The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Upcoming Events
Monday, May 11, 2015
12:00 - 2:00 pm
1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060
Washington, DC 20036

SPEAKERS Kristin Diwan, Bernard Haykel, Hisham Melhem, Judith Yaphe
MODERATOR Hussein Ibish

*A light lunch will be served*
The Bridge blog
The 5th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Consultative Summit held yesterday in Saudi Arabia is one of the most significant and noteworthy ever. The stakes have rarely been higher in the Gulf region, or GCC policies more in play. Many key themes came together at the Riyadh meeting, showing where the Gulf states are in their strategic thinking and what their priorities are, in the run-up to the crucial summit meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington and Camp David later next week.
Most observers of the current nuclear negotiations with Iran have focused on the scope and timing of sanctions relief. Tehran insists that sanctions be immediately lifted once a final deal is reached; Washington seeks a gradual phase-out. Lost in the discussion is the fact that few countries have as much at stake in the outcome as Oman. For this state on the horn of the Arabian Peninsula, the diplomatic and economic risks are high.
When, at its March summit meeting, the Arab League announced that it intended to create a unified command for a joint Arab military force, eyes rolled. Given how divided the Arab states are, and how poorly most historical efforts at Arab military coordination have fared, this was widely assumed to be another empty rhetorical gesture.
Since the outbreak of large-scale demonstrations in early 2011, Bahrain has experienced continued domestic unrest. Within this context, King Hamad initiated a series of meetings, known as the National Dialogue, with the proclaimed intention of encouraging open discussion on governance and reform in Bahrain. The failure of state-led dialogue to deliver social peace reflects a broader polarization in Bahraini society, evident in sectarian divisions between and within opposition and loyalist groups. These developments, combined with Bahrain’s participation in the anti-Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) coalition, the initiation of Saudi-led airstrikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen, and an opposition boycott of the November 2014 parliamentary elections, present a challenging environment for national reconciliation.
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Upcoming Publications
"Oman After Qaboos" By Gary A. Grappo
"The Resurgent Tribal Agenda in Saudi Arabia" By Sebastian Maisel
AGSIW in the Media

In a Bloomberg report ahead of the U.S.-GCC Summit at Camp David, AGSIW President Ambassador Marcelle Wahba discussed U.S. relations with the GCC states, noting “There’s some tension and certainly higher expectations than the U.S. can or should deliver” in cases such as Syria.

On May 7, AGSIW Vice President Ambassador Stephen Seche addressed the crisis in Yemen at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish discussed extremists with BBC Arabic following the May 3 shooting of two gunmen in Garland, Texas.

In a McClatchy report, Ibish addressed the deployment of Saudi Arabian-backed troops to Yemen, noting “Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners could not accomplish what they needed with air and naval power alone."

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Washington, DC 20036

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