Summary: whether the Ukraine crisis justifies the current outbreak of bullishness over oil remains uncertain. But what it almost certainly does do is open up new opportunities for the majority of MENA’s hydrocarbons producers.
Arab Digest editor William Law is joined by Chatham House’s Renad Mansour. Their conversation begins with the impact of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine on Iraq and other MENA countries who may find themselves forced to take sides. They then explore the current challenges the Iraqi people face in a country where politically sanctioned corruption flourishes at a rampant pace.
Summary: as America continues to withdraw from the Middle East, China sees opportunities and has moved adeptly into Iraq with commitments to build infrastructure that will help get the country out of its energy crisis.
Arab Digest editor William Law’s guest this week is Annelle Sheline, a Research Fellow in the Middle East Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Their conversation explores the role that the Yemen war has played in making the already demanding challenge of bringing Iran and the US back into a nuclear deal just that much more difficult and how various actors are like pieces of a puzzle that just won’t fit.
Summary: two years on from the assassination of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iraq continues to pay the price for Donald Trump’s decision.
Summary: with the world’s attention elsewhere, Gulf tensions are ratcheting upwards as the Houthis sling missiles and drones and the UAE and Saudi Arabia respond with devastating airstrikes.
Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back the Baker Institute’s Kristian Coates Ulrichsen for a conversation about how the UAE and Saudi Arabia are on the sidelines but acutely watching how talks to revive the nuclear deal with Iran are faring in Vienna. Also on the table: Yemen, Syria, the Biden White House and the growing competition between the two GCC neighbours on the economic front.
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.
Summary: the kingdom has built a ballistic missiles factory and, as anxieties over a new JCPOA deal grows in Riyadh, are ramping up production with assistance from China.
Summary: forecasting the price of oil at year-end is even more fraught than usual but OPEC+ may be looking for something close to the current US$82pb or a little higher.