The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW 

The Bridge blog

By Kristin Smith Diwan and Michael Esfahani

The political news emanating from the tiny island kingdom of Bahrain has come fast and frequent this summer, with a series of actions taken by the courts, Parliament, and security forces effectively reshaping the formal political landscape of the country. These actions have dealt perhaps the final blow to the strategy set in the early years of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa’s reign, when opposition politicians were invited back from exile, the Parliament re-established, and the economy reshaped to better integrate a Shia community disproportionately dependent on the private sector for employment. 
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By Mark N. Katz

Saudi diplomacy has for several years attempted to induce Moscow to drop its support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as for Iran, through holding out the prospects of increased economic ties between Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council, and Russia.
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By Kyle Monsees

The spread of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) throughout Iraq, Syria, and Libya illustrates how insurgent groups often thrive in areas where government authority and legitimate institutions are absent. In these ungoverned spaces, insurgent groups often provide security and basic services to the local population, thus serving as an alternative to the government for those services. 
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أي قراءة دقيقة لخطاب المرشح الجمهوري للرئاسة الأمريكية دونالد ترامب حول مكافحة الإرهاب و تحديدا تنظيم ما يسمى "الدولة الإسلامية" (داعش) تؤكد أن فهمه لهذا الخطر و كيفية معالجته و ما تقوم به الولايات المتحدة و حلفاؤها في هذا المجال تؤكد نظرته الضحلة و التبسيطية لهذا الخطر بالتحديد، و للعلاقات الدولية في هذه المرحلة التاريخية بشكل عام
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Millennial Gulf

By Samyah Alfoory

In the cities of the Gulf states, white and unmarked walls are the standard. But in Kuwait, Jedareyat is doing something unusual and innovative: organizing local artists to paint colorful murals on buildings around the city. Aiming to combat visual pollution in Kuwait, Jedareyat is a volunteer group founded by Sulaiman Alrodhan in early 2016. The team, which also consists of Abdulaziz Alreshoud, Hind Francis, and Ameena Almutawa, scours the city and crowdsources for dead walls and artists who can transform them into picture-worthy landmarks. 
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By Hussein Ibish

The battle for Aleppo could be a turning point in Syria’s civil war — not simply because it may prove a decisive moment in the struggle between the government and the opposition, but because the leadership of the rebel forces is at stake.
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By Mark N. Katz

In a highly dramatic development, Russian bombers have begun using an Iranian base for bombing missions over Syria. Why Moscow would want to do this is clear: flight time to Syria is much shorter from northwestern Iran than from southern Russia. This allows Russian bombers to carry less fuel and more bombs, which holds out the prospect for more effective (as well as just more) Russian bombing missions against Syrian opposition targets.
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By Mark N. Katz

There has been a tremendous amount of press coverage devoted to the initiation earlier this week of Russian bombers flying missions over Syria from a base in Iran. But what exactly has changed? For the Syrians on the receiving end of these missions, the fact that Russian bombers are coming from Iran instead of farther-away southern Russia does not change the fact that they are still being bombed.
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By Omar Al-Ubaydli

In 2011, the UAE dramatically reformed its kafala system by allowing migrant workers with expiring contracts to change employers without the initial sponsor’s permission. The government wisely worked with a team of experts to evaluate the results. Five years on, an interesting analogy with traditional labour union activity has emerged, in which the interests of "insiders" (migrant workers already in the UAE) clash with those of "outsiders" (prospective migrant workers).
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In the Media
AGSIW Executive Vice President Ambassador Stephen A. Seche appeared on BBC discussing U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen in light of airstrikes on hospitals and schools.

AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish appeared on Sky Arabia discussing the differences between the Middle East policies of U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Ibish also appeared on CCTV America discussing U.S. military involvement in the Middle East.

Speaking with MENAFN, AGSIW Board Member F. Gregory Gause, III commented on Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's plan to diversify its economy away from oil. Gause noted, "Shifting from an oil-based economy to something different is very difficult. The Saudis have been talking about it for decades, but have made little progress." In the same article, AGSIW Non-Resident Fellow Fahad Nazer commented on Saudi citizens' responses to the plan: "There is a realization among many Saudis that the economic challenges that the kingdom is facing are daunting."

AGSIW Research Associate Yerevan Saeed commented on the revitalization of Kurdish nationalism and challenges it faces against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant for El Mundo.
Associate – Cultural Programs

Position Title: Associate – Cultural Programs
Department/Team: Programs and Communication
Period: Part Time (25 hours/week, no benefits)
Location: Washington, DC 

Job Summary: The cultural associate will be responsible for proposing and implementing cultural programming at AGSIW, such as panel discussions, film screenings, art exhibitions, and music performances. The associate will monitor the arts and culture scene in the GCC countries and help shape the direction of AGSIW cultural programming. The associate will provide administrative, communication, and logistical support to the programs team to plan and execute cultural programming.
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Research Associate

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

Job Summary: Provide research assistance and administrative support to senior resident scholars at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. At the direction of the scholars, conduct research on Gulf politics, foreign policy, culture, economics, and U.S. policy toward the region. Monitor contemporary developments in the Gulf states and in U.S. policy, including reviews of regional media and foreign language sources. Contribute analytical essays, bibliographies, and summaries on relevant topics.
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