Middle East and North Africa


  • Iran-US: Preventing a Collision Course

    ECFR, in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES), invited to a discussion on “Iran-US: Preventing a Collision Course” on 21 January.
    Following a series of attacks in Iraq that culminated in the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and missile attacks against airbases hosting the U.S. military, Iran and the United States have reached a peak of military escalation under the Trump administration. European leaders have called for urgent restraint and offered to engage in a diplomatic process to reduce tensions.

    Moderator: Ellie Geranmayeh (Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR)

    Discussants: David Jalilvand (CEO of Orient Matters); Bijan Khajehpour (economist and an expert on the geopolitics of energy); Adnan Tabatabai (co-founder and CEO of CARPO – Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient);

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    Cover: De “facto declaration of war”? - Soleimani’s killing as turning point in the Middle East

    De "facto declaration of war"? - Soleimani's killing as turning point in the Middle East

    With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and frenzy. What does the killing mean for the future of the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the US role within it? Was there a strategy behind this offence and if yes, what kind? How should Europe react? In a special podcast edition, Mark Leonard talks with our senior policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh, Jeremy Shapiro and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the implications for the neighbouring countries, Europe’s mediation role and whether there is a chance for de-escalation.

    This podcast was recorded on 6 January 2020.

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    Cover: Iran: Calculating the cost of US sanctions

    Iran: Calculating the cost of US sanctions

    Over a year into the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, the re-imposition of sanctions have not only placed in jeopardy the Iran nuclear deal, but also hit the Iranian economy.
    The panel consisting of Esfandyar Batmanghelidj(Founder, Bourse & Bazaar), David Ramin Jalilvand(CEO, Orient Matters), Tara Sepheri Far(Iran Researcher, Human Rights Watch and chaired by Ellie Geranmayeh (Deputy Head of the MENA Programme, ECFR) looked at all the costs associated with the US sanctions policy including the impact on ordinary Iranians, the Iranian leadership and how this ties into the recent wave of protests across the country.
    The event on 3rd December considered the impact of the US sanctions on trade between Europe and Iran, particularly in the humanitarian sector.

    Recorded on 3 December 2019 in Berlin.

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    Cover: Yemen - Seizing the moment of oppurtunity?

    Yemen - Seizing the moment of oppurtunity?

    Recording of the Lunch Discussion analysing Yemen's role in the current Gulf crisis and how recent regional developments will have an impact on the UN-coordinated peace process.

    Almost a year after the widely praised UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement, there have been significant changes in the Yemeni war but peace appears no nearer. Focus has shifted away from the Hodeida front, leading to the UAE’s military disengagement from Yemen, and leaving Saudi Arabia in sole charge of the war at a time when finding an appropriate response to the September attacks on ARAMCO remains its priority. Within Yemen itself, in recent months, military action and negotiations have concentrated on the summer’s developments in the South, and Saudi attempts to solve the impasse created by southern separatist takeover of Aden, revealing serious differences between the two main members of the Saudi-led coalition.

    Our speakers addressed the role Yemen plays in the overall Gulf crisis, including Gulf States perspectives resulting from US volatility, recent and potential developments in the UN-coordinated peace process and the implications of recent internal events in the country.

    Recorded on 14 November 2019.

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    Cover: Iran & the US escalation game - What Europe can do?

    Iran & the US escalation game - What Europe can do?

    In this episode, live from Brussels, Ellie Geranmayeh is standing in for our host Mark Leonard to discuss Iran’s further withdrawal from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement. 
    After the Iran Strategy Meeting meeting, she met with Hossein Mousavian (Princeton University), Ilan Goldenberg (Center for a New American Security) and Nasser Hadian (University of Teheran) to analyse the responses coming from the US and European governments, in particular from France. By marking the 40th anniversary of the Iran Hostage Crisis, they look back on how this has shaped the Iran-US relations in the past 4 years. Moreover, after one year, how has the re-imposition of the US sanction impacted Iran domestically? 

    This podcast was recorded on 6 November 2019.

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    Cover: After Baghdadi is before Baghdadi: How the West still has to fight ISIS

    After Baghdadi is before Baghdadi: How the West still has to fight ISIS

    How will IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s killing impact ISIS as a terror organisation and the situation in Syria? Host Mark Leonard is joined by Anthony Dworkin and Asli Aydıntaşbaş to analyse the current events and political implications for Syria’s neighbouring countries, the US and the EU. As the European Union has failed to come up with a coherent policy on how to handle their citizens who travelled to join ISIS, they argue it would still be best, to bring them home and to try them there. But how could the EU member states go ahead with the process?

    Further read: "Beyond good and evil: Why Europe should bring ISIS foreign fighters home" by Anthony Dworkin

    The podcast was recorded on 30 October 2019.

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    Cover: Europe with no cards to play: Erdoğan, Trump, and Europe’s weaknesses

    Europe with no cards to play: Erdoğan, Trump, and Europe's weaknesses

    Turkey's offensive into northeast Syria is moving at an unprecedented pace with grave consequences. Europe's utter irrelevance in the face of US withdrawal from the Turkish/Syrian border has been thrown in to stark light, particularly as it fails to take responsibility for European Isis members in the region. Europes weakness on migration and the refugee crisis as a whole has also been highlighted. What can and should Europe do at this crisis point? As events unfold, Asli Aydıntaşbaş, senior policy fellow with the Wider Europe programme joins host Mark Leonard from Turkey. Mark is also joined by head of ECFR's MENA programme, Julien Barnes-Dacey. Jeremy Shapiro, our research director, provides insight into Trump and Erdoğan's relationship breakdown and what US foreign policy under Trump may continue to look like.

    This podcast was recorded on 10 October 2019.

    Bookshelf:
    "The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920" By Eugene Rogan
    "The Noise of Time" by Julien Barnes
    "Chimera" by Alexandros Yannis
    Details of the text message sent by a No.10 source to the Spectator

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    Cover: Meddling or Bargaining? - Emmanuel Macron’s Iran Initiative

    Meddling or Bargaining? - Emmanuel Macron's Iran Initiative

    This week, ECFR director Mark Leonard discusses with experts Ellie Geranmayeh and Julien Barnes-Dacey the French president Emmanuel Macron's bold initiative: Europeans are now to explore a credit line for Iran to entice the sanctions-battered country to keep abiding by an international nuclear deal. But the US and president Trump are sceptical.

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    The podcast was recorded on 6 September 2019.

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    Towards a new Saudi hyper-nationalism?

    Le podcast de notre discussion du mardi 9 juillet « Vers un nouvel hyper-nationalisme saoudien ? », en présence de Eman Al-Hussein, chercheuse associée à l’ECFR, de Fatiha Dazi-Heni, chercheuse à l'Institut de recherche stratégique de l'École militaire (IRSEM)et de Camille Lons coordinatrice du programme Moyen-Orient Afrique du Nord de l’ECFR.

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    Cover: Quelle issue pour la situation en Libye ?

    Quelle issue pour la situation en Libye ?

    Podcast de notre BCM du 5 mai « Quelle issue pour la situation en Libye ? » en présence de Tarek Megerisi, chercheur au programme MENA de l’ECFR, Mary Fitzgerald, chercheuse et consultante indépendante et Virginie Collombier, professeure à l’Institut universitaire européen (IUE).

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    Video: Video: The Middle East’s new battlelines

    ECFR - 03 May 2019

    ECFR’s New Battlelines Project maps Iran’s coalition of allies, regional influence and the counter-coalition that has formed to oppose them.

    Cover: Le retour des combattants terroristes étrangers dans l’Union Européenne

    Le retour des combattants terroristes étrangers dans l’Union Européenne

    Podcast de notre discussion du 28 mars « Le retour des combattants terroristes étrangers dans l’Union Européenne » en présence de Marc Hecker, chercheur au Centre des études de sécurité de l’IFRI, Sharon Weill, chercheuse à l'École des affaires internationales (PSIA) de Science Po, Anthony Dworkin, chercheur au programme MENA de l’ECFR et Manuel Lafont Rapnouil, directeur du bureau de Paris de l’ECFR.

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