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Best podcasts about assad

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Latest podcast episodes about assad

Mark Leonard's World in 30 Minutes
Syria's war, Europe's problem

Mark Leonard's World in 30 Minutes

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 31:48


After more than a decade of death and destruction – and despite a string of international efforts to end his regime - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power. Meanwhile, the country faces deteriorating economic and humanitarian crises, with over 90% of its population currently living below the poverty line. In this week's episode, host Mark Leonard is joined by ECFR Council Member Bassma Kodmani who is also a member of the opposition delegation for peace negotiations and a member of the Constitutional Committee for Syria, Ralph Haddad Coordinator of Advocacy & Research at the Syrian NGO Basmeh & Zeitooneh for Relief and Development, and Julien Barnes-Dacey, head of ECFR's MENA programme. Together, they analyse the changing dynamics in the ‘struggle for Syria': What does the re-engagement of regional actors mean for the future of the country? And what role can Europe play to create breathing space in Syria? This podcast was recorded on 29 November 2021. Further reading: -" A decade of death and ruin: How Europe can create breathing space in Syria" by Julien Barnes-Dacey https://buff.ly/3ePDHLI Bookshelf: - "How the Assad Regime Systematically Diverts Tens of Millions in Aid" by Natasha Hall, Senior Fellow, Middle East Program, CSIS - "Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture" by Sudhir Hazareesingh - "Without" by Younis Alakhzami

This Jungian Life
Episode 191 - Archetypes and the Creative Process: A Discussion with Third Coast Percussion

This Jungian Life

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 59:36


The creator, the hero, the explorer: these are just some of the archetypes made famous by Carl Jung that inspired the latest album from Chicago's Grammy award-winning Third Coast Percussion. Created in collaboration with classical guitarist Sérgio Assad and composer-performer Clarice Assad, Archetypes is a sonic exploration of the human experience. Taped live at the 2021 Chicago Humanities Festival, our conversation with musicians Clarice Assad and David Skidmore features an exploration of the creative process and an interactive discussion on David's dream. Clarice Assad is a Grammy-nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist, and educator. David Skidmore is a performer and Executive Director with Third Coast Percussion, a GRAMMY Award-winning percussion quartet based in Chicago.   RESOURCES: Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

hr2 Der Tag
Moleküle des Grauens – Warum Chemiewaffen nicht verschwinden

hr2 Der Tag

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 52:48


Chemische Waffen sind weltweit verboten, schon seit 1997. Das Grauen, das Phosgen, Senfgas und andere "Lungen-, Blut- und Nervenkampfstoffe" seit ihrem ersten Einsatz im Ersten Weltkrieg auslösen, haben eine ungewöhnliche Entschlossenheit bewirkt. Seither wacht die OVCW, die Organisation für das Verbot Chemischer Waffen, von Den Haag aus darüber, dass es auch eingehalten wird. Die Bundesregierung sieht im Abkommen über chemische Waffen "einen der erfolgreichsten multilateralen Abrüstungsverträge" - und wahrscheinlich wird die OVCW auf ihrem jährlichen Kongress in dieser Woche auch eine eher positive Bilanz ziehen. 2013, als die OVCW den Friedensnobelpreis erhielt, wäre das anders gewesen: im syrischen Bürgerkrieg waren Stellungen von Aufständischen mit Sarin attackiert worden. Bis heute ist Assad der Hauptverdächtige. Barack Obama sah eine "rote Linie" überschritten, Folgen hatte das aber kaum welche. Die weltweite Ächtung nimmt uns nicht im Einzelfall die Furcht, dass doch jemand zum Äußersten greift. Und sei es zum politischen Mord, wie im Fall Skripal. Chemische Waffen sind weltweit verboten, verschwunden sind sie nicht.

PRIMO NUTMEG
#253: Vanessa Beeley

PRIMO NUTMEG

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2021 118:30


Vanessa Beeley is a British journalist who has spent recent years covering events in Syria. In this interview, Vanessa explains the past 75 years of Western meddling in Syria, and how this has created the current situation in that country. Beeley also discusses the divisions on the Left regarding Syria, and how intelligence agencies, the corporate media and big money donors have shaped an imperialist narrative around the country.Join the conversation! Submit questions to guests by becoming a PRIMO RADICAL patron for only $1 a month on Patreon: https://patreon.com/primoradicalSubscribe to PRIMO RADICAL on YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes!https://primoradical.com/ https://facebook.com/primoradical/ https://twitter.com/primoradical/ https://instagram.com/primoradical/https://minds.com/primoradical/https://youtube.com/c/primoradical/Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/primonutmeg)

Halal Tube
Belal Assad – Breaking The Chains: Social Media Addiction

Halal Tube

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 54:37


Sheikh Belal Assad from Melbourne, Victoria speaks on the topic of Social Media Addiction. This lecture was delivered at the "Breaking The Chains 2019" Youth Conference organised by the Youth Office of The Islamic Centre of West Australia and Curtin Muslim Student Association at The Curtin University of Western Australia.

Branch 251
The Business of War Crimes

Branch 251

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 26:58


War is expensive. On paper, the Assad regime should be broke. And yet, its pockets seem deep enough to carry on waging a bloody war on the Syrian people. In this episode, Noor and Fritz attempt to answer the question that's probably on your mind right now: how do they do it? For more information and regular updates on the trial, follow us on https://twitter.com/Branch_251 (Twitter). Thanks to Nick Donovan for sharing insights on his research with Global Witness. The project was a joint effort between Sara Farolfi, Isobel Koshiw, Nick Donovan, Mohamed Abo-Elgheit (Global Witness), Stelios Orphanides (OCCRP), and Nidal Shikhani and colleagues at the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre of Syria.  https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/corruption-and-money-laundering/khouri-networks-global-connections/ (https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/corruption-and-money-laundering/khouri-networks-global-connections/)  https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/corruption-and-money-laundering/assads-money-men-in-moscow/ (https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/corruption-and-money-laundering/assads-money-men-in-moscow/)  Joseph Daher on https://twitter.com/josephdaher19?lang=en (Twitter) https://sldp.ngo/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SLDP-Effectiveness-of-Sanctions-EN.pdf (Report at SLDP that Eyad Hamid wrote.) Read more about https://www.justiceinitiative.org/newsroom/german-and-belgian-prosecutors-urged-to-investigate-chemical-shipments-to-syria (the case that Steve at Open Society Justice Initiative is working on.) https://www.ecchr.eu/en/case/trial-updates-first-trial-worldwide-on-torture-in-syria/ (ECCHR trial reports) https://syriaaccountability.org/topic/trial-monitoring/updates/ (Syria Justice and Accountability Centre's monitoring of the trial) Logo design byhttp://www.laurenshebly.nl/ ( laurenshebly.nl) -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images. Music via Blue Dot Sessions Support for our podcast comes from German Federal Foreign Office funds that are provided by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen IFA's zivik Funding Programme. Support this podcast

Ummahpreneur Live
#64 Creating An Arabic Language Education Company w/ Assad Masud

Ummahpreneur Live

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 47:33


Assad Masud, Co-founder of Arabic Unlocked. Arabic Unlocked is leading the way for language learners to unlock the Arabic language through a mobile App, as well as learning programs and ebooks ideal for second language learners. Here's some of the topics discussed in this episode: - How they first created and launched their products. - The process they had to go through to create the app. - The challenges faced building an education company and how to overcome them. - Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business. Connect with Assad Masud: ArabicUnlocked.com — BOOK A FREE DISCOVERY SESSION — Need help starting or growing your online business? Click here to book a call with my team! — CONNECT WITH UMMAHPRENEUR — Join Our Livestream Facebook Group Follow Ummahpreneur on Instagram Subscribe To Ummahpreneur's Youtube Channel

More Art Than Science
Badi Assad

More Art Than Science

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 50:26


Badi Assad describes her journey from 2 octave electric organist to world renowned singer, songwriter, guitarist and performance artist.

Scientific Sense ®
Prof. Wendy Pearlman of Northwestern University on Syrian uprising and politics

Scientific Sense ®

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 12, 2021 58:08


Narratives of Fear in Syria, Moral Identity and Protest Cascades in Syria, Mobilizing From Scratch: Large-Scale Collective Action Without Preexisting Organization in the Syrian Uprising, Syrian Views on Obama's Red Line: The Ethical Case for Strikes against Assad, and Religion and Mobilization in the Syrian Uprising and War. Scientific Sense ® by Gill Eapen: Prof. Wendy Pearlman is Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. Her research interests include Comparative Politics of the Middle East, Social Movements, Conflict Processes, Emotions, The Political Effects of Emigration, and The Arab-Israeli Conflict --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/scientificsense/message

Reform This!
Ep 124 | The Lefts's Identity Politic Movement and their Islamists are handed a Major Defeat.

Reform This!

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 31:55


Don't miss this weeks podcast as Dr Jasser discusses how similar the battle against Islamists for Muslim reformers is to the American battle brewing against the identity politics movement of the far left which was handed a major setback during last week's elections in Virginia. They hate to say, “I told you so”, but Muslim reformers told you so! Also how a few celebrities calling out the Chinese Communist Party about their genocidal behaviours towards the Ughyur Muslims can make a difference. Last, what is an Assad family member doing driving a Ferrari in LA? The Biden administration's filter free border exposed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

The John Batchelor Show
4/4 Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey.

The John Batchelor Show

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2021 7:10


Photo:  Syrian ten-pound note, 1947 4/4   Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey. Hardcover – October 5, 2021.   https://www.amazon.com/Damascus-Station-Novel-David-McCloskey/dp/0393881040 The CIA case officer Sam Joseph is dispatched to Paris to recruit a Syrian Palace official, Mariam Haddad. The two fall into a forbidden relationship, which supercharges Haddad's recruitment and creates unspeakable danger when they enter Damascus to find the man responsible for the disappearance of an American spy. But the cat-and-mouse chase for the killer soon leads to a trail of high-profile assassinations and the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime, bringing the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Assad's spy catcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of the feared Republican Guard. Set against the backdrop of a Syria pulsing with fear and rebellion, Damascus Station is a gripping thriller that offers a textured portrayal of espionage, love, loyalty, and betrayal in one of the most difficult CIA assignments on the planet.

The John Batchelor Show
3/4 Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey.

The John Batchelor Show

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2021 16:30


Photo:   Constitution of the Syrian Republic, 14 May 1930 3/4 Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey. Hardcover – October 5, 2021.   https://www.amazon.com/Damascus-Station-Novel-David-McCloskey/dp/0393881040 The CIA case officer Sam Joseph is dispatched to Paris to recruit a Syrian Palace official, Mariam Haddad. The two fall into a forbidden relationship, which supercharges Haddad's recruitment and creates unspeakable danger when they enter Damascus to find the man responsible for the disappearance of an American spy. But the cat-and-mouse chase for the killer soon leads to a trail of high-profile assassinations and the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime, bringing the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Assad's spy catcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of the feared Republican Guard. Set against the backdrop of a Syria pulsing with fear and rebellion, Damascus Station is a gripping thriller that offers a textured portrayal of espionage, love, loyalty, and betrayal in one of the most difficult CIA assignments on the planet.

The John Batchelor Show
2/4 Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey.

The John Batchelor Show

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2021 7:35


Photo:  Syrian Demonstration against French Mandate 2/4 Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey. Hardcover – October 5, 2021.  https://www.amazon.com/Damascus-Station-Novel-David-McCloskey/dp/0393881040 The CIA case officer Sam Joseph is dispatched to Paris to recruit a Syrian Palace official, Mariam Haddad. The two fall into a forbidden relationship, which supercharges Haddad's recruitment and creates unspeakable danger when they enter Damascus to find the man responsible for the disappearance of an American spy. But the cat-and-mouse chase for the killer soon leads to a trail of high-profile assassinations and the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime, bringing the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Assad's spy catcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of the feared Republican Guard. Set against the backdrop of a Syria pulsing with fear and rebellion, Damascus Station is a gripping thriller that offers a textured portrayal of espionage, love, loyalty, and betrayal in one of the most difficult CIA assignments on the planet.

The John Batchelor Show
1/4 Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey.

The John Batchelor Show

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 6, 2021 14:15


Photo: 1/4 Damascus Station: A Novel, by David McCloskey. Hardcover – October 5, 2021.  https://www.amazon.com/Damascus-Station-Novel-David-McCloskey/dp/0393881040 The CIA case officer Sam Joseph is dispatched to Paris to recruit a Syrian Palace official, Mariam Haddad. The two fall into a forbidden relationship, which supercharges Haddad's recruitment and creates unspeakable danger when they enter Damascus to find the man responsible for the disappearance of an American spy. But the cat-and-mouse chase for the killer soon leads to a trail of high-profile assassinations and the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime, bringing the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Assad's spy catcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of the feared Republican Guard. Set against the backdrop of a Syria pulsing with fear and rebellion, Damascus Station is a gripping thriller that offers a textured portrayal of espionage, love, loyalty, and betrayal in one of the most difficult CIA assignments on the planet.

Cultures monde
Syrie : retour à la case Bachar

Cultures monde

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 58:17


durée : 00:58:17 - Cultures Monde - par : Florian Delorme - Dix ans après le début de la guerre en Syrie, le régime de Bachar al-Assad est en passe de redevenir un acteur incontournable sur la scène internationale. - invités : Salam Kawakibi politologue, directeur du centre arabe de recherche et d'études politiques à Paris; Manon-Nour Tannous Politologue, maître de conférences à l'Université de Reims, enseignante à Sciences Po et chercheure associée au Centre Thucydide (Université Paris II) et au Collège de France (chaire d'histoire contemporaine du monde arabe); Yahia Hakoum Doctorant à Sciences Po

Overwatch
E58: Turkish Troop Movements on Syrian Border Indicate Possible Incursion against US Partner Forces

Overwatch

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 23:43


Turkish President Erdogan may launch a new incursion into Syria that could target the Syrian Defense Forces, the US partner in the counter-ISIS fight. Turkish troops assembled in border areas near SDF positions and Turkish-occupied parts of northern Syria in late October, though deployments appear to have slowed since then. On this episode of Overwatch, Matt McInnis and Ezgi Yazici discuss what a new Turkish incursion could look like and the effects that such a development would have on the broader region. Visit www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/isws-overwatch-podcast-series to see a map that ISW produced to help readers follow along with this discussion.

USApodden
PODDTIPS: P1:s Mellanösternpodd

USApodden

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2021 0:52


Om den blyge ögonläkaren Bashar al-Assad som blev Syriens hårdföre härskare. Hör hur Syriens president Assad överlevt fem amerikanska presidenter i P1:s Mellanösternpodd. Podden för dig som vill veta allt om Mellanöstern. I P1:s Mellanösternpodd intervjuar Johar Bendjelloul Sveriges Radios främsta experter på Mellanöstern. Bland gästerna finns de prisbelönta utrikeskorrespondenterna Cecilia Uddén och Johan Mathias Sommarström och medarbetare från de kurdiska, arabiska och persiska grupperna på Ekot. 

Reportage International
Reportage international - En France, les ex-employés de Rifaat el-Assad abandonnés à leur sort

Reportage International

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 30, 2021 2:31


En Syrie, après 36 ans d'exil, Rifaat el-Assad a été autorisé au début du mois d'octobre à rentrer à Damas. L'oncle de Bachar el-Assad avait été chassé du pays en 1984 après un coup d'État manqué contre son frère Hafez, président de l'époque.   Rifaat el-Assad trouve alors refuge en Europe et se constitue un immense patrimoine immobilier de 90 millions d'euros. Des résidences en Angleterre, en Espagne, mais aussi en France et notamment un haras : le domaine Saint-Jacques, à Bessancourt dans le Val-d'Oise. Rifaat el-Assad y installe sa garde rapprochée. Mais ces dernières années la justice se penche sur ses propriétés. En France, il est condamné en appel à 4 ans de prison pour blanchiment et détournement de fonds. Rifaat el-Assad a depuis déserté les lieux et laissé à l'abandon ses anciens employés et leurs enfants, près de 80 personnes.

CFR On the Record
Academic Webinar: Geopolitics in the Middle East

CFR On the Record

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021


Steven A. Cook, Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at CFR, leads a conversation on geopolitics in the Middle East.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to today's session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I'm Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today's discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic, if you want to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. Today's topic is geopolitics in the Middle East. Our speaker was supposed to be Sanam Vakil, but she had a family emergency. So we're delighted to have our very own Steven Cook here to discuss this important topic. Dr. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies, and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of several books, including False Dawn; The Struggle for Egypt, which won the 2012 Gold Medal from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Ruling But Not Governing. And he's working on yet another book entitled The End of Ambition: America's Past, Present, and Future in the Middle East. So keep an eye out for that in the next year or so. He's a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and contributor and commentator on a bunch of other outlets. Prior to coming to CFR, Dr. Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. So, Dr. Cook, thank you for being with us. I thought you could just—I'm going to give you a soft question here, to talk about the geopolitical relations among state and nonstate actors in the Middle East. And you can take that in whatever direction you would like. COOK: Well, thanks so much, Irina. It's a great pleasure to be with you. Good afternoon to everybody who's out there who's on an afternoon time zone, good morning to those who may still be in the evening, and good evening to those who may be somewhere where it's the evening. It's very nice to be with you. As Irina mentioned, and as I'm sure it's plenty evident, I am not Sanam Vakil, but I'm happy to step in for her and offer my thoughts on the geopolitics of the Middle East. It's a small topic. That question that Irina asked was something that I certainly could handle effectively in fifteen to twenty minutes. But before I get into the details of what's going on in the region, I thought I would offer some just general comments about the United States in the Middle East. Because, as it turns out, I had the opportunity last night to join a very small group of analysts with a very senior U.S. government official to talk precisely about the United States in the Middle East. And it was a very, very interesting conversation, because despite the fact that there has been numerous news reporting and analytic pieces about how the United States is deemphasizing the Middle East, this official made it very, very clear that that was practically impossible at this time. And this was, I think, a reasonable position to take. There has been a lot recently, in the last recent years, about withdrawing from the region, from retrenchment from the region, reducing from the region, realignment from the region. All those things actually mean different things. But analysts have essentially used them to mean that the United States should deprioritize the Middle East. And it seems to me that the problem in the Middle East has not necessarily been the fact that we are there and that we have goals there. It's that the goals in the region and the resources Washington uses to achieve those goals need to be realigned to address things that are actually important to the United States. In one sense that sound eminently reasonable. We have goals, we have resources to meet those goals, and we should devote them to—and if we can't, we should reassess what our goals are or go out and find new resources. That sounds eminently reasonable. But that's not the way Washington has worked over the course of the last few decades when it comes to the Middle East. In many ways, the United States has been overly ambitious. And it has led to a number of significant failures in the region. In an era when everything and anything is a vital interest, then nothing really is. And this seems to be the source of our trouble. For example, when we get into trying to fix the politics of other countries, we're headed down the wrong road. And I don't think that there's been enough real debate in Washington or, quite frankly, in the country about what's important in the Middle East, and why we're there, and what we're trying to achieve in the Middle East. In part, this new book that I'm writing called the End of Ambition, which, as Irina pointed out, will be out hopefully in either late 2022 or early 2023, tries to answer some of these questions. There is a way for the United States to be constructive in the Middle East, but what we've done over the course of the last twenty years has made that task much, much harder. And it leads us, in part, to this kind of geostrategic picture or puzzle that I'm about to lay out for you. So let me get into some of the details. And I'm obviously not going to take you from Morocco all the way to Iran, although I could if I had much, much more time because there's a lot going on in a lot of places. But not all of those places are of critical importance to the United States. So I'll start and I'll pick and choose from that very, very large piece of geography. First point: There have been some efforts to deescalate in a region that was in the middle of or on the verge of multiple conflicts. There has been a dialogue between the Saudis and the Iranians, under the auspices of the Iraqis, of all people. According to the Saudis this hasn't yielded very much, but they are continuing the conversation. One of the ways to assess the success or failure of a meeting is the fact that there's going to be another meeting. And there are going to be other meetings between senior Iranian and Saudi officials. I think that that's good. Egyptians and Turks are talking. Some of you who don't follow these issues as closely may not remember that Turkey and Egypt came close to trading blows over Libya last summer. And they pulled back as a result of concerted diplomacy on the part of the European Union, as well as the Egyptian ability to actually surge a lot of force to its western border. Those two countries are also talking, in part under the auspices of the Iraqis. Emiratis and Iranians are talking. That channel opened up in 2019 after the Iranians attacked a very significant—two very significant oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, sort of scaring the Emiratis, especially since the Trump administration did not respond in ways that the Emiratis or the Saudis had been expecting. The Qataris and the Egyptians have repaired their relations. The Arab world, for better or for worse, is moving to reintegrate Syria into is ranks. Not long after King Abdullah of Jordan was in the United States, he and Bashar al-Assad shared a phone call to talk about the opening of the border between Jordan and Syria and to talk about, among other things, tourism to the two countries. The hope is that this de-escalation, or hope for de-escalation coming from this dialogue, will have a salutary effect on conflicts in Yemen, in Syria, in Libya, and Iraq. Thus far, it hasn't in Yemen, in particular. It hasn't in Syria. But in Libya and Iraq, there have been some improvements to the situation. All of this remains quite fragile. These talks can be—can break off at any time under any circumstances. Broader-scale violence can return to Libya at any time. And the Iraqi government still doesn't control its own territory. Its sovereignty is compromised, not just by Iran but also by Turkey. But the fact that a region that was wound so tight and that seemed poised to even deepen existing conflicts and new ones to break out, for all of these different parties to be talking—some at the behest of the United States, some entirely of their own volition—is, I think, a relatively positive sign. You can't find anyone who's more—let's put it this way, who's darker about developments in the Middle East than me. And I see some positive signs coming from this dialogue. Iran, the second big issue on the agenda. Just a few hours ago, the Iranians indicated that they're ready to return to the negotiating table in Vienna. This is sort of a typical Iranian negotiating tactic, to push issues to the brink and then to pull back and demonstrate some pragmatism so that people will thank for them for their pragmatism. This agreement to go back to the negotiating table keeps them on decent terms with the Europeans. It builds on goodwill that they have developed as a result of their talks with Saudi Arabia. And it puts Israel somewhat on the defensive, or at least in an awkward position with the Biden administration, which has very much wanted to return to the negotiating table in Vienna. What comes out of these negotiations is extremely hard to predict. This is a new government in Iran. It is certainly a harder line than its predecessor. Some analysts believe that precisely because it is a hardline government it can do the negotiation. But we'll just have to see. All the while this has been going on, the Iranians have been proceeding with their nuclear development, and Israel is continuing its shadow campaign against the Iranians in Syria, sometimes in Iraq, in Iran itself. Although, there's no definitive proof, yesterday Iranian gas stations, of all things, were taken offline. There's some suspicion that this was the Israelis showing the Iranians just how far and deep they are into Iranian computer systems. It remains unclear how the Iranians will retaliate. Previously they have directed their efforts to Israeli-linked shipping in and around the Gulf of Oman. Its conventional responses up until this point have been largely ineffective. The Israelis have been carrying on a fairly sophisticated air campaign against the Iranians in Syria, and the Iranians have not been able to mount any kind of effective response. Of course, this is all against the backdrop of the fact that the Iranians do have the ability to hold much of the Israeli population hostage via Hezbollah and its thousands of rockets and missiles. So you can see how this is quite worrying, and an ongoing concern for everybody in the region, as the Israelis and Iranians take part in this confrontation. Let me just continue along the line of the Israelis for a moment and talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict, something that has not been high on the agenda of the Biden administration, it hasn't been high on the agenda of many countries in the region. But since the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, there have been some significant developments. The normalization as a result of the Abraham Accords continues apace. Recently in the Emirates there was a meeting of ministers from Israel, the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan. This is the first kind of face-to-face meeting of government officials from all of these countries. Now, certainly the Israelis and the Emiratis have been meeting quite regularly, and the Israelis and the Bahrainis have been meeting quite regularly. But these were broader meetings of Cabinet officials from all of the Abraham Accords countries coming together in the United Arab Emirates for talks. Rather extraordinary. Something that thirteen months—in August 2020 was unimaginable, and today is something that doesn't really make—it doesn't really make the headlines. The Saudis are actually supportive of the normalization process, but they're not yet willing to take that step. And they're not willing to take that step because of the Palestinian issue. And it remains a sticking point. On that issue, there was a lot of discussion after the formation of a new Israeli government last June under the leadership, first, of Naftali Bennett, who will then hand the prime ministership over to his partner, Yair Lapid, who are from different parties. That this was an Israeli government that could do some good when it comes to the Palestinian arena, that it was pragmatic, that it would do things that would improve the lives of Palestinians, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, and seek greater cooperation with both the United States and the Palestinian authority toward that end. And that may in fact turn out to be the case. This government has taken a number of steps in that direction, including family reunification, so that if a Palestinian on the West Bank who is married to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, the Palestinian in the West Bank can live with the family in Israel. And a number of other things. But it should also be clear to everybody that despite a kind of change in tone from the Israeli prime ministry, there's not that much of a change in terms of policy. In fact, in many ways Prime Minister Bennett is to the right of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. And Yair Lapid, who comes from a centrist party, is really only centrist in terms of Israeli politics. He is—in any other circumstances would be a kind of right of center politician. And I'll just point out that in recent days the Israeli government has declared six Palestinian NGOs—long-time NGOs—terrorist organizations, approved three thousand new housing units in the West Bank, and worked very, very hard to prevent the United States from opening a consulate in East Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians. That consulate had been there for many, many, many years. And it was closed under the Trump administration when the U.S. Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Biden administration would like to reopen that consulate. And the Israeli government is adamantly opposed. In the end, undoubtably Arab governments are coming to terms with Israel, even beyond the Abraham Accords countries. Egypt's flag carrier, Egyptair, announced flights to Tel Aviv. This is the first time since 1979. You could—you could fly between Cairo and Tel Aviv, something that I've done many, many times. If you were in Egypt, you'd have to go and find an office that would sell you a ticket to something called Air Sinai, that did not have regular flights. Only had flights vaguely whenever, sometimes. It was an Egyptair plane, stripped of its livery, staffed by Egyptair pilots and staff, stripped of anything that said Egyptair. Now, suddenly Egyptair is flying direct flights to Tel Aviv. And El-Al, Israel's national airline, and possibly one other, will be flying directly to Cairo. And there is—and that there is talk of economic cooperation. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Sharm al-Sheikh not long ago. That was the first meeting of Israeli leaders—first public meeting of Israeli leaders and Egyptian leaders in ten years. So there does seem to be an openness on the part of Arab governments to Israel. As far as populations in these countries, they don't yet seem to be ready for normalization, although there has been some traffic between Israel and the UAE, with Emiratis coming to see Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and so on and so forth. But there are very, very few Emiratis. And there are a lot of Egyptians. So as positive as that all is, this is—this has not been a kind of broad acceptance among the population in the Arab world for Israel's legitimate existence. And the kind of issue du jour, great-power competition. This is on everybody's lips in Washington, D.C.—great-power competition, great-power competition. And certainly, the Middle East is likely to be an arena of great-power competition. It has always been an arena of great-power competition. For the first time in more than two decades, the United States has competitors in the region. And let me start with Russia, because there's been so much discussion of China, but Russia is the one that has been actively engaged militarily in the region in a number of places. Vladimir Putin has parlayed his rescue of Hafez al-Assad into influence in the region, in an arc that stretches from NATO ally Turkey, all the way down through the Levant and through Damascus, then even stretching to Jerusalem where Israeli governments and the Russian government have cooperated and coordinated in Syria, into Cairo, and then into at least the eastern portion of Libya, where the Russians have supported a Qaddafist general named Khalifa Haftar, who used to be an employee of the CIA, in his bid for power in Libya. And he has done so by providing weaponry to Haftar, as well as mercenaries to fight and support him. That episode may very well be over, although there's every reason to believe that Haftar is trying to rearm himself and carry on the conflict should the process—should the political process in Libya break down. Russia has sold more weapons to Egypt in the last few years than at any other time since the early 1970s. They have a defense agreement with Saudi Arabia. It's not clear what that actually means, but that defense agreement was signed not that long after the United States' rather chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which clearly unnerved governments in the Middle East. So Russia is active, it's influential, its militarily engaged, and it is seeking to advance its interests throughout the region. I'll point out that its presence in North Africa is not necessarily so much about North Africa, but it's also about Europe. Its bid in Libya is important because its ally controls the eastern portion of Libya, where most of Libya's light, sweet crude oil is located. And that is the largest—the most significant reserves of oil in all of Africa. So it's important as an energy play for the Russians to control parts of North Africa, and right on Russia's—right on Europe's front doorstep. China. China's the largest investor and single largest trading partner with most of the region. And it's not just energy related. We know how dependent China is on oil from the Gulf, but it's made big investments in Algeria, in Egypt, the UAE, and in Iran. The agreement with Iran, a twenty-five-year agreement, coming at a time when the Iranians were under significant pressure from the United States, was regarded by many in Washington as an effort on the part of the Chinese to undercut the United States, and undercut U.S. policy in the region. I think it was, in part, that. I think it was also in part the fact that China is dependent in part on Iranian oil and did not want the regime there to collapse, posing a potential energy crisis for China and the rest of the world. It seems clear to me, at least, that the Chinese do not want to supplant the United States in the region. I don't think they look at the region in that way. And if they did, they probably learned the lesson of the United States of the last twenty-five years, which has gotten itself wrapped around the axle on a variety of issues that were unnecessary and sapped the power of the United States. So they don't want to get more deeply involved in the region. They don't want to take sides in conflicts. They don't want to take sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict. They don't take sides in the conflict between the United States and Iran, or the competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran. They want to benefit from the region, whether through investment or through extraction, and the security umbrella that the United States provides in the region. I'm not necessarily so sure that that security umbrella needs to be so expensive and so extensive for the United States to achieve its goals. But nevertheless, and for the time being at least, we will be providing that security umbrella in the region, from which the Chinese will benefit. I think, just to close on this issue of great-power competition. And because of time, I'm leaving out another big player, or emerging player in the region, which is India. I'm happy to talk about that in Q&A. But my last point is that, going back to the United States, countries in the region and leaders in the region are predisposed towards the United States. The problem is, is that they are very well-aware of the political polarization in this country. They're very well-aware of the political dysfunction in this country. They're very well-aware of the incompetence that came with the invasion of Iraq, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, or any number of disasters that have unfolded here in the United States. And it doesn't look, from where they sit in Abu Dhabi, in Cairo, in Riyadh, and in other places, that the United States has staying power, the will to lead, and the interest in remaining in the Middle East. And thus, they have turned to alternatives. Those alternatives are not the same as the United States, but they do provide something. I mean, particularly when it comes to the Chinese it is investment, it's economic advantages, without the kind of trouble that comes with the United States. Trouble from the perspective of leaders, so that they don't have to worry about human rights when they deal with the Chinese, because the Chinese aren't interested in human rights. But nevertheless, they remain disclosed toward the United States and want to work with the United States. They just don't know whether we're going to be there over the long term, given what is going on in the United States. I'll stop there. And I look forward to your questions and comments. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Steven, that was fantastic. Thank you very much. We're going to now to all of you for your questions. So the first raised hand comes from Jonas Truneh. And I don't think I pronounced that correctly, so you can correct me. Q: Yeah, no, that's right. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Dr. Cook, for your talk. I'm from UCL, University College London, in London. COOK: So it is—(off mic). Q: Indeed, it is. Yeah. That's right. COOK: Great. Q: So you touched on it there somewhat particularly with great-power competition, but so my question is related to the current energy logic in the Middle East. The Obama administration perhaps thought that the shale revolution allowed a de-prioritization, if I'm allowed to use that word, of the Middle East. And that was partly related to the pivot to Asia. So essentially does the U.S. still regard itself as the primary guarantor of energy security in the Persian Gulf? And if so, would the greatest beneficiary, as I think you indicated, would that not be China? And is that a case of perverse incentives? Is there much the U.S. can do about it? COOK: Well, it depends on who you ask, right? And it's a great question. I think that the—one of the things that—one of the ways in which the Obama administration sought to deprioritize and leave the region was through the shale revolution. I mean, the one piece of advice that he did take from one of his opponents in 2002—2008, which was to drill, baby, drill. And the United States did. I would not say that this is something that is specific to the Obama administration. If you go back to speeches of presidents way back—but I won't even go that far back. I'll go to George W. Bush in 2005 State of the Union addressed, talked all about energy independence from the Middle East. This may not actually be in much less the foreseeable future, but in really—in a longer-term perspective, it may be harder to do. But it is politically appealing. The reason why I say it depends on who you ask, I think that there are officials in the United States who say: Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. But when the Iranians attacked those two oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, that temporarily took off 50 percent of supply off the markets—good thing the Saudis have a lot stored away—the United States didn't really respond. The president of the United States said: I'm waiting for a call from Riyadh. That forty years of stated American policy was, like, it did not exist. The Carter doctrine and the Reagan corollary to the Carter doctrine suddenly didn't exist. And the entirety of the American foreign policy community shrugged their shoulders and said: We're not going to war on behalf of MBS. I don't think we would have been going to war on behalf of MBS. We would have been ensuring the free flow of energy supplies out of the region, which is something that we have been committed to doing since President Carter articulated the Carter doctrine, and then President Reagan added his corollary to it. I think that there are a number of quite perverse incentives associated with this. And I think that you're right. The question is whether the competition from China outweighs our—I'm talking about “our”—the United States' compelling interest in a healthy global economy. And to the extent that our partners in Asia, whether it's India, South Korea, Japan, and our important trading partner in China, are dependent upon energy resources from the Gulf, and we don't trust anybody to ensure the free flow of energy resources from the Gulf, it's going to be on us to do it. So we are kind of hammered between that desire to have a healthy global economy as being—and being very wary of the Chinese. And the Chinese, I think, are abundantly aware of it, and have sought to take advantage of it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to take the next question, which got an up-vote, from Charles Ammon, who is at Pennsylvania State University. And I think this goes to what you were building on with the great-power competition: What interests does India have in the Middle East? And how is it increasing its involvement in the region? COOK: So India is—imports 60 percent of its oil from the region. Fully 20 percent of it from Saudi Arabia, another 20 percent of it from Iran, and then the other 20 percent from other sources. So that's one thing. That's one reason why India is interested in the Middle East. Second, there are millions and millions of Indians who work in the Middle East. The Gulf region is a region that basically could not run without South Asian expatriate labor, most of which comes from India—on everything. Third, India has made considerable headway with countries like the United Arab Emirates, as well as Saudi Arabia, in counterextremism cooperation. This has come at the expense of Pakistan, but as relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and relations between Pakistan and the UAE soured in recent years, the Indians have been able to take advantage of that. And Indian leaders have hammered away at the common interest that India and leaders in the region have in terms of countering violent extremism. And then finally, India and Israel have quite an extraordinary relationship, both in the tech field as well as in the defense area. Israel is a supplier to India. And the two of them are part of a kind of global network of high-tech powerhouse that have either, you know, a wealth of startups or very significant investment from the major tech players in the world. Israel—Microsoft just announced a huge expansion in Israel. And Israeli engineers and Indian engineers collaborate on a variety of projects for these big tech companies. So there's a kind of multifaceted Indian interest in the region, and the region's interest in India. What India lacks that the Chinese have is a lot more capacity. They don't have the kind of wherewithal to bring investment and trade in the region in the other direction. But nevertheless, it's a much more important player than it was in the past. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to take the next question from Curran Flynn, who has a raised hand. Q: How do you envision the future of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia politics for the next thirty years? Ethiopia controls the Nile dam projects. And could this dispute lead to a war? And what is the progress with the U.S. in mediating the talks between the three countries? COOK: Thank you. FASKIANOS: And that is coming from the King Fahd University in Saudi Arabia. COOK: Fabulous. So that's more than the evening. It's actually nighttime there. I think that the question of the great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is really an important one, and it's something that has not gotten as much attention as it should. And for those of you who are not familiar, in short the Ethiopians have been building a massive dam on the Blue Nile, which is a tributary to the Nile. And that if—when competed, threatens the water supply to Egypt, a country of 110 million people that doesn't get a lot of rainfall. Ethiopia, of course, wants to dam the Nile in order to produce hydroelectric power for its own development, something that Egypt did when it dammed the Nile River to build the Aswan High Dam, and crated Lake Nasser behind it. The Egyptians are very, very concerned. This is an existential issue for them. And there have been on and off negotiations, but the negotiations aren't really about the issues. They're talks about talks about talks. And they haven't gotten—they haven't gotten very far. Now, the Egyptians have been supported by the Sudanese government, after the Sudanese government had been somewhat aligned with the Ethiopian government. The Trump administration put itself squarely behind the Egyptian government, but Ethiopia's also an important partner of the United States in the Horn of Africa. The Egyptians have gone about signing defense cooperation agreements with a variety of countries around Ethiopia's borders. And of course, Ethiopia is engaged in essentially what's a civil war. This is a very, very difficult and complicated situation. Thus far, there doesn't seem to be an easy solution the problem. Now, here's the rub, if you talk to engineers, if you talk to people who study water, if you talk to people who know about dams and the flow of water, the resolution to the problem is actually not that hard to get to. The problem is that the politics and nationalism have been engaged on both sides of the issue, making it much, much more difficult to negotiate an equitable solution to the problem. The Egyptians have said in the past that they don't really have an intention of using force, despite the fact of this being an existential issue. But there's been somewhat of a shift in their language on the issue. Which recently they've said if red lines were crossed, they may be forced to intervene. Intervene how? What are those red lines? They haven't been willing to define them, which should make everybody nervous. The good news is that Biden administration has appointed an envoy to deal with issues in the Horn of Africa, who has been working very hard to try to resolve the conflict. I think the problem here however is that Ethiopia, now distracted by a conflict in the Tigray region, nationalism is running high there, has been—I don't want to use the word impervious—but not as interested in finding a negotiated solution to the problem than it might have otherwise been in the past. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to take the next question from Bob Pauly, who's a professor of international development at the University of Southern Mississippi. It got three up-votes. What would you identify as the most significant likely short and longer-term effects of Turkey's present domestic economic and political challenges on President Erdogan's strategy and policy approaches to the Middle East, and why? COOK: Oh, well, that is a very, very long answer to a very, very interesting question. Let's see what happens in 2023. President Erdogan is facing reelection. His goal all along has been to reelected on the one hundredth anniversary of the republic, and to demonstrate how much he has transformed Turkey in the image of the Justice and Development Party, and moved it away from the institutions of the republic. Erdogan may not make it to 2023. I don't want to pedal in conspiracy theories or anything like that, but he doesn't look well. There are large numbers of videos that have surfaced of him having difficulties, including one famous one from this past summer when he was offering a Ramadan greeting on Turkish television to supporters of the Justice and Development Party, and he seemed to fade out and slur his words. This is coupled with reports trickling out of Ankara about the lengths to which the inner circle has gone to shield real health concerns about Erdogan from the public. It's hard to really diagnose someone from more than six thousand miles away, but I think it's a scenario that policymakers in Washington need to think seriously about. What happens if Erdogan is incapacitated or dies before 2023? That's one piece. The second piece is, well, what if he makes it and he's reelected? And I think in any reasonable observer sitting around at the end of 2021 looking forward to 2023 would say two things: One, you really can't predict Turkish politics this far out, but if Turkish elections were held today and they were free and fair, the Justice and Development Party would get below 30 percent. Still more than everybody else. And Erdogan would have a real fight on his hands to get reelected, which he probably would be. His approaches to his domestic challenges and his approaches to the region are really based on what his current political calculations are at any given moment. So his needlessly aggressive posture in the Eastern Mediterranean was a function of the fact that he needed to shore up his nationalist base. Now that he finds himself quite isolated in the world, the Turks have made overtures to Israel, to the UAE, to Saudi Arabia. They're virtually chasing the Egyptians around the Eastern Mediterranean to repair their relationship. Because without repairing these relationships the kind of investment that is necessary to try to help revive the Turkish economy—which has been on the skids for a number of years—is going to be—is going to be more difficult. There's also another piece of this, which is the Middle East is a rather lucrative arms market. And during the AKP era, the Turks have had a significant amount of success further developing their defense industrial base, to the point that now their drones are coveted. Now one of the reasons for a Saudi-Turkish rapprochement is that the United States will not sell Saudi Arabia the drones it wants, for fear that they will use them in Yemen. And the Saudis are looking for drones elsewhere. That's either China or Turkey. And Turkey's seem to work really, really well, based on experience in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh. So what—Turkish foreign policy towards the region has become really dependent upon what Erdogan's particularly political needs are. There's no strategic approach to the region. There is a vision of Turkey as a leader of the region, of a great power in its own right, as a leader of the Muslim world, as a Mediterranean power as well. But that's nothing new. Turkish Islamists have been talking about these things for quite some time. I think it's important that there's been some de-escalation. I don't think that all of these countries now love each other, but they see the wisdom of pulling back from—pulling back from the brink. I don't see Turkey's position changing dramatically in terms of its kind of reintegration into the broader region before 2023, at the least. FASKIANOS: Great. Let's go next to, raised hand, to Caleb Sanner. And you need to unmute yourself. Q: Hello, my name is Caleb. I'm from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. So, Dr. Cook, you had mentioned in passing how China has been involved economically in North Africa. And my question would be, how is the U.S. taking that? And what are we doing, in a sense, to kind of counter that? I know it's not a military advancement in terms of that, but I've seen what it has been doing to their economies—North Africa's economies. And, yeah, what's the U.S. stance on that? COOK: Well, I think the United States is somewhat detached from this question of North Africa. North Africa's long been a—with the exception of Egypt, of course. And Egypt, you know, is not really North Africa. Egypt is something in and of itself. That China is investing heavily in Egypt. And the Egyptian position is: Please don't ask us to choose between you and the Chinese, because we're not going to make that choice. We think investment from all of these places is good for—is good for Egypt. And the other places where China is investing, and that's mostly in Algeria, the United States really doesn't have close ties to Algeria. There was a tightening of the relationship after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, recognizing that the Algerians—extremist groups in Algerian that had been waging war against the state there over the course of the 1990s were part and parcel of this new phenomenon of global jihad. And so there has been a security relationship there. There has been some kind of big infrastructure kind of investment in that country, with big companies that build big things, like GE and others, involved in Algeria. But the United States isn't helping to develop ports or industrial parks or critical infrastructure like bridges and airports in the same way that the Chinese have been doing throughout the region. And in Algeria, as well as in Egypt, the Chinese are building a fairly significant industrial center in the Suez Canal zone, of all places. And the United States simply doesn't have an answer to it, other than to tell our traditional partners in the region, don't do it. But unless we show up with something to offer them, I'm afraid that Chinese investment is going to be too attractive for countries that are in need of this kind of investment. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to go next to a written question from Kenneth Mayers, who is at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. In your opinion, what would a strategic vision based on a far-sighted understanding of both resources and U.S. goals—with regard to peace and security, prosperity and development, and institutions and norms and values such as human rights—look like in the Middle East and North Africa? COOK: Well, it's a great question. And I'm tempted to say you're going to have to read the last third of my new book in order to get the—in order to get the answer. I think but let me start with something mentioned about norms and values. I think that one of the things that has plagued American foreign policy over the course of not just the last twenty years, but in the post-World War II era all the way up through the present day, you see it very, very clearly with President Biden, is that trying to incorporate American values and norms into our approach to the region has been extraordinarily difficult. And what we have a history of doing is the thing that is strategically tenable, but morally suspect. So what I would say is, I mean, just look at what's happened recently. The president of the United States studiously avoided placing a telephone call to the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Egyptians, as many know, have a terrible record on human rights, particularly since President Sisi came to power. Arrests of tens of thousands of people in the country, the torture of many, many people, the killings of people. And the president during his campaign said that he was going to give no blank checks to dictators, including to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. And then what happened in May? What happened in May was that fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas and others in the Gaza Strip, a brutal eleven-day conflict. And Egypt stepped up and provided a way out of the conflict through its good offices. And that prompted the United States to—the president of the United States—to have two phone calls in those eleven days with the Egyptian leader. And now the United States is talking about Egypt as a constructive partner that's helping to stabilize the region. Sure, the administration suspended $130 million of Egypt's annual—$130 million Egypt's annual allotment of $1.3 billion. But that is not a lot. Egypt got most of—most of its military aid. As I said, strategically tenable, morally suspect. I'm not quite sure how we get out of that. But what I do know, and I'll give you a little bit of a preview of the last third of the book—but I really do want you to buy it when it's done—is that the traditional interests of the United States in the Middle East are changing. And I go through a kind of quasi, long, somewhat tortured—but very, very interesting—discussion of the origins of our interests, and how they are changing, and how we can tell they are changing. And that is to say that the free flow of energy resources may not be as important to the United States in the next twenty-five years as it was over the course of the previous fifty or sixty years. That helping to ensure Israeli security, which has been axiomatic for the United States, eh, I'd say since the 1960s, really, may not be as important as Israel develops its diplomatic relations with its neighbors, that has a GDP per capita that's on par with the U.K., and France, and other partners in Europe, a country that clearly can take care of itself, that is a driver of technology and innovation around the globe. And that may no longer require America's military dominance in the region. So what is that we want to be doing? How can we be constructive? And I think the answers are in things that we hadn't really thought of too systematically in the past. What are the things that we're willing to invest in an defend going forward? Things like climate change, things like migration, things like pandemic disease. These are things that we've talked about, but that we've never been willing to invest in the kind of the resources. Now there are parts of the Middle East that during the summer months are in-habitable. That's going to produce waves of people looking for places to live that are inhabitable. What do we do about that? Does that destabilize the Indian subcontinent? Does it destabilize Europe? Does it destabilize North Africa? These are all questions that we haven't yet answered. But to the extent that we want to invest in, defend and sacrifice for things like climate, and we want to address the issue—related issue of migration, and we want to deal with the issue of disease and other of these kind of functional global issues in the Middle East is better not just for us and Middle Easterners, but also in terms of our strategic—our great-power competition in the region. These are not things that the Chinese and the Russians are terribly interested in, despite the fact that the Chinese may tell you they are. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to go next to Ahmuan Williams, with a raised hand, at the University of Oklahoma. COOK: Oklahoma. Q: Hi. And thank you for being here. You kind of talked about the stabilization of northern Africa and the Middle East. And just a few days ago the Sudanese government—and they still haven't helped capture the parliamentarian there—have recycled back into a military—somewhat of military rule. And it's been since 2005 since the end of their last civil war, which claimed millions of innocent civilians through starvation and strife and, you know, the lack of being able to get humanitarian aid. There was also a huge refugee crisis there, a lot of people who evacuated Sudan. How's that going to impact the Middle East and the American take to Middle East and northern Africa policy, especially now that the Security Council is now considering this and is trying to determine what we should do? COOK: It's a great question. And I think that, first, let's be clear. There was a coup d'état in Sudan. The military overthrew a transitional government on the eve of having to hand over the government to civilians. And they didn't like it. There's been tension that's been brewing in Sudan for some time. Actually, an American envoy, our envoy to East Africa and Africa more generally, a guy named Jeff Feltman, was in Khartoum, trying to kind of calm the tension, to get the two sides together, and working to avert a coup. And the day after he left, the military moved. That's not—that doesn't reflect the fact that the United States gave a blessing for the military to overthrow this government. I think what it does, though, and it's something that I think we all need to keep in mind, it demonstrates the limits of American power in a variety of places around the world. That we don't have all the power in the world to prevent things from happening when people, like the leaders of the Sudanese military, believe that they have existential issues that are at stake. Now, what's worry about destabilization in Sudan is, as you point out, there was a civil war there, there was the creation of a new country there, potential for—if things got really out of hand—refugee flows into Egypt, from Egypt across the Sanai Peninsula into Israel. One of the things people are unaware of is the large number of Sudanese or Eritreans and other Africans who have sought refuge in Israel, which has created significant economic and social strains in that country. So it's a big deal. Thus far, it seems we don't—that the U.S. government doesn't know exactly what's happening there. There are protesters in the streets demanding democracy. It's very unclear what the military is going to do. And it's very unclear what our regional allies and how they view what's happening. What Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, what Saudi Arabia, what Israel—which Sudan is an Abraham Accords country now—what they are doing. How they view the coup as positive or negative will likely impact how effective the United States can be in trying to manage this situation. But I suspect that we're just going to have to accommodate ourselves to whatever outcome the Sudanese people and the Sudanese military come to, because I don't think we have a lot of—we don't have a lot of tools there to make everybody behave. FASKIANOS: OK. So I'm going to take the next question from Elena Murphy, who is a junior at Syracuse University's Maxwell School. And she's a diplomatic intern at the Kurdistan Regional Government's Representation in the United States. COOK: That's cool. FASKIANOS: That's very cool. So as a follow up, how much do you believe neo-Ottomanism and attempting regional hegemony has affected Erdogan's domestic and foreign policy, especially in consideration of Turkey's shift towards the MENA in their foreign policy, after a period of withdrawals and no problems with neighbors policy? COOK: Great. Can I see that? Because that's a long question. FASKIANOS: Yeah, it's a long question. It's got an up-vote. Third one down. COOK: Third one down. Elena, as a follow up, how much do you believe neo-Ottomanism—I'm sorry, I'm going to have to read it again. How much do you believe neo-Ottomanism and attempting regional has affected Erdogan's both domestic and foreign policy, especially in consideration of Turkey's shift towards the MENA in their foreign policy, after a period of withdrawals and no problems with neighbors? OK. Great. So let us set aside the term “neo-Ottomanism” for now. Because neo-Ottomanism actually—it does mean something, but people have often used the term neo-Ottomanism to describe policies of the Turkish government under President Erdogan that they don't like. And so let's just talk about the way in which the Turkish government under President Erdogan views the region and views what Turkey's rightful place should be. And I think the Ottomanism piece is important, because the kind of intellectual framework which the Justice and Development Party, which is Erdogan's party, views the world, sees Turkey as—first of all, it sees the Turkish Republic as a not-so-legitimate heir to the Ottoman Empire. That from their perspective, the natural order of things would have been the continuation of the empire in some form or another. And as a result, they believe that Turkey's natural place is a place of leadership in the region for a long time. Even before the Justice and Development Party was founded in 2001, Turkey's earlier generation of Islamists used to savage the Turkish leadership for its desire to be part of the West, by saying that this was kind of unnatural, that they were just merely aping the West, and the West was never actually going to accept Turkey. Which is probably true. But I think that the Justice and Development Party, after a period of wanting to become closer to the West, has turned its attention towards the Middle East, North Africa, and the Muslim world more generally. And in that, it sees itself, the Turks see themselves as the natural leaders in the region. They believe they have a cultural affinity to the region as a result of the legacies of the Ottoman Empire, and they very much can play this role of leader. They see themselves as one of the kind of few real countries in the region, along with Egypt and Iran and Saudi Arabia. And the rest are sort of ephemeral. Needless to say, big countries in the Arab world—like Egypt, like Saudi Arabia—don't welcome the idea of Turkey as a leader of the region. They recognize Turkey as a very big and important country, but not a leader of the region. And this is part of that friction that Turkey has experienced with its neighbors, after an earlier iteration of Turkish foreign policy, in which—one of the earliest iterations of Turkish foreign policy under the Justice and Development Party which was called no problems with neighbors. In which Turkey, regardless of the character of the regimes, wanted to have good relations with its neighbors. It could trade with those neighbors. And make everybody—in the process, Turkey could be a driver of economic development in the region, and everybody can be basically wealthy and happy. And it didn't really work out that way, for a variety of reasons that we don't have enough time for. Let's leave it at the fact that Turkey under Erdogan—and a view that is shared by many—that Turkey should be a leader of the region. And I suspect that if Erdogan were to die, if he were unable to stand for election, if the opposition were to win, that there would still be elements of this desire to be a regional leader in a new Turkish foreign policy. FASKIANOS: Steven, thank you very much. This was really terrific. We appreciate your stepping in at the eleventh hour, taking time away from your book. For all of you— COOK: I'm still not Sanam. FASKIANOS: (Laughs.) I know, but you were an awesome replacement. So you can follow Steven Cook on Twitter at @stevenacook. As I said at the beginning too, he is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine. So you can read his work there, as well as, of course, on CFR.org, all of the commentary, analysis, op-eds, congressional testimony are there for free. So I hope you will follow him and look after his next book. Our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday November 3, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time on the future of U.S.-Mexico relations. In the meantime, I encourage you to follow us, @CFR_Academic, visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on global issues. And stay well, stay safe, and thank you, again. COOK: Bye, everyone. FASKIANOS: Bye. (END)

new york japan europe russian university china chinese american mexico america future oklahoma indian south asian world war ii representation gdp west european france turkey iran council donald trump syria iraq united states vladimir putin russia washington gulf cia africa turkish pakistan african afghanistan needless egyptian indians middle east sudan barack obama struggle bush morocco cook muslims european union palestinians mediterranean tel aviv steven cook ethiopia arab ge trouble security council gold medal outreach assad joe biden nile saudi cabinet arab israeli horn pennsylvania state university jerusalem university college london foreign policy south korea foreign affairs ngos algeria united arab emirates saudi arabia foreign relations cfr ottoman empire turks academic hezbollah libya nato abu dhabi ethiopian syracuse university ambition state of the union southern mississippi fully webinars iraqi ucl oman embassy algerian intervene north africa mena bahrain gaza israelis saudis uae brookings institution sisi yemen east africa west bank iranians geopolitics arrests eastern mediterranean ramadan sudanese ankara george w bush levant benjamin netanyahu yair lapid suez canal riyadh khartoum washington institute near east policy damascus tigray hamas emiratis abdel fattah bashar akp hafez islamists broader mbs nile river eritreans east jerusalem emirates persian gulf recep tayyip erdogan turkish republic maxwell school algerians haftar blue nile false dawn egyptair sharm king abdullah nagorno karabakh gaza strip middle easterners cook it khalifa haftar national program qataris sheikhs sanam wisconsin whitewater kurdistan regional government development party naftali bennett egyptian president abdel fattah ottomanism abraham accords
International report
International report - Turkey fears another Syrian refugee crisis as Damascus ramps up attacks against Idlib

International report

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 4:03


Turkey fears another exodus of Syrian refugees as Damascus, backed by Russia, is ramping up attacks against Idlib, the last Syrian rebel enclave. A Turkish military force stands in the way of Syrian troops that are poised to seize Idlib, a move Ankara fears could result in millions of refugees fleeing to Turkey. Russian-backed Syrian regime forces are stepping up their attacks on Idlib with artillery and airstrikes. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is pledging to retake the rebel-controlled enclave, home to around four million people, many refugees from across Syria.  For now, Turkish armed forces in Idlib stand in the way of Assad's goal. But analysts warn they are in an increasingly precarious position.  Risk of conflict  "The Turkish government put itself and the Turkish government under this situation, a kind of horns of the dilemma," said Haldun Solmazturk, a retired Turkish army general, now an analyst with the 21st Century Turkey Institute.  "Now they are so closely engaged, they are many risks involved—the risk of direct conflict with Syrian forces, involving even Russian armed forces elements. Risk of conflict with those so-called Idlib emirates controlling the Idlib area," added Solmazturk.  Last year, 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib in an airstrike that Ankara blamed on the Syrian air force. However, many observers believe the sophisticated attack was carried out by Russian planes.  Turkey's military presence in Idlib is part of a deal struck between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. But Moscow accuses Ankara of failing to honor the agreement to purge Idlib of radical jihadist groups along with heavy weaponry.  Turkey and Idlib Turkey recently reinforced its military presence in Idlib. But the main Turkish opposition CHP Party is warning any Idlib attack threatens a humanitarian disaster.   "When the civilian population feels that such an attack is coming from the Syrian army, supported by the Russian air force. Then the civilians will probably try to find refuge moving towards the north," warned Unal Cevikoz, a CHP member of the Turkish parliament's foreign affairs committee. "And that, of course, will cause a new migration wave, and it could place serious pressure on the Turkish border. That is the main security risk we are facing," Cevikoz added.   Turkey says it is already hosting nearly five million refugees who fled the Syrian civil war. However, the possibility of another wave of refugees is spurring the main opposition parties to call on Ankara to open talks with Damascus, a move Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out.  Instead, Erdogan is looking to his relationship with Putin. Analysts suggest Putin benefits from the current tensions over Idlib.  "After six years of interlude, Bashar Al Assad suddenly rushed to Moscow in the middle of the night like a month ago and had a one-on-one meeting with Putin,' observed Aydin Selcen is a columnist with the Duvar News portal.  "And right after that, Erdogan went to (meet Putin) at Sochi(Russian Sea resort)," Selcen continued, "So in a way, Putin shows that he is the kingmaker, that he can both push Erdogan and Basar Al Assad in the interests of Russia and Russia only."  For that reason, some experts predict Putin may broker another compromise over Idlib, ensuring Russia retains its leverage over both Ankara and Damascus. 

ANSA Voice Daily
Il dramma siriano in una foto

ANSA Voice Daily

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 4:22


Un bimbo nato senza arti a causa dei farmaci presi dalla madre colpita da gas nervino, sorride e gioca con il papà mutilato a causa della guerra

Middle East Analysis
Forgotten wars, street violence and delayed elections

Middle East Analysis

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 61:10


As the cold sets in here in the UK, we turn our attention to a region where something's always heating up. The three prongs to today's 'Middle East Analysis' podcast are the elections in Iraq, delayed from June, that have yielded some interesting results, the on-going, out-of-sight-out-of-mind conflict in Yemen - will the violence ever end and does the rest of the world care enough? Then we take a look at the eternally beleaguered Lebanon and some of the worst violence to hit the streets in the past ten years. But that's not all. A chunk of our hour-long podcast is given over to four reflections from the voice of 'Middle East Analysis', the international lawyer and MENA consultant Dr Harry Hagopian. Harry reflects on the death of Sir David Amess MP, the mysterious re-appearance in Damascus of Rifaat Ali al-Assad, uncle of Syrian President Bashar after almost four decades in exile in France. In his third reflection, we hear Dr Hagopian lament the falling salty sea levels of the Dead Sea and finally, Harry offers a warm welcome to the new Jordanian Ambassador Manar Munther Dabbas. Image: © Rod Waddington on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Branch 251
You Have Nice Handwriting

Branch 251

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 26:41


Whether they run into ex-militia fighters on the streets or receive anonymous threats over the phone- for many Syrians abroad, the Assad regime is never too far away. In this episode, Naya and Noor explore the insidious ways in which fear and intimidation permeate the Syrian diaspora. Our guests are Mohammad Al Abdallah, the executive director of the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre, and Ahmad Helmi, a Syrian activist and human right defender living abroad. For more information and regular updates on the trial, follow us on https://twitter.com/Branch_251 (Twitter) Follow https://twitter.com/mohammad_syria?lang=en (Mohammad Al Abdallah on Twitter) Follow https://twitter.com/Ahmad_helmi_0 (Ahmad Helmi on Twitter) Ahmad Helmi's organization, https://taafi-sy.org/ (Ta'afi Initiative) https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE24/057/2011/en/ (Amnesty International's report, 'The Long Reach of the Mukhabaraat') https://coi.easo.europa.eu/administration/easo/PLib/2021_06_EASO_Syria_Situation_returnees_from_abroad.pdf (EU Asylum Support Office report) https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2020/12/10/the-ghosts-of-the-assad-regime-continue-to-haunt-syrian-refugees-in-the-netherlands-a4023165 (The NRC article: 'The ghosts of the Assad regime continue to haunt Syrian refugees in the Netherlands') https://syriaaccountability.org/updates/2020/09/24/the-shadows-of-surveillance-government-documents-confirm-syrian-embassies-monitored-syrians-abroad/ (Information on the documents SJAC analyzed) https://syriaaccountability.org/wp-content/uploads/Walls-Have-Ears-English.pdf (SJAC report on the documents: 'The Walls Have Ears') https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/20/how-a-syrian-war-criminal-and-double-agent-disappeared-in-europe (The New Yorker article) https://www.ecchr.eu/en/case/trial-updates-first-trial-worldwide-on-torture-in-syria/ (ECCHR trial reports) https://syriaaccountability.org/topic/trial-monitoring/updates/ (Syria Justice and Accountability Centre's monitoring of the trial) Logo design byhttp://www.laurenshebly.nl/ ( laurenshebly.nl) -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images. Music via Blue Dot Sessions Support for our podcast comes from German Federal Foreign Office funds that are provided by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen IFA's zivik Funding Programme. Support this podcast

Un jour dans le monde
En Syrie, la guerre est tout, sauf finie.

Un jour dans le monde

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 3:50


durée : 00:03:50 - Le monde d'après - par : Jean Marc FOUR - En Syrie, secouée hier par un attentat à Damas et un bombardement dans le gouvernorat d'Idlib, Bachar el-Assad aimerait pourtant faire croire que la guerre est finie.

PBS NewsHour - World
Idlib, Syria's final rebel stronghold, struggles to get lifesaving aid amid COVID spike

PBS NewsHour - World

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 6:05


Government shelling killed a dozen people in Syria's northwest Idlib province Wednesday. Idlib is the final stronghold for rebels still fighting the Assad regime. But the province is also under attack from a different threat -- its most severe wave of COVID-19. The delta variant is hitting hospitals already weakened by war. Nick Schifrin reports. PBS NewsHour is supported by - https://www.pbs.org/newshour/about/funders

PBS NewsHour - Segments
Idlib, Syria's final rebel stronghold, struggles to get lifesaving aid amid COVID spike

PBS NewsHour - Segments

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 6:05


Government shelling killed a dozen people in Syria's northwest Idlib province Wednesday. Idlib is the final stronghold for rebels still fighting the Assad regime. But the province is also under attack from a different threat -- its most severe wave of COVID-19. The delta variant is hitting hospitals already weakened by war. Nick Schifrin reports. PBS NewsHour is supported by - https://www.pbs.org/newshour/about/funders

PBS NewsHour - Health
Idlib, Syria's final rebel stronghold, struggles to get lifesaving aid amid COVID spike

PBS NewsHour - Health

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 6:05


Government shelling killed a dozen people in Syria's northwest Idlib province Wednesday. Idlib is the final stronghold for rebels still fighting the Assad regime. But the province is also under attack from a different threat -- its most severe wave of COVID-19. The delta variant is hitting hospitals already weakened by war. Nick Schifrin reports. PBS NewsHour is supported by - https://www.pbs.org/newshour/about/funders

PRI's The World
Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity for COVID negligence

PRI's The World

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 47:21


A Brazilian Senate Commission investigating President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Brazil issued its final report on Wednesday, accusing him of crimes against humanity. The 1,200-page report details malfeasance, the blocking of needed health measures, and the illegal use of public funds. And in Syria, two roadside bombs that detonated under a bridge hit a bus in Damascus on Wednesday, killing 14 people. It's a sign that despite the Assad government's recent efforts to normalize relations abroad, Syria's civil war still rages. Also, after days of speculation, North Korea says it had test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine in order to enhance its undersea capabilities. It's the first such launch since 2016, and it comes as the US, South Korea and Japan meet to discuss restarting talks with Pyongyang.

Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten | Deutsch lernen | Deutsche Welle
20.10.2021 – Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten

Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten | Deutsch lernen | Deutsche Welle

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 7:22


Trainiere dein Hörverstehen mit den Nachrichten der Deutschen Welle von Mittwoch – als Text und als verständlich gesprochene Audio-Datei.UN-Sicherheitsrat tagt nach Raketentest Nordkoreas Nordkoreas staatliche Medien haben den Test einer ballistischen Rakete bestätigt. Der Start einer Rakete "neuen Typs" sei von einem U-Boot aus erfolgreich verlaufen. Am Dienstag hatte zunächst Südkorea über einen neuen Raketentest des kommunistischen Nachbarlandes berichtet. Der UN-Sicherheitsrat berief laut Diplomaten für diesen Mittwoch eine Dringlichkeitssitzung ein. Sollte Nordkorea tatsächlich in der Lage sein, ballistische Raketen von U-Booten aus abzufeuern, wäre das ein bedeutsamer Schritt bei den Rüstungsbemühungen des international isolierten Landes. Tote bei Bombenanschlag auf Armee-Bus in Damaskus Bei einem Bombenangriff auf einen Bus der syrischen Armee in Damaskus sind mehrere Menschen getötet worden. Genaue Zahlen gibt es noch nicht. Bei dem "terroristischen Bombenangriff" seien zwei Sprengsätze detoniert, teilte die staatliche Nachrichtenagentur Sana mit. Der Bürgerkrieg in Syrien begann 2011 mit friedlichen Protesten gegen Machthaber Baschar al-Assad. Seither wurden etwa 500.000 Menschen getötet und mehr als sechs Millionen zur Flucht ins Ausland getrieben. EU-Kommission stellt Türkei desaströses Zeugnis aus Die EU-Kommission kritisiert in ihrem Jahresbericht zur Lage in der Türkei die jüngsten Entwicklungen in dem Land scharf. Bei der Demokratie habe es unter der Staatsführung des islamisch-konservativen Präsidenten Recep Tayyip Erdogan zuletzt weitere Rückschritte gegeben. Auch Bedenken der EU aus dem vergangenen Jahr hinsichtlich der weiteren Verschlechterung der Rechtsstaatlichkeit, der Grundrechte und der Unabhängigkeit der Justiz seien von Ankara ignoriert worden. Offiziell wird die Türkei weiter als EU-Beitrittskandidat geführt. Tausende Kinder sterben im jemenitischen Bürgerkrieg Laut UNICEF wurden seit Beginn des Bürgerkriegs im Jemen vor fast sieben Jahren mindestens 10.000 Minderjährige durch Kampfhandlungen getötet oder verwundet. Das UN-Kinderhilfswerks spricht von einem "weiteren beschämenden Meilenstein" der "schlimmsten humanitären Krise" der Welt. Seit Beginn der Kämpfe seien im Schnitt vier Kinder pro Tag getötet oder verstümmelt worden, sagte UNICEF-Sprecher James Elder. Dabei handele es sich um die rund 10.000 Fälle, die UNICEF dokumentiert habe. Die wahre Zahl liege wohl höher, weil viele Fälle nicht gemeldet würden. Seehofer will Migration über Belarus eindämmen Innenminister Horst Seehofer will bei der Sitzung des Bundeskabinetts an diesem Mittwoch Vorschläge zum Umgang mit unerlaubten Einreisen über Belarus und Polen machen. Die Bundesregierung und auch Lettland, Litauen und Polen beschuldigen den belarussischen Machthaber Alexander Lukaschenko, in organisierter Form Migranten und Flüchtlinge aus Krisenregionen an die EU-Außengrenze zu bringen. Lukaschenko betätige sich als "Chef eines staatlichen Schleuserrings", sagte Bundesaußenminister Heiko Maas. Frankfurter Buchmesse öffnet für Fachbesucher In Frankfurt öffnet die Buchmesse ihre Tore, zunächst nur für Fachbesucher und unter strengen Corona-Schutzmaßnahmen. Die Besucherzahl ist auf 25.000 pro Tag gedeckelt. Gastland ist in diesem Jahr Kanada. Offiziell eröffnet wurde die Messe bei einem Festakt am Dienstagabend. Nach anderthalb Jahren Pandemie, "in denen Lesestoff noch mehr als sonst Seelennahrung war", setze die Messe die Segel für einen neuen Aufbruch, sagte Kulturstaatsministerin Monika Grütters. Die Frankfurter Messe ist die weltweit größte Plattform für die Buch- und Verlagsbranche. 2020 fand sie pandemiebedingt nur digital statt. Dortmund kassiert deutliche Niederlage in der Champions League In der Fußball-Champions-League haben die deutschen Mannschaften am Dienstagabend ihre Spiele verloren. Ajax Amsterdam hat Borussia Dortmund 4 zu 0 geschlagen. Paris Saint-Germain war gegen RB Leipzig mit 3 zu 2 erfolgreich.

Don't Sit in the Front!
Ep 61 - This Is My Life (1992) w/ Kari Assad

Don't Sit in the Front!

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 15, 2021 77:26


I convinced Kari Assad (IG: @assadkarirocks, Twt: @kariassad) to watch this little-known movie about standup, This Is My Life (1992). The movie is directed by Nora Ephron and stars Julie Kavner as standup comic Dottie Ingels. It's a weird little time capsule of 90s notions of what a standup career is like for working moms. We didn't hate it! Kari also talks about her standup show, This is Different. I love this show because it has amazing lineups, outdoor setup and cheap tickets. The last one of the year is Nov. 7 with Dana Gould, Sheng Wang, Teresa Lee, and Monique Moreau! Tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-is-different-a-comedy-show-tickets-189903806397

The Libertarian Institute - All Podcasts
COI #174: The US Is Pushing China to the Brink

The Libertarian Institute - All Podcasts

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 47:13


On COI #174, Kyle Anzalone breaks down the recent news in the US Cold War against China. Reuters reports that the US has been sending special operations soldiers to Taiwan for training. The US has sent Coast Guard and arms trainers to Taiwan previously, but the special operations forces would be a serious escalation. The UK is following Washington's lead with its own “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific. The UK's new aircraft carrier is currently docked in Singapore while two other UK warships are preparing for new homes in Japan.  Kyle discusses US-Iran tensions. Iran has signaled a willingness to return to nuclear negotiations in Vienna. However, the Biden administration has largely met the new Iranian president's overtures with threats of more sanctions. Last week, the US removed sanctions on two Iranian entities. The move could have been a signal to Iran that the US was open to removing additional penalties, but the Treasury Department made clear that the sanctions relief did not indicate an overall policy change and more measures could come soon.  Kyle updates the situation in Syria. The Syrian Kurds recently met with US officials and said Washington gave a firm commitment that US troops would remain in Syria. The occupation of some of Syria's more profitable regions is causing suffering for average Syrians. Eventually, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will challenge the US in the eastern regions, potentially provoking clashes with American forces. The US effort to overthrow Assad in Syria is lost, and even American allies who took part in the prior regime change effort – such as Jordan – are reforging ties with Assad.  Odysee Rumble  Donate LBRY Credits bTTEiLoteVdMbLS7YqDVSZyjEY1eMgW7CP Donate Bitcoin 36PP4kT28jjUZcL44dXDonFwrVVDHntsrk Donate Bitcoin Cash Qp6gznu4xm97cj7j9vqepqxcfuctq2exvvqu7aamz6 Patreon Subscribe Star YouTube Facebook  Twitter  MeWe Apple Podcast  Amazon Music Google Podcasts Spotify iHeart Radio Support Our Sponsor Visit Paloma Verde and use code PEACE for 25% off our CBD

Conflicts of Interest
The US Is Pushing China to the Brink

Conflicts of Interest

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 47:14


On COI #174, Kyle Anzalone breaks down the recent news in the US Cold War against China. Reuters reports that the US has been sending special operations soldiers to Taiwan for training. The US has sent Coast Guard and arms trainers to Taiwan previously, but the special operations forces would be a serious escalation. The UK is following Washington's lead with its own “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific. The UK's new aircraft carrier is currently docked in Singapore while two other UK warships are preparing for new homes in Japan.  Kyle discusses US-Iran tensions. Iran has signaled a willingness to return to nuclear negotiations in Vienna. However, the Biden administration has largely met the new Iranian president's overtures with threats of more sanctions. Last week, the US removed sanctions on two Iranian entities. The move could have been a signal to Iran that the US was open to removing additional penalties, but the Treasury Department made clear that the sanctions relief did not indicate an overall policy change and more measures could come soon.  Kyle updates the situation in Syria. The Syrian Kurds recently met with US officials and said Washington gave a firm commitment that US troops would remain in Syria. The occupation of some of Syria's more profitable regions is causing suffering for average Syrians. Eventually, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will challenge the US in the eastern regions, potentially provoking clashes with American forces. The US effort to overthrow Assad in Syria is lost, and even American allies who took part in the prior regime change effort – such as Jordan – are reforging ties with Assad.    Odysee Rumble  Donate LBRY Credits bTTEiLoteVdMbLS7YqDVSZyjEY1eMgW7CP Donate Bitcoin 36PP4kT28jjUZcL44dXDonFwrVVDHntsrk Donate Bitcoin Cash Qp6gznu4xm97cj7j9vqepqxcfuctq2exvvqu7aamz6 Patreon Subscribe Star YouTube Facebook  Twitter  MeWe Apple Podcast  Amazon Music Google Podcasts Spotify iHeart Radio Support Our Sponsor Visit Paloma Verde and use code PEACE for 25% off our CBD  

Branch 251
Do No Harm

Branch 251

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2021 28:53


When you think of dictatorial regimes, you might think of state-controlled media, or of the army on the side of the state- but what about the healthcare sector? Do they side with the regime? And what does that even look like? Since the uprising in Syria began, regime-aligned doctors have played a powerful role within Assad's torture apparatus. In this episode, we're taking a first look at the darker side of medicine within the context of war-torn Syria. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14623528.2021.1979908 (Article of Annsar Shahhoud in the Journal Of Genocide Research). https://scripties.uba.uva.nl/search?id=c3376472 (Annsar Shahhoud's Master's Thesis). https://twitter.com/ugur_umit_ungor?t=cdhApGi0CWXzqWTFFW847A&s=08 (Follow Uğur Ümit Üngör on Twitter.) https://www.niod.nl/en/projects/mass-violence-syria-and-iraq (Research project of Ugur with a.o. Annsar on mass violence in Iraq and Syria). https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/53182eed4.pdf (2014 report of the independent international commission of inquiry on Syria.) https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/syria1215web_0.pdf (2015 Human Rights Watch report on mass deaths and torture in Syria's detention facilities.) https://phr.org/our-work/resources/medical-personnel-are-targeted-in-syria/ (Physicians For Human Rights on targeting of medical personnel in Syria.) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/20/syrian-security-forces-target-doctors (2012 Guardian article on medical violence in Homs.) https://www.justiceinfo.net/en/79534-syrian-trial-germany-role-doctors-hospitals-iassad-regimes-prison-system.html (Article by Hannah on medical violence and the Al-Khatib trial.) https://syriaaccountability.org/updates/2021/07/29/update-german-prosecutor-indicted-syrian-doctor-for-crimes-against-humanity/ (SJAC update on the indictment of Alaa M.) Our episode on sexual violence,https://www.branch251podcast.com/episode/s2e5-they-pay-twice ( They Pay Twice). https://www.ecchr.eu/en/case/trial-updates-first-trial-worldwide-on-torture-in-syria/ (ECCHR trial reports) https://syriaaccountability.org/topic/trial-monitoring/updates/ (Syria Justice and Accountability Centre's monitoring of the trial) Special thanks to Saleem Salameh for providing this episode's voice over. Logo design byhttp://www.laurenshebly.nl/ ( laurenshebly.nl) -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images. Music via Blue Dot Sessions Support for our podcast comes from German Federal Foreign Office funds that are provided by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen IFA's zivik Funding Programme. Support this podcast

Between The Sheets, Literally
In His Possession: Bought by a Black Mafia Prince (Black Mayhem Mafia Saga Book 1) [B. Love]

Between The Sheets, Literally

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2021 37:43


The book for today's episode is 'In His Possession: Bought by a Black Mafia Prince (Black Mayhem Mafia Saga Book 1)' by B. Love. Synopsis: Assad Black, alpha protector and leader of the Black Mayhem Mafia, does whatever it takes to keep his family safe. When he meets Scarlett Graham, he extends her the same grace. Winning her in a poker game to secure her freedom, Assad doesn't expect having her in his possession to open a rabbit hole of problems for him, his family, or his business. Used to being used and abused by the men in her life, Scarlett finds it hard to accept Assad's help as genuine. As she waits for the day he reveals what she considers to be his true colors, Scarlett unwillingly falls for the beast of a man who sees beyond her beauty. Just when she thinks it's safe to open up to a man for the first time in what feels like forever, her past comes back to haunt her, putting their lives and everyone attached to them in jeopardy. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/thebibliophilebookcase/support

CFR On the Record
Academic Webinar: Constraining Putin's Russia

CFR On the Record

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021


Thomas Graham, distinguished fellow at CFR, leads a conversation on constraining Putin's Russia. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today's session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I'm Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today's meeting is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website CFR.org/academic if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Thomas Graham with us to talk about Putin's Russia. Mr. Graham is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior advisor at Kissinger Associates, where he focuses on Russian and Eurasian affairs. He is cofounder of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies program at Yale University, and is also a research fellow at the MacMillan Center at Yale. He previously served as special assistant to President George W. Bush and senior director for Russia on the National Security Council staff from 2004 to 2007, and director for Russian affairs from 2002 to 2004. His résumé is very distinguished. I will just also say that he is a U.S. diplomat who served two tours of duty in Moscow, where he worked on political affairs. So, Mr. Graham, thanks very much for being with us today. I thought you could get us started by talking about the primary interests at stake in U.S.-Russia relations. GRAHAM: Great. Thank you very much, Irina, for that introduction, and it's a real pleasure to be with all of you here today. I want to start with three broad points that will frame the rest of our discussion. The first is that the problem that the United States faces is not simply with Putin; it is with Russia more generally speaking. The last seven years of very difficult, challenging adversarial relationship is really not an aberration in the history of the relationship between our two countries. In fact, from the moment the United States emerged as a major power on the global stage at the very end of the nineteenth century, we have had a rivalry with Russia. And the issues that divide us today are the ones that divided us 125, 150 years ago: We have opposing worldviews. We have different geopolitical interests. And clearly, we have different systems of values that inform our domestic political systems. This rivalry has intensified, ebbed and flowed during the twentieth century. But the effort we made at partnership after the breakup of the Soviet Union up until 2014, marked by the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine, is really the aberration in the history of relations between our two countries and one that was founded very much on the fact that Russia endured a period of strategic weakness. So the issue we have to deal with Russia and how we're going to deal with Russia well into the future, even after Putin departs—which he will, obviously, at some point, if only for biological reasons. The second point that I would make is that Russia is not going to go away. We hear a lot in the public debate in the United States about Russian decline, about the population/demographic problems it has, about its stagnating economy, and so forth. None of this is necessarily untrue, but I think it tends to exaggerate the problems that Russia faces. It ignores the problems that all other major countries face—including China, the United States, and many major European countries—but it also overlooks the very great strengths that Russia has had for decades that are going to make it a player and an important player on the global stage, nuclear weapons to begin with. We should never forget that Russia remains the only country that can destroy the United States as a functioning society in thirty minutes. Russia has the largest natural endowment of any country in the world, a country that can pretend to self-sufficiency and, in fact, is better placed than most other countries to deal with a breakdown in globalization in the decades to come if that, indeed, happens. It has a veto on the U.N. Security Council, which makes it an important player on issues of importance to the United States, and it has a talented population that has fostered a scientific community that, for example, is capable of taking advances in technology and developing the military applications from them. Just look at the strength that Russia exhibits in cyberspace, for example—again, a major challenge for the United States. So Russia is going to continue to be a challenge. One other thing that I should have mentioned here is that the Russian state throughout history and Putin's Russia today has demonstrated a keen ability to mobilize the resources of their own society for state purposes. So even if in relative terms they may be weaker and weakening vis-à-vis China and the United States, in some ways that political will, that ability to mobilize, allows Russia to play a much larger role than mere indicators of its economic size and population size would suggest. Now, Russia clashes with the United States across a whole range of issues, and as I said that is going to continue for some time. And this brings me to my third point: How we should think about American foreign policy, what our guidelines should be in dealing with Russia. And here there are three, I think, key elements to this. First, the United States needs to preserve strategic stability. We need to have that nuclear balance between us (sic) and the United States. This is an existential question. And as I already mentioned, Russia does have a tremendous nuclear capability. Second, the United States should seek to manage its competition with Russia responsibly. We want to avoid or reduce the risk of a direct military conflict that could escalate to the nuclear level. This is—also, I think, recognizes that the United States is not going to be able to compel Russia to capitulate on issues that are of interest to us, nor are we going to be able to radically change the way they think about their own national interests. So it's a competitive relationship and we need to manage that responsibly. And finally, given the complex world that we live in today—the very real transnational challenges we face: climate change, pandemic diseases, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—the United States should seek, to the extent possible, ways to cooperate with Russia in dealing with these issues. We should recognize that Russia is not necessarily the only player nor necessarily the most important player in dealing with these challenges, but it does have a role to play along with other major powers in handling these transnational issues. So those, I think, are three sort of broad points that help set the stage for our discussion. Now let me turn sort of very briefly to the questions about U.S. policy. How do we deal with this Russia? What are sort of—the way we should think about American foreign policy? And here the point I would make is that we should think of the policy in terms of what I would call the three Ds: defense, deterrence, and dialogue. Now, defense and deterrence in many ways go together. If you have a very good defense, if you demonstrate an ability and willingness to defend your interests effectively and deliberately, then you tend to deter another power. They have less reason to want to attack you. But if deterrence fails, you very much need to be able to defend yourself—to disrupt Russian operations in cyberspace, for example, or disrupt military operations by the Russians that you find problematic in some way. So defense and deterrence go together, and we need to think about that. Now, you build these elements on a number of other things that we're all familiar with. A strong military—strong, capable military—is, obviously, an element of both defense and deterrence, and something that we have managed quite well in the past and I imagine will manage quite well going into the future. Cyber defenses are also an important element of constraining Russia on the global stage. Now, here the United States really has much room for improvement. We built our internet, our cyberspace largely for the accessibility, the ability to pass information from one entity to another, and we spent much less attention to the security of that system. As cyberspace has become more important to our socioeconomic and political lives, we really need to devote much more attention to cybersecurity, hardening our commuter—computer networks, for example, making sure we have strong passwords and so forth, something that I think we now recognize but we need to put a much greater effort into doing that. Third area of defense and deterrence is strong alliances. When we're thinking about Russia, this is clearly the transatlantic community, NATO, our relations with our other European partners. And here, we need to develop the types of military/defense cooperation that we need to demonstrate quite clearly that the United States, along with the rest of the NATO allies, is ready and prepared to meet its Article 5 guarantees to collective security should the Russians do something that is untoward in our neighborhood. And then, finally, and I think of increasing importance, is the question of national unity. National unity, national resilience, has really become a key element in defense and deterrence at this point. We need to demonstrate to the Russians that we have sufficient national unity to clearly identify what our interests are and pursue them on the international stage. One of Putin's close colleagues several years ago said that what Putin is doing is messing with the Americans' minds, and certainly we've seen that over the past several years. Putin hasn't sowed the discord in the United States, but he certainly has tried to exploit it for Russian purposes. And this is something that he's going to concentrate on in the future, in part because he recognizes the dangers of military confrontation with the United States. So great-power competition, from the Kremlin's standpoint, is going to move very, very quickly from the kinetic realm to the cyber realm, and we need to be able to deal with that. So building national unity at home, overcoming our polarization, is really perhaps one of the key steps in constraining Russia on the global stage. And then, finally, some very brief words about dialogue. We tend to downplay this in our national discussion. Many believe that diplomatic relations are—should not be branded as a reward for bad behavior. But I think if you look at this objectively, you'll see that diplomatic relations are very important as a way of defending and advancing our national concerns. It's a way that we can convey clearly to the Russians what our expectations are, what our goals are, what our redlines are, and the responses that we're capable of taking if Russia crosses them. At the same time, we can learn from the Russians what their goals are, what their motivations are, what their redlines are, and we can factor that into our own policy. This is a major element of managing the competition between our two countries responsibly. You'll see that we have begun to engage in negotiations and diplomacy with the Russians much more under President Biden than we did under President Trump. We've already launched strategic stability talks with the aim of coming up with a new concept of strategic stability that's adequate to the strategic environment of the present day and the near future. We've engaged in cybersecurity talks, which my understanding is have, in fact, had some success over the past several weeks. Where we, I think, have lagged is in the discussion of regional issues—Europe, Ukraine, the Middle East, for example. These are areas where there is still potential for conflict, and the United States and Russia ought to be sitting down and talking about these issues on a regular basis. So three Ds—defense, deterrence, and diplomacy or dialogue—are the ways that we should be thinking about our relationship with Russia. And obviously, we'll need to adjust each of these three elements to the specific issue at hand, whether it be in Europe, whether it be in the nuclear realm, cyberspace, and so forth. Now, with that as a way—by way of introduction, I am very pleased to entertain your questions. FASKIANOS: Tom, thanks very much for that terrific overview and analysis. We're going to go to all of you now for your questions. You can either raise your hand by clicking on the icon, and I will call on you, and you can tell us what institution you are with; or you can type your question in the Q&A box, although if you want to ask it you can raise your hand. We encourage that. And if you're typing your question, please let us know what college or university you're with. So I'm going to take the first raised-hand question from Babak Salimitari. And unmute yourself. Q: Can you guys hear me? GRAHAM: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Hello. I'm a third-year UCI student, economics. I have a question. I'm going to sound a bit like Sean Hannity here, so please forgive me, but I have a question about that Nord Stream 2 pipeline that you constantly hear on the news, and it just doesn't make that much sense for me of why this pipeline was allowed to be completed into the heart of Europe considering Russia's strength with natural gases and the leverage that they have over Europe with that pipeline. Why was that allowed to be completed? GRAHAM: Well, I think from the standpoint of the Biden administration this was a matter of what we call alliance management. Germany is clearly a key ally for the United States in Europe, and the Germans were very committed to the completion of that pipeline, starting with Chancellor Angela Merkel down through I think both the leading political parties and the German business community. So I think they made the decision for that. But let me step back because I'd like to challenge a lot of the assumptions about the Nord Stream 2 project here in the United States, which I think misconceive it, misframe the question, and tend to exaggerate the dangers that is poses. The first point that I would make is that Europe now and in the future will have and need Russian gas. It's taken a substantial amount in the past—in the past decades, and even as it moves forward towards a green revolution it will continue to take considerable amounts of Russian gas. It can't do without that gas. So the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, contrary to what you hear in the United States or at the U.S. Congress, I don't think poses an additional threat to Europe's energy security, no larger than the threat that was posed before that pipeline was completed. The Europeans, I think are aware of the problems that that poses, and they've taken steps over the past several years to integrate the gas—the gas distribution network in Europe, to build facilities to import liquified natural gas, all as a way of eroding the leverage that Gazprom might have had over energy markets in Europe. And that has been quite successful over the past—over the past several years. Now, I think, you know, the other issue that comes up in the discussion in the United States is Ukraine, because Nord Stream 2 clearly provides Russia with a way to import the gas into Europe and bypass Ukraine at the—at the same time. And Ukraine is going to suffer a significant loss in budgetary revenue because of the decline in transit fees that it gets from the transportation of Russian gas across its territory. You know, that is a problem, but there are ways of dealing with that: by helping Ukraine fill the budgetary gap, by helping Ukraine transition away from a reliance on gas to other forms of energy, of helping Ukraine develop the green-energy resources that will make it a much more important partner in the European energy equation than it is now. And then finally, you know, it strikes me as somewhat wrongheaded for Ukraine to put itself in a position where it is reliant on a country that is clearly a belligerent for a significant part of its federal revenue. So we need to think hard with the Ukrainians about how they deal with this issue, how they wean themselves off Russian transit fees, and then I think we have a situation where we can help Ukraine, we can manage the energy-security situation in Europe, we can reduce any leverage that Russia might have, and that Nord Stream 2 really doesn't pose a significant risk to the United States or our European allies over the long run. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We're going to take the next question from the written queue from Kenneth Mayers, who's at St Francis—sorry, that just popped away; oh, sorry—St. Francis College. Thinking beyond this triangular framework, what pathways and possibilities can be envisioned for a more positive dimension of working together in mutually, even globally, beneficial ways? GRAHAM: What triangular relationship are we talking about? FASKIANOS: His—thinking beyond this triangular framework and— GRAHAM: Oh, OK. So I think it's defense, deterrence, and diplomacy is the— FASKIANOS: Correct. GRAHAM: OK. Can you repeat the final part of the question, then? FASKIANOS: What pathways and possibilities can be envisioned for a more positive dimension of working together in mutually beneficial ways? GRAHAM: Well, there are a number of areas in which we can work together beneficially. If you think about proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, for example, the United States and Russia over the past two decades have played a major role in both securing weapons that were located in Russia, but also in securing highly-enriched uranium that was in Soviet-designed reactors throughout the former Soviet space. We have taken a lead together in setting down rules and procedures that reduce the risk of nuclear material—fissile material getting into the hands of terrorist organizations. And we have played a role together in trying to constrain the Iranian nuclear program. Russia played an instrumental role in the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that we signed in 2015 that the Trump administration walked away with, but they will continue to play a role in constraining Iranians' nuclear ambitions going forward. And we've also worked in a cooperative fashion in dealing with the North Korean nuclear program. So there are areas in nonproliferation where the two countries can work together. On climate change, I mean, I think the big challenge for the United States is actually persuading Russia that climate change is a significant threat to their own security. They're slowly beginning to change that view, but as they come around to recognizing that they have to deal with climate change there are a number of areas where the two countries can cooperate. One of the things that climate is doing is melting the permafrost. That is destabilizing the foundation of much of Russia's energy infrastructure in areas where gas and oil are extracted for export abroad. The United States has dome technologies that the Russians might find of interest in stabilizing that infrastructure. They suffer from problems of Siberian fires—peat-bog fires, forest fires—an area that, obviously, is of concern to the United States as well. And there may be room for cooperation there, two. And then, finally, you know, the United States and Russia have two of the leading scientific communities in the entire world. We ought to be working together on ways that we can help mitigate the consequences of climate change going forward. So I see an array of areas where the two countries could cooperate, but that will depend on good diplomacy in Washington and a receptivity on the part of the Russians which we haven't seen quite yet. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Let's go next to Jeffrey Ko. You can unmute yourself. Thank you. Q: Hi. So I'm Jeffrey Ko. I'm an international relations master's student at Carnegie Mellon. And my question has to deal with these private military forces, and especially the Wagner Group. And so I would like to know, you know, how does this play into our security strategy regarding Russia in countries that have seen proxy warfare? And how does this—how difficult will it be to engage with Russia either diplomatically or militarily on the use of these gray-zone tactics, and specifically utilizing the Wagner Group as an informal branch of Russia's military? GRAHAM: Well, look, I mean, I do think that we need, one, to sit down and have a discussion with Russia about the use of these private military forces, particularly the Wagner firm, which has played a significant role in a number of conflicts across the globe in the Middle East, Africa, and in Latin America. But we also ought to help the countries that are of interest to us deal with the problems that the Wagner Group causes. You know, the United States had to deal with the Wagner Group in Syria during the Syrian civil war. You know, despite the fact that we had a deconfliction exercise with the Russians at that point, tried to prevent military conflicts between our two militaries operating in close proximity, when the Wagner forces violated those strictures and actually began to attack a U.S. facility, we had no hesitation about using the force that we had to basically obliterate that enemy. And the Wagner Group suffered casualties numbering in the hundreds, one to two hundred. I think the Russians got the message about that, that you don't—you don't mess with the United States military, certainly not while using a private military company like Wagner. You know, in places like Libya, where Wagner is quite active, I think the United States needs a major diplomatic effort to try to defuse the Libyan crisis. And part of the solution to that would be negotiating an agreement that calls for the withdrawal of all foreign military forces and certainly private military groups from Libyan territory, and lean on the Russians to carry that through. In any event, you know, this is not going to be an easy issue to resolve. I think we deal with this by—country by country, and we focus our attention on those countries where our national interests are greatest. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to take the next question from Jill Dougherty, who's at Georgetown University. The Putin administration appears to be hardening its control of Russia's society with the purpose of keeping Putin in power at least until 2036. Most recent example is the Duma elections that just took place. Will this crackdown domestically affect or damage U.S.-Russia relations? GRAHAM: Thank you, Jill. Always a good question and always a difficult question to answer. You know, I think the issue here is the extent to which the Biden administration wants to make the domestic political situation in Russia a key item on its agenda with Russia over the next—over the next few years. You know, my impression from the conversations I've had with people in the administration—in and around the administration is that President Biden is not going to focus on this. You know, his focus really is going to be China, and what he wants to do is maintain something of a status quo in the relationship with Russia. You will notice that the second round of sanctions that the United States levied with regard to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, something that was mandated by U.S. law, were actually quite mild—much less extreme, much less punitive than the legislation allowed—I think a signal that the Biden administration was not going to let domestic political issues in Russia overwhelm the agenda that the United States has, which is going to be focused on strategic stability, cyber issues, and so forth. So my immediate reaction is that the Duma election is really not going to have a dramatic impact on the state of the relationship between our two countries. We accept the fact that Russia is an authoritarian system. It is becoming more authoritarian. We will continue to try to find ways to support those elements of civil society we can, but always being careful not to do it in ways that causes the Russian government to crack down even harder on those individuals. This is a very sort of difficult needle to thread for the United States, but I think that's the way we'll go and you won't see this as a major impediment to the improvement of relations—which, as we all know, are at a very low level at this point in any event. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. Let's go next to Sujay Utkarsh. Q: Hi, yeah. Can you hear me? GRAHAM: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Awesome. So, regarding the issue about cyber warfare, I was wondering if you can go into more detail about what advantages the Russians have in cyberspace and what the United States can do to compete with those advantages. GRAHAM: A good question and a difficult question for people outside the government to answer, since we're not privy to all the information about Russian cyber capabilities nor are we privy to the information about American cyber capabilities. Both countries cloak those programs in a great deal of secrecy. You know, it seemed to me that one of the advantages that perhaps Russia has is that it's a much more closed society than the United States. Now, I'm thinking simply in terms of the way societies can be disrupted through cyberspace. We're a much more open society. It's easier to access our internet. We are—just as I mentioned before, we are a polarized society right now. That allows Russia many avenues into our domestic political system in order to exacerbate the tensions between various elements in our society. The United States can't reply in the same way in dealing with Russia. You know, second, Russia, in building its own internet, its own cyberspace, has paid much more attention to security than the United States has. So, you know, I would presume that its computer systems are somewhat harder to penetrate than American systems are at this point, although another factor to take into account here is that much of the initial effort in building up cyberspace—the Web, the computer networks—in Russia was built with American technology. You know, the Googles, the Intels, and others played an instrumental role in providing those types of—that type of equipment to the Russians. So I wouldn't exaggerate how much stronger they are there. And then, finally, I think what is probably one of the strengths, if you want to call it that, is that Russia is probably a little more risk-prone in using its cyber tools than the United States is at this point, in part because we think as a society we're more vulnerable. And that does give Russia a slight advantage. That said, this shouldn't be a problem that's beyond the capability of the United States to manage if we put our minds to it. We have done a lot more over the past several years. We are getting better at this. And I think we'll continue to improve in time and with the appropriate programs, the appropriate education of American society. FASKIANOS: Thank you. The next question is a written one from Kim-Leigh Tursi, a third-year undergraduate at Temple University. Where do you see Russia in relation to the rise of China, and how does that affect how the U.S. might approach foreign policy toward Russia? GRAHAM: Well, you know, that's an important question, obviously one that a lot of people have focused on recently. You know, Russia and China have developed a very close working strategic relationship over the—over the past several years, but I think we should note that the Russian effort to rebuild its relations with China go back to the late Soviet period to overcome the disadvantages that then the Soviet Union felt they had because of the poor relationship with China and the ability of the United States to exploit that relationship to Moscow's detriment. So relations have been improving for the past twenty-five, thirty years; obviously, a dramatic acceleration in that improvement after 2014 and the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West. Now, there are a number of reasons for this alignment at this point. One, the two countries do share at a very general level a basic view of for—a basic dislike of what they see as American ambitions to dominate the global—the global security and economic environment. They don't like what they consider to be American hegemonic goals. Second, the economies seem to be complementary at this point. Russia does have a wealth of natural resources that the Chinese need to fuel their robust economic growth. You have similar domestic political systems. And all of this, I think, is reinforced by what appears to be a very good personal relationship between President Putin and President Xi Jinping. These two leaders have met dozens of times over the past five to seven years and have maintained, I think, very robust contact even during the—during the pandemic. So there are very good strategic reasons why these two countries enjoy good relations. They are going to step those up in the near term. The Russians are continuing to provide the Chinese with significant sophisticated military equipment. They've also undertaken to help the Chinese build an early warning system for ballistic missiles, and when that's completed it will make China only the third country in the world to have such a system along with Russia and the United States. Now, I would argue that this strategic alignment does pose something of a challenge to the United States. If you look at American foreign policy or American foreign policy tradition, one of the principles that has guided the United States since the end of the nineteenth century, certainly throughout the twentieth century, was that we needed to prevent the—any hostile country or coalition of hostile countries from dominating areas of great strategic importance, principally Europe, East Asia, and more recently the Middle East. A Russian-Chinese strategic alignment certainly increases the chances of China dominating East Asia. Depending on how close that relationship grows, it also could have significant impact on Europe and the way Europe relates to this Russian-Chinese bloc, and therefore to the United States as a whole. So we should have an interest in trying to sort of attenuate the relationship between the two countries. At a minimum, we shouldn't be pursuing a set of policies that would push Russia closer to China. Second, I think we ought to try to normalize our diplomatic relationship with the Russians. Not that we're necessarily going to agree on a—on a range of issues at this point, but we need to give the Russians a sense that they have other strategic options than China going forward—something that would, I think, enhance their bargaining position with the Chinese going forward and would complicate China's own strategic calculus, which would be to our advantage. I think we also should play on Russia's concerns about strategic autonomy, this idea that Russia needs to be an independent great power on the global stage, that it doesn't want to be the junior partner or overly dependent on any one country as a way, again, of attenuating the tie with China. The one thing that I don't think we can do is drive a wedge between those two countries, in part because of the strategic reasons that I've mentioned already that bring these two countries together. And any very crude, I think, effort to do that will actually be counterproductive. Both Beijing and Moscow will see through that, quite clearly, and that will only lead to a closing of the ranks between those two countries, which as I said is a strategic challenge for the United States going forward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to take the next question from Holli Semetko, who's at Emory University. Polarization is something we must overcome, as you said, but those of us working on social media have some evidence to suggest that social media has fostered political polarization in the U.S. Yuri Milner, a Russian Israeli entrepreneur, invested in an early round of Facebook funding with help from VTB, a Russian state-controlled bank, as well as his investment in Jared Kushner's real estate firm. What is the level of FDI from Russia in the U.S. and do you see it as a threat to national security? GRAHAM: Well, look, I mean, the actual level of Russian FDI in the United States is quite small. You know, you have some few, I think, good examples of it—the one that you've mentioned with Yuri Milner, for example. There was some investment in a steel factory some years ago. But by and large, there hasn't been a significant amount of Russian foreign direct investment in the United States. I think our growing concerns about Russia have made us even more leery of allowing Russian investment, particularly in sectors that we consider critical to American national security. So I'm not deeply concerned about that going forward. I think we probably face a much greater challenge from the Chinese in that regard. Of course, you've seen efforts by the United States to deal more harshly or look more closely at Chinese investment in the United States over the past several years. Let me just make one sort of final point on social media since it's come up. You know, Russia is a problem. We need to pay attention to Russia in that space. But again, I don't think that we should exaggerate Russia's influence, nor should we focus simply on Russia as the problem in this area. There is a major problem with disinformation in social media in the United States, much of that propagated by sources within the United States, but there are a host of other countries that also will try to affect U.S. public opinion through their intrusions into American social media. You know, given our concerns about First Amendment rights, freedom of speech and so forth, you know, I think we have problems in sort of really clamping down on this. But what we need to do, certainly, is better educate the American public about how to deal with the information that crosses their electronic devices day in and day out. Americans need to be aware of how they can be manipulated, and they need to understand and know where they can go to find reliable information. Again, given the political polarization in our country today, this is a very real challenge and difficult one. But I think if we think long term about this problem, the key really is educating the American public. An educated American public is going to be the best defense against foreign countries, other hostile forces trying to use social media to undermine our national unity and exacerbate the politics of our country. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I'm going to take the next question from Eoin Wilson-Manion, who's raised his hand. Q: Hello. Can you hear me now? GRAHAM: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Awesome. Well, thank you. I just wanted to ask if you could touch a little bit more on Russia's presence in Syria and what that means for U.S. interests in Syria and I guess the larger Middle East. I'm Eoin from Carnegie Mellon University. Thanks very much. GRAHAM: Well, you know, the Russians entered Syria in 2015 militarily largely to save Assad from what they thought was imminent overthrow by what they considered a radical Islamic force, a group of terrorists that they thought would challenge Russian interests not only in Syria but would fuel extremist forces inside Russia itself, particularly in the North Caucasus but farther afield than that—even into Moscow, into areas that were Muslim-dominated inside Russia itself. So they had very good national security reasons for going in. Those ran—I mean, the Russian presence in Syria clearly has run counter to what the United States was trying to do at that point since we clearly aligned against Assad in favor of what we considered moderate reformist forces that were seeking a more sort of democratic future for Syria as part of this broader Arab Spring at that time. So there was a clear conflict at that point. You know, subsequently and in parallel with its continued presence in Syria, the Russians have extended their diplomatic—their diplomatic effort to other countries in the region. Russia enjoys a fairly robust diplomatic relationship with Israel, for example, that has been grounded in counterterrorism cooperation, for example. They have a sort of strange relationship, largely positive, with Turkey that they have pursued over the past several years. We know of the ties that they've had in Tehran, in Iran for some time. They have reached out to the Saudis and the Saudis have bought some military equipment from them. We see them in Egypt and Libya, for example. So they're a growing presence, a growing diplomatic presence in the Middle East, and this does pose some problems for the United States. From the middle of the 1970s onward, one of the basic thrusts of American foreign policy was to limit the role the Russians played in the Middle East. We sidelined them in the negotiations between the Arabs and the Israelis in the 1970s and in the 1980s. We limited their diplomatic contacts to countries that we considered critical partners and allies in that part of the world. Now I think the geopolitical situation has changed. Our own interest in the Middle East has diminished over time, in part because of the fracking revolution here in the United States. Gas and oil, we've got close to being independent in that area. We're not as dependent on the Middle East as we once were for energy sources. And also, as, you know, the Biden administration has been clear, we do want to pivot away from the Middle East and Europe to focus more of our energies on what we see as the rising and continuing strategic challenge posed by China. So I think that means that going forward the United States is going to have to deal with Russia in a different fashion in the Middle East than in the past. We're going to have to recognize them as a continuing presence. We're not going to be able to push them out, in part because we're not prepared to devote the resources to it. We have countries that are still important to us—Saudi Arabia, Israel for example—that do want a Russian presence in the Middle East. And so what we ought to do, it seems to me, is to begin that discussion about how we're going to manage the rivalry in the Middle East. Now, it's not all simply competition. There are areas for cooperation. We can cooperate in dealing with Iran, for example, the Iran nuclear dossier, as we have had in the past. Neither country has an interest in Iran developing nuclear weapons. Second, I think the two countries also would like to see a Middle East that's not dominated by a single regional power. So despite the fact that the Russians have worked together quite closely with the Iranians in Syria, they don't share Iranian ambitions elsewhere in the Middle East. And if you look at the diplomatic ties that the Russians have nurtured over the past with Turkey, with Israel, Saudi Arabia for example, none of these are friends of Iran, to put it mildly. So we can talk, I think, to the Russians of how our—you know, we can conduct ourselves so as to foster the development of a regional equilibrium in the Middle East that tends to stabilize that region, makes it less of a threat to either country, less of a threat to America's European allies, and use this as a basis for, again, sort of not escalating the tension in the region but moderating it in some ways that works to the long-term advantage of the United States. FASKIANOS: Next question from Michael Strmiska, who's a professor at Orange County Community College in New York state. Do you see any hope of persuading Russia to abandon its occupation of Crimea in the near term? Or do you think this is like the occupation of the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia after World War II, where a very long timespan was needed before any liberation was realistically possible? GRAHAM: Well, I guess my answer to those two questions would be yes and no, or no and yes. On Crimea, you know, I see no sort of near-term scenario that would lead to the Russians agreeing to the return of Crimea to Ukraine. Quite the contrary, Russia has taken steps since 2014 they continue at this point to further integrate Crimea into the Russian Federation politically, economically, socially, and so forth. The Russians have also built up their military presence in Crimea as a way of enhancing their domination or their influence in the greater Black Sea region. So I see no set of circumstances that would change that, certainly not in the—in the near term. And I think, you know, the Ukrainian effort to focus attention on Crimea is not going to, in fact, gain a great deal of traction with Europe nor with the United States going forward, though we will maintain the principled position of not recognizing Russia's incorporation or annexation of Crimea. You know, I don't think that the Crimean and Baltic situations are necessarily analogous. You know, in the Baltic states there was a significant indigenous element, governments in exile, that supported the independence of those countries. There was a fulcrum that the United States or a lever that the United States could use over time to continue pressure on the Soviets that eventually led to the independence of those countries as the Soviet Union broke down and ultimately collapsed at the end of the 1980s into 1991. I don't see any significant indigenous element in Crimea nor a movement of inhabitants of Crimea outside Crimea that wants Crimea to be returned to Ukraine. I think we need to remember that a significant part of the population in Ukraine is Russian military, retired Russian military, that feels quite comfortable in—within the Russian Federation at this point. So if I were being quite frank about this, although I think the United States should maintain its principled position and not recognize annexation of Crimea, I don't see anything over the long term, barring the collapse of Russia itself, that will change that situation and see Ukraine (sic; Crimea) reincorporated into the Ukrainian state. FASKIANOS: So there are a couple questions in the chat about Russia's economy: What is their economy like today? And what are the effects of the sanctions? And from Steve Shinkel at the Naval War College: How do you assess the tie between Russia's economy and being able to continue to modernize its military and ensure a stable economy? And will economic factors and Russia's demographic challenges be a future constraining factor? So if you could— GRAHAM: Yeah. No, no, just take the economy. Obviously, a big issue, and it will be a constraining factor. I mean, the Russian economy is stagnating and it has for some—for some time. They enjoyed—the Russian economy enjoyed a very rapid period of growth during President Putin's first presidential—two presidential terms in the 2000s, but since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 Russia has run into very difficult economic times. In fact, it's never really recovered from that crisis. If you look at the past ten years, barely any growth in the Russian economy at all. If you look at the impact that that has had on Russians themselves, there's basically been no growth in real disposable income; rather, a decline over the past six or seven years. I think the Russians recognize that. The question is whether they can come up with a set of policies that actually will reverse that and that lead to a more robustly growing economy. Now, what the Kremlin has tried to do is not so much reform the economy—which I think is necessary if they're going to enjoy robust economic growth—as much as professionalize the economy; that is—that is, bring in a younger sort of cadre who are well educated, many of them educated in the West, who understand how modern economies function and can keep the economy stable at least at the macro level. And this is one of the reasons that Western sanctions have not had nearly the impact on Russian behavior that many had hoped for or anticipated back in 2014 when we began to turn repeatedly to this tool in response to Russian activities and operations against Ukraine. You know, it has had some impact. I think the IMF would say that it's probably taken a percentage point off—or, not a percentage point, but a tenth of a percentage point off of Russia's GDP growth over the past several years. That certainly hasn't been enough to change Russian behavior. But it hasn't been more, in fact, because the governors of the—of the central bank have dealt quite adeptly with that, and maintain said Russian macroeconomic stability and some sort of foundation for the economy to grow going forward. I imagine that's going to continue into the—into the future as well. So it is a constraining factor. Then I would end with what I—with a point that I made in my introduction. Russia does have a tremendous ability to mobilize its resources for state purposes, to extract what it needs from society at large to modernize the military, to maintain certainly Russia's defenses and also some capability to project power abroad. So I wouldn't write them off because of that. I think it's going—still going to be a serious power, but not nearly as great a challenge to the United States as if it, in fact, solved its demographic problems, its economic problems, and had a robustly growing economy, greater resources that it could devote to a whole range of things that would improve its standing on the global stage vis-à-vis the United States and vis-à-vis China. FASKIANOS: Well, with that we are at the end of our time. And I apologize to everybody. We had over twenty written questions still pending and raised hands. I'm sorry we couldn't get to all of you, but we do try to end on time. So, Thomas Graham, thank you very much for sharing your insights and analysis with us today. We appreciate it. And to all of you for your terrific questions and comments, we appreciate it. Our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, October 6, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And we will focus on the Indo-Pacific with Dhruva Jaishankar, who is the executive director of the Observer Research Foundation America and nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute. And in the meantime, I encourage you to follow CFR at @CFR_Academic and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on global issues. So, Tom, thank you very much. GRAHAM: Thank you. Good luck to all of you. (END)

Talking Tastebuds
Hassan Akkad

Talking Tastebuds

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 40:29


Hassan Akkad is a photographer, filmmaker and activist. He came to the UK in 2015 after fleeing Damascus after he was tortured by Assad's regime. He documented his journey in the BAFTA award winning documentary “Exodus: Our Journey to Europe and later caught public attention again when he applied to be a cleaner at his local hospital at the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. During his time on the COVID ward, Hassan shared images of his fellow cleaners, porters and cooks on his social media which went viral. Then, when Hassan found out that porters and cleaners working for the NHS would not be protected through the government's NHS bereavement scheme, he was outraged and his campaign to include those people in the scheme directly led to the second notorious government U-turn of 2020. Hassan's memoir “Hope Not Fear: Finding My Way from Refugee to Filmmaker to NHS Hospital Cleaner and Activist” was released in September 2021. It's a searingly honest and heartbreaking account of his journey and his unparalleled compassion, kindness and advocacy. Hassan shows us that standing together and uniting in kindness and love is the single most important message of our time. Order Hassan's book hereFind Hassan on Instagram: @HassanAkkad and twitter @Hassan_AkkadFind me: @venetialamannaFind the show: @atstpodcast This episode was co-produced by Venetia La Manna and Holly Falconer. It was edited by Nada Smiljanic. The music was composed by William Haxworth and the artwork was designed by Alex Sedano. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Finding Annie
Hassan Akkad

Finding Annie

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 46:40


What's it like to say goodbye to your family, your friends, your entire life – and head out into the unknown, never to return? As the Migrant Crisis continues to displace hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year, and as Priti Patel weighs up policies to deter those who wish to seek asylum in the UK, Annie zeroes in on the human experience at the centre of something too often reduced to statistics and rhetoric. Hassan Akkad has lived the world-upending change of seeking asylum. Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, he was arrested and imprisoned for taking part in protests against the Assad dictatorship. He was subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of his captors, and eventually fled the country. His journey to the UK began on a rubber dinghy off the coast of Greece, and ended, months later, in the arrival hall of Heathrow airport. What happened in-between transformed his world, forever. But Hassan's story does not end with his arrival in the UK. He is a teacher, an activist, a filmmaker – and now, an author. His memoir, Hope Not Fear, is a powerful and moving account of the treacherous journey that Hassan and countless others have been forced to make. It is also a vital, optimistic portrait of resilience and the human spirit – which makes fertile ground for one of the most inspiring conversations we've heard on Changes.Hope Not Fear is available for purchase here: https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/hassan-akkad/hope-not-fear/9781529059830 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael
James Woolsey‘s Operation Dragon & the Triumph of ”Crackpot Realism” in U.S. Foreign Policy w/ Jim DiEugenio

Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2021 95:47


On this edition of Parallax Views, earlier this year a curious new book was published dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Co-written by R. James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1995, and Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former Romanian spy and a noted, high-ranking Eastern Bloc defect during the Cold War, Operation Dragon: Inside the Kremlin's Secret War Against America argues that the JFK assassination was the result of a plot involving the Soviet Union's Nikita Khrushchev and Cuba's Fidel Castro. Lee Harvey Oswald, the book claims, was instructed by Khrushchev to kill President Kennedy. According to Woolsey and Pacepa, Khrushchev actually called off the plot for fear that it might be discovered and lead right back to him as one of the perpetrators.  What Khrushchev did not count on, say Woolsey and Pacepa, is that Oswald would go rogue and carry out the assassination plot in spite of orders to the contrary. In other words, Operation Dragon alleges that President Kennedy's assassination was the result of nefarious Soviet treachery. Is Operation Dragon just another entry in dizzying array of theories positing an alternative to the Warren Commission Report's oft-contested findings concerning the fatal shooting of a sitting President of the United States in Dallas, TX on November 22nd, 1963? Perhaps. Then again, most books that challenge, in varying degrees, the official line on the Kennedy assassination aren't written by ex-CIA Directors. But the curiosity of the book's co-author, the aforementioned James Woolsey, penning a book dealing with the Kennedy assassination doesn't end with his status as the former highest-ranking official in the CIA. In addition to his tenure as DCIA, Woolsey served as U.S. Under Secretary of the Navy in the late 1970s and was involved in negotiations with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. In other words, he was in the thick of it, so to speak, during the Cold War. Most curiously of all, however, when it comes to Woolsey is his connections to the neoconservative foreign policy movement and his penchant for promoting various conspiratorial fears about foreign countries even prior to the publication of Operation Dragon. A member of the notoriously hawkish neocon think tank The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) before its dissolution in 2006, Woolsey has stoked fears that North Korea could use electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons against the United States and was also a notable proponent of the theory that al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq were involved in the Oklahoma City Bombing. Since the publication of Operation Dragon, Woolsey has appeared on the right-wing outlet Newsmax to promote his theory about the Kennedy assassination. This, combined with his neoconservative inclinations and conspiratorial musings that align quite well with the bolstering of a hawkish, pro-war agenda, raises the question of Woolsey's political motivations in promoting what The Daily Beast has referred to as a "QAnon-style spin" on the Kennedy assassination. Joining us to pushback against Woolsey's JFK assassination theory and place it within the context of his hawkish neocon history is returning guest James DiEugenio, the leading figure behind the website Kennedys and King, writer for the upcoming Oliver Stone documentary JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, and author of such books as Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case, Reclaiming Parkland: Tom Hanks, Vincent Bugliosi, and the JFK Assassination in the New Hollywood, and The JFK Assassination. DiEugenio argues that not only is Woolsey's Kennedy assassination theory wrong, but that it is representative of a certain brand of foreign policy thinking in Washington, D.C. that sociologist C. Wright Mills would refer to as "crackpot realism". Before delving into Operation Dragon, however, Jim fills us in on the latest news concerning the fight to declassify and release the last of the JFK records. We discuss how President Trump, despite at times signaling to the contrary, helped keep the records declassified during his Presidency. Now said records and their review for declassification lay in the hands of President Joe Biden. Then we shift our attention to Operation Dragon and discuss the problems with the book's claims that theoretical physicist and "Father of the Atomic Bomb" J. Robert Oppenheimer and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee were secretly Soviet spies, the relationship between Woolsey's theories on the Kremlin and the paranoid "Monster Plot" of the CIA's James Jesus Angleton, a brief history of neoconservatism, Woolsey's neocon credentials, the relationship between the narrative of the Cold War promoted by Woolsey and the ideas of the far right-wing John Birch Society, James Angleton and the origins of the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was a KGB agent or asset,, Operation Dragon as a retread of the narrative put forth in Edward Jay Epstein's 1992 book Legend: The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald, Norman Cousins and the quest for détente with Khrushchev's Soviet Union, French journalist Jean Daniel's meeting with Fidel Castro in Havana on the day of Kennedy's assassination , Kennedy and rapprochement negotiations with Cuba, Khrushchev and Castro's reactions to the assassination, why neither the Soviet Union or Cuba benefitted from Kennedy's assassination, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze's Cold War ideology and the rise of neoconservatism, neoconservatism as an ideology that has now slipped into both the Republican and Democratic Parties, "crackpot realism" in the killing of Gaddafi in Libya and the U.S. intervention in Assad's Syria, Barack Obama and the CIA's classified weapons supply and training program in Syria known as "Timber Sycamore", the Project for American Century's agenda, George HW Bush's comments calling the neocons "the crazies in the basement" of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the notion that Henry Kissinger and Henry Kissinger were "soft" on Communism during the Cold War, neocons as constantly seeking pretexts for war, the late Russian studies scholar Stephen F. Cohen vs. Richard Pipes on the Soviet Union, Nixon and Kissinger as being to the right of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher on Mikhail Gorbachev, neocons and the Australia nuclear submarines deal as part of a geopolitical strategy against China, "Noble Lies" and the selling of wars, NATO's expansion and the lack of historical context provided by crackpot realism in foreign policy, Woolsey's book as a psyop, PNAC member Robert Kagan and his wife Victoria Nuland's involvement in U.S. foreign policy related to Ukraine, the neocon agenda as bankrupting the U.S. and destroying social programs vis-à-vis war spending, and, much, much more.

The Critical Hour
Clinton Campaign Exposed as Russia-gate Founders; Neocons Eye Ethiopia

The Critical Hour

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021 115:16


Jim Kavanagh, writer at thepolemicist.net and CounterPunch, and author of "Danger to Society: Against Vaccine Passports," joins us to discuss Russia-gate. The Durham probe into the origins of Russia-gate has exposed the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign for pushing lies and propaganda aimed at election influence. The latest charging document makes it clear the Clinton campaign and its contractors maliciously worked to spread false information to the press and the FBI. Dr. Yolandra Hancock, board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine specialist, joins us to discuss Covid. The FDA denied President Biden's request for booster shorts for all Americans, but did ok it for those in high-risk categories. Also, hospitalizations continue to be high and the booster debate continues. Laith Marouf, broadcaster and journalist based in Beirut, joins us to discuss Syria. The Assad government works to rebuild the war-torn nation as their battle against ISIS mercenaries sponsored by Western imperialists comes to an end. Will the US and its allies hang on to a failed regime change strategy or accept reality?National Director for Code Pink Ariel Gold joins us to discuss Israel. Israeli officials have communicated that they are not concerned about the possibility of losing billions in US aid because they are confident that they can work the system to get the money within a few weeks by other means.Steve Poikonen, national organizer for Action4Assange, joins us to discuss Iran. The President of Iran has said that he sees US sanctions as an alternative method that the US empire uses for warfare. Also, there are rumors that the US has discussed alternate plans to the JCPOA with Israel.Kweku Lamumba, external relations coordinator for KOSSA, joins us to discuss the Haitian immigrant crisis. There are charges of racism as scenes of verbal and physical abuse hit social media from the Mexican border. The immigrants face a desperate situation as food and shelter are scarce and they have no way of knowing what comes next.Gerald Horne, professor of history at the University of Houston, author, historian, and researcher, joins us to discuss the coup in Guinea. Observers are suspicious about the Africom ties to the coup in Guinea. Also, President Biden's recent discussion of Ethiopia as a threat to US national security seems to indicate that the US empire may be aiming its regime change machine at the beleaguered African nation.Dr. Linwood Tauheed, associate professor of economics at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, joins us to discuss Evergrande. The Chinese real estate giant Evergrande is facing a debt crisis. However, many economists are concerned that the US debt of 30 trillion dollars and rising is a more immediate threat to world economic health.

Global Security
Syrian refugees and migrants in Turkey face a difficult decision to return home 

Global Security

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021


Mohammed Ammar, 23, works at a lively cell phone repair shop on a bustling street in a largely Syrian district of Istanbul. Quieter than his coworkers and dressed more formally, Mohammed Ammar takes his job seriously, because he knows how hard it is to find one. In the past three months, five of his friends got so desperate for work, they decided to return to Syria, a country they fled years ago.“The pandemic affected [my friends'] decision [to leave Turkey.]  ... When they left, they had no money to live.”Mohammed Ammar, 23, Syrian who works at a cell phone shop in Istanbul, Turkey“The pandemic affected their decision,” said Mohammed Ammar, who asked not to use his last name because he is living with a temporary protection residency in Turkey. “When they left, they had no money to live.”Related: Drought in Iraq and Syria could collapse food system for millionsThese are the tough choices that millions of Syrians are wrestling with around the world.After 10 years of civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power, controlling vast swaths of the country with an iron fist. Other parts of the country are controlled by largely Kurdish militias and opposition fighters backed by Turkish forces.In Turkey, the COVID-19 pandemic was hard on Syrians, Mohammed Ammar said.Many find informal work for less than minimum wage, or in the service sector, and some lost their jobs when Turkey went under lockdown. While many Turkish citizens had some measures of protection from the government or financial aid, many Syrians did not.Related: She survived a chemical attack in Syria A worker pours a cup of strong coffee at a Syrian sweet shop in Istanbul. Unemployment rates in Turkey are high, and the pandemic affected Syrian workers particularly severely.  Credit: Durrie Bouscaren/The World  His five friends returned to different parts of the country, but all found themselves in increasingly dire circumstances with food and fuel shortages and few job opportunities. Now, finding themselves in a country with rising food prices that outpace any potential earnings, they regret their decision to go back.He worries about them.“Now they regret their decision,” Mohammed Ammar said. “They can't make it there. Life is so difficult, and they want to come back to Turkey again.”Related: A decade of war has devastated Syria's health care system  Workers help a customer at a Syrian dessert shop in Istanbul.  Credit: Durrie Bouscaren/The World  'Voluntary returns'Despite these challenges, several foreign governments are actively encouraging  — and sometimes forcing — Syrian refugees who live within their borders to return to the war-torn nation.In Lebanon, raids on refugee camps and mass arrests make life so unbearable that “voluntary” returns can hardly be classified that way, human rights groups warn. In Denmark, the government has revoked residence permits from some Syrians, because it believes the Syrian capital Damascus is safe. The Turkish government has also been accused of deporting Syrians to northern Syria since 2019.Refugee returns are a popular rallying cry among nationalist voters in Turkey, where 3.7 million Syrians are registered as refugees.Related: Displaced Syrians in Turkey say Syria's elections are a sham The Turkish government claims that 450,000 Syrian refugees have already returned to Syria from Turkey — a number that does not include the high numbers of people who return again to Turkey after staying in Syria. (The UNHCR puts the number of voluntary refugee returns to Syria from all countries at approximately 282,000.)Polls show that Turkish voters do want Syrian refugees to return — and politicians are capitalizing on these sentiments.Turkey's main opposition leader, Kemal Kılıçkaroğlu, has pledged to facilitate the return of refugees to Syria within two years if his party comes into power.“I am not a racist. I am not angry at the people who came here, but at the people who made them come here,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Sept 2. “Everyone should go to their country and live there in peace. They can receive humanitarian assistance there.”Related: Fighting in Syria has subsided. But refugees in Lebanon still hesitate to return home. The grounds of the Fatih Mosque, first built in the 15th century, serve as a popular community space for the Syrian community  Credit: Durrie Bouscaren/The World  A dangerous prospectAid groups, however, warn that returning to Syria is a dangerous prospect.“There has been a tendency to think that the war is over, that some parts of Syria are safe to return, and that refugees can return and go home. But that's premature.”Marie Forestier, refugee and migrant rights researcher, Amnesty International“There has been a tendency to think that the war is over, that some parts of Syria are safe to return, and that refugees can return and go home,” said Marie Forestier, a refugee and migrant rights researcher for Amnesty International. “But that's premature.”In a new report titled, “You're Going to Your Death,” Forestier followed the cases of 66 Syrians who returned to Syria over the past four years. These returnees, she explained, were detained at border checkpoints, interrogated and accused of being terrorists. In one particularly horrific case, a woman and her 5-year-old daughter were raped by intelligence officials.“We believe these are not isolated and exceptional cases,” Forestier said. “People have returned to different areas, going through different border crossings and they have been abused in different intelligence centers.”These risks don't stop at the border, added Haya Atassi of the Syrian Association for Citizens' Dignity in Beirut. Young men who return can be pressed into military service. The regime is known to detain people it suspects of dissent — and also their family members. Even routine government services can put you at risk, because all returnees are seen by the Syrian government as traitors to the state.“You cannot rebuild your house [in Syria] unless you get a security clearance from Syrian intelligence. And when you go and apply for this clearance, they would most probably know that you're a returnee. So, they would detain you.”Haya Atassi, Syrian Association for Citizens' Dignity, Beirut, Lebanon“You cannot rebuild your house unless you get a security clearance from Syrian intelligence. And when you go and apply for this clearance, they would most probably know that you're a returnee,” Atassi said. “So they would detain you.”Even in areas not controlled by the Syrian regime, rampant inflation and an economy in tatters has left many unable to afford food and basic necessities, amid an ever-present threat of violence. A Turkish coffee shop in a largely Syrian neighborhood of Istanbul.  Credit: Durrie Bouscaren/The World  Carving out a lifeMeanwhile, millions of Syrians continue to carve out a life for themselves abroad. In Istanbul, a small Syrian grocery shop is stacked to the ceiling with canned goods. Jars of jam, made from kiwi, apricot and cactus fruit frame a display of marinating olives. A deli counter offers a selection of hummus, labneh and other familiar spreads.Behind the counter, an employee named Hasan said he came to Turkey four years ago. Life here is expensive, and he's never really been able to earn enough to settle down —  keeping him in a state of constant transition. But Hasan, who asked not to use his last name for security reasons, said he'll never go back.“There are Iranian militias, Hezbollah, the Russians [in Syria]… it's like you're going into the middle of a military base. You can't go there.”Hasan, Syrian customer in a Turkish grocery shop“There are Iranian militias, Hezbollah, the Russians… it's like you're going into the middle of a military base,” he said. “You can't go there.”When asked how he feels when Turkish politicians suggest that refugees return to Syria, a customer interrupted.“It's OK. Why are you being silent? Tell them it's racism,” said Adil, a tour guide operator from Aleppo. He also asked not to use his full name, because he's worried about repercussions from the Turkish government.Adil said that he is actively preparing to move back to Syria. He misses those days when he brought tourists to the citadels, the old souks and the columns of ancient Palmyra. He speaks Turkish and owns a business here, but he's a grandfather now. He wants to be somewhere that feels like home.“I want to die with dignity, in my own land,” he said. “[Assad] is still in power, but he doesn't live in my house.”Translations from Arabic provided by Yusuf Al-Mousa.

Peter Assad Sermon Podcast
Peter & Grace Assad's Midweek Interview

Peter Assad Sermon Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 73:55


Hey everyone, Peter here. Thanks for tuning in and supporting this podcast. As you may know, this year has looked quite a bit different than previous ones, and I'd love to share why. This episode, which was released just a few days ago, includes a conversation between my wife Grace, me, and a friend of ours, Jeremy, who pastors a church in KC. He asked if we'd come on his show called The Midweek and relay some of what this past year has looked like, what we've been up to, and how God's been at work. It was both an encouraging and refreshing conversation, so with his permission, we are sharing it with you now. Thanks again for listening. For more, visit poemsofgrace.com.

You Can Tell Me Anything
Kari Assad: My High School Theater Teacher Had a White Women Fetish

You Can Tell Me Anything

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 61:13


Kari Assad tells Teresa about her high school theater program and the bizarre behavior of the director. From his obsession with the blondes in the class to coded racism, Kari and Teresa discuss what it's like to be a woman of color in an arts program even as a teenager in a progressive area. Follow Kari at @assadkarirocks and the podcast at @tellmeanythingpod on Instagram.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

The Duran Podcast
Assad visits Putin. US Removes Air Defenses From Saudi Arabia

The Duran Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2021 14:34


Assad visits Putin. US Removes Air Defenses From Saudi Arabia The Duran: Episode 1091 US Removes Air Defenses From Saudi Base https://news.antiwar.com/2021/09/12/us-removes-air-defenses-from-saudi-base/

DEMENTES
Sobre crecer tu empresa y el balance vida personal-trabajo | Tuto Assad | 205

DEMENTES

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 117:16


Hoy tuve el gusto de platicar con Tuto Assad, cofundador y CEO de Vitau, una farmacia digital para pacientes con enfermedades crónicas y raras. Este es el segundo episodio de DEMENTES con Tuto y algo muy interesante es ver todo lo que ha crecido Vitau desde su primera aparición en el podcast. Tuto estuvo aquí en agosto del 2019 cuando Vitau apenas llevaba algunos meses de ser fundado y como nos cuenta en el episodio de hoy, la empresa ha crecido un montón y hoy tiene más de 30 empleados y posibilidades de expandirse por Latinoamérica. En este episodio hablamos sobre cómo le ha hecho Tuto para crecer Vitau y cómo maneja la empresa en temas desde plantearse objetivos, contratar personas y más. Es un episodio con consejos muy útiles y prácticos así que espero le saquen mucho provecho.  -Únete a Compass por Collective Academy y DEMENTES, el programa para jóvenes pre-universitarios en el que una comunidad de mentores te ayudará a identificar tus fortalezas y definir los primeros pasos de tu carrera profesional. Entra a dementes.mx/aceleramifuturo para más información. -También suscríbete a mi newsletter: https://dementes.mx/correo -Aprende a hacer tu podcast con el curso de Tu Podcast al Siguiente Nivel: https://dementes.mx/mipodcast

Political Misfits
BBC and Syria Reporting; Coup Ousts Condé in Guinea; Unemployment Benefits Expire

Political Misfits

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2021 113:37


Mark Sleboda, international affairs and security analyst, joins us to talk about news of the BBC admitting that a radio documentary it aired on Syria last November “failed to meet editorial standards for accuracy by reporting false claims” and that the BBC program was wrong to insinuate that a whistleblower who had doubts about the accepted narrative about a gas attack in Douma, Syria, was motivated by the prospect of a reward when there was none. We also talk about the state of whistleblowers at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and whether the media will take another look at the Douma attack after these recent revelations.Netfa Freeman, organizer at Pan-African Community Action (PACA), member of the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace, and co-producer and host for the radio show and podcast Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM, talks to us about the military coup that overthrew Guinean President Alpha Condé, who had been in office since 2010, but saw very bloody protests and mass civil unrest during his tenure, and how these could have led to his ousting. We also talk about Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, now in power in the country, and the intersection of extractive industries and globalization, and the connections of the political instability in the country with power struggles in other countries of the region.Jon Jeter, author and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist with more than 20 years of journalistic experience and a former Washington Post bureau chief and award-winning foreign correspondent on two continents, joins hosts Michelle Witte and Bob Schlehuber to talk about the expiration of unemployment benefits for at least 7 million Americans, and the impact this will have on the well being of our citizens, how a new “news website,” The Well News, is actually funded by and editorially directed by two centrist political advocates, consultants and PR professionals, our increasing homeless crisis, and the case for bolstering Supplemental Security Income.

Branch 251
Beginnings

Branch 251

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 27, 2021 16:01


In this first episode of the third season, we bring you up to speed on what has happened in court since May. As the end of the trial is nearing, the proceedings zero in on Anwar R.'s role in Assad's bloody regime. Plus, we introduce you to our new host, Naya Skaf. For more information and regular updates on the trial, follow us onhttps://twitter.com/Branch_251 ( Twitter) Follow Hannah el-Hitami on https://twitter.com/hannahel711 (Twitter) https://www.ecchr.eu/en/case/trial-updates-first-trial-worldwide-on-torture-in-syria/ (ECCHR trial reports) https://syriaaccountability.org/topic/trial-monitoring/updates/ (Syria Justice and Accountability Centre's monitoring of the trial) Logo design byhttp://www.laurenshebly.nl/ ( laurenshebly.nl) -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images. Theme music by Kevin McLeod, additional music via Blue Dot Sessions Support for our podcast comes from German Federal Foreign Office funds that are provided by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen IFA's zivik Funding Programme. Support this podcast

The Underworld Podcast
Syria's Narco State, Jihadi Supersoldiers and Hezbollah Traffickers: The Story of Captagon

The Underworld Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2021 42:31


Multiple billion dollar shipments of the drug known as Captagon have been seized in the last few years as the cheap amphetamine floods the Middle East. Alleged to have helped fund the Syrian Civil war, the tiny pills have been showing up in numerous massive shipments confiscated in Mediterranean port cities, often sent by shadowy, high level networks. The pills are all almost exclusively made in Syria, and they're very likely the Assad regime's most valuable export. But what, exactly, is Captagon, who is doing it, and where did it come from?

The Wright Show
Lebanon's Plight—and Syria's (Robert Wright & Rania Khalek)

The Wright Show

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 60:00


Last year's Beirut port explosion ... The roots of Lebanon's economic crisis ... Sectarianism and the dueling narratives of the Lebanese civil war ... Why did Hezbollah intervene in Syria? ... Rania: US policy in Syria helped lead to the rise of ISIS ... What if outside powers had stayed out of Syria? ... The effect of US sanctions on Syria ... How popular is Assad's government? ... Why Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia intervened in the conflict ...

Bloggingheads.tv
Lebanon's Plight—and Syria's (Robert Wright & Rania Khalek)

Bloggingheads.tv

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 60:00


Last year's Beirut port explosion ... The roots of Lebanon's economic crisis ... Sectarianism and the dueling narratives of the Lebanese civil war ... Why did Hezbollah intervene in Syria? ... Rania: US policy in Syria helped lead to the rise of ISIS ... What if outside powers had stayed out of Syria? ... The effect of US sanctions on Syria ... How popular is Assad's government? ... Why Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia intervened in the conflict ...

60 Minutes
60 Minutes 7/11

60 Minutes

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2021 42:40


On this week's "60 Minutes," evidence of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime's legacy of war crimes. Scott Pelley reports on the effort to gather and maintain evidence against President Assad, for the acts of terror he perpetrated against his own people during Syria's civil war. Ten year after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused a massive nuclear meltdown in the Daiichi Power Plant, Lesley Stahl reports on the unprecedented cleanup efforts. And two-time Pulitzer-winner Colson Whitehead opens up to John Dickerson about his writing process, his wide variety of interests, getting rejected and "the space of very little hope" he found himself working in when he wrote "The Underground Railroad" and "The Nickel Boys."See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.