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Middle East

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump walks with Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto at the end of their joint statement at Los Pinos, the presidential official residence, in Mexico City, Wednesday.
Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

As the United States gears up for the 2016 presidential election, voters must tackle the ever-present concerns of foreign policy and international engagement. In an era of globalization, increasingly open channels of information, disputes over land and growing trans-national trade, Americans are trying to figure out America’s role in the world.

Provided / ahmed-ahmed.com

Editor's Note: This interview originally aired March 22, 2013.

Audiences most likely know Egyptian-American stand-up comedian Ahmed Ahmed as a member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.

“Comedians have become, most recently, cultural ambassadors of the world,” Ahmed said. “Whether you're in Africa, or America, or Russia, or Asia, laughter is the common language of the world.”

The Ottoman surrender of Jerusalem to the British on December 9, 1917.
Wikimedia Commons

 

The first World War’s impact on the Middle East was significant, but the aftermath of the war shaped the region as we know it today.

The partition of the Ottoman Empire was arrived at through the process of wartime diplomacy, according to Eugene Rogan, a historian at Oxford University who spoke at the University of Oklahoma’s Teach-In on the First World War on March 7.

Russia staked a claim to Istanbul and waterways linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. The French claimed Syria and Cilicia in modern day southeastern Turkey.

On this episode of OETA and the University of Oklahoma Outreach's Current Conversations, host Robert Con Davis-Undiano talks with Joshua Landis, the director of OU's Center for Middle East Studies, the author of the blog Syria Comment, and a regular contributor to KGO

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 talks with Joshua Landis about three stories he’s following in the Middle East: Inspectors in Syria have found traces of banned military chemicals, new opportunities for France as the U.S. relationship with the region becomes strained, and the Vatican’s recognition of the Palestinian state.

Then Suzette is joined by Kate Schecter. She’s the CEO of the Oklahoma City-based nongovernmental organization World Neighbors. Her interest in internationalism started when she was a child growing up in places like Hong Kong and Moscow.

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.

John Trumbull's famous painting of the Founders presenting the Declaration of Independence to the Second Continental Congress.
Library of Congress

Beginning in 2010, a wave of revolutions swept the Middle East, removing rulers and establishing new regimes. Although the Arab Spring took place more than two centuries after the American Revolution, they occurred in similar social and political contexts.

“Before [the Arab Spring] there was an Atlantic Spring that began actually in 1776,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood.

Code Pink
moppet65535

President George W. Bush enacted the Homeland Security Advisory System after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It designated colors to different levels of perceived threat. In response to the push toward military action they saw, a group of women, including Medea Benjamin, created CODEPINK to organize protests.

Arabic Keyboard
Francesco_G / Flickr Creative Commons

The beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff by the radical group the Islamic State, and continued tensions in Gaza reignite long-standing questions about why there’s so much tumult in the region.

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