France

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.

Russia’s MENA finesse

Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back the geopolitical analyst and commentator Samuel Ramani to discuss how, in the past decade, Russia has consistently played a strong hand in the Middle East, buttressing relations with MENA states and presenting itself as an honest disputes mediator while exploiting anxieties and uncertainties to advantage as America continues to pull away from its longstanding role as the region’s guarantor of security.

Players in a MENA power vacuum

Arab Digest editor William Law in conversation with the Newlines Institute’s Caroline Rose on the consequences of the accelerating US withdrawal from MENA as the Biden administration continues its pivot away from a region where America had served as security guarantor for decades. In a power vacuum created by a US retreat, new players are emerging to stake a claim and new alliances are forming.

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.

Libya: back to square one

Summary: With the warlord Khalifa Haftar emerging from defeat doing deals with the wily political survivor Aguila Saleh and a corrupt Prime Minister Dbeibah in place, the people gain no measure of security and face a bleak and unpromising future as the UN muddles and foreign powers continue to meddle in Libya

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