Arab Digest Weekly Podcasts

America and the Kais Saied coup

Arab Digest editor William Law is joined by the Project on Middle East Democracy’s Amy Hawthorne. And their focus is Tunisia. While the world’s attention is riveted on Ukraine and Putin’s war, Kais Saied, the Tunisian president is quietly putting the finishing touches to a new dictatorship in North Africa. So what is the Biden administration, which claims to put democracy at the heart of its foreign policy, doing about it?

The trap: male guardianship in Qatar

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest is Dania Akkad, an investigative journalist with Middle East Eye. Their conversation is about the practice of mahram, male guardianship, in the tiny and enormously wealthy Gulf state of Qatar. Despite the image it projects of an ultra-modern society embracing tolerance and openness, Qatar holds on to a practice that treats women as second-class citizens and that can enable domestic abuse and even murder.

Iraq in a suddenly changed world

Arab Digest editor William Law is joined by Chatham House’s Renad Mansour. Their conversation begins with the impact of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine on Iraq and other MENA countries who may find themselves forced to take sides. They then explore the current challenges the Iraqi people face in a country where politically sanctioned corruption flourishes at a rampant pace.

The Erdogan and MBZ embrace

Arab Digest editor welcomes back Sami Hamdi, editor-in-chief of The International Interest and their conversation explores a surprising rapprochement between the UAE and Turkey as President Erdoğan grapples with an economic crisis at home and setbacks to his efforts to assert leadership ascendancy in the MENA region.

Net zero chasing in the Gulf

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back author and analyst Jim Krane. Jim is energy research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute and an expert on Gulf energy matters. Their conversation focusses on the quest for net zero. Are Gulf hydrocarbons producers serious about hitting their ambitious targets or is this little more than a PR mirage?

Pieces of the JCPOA puzzle

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Annelle Sheline, a Research Fellow in the Middle East Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Their conversation explores the role that the Yemen war has played in making the already demanding challenge of bringing Iran and the US back into a nuclear deal just that much more difficult and how various actors are like pieces of a puzzle that just won’t fit.

Macron’s missteps in North Africa

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back Francis Ghilès, a leading European expert on the Maghreb and a senior associate research fellow at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. Their conversation explores the missteps of France in North Africa and the persistent failure to arrive at coherent policy approaches towards countries that are crucial to Europe’s security.

Testament of courage: Lina al-Hathloul

Arab Digest editor William Law is in conversation with Lina al-Hathloul about the fight for freedom for her sister Loujain whose crime was to lead the struggle for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, including the right to drive. Loujain was seized in the UAE and turned over to Saudi authorities. She was imprisoned and tortured before being released last year but with severe restrictions, including a travel ban.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and the JCPOA

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back the Baker Institute’s Kristian Coates Ulrichsen for a conversation about how the UAE and Saudi Arabia are on the sidelines but acutely watching how talks to revive the nuclear deal with Iran are faring in Vienna. Also on the table: Yemen, Syria, the Biden White House and the growing competition between the two GCC neighbours on the economic front.

Of debt and weapons: Sisi’s foreign policy

Arab Digest editor William Law kicks off the Digest’s first podcast of 2022 with the Egyptian analyst and writer Maged Mandour who argues that President Sisi has tethered Egypt’s foreign policy to the domestic imperative of strengthening his harsh authoritarian grip. Through massive borrowing and weapons purchases Sisi has lured Europe and America into turning a blind eye to human rights abuses and to an economic model that is destined to fail with profound consequences for Egypt, MENA and the wider world.

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