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Extra: Turkey’s domestic and foreign challenges in 2019

MEI’s Gonul Tol and Robert Pearson join host Alistair Taylor for a deeper dive into Turkey’s upcoming local elections in late March, the country’s economic slowdown, and its foreign policy challenges in Syria.


The year ahead: The Middle East in 2019

In our first episode of 2019, MEI experts Paul Salem, Charles Lister, Ahmad Majidyar, Randa Slim, Gonul Tol, Robert Pearson, and Gerald Feierstein discuss the significant policy developments and announcements of the past few weeks and outline the major issues to watch in the year ahead.


Year in review: The Middle East in 2018

In our final episode of the year, host Alistair Taylor interviews several MEI scholars on the key events that transpired across the Middle East in 2018 including in the Gulf, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan. Guests include Paul Salem, Gerald Feierstein, Alex Vatanka, Gonul Tol, and Ahmad Majidyar.


Climate Change and the Middle East

Aisha Al-Sarihi, visiting scholar at AGSIW, Nadim Farajalla, director of the Climate Change and the Environment program at AUB’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, and MEI’s Amal Kandeel join host Alistair Taylor to discuss how climate change is affecting the Middle East and what can be done to address the issue.


Managing expectations for the GCC Summit

Giorgio Cafiero, CEO and founder of Gulf State Analytics, and F. Gregory Gause, head of the Department of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, join MEI's Jerry Feierstein to discuss the state of GCC relations amid the Qatar dispute and other crises heading into the next GCC Summit.


Turkey’s social and political trends

Max Hoffman, associate director of national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, and MEI’s Gonul Tol join host Alistair Taylor to discuss the social, political, and foreign policy issues Turkey has been grappling with in recent years.


What’s next for Gaza

Elizabeth Campbell, director of UNRWA's Representative office in Washington, and MEI’s Nathan Stock join guest host Alistair Taylor to discuss the recent flare-up in Gaza, the subsequent ceasefire, and where things go from here.


Libya’s search for unification and reform

MEI’s Jonathan Winer joins guest host Alistair Taylor to discuss the conditions in Libya nearly eight years after the country’s revolution, from the situation on the ground to the prospects for elections and political settlement more broadly.


The ongoing search for progress in Yemen

Yemen, the site of the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world today, has seen several significant developments in recent weeks, including renewed calls for a cease-fire, UN intervention, and brokered peace talks. Fatima Alasrar, senior analyst at the Arabia Foundation, and MEI’s Gerald Feierstein join host Paul Salem to discuss the prospects for these latest moves.


US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports

MEI’s Alex Vatanka and Jean-Francois Seznec join host Paul Salem to discuss the impact of incoming U.S. sanctions on Iranian energy exports on Iran’s economy, the Gulf, and energy markets in general.


Assessing the fallout of the Khashoggi crisis

This week, in a highly anticipated speech on the Khashoggi affair, Turkish President Erdogan promised a lot but said little; the “Davos in the Desert” conference opened in Riyadh with an appearance by the Saudi crown prince; and the United States continued to send mixed signals. Karen Young, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Gonul Tol, director of MEI’s Turkey program, join host Paul Salem to discuss the latest developments.


Update on Jamal Khashoggi; Afghan elections preview

In this episode, MEI’s Gerald Feierstein and Gonul Tol continue last week’s discussion on the tragedy and ongoing foreign relations crisis over Jamal Khashoggi, and Ahmad Majidyar gives a preview of this weekend’s parliamentary elections in Afghanistan.


The crisis over Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance

The disappearance of journalist and commentator Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has sparked the most serious crisis to face relations between the Trump administration and Riyadh. It has also posed a major diplomatic challenge for Turkey’s President Erdogan. MEI’s Jerry Feierstein and Gonul Tol join host Paul Salem to discuss the fallout of this developing crisis and potential tragedy.


Yemen’s stalemate and humanitarian crisis

Hopes for progress in Yemen have been stymied by setbacks in recent weeks, perpetuating a military and political stalemate. Marcia Biggs, special correspondent for PBS NewsHour, joins guest host Gerald Feierstein to discuss the humanitarian conditions she witnessed on the ground and what the international community can do to help reach a resolution to the crisis.


Trump’s UN speech and Middle East policy

It was a busy week for Middle East policy as President Trump touched on a range of key issues at the United National General Assembly in New York, including Iran sanctions, the intra-GCC dispute, OPEC policy, Saudi domestic reforms, and the Middle East peace process, among others. Gerald Feierstein, MEI’s director for policy research, programs and government relations, and Ahmad Majidyar, director for MEI’s IranObserved program, join host Paul Salem to break down what was said, as well as...


The PLO office closure and the state of US-Palestinian relations

U.S.-Palestinian relations have faced repeated setbacks over the past year, from the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, to cutting off funding to UNRWA. This month the Trump administration ordered the closure of the PLO’s office in Washington and revoked the visas of PLO Ambassador Husam Zomlot’s family members. Dr. Zomlot joins host Paul Salem via Skype from Ramallah to discuss the state of relations, and where the peace process can go from here.


Tunisia’s path from dictatorship to democracy

Tunisia, where the Arab uprisings began seven years ago, continues to face many difficulties in its transition on the economic, political and security fronts. Emir Sfaxi, a Tunisian public policy consultant and Fulbright scholar, and Bill Lawrence, professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, join host Paul Salem to discuss the country’s trajectory.


Combatting Landmines and IEDs

Millions of landmines scattered across the Middle East have remained a persistent threat to civilians long after the wars in which they were deployed came to a close. However the recent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen have made the problem much worse. Steve Priestley, global director of operations for mine action at Janus Global Operations, joins Paul Salem to discuss the challenges facing demining operations, and some of the technological innovations that could help.


Despair and hope in the Yemen conflict

UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths will lead a new round of negotiations next week to attempt to end the long and costly war in Yemen. A new UN report this week that outlines possible war crimes by the parties engaged in the conflict underscores the need to find a resolution. MEI’s Gerald Feierstein, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, and Randa Slim, who was a member of the last UN negotiating team on Yemen, join host Paul Salem to assess the prospects for the peace talks.


Turkey’s economic crisis and political fallout

Turkey is under enormous strain as it faces an economic crisis that has caused the lira to lose 40% of its value since the beginning of this year; an ongoing crisis in domestic politics; and an international relations crisis with the United States. Gönül Tol, MEI’s director of Turkish studies, and Ömer Taşpınar, professor at the National War College, join host Paul Salem to explain the causes of these challenges and what lies ahead.