The Iranian-Israeli Conflict Within the Syrian Civil War

August 8, 2018

For seven long years, Syria has been engulfed in civil war. The death toll now exceeds a half million. More than five million refugees have fled abroad, and millions more are internally displaced.

The dynastic dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad almost certainly would have fallen had it not been for the intervention of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, various Iranian-controlled Shia militias, and the Russian military.

Lately, Tehran also has been building a military machine in Syria aimed at Israel. And Israel is responding.

To examine how these conflicts are likely to evolve, FDD president and Foreign Podicy host Clifford D. May is joined by FDD Research Fellow and Levant expert Tony Badran, Security Studies Group Senior Fellow Matt Brodsky, and FDD Senior Vice President for Research Jonathan Schanzer.

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Religion and Secularism in Central Asia

July 20, 2018

Kazakhstan is one of the ten largest countries in the world, yet most Americans couldn’t find it on a map. Today, the former Soviet Republic is an anti-Islamist, Muslim-majority nation, yet most Americans have no idea we have friends there. To learn more about this distant and intriguing corner of the world, host Clifford D. May is joined by Svante Cornell, Director of the Central Asian Caucasus Institute at the American Foreign Policy Council.

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Syria’s World War

July 3, 2018

Syria has been at war for seven long years. More than a half million people have been killed. More than 11 million – close to half Syria’s pre-war population – have been displaced either internally or as refugees in other countries. 

But Syrians are not the only ones involved in this fight.  The Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah – the Iranian regime’s foreign legion – and Russia have helped keep dictator Bashar al-Assad in power. Israel, Turkey and the U.S. also have been playing significant roles.

To discuss the conflict in Syria, where it is heading, what U.S. policy is and where it should be, host Clifford D. May is joined by FDD’s senior counselor John Hannah and director of research David Adesnik.

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Turkey’s Election, Erdogan’s Counterrevolution

July 1, 2018

Not so long ago, Turkey appeared to be the model: a Muslim-majority nation that was becoming free, democratic and prosperous; a NATO ally; a friend of America and Europe.

Today, all of that is very much in doubt. To discuss Turkey’s trajectory in the aftermath of elections that have strengthened the hand of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, FDD president and Foreign Podicy host Clifford D. May is joined by former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman, FDD senior fellow Aykan Erdemir and FDD research analyst Merve Tahiroglu.

Episode resources:
Erdogan's Re-election Win Gives Him Vastly Expanded Powers in Turkey 
– Carlotta Gall; The New York Times

Turkish Elections: A Win That Cannot Be Stolen 
– Aykan Erdemir; FDD Policy Brief

Erdogan’s Hostage Diplomacy: Why We Need a Transatlantic Response 
– Aykan Erdemir and Eric S. Edelman; The Globalist

Erdogan’s Hostage Diplomacy: Western Nationals in Turkish Prisons 
– Aykan Erdemir and Eric S. Edelman; FDD Research

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Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran’s March Across the Middle East

June 13, 2018

Lebanon and Iraq both recently held elections, which is good news – or is it? Hezbollah, Iran's terrorist foreign legion, is now more firmly in control of Lebanon than ever before. Meanwhile, Iraq still faces many perils, not least from the Islamic Republic of Iran as it pursues its imperialist ambitions in the region.

In episode 14 of Foreign Podicy, host Clifford D. May discusses these developments with Tony Badran, an FDD research fellow born and raised in Lebanon who focuses on the Levant, and Zalmay Khalilzad, born and raised in Afghanistan who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the UN.

Episode resources:

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Nothing but Net: Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare

May 21, 2018

A peril that may not be on your radar screen: Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare (CEEW). Computers and the Internet have made our lives easier but they’ve also left us vulnerable to an arsenal of cyber weapons that threaten us as much as terrorists, guns and bombs.

Foreign Podicy host Clifford D. May is joined by Dr. Samantha Ravich, a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies as well as a principal investigator for FDD’s Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare project, to discuss CEEW, and what must be done to combat it.

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Of Strikes and Strategy: U.S. Policy in Syria

April 24, 2018

War will always be hell – but the laws of war were meant to make wars at least a little less hellish. In Syria, however, the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad – backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and by Russia – has many times used prohibited chemical weapons to murder innocent men, women, and children. President Trump has now twice responded with punitive attacks. What has he achieved and what still needs to be done to protect American interests?

Foreign Podicy host Clifford D. May is joined by John Hannah, senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has served on the national security teams of both democratic and republican administrations, to discuss the ongoing crises and potential ways forward in Syria and the broader region.

Episode Resources:

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In the Shadow of the Pyramids: Egypt’s Past Glories and Future Perils

April 17, 2018

It’s been eight years since what was called—with more hope than accuracy—the “Arab Spring.” Last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi won reelection, surprising no-one since he had no serious competitors. Mr. Sisi may not be a democrat but he does appear to be a reformer, and he’s battling jihadis on Egyptian soil. Should the United States support him, challenge him – or both?

Foreign Podicy host Cliff May discusses these and other issues with Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Samuel Tadros, an expert on Egypt’s history, politics and religions.

Show resources: 

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The Future of the Iran Deal

March 27, 2018

There are three views on the Iran nuclear weapons deal, more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The first is to insist that it’s the best deal that could have been cut, and that it prevents the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—at least anytime soon. So, stick with it. A second view holds that the deal is flawed, but it can be fixed and it’s up to America’s European allies to get that job done without delay. The third view claims that the flaws in the deal are fatal, and the deal needs to be terminated.

On this week’s episode of Foreign Podicy we ask, “What’s ahead?” Host Cliff May is joined by FDD Chief Executive Mark Dubowitz, an expert on Iran, sanctions, and the exact details of the 159-page JCPOA, to unravel what the future and fate of the Iran nuclear deal could be.

Show resources: 

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Africa’s Jihadist Frontiers

March 6, 2018

Jihadists in Africa are not just spreading. They’re also learning and innovating.  Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have spawned such groups as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab south of the Sahara, in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and beyond. A new FDD study shows that the number of jihadist attacks against Western interests in Africa has nearly tripled since the so-called 2011 Arab Spring. Yet, we hear little about these groups and their acts of terrorism in the mainstream media.

Foreign Podicy host, Cliff May, is joined by FDD Senior Fellow Daveed Gartenstein-Ross to discuss these evolving threats and what can be done now to stop – or at least slow – them.

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