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King Captagon

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the New Lines Institute’s Caroline Rose. The trade in the illicit synthetic drug Captagon continues to boom and much of it is run by Syria’s Assad family. The Assads have built up a manufacturing and distribution network that brings them more than $2 billion a year. Despite Bashar al-Assad’s promise to curtail the trade in return for being allowed back into the fold of the Arab states, captagon remains king as the Middle East’s drug of choice.

Egypt bows to Israel

Arab Digest editor William Law is joined by the Egyptian journalist and blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy. Their conversation traverses the relationship between Egypt and Israel from the point of the signing of the 1979 peace deal to the present Gaza war. With each passing decade Egypt’s influence has waned to the point that, as the Gaza genocide continues, Cairo is forced to bow to Israel while playing second fiddle to tiny Qatar in peace talk negotiations.

Football and fear in Saudi Arabia

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes Gulf analyst and author Kristian Coates Ulrichsen back to the podcast. Their conversation is a preview of Kristian’s latest, soon to be released book The Kingdom of Football. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has used the purchase of Newcastle United FC and the stocking of the Saudi premier league with expensive foreign talent to refurbish an image badly tarnished by systematic human rights abuse and the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Cultural genocide in Gaza

Summary: as the death and destruction wrought on Gaza by the IDF continues unchecked few have given thought to the concomitant erasure of cultural history that Israel is systematically carrying out in the Strip.

An African History of Africa

The broadcaster, journalist and filmmaker Zeinab Badawi joins Arab Digest editor William Law to talk about her new book An African History of Africa which charts the history of Africa from the very beginnings of human life on earth to the present. In a wide-ranging conversation with a focus on North Africa and Sudan Zeinab Badawi explores the history of the continent from an African perspective embued with her own deep knowledge.

The Gaza war Joe Biden is losing

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Giorgio Cafiero, CEO of Gulf State Analytics. The Washington-based geopolitical analyst considers how America’s enemies are strengthening their presence in the Middle East even as President Biden weakens his bid for re-election by continuing to back Israel as voters who would otherwise support him turn away angered that he is allowing and arming a genocide in Palestine.

The Kurds of Syria, Iraq and Iran

Arab Digest editor Wiliam Law’s guest this week is the Kurdish American journalist Sirwan Kajjo. Their conversation focusses on the Kurds in three countries – Syria, Iraq and Iran – as they explore the impact of the Gaza war and the ongoing pressures Kurdish people are experiencing from both outside forces and in the case of Iraq and Iran the governments that rule over them controlling so many aspects of their lives while delivering so little to them.

Sudan and a catastrophic war

Sudanese political analyst Kholood Khair joins Arab Digest editor William Law for a conversation about the war in Sudan which has become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. While global attention has focussed on Ukraine and Gaza a vicious civil war grinds on with outside players becoming increasingly prominent and the people of Sudan paying an appallingly high price.

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