Middle East Focus-logo

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.

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


United States


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




Pakistan's Political Crisis

Marvin Weinbaum, Madiha Afzal, and Syed Mohammad Ali discuss the recent political upheaval in Pakistan, which comes against the backdrop of mounting economic problems.


Energy in the Eastern Mediterranean

Karen Young, director of MEI's Program on Economics and Energy, is joined by Emily Stromquist and Colby Connelly for a discussion on gas and energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.


A Conversation with Dr. Haider al-Abadi

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi joins the program to discuss the country’s fight against ISIS, Iraqi politics and the challenges of reform. Dr. al-Abadi has a new book out, entitled "Impossible Victory: How Iraq Defeated ISIS" (Biteback Publishing, April 2022).


France's Presidential Election and Foreign Policy

Intissar Fakir, Cinzia Bianco, and Perla Srour-Gandon discuss the results of the recent French presidential election and what they mean for France's foreign policy and the Middle East.


Youth Climate Activism in MENA

Mohammed Mahmoud and Neeshad Shafi discuss youth climate activism in the region and Shafi's experience at MENA Climate Week and the Doha forum.


US-Gulf Relations at the Crossroads

Amb. Gerald Feierstein, Bilal Saab, and Karen Young join guest host Brian Katulis to discuss their recent MEI policy paper, US-Gulf Relations at the Crossroads: Time for a Recalibration, and why they believe now is not the time to disengage from the region. Read the paper here: https://www.mei.edu/publications/us-gulf-relations-crossroads-time-recalibration


Israel & Palestine: Hot topics in Congress

Host Alistair Taylor speaks with Khaled Elgindy and Lara Friedman about the release of their recently completed 2022 congressional briefing series on Israel and Palestine: Hot topics in Congress. The eight-part webinar series features an array of Palestinian and Israeli voices, weighing in on some of the most pressing and timely Israel/Palestine-related topics in Congress. Recordings of all eight sessions of the congressional briefing series can be found on the MEI and FMEP websites at...


The Parallels of Ukraine and Syria

Iulia-Sabina Joja and Charles Lister discuss the parallels between the wars in Ukraine and Syria, the similarities of Russia’s tactics in both conflicts, and what the recent history in Syria may signal for Ukraine in the months ahead.


The GERD and Cyber Diplomacy

Mirette Mabrouk, Joey Shea, and guest host Eliza Campbell discuss current political disputes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), cyber diplomacy, and the effects of climate change on the Horn of Africa.


Ukraine: Tracking Russia's military and cyber campaigns

Iulia Joja and Chris Kubecka discuss Russia's attacks on Ukraine both on the ground and online, the growing refugee crisis, and how the invasion may set precedents for future conflicts.


Lebanon in Crisis

Randa Slim and Amb. Edward Gabriel discuss the daunting trifecta of economic, financial, and political crises Lebanon currently faces and what they anticipate for the country's future.


Taliban rule of Afghanistan at six months

Marvin Weinbaum and Sayed Madadi discuss Afghanistan’s worsening economic and humanitarian crises six months after the Taliban reclaimed control of the country.


Between the Sky and the Earth: Contemporary Art from the UAE

Afra Aldhaheri and Asma Belhamar, two featured artists in the MEI Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, Between the Sky and the Earth: Contemporary Art from the UAE, join MEI’s Lyne Sneige to discuss the inspirations and artistic processes behind their pieces in the show. Learn more about the show


Sustainable Financing in MENA

Lama Kiyasseh and Lina Osman join Karen Young, director of MEI's Economics and Energy program, to discuss how sustainable financing is changing the region by channeling financial resources toward addressing environmental and social challenges.


ISIS in Syria and Iraq

Charles Lister and Mick Mulroy discuss discuss the dramatic Feb. 3rd U.S. special operations raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the group’s late January attack on the al-Sina prison, and ISIS’s broader trajectory in both Syria and Iraq.


Biden's First Year

Brian Katulis and Randa Slim join the program to discuss the Biden administration's Middle East policy one year in, and look ahead to the challenges it will face in the region in the year ahead.


Israel's Digital Occupation

Eliza Campbell and Emerson T. Brooking discuss the Israeli government’s suppression of Palestinian online speech and activism, the surprising role that American social media companies play in the process, and their recent article for Foreign Policy, "How to End Israel’s DIgital Occupation."


Year in review: The Middle East in 2021

What were the most significant developments in the Middle East and regional policy in 2021? MEI’s Paul Salem, Randa Slim, Bilal Saab, and Karen Young join the program to discuss the key events and what trends to watch in 2022.


The UAE at 50

Gerald Feierstein, Afshin Molavi, and Courtney Freer discuss the state of the United Arab Emirates as the country celebrates its 50th anniversary, including its history, economic development, and domestic and regional policy objectives.


America's Global Posturing Review

Bilal Saab, senior fellow and founding director of MEI's Defense & Security Program, discusses the recently completed Defense Department Global Posture Review (GPR), his thoughts on the review and process, and how it will impact the U.S. strategy in the Middle East.