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Egypt: the debt ride rolls on

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back Egyptian analyst Maged Mandour. Their conversation this weeks looks at how international finance has enabled President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to continue his mega-projects spending binge as the military tightens its iron grip on the economy and ordinary Egyptians are plunged ever deeper into poverty.

Sisi’s Grand Transfiguration Project

Summary: a mega-tourism hub in the South Sinai town of Saint Catherine threatens the local Bedouin population, the environment and an ancient monastery that is a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Saudi Arabia and Russia: the dynamic OPEC duo

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back Jim Krane to the podcast. Jim is an energy research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute in Houston. Their conversation focusses on the remarkable partnership that has grown up between Saudi Arabia and Russia and how the Saudis are very effectively using oil and the rediscovered clout of OPEC+ to leverage geopolitical advantages.

Qatar and the week that was

Arab Digest editor welcomes Qatar University’s Dr Ali Bakir as the podcast heads to Doha. In a wide-ranging conversation they talk about how Qatar is responding to the criticism it is receiving ahead of the World Cup, Sharm el-Sheikh and COP27, the implications for the Gulf of the US mid-terms and how Qatar’s ally Türkiye seeks to consolidate gains in the region with a soft power agenda.

Putin, Israel and a tarnished Middle East reputation

RUSI associate fellow Samuel Ramani joins Arab Digest editor William Law to discuss Putin’s flagging image in the Middle East, how his stratagems in Libya and Syria are playing out, relations with the Israelis as Netanyahu returns, Türkiye’s role in getting grain moving again and how the Middle East is weighing up its relationship with a leader who in provoking a war has stumbled badly.

Bibi and Ben-Gvir

Summary: a disturbing rise throughout the world of far right extremism is being echoed in Israel where former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is plotting his comeback with the help of racist parties.

Qatar feels the heat

Summary: with less than a month to go before the launch of the World Cup, Qatar has reacted with fury to criticisms in Western media.

Algeria: the giant slumbers on

Francis Ghilès, associate senior researcher at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, is Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week. Algeria, like other hydrocarbon producers, has experienced a huge windfall thanks to the war in Ukraine. The question is will the country see itself return to a position of prominence in North Africa and beyond or will it once again squander the opportunity and remain locked in a dysfunctional economy and a frozen political system?

The truce in the Yemen war comes to an end

Summary: with the expiration of the truce in war-torn Yemen, full-scale fighting has thankfully not resumed but the Houthis remain very much in a dominant position as the UN Special Envoy struggles to keep the peace initiative moving forward.

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