Middle East Analysis



The Middle East North Africa region is complex - hardly breaking news. There are complex religious, political and socio-economic realities with global players pushing into the ring from every corner - intervening and retreating like a boxer stalking the target of his vested interest. Our 'Middle East Analysis' podcasts feature the analysis of Dr Harry Hagopian, an international lawyer and commentator on the Middle East North Africa region and the Gulf States.


  • Israel - Palestine: Violence begets violence

    17/05/2021 Duration: 01h08min

    This 'Middle East Analysis' can only have one topic up for discussion - the escalating violence between Israel and Palestine. Much has been said and written about the conflict and the nature of its seemingly never-ending cycle of attack and counter attack - not just in the physical sense but the political too. So many countries with so many vested interests look on. In the case of some states, it would be hard to ascertain whether they're looking at all. The voice of Middle East Analysis, Dr Harry Hagopian, has a tough job on his hands to pick through the realities for this podcast. A fair and proportional response is, perhaps, what's called for - from whichever angle you view this frustrating, painful conflict. Rather than regurgitate headlines, Dr Hagopian takes an hour-long look at the history, the politics, the influencers, the neighbours - near and far - the plight of the Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and, indeed in Israel itself. Not to mention the diaspora. Inevitably we look at the H

  • Elections, non elections and a right royal rumpus

    30/04/2021 Duration: 01h09min

    April's Middle East Analysis is squeaking in on the last day of the month. In its own way it carries some of the chaos of the region. Today we focus primarily on Jordan. It's a country close to the heart of our ever-present guest Dr Harry Hagopian. Why? Well, for starters he was born there. But there are other reasons you'll hear more about in our packed 70-minute podcast. What lies behind the royal spat? Why has Prince Hamzah bin Hussein turned to the East Bank-ers and where does this leave him with his half-brother, the King of Jordan? From: 6 mins 20 secs Or do you want to hear more about the Palestinian Elections - the first for 15 years? Oh hang on... they've been postponed. Why? Listen for more. From: 31 mins 25 secs Sticking with the electoral theme we head to beleaguered Syria - a country we have dedicated many minutes to over the past ten years. President Bashar al-Assad is certainly a survivor. Is this election a shoo-in? From: 45 mins 17 secs Finally we ask forgiveness for stretching the Mi

  • Regional Realities - What Price Victory?

    26/03/2021 Duration: 01h50s

    This Middle East Analysis podcast is a one-hour journey through a variety of countries and regional realities. It's a podcast of questions - and questions need answers. To provide them, we look to Dr Harry Hagopian. He frequently tells us he's NOT a prophet - the region has plenty of those - but he IS an international lawyer, commentator and consultant on the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions. Here's what we're asking: Who are the puppet masters in a country on the brink? Who's the kingmaker who could unlock an election stalemate? Who's brokering 'peace' in two violent conflicts that have paralysed two countries? What price victory - and what is 'victory' anyway? Listen to Dr Hagopian on: Introduction (Start - 1m 51s) 10 years of the conflict in Syria (1m 52s - 15m32s) Libya - dare to hope? (15m33s - 22m 36s) Yemen - a supervised ceasefire and an end to the blockade? (22m 37s - 35m 22s) Israel's elections - who's the kingmaker? (35m 23s - 50m 45s) A sacred time for the three monotheistic relig

  • Reaching for the stars: Historic visit, historic ruling

    22/02/2021 Duration: 01h02min

    Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, makes an historic visit to Iraq - the first by a Pope - from 5-8 March 2021. From Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda to ISIS, the footage beamed onto our screens has often been of terrorist attacks, conflict and destruction - all played out with the people of Iraq trying to survive in the middle. This is the first topic we cover on this 'Middle East Analysis' podcast with our guest Dr Harry Hagopian. Will it be a positive visit that not only supports the country's Christians but all Iraqis? Our second subject sees us call on the legal brain of Dr Hagopian to analyse the International Criminal Court's 5 February ruling of stating that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories - a ruling broadly welcomed by Palestinians and criticised by Israel and the US. Finally we look to the stars and delve into the role the United Arab Emirates is playing in global endeavours to explore space. As the famous David Bowie so

  • Discarding the "tool of fools" to embrace a new diplomacy in the Gulf

    11/01/2021 Duration: 26min

    Don't act the prophet and learn to bear the recurring disappointment of one false dawn after another. Two lessons I've learned the hard way after thirteen years of covering the realities of the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions with the knowledgeable and engaging Dr Harry Hagopian. Today's Middle East Analysis podcast, the first of 2021, actually has a positive feel to it in light of the Al-Ula Agreement that brought to an end the three-and-a-half year blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Signed in the Saudi city that bears its name, the agreement has led to a cautious reconciliation that should suit all parties not to mention the outgoing US president Donald Trump. Respected journalist and analyst Rami Khouri described the tactic of boycotting a state as a "fool's tool" so does Dr Harry Hagopian see this agreement as a template for conflict resolution in the region? All this and more in January's Middle East Analysis.

  • Normalisation in MENA, Gulf States thaw, and an abnormal Christmas

    17/12/2020 Duration: 32min

    Our last Middle East Analysis podcast of 2020 is out ten years to the day since the Tunisian street seller Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolated in frustration and despair triggering what came to be known as the Arab Spring. But what has changed and what have we learned in the last decade? Resident contributor Dr Harry Hagopian is once again in the chair, remotely, to discuss this and the fourth country in the region to agree to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel - Morocco. But what does this mean for the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara and should an outgoing US President really be brokering these deals? We then ask whether there's light at the end of the tunnel to bring an end to the spat in the Gulf that has seen a land, sea and air embargo placed on Qatar by fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Finally it's Christmas in Bethlehem - but not as we know it. There's an eerie silence on the streets of the West Bank town as COVID-19 restrictions

  • Biden his time - The US and the MENA and Gulf regions

    23/11/2020 Duration: 29min

    'MENA Gulf 140' sees Dr Harry Hagopian given a mere 140 seconds per topic to discuss the often complex realities playing out in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions. We touched on it last month but now the legal challenges and allegations of corruption surrounding the US Presidential election have amounted to very little, we expect Joe Biden in the White House from 20 January 2021. So three of the 140-second blocks are allocated to looking in more depth at the US and how its foreign policy moves might impact on the region. Dr Hagopian sees it as "some cosmetic, some radical", As well as the Israel-Palestine reality, we look at neighbour Jordan before side-stepping into the Gulf region to discuss Oman and Kuwait before ditching the overall mandate for another comment on Nagorno-Karabakh. It's a lot to pack into 30 minutes but we're hoping it provides food for thought and sparks further reading and engagement.

  • To the brave and the faithful, nothing is impossible

    26/10/2020 Duration: 32min

    Today signals a new dawn for our Middle East Analysis podcasts. MEA continues after more than a decade but the format has changed. In this fast-paced era of online consumption, we're taking on our topics in a shorter, sharper way. Introducing 'MENA GULF 140'. So what is it? Well, inspired by the limit to the number of seconds of audio or film you can post to a certain popular micro-blogging platform, 'MENA GULF 140' looks at the realities of the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions in a mere 2m 20s per topic. Each month we'll take on five or six topics with the international lawyer, consultant and analyst Dr Harry Hagopian and the combined answers will make up a brand new 'MENA GULF 140' podcast. Today: 10 years since the first so-called Arab Spring Is the Arab world better or worse off? Normalisation UAE, Bahrain and now Sudan now 'recognise' Israel after a series of US-brokered deals. What does this mean for other Arab states of the region? What would a Biden Administration do differently to

  • Lebanon - things have to change

    13/08/2020 Duration: 34min

    Dr Harry Hagopian, the voice of Middle East Analysis, is fluent in many languages. French? Doesn't even break sweat. For me it's more of a struggle but when reflecting on the horrific blast that ripped through Lebanon's capital Beirut, I found an oft-quoted phrase in my head "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose". It certainly seems that the more things change the more they stay the same for this resilient nation and its beleaguered people - a state that has seen more than one false dawn. Maybe a French phrase is pertinent for another reason. There's an indelible historical link between Lebanon and France - President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut in the immediate aftermath and pledged his support. Some even petitioned for a return to the French Mandate - surely a sign of desperation - nay exasperation. For Dr Harry Hagopian things have to change. It's time to be brave and dynamic. A time for real leadership. A time to 'be' Lebanese - a time for citizenship. Get past the warlords and communities - thi

  • COVID, poverty, chaos and meddling neighbours

    30/07/2020 Duration: 43min

    This Middle East Analysis podcast takes our resident regional analyst, international lawyer Dr Harry Hagopian, around not just the Middle East but also North Africa. We start with a coronavirus update discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the MENA region and the Arab world. Then on to our sweep of country realities. Firstly it's the chaos and economic meltdown plaguing Lebanon - the beautiful land of cedars. A third of the population suffer below the poverty line, with daily power cuts, a lack of safe drinking water and limited healthcare. Why and what next? On to Jordan, and in particular its relations with Israel and Palestine. Prime Minister Omar Razzaz made interesting comments on potential support for a One State solution - controversial to even utter it in some quarters. We shift to North Africa and Egypt. Two points here - both focused on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Firstly his handling of civil war-torn Libya and secondly the interesting case of the dam in Ethiopia being fed by water from the

  • Render unto Trump? Caesar's Act and Syria

    22/06/2020 Duration: 16min

    One of Dr Harry Hagopian's 'Intuitive Reactions' provides the meat in the sandwich of this 'Middle East Analysis - Extra' podcast. In December 2019, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, also known as the Caesar Act, a piece of US legislation to sanction the Syrian government, including the president Bashar al-Assad, for war crimes against the Syrian population. The sanctions finally kicked in on 17 June. But what impact does this have on Bashar al-Assad, his family and international sponsors? Is this designed to bring about regime change or regime attitude change? To discuss this, Dr Hagopian is joined by Dr Ziad Majed, Program Coordinator for Middle East Pluralities at the American University of Paris. Professor Majed teaches Middle East studies and writes on Lebanese, Syrian and Arab affairs as well as on regional political transitions and crises.

  • International actors, regional rumblings and ongoing embargoes

    10/06/2020 Duration: 42min

    Middle East Analysis reverts back to something of its normal modus operandi for June's podcast as international lawyer and MENA consultant Dr Harry Hagopian joins us in semi pandemic lockdown to discuss three realities challenging the Middle East North Africa region. In just over ten minutes per segment, Dr Hagopian discusses the ongoing embargo of Qatar, the ever more dangerous regional conflict in Libya and the current financial meltdown in Syria and its impact on neighbour Lebanon. Quick Navigate: Introduction: START - 3m 5s Embargo of Qatar: 3m 6s - 14m 13s Libya: 14m 14s - 25m 23s Syria: 25m 24s - 39m 40s Back Announcement: 39m 41s to END

  • Israel's Annexation of West Bank land is inevitable... or is it?

    05/06/2020 Duration: 01h01min

    It's rather dangerous to assume anything in the Middle East North Africa region - least of all the shifting dynamics of the relationship between Israel and Palestine. One assumption is that, as early as 1 July, one of Israel's two unity government Prime Ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu, will announce the annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank. At this point, any hope of a contiguous state for Palestinians will ebb away and with it hope for a long-term peaceful coexistence for both Israelis and Palestinians. This hour-long Middle East Analysis brings our resident contributor Dr Harry Hagopian to MEA's virtual studio. Harry has immersed himself in this most delicate and frustrating peace process for almost 30 years. But will the annexation actually happen? There are many actors in this drama... Donald Trump and son-in-law adviser Jared Kushner (currently more preoccupied by the protests over the killing of George Floyd and the November Presidential Elections), Israeli settler leaders in the West Bank,

  • Counting the cost of Coronavirus in the Middle East North Africa

    11/03/2020 Duration: 46min

    The anxiety surrounding the fast-spreading coronavirus COVID-19 is completely understandable. It's the lead headline in many a news context. So what's the impact on the Middle East North Africa region? The situation in Iran is well documented. Egypt has confirmed its first death - the first in Africa. Iraq and Yemen are already debilitated so any further strain on beleaguered resources will cost lives. Lebanon is living in the throes of an economic meltdown. We could go on... Dr Harry Hagopian, our regular contributor, looks at the impact of the virus around the region. In other news, we look at the elections in Israel, Turkey's retaliation against Syrian government forces in Idlib and the detention of Saudi royals by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

  • Israel-Palestine: A Hope-less Deal?

    18/02/2020 Duration: 59min

    The so-called 'Deal of the Century' has been released - US President Donald Trump's road map to peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Peace to Prosperity, as it's called, has been widely criticised as one-sided and, to those campaigning for self-determination for the Palestinian people - no deal at all. Dr Harry Hagopian is our regular studio guest for Middle East Analysis. Harry cut his political teeth working for peace in the region. He was a second track negotiator during the Oslo process in the early 1990s and, like many, has long hoped for a peaceful solution that upholds the innate human dignity and rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. But without offering Palestinians hope, is the Deal of the Century hope-less?

  • Escalate, de-escalate, oil and intervention

    16/01/2020 Duration: 49min

    Just another new decade in the Middle East North Africa region. This 45-minute Middle East Analysis podcast, the first of 2020, is titled in a way that makes you think of a rhythmic children’s pat-a-cake game or a mnemonic device for remembering something important. Actually a lot of today’s topical discussion with international lawyer and regional commentator Dr Harry Hagopian falls under one or more of those four descriptors - escalate, de-escalate, oil and intervention. The ‘intervention’ is obviously of the foreign kind as global powers seek to maintain or expand their interests in MENA. We start with escalation and, potentially, de-escalation, by looking at the US-Iran crisis before moving across to North Africa and a warlord versus UN-backed government stand-off in Libya. Next comes Lebanon and its inability to form a government leading to something of a meltdown. We conclude on a more positive note by looking at the seemingly painless succession in the sultanate of Oman.

  • Intuitive Reactions - Elections

    19/12/2019 Duration: 20min

    Today we bring you an exceptional one-off from Dr Harry Hagopian that is closer to home. Harry offers his personal perspective on the recent General Election in the UK. This "Intuitive Reaction" focuses on the recent UK Election which saw the Conservatives win their majority. Find out Dr Harry Hagopian's unique take on these results and how our history led us to where we are now.

  • Rage Against the MENA Machine

    06/11/2019 Duration: 56min

    Today's Middle East Analysis is the first for a few months so we're hoping you'll indulge almost an hour of Dr Harry Hagopian's insight, analysis and, on occasion, wit. Our resident contributor is an international lawyer, commentator and consultant on the Middle East North Africa region. This podcast isn't simply a compare-and-contrast looking at the regional popular protests of 2019 and juxtaposing them with the so-called Arab Spring of nine years ago. We do, of course, give due attention to the uprisings in Lebanon and Iraq as well as taking a close look at northern Syria and the Turkish operations in that belt of land. America's influence gets a mention and the influence of other countries with a stake in proceedings like Russia and Iran. Dr Harry Hagopian describes a 'political pea soup' that has descended on the region usurping human rights, gobbling up hopes and stunting societies - listen to today's Middle East Analysis for more...

  • Keeping Faith With Hope - The Challenge of Israel - Palestine

    14/06/2019 Duration: 41min

    Arguably the biggest threat to the human spirit is a loss of hope. The Israel / Palestine conflict has raged in one form or another since the mid-20th century and its origins can be traced to the decades before that. Today we seem further away than ever from a lasting peace. The international lawyer and political consultant Dr Harry Hagopian has written and commented on the challenge of Israel / Palestine for over a quarter of a century and has been engaged as a negotiator, consultant, lawyer and analyst in the region. In this 'Middle East Analysis' podcast we look at his new book 'Keeping Faith With Hope' and ask whether that's even possible in 2019.

  • From Brexit to Algeria, Israel to Sudan

    25/03/2019 Duration: 54min

    Considering this is a podcast offering the musings, analysis and everything inbetween from the brain of the knowledgeable and razor-sharp international lawyer and Middle East North Africa consultant Dr Harry Hagopian, you may be wondering why we open up with a sizeable segment on Brexit and, later, head south of north Africa to Sudan. I could make a few academic cases for the inclusion of such topics but let's just go for "because we wanted to". We also talk Israel. Primarily the status of the Golan Heights in the eyes of the US - occupied versus disputed - all in context with the elections on 9 April in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces the challenge of Israeli General and politician Benjamin "Benny" Gantz. Algeria has faced five consecutive Friday protests against ill and aging President Abdulaziz Bouteflika. Although not standing for a fifth term, the 82-year-old has postponed forthcoming elections in the country. Next stop is southbound to Sudan and a brief discussion on the economic and

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