The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Refugee Crisis and Economic Migration: Regional Economic Interdependence and the Arab Gulf States

By Karen E. Young
The institutional design of the Arab Gulf states sought to build economic capacity, social services, and basic infrastructure for small citizen populations. The reality, however, is that the states are regional drivers of economic growth and regional economic stability. Their outward placement of foreign investment, cash, and in-kind (often oil and gas) donations to unstable governments, and their support of regional economies via remittances, offer a wide net of support to states and citizens across the wider Middle East and North Africa region.
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The Bridge blog
Confrontation or Cooperation? Russian-Saudi Relations Hinge on Syria

By Hussein Ibish
The reaction of the Arab Gulf states to Russia’s sudden and dramatic escalation in Syria is moving beyond rhetoric and into actions. How far countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and others – along with non-Gulf countries in the Middle East that are also adamantly opposed to the continuation of the Assad regime like Turkey – are willing to go in countering the Russian moves will only become clear over time. At stake are relations between the Gulf states and Russia, which had been improving in recent years as countries like Saudi Arabia have sought to build varied alliances in order to reduce their dependence on the United States.
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Market Watch: “Monetizing Assets” – Has a Great Gulf Sell-Off Begun?

By Karen E. Young
As early as March, oil and gas producing countries from Angola to Saudi Arabia began selling assets to offset declining energy prices. Foreign exchange reserves were the first to go, as Saudi Arabia sold about $60 billion of its dollar reserves before the end of the second quarter of 2015. Next were bond issues, mostly through domestic bank markets. Debt is not usually considered an asset, but the lack of liabilities by most Gulf oil producers has made issuing bonds, especially using local banks, very attractive and an easy way to generate cash flow for state coffers.
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Past Events
On October 14, AGSIW hosted Hessah Al-Ojayan, William Bartlett, Afshin Molavi, and Jamal Abdullah for a panel on the economic foreign policy of the Arab Gulf states. Moderated by AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Karen Young, the panelists discussed how the GCC states are increasingly utilizing aid and foreign investment to enhance and sustain their regional and global leadership.
In the Media
AGSIW Executive Vice President Ambassador Stephen Seche spoke with ABC Radio about the crisis in Yemen, saying that by supporting Saudi Arabia in its intervention in Yemen, the United States is hoping to fix its relationship with the kingdom. He stated, “Washington said, well here’s a way for us to demonstrate that commitment we have to our allies’ security.” He continued that this support has created an opportunity for the United States to push toward peace in Yemen.
Discussing the recent escalation of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish joined NPR’s “To the Point” on KCRW, saying, “I do think what we are looking at is much closer to another intifada than anything we have seen since 2005.” He continued, noting, that what he believes the situation is transitioning into is a “new normal of heightened, intensified tit for tat retaliation.”

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