Middle East Week

Thomas Hegghammer, Zuckerman fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, joins me to discuss Islamist foreign fighters. Topics covered include:

  • Growth of foreign fighter phenomenon after 1980
  • How states view foreign fighters that originate from their country
  • Western fears that those who go abroad as foreign fighters will return to their home country to carry out attacks
  • Role of foreign fighters in current conflicts
  • Policy implications for combatting foreign fighters

More by Thomas Hegghammer

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Direct download: MEW_Hegghammer_3-19-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56am EST

Dr. Matthew Levitt, director of The Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and author of the forthcoming book Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God, joins me to discuss Hezbollah's role in the Syrian uprising and their activities around the world. We discussed many issues related to Hezbollah including:

  • The history of Hezbollah's role in the Syrian uprising from the start to present day
  • What the fall of the Assad regime could mean for Hezbollah
  • Issues surrounding the EU's reluctance to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group
  • Hezbollah's activities in Europe and the US
  • Hezbollah's multifaceted identity

Follow Dr. Levitt on Twitter @Levitt_Matt

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Direct download: MEW_Levitt_2-28-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:36am EST

Aaron Zelin of Jihadology.net joins me to discuss how jihadi groups are using the web. Zelin's recent New America Foundation paper "The State of Global Jihad Online" provided the basis for our discussion. Some of the topics covered include:

  • History of jihadi web usage
  • How web activity translates into real action
  • Use of private forums vs. social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • Tracking jihadi web activity by intel agencies and academics
  • What happens when jihadi forums and accounts are taken down
  • English vs. Arabic jihadi activity online
  • The potential future of jihadi web activity

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Direct download: MEW_Zelin_2-12-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm EST

John B. Quigley, professor of law at The Ohio State University and author of the new book The Six-Day War and Israeli Self-Defense: Questioning the Legal Basis for Preventive War joins me to discuss the recent elections in Israel.

Topics covered:

  • The effect the Arab Spring has had on Israeli politics
  • Palestinian's view of the Israeli election
  • Arab participation in Israeli politics
  • Internal and external efforts to curtail Israeli settlements
  • Necessity for U.S. politicians to be pro-Israel
  • Effect of Hamas-Palestinian Authority conflict on the peace process
Direct download: MEW_Quigley_2-1-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm EST

Jason Brownlee, author of Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the U.S.-Egyptian Alliance, joins me to discuss the current relationship between Cairo and Washington. We talk about the history of U.S. relations with Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, how the Morsi administration has been able to ease U.S. worries about a democratically elected Islamist government in Egypt, and the current status, and potential future, of relations between Egypt, the U.S., and Israel.

Direct download: MEW_Brownlee_1-18-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:42pm EST

Khalid Almezaini, author of The UAE and Foreign Policy, discusses Arab Gulf foreign aid programs. Almezaini covers the history of Arab Gulf nations’ foreign aid programs, as well as how they have changed recently. We talk about the motivations behind the aid programs, what the donor nations stand to gain, and the future of Arab Gulf aid in the Middle East.

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Direct download: MEW_Almez_1-12-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51am EST

Allen Fromherz, author of Qatar: A Modern History and The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire talks about the relationship between Berbers in North Africa and the Arab Spring. Does the broader Arab Spring movement speak for, and to, the many minority populations in the Arab world?

Direct download: MEW_Fromherz_1-6-13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:44am EST

The show will be launching in early January.  Here is a short introduction to what you can expect, and if you are able to download this through your podcast app (iTunes, Downcast, Instacast, etc) you'll know that your subscribtion is working.  As soon as episode 1 is posted, you'll get it.

Direct download: MEWintro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm EST