Policy Reports

Analysen zu aktuellen Themen der Golf-Region


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Binding the Ties that Bind

Commercial Banks and Political-Economic Links between Saudi Arabia and Jordan

The policy report examines the economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Jordan, focusing on the role of commercial banks as crucial intermediaries. It discusses how Saudi investments, ownership stakes, and loans through Jordanian banks facilitate the flow of Saudi capital into various sectors in Jordan, including real estate. The report emphasises that these financial connections extend beyond governments, involving businesses and citizens, and strengthen the political relationship between the two countries. This intricate web of financial interactions demonstrates the significance of Saudi Arabia's influence on Jordan's economy and society, reaching into everyday life.


China’s Economic Ties to the Gulf

Comparisons with EU and US Economic Relations

The policy report examines China's increasing economic engagement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries compared to the EU and the United States. It highlights China's pursuit of energy resources and the GCC's reliance on importing industrial goods, leading to significant trade imbalances. China aims to deepen its ties with the GCC for energy security, while the GCC seeks to diversify its economic partners. The report also explores the foreign direct investments (FDI) of China, the EU, and the US in the GCC and Iran. Overall, the competition for energy imports and exports of goods underscores the global importance of these economic relations and their implications on global stability.

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Emirati Women on the Rise

The Impact of Globalisation and Higher Education on the Key Social Institutions of Marriage and Family in the UAE

This policy report examines the influence of globalisation and higher education on Emirati society, particularly on marriage and family dynamics. The report highlights the rise of mixed marriages between Emirati citizens and foreign nationals and explores the implications on national identity, fertility rates, and divorce rates. It discusses the UAE government's efforts to support Emirati women's empowerment, challenges faced by women in mixed marriages, and the evolving role of women in society. The report concludes that the UAE is making strides in promoting gender equality and emphasises the critical role Emirati women will play in shaping the nation's future.

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Omani Women Political Participation: Elections’ Challenges and Electors’ Confidence

This study sheds light on the challenges hindering Omani female political participation. In fact, even though Omani women have been enjoying the right to vote and run for parliament since 1994, female representation remains weak, never exceeding 2%. Relying on open-ended interviews and focus groups, the study establishes that above all, cultural and societal norms continue to hinder female political participation. A holistic approach is recommended to support female political participation, pertaining not only to electoral systems and national policymaking, but also to training and development as well as awareness-raising.

How did the War in Yemen Impact the Southern Movement?

The ongoing war in Yemen has been reshaping the Southern Movement. The war has empowered a few southern factions to self-govern across the southern governorates. However, the war’s shifting dynamics brought a set of challenges inside the southern camp. These challenges are mainly twofold: deepening political and military divisions coupled with the revival of pre-unification barriers that resembled South Yemen prior to 1990. All of this has created differences over the future of the south.

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The Business Model of the United Arab Emirates

Challenges and Opportunities

The UAE faces a great challenge in diversifying its oil-based economy and despite the introduced reforms, there are still major obstacles but equally major opportunities.

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Confrontation or Cooperation?

Inter-Branch Conflict and Kuwait’s Political Crisis

Less than 20 months into its four-year term, Kuwait’s National Assembly was dissolved on August 2nd. Thus ended a contentious legislative period characterized by the resignation of three governments and the failure to pass a budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and a law to raise the country’s debt ceiling. Ahead of Kuwait's next parliamentary elections on September 29th, this policy report explores the roots of Kuwait's current political crisis and prospects for cooperation between the government and the forthcoming legislature in the passage of much-needed fiscal legislation.

Recommendations of the Conference on Economic Diversification in the Gulf States

The recommendation of the conference on “Economic Diversification” that was held on 30-31 August in Salalah, Oman resulted in a number of recommendations.

Bioterrorist Activities in the Middle East/Gulf, the European Union and the United States

A Critical Review of the U.S.-dominated Literature Ranging from Super/Mega- to Low-tech/Amateurish Terrorism

Why have biological weapons (BW) not been widely used by terrorists? This longitudinal study takes a new look at this old question. It looks again at the almost forgotten initial comprehensive work on “Superviolence” 1972. It questions the main thesis of the Harvard/Belfer Center volume “America’s Achilles’ Heel” (1998) written in the shadow of the ‘bio-chem clouds’ of the lethal Tokyo incidents of 1995, which opened a new area in terrorism and research on this subject. Finally, it scrutinizes the writings of prominent and productive terrorist researchers Jeffrey D. Simon and Gar A. Ackerman especially closely.

Bright Lights, Smart City

Dubai Projects Its Future at Expo

This article explores the role of Expo 2020 in terms of its functions beyond the economic and tourism related gains to the UAE. It discusses the significance of such a mega event regarding the public diplomacy angle and highlights factors such as person-to-person diplomacy and the projection of green futures as being of equal importance to the government.

The United Arab Emirates in Yemen

From Direct to Indirect Engagement and Back

This article explains why the UAE changed its strategy in the war in Yemen from direct engagement in 2015, to indirect engagement in 2019, and why this strategy was reversed back in early 2022. It also discusses Iran’s connection to the Houthi attacks on the UAE, and the prospects for UAE direct engagement in the war.

Placemaking, a stress relief tool for deliverables in GCC smart cities

The city around the public space was the founding principle of the traditional GCC cities. Today, placemaking strategies can generate a sustainable, vibrant, and livable public space as the active interface of smart cities. Engaging with the community on PPPP projects could be an effective stress relief on economic burden and constructive support in decision making for the national and local governments.

Collective intelligence and cities’ smart growth in GCC

The involvement of local research centers, together with NGOs and young designers, makers, and future inhabitants of the newly developed districts, could generate urban and social smart growth as a unique benefit for GGC existing cities during their fast-growing process. It could strongly impact local communities in terms of optimizing resources, ensuring concrete results, and immediate application of best practices while empowering young adults to embrace and lead the transformation and activating a process of informed decision-making.

A new “Agenda for the Mediterranean” should include the GCC

Why is there a need for close relations between the EU and the Gulf states?

The last face-to-face meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council dates back to 2016. There are many reasons for this, both on the part of the EU and the GCC. A changed energy and geopolitical situation has also contributed to a decrease in mutual interest. The EU should use the realignment of its foreign and security policy, especially the relaunch of an “Agenda for the Mediterranean” in spring 2021, to also put relations with the Gulf States on a new basis. To do this, the EU does not have to give up its position on human rights issues. Instead an increased engagement with Gulf states will enhance its voice in the region.

Environmental retrofitting

A mandate for liveable GCC smart cities

Several strategies are in place in the main Gulf countries to create districts’ cooling systems. However, the target of livable and walkable districts requires a comprehensive approach, including macro and micro-scale interventions that cooperate to minimize energetic consumption and the related CO2 footprint for new and existing built environments. Reducing AC dependency through environmental retrofitting of the existing real estate would play a substantial role in fighting the heat island effect in the GCC’s cities.

Smart Cities and Quality of life

A report from the GCC

Main GCC Cities in 2021 are ranking 28th to 30th in the Smart City Index worldwide. The same cities are also scoring 14th to 55th in the Quality of Life Index. Besides the traditional urban management tools and implementation, this is showing a massive commitment in the last years to improve a comprehensive system of e-governance and services to the citizens in terms of quality of life.

Resilience, growth, and GCC smart cities

Moving toward a digital enabling cities instead of smart cities would shift the focus to a human-centric approach. And the ICT serving the social and human capital in terms of knowledge, inclusion, and participation would enhance a smart design strategy in making smart cities as a city with a focus on the high quality of life. Gulf Countries have all the tools in place for a citizen and environmental effective resilience, and are ready to give the last touch through smart design strategies.

Who is worthy of ‘Women’s Rights’?

Intersectionality in perspective in the Gulf

The series of the articles on “Women in the Gulf States” were solicited and edited by Dr. Zarqa A. Parvez with support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. In this final article of the series, Dr. Parvez makes a brief overview of the published articles and stresses the importance of intersectionality as a lens in addressing women rights in the Gulf States. She also calls for a more inclusive approach to women rights, and highlights direction for future research.

Invisible Intersections

Disability and Gender in Kuwait

There is a nascent realization amongst those advocating for gender equity in Kuwait that the work for women’s rights needs to be more inclusive. Although much has been achieved in preceding decades, the movement holds little relevance for women who do not conform to the able-bodied, elite, citizen default. Drawing on the author’s lived experience, this article discusses the intersection of gender, disability, and citizenship in the country in an attempt to sketch a broader horizon for the local feminist agenda.

Amplifying the Presence of Qatari Women in Public Space

The Case of ‘Women of Qatar’

In this article, the author informs us the story of the creation of Women of Qatar, a space for the Qatari women where they can share knowledge, enjoy visibility, and inspire one another to advance women’s participation in the public life and gender equality. The article reveals the motivations that inspired the author to create this space for women and the challenges she has faced and is still facing on maintaining this space.

By the Youth for the Youth

The university student initiative ‘The Future is Female' at Georgetown Qatar

In hopes to inspire young girls and empower the youth to do more, university student initiative ‘The Future is Female' (FIF) is employed to pave the way for more success in the community. FIF tries to bridge the gap between school students and successful women in the workplace. In the Policy Report, the author recounts her experience as president of FIF and at Georgetown while mentioning the obstacles faced.

The Gulf region 2022

Three scenarios

In 2022, much will be at stake in the Gulf sub-region. In this report, we analyze three unique scenarios that could possibly play out next year in the monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula. These various situations involve improvements in Iranian-Saudi relations, the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the risks of Afghanistan’s chaotic instability spilling into the Gulf both directly and indirectly.

Challenges Facing Intersectional Feminism in the GCC

Border Checkpoints at the Nodes of Intersection

How do intrapsychic borders formulate in intersubjective relations? That is, how do we use or employ our fantasies, desires and affects to dehumanize, negate, disavow or affirm the other? This article explores the challenges emerging from establishing an intersectional movement in the GCC when structural, social and systematic racist, sexist and classist conditioning is introjected and unaddressed.

How can concrete industry contribute to smart cities in mitigating climate change challenges?

A GCC perspective

Cement and concrete are among the major manufactured materials used, and their environmental impact is constantly under debate. As their use increases, concrete and cement production results in significant GHG emissions and puts increasing stress on natural resources sustainability, especially water. Here, we explore the environmental challenges of cement and concrete industry transformation and highlight existing options that could be undertaken over the coming decades to mitigate environmental impacts of cement and concrete production. The analysis indicates that promising avenues exist for sustainable use of concrete, which reconcile societal needs, ecological imperatives, and technical capabilities.

Densification as New Urban Agenda implementation tool toward smart cities

The Riyadh's case

The challenge of applying the New Urbana Agenda in a sprawling city such as Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is an interesting case to examine: A fast-growing city with an ambition to further stimulate economic growth and achieve prosperity and better quality of life. The policy report provides some historical background to why such expansion has occurred and tries to analyse challenges, proposing initial steps towards shifting the direction and setting it on a trajectory that would lead to achieving some of the objectives in the medium and long term.


Über diese Reihe

Die Policy Reports des Regionalprogramms Golf-Staaten bieten Einblicke und Analysen zu aktuellen Themen in den Golf-Staaten und der Golf-Region. Sie leisten einen Beitrag zum besseren Verständnis der Region, zum Dialog zwischen Europa und den Golf-Staaten und bieten eine Plattform insbesondere für Autorinnen und Autoren aus den Golf-Staaten.