Summary: the business and sectarian elites that rule Lebanon, aided and abetted by Iran and Syria, are behaving with predictable selfishness.
Summary: a book just out takes a fresh look at the Benghazi attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya and became a political cudgel rather than an object lesson in the failures of US foreign policy and diplomacy.
Summary: Iraq has a new prime minister but old problems remain even as Muqtada al-Sadr weighs up his opportunities while playing the long game after pulling his party out of parliament.
RUSI associate fellow Samuel Ramani joins Arab Digest editor William Law to discuss Putin’s flagging image in the Middle East, how his stratagems in Libya and Syria are playing out, relations with the Israelis as Netanyahu returns, Türkiye’s role in getting grain moving again and how the Middle East is weighing up its relationship with a leader who in provoking a war has stumbled badly.
Summary: the recent decision by OPEC+ to cut production was a jab in the eye to the West but one that has been a long time coming.
Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Dr Renad Mansour, senior research fellow and head of the Iraq Initiative at London’s Chatham House. He has just returned from Baghdad and this wide-ranging conversation explores Iraq’s political impasse and the structure that is responsible for it, the culture of violence and the enigmatic and powerful populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Also on the table: Iran, Gulf neighbours, the JCPOA and climate change.
Summary: a leading analyst offers pragmatic solutions to ending the stranglehold Lebanon’s kleptocratic elites have on the country: support independent parliamentarians, sanction the elites and challenge Iran’s backing of Hezbollah.
Summary: Iraq has still to form a government nearly a year after parliamentary elections. The impasse is indicative of a far bigger malaise: a dysfunctional state whose sovereignty is held hostage to armed groups and sectarian interests.
Summary: an end to the blockade of Qatar last year has, on the surface, eased tensions between Abu Dhabi and Doha but look a little deeper and the animosity remains.
Summary: the decision to bring Syria back into the Interpol fold has serious and long-term consequences as the battle to contain the captagon trade in the Gulf and the wider Middle East intensifies.