ISIS Oil Operations

Matthew Reed comes back on the show to discuss ISIS oil operations. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • How analysts track ISIS oil operations
  • How much oil ISIS is producing
  • The process of getting oil from the ground to ISIS turning it into cash
  • Coalition attacks on ISIS oil infrastructure
  • Why the US-led coalition is hesitant to completely destroy ISIS’ oil operations
  • What it would take to eliminate ISIS’ ability to profit from oil production
  • Why ISIS doesn’t need to export oil to benefit from it

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Thanks to Zane, Andrew, and Alex for supporting the podcast! You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

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India’s Relations with Israel & Palestine

Nicolas Blarel comes on the show to discuss India’s relationship with Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Background on India’s trade and military relationship with Israel
  • India’s support for Palestine and Palestinian leaders
  • Recent visits to Israel by Indian leaders
  • Narendra Modi’s potential upcoming visit to Israel and the region
  • The benefits to Israel from a Modi visit
  • Controversies related to recent UN votes by India dealing with Israel-Palestine issues
  • Efforts to separate Israel-Palestine political issues from economic ties
  • How India’s relationship with Israel and Palestine are viewed domestically in India

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You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Iran’s Proxies in Syria

Phillip Smyth comes back on the show to discuss recent news and issues related to Iranian proxy groups fighting in Syria. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Large increase in recruiting by Iranian proxy groups starting in August
  • Iran’s determination to keep Assad in power
  • Iran’s sectarian training of forces in Syria
  • Why Iran’s interest in Syria extends far beyond just maintaining their connection to Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • The recent increase of senior Iranian commanders being killed in Syria
  • The complex web of Iran-backed groups operating in Syria
  • The long-term implications of Iran’s leadership casualties

Thanks to David, Wendy, and Ryan for supporting the show. If you’d like to help support the podcast, and get some cool rewards, check out the show’s Patreon page!

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Belgian Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria

Pieter Van Ostaeyen comes back on the show to discuss Belgian foreign fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The number of Belgians who’ve gone to Iraq and Syria and how it compares to other European countries
  • Background on Sharia4Belgium and their role in getting Belgians to go to Syria and Iraq
  • Efforts by the Belgian government to stop the flow of people out of the country to join the conflict
  • Prosecutions of individuals and groups related to these issues

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Thanks to Andrew, Alex, and Scott for supporting the show! You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Syrian Diaspora in the Gulf

Elizabeth Dickinson comes back on the show to discuss the Syrian diaspora in the Gulf. We also talked about the current refugee crisis, and accusations that Gulf states aren’t helping as much as they could. Topics covered include:

  • The scale of the support Syrians in the Gulf provided to opposition groups in Syria
  • Internal debate within the diaspora about whether or not to provide weapons
  • How the diaspora’s resources are being exhausted
  • The current focus on providing long-term assistance
  • The reasons why NGO’s can’t do what the diaspora can as an informal network
  • The growing sense of hopelessness amongst the people and groups

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Thanks to Melissa, Andrew, Alex, Scott, and David for their continued support of the show. You can help upport the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

Child Soldiers of the Islamic State

John Horgan comes back on the show to discuss his work studying the Islamic State’s use of child soldiers. Topics we covered include:

  • How IS recruits children
  • The training pipeline children go through
  • Comparing the use of child soldiers in various conflicts
  • Existing research on rehabilitating child soldiers
  • John’s work studying child soldier rehabilitation & reintegration in Pakistan

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Thanks to Andrew and David for their support of the show! You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

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Libya Peace Talks Continue

Mary Fitzgerald comes back on the show to talk about the recent UN talks in Geneva and the ongoing effort to end the civil war in Libya. Topics we covered include:

  • The problem of what to do with Gen. Khalifa Hiftar
  • Potential for small, local agreements to build to a national agreement
  • Why the Islamic State, and their growth in Libya, is not a focus of the ongoing talks
  • Economic issues Libya is facing, now and in the near future
  • Importance and relevance of local militias to the potential of success of a national agreement

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Thanks to Alex & Scott for their continued support of the show. You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon.

Islamic State’s Propaganda Strategy

Charlie Winter comes on the show to talk about Islamic State propaganda. The basis for our discussion is Charlie’s recent paper “The Virtual Caliphate: Understanding Islamic State’s Propaganda Strategy” (PDF). The topics we covered include:

  • Islamic State propaganda that doesn’t focus on brutality
  • How IS propaganda strategy has evolved
  • The ability of Islamic State to control their message
  • Efforts to counter Islamic State propaganda

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Yemen: Not on the Brink, in Free Fall

Adam Baron comes back on the show to discuss the ongoing war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Topics we covered include:

  • Background on the events that lead to the current situation
  • The problems Yemen was facing prior to the past few months of fighting
  • Recent failures to establish a humanitarian cease fire
  • Realistic chances that a cease fire could happen soon
  • AQAP taking advantage of the chaos and controlling territory
  • Lack of urgency in the international community to solving the conflict
  • Who in the international community could have a positive influence on the situation
  • How the Yemeni public views the conflict

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Thanks to patrons of the podcast Andrew, Alex, Scott, David, and Melissa. You can support the podcast by making a small donation on Patreon!

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Tunisian Foreign Fighters

Aaron Zelin comes back on the show to discuss Tunisian foreign fighters going to Iraq and Syria, and how Tunisia is handling security issues. Topics we covered include:

  • Radicalization of jihadists in prison
  • How the democratic transition enabled free movement
  • Tunisian government’s evolution in dealing with jihadis
  • Instability on Tunisia’s borders
  • Potential for regular jihadi attacks to become the new normal
  • International support for civil society and security efforts

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