The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW 

Upcoming Event
Tunisia Military Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania

DATE Thursday October 5, 2017
TIME 12:30 - 2:00 pm
SPEAKER Florence Gaub
MODERATOR Hussein Ibish
Past Events
Petro Diplomacy 2017 Petro Diplomacy: Navigating the New Oil Era

For its third annual conference, AGSIW brought together experts from the oil industry, finance, government, and academia to discuss critical issues facing the oil industry against the background of the shifting economic and political landscape in the region. “Petro Diplomacy: Navigating the New Oil Era,” began with a conversation with Fareed Yasseen, ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to the United States, and included several panels, as well as keynote remarks by author, journalist, and historian Anna Rubino and a public panel.
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Majid Saif Al Ghurair Lessons on Building an Innovation Hub: Dubai as a Nexus City

In an era of increasing pressure on governments to streamline their outlays in public expenditure and create jobs in the private sector for a generation of young citizens, Dubai has used its tradition as a nexus city to invite new business and new ways of capitalizing on the skills of both citizens and expatriates to create growth. On September 29, AGSIW co-hosted, with the U.S.-UAE Business Council, Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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The Bridge blog
GCC Summit The Role of the Gulf Arab States in a Transforming Middle East

By Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba

The Middle East finds itself at a moment of profound change. The transformations underway are significant enough to invite comparisons to the era in which the political landscape of the modern Middle East took shape. The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the events of the Arab Spring in 2010-11 have been key turning points. In their aftermath, traditional power centers like Baghdad, Cairo, and Damascus have turned inward, beset by wars, revolutions, and terrorism.
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Woman Driving End of Saudi Driving Ban Removes Key Roadblock for Women

By Kristin Smith Diwan

A key feature of Saudi exceptionalism has fallen: the ban on women driving in the kingdom. This marks the culmination of decades of social change and political activism on the part of a small but growing vanguard of Saudi women. The royal decree announcing a rollout to permit women driving by June 2018 provides the best indication yet that the Saudi leadership intends to seize upon this moment of generational transition in the kingdom to drive a broader transformation, securely under the authority and imprimatur of the ruling Al Saud family.
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Masoud Barzani The Gulf Arab Countries and the Kurdish Referendum

By Hussein Ibish

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities in Iraq have reported a predictably huge “yes” vote, over 90 percent, in the nonbinding referendum on Kurdish independence that was held September 25. The KRG’s immediate neighbors – Iraq, Turkey, and Iran (all of which have substantial Kurdish populations) – reacted with anger, and the United States expressed strong disapproval, while Israel praised the vote and endorsed Kurdish statehood. But most of the Gulf Arab countries have had a more ambivalent response, reflecting their own diverse interests in the Kurdistan region and what the vote, and potential Kurdish independence, could auger, both positively and negatively, from their perspectives.
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Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi Yemeni President’s Call for Military Solution Fails to Resonate

By Peter Salisbury

For much of the past two and a half years diplomats have argued that Yemen’s civil war will only be ended through political compromise. Yemen’s president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, however, has other ideas. The only solution is a military one, he told Al Arabiya on September 24. It is not clear what Hadi’s military solution might look like, though. 
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AGSIW in Arabic

يتعامل الرئيس دونالد ترامب مع تفاقم المشاكل والفضائح الداخلية التي يواجهها بأسلوب التصعيد ضد خصوم الولايات المتحدة في الخارج، والدخول في معارك مفتعلة داخليا لتحويل الأنظار عن إخفاقاته التشريعية والسياسية. مشاكل ترامب تغطي معظم الطيف السياسي، بدءا من اقتراب المحقق الخاص روبرت مولر من التحقيق مع موظفي البيت الأبيض بشأن التدخل الروسي في الانتخابات، إلى المأساة الإنسانية التي يواجهها أكثر من ثلاثة ملايين أمريكي في جزيرة بورتوريكو جراء إعصار إيرما، حيث يفتقر نصفهم إلى مياه الشرب، ومعظمهم إلى التيار الكهربائي، إلى فضيحة وزير الصحة توم برايس المتمثلة باستخدام الطائرات الخاصة بدلا من الطيران التجاري وتحميل نفقات رحلاته للحكومة، وغيرها من المشاكل
اطلع على المزيد

In addition to original content, in Arabic is regularly updated with new Arabic translations of AGSIW's analysis. Recent translations include:
In the Media
Young on AJESenior Resident Scholar Karen E. Young discussed the repeal of the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia on Al Jazeera English: "This is an expansion of the reform agenda, and really a liberalization agenda, by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman." 

Kristin Smith DiwanSenior Resident Scholar Kristin Smith Diwan was quoted in multiple AFP articles discussing the repeal. She noted, "Putting women behind the wheel is the most effective way to announce to the world - and to Saudis - that the kingdom is entering a new era." Diwan also stated, "Gender segregation is costly." She additionally spoke with Financial Times: "The timing of this coming amid the showdown with Qatar and the wave of arrests is no coincidence." Commenting for City Lab, Diwan discussed the role of women activists: "All suffered for their actions by being socially ostracized, losing their government jobs, and in some cases facing imprisonment." 

Covering AGSIW's conference, "Petro Diplomacy: Navigating the New Oil Era," Reuters cited Board Member Ibrahim Al-Muhanna's remarks on the rise of oil prices: "We even might hit $60 per barrel before the end of this year or the beginning of next year." Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Young commented on Saudi Arabia's $12.5 billion bond sale: "The necessity of debt financing is to fund the deficit, but also to act as a bridge fund before some of the privatization efforts and efforts to attract FDI [foreign direct investment] bear fruit."

Marcelle M. WahbaSpeaking with the BBC as part of an upcoming documentary on the Qatar crisis, President Ambassador Marcelle M. Wahba said, “The crisis with Qatar came about as a result of long-held political differences with its neighbors regarding political and financial support for Islamist groups. In essence, it is a conflict in views about the role of political Islam and the future trajectory of the region.” Speaking with Financial Times, Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish discussed Turkey-GCC relations in light of the Qatar dispute: "Among other things, Turkey has important contracts in Saudi Arabia, at airports for example, that seem to be fully operative." He added, "And there remains a good deal of Emirati investment in Turkey in a range of sectors."
Hussein Ibish Atlantic CouncilHussein Ibish spoke on the panel "The Region and the Iran Deal" at the Atlantic Council. Discussing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he commented, "Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the others to an extent are happier with the Trump administration’s approach toward Iran with its more confrontational attitude..."

Kristin Diwan at BrookingsKristin Smith Diwan moderated the panel "Rethinking Political Islam" at the Brookings Institution. She noted that nationalism is becoming a stronger force in the GCC states.
Spring 2018 Internships

Position Title: Program and Digital Media Intern
Department/Team: Programs and Publications
Period: Spring 2018
Hours: 20 to 30 hours per week
Location: Washington, DC
Deadline to Apply: November 1

Job Summary: The Internship Program at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington provides talented students and recent graduates with a three-month (or longer) training opportunity designed to encourage professional and personal development. We encourage out-of-the-box thinking and value fresh perspectives.

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1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1060

Washington, DC 20036

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