Reinventing the Sheikhdom: how MBZ has shaped the UAE

Author and analyst Matthew Hedges is this week’s podcast guest as he joins Arab Digest editor William Law to discuss his recently published book, an analysis of how Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, has assiduously built a military, digital and economic power base while remaining largely in the shadows. Matthew talks,too, about his detention and abuse at the hands of the UAE’s State Security Department while he was in the country doing research for the book.

Putin’s war plays well for MENA authoritarians

Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is the author and MENA analyst Christopher Davidson. Their conversation focusses on how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is proving beneficial for the region’s autocratic leaders and not simply because the price of hydrocarbons has soared. Amongst other windfalls Russia’s oligarchs are finding new homes in the Gulf and bringing their wealth with them.

Abu Dhabi and the art of diplomacy

Arab Digest editor William Law is in conversation with Dr Ali Bakir, a MENA region geopolitical and security analyst at Qatar University’s Ibn Khaldoon Center for Humanities and Social Sciences. On the table is a discussion about the UAE’s diplomatic initiative in Syria as ‘Little Sparta’ curbs its military adventures in favour of soft power approaches aimed at relationship building with, amongst others, Iran.

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