The Arab Digest podcast conversation this week takes a hard look at US foreign policy in the Middle East under President Joe Biden. Digest editor William Law’s guest is Jon Hoffman, a geopolitical analyst and commentator. Hoffman sees Biden’s approach as a continuation of decades of failed policies that have served neither the US nor the people of the region well.
Summary: After a tumultuous week which saw the death of Queen Elizabeth and the rout of the Russian army in Ukraine, the Middle East analyst and author Kristian Coates Ulrichsen returns to the podcast to discuss in detail his recent tweets with Arab Digest editor William Law.
Summary: as the Russian army continues its chaotic retreat, questions are being asked, opportunities being examined as Putin’s warrior image takes a heavy beating.
Summary: the Sunni Arab world has trouble coming to terms with its past and imagining its future. A new kind of pan-Arabism could be the next ideology to drive the revolution forward.
At number 2 in the all-time top ten is Christopher Davidson’s podcast Putin’s war plays well with MENA authoritarians which aired 1 April, 2022. Chris is an academic and author of several books on the politics and foreign affairs of the Gulf states and a regular contributor to the Arab Digest newsletter. His latest book published by Hurst is titled From Sheikhs to Sultanism.
Summary: Jordan sees in a cautious rapprochement with Iran an opportunity to improve strained relations with the GCC and to find a way out of its economic crisis.
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.
Summary: as the captagon trade continues to boom in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, its security and geopolitical implications have become harder to ignore.
Summary: as temperatures rise the impact of climate change on the Middle East and North Africa grows ever more dire and the challenge for the region’s leaders to work together to head off a climate catastrophe ever more urgent.
The European Council on Foreign Relations’ Cinzia Bianco joins Arab Digest editor William Law to talk about the partnership deal that the EU is proposing to the Gulf states. Large in ambition and sweeping in scope, it was released in Brussels in mid-May and titled ‘Joint Communication to the European Parliament and Council: a strategic partnership with the Gulf.’ So is the proposal a gamechanger or is it a dustcatcher? Will the Gulf play ball or are there red lines that will stop the initiative in its tracks? Cinzia weighs up the pros and cons and delivers her verdict.