The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

Confrontation or Conciliation: How the Nuclear Agreement is Reshaping GCC-Iran Relations

Edited by Hussein Ibish

In order to begin exploring the potential answers to some of the more pressing questions raised by developments following the Iran deal, this AGSIW paper offers a variety of perspectives on crucial aspects of the GCC-Iran relationships in the immediate aftermath of the signing of the JCPOA. The first section provides a quick summary of some of the key historical bases of tension in the relationship, since these are the obstacles that will have to be overcome if progress is to be achieved. Karen Young then looks at how sanctions relief might position Iran to be a potent new trading partner for some, if not all, of the GCC countries. Nadim Shehadi considers the impact of ISIL and the IRGC as competing poles in an emerging sectarian binary that fuels conflict throughout the Middle East. Jamal Khashoggi provides a Saudi perspective that helps to explain the kingdom's more assertive foreign policy and regional role. Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar explains how the JCPOA is viewed in Iran, in particular by conservative factions. Finally, Suzanne DiMaggio explores the potential for low-key diplomacy and person-to-person exchanges in helping to ensure that the JCPOA contributes to regional security.
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The Bridge blog
Tide Turns in Yemen's War, But Peace is Still Elusive

By Amatalalim Alsoswa

It has been six months since Saudi Arabia intervened militarily in Yemen's internal conflict at the behest of the exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, igniting a regional war and engendering the largest economic and humanitarian crisis in Yemen's modern history.

According to the United Nations, the war has killed more than 3,000 people, most of them civilians. On August 8, UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, reported 1.2 million Yemenis are internally displaced (IDPs). Since the beginning of the war, approximately 100,000 Yemenis have fled to Somalia and Djibouti, ceasing the historical trend of Somalis and Ethiopians seeking refuge in Yemen. Yemenis traveling outside of the country at the start of the war are effectively stranded abroad, unable to return because of interdictions against commercial flights to, from, and within Yemen.

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From Lenders to Borrowers: The New Public Finance of the Arab States

By Karen E. Young

Governments generally make bad loan customers, as seizing territory is generally not possible for banks trying to collect unpaid loans. Governments, it turns out, do go bankrupt. Just ask Argentina’s creditors, or the European Central Bank on its Greek exposure. The Arab Gulf states have generally been creditors to other states, not borrowers; but that may soon start to change. In July, Saudi Arabia issued its first sovereign bond since 2007. On August 10, Bloomberg reported additional issues of an estimated $5.3 billion in bonds with five, seven, and 10 year maturities. The government is expected to raise as much as $27 billion in bond issues this year.
The Perils and Parachutes of Political Science Research Funding in the MENA Region

By Karen E. Young

Parts of the MENA region are experiencing what many countries in Eastern Europe faced after 1990—a surge in research interest, some academic ‘tourism’, and a policy and academic fascination with regional upheaval. On the ground, political changes, violence and accompanying securitisation have created some predictable difficulties but also some unexpected challenges for researchers. With increased attention, has come opportunity; yet, most of the research opportunity has been granted to those visiting from afar. Unlike the post-socialist transitions in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s, in which many Western philanthropic and civil society organisations made footholds locally, the MENA region has had a more guarded approach to foreign-funded organisations. The result is an environment in which locally based researchers are facing increasing scrutiny of their work, while many researchers from outside the region have better access and funding opportunities.
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In the Media

In an interview with RT on the possibility of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) possessing chemical weapons, Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, cited an article by AGSIW Senior Scholar Hussein Ibish in which he noted that defeating ISIL was not the top priority for actors in the region and the West.


Visiting Scholars

Position Title: Visiting Scholar

Department/Team: Senior Resident Scholars

Period: Academic Year 2015-2016, Summer 2016

Location: Washington, DC

Visiting Scholars are individuals who possess a PhD or equivalent professional experience, and whose primary purpose for residence at AGSIW is to conduct independent research. The length of stay for a Visiting Scholar is typically a semester or academic year. AGSIW is actively seeking candidates with significant regional experience and fluency in written and spoken Arabic. AGSIW will provide a stipend that can be used to cover living expenses, travel costs, or incidental research expenses.
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Research Assistant

Position Title: Research Assistant

Department/Team: Senior Resident Scholars

Period: Part-Time (Up to 30 hours/week)

Location: Washington, DC

Job Summary: Provide research assistance and administrative support to the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. At the direction of the Senior Resident Scholars, conduct research on Gulf politics, foreign policy, culture, economics, and U.S. policy toward the region. Monitor contemporary developments in the Gulf states and in U.S. policy, including reviews of regional media and foreign language sources. Contribute analytical essays, bibliographies, and summaries on relevant topics. Provide administrative, communications, and logistical support to Senior Resident Scholars and AGSIW programs, and perform additional tasks as requested.
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