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Middle East Focus

News & Politics Podcasts

Weekly discussion of Middle East policy, arts, and culture, featuring experts from the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.

Location:

United States

Description:

Weekly discussion of Middle East policy, arts, and culture, featuring experts from the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.

Language:

English


Episodes
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Opposition Upset Victory in Turkey's Local Elections

4/4/2024
On this week's episode, Murat Somer - Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Istanbul’s Ozyegin University - and MEI Turkey Program Director Gonul Tol join MEI Editor-in-Chief Alistair Taylor to discuss the main opposition party’s surprising victory in Turkey’s March 31 local elections. In what some are calling a “red wave,” the Republican People’s Party (or CHP) notched up victories in both major cities and smaller towns and villages, winning control of Turkey’s 5 largest metropolitan areas and 35 of its 81 provincial municipalities.

Duration:00:45:20

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Rethinking Democracy, Ep. 1: Why Does Democracy Flourish? With Francis Fukuyama and Paul Salem

3/26/2024
About the series: This is a critical year for the future of democracy. Half the world’s population will go to the polls in 2024, at a time when citizens in America and across the globe are losing faith in democratic institutions. We often view the rollback of democracy and threats to the liberal international order as separate problems, but in reality they are closely interlinked. Through a new limited podcast series, MEI’s Gonul Tol seeks to examine the interplay between democracy’s domestic and international foes as well as how to counter them. In this episode: The world’s oldest democracy is in trouble. According to a study by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, 75% of Americans believe that “the future of American democracy is at risk in the 2024 presidential election.” We often debate why democracies die because we assume that authoritarian power is the exception and democracy is the norm. But history says otherwise. Francis Fukuyama and Paul Salem join Gonul Tol to answer the question: Why has democracy flourished in certain countries and regions and not in others?

Duration:00:52:13

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The Evolving Conflict Between Hezbollah and Israel

3/11/2024
MEI's US-Lebanon Fellow Fadi Nicholas Nassar and Emile Hokayem - Director of Regional Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies - discuss the changing and uncertain rules of engagement between Hezbollah and Israel, and the potential for war between the two following Oct. 7.

Duration:00:47:44

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Interview with Rashid Al Khalifa - Bahraini artist, collector and founder of RAK Art Foundation

3/6/2024
Director of MEI's Arts & Culture Program Lyne Sneige interviews HH Sheik Rashid Al Khalifa - artist, collector and founder of the RAK Art Foundation and a participating artist in MEI's current gallery exhibition "The Sea of Life: Modern and Contemporary Art from The Kingdom of Bahrain"

Duration:00:37:32

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What’s next for Pakistan after election shock?

2/21/2024
On this week's episode Tamkinet Karim, Syed Mohammad Ali, and Alistair Taylor discuss the results of Pakistan’s Feb. 8 elections and where things might be headed moving forward. Over the past two years, Pakistan has gone through a particularly turbulent period, following the removal of Imran Khan’s government in a no-confidence vote in April 2022 — a time marked by political instability, intense polarization, a worsening economic crisis, and growing threats to internal security. *Note: This episode was recorded before the formation of a coalition government on February 20, 2024.*

Duration:00:36:29

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Iran’s 1979 revolution and its resonance today

2/13/2024
On this week's episode, MEI Iran Program Director Alex Vatanka, MEI Non-resident Scholar Andrew Scott Cooper, and MEI Editor-In-Chief Alistair Taylor discuss the Iranian Revolution of 1979. A seminal event in the history of the modern Middle East, the revolution transformed Iran and its impact continues to reverberate across the region today, nearly five decades on.

Duration:00:35:30

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Spotlight on US Syria policy

2/4/2024
On this week's episode, Director of MEI's Syria and Countering Terrorism & Extremism Programs Charles Lister and MEI Editor-In-Chief Alistair Taylor talk about US policy toward Syria. The deadly Jan. 28 drone attack on a US military outpost in northeastern Jordan, near the borders with Syria and Iraq, has drawn renewed attention to the US military presence in the area. This comes against a backdrop of regional conflict and escalation.

Duration:00:29:36

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The Gaza War's Regional Reverberations

1/29/2024
On this week's episode, President and CEO of the Middle East Institute Paul Salem and Director of MEI’s Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program Randa Slim speak to MEI's Editor-in-Chief Alistair Taylor about growing concerns over the potential for large-scale regional escalation as the Gaza war continues. *Note: This episode was recorded before drone attacks that killed US soldiers in Jordan on 1/28. *

Duration:00:34:36

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Antisemitism and Islamophobia in the US political discourse on Israel/Palestine

1/10/2024
Sahar Aziz and Mitchell Plitnick discuss their study "Presumptively Antisemitic: Islamophobic Tropes in the Palestine Israel Discourse" with MEI's Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs Program Director Khaled Elgindy.

Duration:00:41:37

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Themes of COP28

12/5/2023
MEI's Climate and Water Program discusses the top issues within the themes of COP28's agenda. For more info on COP28 and climate issues in the MENA region, follow MEI's Spotlight on COP28.

Duration:00:23:02

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Turkey at 100

12/5/2023
The year 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic. MEI Editor-in-chief Alistair Taylor and Turkey Program Director Gonul Tol discuss where things stand today: the political landscape in the aftermath of the May 2023 elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push for constitutional change, and how Turkey is dealing with key foreign policy issues like the Israel-Hamas war, Sweden’s NATO membership bid, and relations with the U.S.

Duration:00:37:18

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Iran and the Israel-Hamas War

11/15/2023
On this week's episode, MEI's Editor in Chief Alistair Taylor talks to Iran Program Director Alex Vatanka about Iran and the Israel-Hamas war. As fighting rages in Gaza and the prospects for regional escalation continue to mount, Iran will remain a critical actor to watch. It is not only Israel’s main regional foe but also the leading provider of military aid and training for Hamas. Given the centrality of Iran in this latest Middle Eastern war, understanding how Tehran views the conflict and its endgame will be critical.

Duration:00:30:06

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Climate Financing

9/19/2023
Director of MEI’s Climate and Water Program Mohammed Mahmoud speaks to energy and sustainable infrastructure expert Lucia Fuselli on the role of climate financing - a critical component of initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and bolstering climate resilience.

Duration:00:19:02

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Prospects for Saudi Arabia-Israel Normalization

9/7/2023
On this week's episode, MEI's Editor-In-Chief Alistair Taylor discusses the Biden administration’s push to reach a normalization accord between Saudi Arabia and Israel with Martin Indyk, Sanam Vakil, and Bilal Saab. While there are plenty of potential hurdles to reaching a deal — including Saudi Arabia’s steep demands, Israel’s far-right government, and challenging domestic politics here in the US — if done right, the potential geopolitical ramifications could be substantial.

Duration:00:45:01

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Little Amal Walks Across America

8/28/2023
MEI’s Senior Vice President Kate Seelye speaks with award-winning theater director and writer Amir Nizar Zuabi - Artistic Director of the 'Amal Walks Across America' tour. They discuss the upcoming U.S. tour of Little Amal, an internationally celebrated 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl traveling across the world carrying a message of hope and compassion for displaced people everywhere.

Duration:00:26:03

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Ben Samuels | 'Taking the Edge Off the Middle East' Ep. 3

8/22/2023
Middle East Focus Presents: ‘Taking the Edge Off the Middle East’ with Brian Katulis A series of casual conversations with leading policy professionals on the most important happenings in the Middle East today - hosted by MEI VP for Policy Brian Katulis. Ben Samuels - U.S. correspondent for Haaretz - sits down with Brian to discuss how he got into journalism, the state of politics in Israel, and the country's ongoing judicial overhaul. *Note: this episode was recorded on June 8, 2023.

Duration:00:46:51

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France’s Foreign Policy towards Lebanon and its Discontents

7/21/2023
MEI U.S.-Lebanon Fellow Fadi Nicholas Nassar is joined by Karim Bitar for a discussion on French foreign policy towards Lebanon. The pair focus on the current state of affairs in Lebanon, historical trends in French policy towards the country and the region, and more in the latest episode of Middle East Focus.

Duration:01:08:43

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Perspectives from the Bonn Climate Change Conference Ahead of COP28

7/10/2023
This year's Bonn Climate Change Conference featured events and discussions focusing on climate issues such as adaptation, mitigation, the global stocktake, and climate loss and damage. Progress on these issues at the Bonn Conference is intended to translate into potential draft decisions to be adopted at the COP28 meeting taking place in the UAE later this year. Mohammed Mahmoud discusses the details of the Bonn Conference, how it may have shaped the MENA climate change agenda, and other major outcomes with Athra Khamis and Neeshad Shafi, two of MEI’s non-resident scholars in the Climate and Water Program that attended the Bonn Conference.

Duration:00:33:35

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Itamar Rabinovich on “Middle Eastern Maze”

6/21/2023
Brookings’ Distinguished Fellow on Foreign Policy Itamar Rabinovich discusses his new book - “Middle Eastern Maze: Israel, the Arabs, and the Region” - as well as contemporary Israeli politics with MEI’s VP for Policy Brian Katulis.

Duration:00:25:57

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Richard A. Clarke | 'Taking the Edge Off the Middle East' Ep. 2

6/12/2023
Middle East Focus Presents: ‘Taking the Edge Off the Middle East’ with Brian Katulis A series of casual conversations with leading policy professionals on the most important happenings in the Middle East today - hosted by MEI VP for Policy Brian Katulis. After a decade of leadership, Richard A. Clarke recently retired as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute. He chats with Brian about what originally got him into public service, his 30 years working in U.S. government national security agencies (including the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House National Security Council), and his recent move into writing fiction.

Duration:00:49:10