The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW 

The Bridge blog

Overshadowed by the fall of Aleppo and terrorism in Europe, the stakes between Iran and the Gulf Arab countries in the strategic waters of the Gulf seem to have been significantly raised in recent days. Two joint naval exercises in less than a week were conducted by Iraqi and Iranian naval forces at Shatt al-Arab, within Iraqi territorial waters. The first was conducted on December 15, dubbed "Muhammad (PBUH), the Messenger of God," and the second took place on December 19. The exercises marked the first joint naval cooperation between the two countries.
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The Trump administration adds a new political risk premium to international oil markets, with a more hawkish and capricious U.S. president, an unprecedented oil-centric Cabinet, and an empowered Republican-led Congress poised to reset the country’s foreign policy agenda as well as the outlook for the domestic energy sector. Vows to upend the controversial Iran nuclear agreement, renewed debate over legislation fraying the U.S.-Saudi relationship, a pivot toward an increasingly interventionist Russia, and plans to rollback regulations impeding the expansion of domestic oil production are expected to have wide-ranging and destabilizing implications for the geopolitics of the oil-producing Gulf region and, with them, a steady stream of news headlines that will rattle oil markets and increase price volatility.
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Market Watch

Labor markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council states are notoriously rigid: in their protection of nationals in public sector employment, in the preferential treatment of nationals in ownership structures of private firms, and in the tight regulation of foreign workers’ mobility. There has been mounting pressure on Gulf states to loosen this system, emanating from both external and domestic sources. First, in recent years, pressures from rights and migrant groups have highlighted worker conditions for the millions of foreigners, many in low wage positions, who depend on work in the Gulf states to send remittances to their home countries.
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AGSIW in Arabic

لفرق بين الرئيس باراك أوباما والرئيس المنتخب دونالد ترامب، مثل الفرق بين الجليد والنار. وبينما يتعامل أوباما مع العالم ومشاكله من منظور عقلاني وواقعي وحذر، يوظف ترامب حدسه ويميل إلى تفضيل انطباعاته الشخصية الأولية، فعندما يتحدث أوباما فإنه فصيح وبليغ، بينما ترى ترامب يمارس العنف ضد اللغة باختياره لمفرداته الفقيرة التي يكررها في جمله المتلاصقة إلى ما لا نهاية. أوباما يفضل الإسهاب في المؤتمرات الصحفية والمقابلات والخطب الطويلة والتفصيلية إلى درجة الشعور بالملل والضجر
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Hopes that an end to Yemen’s punishing civil war might be within reach were briefly ignited last month. They faded almost as quickly as they came, when the government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi rejected a plan put forward by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The Hadi government’s opposition to the plan, which apparently enjoyed the support of the insurgent Houthis and key members of the Saudi-led military coalition that seeks to return Hadi to power, is consistent with its rejection of similar proposals that have called for moving forward simultaneously on both military and political tracks rather than adhering to the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, which calls for the Houthi rebels to surrender all heavy weapons and give up territory they have seized before political discussions begin.
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The sudden flurry of diplomatic activity on issues regarding Israel and the Palestinians has been full of high-minded, and entirely correct, principles. Unfortunately, its practical consequences are unlikely to do anybody any good. United States secretary of state John Kerry's speech on Wednesday was, perhaps, the most incisive, honest and serious speech ever on this issue by a senior American official. If it had been made three years ago – and backed up by real policies with significant consequences to all parties for non-compliance – it would have surely been historic.
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Since winning the greatest political upset in modern American history, Donald Trump has since taken on the US defense industry by publicly questioning whether Boeing was overcharging the American taxpayer for its government contract to build the next version of Air Force One, the presidential jet. Trump subsequently doubled down by questioning the cost effectiveness of Lockheed Martin’s Join Strike Fighter program, which produces the most sophisticated fighter jet in history – also known as the F-35 – and is bound to preserve US air superiority for decades to come.
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In the Media
Following U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks on the future of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish discussed U.S.-Israeli relations on BBC World News and KCRW's "To the Point." Additionally, speaking with Jewish Insider, Ibish said Kerry's speech was "probably the most sympathetic to the Palestinian cause given by a major American official.” However, he suggested it was "almost pointless" coming at the end of the Obama administration.
On December 29, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Karen E. Young spoke at a briefing at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Herzliya, Israel, held in partnership with MITVIM Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. She discussed Gulf states' foreign policies and economic drivers of change.
Grant Writer

Position Title: Grant Writer
Department/Team: Programs and Communication
Period: Part Time (20 hours/week, no benefits)
Location: Washington, DC 
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