Summary: a fiery opposition leader builds momentum as Kuwait’s parliamentary system staggers on from one crisis to the next.
Arab Digest editor William Law’s podcast guest is Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO of Washington-based Gulf State Analytics. Their conversation focusses on US-Saudi relations and the awkward situation US president Joe Biden finds himself in needing to reach some sort of accommodation with the Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman as petrol prices rocket and America’s domestic economic woes mount.
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.
Summary: as the war in Ukraine enters an ever more dangerous phase, MENA states continue to take a fence-sitting posture that keeps their options open and avoids annoying Putin.
Summary: what seemed a certainty has now bogged down and the Vienna talks are at risk of stalemate with America’s Gulf allies finding themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, on the one hand worried that either the US will do a deal that gives away too much and leaves them in the lurch or on the other that a no deal scenario will further heighten their regional insecurity fears.
Arab Digest editor William Law welcomes back Andreas Krieg of the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London and their conversation focusses on the battle that liberal democracy now finds itself engaged in as its MENA partners play the neutral card while quietly backing their ideological ally Putin in his war in Ukraine. It is an existential struggle, one encumbered with a stark hypocrisy.
Summary: another prime minister has resigned, another government ends as Kuwait’s political impasse endures.
Summary: attention-grabbing headlines notwithstanding, the UAE’s move to a corporate tax is unlikely to alter the Gulf state’s lucrative role as a tax haven while personal income tax still looks a long way off.
Summary: the dominant narrative in Western media is that Vladimir Putin is losing his war in Ukraine but MENA expert Christopher Davidson, looking at the war through a Gulf lens, offers an alternative and thought-provoking take.