AGSIW experts explain what regional trends they’ll be following most closely as the year unfolds.
Kristin Smith Diwan
Senior Resident Scholar
Kristin Smith Diwan is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. Her current projects concern generational change, nationalism, and the evolution of Islamism in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Her analysis of Gulf affairs has appeared in many publications, among them Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, and The Washington Post.
Diwan was previously an assistant professor at the American University School of International Service and has held visiting scholar positions at the George Washington University and Georgetown University. From 2013-14 she served as a visiting senior fellow at the Atlantic Council where she published on youth movements and participated in the Strategic Dialogue for a New US-Gulf Partnership.
Diwan received her PhD from Harvard University and holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She completed her undergraduate degree at Baylor University in Texas, her home state.
Sultan Haitham will need to balance powerful interests while engaging all parties, especially as he tackles economic policy.
Kristin Smith Diwan and Hussein Ibish discuss the role for the Gulf Arab states in de-escalating tensions between Iran and the United States.
Kuwait’s government resigns amid charges of embezzlement, as both the Parliament and ruling family prepare for impending elections – and a looming succession.
The recent elevation of Bahrain’s young prince, Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, to national security advisor is the latest indication of maneuvers to secure the future hierarchy of the monarchy.
Saudi Vision 2030 champions national pride and a new economy of tourism and technology. But a direct hit on the kingdom’s central oil processing plant at Abqaiq ruthlessly reveals: As yet, the kingdom’s future still depends on allies, and oil.
The “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain may have been less about Palestinian prosperity and more about drawing Arab, especially Gulf, countries into the Middle East peace process – and into deeper normalization with Israel.
Avoiding provocation of international powers and regional neighbors, Oman remains determined to make its connections to all sides a strategic asset.
The case of the detained women activists in Saudi Arabia illustrates shifting power dynamics in the kingdom as King Salman has centralized control in the hands of the crown prince, complicating an already fraught political environment for intellectuals and activists.
Pope Francis' historic visit to the UAE, the first by the head of the Roman Catholic Church to the Arabian Peninsula, represents the most high-profile of a series of initiatives positioning the UAE as a champion of interfaith dialogue, moderation, and pluralism.