Babel: Translating the Middle East

Babel will take you beyond the headlines to discuss what’s really happening in the Middle East and North Africa. It features regional experts who explain what’s going on, provide context on pivotal developments, and highlight trends you may have missed. Jon Alterman, senior vice president, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts the podcast along with his colleagues from the Middle East Program. This podcast is made possible through the generous support of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates. All views, positions, and conclusions expressed here should be understood to be solely of those of the speaker(s).

Government
Society & Culture
News Commentary
1
Nicholas Blanford: Hezbollah’s Struggle Against...
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Nicholas Blanford, a Beirut-based security consultant, the author of two books on Lebanon, and a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
30 min
2
A Mezze: The Bonds of Marriage between Syria an...
Unknowingly, a Syrian widow became one of dozens of women to fall victim to Iraqi marriage exploitation in the past year alone.
2 min
3
Hans Grundberg: Mediation in Yemen
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Hans Grundberg about what a UN mediator does, what successful mediation means, and how the internationalization of conflicts complicates mediation.
29 min
4
Analysis: Iran and Israel's Cycle of Retaliation
Leah Hickert speaks with Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at CSIS, about the tensions rising between Iran and Israel, as well as the potential for regional escalation.
6 min
5
Hiba Husseini: Peacemaking After Oslo
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Hiba Husseini about the state of pro-peace communities after October 7th and the ways the war in Gaza will affect future peacemaking efforts.
38 min
6
Analysis: Support for Refugees Erodes in the Mi...
This week, Leah Hickert speaks with Will Todman, deputy director and senior fellow with the CSIS Middle East Program, to discuss how the issue of refugees and displaced populations has become a flashpoint across the region and the innovative solutions necessary to mitigate these crises.
8 min
7
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: Human Rights in a Messy ...
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, about the pursuit of human rights in a multipolar world and the role that the United Nations can play in Gaza.
36 min
8
Analysis: The New Forever Wars
This week, Leah Hickert speaks with Natasha Hall, senior fellow with the CSIS Middle East Program, about seemingly endless conflicts around the globe and what the U.S. should do about them.
6 min
9
Dana Stroul: The U.S. Defense Strategy in the M...
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Dana Stroul about the U.S. defense strategy in the Middle East, how the Israel-Hamas war has changed U.S. security partnerships with Arab states, and the lessons Israel should learn from U.S. military experience in the region.
43 min
10
Analysis: Redefining Climate Finance for a Trou...
This week, Leah Hickert speaks with Natasha Hall, senior fellow with the CSIS Middle East Program, about climate financing in conflict-affected countries.
6 min
11
Amos Yadlin: A New Type of Israeli War
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Amos Yadlin about Israel’s global relationships, and how this war differs from Israel’s previous conflicts.
36 min
12
Audio Brief: What Will the United States Do aft...
On January 28, a drone reportedly piloted by forces connected to Iran killed three U.S. troops at a base in northeast Jordan and wounded more than two dozen more, prompting questions about how the United States will respond.
3 min
13
Amb. David Satterfield: Humanitarian Aid in Gaza
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Amb. David Satterfield about the crisis in Gaza, the challenges of getting aid to civilians, and the role of humanitarian assistance in ending the conflict.
34 min
14
Audio Brief: A Different Two-State Solution
With violence between Palestinians and Israelis at its highest levels in decades, reviving the idea of a two-state solution will require redefining the terms "two," "state," and "solution."
2 min
15
Bader Al-Saif: Kuwait's Perceptions, People, an...
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Bader Al-Saif about Kuwaitis’ perceptions of the Israel-Hamas war, U.S. geostrategy, and where Kuwait is headed.
37 min
16
Analysis: Environmental Action in Tunisia
This week, Leah Hickert speaks with Will Todman, deputy director and senior fellow with the CSIS Middle East Program, about Manish Msab, the first environmental movement to defeat the Tunisian government in court.
7 min
17
Yana Abu Taleb: Environmental Peacebuilding in ...
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Yana Abu Taleb about EcoPeace’s development over the past 30 years and the unique challenges facing environmental peacebuilding today.
27 min
18
Analysis: Climate Entrepreneurs in the Middle East
This week, Leah Hickert speaks with Will Todman, deputy director and senior fellow with the CSIS Middle East Program, about how entrepreneurs can help regional governments adapt to climate change.
7 min
19
Rafat Al-Akhali: Yemen on the Brink
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with Rafat Al-Akhali about youth activism in Yemen, the international community's responses to protracted conflicts, and the outlook for Yemen's future.
39 min
20
Audio Brief: China's Essential Role in the Gulf...
China has established itself as an essential partner in Gulf states' energy transitions, but Western governments have been reluctant to compete head-to-head with Chinese enterprises in this sector.
2 min
21
Danny Hajjar: Today's Arab Music
This week on Babel, Jon Alterman speaks with music journalist Danny Hajjar about the changing Arabic music scene.
34 min
22
Analysis: Human Rights in a Multipolar World
Zeid Qiblawi speaks with Natasha Hall, senior fellow with the Middle East Program at CSIS, about the reversal of human rights norms in an increasingly multipolar world.
6 min
23
Renad Mansour and Farea Al-Muslimi: The Cost of...
This week on Babel, you will hear excerpts from Jon Alterman's recent discussion with Chatham House experts Renad Mansour and Farea al-Muslimi, alongside the CSIS Middle East Program's Natasha Hall.
27 min
24
Analysis: The Ripple Effect of Water Insecurity
Leah Hickert speaks with Natasha Hall about why the Middle East's business-as-usual approach to water is becoming more costly by the day.
5 min
25
Rula Hardal: Life as a Palestinian Citizen of I...
Jon Alterman speaks with Rula Hardal about her life in both Israel and the West Bank, what reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians would look like, and the concessions that each side needs to make for a sustainable path forward.
38 min