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.

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Abraham Accords Face Early Test

Israeli expansionism in East Jerusalem and the attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque prompt sharp condemnation and popular support for Palestinians from Gulf signatories to the Abraham Accords.

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Keep the Faith: Mohammed bin Salman’s Message to Saudis

On April 27, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sat down for a television interview five years after the announcement of Vision 2030.

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All the Kings’ Sons

Recent leadership transitions in the Gulf monarchies are crystallizing a trend toward direct lineage and away from fraternal succession, consolidating decision making and centralizing state power.

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U.S.-Saudi Relations: How To Work With, and Rein In, Mohammed bin Salman

Kristin Smith Diwan sat down with F. Gregory Gause III to discuss his March 30 piece for Foreign Affairs, “The United States Is the Last Check on MBS’s Power.”

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The Khashoggi Case in Biden’s Strategy and U.S. Policy Direction

The Biden administration preserves space for statecraft, yet honors Khashoggi’s memory by punishing activity against Saudi dissidents abroad.

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Why the Saudis Ended the Dispute With Qatar

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s youth ambitions are behind the entry – and exit – from the Qatar standoff.

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Kuwaitis Vote for Change

Kuwait’s elections resulted in a nearly two-thirds turnover in the National Assembly. Still any reform program hinges on the selection of the leadership of Parliament and new government and their ability to forge a common national agenda.

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Death of Bahrain’s Prime Minister Promotes Reformer, But Perhaps Not Reforms

The death of the traditional and uncompromising Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa clears the way for the reformist crown prince to head the government. Still, state and financial security will continue to top Bahrain’s priorities.

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Kuwait’s Patient Statesman

The death of Kuwait’s emir, Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, marks the passage of a seasoned diplomat, cunning politician, and valued humanitarian. Will his successor preserve Kuwait’s democratic political culture and independent foreign policy?