The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW 

Upcoming Event
 Trump and Arab Leaders
Trump in Saudi Arabia: A New Era in U.S.-Gulf Relations?

DATE Tuesday June 20, 2017
TIME  12:00 - 2:00 pm
SPEAKERS David Des Roches, Ellen Laipson, Ali Vaez
MODERATOR Hussein Ibish
The Bridge blog
Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
Unfulfilled 2014 Riyadh Agreement Defines Current GCC Rift

Historical context is essential to understanding the escalating rift among the Gulf Cooperation Council states. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain broke diplomatic relations with Qatar in 2014. Back then the dispute was resolved within weeks. The crisis this time is much deeper, in that it involves broader sanctions, and far wider, in that it draws in more countries. 
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Man walks by Al Jazeera's Doha office
Saudi Leadership and Qatar Media

This week has seen a precipitous escalation in what is now the sharpest crisis in the history of the Gulf Cooperation Council since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Three members of the GCC – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, joined by Egypt and others – cut off ties to Qatar in a bold, high-stakes move to alter its behavior. Their actions amount to a coordinated attempt to exert maximum pressure on the peninsula state’s leadership, restricting not only diplomatic relations, but the flow of goods and people.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Rapprochement with Israel is Not in Saudi Arabia’s Interest

By Sultan Alamer and Luai Allarakia

Recently, many pieces have been published about the Gulf Arab countries and Israel arguing that: there is a great deal of convergence in the perceptions of both regarding the Iranian threat; there is growing covert security coordination between them against Iran; and the countries have taken modest moves toward the normalization of relations. These pieces argue that the Iranian threat makes Israel a convenient/necessary ally to the Gulf Cooperation Council states. 
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Market Watch
Qatar Airways plane
Isolating Qatar Reveals Economic Vulnerabilities of the GCC

The Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati efforts to isolate Qatar diplomatically and logistically from its Gulf Cooperation Council partners highlights structural weaknesses in many of the Gulf states, not just Qatar. There are a number of shared weaknesses within Gulf economies, mostly because of their dependency on revenue from oil and gas exports, but also because they do not produce their own food, they are extremely sensitive to reliability of electricity generation for both power and water desalination, their geography leaves them very sensitive to threats to air and sea port access, and their labor markets are dependent on foreigners. 
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Market Watch: Infographic
Qatar Crisis Graph
GCC-Qatar Crisis: Implications

As tensions across the Gulf Arab states escalate, measures taken against Qatar are impacting trade, business, and food security. Here are some implications of the ongoing diplomatic fallout with Qatar.
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AGSIW in Arabic

قبل أكثر من أربعين عاما، حين كان الرئيس ريتشارد نيكسون يعيش أحلك أيامه خلال فضيحة ووترغيت التي دمرت رئاسته، تساءل خلال مؤتمر صحفي : "الأمريكيون يريدون أن يعرفوا ما إذا كان رئيسهم محتالا، حسنا أنا لست محتالا". يوم الخميس، قالت الناطقة باسم البيت الأبيض سارة ساندرز"أستطيع أن أقول بثقة أن الرئيس (ترامب) ليس كذابا. وبصراحة مجرد طرح السؤال مهين"، في رد على سؤال حول اتهام جيمس كومي المدير السابق لمكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي (أف بي آي) لترامب بالكذب
اطلع على المزيد

In addition to original content, in Arabic is regularly updated with new Arabic translations of AGSIW's analysis. New translations include:
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
The Crisis is Only Just Beginning for Qatar

When Donald Trump tweeted unmistakably strong support for the Arab coalition confronting Qatar, the final window of hope slammed shut on Doha. Qatar’s only practical way out of the crisis was hope that Washington would mediate the crisis in a spirit of strict neutrality and press all sides to return to the status quo ante. That’s clearly not happening.
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Russia and the Qatar Crisis

According to some U.S. government officials, Russia has played a key role in the recent breakdown of relations between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and their dependents (such as Bahrain, the Hadi government in Yemen, and General Haftar in eastern Libya) on the other. 
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In the Media
Marcelle M. WahbaSpeaking with Arab News, AGSIW President Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba discussed the GCC-Qatar crisis, noting the situation resulted from “very serious differences that have been brewing for a very long time, parallel to increased vulnerabilities in the region such as the war in Yemen, decline in oil revenues and efforts at restructuring economic reforms." Wahba also discussed the U.S. role in mediating the conflict for Al Monitor: "Given the close relationship both with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I think the US will step up to the plate." 

Executive Vice President Stephen A. Seche also discussed the U.S. response to the rift with Al Monitor: “If John Kerry were still secretary of state, he’d be working the phone like crazy." He added, "We don’t know if Rex Tillerson has the same modus operandi. [But this rupture is an] opportunity to invite ourselves in to preserve the coalition that the president announced when he was in Riyadh." Speaking with Politico Magazine, Seche added that Saudi Arabia may have been emboldened by U.S. President Donald J. Trump's May visit to the region: "I think the visit was kind of a trigger."

Hussein IbishIn an interview with the Carnegie Middle East Center, Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish discussed the causes and implications of the crisis. Ibish also commented on Trump's Twitter response for Arab News noting his tweets slam the door on Qatar's hope 

"that American mediation would give it a face-saving way out without having to make too many compromises."

Read more from AGSIW on the GCC-Qatar crisis.

Speaking with Quartz, Senior Resident Scholar Karen E. Young and Visiting Scholar Hala Aldosari commented on the introduction of the ride-hailing service Uber in Saudi Arabia and its impact on women who rely on personal drivers in the country. Young commented, "Reliance on others for basic errands and mobility ultimately reinforces the patriarchal system." Aldosari noted that many women spend about a third of their salaries on hiring personal drivers and Uber would reduce the expense.
Visiting Scholar

Position Title: Visiting Scholar
Department/Team: Senior Resident Scholars
Period: Fall 2017
Location: Washington, DC

Job Summary: Visiting Scholars are individuals who possess a PhD or equivalent professional experience, and whose primary purpose for residence at AGSIW is to conduct independent research. 

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Research Associate (Economic Analysis)

Position Title: Research Associate (Economic Analysis)
Department/Team: Senior Resident Scholars
Period: Part Time (20-25 hours/week, no benefits)
Location: Washington, DC

Job Summary: Provide research assistance and support to senior resident scholars at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. 

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OxGAPS Call for Articles

Submission Deadline: July 7

Gulf Affairs invites scholars to submit original analytical articles for its upcoming issue on the theme “Foreign Policy Trends in the GCC States,” edited by AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Karen E. Young.

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