The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Events 
Saudi Arabian Foreign Policy: Conflict and Cooperation

     Wednesday, March 23, 2016
     12:00 - 1:30 pm
     1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060
     Washington, DC 20036

SPEAKERS Neil Partrick, Mark N. Katz, Fahad Nazer (Discussant)

MODERATOR Hussein Ibish
    Thursday, March 31, 2016 
    12:00 - 1:30 pm  
    1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060    
     Washington, DC 20036          

SPEAKERS Loujayn Alhokail, Kent Davis-Packard, Mohammad H. Fadel
MODERATOR Hala Aldosari
The Bridge blog
How Russia's Drawdown Will Affect War and Peace in Syria

By Hussein Ibish
The announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the "main part" of his country's military forces that have intervened in Syria since late September 2015 will begin withdrawing soon may prove less dramatic in practice than many hope or suspect. The announcement and its overall context do not indicate a major Russian policy shift. Putin has insisted that Russian operations at military bases in Tartus and Latakia – the only significant manned Russian military installations outside the former Soviet Union – will continue as usual. This means that Russia will maintain significant airpower in Syria, although where it will conduct operations remains to be seen.
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Market Watch
Declining Gulf States’ Financial Support Adds to Egypt’s Currency Woes

By Karen E. Young 
The Egyptian central bank devalued the pound on March 14, in a long expected move that sought to find a middle ground between the black market trade value of the Egyptian pound and the government’s de facto peg to the U.S. dollar. The current rate of 8.85 Egyptian pounds to the U.S. dollar is a 13 percent devaluation from government auction prices last week at 7.73, but still below black market rates as high as 9.5 pounds to the dollar found on the streets of Cairo. The Egyptian authorities have agreed to essentially create a managed float of the currency (though details are yet to be public), meaning that they will not defend the value of the pound at a set rate, but rather could expect it to fluctuate within a range. Some analysts expect the pound has further to fall, perhaps as much as 9.25 to the dollar.
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Millennial Gulf
Art with an Impact: Talking Design with Arfa Rehman

By Samyah Alfoory
Arfa Rehman is a master’s student in sociology at Oxford University. Originally from India, she is a resident of Saudi Arabia, a graduate of New York University Abu Dhabi, and a former Rhodes Scholar. After winning the logo competition for our new series on youth-led initiatives, Millennial Gulf, AGSIW interviewed Rehman to discuss her interests, her design philosophy, the concept behind her logo and header, and her views on Gulf, or Khaleeji, youth and the diversity of the region.
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In the Media
AGSIW Non-Resident Fellow Sigurd Neubauer appeared on Al Jazeera English to discuss the crisis in Syria. Neubauer addressed the advancement of the Kurds against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the ongoing peace talks in Geneva in light of the current cease-fire.
In response to The Atlantic's interview with U.S. President Barack Obama, "The Obama Doctrine," AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish appeared on TVO to discuss the effects of Obama's foreign policy. Ibish noted the "double-standard" of Obama's views toward Saudi Arabia and Iran, especially in light of both countries' records on human rights. AGSIW Non-Resident Fellow Fahad Nazer was quoted in an article for The Washington Post discussing the Saudi response to Obama's reference to Saudi Arabia and other countries as "free riders." Nazer commented that Saudi sentiment is largely negative toward Obama, in line with Prince Turki al-Faisal's response: "Many Saudis readily admit that they are now simply awaiting the end of President Obama's tenure."
Ibish also discussed the Russian withdrawal from Syria with NPR's "To The Point." Ibish noted that Russia remains a strong presence in Syria, despite the withdrawal, and will likely redeploy troops to the country.

Additionally, Nazer was quoted in an article for Bloomberg discussing the shift in power dynamics within the Saudi royal family in light of the oil crisis. Nazer noted, "The economic and demographic challenges to the kingdom are too great, and they need to be resolved and confronted and addressed forcefully and quickly." Nazer also discussed the Saudi-led military coalition of Islamic countries in an article for Sputnik International, in particular addressing the North Thunder military exercise with coalition members in February: "The Saudis are pursuing this very seriously and as I said when the announcement was first made in December people had some doubts as to how serious an endeavor this would be."
Summer Internship

Location: Washington, DC
Period: June through August 2016
Department/Team: Senior Resident Scholars/Program Outreach and Communication
Position Title: Research and Program Intern

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. 

For more information, please click here. The deadline to receive applications for Summer 2016 is Friday, April 1 by 5:00 pm EST.

1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1060

Washington, DC 20036

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