The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW 

Upcoming Event

DATE Monday October 16, 2017
TIME 12:30 - 2:00 pm
SPEAKER H.E. Shaikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa
MODERATOR Kristin Smith Diwan
AGSIW Interviews
AGSIW Interview Driving in a New Direction: Sweeping Changes in Saudi Arabia

Senior Resident Scholars Kristin Smith Diwan, Hussein Ibish, and Karen E. Young sat down with Non-Resident Fellow Peter Salisbury to discuss the recent sweeping changes in Saudi Arabia, including the repeal of the ban on women driving.
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The Bridge blog
Putin and Salman Saudis are about to Buy a Major Russian Missile System – Or are They?

By Hussein Ibish

The biggest deliverable arising from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s visit to Russia is almost certainly Riyadh's announced intention to purchase a range of Russian weapons systems, notably S-400 surface-to-air missiles. A memorandum of understanding between the two countries hasn't been released, and neither the total value of the contracts nor the quantity of each of the weapons systems is known. But the S-400 purchase communicates several important aspects of Riyadh’s evolving national security posture and planning, practically applying and reinforcing trends in Saudi strategic thinking, most obviously the diversification of its weapons providers.
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Putin and Salman Russia Sees New Saudi “Realism” on Display at Moscow Summit

By Mark N. Katz

At the recent summit between Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, the two leaders signed agreements that seem to herald a new era of Saudi-Russian cooperation. With Saudi Arabia previously standoffish toward Russia due to Moscow’s cooperation with Iran to prop up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad against its Saudi-backed opponents in Syria, Russian commentators see King Salman’s willingness to cooperate with Moscow now as a sign that Riyadh has come to accept that Assad is prevailing in Syria and to recognize the increasing importance of Russia in the Middle East.
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Kurdish children Kurdish Oil Exports under Threat after Independence Referendum

By Diane Munro

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) controversial referendum on independence has sparked fears of a disruption to Iraq’s northern oil exports amid a firestorm of opposition from the central government in Baghdad, neighboring Turkey and Iran, as well as Western powers. Global oil prices scaled two-year highs last week on concerns that the backlash against the September 25 referendum may not only lead to a cutoff in Kurdish oil exports, but may also spark civil unrest in OPEC’s second largest producing country.
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Market Watch
Dubai GEMS school The Cost of Private Education

By Karen E. Young

Education is costly, and in the Gulf, it is becoming a very important component of private sector economic activity. Dubai-based GEMS Education is one example of a global for-profit K-12 school provider that is gearing up to take advantage of a booming market in the Gulf as governments seek to reduce their expenditure on education through privatization. GEMS plans to raise over $1 billion in corporate debt before the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange in an initial public offering. The company is already backed by regional private and public investors, including Dubai-based Fajr Capital, Bahraini state investment fund Mumtalakat, and private equity firm Blackstone.
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Millennial Gulf
WEORITU WEORITU: Positive Social Change Through Example

By Mai Alfarhan

Where to? This is the question Taibah al-Qatami, a Kuwaiti millennial, was pondering as she thought of initiating WEORITU. An independent Gulf youth initiative, WEORITU attempts to spread positivity through showcasing and producing different mediums of art that inspire and bring the Gulf community closer together. Among WEORITU’s projects is #WeCanDoIt, which is a series of short interview clips that were compiled into a documentary highlighting influential Gulf women of various ages, backgrounds, and professions. AGSIW spoke with Taibah about WEORITU’s inception and the #WeCanDoIt project.
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AGSIW in Arabic

ما عادت مشاعر رئيس أقوى دولة في العالم، غضبا أو إحباطا، من أسرار الدولة التي عادة ما يحاول صاحبها اخفاءها عن الملأ. الرئيس دونالد ترامب يعبر عن مشاعره علنا، وكل يوم تقريبا، وبطزاجة نادرة، وهي في متناول الجميع، في تغريداته اليومية، التي لا تكل ولا تمل. ولنا أن نستنتج أنه غاضب ومحبط جدا هذه الأيام. غضبه من خصومه الحقيقيين والوهميين الكثر في الداخل، يدفعه عادة إلى التصعيد ضد خصومه في الخارج وتهديدهم بالويل والثبور وعظائم الأمور بما في ذلك التلويح باستخدام الأسلحة النووية لتدمير دولة مثل كوريا الشمالية، والتهديد باستخدام سيف العقوبات الاقتصادية من جديد ضد إيران
اطلع على المزيد

In addition to original content, in Arabic is regularly updated with new Arabic translations of AGSIW's analysis. Recent translations include:
Putin and Salman Is Riyadh Finally Buying Russian Air Defense Missiles?

By Mark N. Katz

Among the many other Saudi-Russian agreements that have been announced during King Salman’s visit to Moscow, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV declared that Riyadh is buying Russian S-400 air defense missiles. This is a highly significant move because, though a major Saudi-Russian arms deal has reportedly been in the works for many years, it has not yet materialized.
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Past Events
GCC Maghreb Relations Gulf Rising: GCC-Maghreb Relations

In this fourth roundtable of its Gulf Rising series, led by Florence Gaub, senior analyst at the European Union Institute for Security Studies, AGSIW looked beyond GCC relations with the United States to examine political, security, and economic ties with North African countries. Participants explored the regional and domestic issues that have defined the Gulf states’ foreign policy choices toward the Maghreb and vice versa, as well as the implications for regional stability and U.S. interests.
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Guardians of the Arab State Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania

How and why do military organizations become involved in politics across the Middle East and Africa? Looking at numerous case studies ranging from Mauritania to Iraq, Florence Gaub’s Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania picks up where previous literature on Middle Eastern military forces dropped the debate, and provides an updated and insightful analysis into the soul of the Arab armies. On October 5, AGSIW hosted Gaub for a discussion of her recent release.
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In the Media
Karen E. YoungSpeaking with Annahar, Senior Resident Scholar Karen E. Young discussed the growing role of Russia in the Middle East, noting Moscow's interests on both sides of the Qatar dispute and the possibility of Russia being a defense partner, in terms of arms sales and nuclear expertise, with Saudi Arabia.

Speaking with Al Monitor, Non-Resident Fellow DB Des Roches discussed the Trump administration's announcement of a $15 billion missile defense sale to Saudi Arabia soon after the kingdom signed a deal for Russia's S-400 system. Des Roches noted, "They would be seriously challenged to employ those two systems simultaneously." Also speaking with Al Monitor, Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish commented, "In this case, the sense that the US was dragging its feet on THAAD transfers would have been one of the issues driving the Saudi announcement ... This would be a direct response."
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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