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.

Egypt bows to Israel

Arab Digest editor William Law is joined by the Egyptian journalist and blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy. Their conversation traverses the relationship between Egypt and Israel from the point of the signing of the 1979 peace deal to the present Gaza war. With each passing decade Egypt’s influence has waned to the point that, as the Gaza genocide continues, Cairo is forced to bow to Israel while playing second fiddle to tiny Qatar in peace talk negotiations.

Football and fear in Saudi Arabia

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes Gulf analyst and author Kristian Coates Ulrichsen back to the podcast. Their conversation is a preview of Kristian’s latest, soon to be released book The Kingdom of Football. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has used the purchase of Newcastle United FC and the stocking of the Saudi premier league with expensive foreign talent to refurbish an image badly tarnished by systematic human rights abuse and the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

An African History of Africa

The broadcaster, journalist and filmmaker Zeinab Badawi joins Arab Digest editor William Law to talk about her new book An African History of Africa which charts the history of Africa from the very beginnings of human life on earth to the present. In a wide-ranging conversation with a focus on North Africa and Sudan Zeinab Badawi explores the history of the continent from an African perspective embued with her own deep knowledge.

The Gaza war Joe Biden is losing

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Giorgio Cafiero, CEO of Gulf State Analytics. The Washington-based geopolitical analyst considers how America’s enemies are strengthening their presence in the Middle East even as President Biden weakens his bid for re-election by continuing to back Israel as voters who would otherwise support him turn away angered that he is allowing and arming a genocide in Palestine.

The Kurds of Syria, Iraq and Iran

Arab Digest editor Wiliam Law’s guest this week is the Kurdish American journalist Sirwan Kajjo. Their conversation focusses on the Kurds in three countries – Syria, Iraq and Iran – as they explore the impact of the Gaza war and the ongoing pressures Kurdish people are experiencing from both outside forces and in the case of Iraq and Iran the governments that rule over them controlling so many aspects of their lives while delivering so little to them.

The Sudanese armed forces conducting an airdrop of military equipment in North Darfur state, April 22, 2024 [photo credit: @Sudan_tweet]

Sudan and a catastrophic war

Sudanese political analyst Kholood Khair joins Arab Digest editor William Law for a conversation about the war in Sudan which has become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. While global attention has focussed on Ukraine and Gaza a vicious civil war grinds on with outside players becoming increasingly prominent and the people of Sudan paying an appallingly high price.

New schools and improved learning have brought hope to the poorest children in Iraq, but the World Bank says more and better investments in the education sector are needed now. [photo credit @ICRC]

Iraq: dare to hope

Renad Mansour joins Arab Digest editor William Law as his podcast guest this week. Renad is a Senior Research Fellow and the Project Director of the Iraq Initiative at London’s Chatham House. Their conversation looks at the flaws in US and other Western nations’ managing of the challenges posed by the Axis of Resistance and notes that even as the region descends further into instability sparked by the Gaza war there are signs in Iraq that progress toward a stable and secure state, albeit limited, is starting to happen.

Aid workers in the killing fields of Gaza

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back Dania Akkad, Senior Investigative Editor at Middle East Eye. Their conversation focusses on the extraordinarily high death toll of aid workers in Gaza and the claim by the IDF that it does not target aid organisations or their employees, a claim the facts belie. Dania examines the recent attack on World Central Kitchen that killed seven and notes the simple steps the IDF could take were it to be seriously committed to the protection of humanitarian aid workers.

The US and a pullout from Iraq and Syria

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Caroline Rose, the Director of the Strategic Blind Spots Portfolio at Washington’s New Lines Institute. In the midst of the Gaza war America continues to weigh up whether to remove its remaining troops on the ground from Syria and Iraq. A difficult call at any time but with growing uncertainty about the direction the Middle East is headed towards and in an election year that could return Donald Trump to the White House whatever the US decides will have profound implications for the region and beyond.

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.

Scroll to Top

Access provided by the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford