The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

The Bridge blog
From Parliament to Prison: Leading Gulf Opposition Politicians Sentenced

By Kristin Smith Diwan

While international attention last week turned to the confirmation of the death penalty for former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, some high profile convictions were handed down in the Arab Gulf states as well. On June 16 the head of the most prominent opposition political society in Bahrain, Sheikh Ali Salman, was sensed to four years in prison for inciting disorder, the rejection of the state laws, and hatred toward other sects. That same weekend Kuwaiti authorities detained the country's most prominent opposition leader, the Popular Action Movement's Musallem Al-Barrak, to begin serving a two year sentence after his conviction over a 2012 speech directly challenging the emir at a public rally.
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Qatar Changes Course

By Hussein Ibish

DOHA, Qatar — The old joke among foreign policy wonks began thus: After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the world was surprised to discover that it still had two superpowers: the United States and ... Kuwait. And, it went on, after Kuwait was chastened by the Iraqi invasion and the Persian Gulf war, by the mid-1990s the world again found itself with two superpowers: the United States and ... Qatar.

This wisecrack lampoons the attempts of tiny but ultrarich Gulf states to punch above their weight in international relations. Kuwait may have once set the pace, but for the past 20 years Qatar has tried to leverage its vast energy wealth to build and project its influence throughout the Middle East.
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Recent Events

AGSIW hosted a panel on May 11, ahead of the GCC Camp David summit. The panelists discussed Gulf-U.S. sentiments and expectations leading up to the summit. They were later joined by guest speaker Assistant Secretary General for Foreign Affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council Dr. Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg.
Click here for event video
In the Media

By Bernd Debusmann Jr., Khaleej Times

Washington - Nestled in a small office just blocks from the White House, a small but experienced team of scholars and former diplomats is working to build bridges between the United States and the nations of the Arabian Gulf.

The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW), which was established in late 2014, is a non-profit think-tank with the stated aim of enhancing the understanding of the social, economic and political landscape of the Arabian Gulf.
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Mary Casey-Baker, AGSIW deputy director of program outreach and communication, was interviewed by GVH Live at the United States Institute of Peace and Foreign Policy's 2015 PeaceGame, where policymakers, scholars, and members of the intelligence community gathered to discuss the rise of radicalism and violent extremism. Casey-Baker took the role of Saudi Arabia in scenarios addressing the issue of recruitment and return of radicalized foreign fighters.
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AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish was quoted in an article by the International Business Times on the recent U.N. report alleging Israeli war crimes in Gaza. On the subject of Israel’s censure of the U.N. report, Ibish remarked that “Israel’s retort is to attack the personality and credibility of the Human Rights Council. That’s changing the subject,” adding that he does not believe that “[Israel’s] protestations are credible or convincing.”

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