Saudi Arabia and the War in Yemen

Michael Stephens comes back on the show to talk about the ongoing war in Yemen. We covered many topics related to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the region:

  • What caused Saudi Arabia to launch their air campaign
  • The coalition the Saudis have built
  • Oman's decision not to join the coalition
  • Pakistan's decision not to support a ground invasion in Yemen
  • Rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and what that could mean for the region
  • How Iran views the situation in Yemen compared to its other concerns in the region
  • Options available to try to end the fighting
  • The humanitarian crisis in Yemen that continues to worsen

Links:

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Boston Bombing and the Process of Radicalization

Matthew Levitt comes back on the show to talk about his expert testimony in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as well as the process of radicalization and countering violent extremism.

Exhibits from the trial:

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ISIS Twitter Census and Data Science

Jonathon Morgan comes on the show to talk about using data science to analyze and understand issues in the Middle East. Jonathon is the co-founder of CrisisNET, and recently co-authored the ISIS Twitter Census with J.M. Berger.

Topics:

  • The data collection and verification involved in making the ISIS Twitter Census
  • Dealing with multiple languages in their data set
  • Information that can be learned from a large data set of ISIS supporters
  • Potential to use data like this to study radicalization and improve countering violent extremism strategies
  • Why journalists, scholars, and others should try using data science tools and techniques
  • How to start using data science, even if you have no experience
  • Limitations of data science and "big data"
  • How to ask the right questions to make your data more valuable
  • How subject matter experts can better work with data scientists

Links:

Thanks to Middle East Week patrons Alex Dunne and Michael Jorgensen! You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

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Jordanian Salafism and the Jihad in Syria

Kirk Sowell comes back on the show to talk about his new paper Jordanian Salafism and the Jihad in Syria. We covered a lot of information including:

  • What is Salafism and Salafi-Jihadism?
  • Who is Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, and how did he come to play a central role in these issues?
  • The split between Maqdisi and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
  • Jordanian Salafi-Jihadists turn towards Syria and Jabhat al-Nusra
  • The effects of the ISIS-JaN split on Jordanian Salafi-Jihadists
  • What the Jordanian government lets the Jordanian Salafi-Jihadists do, and why
  • Maqdisi's role in the efforts to free Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh
  • What could be next for Maqdisi and the Jordanian Salafi-Jihadists

Links:

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Human Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia

David Andrew Weinberg comes on the show to talk about human rights in Saudi Arabia. We covered many topics including:

  • What are the most pressing human rights issues in Saudi Arabia?
  • How much influence does the U.S. have to affect change on Saudi human rights issues?
  • Saudi policies that have lead to, or perpetuated, human rights abuses in other Middle Eastern countries
  • The strategic implications of Saudi Arabia's human rights record
  • What it takes to get changes implemented in Saudi Arabia
  • How the U.S. can push for change without jeopardizing its relationship with Saudi Arabia

Links:

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This episode was supported by Scott Herbert. You can help support the show by making a small donation on Patreon!

Transcript of this episode - produced by Frederick Wertz