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Thessa Lageman
Journalist, Writer, Photographer
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piqer: Thessa Lageman
Friday, 04 January 2019

A Challenging Year For The Middle East Again

The host of this podcast talks to five scholars from this Washington-based think tank about last year's major developments in the Middle East.

The first guest, Paul Salem, says there was a little less destruction in Syria than in the previous years. Yemen probably saw its worst year in terms of conflict and the humanitarian crisis, while the conflict in Libya stayed more or less the same.

Russia has returned, China is emerging as a player, US is either a little bit in retreat or confused about its policy options ... at least people in the region are confused about reading the US.

The biggest story, he says, was the crisis that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, got into after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. “All of that casts a very long shadow.”

Gerald Feierstein also speaks about the Saudi leader:

Where you had had kind of a willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt … All of the events of the year I think really left people more or less convinced that MBS is a threat to regional security and stability and threat as well to US-Saudi relationship.

They also talk about the economic and diplomatic blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, which started 1.5 years ago. 

I don’t think it is going to die, but it certainly isn’t going to thrive either.

Alex Vatanka talks about the Trump administration walking away from the nuclear deal with Iran and reimposing American sanctions, which has terrible consequences for the Iranian economy.

Before the broken deal, investors went to Iran and saw great opportunities:

but the problem is you always wonder who runs the show in Iran.

Gönül Tol calls the recent Turkish economic crisis a result of “years of mismanagement”. She also sheds light on the relations of Turkey with the US, Europe, Russia, Iran and China.

Finally, Ahmad Majidyar speaks about the negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, the challenges for the government to reach economic growth and the hopes the parliamentary elections brought. 

A Challenging Year For The Middle East Again
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