The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Events 
    Wednesday, May 18, 2016 
    12:00 - 1:30 pm  

SPEAKER F. Gregory Gause, III
MODERATOR Kristin Smith Diwan
A light lunch will be served.
    Thursday, May 19, 2016 
    4:30 - 6:00 pm  

SPEAKER Farah Al-Nakib
MODERATOR Hala Aldosari
Please join us for a reception following the discussion.
    Thursday, May 26, 2016 
    4:30 - 6:30 pm  

SPEAKERS David Roberts, Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
MODERATOR Hussein Ibish
Please join us for a reception following the discussion.
The Bridge blog
Youth Appeal of Saudi Vision 2030

By Kristin Smith Diwan

On April 25, Saudi Arabia’s young deputy crown prince, defense minister, and head of the Council of Economic and Developmental Affairs, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), boldly outlined for a Saudi domestic audience Saudi Vision 2030, the government’s plans for a future without oil. In doing so, he laid down the markers for a new Saudi Arabia, and made an appeal to the next generation to take up the challenge and get to work.
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Four Probable Developments in U.S. Middle East Policy

By Hussein Ibish

U.S. foreign policy has historically favored consistency and gradual change, as befits a status quo power, rather than sudden transformations. Unanticipated events like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 that force dramatic policy shifts have been the exceptions rather than the rule. U.S. interests develop slowly over time and reflect the imperatives of numerous constituencies that compete in defining national priorities. A change in administrations does not return the country to square one. Therefore, whoever succeeds President Barack Obama is likely to have an overall approach to the Middle East that is similar to his. 
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Millennial Gulf
Portrait of a Nation: UAE Artists Explore Unity

By Samyah Alfoory
On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) is offering visitors to the "Portrait of a Nation" exhibit an opportunity to view the work of 20 Emirati artists reflecting on the organization’s legacy, as well as the unique culture and identity of the United Arab Emirates. Among those commissioned for this exhibit are two leading contemporary Emirati artists, Amna Al Dabbagh and Sarah Alagroobi, both featured in the “Nation & Unity” section of the exhibit. Portrait of a Nation is part of the Abu Dhabi Festival at the Emirates Palace and will run until May 10.
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Past Event

During President Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S.-Saudi relationship has deteriorated due to mistrust and disagreement over Iran, Syria, and the U.S. commitment to Gulf security. Blunt comments by Obama in a recent article in The Atlantic have deepened these concerns. On April 26, AGSIW hosted a panel discussion examining what Obama and Gulf Cooperation Council leaders achieved, respectively, at the April 21 U.S.-GCC summit to advance their agendas and shore up the partnership. 
Watch video
A Looming Crisis in Lebanon

By Hussein Ibish
In Levantine landscapes, history is piled high. The present is layered on the remnants of the past, both modern and ancient. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. Sparkling buildings and sweeping urban highways rise up out of heaps of rubble that remain a quarter-century after the 1975-1990 civil war. Yet the crumbling edifices of earlier eras are also, amazingly, still inhabited. Beirut is an organic museum, vibrant and wretched. 
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America Still Needs Saudi Arabia

By Ambassador Frank G. Wisner
President Obama has just concluded what almost certainly will be his last meeting with the heads of state of the six Arab monarchies that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). By all accounts, the meeting was productive, as we would hope when the leaders of our nations gather. These are, after all, important and enduring partnerships, grounded in mutual security, economic and geostrategic interests.
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The Candidates’ Report Cards Are Less Than Stellar

By Hussein Ibish
The American presidential election will almost certainly be between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and real estate mogul Donald Trump. This unprecedented contest – a real-life “wacky race" – invites a thought experiment: compare and contrast Middle East policy report cards for these would-be national leaders. The manifest purpose of this academic fantasy is to gauge what the election might mean for the Middle East. But a latent aim is to test whether Mr Trump – who has never held any elected or appointed office – can be taken at all seriously.
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In the Media
On Voice of America, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish discussed the implications of U.S. President Barack Obama's April trip to Saudi Arabia. Ibish noted that strained relations between the United States and the Gulf are primarily due to doubts about U.S. commitment to the Gulf as a result of the Iran deal. On Al Hurra's "Free Hour," Ibish discussed the cease-fire in Syria and efforts to end the conflict, noting that U.S. policy lacks a broad, unifying approach. Additionally, on Al Jazeera English's "The Listening Post," Ibish discussed propaganda tactics used on both sides of the Yemen war.

AGSIW Non-Resident Fellow Fahad Nazer commented on the shake-up within Saudi Arabia's government, including the replacement of the oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, in The New York Times. Nazer noted, "All these measures were ultimately aimed at making government more efficient and more accountable..." Ibish also discussed the Saudi Cabinet reshuffle on Al Jazeera English's "Newshour" on May 7.

In The New Arab, AGSIW Non-Resident Fellow Sigurd Neubauer commented on the Gulf Cooperation Council railway project and the impact of Oman's decision to delay construction. Neubauer noted, "Oman seeks to benefit from its geographical location and key to that is a [land-based] transportation network that connects to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates."

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