About Arab Digest
Events in the Middle East and North Africa are highly complex and fast-moving. Taking business decisions in such an environment requires high quality information, a discerning news filter and expert analysis.
Arab Digest is a private members club made up of a few hundred elite people worldwide, many of whom contribute material or comment for circulation. They include decision-makers in business and politics, people in the British FCDO and other foreign ministries, plus a number retired from those sectors or from diplomacy, MI6 or the CIA. Business members who depend on Arab Digest for regional analysis include blue-chip names such as Barclays, HSBC, BP, Chevron and BAE. Arab Digest is read by numerous members of the British House of Lords and House of Commons, as well as European, US, Arab and Turkish leaders, OPEC, the IEA and IFC. Other recipients include individuals serving in the military and a number of European, American and Arab embassies. Mainstream media recipients include the BBC, Economist, Associated Press, Washington Post and others, as well as a number of more specialised magazines, freelance journalists, filmmakers and authors. In academia Arab Digest goes to senior figures at many leading universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Princeton, Rice, KCL, Berkeley, Harvard, SOAS and AUB. Think tanks include Chatham House, IFRI in Paris, the Council on Foreign Relations and others in Washington, New York, Europe and the Gulf.
To keep pace with events as they unfold, Arab Digest members receive a daily newsletter about the region containing a mix of material drawn from a very wide range of published sources, together with original input from the editor and Arab Digest’s high-level network.
William (Bill) Law is an award-winning journalist. Prior to joining BBC News and Current Affairs in 1995, he worked as a documentary maker with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. From 2002 he reported extensively from the Middle East for the BBC. In 2003 he covered the beginnings of the jihadist insurgency that subsequently engulfed Iraq. He made numerous radio documentaries in Saudi Arabia for the BBC, including the five part radio series Saudi Stories. His first visit to Bahrain was in 2007. He subsequently covered the uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Bahrain for radio, television and online. In addition to numerous radio documentaries, his films have focused on the Arab Spring and its aftermath. He has also reported from Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before leaving the BBC in 2014, Mr Law was the corporation’s Gulf analyst. He now runs TheGulfMatters.com providing analysis and journalism focusing on the Gulf states and the wider Middle East. He is a regular contributor to Al Jazeera (Arabic and English), Sky News, Monocle Radio, Middle East Eye, Arab Digest, Gulf State Analytics, Fair Observer, Gulf House, the BBC, Al Araby and Middle East Monitor. @BillLaw49
Hugh Miles is an award-winning author and investigative journalist specialising in the Middle East and North Africa. He has worked with a wide variety of media including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Foreign Policy, London Review of Books, Mirror, Express, Sun, and more. His work has appeared on the front pages of the Independent, Guardian, New York Times and Telegraph newspapers and been translated into several languages. He has written, produced and presented radio and TV programmes for the BBC and Al Jazeera.
Hugh is the author of two books, Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World (published Jan 2005) and Playing Cards in Cairo (April 2008). He has contributed to several more: Les Arabes parlent aux Arabes: La révolution de l’information dans le monde arabe (May 2009), Al Manakh 2: Export Gulf (April 2010), Revolution in the Arab World (Feb 2011, #1 Kindle Bestseller about the Middle East), National Broadcasting and State Policy in Arab Countries (Jan 2013), The Future of the Middle East – an e-book from Global Policy and Arab Digest (October 2017). Since 2005 he has been Contributing Editor of the American University in Cairo’s media journal.
Many years ago a former British MI6 officer who had served in the Arab world set out to establish a small, private forum where a few expert friends and former colleagues could exchange thoughts and political analysis about the Arab world. Disillusioned by the mainstream media, he started an email group aimed which over time proved extremely popular and grew steadily, reaching an increasingly diverse network of recipients. After going through several incarnations and rebrandings the newsletter became Arab Digest, an online private members club for those interested in the Middle East and North Africa.
Arab Digest originally launched on 17 June 2013 under the brand name “Web Arab News Digest”, until July 2015 when it rebranded as Arab Digest. Today Arab Digest continues to offer the same expert analysis from indepndent sources that it has always done and to limit its distribution list to just a few hundred highly distinguished people worldwide.
Oliver Miles, CMG, was the founding editor of Arab Digest. A former British ambassador to Libya, Luxembourg and Greece, he was a regular visitor to the Middle East from 1958 until his death in 2019. Oliver joined Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service in 1960, serving overseas mainly in the Arab world as well as spending periods at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. In 1964, he was posted as Second Secretary to Amman, and as First Secretary to Makulla in 1966. He was appointed Private Secretary to the British High Commissioner in Aden in 1967. In 1970, he was posted to Nicosia and returned to London after three years. He was appointed Counsellor at Jedda in 1975, and moved to Athens in 1977. He became Head of the FCO’s Near East and North African Department in 1980. He was appointed HM Ambassador to Libya in 1984, where he broke off diplomatic relations after the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London. Later in 1984, he moved to UKMIS New York and, from 1985 to 1988, he was Ambassador to Luxembourg After two years’ secondment at the Northern Ireland Office in Belfast he became the first Director-General of the Joint Directorate for Overseas Trade Services, a new unit set up to improve British Government services to exporters, and travelled widely both in Britain and abroad. At the same time he was a non-executive Director of Vickers Defence Systems. From 1993 to 1996 Miles was Ambassador to Greece. After retiring from HM Diplomatic Service in 1996 Miles joined MEC International, a consultancy promoting business with the Middle East, and became chairman a decade later. He was for some years president of the Society for Libyan Studies, a learned society under the aegis of the British Academy, and chairman of HOST, a charity which arranges visits to British homes for foreign students in Britain.