Arab Tyrant Manual Podcast

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Iyad El-Baghdadi and Ahmed Gatnash discuss all things related to authoritarianism and liberty in the Arab Tyrant Manual podcast.


  • 033 The Lefts Tribal Anti-Imperialism

    033 The Left's Tribal Anti-Imperialism

    14/11/2019 Duración: 59min

    In September, Ahmed spoke to Joey Ayoub, Lebanese writer and researcher, about tankies, genocide denial, red-brown alliances and the uncomfortable affinity between large parts of the political left and authoritarianism. Find Joey on Twitter @joeyayoub, and us at @ahmedgatnash and @arabtyrantman. Support our work: For full show notes, including all mentioned articles and links, go to:

  • 032 - Lebanon vs Sectarian Warlord Oligarchy

    032 - Lebanon vs Sectarian Warlord Oligarchy

    04/11/2019 Duración: 45min

    Ahmed talks to Timour Azhari and Joey Ayoub about the massive popular movement against the entire political order which has rocked Lebanon for over 2 weeks. It has led to the end of the government already, but can it achieve the real goal - total systemic change? Catch our guests on Twitter: Support us on Patreon:

  • 031 - Lessons from Egypts latest protests

    031 - Lessons from Egypt's latest protests

    04/10/2019 Duración: 16min

    Ahmed Gatnash speaks about the recent protests in Egypt, which surprised almost everyone but show that the lessons of 2011 have still not been fully absorbed. For a text version of the article: Support our work:

  • Is Your Phone Safe? Inside Saudis Phone Hacking Scandal

    Is Your Phone Safe? Inside Saudi's Phone Hacking Scandal

    20/09/2019 Duración: 32min

    Human Rights Foundation and Arab Tyrant Manual present this panel from this year's Oslo Freedom Forum, in which Iyad el-Baghdadi and Karen Attiah discuss the Saudi government's use of surveillance software. They go into detail on Jamal Khashoggi and his legacy, as well as the hack of Jeff Bezos and what activists can do to keep safe. Support us for more: You can find our partners the Human Rights Foundation here:

  • 029 - Art vs Repression, from Egypt to Hong Kong - with Amr Waked  Denise Ho

    029 - Art vs Repression, from Egypt to Hong Kong - with Amr Waked & Denise Ho

    29/08/2019 Duración: 42min

    Celebrities are notoriously shy of politics, advised to stay neutral for the sake of their careers. But what do you do when you can no longer be silent? Denise Ho, a singer and actress from Hong Kong, and Amr Waked, an Egyptian actor, discuss their journeys into activism, what it meant for their careers, the regimes they fight against and how their art plays a role. Denise and Amr can be found on Twitter (@hoccgoomusic and @amrwaked). Support us:

  • 028 - In the Mirror: What Went Wrong with the Arab Spring?

    028 - In the Mirror: What Went Wrong with the Arab Spring?

    02/06/2019 Duración: 39min

    At the Oslo Freedom Forum last year, 7 activists from the Arab region found ourselves in a room together. This is the discussion which followed - on identity, exile, activism, trauma and healing, whether the Arab Spring failed, and different visions of what the future holds. It was nuanced and surprisingly self-critical, but there was no cynicism or defeatism in the room - just the maturity of taking the long term view, as we recalibrate for the future. Mentioned in this episode: Asma's OFF speech Wael Ghonim's OFF speech Ahmed's blog on what the OFF means to us Remember, listener support is our main source of backing and it means far more to us than any institutional grant ever could, because it enables us to stay independent as activists and unbeholden to anything but our principles. Make your pledge:

  • 027 - Iyads Statement on Saudi Threats

    027 - Iyad's Statement on Saudi Threats

    20/05/2019 Duración: 18min

    This episode is a recording of Iyad El-Baghdadi's recent press conference, in which he speaks about the recent revelations from intelligence agencies that the Saudi government potentially poses a threat to his life. You can find a video version of the press conference and a transcript here: If they want to kill us, we must be doing something right. Our NGO is small and volunteer-driven, but incredibly impactful, and every dollar of your help counts - our audience are our primary funders, and that helps us stay independent. To support us, go to or donate on Paypal:

  • 026 - The Power of Nonviolence

    026 - The Power of Nonviolence

    24/04/2019 Duración: 46min

    What is the purpose of nonviolence? What are its limits? Surely it couldn't work against someone as brutal as the Nazis...could it? In this episode, Iyad and Ahmed speak to Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution - an organisation dedicated to advance the worldwide study and strategic use of nonviolent action. She tells us about working with Professor Gene Sharp, what issues are on the cutting edge of nonviolence, and future problems for nonviolent movements. You can find Jamila on Twitter @JamilaRaqib. If you enjoyed this episode, we have plans for a lot more on this topic. Support us on Patreon and be the first to hear about them!

  • 025 - Bombs, Ballots and Bullets: the Battle for Libyas Future

    025 - Bombs, Ballots and Bullets: the Battle for Libya's Future

    15/04/2019 Duración: 59min

    Ahmed Gatnash (@gatnash) discusses Libya with Nadine Dahan (@NadineDahan), a journalist and independent analyst focussed on Libya, human rights and transitional justice in the MENA region. As well as analysing the current crisis, started by Haftar's attempt to invade the capital Tripoli, they also provide a run-down of what's happened Libya since 2011 and how it came to be this bad - armed militias, terrorist groups, coups, rival parliaments, allegations of slavery, a dozen international parties and a UN-sponsored diplomatic reconciliation initiative. Support us on Patreon, where you can also access a bonus recording discussing disinformation on traditional and social media in Libya:

  • Episode 024 - Why There Are Few Ex-Presidents in Africa

    Episode 024 - Why There Are Few Ex-Presidents in Africa

    31/03/2019 Duración: 52min

    Abderrahmane Weddady, the brother of regular Arab Tyrant Manual contributor Nasser Weddady, has been charged with "spreading fake news" and jailed pending trial in his home country of Mauritania. His crime? Revealing a massive Ponzi scheme which cost 7000 families their homes, and uncovering direct links to the president's family. In this episode, Nasser tells us about his brother and what he uncovered. For updates to the case, follow Nasser on Twitter - @weddady. You can also find out more from his writing on our website: Our podcast depends on our listeners' support - help us keep doing what we do, amplifying voices of liberty and human rights in the region and beyond:

  • Episode 023 - Raed Fares: The Man Who Built a Civil Society in a War Zone

    Episode 023 - Raed Fares: The Man Who Built a Civil Society in a War Zone

    18/03/2019 Duración: 20min

    On Friday, November 23nd, Raed Fares was assassinated in northern Syria by masked gunmen suspected of being affiliated with al-Qaeda. This episode features an interview we recorded with him at the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2017, in which he told us what the Syrian revolution meant to him, and why he would not give up hope. Raed will be remembered forever as a visionary, and this interview shows why. You can find a video version of the interview on our website, with a transcript (coming soon) in English and Arabic: Raed Fares' Oslo Freedom Forum speech: You can also read Iyad's obituary of Raed in the Washington Post:

  • Episode 022 - Fauré Must Go!

    Episode 022 - Fauré Must Go!

    10/03/2019 Duración: 01h03min

    In Togo, protests are gathering steam against the 50-year rule of the Gnassingbé family. In this episode, Farida Nabourema, a blogger and human rights activist who has been a fearless critic of corruption, dictatorship and colonialism, tells Iyad and Ahmed about the Fauré Must Go movement. We may call this the Arab Tyrant Manual, but that certainly doesn't limit it to Arabs as this episode shows. Follow Farida on Twitter @Farida_N, and find us there too - @gatnash and @iyad_elbaghdadi. Join the discussion on #ArabTyrantManual and support us by sharing this episode, or contributing to our Patreon:

  • Episode 021 - Is There a Light at the End of 2019s Tunnel?

    Episode 021 - Is There a Light at the End of 2019's Tunnel?

    23/02/2019 Duración: 46min

    Ahmed and Iyad do a roundup of major news from 2018, and discuss the outlook for the world in 2019. Where were we vindicated over the last year? Which countries will have popular uprisings this year? Why are Arab countries normalising relations with Assad again after 8 years of brutality? What are the big corruption scandals we're anticipating? And is there a light at the end of the tunnel after repression? Mentioned in this episode: - Iyad's Oslo Freedom Forum speech - The crazy animation of Saudi Arabia attacking Iran, disseminated by accounts linked to the government Get access to bonus recordings, exclusive updates on our work and more by supporting us on Patreon:

  • Episode 020 - Sudan, Mother of Arab Revolutions

    Episode 020 - Sudan, Mother of Arab Revolutions

    27/01/2019 Duración: 52min

    Sudan is in the middle of an uprising. That alone is notable, but Sudan is also one of the most fascinating and under-studied countries in the region, and has had more successful uprisings than any other country in the MENA region. In this episode, Ahmed @gatnash and @Anas_Abdalla take a historical dive into all the steps that have led to this juncture, from the lightest to the dark - from independence and through the coups, uprisings and civil wars. Ahmed's follow recommendations on Twitter: @YousraElbagir @BSonblast @MujtabaaMusaa (Arabic @NesrineMalik @khalidalbaih @idris_razan @ReemWrites Hashtags: #SudanUprising, #Sudan_revolts Hatim al-Tai's comprehensive timeline on Reddit: Support our podcast, and get access to over an hour of deleted material from this discussion:

  • Episode 019 - The Kawaakibi Foundation Story

    Episode 019 - The Kawaakibi Foundation Story

    31/12/2018 Duración: 49min

    In this very special episode, we go through the history of our project from the early days of the Arab Spring through to the present. Our project is a child of the Arab spring, and if you're interested in the evolution of resistance, this is a must listen. On this New Year's Eve we're also taking a big step forward in launching our Patreon, which we hope will allow us to scale up, institutionalise, expand our team and become more regular. Patreon: Transcript:

  • Episode 018 - The End Of Arab History

    Episode 018 - The End Of Arab History

    17/12/2018 Duración: 38min

    Ahmed and Iyad discuss the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and current narratives around authoritarianism in the Middle East. Has Mohammed Bin Salman won? Is the Arab spring over? Is the current state of repression in the Arab world a sustainable "new normal"? Mentioned in the episode: The Arab Winter is Coming - Hassan Hassan The Next Arab Uprising - Marwan Muasher The Final Speech from The Great Dictator - Charlie Chaplin

  • Episode 017 - Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

    Episode 017 - Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

    06/10/2018 Duración: 28min

    Jamal Khashoggi, the veteran Saudi journalist and former royal advisor, is missing and presumed kidnapped. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. In this episode we replay a conversation Jamal had with Ahmed, Iyad and Nasser at the Oslo Freedom Forum earlier this year to understand more about Jamal and why this might be happening. More information from the Washington Post: A link to the UpFront episode with Mehdi Hasan from the clip:

  • Episode 016 - Mauritanias Democratic Tipping Point?

    Episode 016 - Mauritania's Democratic Tipping Point?

    23/09/2018 Duración: 55min

    Where in the world could you find out that your deceased grandfather voted in a constitutional referendum 3 years after he died? In this episode, Ahmed and Nasser discuss the recent elections in Mauritania, in which an empowered opposition threaten to undo President Ould Abdelaziz' hopes for a constitutional amendment to allow himself third turn. Nasser's (extremely long) Twitter thread, on which this episode was based, makes for good side-reading: Tweet your thoughts to us on #ArabTyrantManual, or @gatnash and @weddady Music for this episode is from the album Moorish Music From Mauritania by Khalifa Ould Eide & Dimi Mint Abba(1990) Thumbnail image: ballot boxes from a voting bureau in Mauritania's vast interior being transported, a reminder to those who have the luxury of a functioning democracy not to take their votes for granted. Photo credit: unknown. Errata: There are 184 seats of parliament, not 147 as stated.

  • Episode 015 - How Gary Lineker Once Helped an Innocent Iranian Prisoner

    Episode 015 - How Gary Lineker Once Helped an Innocent Iranian Prisoner

    13/09/2018 Duración: 45min

    How do you get one of the world's most beloved ex-footballers to speak out about an innocent political prisoner in Iran? In this episode (part 2 of a 2-part show), Iyad El-Baghdadi and Maryam Nayeb Yazdi talk about a campaign they ran for Arash Sadeghi, and what activists can learn from it. Maryam can be found on Twitter at @MaryamNayebYazd. Iyad and Ahmed can be found at @iyad_elbaghdadi and @gatnash. Tweet us, or join the conversation on #ArabTyrantMan.

  • Episode 014 - Inside the Iran Bubble, with Maryam Nayeb Yazdi

    Episode 014 - Inside the Iran Bubble, with Maryam Nayeb Yazdi

    18/08/2018 Duración: 01h05min

    In this episode (part 1 of another 2-part show), Iyad El-Baghdadi (Twitter: @iyad_elbaghdadi) interviews Maryam Nayeb Yazdi (Twitter: @MaryamNayebYazd), a Canadian-Iranian human rights activist, about her journey into activism, and she tells us more about the country since 2009. Maryam has joined the team of HRANA, who publicise human rights news from Iran, and you should follow them too - their Twitter account is @HRANA_English Stay tuned for part 2 in the next few days.

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