Arab Digest Weekly Podcasts

Saudi Arabia’s dark side

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the human rights campaigner Areej al-Sadhan. Her brother Abdulrahman al-Sadhan languishes somewhere in a Saudi jail. Forcibly disappeared for more than six years, his family have had no word of him save for a one minute phone call. He is but one of thousands of prisoners of conscience detained in the kingdom. Meanwhile the world’s democracies embrace a rehabilitated Mohammed bin Salman choosing to ignore the gross human rights violations carried out under his leadership.

Mohammed bin Salman discovers the art of diplomacy

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest is the European Council on Foreign Relation’s Cinzia Bianco. After a tumultuous and violent start to his de facto leadership of Saudi Arabia the crown prince has pivoted the kingdom toward a new diplomacy at a challenging and dangerous time in the world’s most volatile region.

What Iranians Want

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the Iranian historian Arash Azizi whose latest book What Iranians Want: Women, Life, Freedom has just been published. Their conversation focusses on the struggle of ordinary Iranians against a theocratic dictatorship and how it is in the interests of both Arab states and America to rethink strategies in order to defuse the multiple threats the Khamenei regime poses to the region and to the world.

You Have Not Yet Been Defeated

Mona Seif is the sister of the jailed Egyptian-British writer and activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah. Her audio profile of him speaks of the person that he is, the injustice of his sentencing and incarceration and the inept failures of the UK government to support efforts to secure the release of a British citizen whose name has been described as synonymous with the 25 January 2011 Egyptian revolution. She concludes by reading his evocative call from prison to Gaza and to the Palestinian people.

The Levant in the Gaza war

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the Middle East analyst and Chatham House Associate Fellow Lina Khatib. With so much focus on the war in Gaza little attention has been paid to how the conflict is affecting the countries of the Levant. The conversation reflects on impacts in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon and, as Israel weighs up a northern front engagement, what could happen should the war against Palestine widen out into the greater Levant.

North Africa: “broken countries in a broken region”

The European Council on Foreign Relations’ Tarek Megerisi joins Arab Digest editor William Law for a conversation about North Africa. The people living in the Maghreb and Egypt are facing severe challenges but their governments, supported by Western institutions and political leaders, are disconnected from the citizens they rule over. Nowhere is that more starkly clear than in how North African regimes are responding to the war in Gaza.

Yemen and the Gaza War

The Yemen expert Helen Lackner joins Arab Digest editor William Law to discuss the ways in which the war in Gaza have impacted on Yemen including the Huthis targeting of Red Sea shipping, the impact on efforts to finally secure a peace deal in Yemen’s nearly ten year old war and how the humanitarian crisis in Gaza as well as crises elsewhere have placed Yemen’s people into an even more precarious position than they found themselves in before 7 October.

Getting it wrong in the Middle East

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back the Middle East and North Africa analyst Francis Ghil├Ęs. Their conversation focusses on how persistent misreadings of the Middle East over decades have lead both America and Europe down a road that has repeatedly led to disasters culminating in the current war in Gaza where, unless rational thinking prevails, an unimaginable bloodbath will follow with the potential to engulf the region in an all-out war with enormous consequences for the world.

Gulf energy in an uneasy time

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the energy analyst and author Jim Krane. In a wide ranging conversation they discuss how shifts in global energy patterns are altering relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, how Gulf hydrocarbon producing states’ move towards transition is proceeding and how the Gaza war is impacting the Gulf energy sector.

The Gulf states and the search for security

Middle East security, foreign affairs and defence analyst Tobias Borck joins Arab Digest editor William Law to talk about his new book Seeking Stability Amidst Disorder, an examination of how Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar have used foreign policy sometimes to good effect, sometimes not, to attempt to secure stability in a volatile neighbourhood that with the war in Gaza has become ever more unstable.

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Access provided by the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford