Middle East

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.

Suzette Grillot talks with University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie about West Africa's worst Ebola outbreak in history, and Monday's anniversary of Britain's entry into World War I.

Later, a conversation about education and development in Africa with OU economist and international and area studies professor Moussa Blimpo.

Government of the United Kingdom / Wikimedia Commons

Monday marked 100 years since the British declared war on Germany, after the Germans ignored Belgium’s refusal to allow troops to pass through its borders to France.

Four years and 16 million lives later, World War I set the stage for the rest of the 20th century. A century later, University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie says the hot points of global conflict in the 21st century can be traced to the consequences of “the Great War” in Europe and Asia.

Joshua Landis joins Suzette Grillot for a conversation about the situation in Iraq and the U.S. response to the escalating violence by Sunni militants.

And Rebecca Cruise and University of Oklahoma Iranian Studies professor Afshin Marashi speak with Mohamad Tavakoli, a professor of history and Near and Middle Eastern civilizations at the University of Toronto. He studies Persianate society – arguing that in the pre-modern world, Iranians, the Ottoman Empire, the South Asian Indian Mogul empire, and even Central Asians all spoke a common language.

Nina Aldin Thune

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, nationalism and colonialism created fixed borders between societies that otherwise shared common ethnic backgrounds, language, and culture.

If you separate the world by regions, India and Iran don’t initially appear to have much in common. But in the 1960s, University of Chicago historian Marshall Hodgson introduced the concept of Persianate society – arguing that in the pre-modern world, Iranians, the Ottoman Empire, the South Asian Indian Mogul empire, and even Central Asians all spoke Persian.

Pages