Middle East Week

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

Matthew Reed comes back on the show to discuss ISIS oil operations. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • How analysts track ISIS oil operations
  • How much oil ISIS is producing
  • The process of getting oil from the ground to ISIS turning it into cash
  • Coalition attacks on ISIS oil infrastructure
  • Why the US-led coalition is hesitant to completely destroy ISIS’ oil operations
  • What it would take to eliminate ISIS’ ability to profit from oil production
  • Why ISIS doesn’t need to export oil to benefit from it

Links:

Thanks to Zane, Andrew, and Alex for supporting the podcast! You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Direct download: MEW_Matthew_Reed_8_Nov_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:36pm EDT

Nicolas Blarel comes on the show to discuss India’s relationship with Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Background on India’s trade and military relationship with Israel
  • India’s support for Palestine and Palestinian leaders
  • Recent visits to Israel by Indian leaders
  • Narendra Modi’s potential upcoming visit to Israel and the region
  • The benefits to Israel from a Modi visit
  • Controversies related to recent UN votes by India dealing with Israel-Palestine issues
  • Efforts to separate Israel-Palestine political issues from economic ties
  • How India’s relationship with Israel and Palestine are viewed domestically in India

Links:

You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Direct download: MEW_Nicolas_Blarel_Oct_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

Phillip Smyth comes back on the show to discuss recent news and issues related to Iranian proxy groups fighting in Syria. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Large increase in recruiting by Iranian proxy groups starting in August
  • Iran’s determination to keep Assad in power
  • Iran’s sectarian training of forces in Syria
  • Why Iran’s interest in Syria extends far beyond just maintaining their connection to Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • The recent increase of senior Iranian commanders being killed in Syria
  • The complex web of Iran-backed groups operating in Syria
  • The long-term implications of Iran’s leadership casualties

Thanks to David, Wendy, and Ryan for supporting the show. If you’d like to help support the podcast, and get some cool rewards, check out the show’s Patreon page!

Links:

Direct download: MEW_Phillip_Smyth_24_Oct_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:36pm EDT

Pieter Van Ostaeyen comes back on the show to discuss Belgian foreign fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The number of Belgians who’ve gone to Iraq and Syria and how it compares to other European countries
  • Background on Sharia4Belgium and their role in getting Belgians to go to Syria and Iraq
  • Efforts by the Belgian government to stop the flow of people out of the country to join the conflict
  • Prosecutions of individuals and groups related to these issues

Links:

Thanks to Andrew, Alex, and Scott for supporting the show! You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Direct download: MEW_Pieter_Van_Ostaeyen_Oct_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:07pm EDT

Elizabeth Dickinson comes back on the show to discuss the Syrian diaspora in the Gulf. We also talked about the current refugee crisis, and accusations that Gulf states aren’t helping as much as they could. Topics covered include:

  • The scale of the support Syrians in the Gulf provided to opposition groups in Syria
  • Internal debate within the diaspora about whether or not to provide weapons
  • How the diaspora’s resources are being exhausted
  • The current focus on providing long-term assistance
  • The reasons why NGO’s can’t do what the diaspora can as an informal network
  • The growing sense of hopelessness amongst the people and groups

Links:

Thanks to Melissa, Andrew, Alex, Scott, and David for their continued support of the show. You can help upport the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Direct download: MEW_Elizabeth_Dickinson_24_Sep_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:38pm EDT

John Horgan comes back on the show to discuss his work studying the Islamic State’s use of child soldiers. Topics we covered include:

  • How IS recruits children
  • The training pipeline children go through
  • Comparing the use of child soldiers in various conflicts
  • Existing research on rehabilitating child soldiers
  • John’s work studying child soldier rehabilitation & reintegration in Pakistan

Links:

Thanks to Andrew and David for their support of the show! You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Direct download: MEW_John_Horgan_Aug_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:08pm EDT

Mary Fitzgerald comes back on the show to talk about the recent UN talks in Geneva and the ongoing effort to end the civil war in Libya. Topics we covered include:

  • The problem of what to do with Gen. Khalifa Hiftar
  • Potential for small, local agreements to build to a national agreement
  • Why the Islamic State, and their growth in Libya, is not a focus of the ongoing talks
  • Economic issues Libya is facing, now and in the near future
  • Importance and relevance of local militias to the potential of success of a national agreement

Links:

Thanks to Alex & Scott for their continued support of the show. You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon.

Direct download: MEW_Mary_Fitzgerald_16_Aug_15.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:04pm EDT