.

In the shadows of past international missteps, the ongoing Syrian resistance heralds a crucial opportunity: to reconcile with past shortcomings and constructively engage with the legitimate Syrian uprising. The undeterred resilience of the protestors underscores a poignant reminder of the universality of the longing for liberty and justice, providing a pivotal juncture to recalibrate global approaches towards a genuine political resolution that addresses the legitimate demands of the Syrian people.

Image credit: Handout/Suwayda 24/AFP


In a sudden and strikingly efficient military offensive launched on 19th September, Azerbaijan asserted a decisive victory over the Republic of Artsakh, an ethnically Armenian-majority autonomous enclave located within its borders. The campaign, which came after a protracted blockade of the vital Lachin Corridor, supplying Artsakh, was notably swift, culminating on 20th September when Artsakh President Samvel Shahramanyan conceded, agreeing to peace on Azerbaijan’s terms.

The geopolitical aftershocks of Azerbaijan’s triumph, enabled by a seemingly minimal exertion, will reverberate through the South Caucasus for the foreseeable future. Notably, tens of thousands of ethnic Armenians, propelled by fears of ethnic cleansing, have fled Artsakh, contributing to a burgeoning humanitarian crisis that stands in stark contrast to the disbanding of the Artsakh Defence Army and the planned dissolution of the separatist government by year-end.

Turkey’s solid support for Azerbaijan’s campaign aligns not only with its established alliance but also accords with a broader strategic vision for the region. Turkey has ardently backed Azerbaijan’s intention to construct the Zangezur Corridor, anticipated to forge stronger cultural and economic ties by granting Azerbaijan unimpeded access to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and further linking Azerbaijan to eastern Turkey.

Meanwhile, Russia’s decision to abstain from military intervention, despite maintaining a 2,000-strong peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, reveals a complex web of geopolitical relationships and ambitions. Frustrations with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s leadership and potential prospects for enhancing its partnership with Azerbaijan underpinned Moscow’s restrained approach, facilitating the ceasefire that handed Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, despite existing ties to Armenia.

Iran, despite its ongoing tensions with Azerbaijan, stemming from its alleged pro-Armenian stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and Azerbaijan’s security collaboration with Israel, has navigated a cautious middle-ground approach to Azerbaijan’s reintegration of Nagorno-Karabakh. Notably, amidst Iran’s expression of concern over the humanitarian plight of ethnic Armenians, Turkey has asserted that Iran has moderated its opposition to the Zangezur Corridor project.

For Western powers, moral dilemmas unfold as potential actions, or lack thereof, are scrutinised on the international stage. Despite strong admonitions and the clear expression of concern over human rights abuses, concrete interventions, such as sanctions, appear improbable given Europe’s energy dependencies on Azerbaijan. The lack of consistent policy in response to the crisis is evident, with NATO and the European Union seemingly lacking tangible leverage to decisively influence the ongoing situation.

The humanitarian crisis emanating from the conflict cannot be understated. With over 65,000 refugees, representing over one-third of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population, seeking sanctuary in Armenia by 28th September, Armenia faces both humanitarian and political turmoil. Prime Minister Pashinyan, now contending with the comprehensive management of refugee inflow amidst mounting criticism, seeks humanitarian assistance from the international community, the delivery and sufficiency of which remain to be seen.

In contrast, Azerbaijan’s assured victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, achieved with unexpected ease, consolidates its position in the region but potentially sets the stage for intricate geopolitical manoeuvring and conflict in the South Caucasus for years ahead.

While Turkey’s ambitions seem somewhat realised through Azerbaijan’s triumph, Russia, Iran, and Western powers are compelled to navigate through a newly altered geopolitical landscape, balancing strategic interests against ethical considerations and international perceptions.

The legacy of Prime Minister Pashinyan, forever marred by the loss of Nagorno-Karabakh, hinges precariously upon his handling of the resettlement and care of displaced ethnic Armenians, establishing a stage where international relations, humanitarian obligations, and domestic politics are inextricably entwined.

The complex unfolding of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict thereby raises questions about international intervention, humanitarian obligations, and the future stability of the South Caucasus, with global eyes watching, awaiting the subsequent moves of regional and international players in this high-stakes geopolitical arena.

Image credit: AZE Media

Note: This article provides a general overview and may not cover all aspects of the complex situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Furthermore, events might have evolved beyond the information available at the time of writing, given the fast-changing nature of geopolitical events.


Embarking on a Joint Venture in Maritime Oil and Gas Exploration: A Closer Look at the Consortium Formed by QatarEnergy, TotalEnergies, and Eni in Lebanon.

Lebanon has witnessed a significant shift in its energy sector dynamics with the announcement of a three-way consortium between QatarEnergy, TotalEnergies, and Eni to explore oil and gas in two maritime blocks off its coast, signaling an intriguing turn of events for the region’s energy landscape. Amidst a complex geopolitical backdrop and an evolving global energy market, this endeavor, heralded by the Lebanese energy ministry, unfolds a chapter that could be pivotal for Lebanon’s economic prospects and energy security.

In a beacon of positive development amidst Lebanon’s multifaceted challenges, the energy ministry declared that QatarEnergy would be joining hands with France’s TotalEnergies and Italy’s Eni to foster exploration activities in the nation’s offshore sectors. The consortium underscores a shared vision and collaborative effort aimed at harnessing the potential encapsulated in the eastern Mediterranean and Levant offshore areas, which have historically proven to be reservoirs of substantial gas discoveries, especially over the previous decade.

Following months of intricate negotiations, the stakeholder distribution among the consortium members was agreed upon, with QatarEnergy securing a 30% stake, while TotalEnergies and Eni would retain 35% each. Notably, this resolution emerges after Lebanon’s first licensing round in 2017, during which a consortium—comprising TotalEnergies, Eni, and Russia’s Novatek—was victorious in procuring bids to explore offshore 4 and 9 blocks.

However, the journey to this current consortium configuration has not been without its share of challenges and evolutions. In September 2022, Novatek relinquished its involvement, thereby bestowing its 20% stake upon the Lebanese government. This withdrawal necessitated the recalibration of stakeholder investments and roles within the exploration project and rendered the involvement of a new partner, QatarEnergy, both timely and vital to sustaining the momentum of exploration activities.

Moreover, the geopolitical dimension, invariably intertwined with energy exploration and production in the region, played a critical role in shaping the framework and agreements related to these maritime blocks. Particularly, the lingering dispute between Lebanon and Israel concerning their maritime border witnessed a historic resolution in the month succeeding Novatek’s withdrawal. The U.S.-brokered landmark agreement between Lebanon and Israel, delineating their maritime borders, became a pivotal determinant in the structuring and future trajectory of the exploration endeavors in block 9. Notably, a portion of block 9 is situated south of the newly established border with Israel.

A distinct and diplomatically nuanced agreement between Total and Israel was fashioned concerning the revenue generation from the aforementioned segment of block 9, reinforcing the intricacy of managing energy exploration within a context of layered geopolitical considerations. The agreement firmly established that neither Lebanese nor Israeli corporations would operate in the zone located below the newly delineated border, instigating the transfer of the TotalEnergies and government stakes to entities referred to as “vehicles” of TotalEnergies and precipitating the quest for a new consortium partner.

This ambitious exploration initiative arrives amidst heightened global interest in the eastern Mediterranean and Levant regions, particularly given the notable gas discoveries in the previous decade and the augmented reliance on diversified gas supply chains in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The consortium, therefore, not only represents a cooperative venture aimed at tapping into the rich energy potential off Lebanon’s coast but also resonates on a larger scale within the context of regional energy security and global energy supply dynamics.

In conclusion, the formation of the consortium between QatarEnergy, TotalEnergies, and Eni and the ensuing exploration in Lebanon’s maritime blocks is emblematic of the complex, yet potentially rewarding, interplay of energy exploration, geopolitical considerations, and collaborative international ventures. It is imperative that such collaborations are navigated with a judicious blend of economic foresight, environmental consideration, and diplomatic acumen to ensure that the potential benefits can be realized in a manner that is conducive to regional stability and symbiotic international relations.

With this initiative underpinning Lebanon’s aspirations for energy self-sufficiency and economic rejuvenation, all eyes will be attentively observing the unfolding chapters of this exploration story, deciphering its implications not only for the nation but also for the broader dynamics of the global energy landscape.


In a bold stride towards establishing its presence as a formidable entity within the global sports arena, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has officially declared its intent to bid as the host nation for the 2034 FIFA World Cup. The revelation, conveyed through the state news agency SPA on a recent Wednesday, not only underscores the Kingdom’s ambition in the realm of international sport but also reflects its broader objectives of transformation and development.

The Saudi minister of sport, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, disseminated his sentiments through the Saudi Press Agency, articulating a vivid dream: “Hosting a FIFA World Cup in 2034 would assist us in realising our aspiration of emerging as a pivotal nation in global sport and would delineate a notable milestone in the nation’s transformation.”

He added, “As a nascent and hospitable home for all sports, we believe that hosting a FIFA World Cup is an intuitive subsequent phase in our football journey.”

The initial interest of the country was piqued for the 2030 competition. Nonetheless, the latter is projected to be a multi-nation spectacle, with Spain, Portugal, and Morocco potentially serving as hosts for matches. Additionally, the preliminary matches are scheduled to be held in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. Consequently, Saudi Arabia has turned its sights towards 2034, with visions of hosting the esteemed tournament autonomously, crafting an event that would symbolise a landmark in their sporting journey.

This announcement coexists with past interactions between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Greece, where dialogues centred around a collaborative bid to host the tournament. Nonetheless, the recent proclamations point towards Saudi Arabia’s plan to single-handedly host the 2034 event.

Yasser Al Misehal, the President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), conveyed a message of optimism and dedication through a statement on the SAFF website: “We believe the time is ripe for Saudi Arabia to host the FIFA World Cup.”

He further stated, “Our bid is motivated by a fervent love for the game and a wish to see it burgeon in every corner of the world. We want to celebrate our football culture and share our nation with the world.”

Saudi Arabia’s journey towards this point is steeped in its embrace for innovation and growth, forming the backbone of their bid for the tournament. “The Kingdom’s transformation journey is the driving force behind our bid,” Al Misehal remarked. Commitments towards hosting an exemplary event, one that celebrates the sport, enthralls players and fans alike, and ignites the imaginations of future generations, are evident.

Illustrating a historic backdrop, Saudi Arabia has qualified for the World Cup on six previous occasions, with their inaugural appearance tracing back to 1994. A notable triumph was marked when they bested the world champions, Argentina, with a scoreline of 2-1 at the 2022 World Cup hosted in Qatar.

Amidst these developments, the Saudi Pro League has witnessed a surge in profile and popularity. Big names in world football, including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Karim Benzema, have made transitions to play in the Saudi Pro League in the preceding year, bolstering its reputation and stake on the international stage.

In a nutshell, the Kingdom’s leadership has exuded full-fledged support towards this bid, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to propel the nation forwards, and unveil new horizons of opportunities and engagements in the world of sport. Saudi Arabia, through its intentions to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, does not merely aim to be a spectator but envisions being a pivotal player, shaping the narratives and experiences in the global sporting domain.

The prospect of the 2034 FIFA World Cup could perhaps be a chapter where the world witnesses the union of sporting spirit and innovative transformations, amalgamated seamlessly in the desert landscapes of Saudi Arabia.

AP Photo/Jorge Saenz

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