Middle East Week

Chris Meserole comes on the show to discuss The French Connection, a piece in Foreign Affairs based on research he’s doing with Will McCants. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Overview of the study and their initial findings
  • Problems related to the use of the term ‘radicalization’
  • The data they used and unique measurements they created to contextualize it
  • Limitations in the data available and the conclusions that makes possible
  • Reactions and criticism of their work
  • How younger scholars can get started with quantitative research
  • How Chris would like to see the field incorporate data science in the future

Links:

Direct download: MEW_Chris_Meserole_Apr_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:51pm EDT

Aaron Stein comes on the show to discuss recent attacks in Turkey by the Islamic State and the PKK. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Background on the various groups involved in recent attacks
  • The changing tactics and strategy of groups launching attacks in Turkey
  • The significance of the fact that these attacks are from Turkey-based networks
  • How the recent violence could affect Turkish politics
  • Turkey’s recent refugee deal with the EU

Links:

Direct download: MEW_Aaron_Stein_Mar_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:26pm EDT

Adam Baron comes back on the show to discuss the conflict in Yemen as it enters its second year. We covered a variety of topics related to the current situation and how things could play out in the near future:

  • What casual observers missunderstand
  • Challenge of getting unbiased information about what’s happening on the ground
  • Recent border truce between the Saudis and Houthis
  • Saudi coalition strikes against al-Qaeda, and AQ’s current strength in the country
  • What the future could hold for former president Saleh
  • What the international community can do to help the situation
  • The humanitarian crisis in Yemen

Links:

Direct download: MEW_Adam_Baron_14_Mar_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm EDT

Nate Rabkin comes back on the show to discuss the Iraqi Security Forces and their ongoing efforts to retake territory that is controlled by the Islamic State. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Effects of coalition efforts on the situation
  • Places where Iraqi forces have made substantial progress
  • The disparity between Iraqi special operations forces and regular army divisions
  • Political problems that plague the Iraqi military
  • Iraqi military’s short and long-term goals
  • Problems holding territory once its been retaken from IS
  • The controversial Popular Mobilization Units

Links:

Thanks to Mikhail Yurchak, Ryan Gell, Adam Smith Intl., Wendy Plotkin for supporting the show. If you’d like to help support the podcast please visit the show’s Patreon page!

Direct download: MEW_Nate_Rabkin_8_Feb_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:13pm EDT

Charlie Winter comes back on the show to discuss how the Islamic State, and the campaign against them, is being covered. Some of the topics we discussed include:

  • How the fight against the Islamic State is covered in the media and political discourse
  • Differences in how the Islamic State is covered and discussed in the US vs the UK
  • The focus on military solutions at the expense of political and diplomatic ones
  • How governments can improve the non-military aspects of the fight against the Islamic State
  • Challenges posed by trying to quantify success in counter-narrative campaigns
  • Projects Charlie is working on at GSU

Links

Thanks to Mikhail Yurchak, Adam Smith Intl., Andrew, Alex, David de Bruijn, and Ryan Gell for supporting the show. If you’d like to help support the podcast please check out the show’s Patreon page.

Direct download: MEW_Charlie_Winter_Jan_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:01pm EDT

Mary Fitzgerald comes back on the show to discuss the latest attempts to bring an end to the conflict in Libya. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • Background on the unity agreement that was signed in December
  • Challenges the new unity government is already facing
  • The new UN envoy’s determination to make the unity agreement work
  • Recent attacks on Libya’s oil infrastructure
  • Islamic State’s presence in Libya and efforts to combat them
  • Libya’s massive economic challenges

Links

Thanks to Mikhail Yurchak, Ryan Gell, MJ, and Adam Smith Intl. for supporting the show. If you’d like to support the podcast you can check out the show’s Patreon page.

Direct download: MEW_Mary_Fitzgerald_Jan_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:07pm EDT

Phillip Smyth comes on the show to discuss many issues surrounding the current Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions. We covered a variety of topics, particularly on the Iranian and Shia side of the conflict, such as:

  • The regional reactions and effects of the current crisis
  • Detailed background on Nimr al-Nimr
  • Iran’s desire to represent all Shia
  • The conflict’s effect on minority Shia populations in the region

Links:

Thanks to Mikhail Yurchak, Wendy Plotkin, and Adam Smith Intl. for supporting the podcast. You can support the show by checking out the podcast’s Patreon page.

Direct download: MEW_Phillip_Smyth_Jan_16.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

Michael Stephens comes back on the show to discuss the United Kingdom’s efforts to fight the Islamic State in Syria, as well as the latest developments in the diplomatic process seeking to bring an end to the conflict. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Background on UK foreign policy towards the conflict in Syria over the past few years
  • The scars of the Iraq war and how they influence the perception of the conflict in Syria
  • The unique military capabilities that the UK brings to the anti-IS coalition
  • The need to separate UK and European domestic security issues and the fight against IS held territory
  • Why the UK is unlikely to increase its role in Syria, such as sending ground troops
  • The recent UN Security Council resolution on Syria

Links:

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Thanks to Andrew, Alex, David De Bruijn, Wendy Plotkin, Adam Smith International, and Ryan Gell for supporting the show. If you’d like to make a small, monthly donation to help support the podcast, please check out the show’s Patreon page.

Direct download: MEW_Michael_Stephens_23_Dec_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:48pm EDT

Bridget Moreng comes on the show to discuss jihadism in Tunisia. Some of the topics covered include:

  • What factors lead to the growth of jihadism after Ben Ali
  • The relationship between AST, AQ, and KUIN
  • Tunisian government efforts to combat jihadist groups
  • The day-to-day attacks that go unnoticed
  • The importance of the tourism industry in Tunisia
  • Potential for Tunisia to become an Islamic State - al Qaeda battleground

Links:
- Tunisian Jihadism after the Sousse Massacre | Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
- Valens Global
- Bridget Moreng (@BridgetMoreng) on Twitter
- Karl Morand (@KarlMorand) on Twitter

Thanks to Adam Smith International, Wendy Plotkin, David De Bruijn, and Ryan Gell for supporting the podcast! If you’d like to support the show please check out the show’s Patreon page.

Direct download: MEW_Bridget_Moreng_5_Dec_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

Andrew Lebovich comes on the show to discuss the recent attack in Bamako, the groups involved, the security situation in Mali, and much more. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • Background on al-Mourabitoun and Moktar Belmoktar
  • Why the attacks in Bamako weren’t surprising
  • The concept of “extraversion” and how it relates to the targeting of the Radisson in Bamako
  • Local vs. global focus of the attack
  • France’s 2013 intervention in Mali and it’s relevance to the current situation
  • Potential for improving the security situation and the need to reform the military and security services

Links:

Thanks to Zane, Wendy, David, and Ryan for supporting the podcast! If you’d like to support the show please check out the podcast’s Patreon page!

Direct download: MEW_Andrew_Lebovich_23_Nov_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:14pm EDT