The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Market Watch
The Perfect Storm: Labor Markets and Economic Downturn in the Gulf

By Karen E. Young
The prolonged slump in oil prices continues to disrupt the economic development model of the Arab Gulf states. Bahrain is especially under pressure, as its credit rating has deteriorated to “junk” status, or below investment grade, as Standard and Poor’s agency lowered its rating of Bahrain to BB/B on February 17. That the ratings downgrade occurred in the midst of Bahrain’s efforts to raise a $750 million bond offering underlines the time sensitivity governments in the Gulf (and indeed in most emerging markets globally) now face to raise capital. Amid fiscal deficits, bloated public sectors, and accelerated efforts to create jobs (especially for young people) and diversify economies, there is a perfect storm on the horizon.
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Millennial Gulf
Nuqat: Creative Education and Innovation in Kuwait

By Samyah Alfoory
Nuqat is a Kuwaiti, non-profit design initiative started in 2009 by Wakim Zeidan, Sara Al Nafisi, Hussa Al Humaidhi, and Dana Al Hilal. The founders run Nuqat while maintaining full-time jobs; Sarah and Hussa work in a design branding firm, Wakim works in advertising, and Dana works in public relations. Nuqat’s target audience is "everyone in the Middle East" – the founders stress the use of the term 'Middle East' to ensure the inclusion of Iranian designers.
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By Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba
As with much of the rest of the world, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, including the UAE, view cybersecurity as a crucial priority. Given the increasing revolution in information technology, cybersecurity joins defence and water, food and energy security as a core national security imperative.
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Why America Turned Off Al Jazeera

By Hussein Ibish
The closing of Al Jazeera America, expected in April, is a sad conclusion to a project that was by turns uplifting and inspiring as well as troubling and depressing. Its demise offers a lesson in both the limitations of public diplomacy and the obstacles to providing high-quality television journalism. Al Jazeera America was the latest, and perhaps most ambitious, branch of a media empire that the tiny but wealthy Gulf emirate of Qatar has used to project its influence, first regionally and then globally. The American-specific incarnation, begun in 2013, was partly an effort to rebrand for the United States the earlier iterations of the franchise, Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera English. But the American network was hobbled from the start by this very legacy. 
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The ‘Third Image’ in Islamist Politics

By Kristin Smith Diwan
Since at least the 1990s, Islamists have felt the pull of domestic politics as semi-authoritarian states opened up room for Islamist parties or proto-parties in national parliaments and structured national dialogues. The preponderance of academic studies followed them with analyses of organizational change; the moderation of Islamist parties; and the contribution of Islamists to either persistent authoritarianism or democratization depending on the analysts’ leanings. The jihadist literature such as studies of al-Qaeda countered this trend by necessity, but there is no mistaking the strong contribution of country-based research done by scholars of comparative politics to our understanding of Islamist politics.
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Washington Often Forgets Who Its Real Allies Are

By Hussein Ibish
Tensions between the United States and Saudi Arabia are becoming a disturbingly prominent feature of political discourse in the two countries. Saudi commentators loudly complain about abandonment and betrayal by Washington, while unease about, and indeed resentment of, Riyadh is gaining ground in American analysis. This friction, which originates at the top, primarily emerged during the second Obama term. The administration placed so much emphasis on a nuclear agreement with Iran that it sometimes seemed to care about little else in the Gulf region. Saudi anxiety about American commitment and leadership is mirrored by American doubts about Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and particularly to combating extremist sentiments and religious intolerance that are the fundamental basis of some of the most dangerous forms of violent radicalism, particularly among Sunnis.
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Past Event
Labor Dynamics in the Gulf

Lower oil prices are challenging the traditional labor system in the Gulf, built largely from a migrant labor force. On February 17, the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington hosted a panel discussion examining labor dynamics in the Gulf, focusing on the rules that regulate labor inside the Gulf Cooperation Council states and some of the economic benefits of imported labor, as well as the challenges for rights protection and knowledge transfer.
In the Media
On February 21, AGSIW, in partnership with Raytheon and Khalifa University, hosted "UAE Security Forum 2016: Bridging the Cybersecurity Talent Gap" at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Emmanuel Samoglou discussed the growing necessity for Emirati cybersecurity experts  in an article for The National, citing conference speaker Noura Al Suwaidi,  "We don’t have enough experts in all of the areas we need them." Silva Radan also discussed the need for cybersecurity education in the UAE in an article for Khaleej Times. Conference speaker Eman Al Awadhi noted the increased steps taken by the government to address this issue, "In 2013, the Ministry of Education introduced cybersecurity curricula for grades one to 12."
AGSIW Visiting Fellow Hala Aldosari will receive the Freedom Award for her work in Saudi women's rights activism on May 24. The Freedom Award, presented by Freedom House, recognizes individuals for outstanding work in freedom and democracy. Past award recipients include the 14th Dalai Lama, Vaclav Havel, Edward R. Murrow, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Millennial Gulf Design Competition
AGSIW is soliciting entries for an original logo and header design for the Millennial Gulf bilingual webpage.

Millennial Gulf is a bimonthly series published by the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW) reporting on youth-led initiatives in the realms of culture, politics, technology, and entrepreneurship in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The series profiles the efforts of individuals and organizations engaged in innovation and the promotion of social change, and highlights creative expressions in literature, art, and social media. The goal of Millennial Gulf is to elevate the voices of youth in the GCC and to deepen understanding of their concerns and aspirations.

We are looking for a design that captures the essence of youth-led change and the intention of the series as stated above. Submissions must be accompanied by a design statement and artists are encouraged to incorporate both English and Arabic into the design.
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