The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Events
    Thursday, June 9, 2016 
    12:00 - 1:30 pm  

SPEAKERS Nermin Fawzi Sa'd, Sweta Mangal, Brandon Pollak
MODERATOR Raymond E. Karam

    Thursday, June 23, 2016 
    7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
    Busboys and Poets
    (14th and V Streets, Washington, DC)

PERFORMERS Afra Atiq, Salem Shukri Al Attas, Fatima Al Hamad, Saltanah Ensemble
The Interventionist Turn in Gulf States' Foreign Policies

By Karen E. Young

Over the last decade there has been an invigoration of Gulf state agency in regional politics, from the use of military intervention, to increased bilateral, rather than multilateral, foreign assistance, to an interest in regional leadership that has created an inter-Gulf Cooperation Council rivalry as much as a Middle East and North Africa-wide competition for influence. The perception of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East permeates Gulf states’ justifications for their foreign policy choices, specifically the Saudi rationale for its intervention in Yemen. In Syria, there is a similar rationale from Gulf states that unless they assume a leadership role, including the ability to pose an independent military threat, a power vacuum will further destabilize the region and embolden Iran.
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The Bridge blog
Is the Arab Peace Initiative Really in Play?

By Hussein Ibish

The Arab Peace Initiative (API) is receiving a great deal of attention these days, primarily from Israel, but also from Egypt, the Gulf states, and others. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said the plan had “positive elements,” after almost 14 years of ignoring or dismissing the proposal. Even more unusually, new Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he agreed with Netanyahu’s positive assessment of the plan. First floated by Saudi Arabia and unanimously adopted by the Arab League in 2002, and reaffirmed in 2007, the initiative basically suggests that the whole Arab world would normalize relations with Israel in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians and an end to the occupation of Arab lands seized in 1967. 
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A More Unified OPEC Emerges from Vienna Ministerial Meeting

By Diane Munro

While no new policy agreements were reached to “freeze production” or set a new output target, OPEC emerged from its biannual ministerial meeting in Vienna on June 2 with a renewed sense of unity after years of discord. The unexpected success of the OPEC gathering was in large part due to Saudi Arabia’s new Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih’s diplomatic outreach to member states battered by the sharp drop in oil revenue and dismayed at the kingdom’s insistence on a “hands off” oil market policy amid prolonged lower oil prices.
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Gulf States Caught Up in Sadr’s “Game of Thrones”

By Adil Awadh

The Middle East is full of local dramas reminiscent of events depicted in the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” the sword and sorcery fantasy about power struggles in mythical kingdoms. With all its chaos and bloodshed, and dozens of armed groups and militias contending for influence and authority, Iraq is a scene of many such dramas. Close observers, including the Gulf Arab states, need to be sure not to overlook some of the most important political “dragons” roaming the Iraqi strategic landscape, most notably Muqtada al-Sadr.
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ADNOC’s CEO Institutes Seismic Shift in Corporate Strategy

By Diane Munro

Restructuring of state oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is gathering pace as new Director General Sultan Al Jaber overhauls the company management and operational structure to bring it in line with the more commercial-oriented business model of international oil companies. Jaber took over the helm of ADNOC in February, after winning accolades at the government-owned investment fund Mubadala, where he was head of energy, after which he went on to launch the highly successful renewable energy company, Masdar, making the UAE a global leader in the field.
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Gulf Economic Barometer
On May 25, Qatar sold a $9 billion bond, surprising markets with the amount of investor interest. See this and other updates on the Gulf Economic Barometer.
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‘Islamism Is Dead!’ Long Live Muslim Democrats

By Hussein Ibish

“Islamism is dead!” announced Said Ferjani, a leader of the progressive wing of Ennahda, Tunisia’s main Islamist party, as we drank coffee in a hotel cafe here last month. Mr. Ferjani, a former hard-liner who once plotted a coup against the regime of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, was upbeat as he described the historic transition his party was about to make.
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In the Media
In an article in The National, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Kristin Smith Diwan commented on the opening of Doha's museum exploring the history of slavery in Qatar and the Gulf. Diwan noted,  "It’s probably largely communicating to a global audience … and trying to show [Qataris] are both open to dealing with some of these challenges, but also showing that this isn’t a fault that’s just with Qatar, that there are global connections, which I think is a pretty sophisticated way of tackling that problem."

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