India's Middle East Foreign Policy

Shashank Joshi comes on the show to talk about India's Middle East foreign policy. Topics we covered include:

  • Importance of remittances from Indians living in the Middle East
  • India's relationship with Israel
  • Why India sees an "advantage in obscurity" in deciding its Middle East strategies
  • Indian hostages in Iraq and India's inability to effectively respond to the situation
  • India's need for a "Look West" policy in addition to "Look East"
  • India's relationship with Iran and Saudi Arabia


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Libya: Understanding the Crisis

Mary Fitzgerald comes back on the show to discuss the conflict in Libya. Topics we covered include:

  • The two competing parliaments, their strengths and weaknesses, and the various armed groups that make up their coalitions
  • The complexity of the conflict, and the importance of resisting simplistic narratives to describe the situation
  • Political leaders’ ability to control the armed groups operating in Libya
  • Attempts by the UN and UN Special Representative Bernadino Leon to deal with the crisis
  • Contradictions between what Libyan political leaders say and what they do
  • External actors’ role in the development and escalation of the crisis
  • How Libya’s oil factors into the conflict
  • What could come next in the Libyan conflict

Make sure you check out the book the upcoming book that Mary co-authored: The Libyan Revolution and its Aftermath - you can pre-order it on Amazon.

Jabhat al-Nusrah: Infighting & Evolving Strategy

Sam Heller comes on the show to talk about infighting in Jabhat al-Nusrah, JaN's evolving strategy in Syria, and their relationship with Ahrar al-Sham and other jihadi groups in Syria.

Sam's recent posts on


Continuing Problems for the Iraqi Security Forces

Nate Rabkin comes back on the show to talk about the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). We discussed the problems that were exposed by the ISIS advance this summer, efforts over the past few months to rebuild the ISF, the importance of Shiite militias in Iraq, the lack of cooperation between the ISF and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, what US airstrikes and military advisors mean for the ISF, current problems within the ISF, and more.

Nate is the managing editor of Inside Iraqi Politics, an excellent newsletter with in-depth information and analysis on Iraq.

Sources of Turkish Conduct - Part 2

Aaron Stein joins me for part 2 of our discussion on Turkey's Middle East foreign policy. You can listen to part 1 here.

In this episode we talked about Turkey's foreign policy towards Syria and Iraq, from the time the AKP came to power in 2002 to the current crisis.


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