Curious minds select the most fascinating podcasts from around the world. Discover hand-piqd audio recommendations on your favorite topics.
Neil Hauer is an independent analyst focused on Syria, Russia, and the Caucasus. Based in Tbilisi, Georgia, he served as senior intelligence analyst at The SecDev Group, an Ottawa-based geopolitical risk consultancy, for three years. He is presently engaged primarily on Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict.
Middle East Institute is one of the leading think tanks focusing on the wider Middle East in Washington, DC. Their weekly podcast, Middle East Focus, hosts discussions of current events and US policy in the region with guests ranging from diplomats to journalists, analysts, humanitarian workers, and other practitioners.
The most recent episode focuses on Gaza, where the already-dire situation has deteriorated further in recent months. Elizabeth Campbell, the Washington representative of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) discusses the massive (and unexpected) blow her organization suffered when the US government decided to cut all funding to the group in August. UNRWA is the largest provider of humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip and faced huge challenges following the cut in funding, but has impressively managed to find enough alternative donors to cover all but $21 million of the $446 million deficit it faced, expecting to cover the remainder by the rest of the year.
Nathan Stock, a non-resident scholar at MEI, then covers the fallout from the recent raid by Israeli commandos into Gaza. He also covers the domestic Israeli political fallout for Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and the ongoing Qatari- and Egyptian-backed negotiations for a unified Palestinian government. The podcast wraps up with some forecasts for 2019.
This is a nicely detailed yet digestible 20-minute exploration of a very salient issue for the region, with a guest (Campbell) who is well-positioned to give insight on the topic. Scrolling through some older episodes, I can see a number that I plan to listen to immediately, especially the November 15 episode on Libya. Definitely a good addition for anyone interested in the wider Middle East.