The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Events
DATE Tuesday February 14, 2017
TIME 1:00 - 2:30 pm
SPEAKERS Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, Luay al-Khatteeb, Denise Natali, Mohammed Alyahya
This event has reached capacity.
DATE Monday March 6, 2017
TIME 12:00 - 1:30 pm
SPEAKERS Mark N. Katz, Marie Mendras, Bessma Momani
MODERATOR Hussein Ibish
The Bridge blog

President Donald J. Trump is seeking an improved Russian-U.S. relationship. He is also pursuing a harsher policy toward Iran than that of the Obama administration. But Russia, with whom Trump seeks better relations, is cooperating closely with Iran, especially in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin has welcomed Trump’s interest in improved Russian-U.S. relations, but has made clear he opposes the new U.S. administration’s tough policy on Iran.
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By Pejman Abdolmohammadi

The former Islamic Republic of Iran’s president, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, died on January 8 in Tehran. His death will likely affect the domestic affairs and foreign policy of Iran ahead of the upcoming presidential election in May. Rafsanjani was the “balancer” of the Islamic Republic. He was one of the most important pillars of the Iranian political system and his death could disturb its internal equilibrium.
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Market Watch

Omani foreign policy is deft; its fiscal policy, however, is struggling. Balancing domestic pressures against necessary economic reforms is proving difficult. In foreign policy, Oman has managed to maintain favorable trade and political relations with both Iran and its Gulf Cooperation Council neighbors in a time of increasing tension. In fact, much of Oman’s economic development planning now consists of increasing trade and investment ties with Iran. Oman is increasingly reliant on ties with Iran to meet Oman's infrastructure needs and to stimulate its non-oil sector. It is also reliant on the GCC for financial support, most notably in aid commitments since 2011.
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AGSIW in Arabic

مني الرئيس دونالد ترامب بنكسة قضائية- سياسية هي الأكبر منذ أن بدأ حملته الرئاسية قبل سنتين، وذلك عندما رفضت لجنة قضائية في محكمة استئناف فيدرالية تابعة للدائرة التاسعة في مدينة سان فرانسيسكو بولاية كاليفورنيا بالإجماع طلب وزارة العدل إعادة فرض حظر السفر إلى الولايات المتحدة من سبع دول ذات أكثرية مسلمة، والذي أصدره ترامب في قرار تنفيذي قبل أسبوعين. ويعتبر قرار المحكمة رفضا مدويا لادعاء إدارة ترامب أنه لا يحق للمحاكم الفيدرالية أن تراجع قرارات الرئيس أو أن ترفضها. ومنذ وصوله إلى البيت الأبيض قبل ثلاثة أسابيع، والرئيس ترامب يتصرف وكأن للرئيس الأمريكي صلاحيات تنفيذية شبه مطلقة
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In the Media
Speaking with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, AGSIW Executive Vice President Ambassador Stephen A. Seche commented on the January 29 U.S. raid in Yemen authorized by President Donald J. Trump, noting, "It’s a horrific calculation to have to make and the outcome in this case turned out to be as bad as one can imagine it being." Seche additionally appeared on BBC TV discussing the U.N. appeal for aid in Yemen.

AGSIW Senior Resident Scholars Kristin Smith Diwan and Karen E. Young spoke with KGNU Radio's "Hemispheres," discussing the social and economic context of women's rights movements in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking with Politifact, Diwan and AGSIW Board Member Ambassador Edward W. Gnehm, Jr. commented on the veracity of Trump's statement that Kuwait issued a travel ban similar to his January 30 executive order suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Gnehm said, "Historically, Kuwait has issued travel bans on certain nationalities due to specific events." Further, Diwan noted, "There are lots of Syrians living in Kuwait, and they certainly haven’t been evicted." Diwan also commented on economic pressures in Kuwait for The National: "Kuwait is unique in the Gulf as the parliament can serve as a real vehicle for populist politics, where citizens can defend their entitlements."
AGSIW Board Member F. Gregory Gause, III participated in an Intelligence Squared debate with Madawi Al-Rasheed, Mark P. Lagon, and James Jeffrey focusing on whether the United States should maintain its special relationship with Saudi Arabia. During the debate, Gause commented, "If we ran our Middle East policy based only on dealing with people who shared our values, we really wouldn't have many people to talk to in the Middle East."

On February 7, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Karen E. Young delivered a lecture at the George Washington University on the political economy of the Middle East. AGSIW Visiting Scholar Hala Aldosari delivered a lecture on February 8 at American University on state responses to social movements. On February 10, Aldosari briefed the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom regarding religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, religious education reform in the kingdom, and women's rights.
Summer 2017 Internship

Position Title: Program and Digital Media Intern
Department/Team: Programs and Publications
Period: May through August 2017
Location: Washington, DC

Job Summary: The Internship Program at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW) provides talented students and recent graduates with a three-month (or longer) unpaid training opportunity designed to encourage professional and personal development. As a newly established organization, we encourage out-of-the-box thinking and value fresh perspectives. AGSIW will provide interns with a transportation stipend for the duration of the internship.

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