The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Analysis
Past Imperfect, Future Tense: Iran’s Oil Industry Post-Sanctions

By Diane Munro

Iran is navigating a myriad of challenges in its efforts to restore oil production to pre-sanctions levels and attract foreign investment amid the worst downturn in oil markets in more than a decade. Iranian crude oil production has steadily increased since sanctions were lifted in mid-January, to 3.5 million barrels per day (mb/d) in April, up by 500,000 b/d since the start of the year. Plans to raise production to 4 mb/d by the end of the Iranian calendar year in March 2017 appear ambitious and even modest growth of a further 600,000 b/d by 2021, to 4.6 mb/d, may be out of reach given political, legal, and investment challenges.
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Millennial Gulf
What if Arabistan?

By Fatima Abo Alasrar

Two young Arab architects studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design are working to address political and social issues in the Gulf region through a radical thought experiment in urban planning. Hamed Bukhamseen from Kuwait and Ali Karimi from Bahrain have conceived an alternate future for six underutilized islands in the Gulf, concocting an urban vision of a new Arab Gulf nation, “Arabistan.” The reimagining of the archipelago is much more than a utopia in the mind of urban designers. It sheds light on the differences between the six Gulf Cooperation Council states and aims to strengthen Gulf identity by bypassing cultural, political, and social hurdles that the Gulf population presently faces.
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Commentary
Why the U.S. can’t disengage from the Middle East

By Hussein Ibish

One of the key features of late Obama-era American foreign policy is the dominant mythology that all American – and, by extension, any western – military intervention in the Middle East is doomed to failure. President Obama has said as much, with increasing intensity, in a series of interviews, and it appears to have risen to an article of faith in the White House.
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Past Event
Gulf Rising: The Emerging International Role of the Gulf States
 
The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are increasingly playing a more assertive role in the region. Amid geopolitical shifts, the Gulf Arab states have repositioned themselves as centers of regional power with global reach. AGSIW hosted a discussion on May 26 with the authors of two recent releases showing how the Gulf states are transforming their roles in the international system.
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In the Media
EPCTalk2016May16[4]On May 16, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish spoke at a conference hosted by the Emirates Policy Center in Abu Dhabi. Ibish discussed the internal and external elements influencing the current U.S. strategic assessment of the Middle East. Ibish also spoke at the Second Strategic Gulf Conference in Manama on May 24-25, hosted by Bahrain-based think tank DERASAT, where he discussed how the Iran deal affects strategic relations in the Gulf.

Ibish commented on the French initiative hosting Israeli-Palestinian talks in the Global Post. Ibish noted that talks are unlikely to move forward without U.S. support. In an article for Middle East Eye, Ibish cited the inefficacy of Arab states purchasing influence in Washington: "White House talk about Arab-occupied territory on Massachusetts Avenue or K Street is ironic because, whatever their total investment may be, the U.S.’s Gulf Arab partners certainly haven’t been getting their way regarding American policies in recent years."

On the [email protected] radio show, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Karen E. Young discussed the JASTA legislation implicating Saudi Arabia for possible involvement in the 9/11 attacks as well as the country's threat to withdraw U.S. investments in response. In The Hill, Non-Resident Fellow Fahad Nazer commented on the U.S.-Saudi relationship. On Riyadh's perception in Washington, Nazer noted, "The kingdom certainly has an image or a PR problem in the West in general, but specifically in the United States."

Hala-FreedomHouseOn May 24, Freedom House awarded its Freedom Award to AGSIW Visiting Scholar Hala Aldosari, recognizing her work to protect and improve the rights of women in Saudi Arabia. Receiving the award at Freedom House’s 75th Anniversary Gala Dinner, Aldosari said: “I’m deeply honored to receive such a prestigious distinction and to be among iconic freedom advocates. This event granted the women of Saudi Arabia a much-needed visibility at a time of serious challenges and transformations.”

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