Syria

Bashar al-Assad: narco state boss

Newlines Institute senior analyst Caroline Rose joins Arab Digest editor William Law to discuss how Syria’s Assad family runs a narco state built on captagon, the illicit drug of choice for the Levant, the Gulf states and the wider Middle East. Working with Hezbollah, the family oversees the manufacture, distribution and sale of a drug that is cheap and easy to produce and is generating billions for the family and their associates.

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.

MENA 2021

Arab Digest editor William Law is joined by the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Cinzia Bianco. Cinzia takes an insightful look at the year just past in the Middle East and North Africa, from coups, to Covid, to MbS and MbZ, to alliances abandoned and new ones forged. And she offers her predictions for 2022.

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