The Dhow: A Weekly Newsletter from AGSIW

The Resurgent Tribal Agenda in Saudi Arabia

By Sebastian Maisel

Over the past two decades, tribal groups from Saudi Arabia and the broader Arabian Peninsula have staged a socio-political comeback, claiming greater influence in the public sphere. They are active in various fields of endeavor such as social media, the legal sector, literary circles, television, and local politics. Here, tribal voices re-emerged from the physical and intellectual periphery and called for a re-evaluation of the tribes’ role in Saudi society.

Tribal values, mostly related to the former nomadic Bedouins, have been held in high esteem and traditionally played a significant role in the Saudi process of national-identity building. However, they were sidelined for generations and eclipsed by other pillars of Saudi society, notably religious and liberal voices.
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The Bridge blog
A Gulf Rapprochement with the Muslim Brotherhood?

AGSIW senior resident scholars look at the changing relationships between several Gulf states and Sunni Islamist movements in two new articles:

The (Limited) Rehabilitation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf

Kristin Smith Diwan highlights the effects on political dynamics in the Gulf states as Saudi Arabia leads the move to reconcile with Sunni Islamist movements.
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Saudi Arabia’s New Sunni Alliance

Hussein Ibish focuses on the foreign policy implications of a Saudi rapprochement with the Muslim Brotherhood.
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Israel Must Figure Out the True Cost of Occupation

By Hussein Ibish

As expected, the Iran nuclear deal is reshaping the strategic landscape of the Middle East. Some of these new developments – such as Saudi Arabia’s reported outreach to Hamas and other Muslim Brotherhood organisations – are innovative but hardly unthinkable. But when it comes to Israel’s relationship with Gulf Arab states, shared concerns can only go so far.
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In the Media
AGSIW Senior Resident Scholar Hussein Ibish addressed Turkey’s strikes in Syria and its fight against Kurdish groups in two articles by Middle East Eye, "US rejects criticism over Turkey's strikes on Kurdish groups" and “US and British volunteers describe fighting with Kurds in Syria.” Discussing potential U.S.-Turkish cooperation, Ibish mentioned that Turkey is more concerned with countering the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) than the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL), stating, “Turkey has pledged to establish a safe zone in Northern Syria under the rubric of its intervention against IS. But one of its primary aims will be to deny the YPG [Kurdish People’s Protection Units] control of a large, contiguous area across the soft Turkish underbelly near its own restive Kurdish areas.”
AGSIW is now accepting applications for Fall 2015 Program and Research interns. The Internship Program at AGSIW provides talented students and recent graduates with a three-month (or longer) unpaid training opportunity designed to encourage professional and personal development. Working closely with the Senior Resident Scholars and the Program and Outreach team, interns will assist with research projects, outreach, audio/visual design, policy events, website maintenance, and social media.
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