Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
James Emery / Flickr

This week, Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis discuss news from the Middle East and what it means for U.S. interests in the region. Landis is the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise are in Washington, D.C. this week, and discuss some of the comments they've been hearing about U.S-Iranian nuclear talks, and the implications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection.

Then, a conversation with Texas A&M University political scientist Mohammad Tabaar about international sources of Iran's domestic politics. He argues Iran is actually one of the most pro-American countries in the Muslim World.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in Washington this week says about a possible shift in U.S./Middle East alliances. Many traditional U.S. allies are worried Washington might shift toward Iran and away from Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Later, Landis and Rebecca Cruise talk with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood. He compares this decade’s uprisings in the Arab World to what he calls an “Atlantic Spring” that started in 1776.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 23, 2014, before the two sat down to discuss a possible cease-fire to stop Israel's fight with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
U.S. Department of State

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an address before Congress on Tuesday, urging President Obama not to craft a nuclear deal with Iran.

The domestic politics of the speech have been widely discussed, but the speech has raised issues of shifting U.S. alliances with Middle East countries.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss tensions between Israel and the United States ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next week, and European nations that are working to develop a more unified energy policy.

Then, a conversation with art historian Maya Stanfield-Mazzi. She studies pre-Colombian art in the Andes, and says the work of South America’s Inca culture was abstract, without a clear narrative.

Joshua Landis discusses Tuesday night’s State of the Union address and President Obama’s proposal to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, and Rebecca Cruise provides an update on anti-Islam protests in Leipzig, Germany.

Then Joshua and Suzette Grillot talk with University of Oklahoma sociologist Loretta Bass about first- and second-generation immigrant populations in France, and revisit issues of race and identity.

President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress.
The White House / Twitter

President Obama spent very little time on foreign policy and foreign affairs during Tuesday night's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

But he did call on lawmakers to pass a resolution authorizing the use of force against self-proclaimed Islamic State militants.

Rebecca Cruise and Joshua Landis join Suzette Grillot to discuss subtle reminders of Nelson Mandela's controversial legacy during a week of celebration of the late president's life, and Pope Francis's selection as Time  magazine's 2013 "Person of the Year.'

Later, a conversation with Oklahoma native and former Army interrogator Eric Maddox. Ten years ago Friday, months of his intelligence work paid off when U.S. soldiers captured deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Ted Eytan / Flickr Creative Commons

It's been just over a week since former South African President Nelson Mandela passed away at the age of 95. A memorial service Tuesday drew leaders from across the globe, and the inspirational statesman will be buried Sunday in a private ceremony in his beloved boyhood village of Qunu.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the University of Oklahoma's Center for Middle East Studies, says within two weeks of Mandela's release from a 27-year prison term in 1990, he traveled to the Middle East to embrace Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered some rare, if fleeting, hope Thursday in regard to his country's relationship with Iran.

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, he said the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani "might" offer an opportunity for diplomacy and that he would "consider" meeting him.

"I don't care about the meeting. I don't have a problem with the diplomatic process," Netanyahu said.

"You're saying you would meet him?" Steve asked.