The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

The Bridge blog
New Saudi Law Maintains State Control Over Civil Society Organizations

By Hala Aldosari

After eight years of deliberation, the law for civil associations and organizations has finally been released by the Council of Ministers in Saudi Arabia. The actual bylaws that will explain each article in the new law have yet to be released. This is a particularly important law since the right to association is an activity closely monitored and controlled by the state. The new law does not ease the restrictions imposed on associations; rather it offers a more stringent regulatory process, maintaining control on board members' selection, funding, and the intended public activities of any association. In other words, the new law allows only for government-sanctioned, non-governmental organizations.
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The Gulf: A New Arena for Muslim Women in Sports

By Nida Ahmad

Within the last decade, Gulf countries have emerged as significant players in the international sporting arena. They have elevated their rank globally by hosting sports championships ranging from golf tournaments (Dubai World Championship) to CrossFit Games in Kuwait (Battle of the East). Gulf countries are also seeking economic growth by promoting business through the creation of “sport cities” like Aspire Zone and Dubai Sport City which are large multi-venue sports complexes that house research facilities, stadiums, and apartments that allow for the hosting of mega events such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
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As Obama Looked for an Exit, Putin Seized His Chance

By Hussein Ibish

Appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, 2015 was a decisive year and even a turning point on several of the most pressing issues facing the Middle East. What looks like chaos and confusion has actually forced clarity on the key players. It may well be remembered as the year in which the United States, perhaps irrevocably, abandoned its role as the guarantor of the Middle Eastern political order. It’s still true that the U.S. remains the most powerful military force in the region. But the impression that Washington is very reluctant to use its power to try to shape Middle Eastern realities, except under the most extreme circumstances, has become almost universal.
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In the Media
AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Karen Young was quoted in an article for NPR on the effect of low oil prices on Saudi Arabia. Young noted, "I think the tension is that a lot of people feel that 'the state is spending a lot, but I still don't have a lot' — and it's not going to get easier, and people know that."

Young also 
discussed the correlation between oil prices and Gulf Arab state aid in an article 
by Stian Overdahl for Zenith Magazine: "There are episodes in which oil prices rise without a respective increase in Gulf foreign aid. There are also very recent examples of Gulf states extending regional development aid at a moment in which oil prices are at historical lows and the fiscal budgets of Gulf states themselves are facing deficits."

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