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.
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, The 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.
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.
As Saudi Arabia moves toward more centralized authority over national security and intelligence functions, will these measures serve to check or further empower the crown prince?
On November 24 and December 1 Bahrain held elections for the lower house of Parliament and municipal councils. The new members – absent representation by once-influential opposition societies and dominated by political independents and newcomers – will face a strenuous test with austerity measures looming.
In the wake of the Khashoggi affair, Saudi Arabia's King Salman is rallying royals and courting the public on behalf of his embattled son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Will this injection of traditional prestige and patronage reassure MbS’s skeptics at home and abroad?
The conflict in Yemen has exacted a disastrous toll on the country. This paper considers the outside forces in the conflict, seeking to elucidate who they are, what the nature is of their involvement, and what their converging and conflicting interests mean for reconstruction.
Control over the media is central to the Saudi crown prince’s transformation program – and to Jamal Khashoggi’s death.
Kuwait has made the strategic decision to deepen bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia, but navigating this critical relationship will be a challenge for the small emirate.
As the United States and its Gulf partners intensify deliberations toward convening a U.S.-Gulf summit once scheduled for May, all parties are adjusting to new objectives and a shifting strategic landscape.
Amid the dramatic changes sweeping the Gulf region, Kuwait’s incremental approach is being sorely tested.