New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs

The Gulf States rethink their PR wars, a former Israeli official calls for a U.S. strike on North Korea, and To subscribe to this daily roundup, click here.
Joseph Braude in The American Interest on the heavy toll of the Gulf states’ war of words: “It could well be that Americans who take an interest in foreign policy—as opposed to the large “don’t know” category of the survey set—put little stock in PR campaigns. Instead, they follow the news, weigh conflicting viewpoints, and render an independent judgment. … The result is an American public assessment of the Gulf standoff that turns out to be fairly accurate. Al-Jazeera’s Arabic channel is a hub of extremist indoctrination. The UAE, for its part, has earned its reputation as an American ally … This offers two lessons to the GCC as a whole—and a further particular lesson for Qatar. First, if all parties to the conflict slashed their heavy spending on American influencers, the outcome would not change much, if at all. Second, if Qatar wishes to overtake its rivals in the court of Western public opinion, it could far more easily do so by changing its policies.”
Former Israeli military intel chief: Launch a pree-emptive strike on North Korea and don’t sweat the parallels with Iran: “Maj. Gen. (res) Amos Yadlin told Israel’s 103 FM radio that the US should launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if it has the capability to do so in the wake of an apparent hydrogen bomb test by Pyongyang. … He also downplayed the significance of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions vis-a-vis the situation in Iran. ‘Iran is 20 years behind North Korea in nuclear development,’ Yadlin said. The Iranians ‘signed an agreement with the P5+1 that they are keeping… The issue of Iranian weapons will become relevant toward the end of the agreement, which allows Iran to have nuclear capabilities within a short time.’”
Haley Zaremba on Egypt’s hopes for an oil rebound: “This week Egypt signed three major exploration deals with oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Apex worth at least $81.4 million. The hefty international contracts will kickstart a large-scale oil and gas exploration in 16 new fields in the oil-rich Western Desert. Earlier this month Egypt’s General Authority for Petroleum (EGPC) also announced that it would hold a tender for bids for oil exploration in the Eastern Desert. … UAE-based Renaissance Capital said that over half of the foreign $4.1 billion in direct investment in Egypt in the fourth quarter of 2016 went to the oil and gas sector.”

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