Egypt

Sisi and the zero sum game

Summary: a big hike in interest rates as inflation gallops ahead shows that the economic model Egypt’s president is using is in danger of running out of road with grievous implications both for the country’s poor and an increasingly beleaguered middle class already slipping into poverty. 

Bahrain: “A highly functional injustice system”

Bahraini human rights activist Maryam Alkhawaja is Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest. Her father Abdulhadi is serving a life sentence in Bahrain. His efforts on behalf of the struggle for rights in the Gulf kingdom, and his unjust incarceration, have been acknowledged with a 2022 Martin Ennals award honouring exceptional human rights defenders. For more than a decade Maryam has campaigned tirelessly for his release and that of all political prisoners held in Bahrain, other Gulf states and the wider Middle East.

Two islands and a bridge

Summary: Tiran and Sanafir, two small islands in the Red Sea at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba feature large in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s radical re-engineering of the kingdom’s economy away from its dependency on oil revenues. 

Sisi’s conundrums in an economic crisis

Summary: having presided over the most brutal repression in modern Egypt’s history, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi now finds himself in a dilemma, facing an economic crisis that could precipitate a new revolution. So he has begun to release political prisoners in the hope that will help to ease growing popular anger.

Western hypocrites and MENA potentates

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back Andreas Krieg of the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London and their conversation focusses on the battle that liberal democracy now finds itself engaged in as its MENA partners play the neutral card while quietly backing their ideological ally Putin in his war in Ukraine. It is an existential struggle, one encumbered with a stark hypocrisy.

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