Robert Mogielnicki

Resident Scholar

Robert Mogielnicki is a resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. An expert in the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa, he previously served as a senior analyst with the Siwa Group and head of public relations and marketing for Oxford Strategic Consulting, a United Kingdom/Gulf Cooperation Council-focused research consultancy. Prior to his consulting career, he worked as a journalist covering political and economic developments in post-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia. His work and commentary on the region have appeared in Forbes Middle East, Al Jazeera’s Inside Story, MEED, Al Bawaba, The National (UAE), Gulf Daily News, Tunisia Live, Egypt Oil and Gas Magazine, and Egypt Daily News.

Mogielnicki received his PhD from the University of Oxford’s Magdalen College, where he conducted research in conjunction with the Oriental Institute and Middle East Centre. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, his dissertation examines the political economy of free zones in Gulf Cooperation Council countries. He earned his MA in modern Middle Eastern studies from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and completed a master’s thesis on labor policy formulation and implementation in the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He received his BA from Georgetown University as a double major in Arabic and government, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Mogielnicki specializes in the intersection of politics and economics across Gulf Arab states. He is particularly interested in how these geostrategic states engage in processes of economic transformation through trade and investment policies, labor market interventions, economic diversification, and technological innovation.

Mogielnicki speaks Modern Standard Arabic and the Egyptian dialect, and possesses a working knowledge of the Tunisian dialect. He is a former recipient of the Sultan Qaboos Arabic Language Scholarship (2007-11) and served as a Critical Language Scholar in Tunisia in 2011. Mogielnicki has lived in the UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, and Jerusalem.

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Gulf States Help Defuse South Asia Tensions, Protect Economic Interests

Three processes of interregional engagement – labor dynamics, energy cooperation, and strategic investments – are crucial for understanding how Gulf Arab states will exercise economic power in South Asia over the coming years.

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Saudi-Moroccan Political Tensions Challenge Quiet Economic Ties

A series of political disputes is testing bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Morocco, but growing economic engagement between the two monarchies offers an incentive for both sides to prevent simmering tensions from boiling over into commercial spheres.

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Qatar Balances Fraught Regionalism Against Uncertain Globalization

In order to remain a relevant actor in the global economic order, Qatar has established a middle ground between the trends of regionalism and globalization through a strategic strengthening of bilateral partnerships.

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Saudi-Indian Economic Partnership Charting New Course

The economic relationship between Saudi Arabia and India should be a fruitful one. However, domestic policy decisions and geopolitical tensions pose new – but ultimately surmountable – obstacles.

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New Omani Initiatives Reflect Gulf States’ Push to Nationalize Labor Forces

Short-term measures to replace expatriate workers with Omani citizens could have implications for the sultanate’s long-term economic growth and diversification process.

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Growing Saudi-Egyptian Ties Face Challenges of Economic Reforms

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s November trip to Egypt highlighted the important regional alliance between Riyadh and Cairo, but collaboration over megaprojects may strain Riyadh’s fiscal capacity.

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New UAE Investment Laws Pose Challenge to Free Zones

Government efforts to legalize full foreign ownership in specific sectors aim to significantly boost inward foreign investments. However, the commercial reform threatens to disrupt the long-standing economic institutions and commercial incentives associated with free zones.

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U.S. Sanctions Unlikely to Sever Iran’s Economic Ties to Gulf Arab States

Despite U.S. sanctions, Iran, with the second-largest economy in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, is likely to remain an integral economic actor for the Gulf Arab states.

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The Supply-Side Politics of Kuwait’s Industrial Strategy

Kuwait hopes to usher in a “new industrial era,” but the country will have to pay more attention to demand and regional competition to boost industrial output.

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Neom Update: Funding the World’s Most Ambitious Project

Nearly a year after Neom's announcement, the futuristic Saudi megacity is still only in the early stages of development. To meet goals of opening fully by 2025, planners must overcome a key challenge: shoring up funding.