About Arab Digest

Events in the Middle East and North Africa are highly complex and fast-moving. Taking business decisions in such an environment requires high quality information, a discerning news filter and expert analysis.

Arab Digest is a private members club offering expert political analysis about the region. It is made up of a few hundred elite people worldwide, including decision-makers in business and politics, people in the British FCO and other foreign ministries, as well as others in the media, the academic world, energy industry and more.

Business members who depend on the Arab Digest daily newsletter for regional analysis include blue-chip names such as Barclays, HSBC, BP, Chevron, BAE, Abu Dhabi National Energy, Ernst and Young, Trafigura and Tokyo-Mitsubishi Bank.

To keep pace with events as they unfold, Arab Digest members receive a daily newsletter about the region containing a mix of material drawn from a very wide range of published sources, together with original input from the editor and Arab Digest’s high-level network.

Arab Digest ltd a UK-registered limited company with offices in Egypt and the UK. It is the sister company of Al Shafie Miles a business intelligence consultancy specialising in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Editors

Oliver Miles

Oliver Miles, CMG, is the former British ambassador to Libya, Luxembourg and Greece. He has been a regular visitor to the Middle East since 1959 and is the deputy chairman of the Libyan British Business Council.

Oliver joined Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service in 1960, serving overseas mainly in the Arab world as well as spending periods at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. In 1961 he was acting Political Officer (British government representative) in Abu Dhabi. In 1964, he was posted as Second Secretary to Amman, and as Deputy British Resident to Mukalla in 1966. He was appointed Private Secretary to the British High Commissioner in Aden in 1967. In 1970, he was posted to Nicosia and returned to London after three years. He was appointed Counsellor at Jedda in 1975, and moved to Athens in 1977. He became Head of the FCO’s Near East and North African Department in 1980. He was appointed HM Ambassador to Libya in 1984, where he broke off diplomatic relations after the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London. Later in 1984, he moved to UKMIS New York and, from 1985 to 1988, he was Ambassador to Luxembourg. After two years’ secondment at the Northern Ireland Office in Belfast he became the first Director-General of the Joint Directorate for Overseas Trade Services, a new unit set up to improve British Government services to exporters, and travelled widely both in Britain and abroad. At the same time he was a non-executive Director of Vickers Defence Systems. From 1993 to 1996 Oliver was Ambassador to Greece. After retiring from HM Diplomatic Service in 1996 Oliver joined MEC International, a consultancy promoting business with the Middle East, and became chairman a decade later. He was for some years president of the Society for Libyan Studies, a learned society under the aegis of the British Academy, and chairman of HOST, a charity which arranges visits to British homes for foreign students in Britain.

Hugh Miles

Hugh Miles is an award-winning author and investigative journalist specialising in the Middle East and North Africa. He has worked with a wide variety of media including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Foreign Policy, London Review of Books, Mirror, Express, Sun, and others. His work has appeared on the front pages of many newspapers and been translated into several languages. He has written, produced and presented several radio and TV programmes for the BBC and Al Jazeera English.

In 2015 Hugh broke the news that a senior Saudi prince was calling for regime change in Riyadh, a story that went around the world. In 2016 Hugh exposed the Saudi government’s secret programme to kidnap Saudi defectors and dissidents living in Europe. He produced the BBC documentary “Kidnapped! Saudi Princes” (Sept 2017) and was on the production team of the BBC 2 series “House of Saud – Family at War” (Jan 2018). In 2018 Hugh’s investigation into the Saudi purge in the Riyadh Ritz was broadcast on BBC Newsnight and lead to the immediate release of Prince Walid bin Talal.

Hugh is the author of two books, Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World (published Jan 2005) and Playing Cards in Cairo (April 2008). He has contributed to several more: Les Arabes parlent aux Arabes: La révolution de l’information dans le monde arabe (May 2009), Al Manakh 2: Export Gulf (April 2010), Revolution in the Arab World (Feb 2011, #1 Kindle Bestseller about the Middle East), National Broadcasting and State Policy in Arab Countries (Jan 2013), The Future of the Middle East – an e-book from Global Policy and Arab Digest (October 2017).

Hugh has won several awards for his work including The Times / Sky News Young Journalist of the Year Award 2000; First Prize in the “Grand Prix du Livre Des Dirigeants” Categorie Livre d’Investigation 2006; and an honourable mention in the 2014 Young Stationers’ Prize for achievement and promise in journalism and publishing.

In 2010 Hugh established Al Shafie Miles, a UK-registered business intelligence consultancy specialising in the Middle East and North Africa. From its offices in Egypt and the UK, Al Shafie Miles produces newsletters about the Arab world and provides consultancy services to a wide range of companies.

Since 2005 Hugh has been contributing editor of the American University in Cairo’s media journal.

He is the Secretary of the MEBCS, an Egyptian NGO that oversees the Maadi British International School which is the leading primary school in Egypt.

History of Arab Digest

Some years ago a former British MI6 officer who had served in the Arab world set out to establish a small, private forum where a few expert friends and former colleagues could gather to discuss Arab affairs.

Disillusioned by the mainstream media, he started a newsletter with the aim that Middle East experts could share commentary and analysis. Over time, the newsletter proved popular and grew steadily, reaching an increasingly large network of recipients until eventually it became Arab Digest, an online private members club for those interested in the Middle East and North Africa.

On 17 June 2013 the newsletter launched as Web Arab News Digest, a direct daily email service that ran until July 2015, Then it relaunched as Arab Digest, a private online club where members can comment and join the conversation online.

Today Arab Digest still limits its subscription to just a few hundred highly distinguished people, but it continues to offer the same high quality analysis and insight that have set it apart from its competitors from the very beginning.

What our members say about Arab Digest