Middle East Focus podcast

Al Qaeda and lessons from the past 20 years of counterterrorism

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Peter Bergen and Colin Clarke join guest host Charles Lister to discuss Bergen’s new book, The Rise and Fall of Osama Bin Laden, as well as the Biden administration’s handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and concerns about the country once again becoming a safe haven for Al Qaeda under the Taliban.

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  • Middle East Focus podcast

    America's Global Posturing Review


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

    Takeaways from COP26


    Mohammed Mahmoud, director of MEI's Climate and Water Program, and Abbey Krulik, who attended the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, as an observer, discuss takeaways from the conference and the Glasgow Pact that was signed there.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

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  • Middle East Focus podcast

    The Legacy of the Iranian Hostage Crisis


    Alex Vatanka and Michael Metrinko discuss the Iranian hostage crisis, how it’s shaped US-Iran relations, and what that history tells us about the present and potential future of the Islamic Republic. Metrinko also recounts his experience as a political officer at the embassy in Iran in 1979 and being one of the 52 hostages.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Afghanistan Under the Taliban


    Marvin Weinbaum and Javid Ahmad discuss conditions in Afghanistan since falling back under Taliban rule, including worsening economic and humanitarian crises, the security situation, the role of international and regional actors, and where things might be headed moving forward.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Converging Lines: the Arab Diaspora in the U.S.


    Artists Helen Zughaib and John Halaka join MEI’s Lyne Sneige in conversation on the MEI Art Gallery’s current exhibition, "Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S." They discuss the exhibition's themes of exile, memory formation, changing identities, and the state of in-betweenness that often accompanies migration. Converging Lines is on view until November 17. Learn more at www.mei.edu/art-gallery
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Saudi-Iran Talks


    Mohammed Alsulami and Kasra Aarabi join Banafsheh Keynoush to discuss the latest talks between long-time regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. Several rounds of talks between Riyadh and Tehran been held in Baghdad since April. They are taking place amid a broader regional trend toward deconfliction and as negotiations in Vienna over the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal appear to have bogged down.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Tunisia's political crisis


    Lilia Blaise and Fadil Aliriza join Intissar Fakir for a discussion on Tunisia's political turmoil following President Kais Saied's series of moves since July to reshape the country's government.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Iraq's Elections


    Marsin Alshamary joins the program to discuss the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections on Oct. 10. Originally scheduled for 2022, the elections were moved up amid pressure from the Tishreen protest movement that began in late 2019. MEI Senior Fellow Randa Slim also speaks with two long-time watchers of Iraqi politics, Farhad Alaaldin and Naufel Alhassan, about how they see things playing out and the impact the elections might have on Iraq’s political landscape going forward.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Iran and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization


    Iulia Sabina-Joja and Alex Vatanka join today's program to discuss Iranian foreign policy and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Amid growing concerns about the regional repercussions of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the SCO met for its 20th anniversary summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on September 16th and 17th. Regional security cooperation and Iranian accession were at the top of the agenda, with Iran formally joining the organization as a full member on September 17th. 
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    9/11’s legacy for U.S.-Middle East relations


    Ross Harrison, Paul Salem, and Randa Slim join host Alistair Taylor to reflect on 9/11’s impact on US policy in the Middle East over the past 20 years and how its legacy has been viewed by the region.

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