Podcasts

With an exceptional line up of expert guests, our popular weekly Arab Digest podcasts offer insightful conversation with editor William Law on the hot topics of the week. Available on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud and all quality podcast platforms.

Yemen: Poverty and Conflict

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back Helen Lackner, a leading expert on Yemen to talk about her latest book Yemen: Poverty and Conflict, published by Routledge. The book builds on her profound experience in the country over several decades and is an invaluable primer on its extraordinary history and on current issues that threaten Yemen including the ongoing war, climate change and foreign interference.

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.

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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.

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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.

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?

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The Gulf weighs up its options

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Dr Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London. With global turbulence and turmoil running high the Gulf remains an island of stability but faces challenges as the war in Ukraine plays out, relations with Washington fray and the UK, a longtime GCC ally, staggers from one political crisis to the next.

Iraq at night

Back from Baghdad

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Dr Renad Mansour, senior research fellow and head of the Iraq Initiative at London’s Chatham House. He has just returned from Baghdad and this wide-ranging conversation explores Iraq’s political impasse and the structure that is responsible for it, the culture of violence and the enigmatic and powerful populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Also on the table: Iran, Gulf neighbours, the JCPOA and climate change.

The UK’s declining status in the Middle East

As turmoil roils the ruling Conservative party, Arab Digest editor William Law is in conversation with the Middle East analyst Michael Stephens. They explore how political instability and economic uncertainty in the UK are accelerating the decline of Britain’s status in the region.

Lebanon corruption

Lebanon: time to end the plunder

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Lina Khatib, director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the London-based think tank Chatham House. Their conversation focusses on the political and business elites that are plundering Lebanon. Ordinary people are suffering huge deprivation, with 80% of the population now below the poverty line, as the economic crisis caused by the insatiable greed of the elites grows ever deeper.

US policy in the Middle East: a continuum of failure

The Arab Digest podcast conversation this week takes a hard look at US foreign policy in the Middle East under President Joe Biden. Digest editor William Law’s guest is Jon Hoffman, a geopolitical analyst and commentator. Hoffman sees Biden’s approach as a continuation of decades of failed policies that have served neither the US nor the people of the region well.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen: a feast of tweets

Summary: After a tumultuous week which saw the death of Queen Elizabeth and the rout of the Russian army in Ukraine, the Middle East analyst and author Kristian Coates Ulrichsen returns to the podcast to discuss in detail his recent tweets with Arab Digest editor William Law.

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