Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations Spring 2015 “NEWSLINES”

2015-newslines-200x257The Carolinas Committee on U.S.-Arab Relations (CCUSAR), with Dr. Joe P. Dunn serving as Director, is an initiative of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Dr. Dunn is an alumni of the Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies Program, the coordinator of the Southeast Model Arab League, and the faculty advisor heading the Converse College Model Arab League program. CCUSAR recently published its Spring 2015 “NEWSLINES” newsletter featuring:

The full issue of CCUSAR’s Spring 2015 NEWSLINES is available for download through the link immediate below.

DOWNLOAD “CCUSAR NEWSLINES (Spring 2015)” (.pdf file)

The GCC-U.S. Summit: An Opportunity for Strategic Reassurance?

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An unprecedented and extraordinary event is about to occur: a heads of state summit. These, by any standard, can be and often are extraordinary events. That’s what this one is. It is so because it gathers in the capital of the United States President Barack Obama with the representatives of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The two-day summit is set for May 13-14, 2015.

GCC leaders are scheduled to meet with the president in Washington on day one and on day two gather with him in the more capacious and secluded confines of Camp David. The latter venue is a longtime private presidential meeting place in the Maryland foothills, which is conducive to wide-ranging and deeply probing discussions on matters of common, timely, and varying degrees of urgent interest to the president, his advisers, his guests, and their advisers. The focus of this essay is the issues, challenges, and opportunities that will focus the principals’ attention while there.

The Summit’s Participants in Context

That the summit is occurring at this time is no mere coincidence. In terms of the GCC-U.S. relationship, it brings to the forefront the chief representative of the world’s most militarily, economically, and technologically advanced nation. Joining him will be the leaders of six neighboring Arab Gulf countries from what is arguably the world’s most strategically vital region that are little known and even less well understood by the American people as a whole.

What needs to be better comprehended by the American public regarding these countries are the roots and nature of their multifaceted strategic importance not just to their peoples and immediate region, but also the United States and the world in general. To begin with, the six GCC countries possess thirty per cent of the planet’s proven reserves of oil, the vital strategic commodity that drives the world’s economies. Collectively, they are also the holders of the developing world’s largest reservoir of financial assets, as measured in the trillions of dollars.

Crude Oil 2014 Proved Reserves.

In addition, the GCC countries have no rivals in their combined positive impact on the American aerospace and defense industries. In the past half-decade, their purchases of U.S.-manufactured defense and security structures, systems, technology, weaponry, ammunition, training, maintenance, and operational assistance have massively impacted and continue to impact the American economy.

The dynamism and mutuality of benefits in the U.S.-GCC relationship are envied by virtually every country that wishes it could accomplish anything remotely similar.

The purchases of American export goods and services by these countries have provided jobs essential to the material wellbeing of millions of Americans. They have extended production lines of products that would otherwise no longer be available. As a consequence, they have lowered the cost per unit of many American manufactured goods. In so doing, they have thereby enhanced the competitiveness of this component of the American economy to a degree envied by virtually every government or corporation in other countries that would wish they could accomplish anything remotely similar.

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The Consolidation of a New Arab Political Order

Operation Decisive Storm Coalition Forces' spokesman Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri provides a briefing on developments in the campaign.

Operation Decisive Storm Coalition Forces’ spokesman Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri provides a briefing on developments in the campaign. Photo: Saudi Press Agency.

While the Saudi-led Operation Decisive Storm against the Yemeni Houthis and their allies continues and its long-term results are so far unknown, it is not pre-mature to project that a new Arab political order is being consolidated. Its elements include a firm and sustainable commitment to fight extremism and sectarianism, bring order and stability to the heart of the Arab world – namely, Syria and Iraq – and design, chart, and lead an independent course for the protection of pan-Arab national interests.

Such an order has a leader in the collective energies and capabilities of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with Saudi Arabia as a first among equals, and essential assistance from such countries as Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. Indeed, to assure its collective interests, arrive at a hoped-for peaceful stability, and sustain much needed political, economic, and social development, the Arab world must coalesce around a strong political order that can utilize its capacities and permissible international conditions to achieve what it needs and deserves. Importantly, the consolidated new Arab political order appears to emphasize essential principles that require astute judgment, committed resources, and continuous vigilance.

Fighting Extremism and Sectarianism

The status quo states of the new Arab order are cognizant of the threats represented by the plethora of extremist groups operating at the heart of the Arab world. In Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has staked a claim in Hadramawt Province abutting the Saudi Arabian border after it lost its bases in Shabwa and Abyan to the west. In Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State group has erased the borders between the two countries in a mission to re-establish an imagined and borderless Islamic Caliphate while al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front controls strategic areas of Syria. Both organizations are serious threats to Lebanon and its pluralist political society.

In Libya, the Islamic State group, al-Qaeda affiliated Ansar ash-Shari’a, and a sundry of militias have settled, and promise to both keep the country unstable and use it as a base to spread chaos and mayhem elsewhere. In Tunisia and Egypt, jihadist extremists are waging a war of attrition against state security institutions. The actors of the consolidating Arab political order must know full well that they alone can address this threat in a fashion that combines a sense of shared responsibility for common interests and an attempt at forging an independent course that serves such interests.

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NCUSAR & Qatar Delegation Ring January 29, 2015 NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell

A delegation from the State of Qatar joined the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations to ring the NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell on January 29, 2015.

Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, shares a robust economic, defense, cultural, and educational relationship with the United States. The Qatari delegation included Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Special Envoy to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani; His Excellency Ali Sheriff Al Emadi, Minister of Finance for the State of Qatar; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor of the Qatar Central Bank; Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Investment Authority; and His Excellency Mohammed Bin Jaham Al Kuwari, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States.

Mr. Patrick Mancino, Executive Vice President and Director of Development, and Mr. Nabil Sharaf, Public Relations Specialist, represented the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.


2014 Model Arab League Study Visit to Qatar Pictures

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations led a delegation of ten students and five university faculty members, all selected from the Council’s Model Arab League program, on a study visit to Qatar from November 28 – December 5, 2014. The visit provided the American students and faculty members an opportunity to explore the dynamics of some of the major economic, political, and social determinants of Qatar’s culture as well as the country’s modernization and development.

Some pictures from the study visit are available below.

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New York Times Gets It Wrong on Qatar

National Council Founding President Dr. John Duke Anthony, presently in Doha, Qatar, escorting a delegation of outstanding Model Arab League student leaders and their faculty advisers, wrote the following today.

I was saddened and disappointed to read about the unfortunate circumstances related to American couple Mathew and Grace Huang from Los Angeles, California. After having been imprisoned in Qatar for a year, the couple was acquitted by Qatar’s Appellate Court Judge, Abdul Rahman Al-Sharafi. In a story that appeared in the International Edition of the New York Times on December 1, 2014, the authors, in their account of what happened next, wrote, “their attempt to leave Qatar was thwarted hours later when immigration officials refused to allow them to depart Doha’s airport. In a roller-coaster day of legal ups and downs, the couple had their passports confiscated in the airport departure area.” The authors seemed to imply that the reason the American couple were not allowed to leave the country was due to either malfeasance or incompetence, or possibly both, on the part of Qatari officials. In fact, neither was the case.

It was brought to my attention that in such circumstances a minimum of bureaucratically required paperwork, which often can be processed within a matter of a few hours , must not only be completed. It must also be properly submitted, scrutinized, and verified by the appropriately designated authorities. It appears that in this case the necessary and required forms only needed to be completed and processed. This morning I was informed by a Qatari government official, whom I respect, that the needed forms are not complex, but simple and straight forward.

These important facts were omitted from the International Edition of the New York Times on December 1 and served to harm the image of the Qatar-U.S. mutually beneficial relationship. This detracts from the need to elucidate for the reader what Qatar and the United States are and have long been doing to cooperate with one another across a broad range of common needs, concerns, interests, and key foreign policy and defense objectives.

Not least among what the two allies have been addressing in a cooperative manner for quite some time is that which drives the engine of the world’s material wellbeing, namely energy; their allied hour-by-hour efforts to counter violent extremism; their extensive joint endeavors in defending the aerial and maritime arteries in the world’s most economically vital area; and their and the five other Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ geopolitically and strategically aligned efforts to achieve a secure, stable, and peaceful Gulf and nearby areas, without which there can be no prospects for sustained prosperity either in the immediate region of Qatar, its fellow GCC countries, and its neighbors, or countries further afield.

Add the one-of-a-kind range of educational and cultural ties between Qatar and the United States, and include the numerous mutually beneficial facets derived from this kind of cooperation. In the developing countries and in numerous among the industrialized countries, the benefits of these dimensions of the relationship are increasingly well known and, understandably, the envy of many. They are also hard to come by in either quite the same nature or to anywhere near the same extent elsewhere.

I was pleased to learn today in a tweet from U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith that the travel requirements have now been met and the couple can now return to the U.S. tomorrow. I hope a future International Edition of the New York Times will better explain this to its readership.

NCUSAR Model Arab League Delegation Visits Qatar


Outstanding participants from the Model Arab League Student Leadership Development Program take part in NCUSAR Qatar Exchange Fellowship Study Visit

Washington, DC: The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, founded in 1983, will lead a delegation of ten students and five university faculty members, all selected from the Council’s Model Arab League program, on a study visit to Qatar from November 28 – December 5, 2014. Council Founding President & CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony will serve as the primary escort for the delegation, and will be joined by deputy escorts Mr. Joshua Hilbrand, Council Director of Student Programs, and Mr. Nabil Sharaf, Council Public Relations Specialist. The visit will provide the American students and faculty members an opportunity to explore the dynamics of some of the major economic, political, and social determinants of Qatar’s culture as well as the country’s modernization and development.

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NCUSAR Rings NASDAQ Opening Bell w/ H.E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani & Mrs. Matilda Cuomo

A delegation from the State of Qatar, led by Qatar’s Minister of Economy and Commerce His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, joined Dr. John Duke Anthony and the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations along with Mrs. Matilda Cuomo to ring the NASDAQ Opening Bell on Friday, September 26, 2014. A video of the ceremony is available below and on YouTube.

Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, shares a robust economic, defense, cultural, and educational relationship with the United States. The National Council is a Washington, DC-based non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world. Dr. John Duke Anthony is the Founding President & CEO of the Council. The delegation was joined by the former First Lady of New York State and longtime advocate on behalf of women, children and families, Mrs. Matilda Cuomo, to ring the Opening Bell.