Arab Digest Weekly Podcasts

Captagon, Assad and the new normal

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the New Lines Institute’s Caroline Rose. Caroline has been carrying out ground-breaking investigative analysis of Captagon, the drug of choice in the Gulf and the wider Middle East. With the Arab League normalising relations with the Syrian regime and welcoming Bashar al-Assad back into the fold, the head of the family narco business has scored another coup but it is one unlikely to stop the flood of Captagon into the region.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE: the religion stratagem

Middle East analyst Jon Hoffman joins Arab Digest editor William Law from Washington D.C. Their conversation is a look at how Saudi Arabia and the UAE have used religion to drive forward their domestic and foreign policy initiatives of silencing dissent at home while subverting democracy efforts in the wider Middle East and North Africa, all the while gaining plaudits from the West for buttressing so-called moderate Islam and encouraging interfaith dialogue.

Türkiye’s election: “it’s a toss-up”

The Turkish writer and analyst Aslı Aydıntaşbaş joins Arab Digest editor William Law to talk about Türkiye’s 14 May election. With a battered economy and a growing sense that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasingly centralised and repressive rule is failing the country, his main rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu leads the polls. But as the region and the world watches, the outcome remains uncertain.

Mai al-Nakib: an unlasting home

The Kuwaiti academic and author Mai al-Nakib joins Arab Digest Editor William Law to talk about her recently published debut novel an unlasting home. It is a sweeping epic that travels through time and space to tell the interlinked and intergenerational stories of five powerful, determined and gutsy women. Their narratives are woven into and entwined with the history and the challenges of the Gulf state of Kuwait.

Dictators: a one way ticket to instability

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the ECFR MENA specialist Tarek Megerisi. With Sudan sliding towards civil war as two generals vie for power, the Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar winning Western backing and Kais Saied the president of Tunisia tightening his grip on power as he restores one-man rule in Tunisia Tarek argues that the West’s support for dictators will only serve to further instability and heighten insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa.

Syria’s forgotten refugees

While the world looks elsewhere, three countries are hosting at a conservative estimate 5.4 million Syrian refugees. Arab Digest editor William Law ‘s guest this week is Kelly Petillo, a Middle East and North Africa specialist with the European Council on Foreign Relations. The European hard right is scapegoating Syrian refugees while at the same time Syrians in Türkiye, Lebanon and Jordan are facing increasing hostility as those countries struggle with weak economies and political insecurity.

Dalal Iriqat speaks truth to power

William Law’s guest on the podcast is the Palestinian academic Dalal Iriqat. This week marks the first 100 days of the latest Netanyahu government, the most extreme in Israel’s history. Acting with impunity, a Fascist coterie of his ministers has stepped up a vicious campaign aimed at removing whatever rights Palestinians might still have while using violence to provoke violence in order to justify apartheid.


Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the Saudi human rights activist Areej al-Sadhan. Her brother Abdulrahman is one of many held in Saudi Arabia’s labyrinthine prison system whose only crime was to criticise the regime of Mohammed bin Salman. The crown prince spends billions to promote an image of reform in the kingdom but behind the expensive PR and his lavish giga-projects lies a brutally repressive dictatorship.

Algeria and the Kais Saied coup

Arab Digest regular contributor Francis Ghilès joins editor William Law in a wide ranging conversation about the economic and political outlook emerging from the constitutional coup being carried out by Tunisian President Kais Saied.

Subversion: the strategic weaponisation of narratives

Andreas Krieg joins Arab Digest editor William Law for a conversation about his just released book Subversion. Andreas looks at how weaponised narratives have been used in the Middle East to sabotage and subvert the Arab Spring and efforts to empower civil society. Key players in the game are the United Arab Emirates and Israel who share a common goal: to subvert democratic engagement and governance in the Middle East and North Africa.

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