Babel will take you beyond the headlines to discuss what’s really happening in the Middle East and North Africa. It features regional experts who explain what’s...
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Tarek Megerisi: Libya's Crises
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Tarek Megerisi, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. They talk about the ongoing conflict in Libya and the interests of international actors in the country. Tarek also discusses the recent flooding that devastated the city of Darna, and how the last decade of conflict contributed to the degradation of key infrastructure in Libya. Then, Jon continues the conversation with Will Todman and Leah Hickert, discussing the ways natural disasters challenge governments in the region.
Tarek Megerisi, “The politics of catastrophe: Morocco, Libya, and how Europeans should respond,” European Council on Foreign Relations, September 13, 2023.
Transcript, “Tarek Megerisi: Libya’s Crises,” CSIS, August 8, 2023
Photo credit: SeeSaw Foto.
A Mezze: Tunisia's Hunger Games
Amid widespread shortages of basic products in Tunisia, grocery store owners have become like black marketeers in one manifestation of Tunisia’s growing food crisis. A new Mezze from the CSIS Middle East Program.
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad: Iraq Through Iraqis' Eyes
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with award-winning Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. During the conversation, Abdul-Ahad discusses the fallout from the war and U.S. occupation, his career reporting from Iraq, and the ways that working alongside leading journalists influenced his work. Then, Jon continues the conversation with Natasha Hall and Leah Hickert, discussing the legacies of sectarianism in Iraq and Lebanon.
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, A Stranger in Your Own City: Travels in the Middle East's Long War, Penguin Random House, 2023.
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, "Guns, cash, and frozen chicken: the militia boss doling out aid in Baghdad," The Guardian, March 20, 2023.
Transcript, "Ghaith Abdul-Ahad: Iraq Through Iraqis' Eyes," CSIS, August 22, 2023.
Photo credit: Rena Effendi.
A Mezze: Baaloul Verde
Baaloul is not like most towns in Lebanon for two reasons. First, its inhabitants do not use any of Lebanon’s most common languages; instead, the lingua franca is Spanish. Second, it has reliable electricity. A new Mezze from the CSIS Middle East Program.
Haneen Sayed: Lebanon's Economic Crisis
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Dr. Haneen Sayed, an international development expert and former lead specialist at the World Bank. During the conversation, Dr. Sayed discusses the roots of the economic crisis in Lebanon and how the international donor community can play a more constructive role. Then, Jon continues the conversation with Will Todman and Marty Pimentel, discussing the effect of sectarianism on Lebanon's political economy and the legacy of protest and civil war.
Haneen Sayed, "How Better Social Protection Can Strengthen Lebanon's Social Contract," Carnegie Middle East Center, June 14, 2023.
Jon Alterman and Jihad Azour, "The Middle East's Economic Outlook," CSIS, January 10, 2023.
Transcript, "Haneen Sayed: Lebanon's Economic Crisis," CSIS, August 22, 2023.
Babel will take you beyond the headlines to discuss what’s really happening in the Middle East and North Africa. It features regional experts who explain what’s going on, provide context on pivotal developments, and highlight trends you may have missed. Jon Alterman, senior vice president, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts the podcast along with his colleagues from the Middle East Program. This podcast is made possible through the generous support of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates. All views, positions, and conclusions expressed here should be understood to be solely of those of the speaker(s).