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Special Reports


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Author: Joshua Yaphe
Discussions about post-oil planning in the Middle East were rather common around fifteen years ago, when experts sought to focus attention on the need for economic diversification and consultancies aimed to help clients prepare long-term strategic visions. Governments that had the foresight to recognize the scope of the problem and the political will to commit real resources to it, have already begun the lengthy, arduous process of changing public mind-sets, bureaucratic cultures, and regulatory regimes. Some will succeed, gaining a competitive advantage over regional neighbors in terms of technology, efficiency, and productivity, making them valued partners for the internationa
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Author: Mohammed Alrmizan
As a part of series of reports on the Saudi bilateral relations in the southern Caucasus, and following the first report on Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia (2019), this report analyzes the prospects of Armenia and Saudi Arabia, potential diplomacy, and current barriers. First, the report introduces the historical background and highlights Saudi foreign policy in the southern Caucasus. Second, it explores Armenia’s international relations and geopolitical strategies. And third, it focuses on potential Armenian–Saudi rapprochement while considering regional barriers. In the end, while this report finds some events that may lead to the rapprochement between the two countrie
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Author: Clemens Chay
The coronavirus pandemic has magnified the politics of exclusion in the Arab states of the Gulf, placing a huge strain on their institutional capacities. Amidst these uncertainties, Gulf authorities moved to repatriate a large segment of foreign labor. The bleak economic outlook will compel Gulf nationals into lower-paying private sector jobs, but there remains a mismatch in skillsets and wages. This paper argues that the post-pandemic era presents windows of opportunity to improve existing migration and spatial policies, whether by tapping into specific foreign expertise to cultivate local human capital, or improving the kafala (sponsorship) system that processes the i
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Author: Dr. Mohamed Al-Sbitli
This publication is available in Arabic only.
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Author: By Joshua Yaphe and Jaafar Altaie
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustapha al-Kadhimi faces the same challenges that brought down his predecessor - street protests, a flagging economy and entrenched political elites. Numerous comentators are ready to write him off, and he is unlikely to overcome all of the country's problems before the next elections. However, given the political malaise in Baghdad, Kadhimi has a real chance of coming out ahead with a mandate for reform. This report is available in Arabic only. Its English version has been published by National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.
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Author: Dr. Najah Al-Otaibi
This report examines Saudi Arabia’s current dual approach to reforming the education system. On the one hand, Riyadh is working to weed out extremist narratives directly by encouraging the religious establishment to adopt and promote a moderate interpretation of Islamic rhetoric. On the other hand, the government is working to introduce modern content to the curricula, such as science, philosophy, music, and Chinese language that will help the Kingdom to build a modern economy led by the private sector.   Under Vision 2030, reform of the education system was presented as the means of implementing economic reforms; this deliberat
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Author: Joseph A. Kéchichian
This brief study provides a broad examination of the negative assessments of Saudi Arabia published by several authors intrigued to explore, but never patient enough to understand, adjudicate, and empathize with the Saudi people. While not exhaustive, the research aims to identify problems, evaluates various arguments presented by four writers, and assesses the new political realities that confront the Kingdom. The five books selected for evaluation, by Pascal Menoret, Christine Ockrent, Jonathan Rugman, and Ben Hubbard, represent a fair and representative collection. Because recent books concentrate on Heir Apparent Muhammad bin Salman and the killing of Jamal Kha
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Author: Hanaa Almoaibed
This report suggests two approaches to elevate the status of TVET (technical and vocational education and training) in Saudi Arabia. First, toattract students both at the high school and postsecondary levels, TVET must be seen as a usefulfield of education that provides a pathway to employment. To bring about this transition, thequality of the TVET curricula must improve. In particular, the curriculum must better alignwith industry needs, which requires deeper stakeholder engagement. Second, to enhance theperformance of TVET students, effective strategies to improve student motivation must bedeveloped. Such strategies include the deployment of diverse performance indicators, withwhich stu
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Author: Freddie Neve
This report analyzes Saudi Arabia’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic up to late May 2020.
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