Of debt and weapons: Sisi’s foreign policy

Arab Digest editor William Law kicks off the Digest’s first podcast of 2022 with the Egyptian analyst and writer Maged Mandour who argues that President Sisi has tethered Egypt’s foreign policy to the domestic imperative of strengthening his harsh authoritarian grip. Through massive borrowing and weapons purchases Sisi has lured Europe and America into turning a blind eye to human rights abuses and to an economic model that is destined to fail with profound consequences for Egypt, MENA and the wider world.

Abu Dhabi and the art of diplomacy

Arab Digest editor William Law is in conversation with Dr Ali Bakir, a MENA region geopolitical and security analyst at Qatar University’s Ibn Khaldoon Center for Humanities and Social Sciences. On the table is a discussion about the UAE’s diplomatic initiative in Syria as ‘Little Sparta’ curbs its military adventures in favour of soft power approaches aimed at relationship building with, amongst others, Iran.

MENA’s hard road to democracy

In the wake of elections in Qatar and Iraq, Kais Saied’s increasingly autocratic moves in Tunisia and Joe Biden’s apparent indifference to human rights abuses, Arab Digest editor William Law is in conversation with Amy Hawthorne deputy director of research at the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy.

Tunisia: dictatorship or democracy?

Summary: Tunisia’s president has succeeded by presenting the image of a humble man fighting corruption but there is growing risk that the attraction to power will cause him to lead his country back down the road of dictatorship.

Final curtain on the Arab Spring?

Summary: many are calling the events in Tunisia a coup with President Kais Saied using popular discontent to seize power but Francis Ghilès argues the steps the president has taken were necessary in a country where the economy is collapsing  and the Covid pandemic is rampant.

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