The JCPOA revival: Iran seeks to maintain the status quo

Summary: Iran is seeking to maintain its successful asymmetric warfare advantages by attempting to secure a continuation of the status quo in Vienna, happy to trade short-term acquisition of nuclear weaponry for relief from sanctions and continued progress with its programme of regional interventions.  With the United States pulling back, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh are preparing themselves to be able to disrupt that status quo should it threaten them.

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.

Putin powers ahead in the Middle East

Arab Digest editor William Law in conversation with Samuel Ramani, a geopolitical analyst and non-resident fellow at Gulf International Forum. Their conversation explores the extraordinary gains Russia has made in positioning itself as a player of consequence in the Middle East. Showing a deft hand and adroit manouevring Vladimir Putin, in a few short years, has realised the dream of Catherine the Great to establish Russia in the Middle East and North Africa as a Mediterranean power to be reckoned with.

The MBZ Pivot

Arab Digest editor William Law in conversation with Dr Andreas Krieg, lecturer at King’s College London’s School of Security Studies. As the Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed continues to forge new directions for the country, the podcast explores his relations with Israel in light of the Gaza war, how enmity with Qatar drives his strategy of promoting counter-revolution, and how he is pivoting to China while moving the UAE away from its traditional relationship with the US.

Qatar, the feud and the future of the GCC

Arab Digest editor William Law in conversation with Gulf analyst Michael Stephens, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and Associate Fellow at RUSI. It has been more than three years since a quartet of states – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – turned on Qatar. With major geo-political shifts occuring in the region and three ongoing wars what are the implications and impact of the feud and what are the chances that it will be resolved anytime soon?

The trouble with normal (is it always gets worse)

Arab Digest Editor William Law in conversation with Sami Hamdi, editor in chief of The International Interest ( on the normalisation deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu have made bold and sweeping claims but the Arab world does not share their enthusiasm.

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