The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Event 
    Thursday, May 19, 2016 
    4:30 - 6:00 pm  
    1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060    
    Washington, DC 20036          

SPEAKER Farah Al-Nakib
Please join us for a reception following the discussion.
Market Watch
Business Politics in the Gulf

By Karen E. Young
As much as things are changing in the Gulf Cooperation Council, in terms of the relationship between state and economy with the much-heralded post-oil transformation underway, there are many aspects of state-business relations that remain the same. In a two-day conference last week at Georgetown University, scholars investigated the relationship between the state and the private sector in the Gulf, part of a multiyear project of researchers at Georgetown University in Doha and Exeter University in the United Kingdom. One of the scholars’ principle questions is the sustainability of social and political infrastructure in a time of tremendous economic transition in the Gulf. If there is to be a diversified GCC, less reliant on oil exports for fiscal revenue, how might the state negotiate an exit from the private sector? Is it a precondition to continued economic growth in an era of lower oil prices?
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The Bridge blog
Prospects Dim for Doha Agreement on Oil-Production Freeze

By Diane Munro
Major oil producers gathered in Doha for an April 17 meeting aimed at stabilizing volatile oil prices, which have plummeted 70 percent since mid-2014 and upended oil-dependent economies. The severity of the oil price shock has forged a somewhat fragile coalition of the willing to “freeze” production levels in a bid to reduce historic high levels of global oil stocks weighing on oil prices. The Doha initiative is the first time in 15 years that OPEC and non-OPEC producers have united to forge an agreement on oil production. Approximately 17 countries, representing almost 60 percent of global production, attended. Eleven of OPEC’s 13 members have committed to a freeze while Iran and Libya have recused themselves from participating. Non-OPEC producers include Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Oman, and Bahrain.
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Why Qatar is Hosting a Turkish Military Base

By Feyza Gumusluoglu
As the Ottoman and British empires engaged in one of the deadliest battles of World War I over the Dardanelles, they also confronted each other in Qatar. Unlike in the Dardanelles, however, in the Gulf the Ottomans were not determined to win. In the summer of 1915, Ottoman troops stationed there peacefully left their garrison – the last one they occupied in the Gulf region – and crossed the waters to Iran. They left behind a mountain gun, two field guns, 14 rifles, 120 cases of ammunition, and 500 projectiles. The two field guns did not even have powder. The ammunition and rifles were given to Sheikh Abdallah bin Qassim, Qatar’s ruler, who assisted the British invasion.
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The Yemeni Factor in the Saudi Arabia-Sudan Realignment

By Eleonora Ardemagni
The recent regional alignment between Saudi Arabia and Sudan sheds light on a shift in the Saudi geopolitics of aid. Following an announcement at the end of February of the suspension of a major military aid package to Lebanon, Riyadh granted $5 billion in military aid to Khartoum, marking a change of alliance for the regime of Omar Al-Bashir, a longtime Iranian ally.
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Challenges and Opportunities for American Branch Campuses in the Gulf

By Khadija Mosaad
As they start moving away from oil dependency and begin preparing for necessary economic diversification, Gulf Cooperation Council states are making massive investments in developing a more educated workforce – moving quietly, yet steadily, toward educational reform. Among the most important of these academic investments is the importation of branches of Western, particularly American, higher educational institutions. Western education offers critical thinking skills, freedom of thought, and an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines, that are intended to equip Gulf students with the skills and training to be competitive in a globalized world economy. American branch campuses in the GCC face significant academic, political, social, and cultural challenges. How does a Western institution “branch out” in an environment where some of its core values are not customary?
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Obama and GCC leaders have a lot to talk about

By Hussein Ibish
The US-GCC summit meeting in Saudi Arabia next Thursday should prove an important milestone in the relationship, especially since it is intended to set the precedent of an annual head- of-state level summit into the foreseeable future. Last May, US president Barack Obama invited GCC leaders to Camp David, although not all of them attended. The most important development from that summit for the Gulf states was the chronological and thematic structure established for conversations with Washington.
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US-Gulf ties have frayed but are not beyond repair

By Hussein Ibish
My visit to the UAE last week strongly reinforced for me that negative misperceptions about Gulf relations with the United States, which in fact remain very strong, are deeply felt and widespread. The sources and context of friction in the relationship are no mystery, especially persistent questions about the Obama administration’s intentions behind the nuclear agreement with Iran. More surprising was the extent to which these anxieties have become so entrenched they actually resist reassurances and evidence to the contrary.
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Past Event
Environmental Conservation in the UAE: Local Roots with Global Ambitions
Environmental conservation has been a long-standing concern as the United Arab Emirates has sought to balance rapid socioeconomic development and the protection of its natural heritage. Standing at the nexus of the UAE’s various environmental conservation efforts is H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, secretary-general of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, mandated with protecting the country’s environment and enhancing its biodiversity. On April 12, AGSIW was pleased to host Al Mubarak, who discussed the challenges the UAE faces in protecting its unique fauna and flora in the face of the urbanization that has accompanied tremendous population growth and higher standards of living.
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In the Media
AGSIW Executive Vice President Ambassador Stephen A. Seche was quoted in an article for Al Hayat Arabic discussing U.S. President Barack Obama's April 21 summit with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh. Seche noted that the summit provides an opportunity to discuss core issues of the U.S.-GCC relationship despite personal differences between Obama and GCC leaders.

AGSIW Non-Resident Fellow Fahad Nazer was quoted in an article for the The National discussing a controversial bill that would expose Saudi Arabia to lawsuits related to 9/11 and possible implications on the U.S.-Saudi relationship ahead of Obama's visit. Nazer said, "I think it’s important to keep in mind that over the past month, three different congressional delegations headed by Senators Lindsey Graham, Ben Cardin, and House Speaker Paul Ryan have visited Saudi Arabia and met with senior leaders including King Salman and Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman." The Arabic daily Al Hayat also covered Nazer's remarks on the Saudi reaction to Obama's comments in The Atlantic during the Middle East Policy Council's April 12 conference, "The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and the Obama Doctrine."

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