The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Event
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016 
    4:00 - 6:30 pm  
    1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060    
     Washington, DC 20036          

SPEAKERS H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Frederic Launay
The Bridge blog
Saudi Arabia Laying the Foundation for a Post-Oil Centric Economy

By Diane Munro
An unprecedented transformation of Saudi Arabia’s economic future is underway with recently unveiled plans to establish a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund secured by state-owned giant Aramco as a key pillar of this new strategy. Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) announced in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg on April 1 that the government plans to use a share offering in Aramco to sharply increase the value of the country’s Public Investment Fund.
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Market Watch
Drop in the Bucket: Reduced Fuel Subsidies Offer Little Deficit Relief

By Karen E. Young
The Gulf Cooperation Council states have drastically reduced subsidies of fuel, with the exception of Kuwait, which planned to reduce fuel subsidies but met stiff resistance from Parliament. At the end of March, Kuwait’s government announced plans to increase electricity and water fees in a structure divided by usage volume. The highest fee increase would go to commercial users, while residential units would see modest increases. Not surprisingly, the early evidence suggests that the GCC's most active legislative body is putting up the toughest fight against economic reforms.
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Will US-Saudi 'special relationship' last?

By Fahad Nazer
Much has been written and said in recent months about what some — myself included — have described as a “strain” in US-Saudi relations. Those who subscribe to this view have focused on what appears to be a philosophical difference between the administration of President Barack Obama and the Saudi leadership. While one of the pillars of the "Obama doctrine" appears to rest on the principle that the United States should avoid becoming militarily — or perhaps even politically — entangled in any Middle East conflict unless it poses a serious and imminent threat to its security, the Saudis appear to have adopted a very different if not completely opposite foreign policy posture.
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Past Event
Yemen: After the War, Securing a Long-Term Peace
In an attempt to identify and understand the multiple, and often competing, forces at work in Yemen, Chatham House commissioned a report scheduled for release in mid-April. In advance of its release, on April 4 AGSIW hosted a panel with the report’s author, Peter Salisbury, Katherine Zimmerman, and Mohammad Al-Shami for a discussion of its findings and recommendations.
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In the Media
AGSIW Executive Vice President Ambassador Stephen A. Seche spoke at an event hosted by the Project on Middle East Democracy, "Saudi Arabia's Regional Role and the Future of U.S.-Saudi Relations," on April 6 at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. During the panel, Seche noted a fundamental redefinition of U.S.-Saudi relations; long based on the premise of oil for security, the relationship is changing primarily due to the oil slump that Saudi Arabia is facing and the Iran deal. 
Seche was also quoted in an article for VICE discussing British involvement in the war in Yemen. He referred to the relationship as "very collaborative, and it was very useful for both [Britain and America] to sit and help triangulate what we were hearing from our different sources."

AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish participated in the panel "Adapting to the American Umbrella," as part of the Top CEO Awards in Dubai. The panel, which was covered by Al Arabiya, discussed the ramifications of American engagement in the region. Ibish discussed U.S. President Barack Obama's "engagement fatigue" and avoidance of involvement in the region's conflicts. He said, "I don’t see this approach carrying through in the next administration."

In a talk given to the Emirates Policy Center, Ibish examined U.S. perceptions of the Gulf and how they have affected policy. During his talk, Ibish stressed the sound fundamentals underlying the U.S.-GCC relationship and the limitations of Washington's opening to Tehran.

At a private event hosted by b'huth (Dubai Consultancy, Research, and Media Centre), Ibish looked at the past and future of U.S. relations with Iran in light of the nuclear agreement, and the implications for Gulf states' policy and strategy. He stressed that there has been no American "abandonment" of the region and explained how U.S. policy came to be made. Ibish was also interviewed by b'huth and he addressed developments in U.S.-Iran relations one year after the adoption of the Iran deal.
During the April 5 meeting of AGSIW's board of directors in Abu Dhabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan welcomed AGSIW staff and board members to the Emirates. Nahyan met with AGSIW President Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba, noting that she was “known so well to us as the American Ambassador to this country in the challenging period following 9/11."

1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1060

Washington, DC 20036

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