106 episodes

‘The Voices Of War’ is guided by a simple vision—to scratch below the simple narratives of war.

To do this, I speak with refugees, soldiers, negotiators, academics, development workers, and anyone else whose life has been shaped by war, be they a survivor, a perpetrator, a mediator, a student, or a healer of it.

Ultimately, I want to make it lucid that neither war nor peace is a foregone conclusion. Both are a product of upstream causes that make one or the other more likely. Understanding and embracing this fact is critical when trying to find moral and ethical solutions to our many local, regional, and global challenges.

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The project, ’The Voices of War’, aims to challenge the traditional narratives of war by giving a voice to those who have experienced its complexities firsthand. These voices come from a diverse group of individuals, including refugees, soldiers, negotiators, academics, development workers, and anyone else whose life has been impacted by war. Through these interviews, I hope to shed light on the complex causes of conflict and the multifaceted experiences of those caught in the crossfire.

War and peace are not predetermined outcomes. Rather, they are the result of a range of political, economic, social, and cultural factors. By exploring the root causes of conflict, I hope to foster a deeper understanding of the complexities of war and the factors that contribute to it.

One of the key themes that emerges from the interviews is the human toll of war. From the trauma experienced by refugees to the moral dilemmas faced by soldiers, the voices of war offer a powerful reminder of the devastating impact of conflict on individuals and communities.

At the same time, however, the voices of war also offer hope and resilience. Despite the devastating effects of conflict, many of those I spoke with have found ways to heal, rebuild, and move forward. Whether through professional engagement, volunteering, community building, or simply persevering in the face of adversity, these individuals serve as a source of inspiration for us all.

Ultimately, ’The Voices of War’ seeks to challenge the dominant narratives of conflict and offer a more nuanced understanding of its complexities. By amplifying the voices of those who have explored its complexities in one way or another, I hope to contribute to a more informed and empathetic conversation about the causes and consequences of conflict.

The Voices of War Vedran ’Maz’ Maslic

    • Society & Culture

‘The Voices Of War’ is guided by a simple vision—to scratch below the simple narratives of war.

To do this, I speak with refugees, soldiers, negotiators, academics, development workers, and anyone else whose life has been shaped by war, be they a survivor, a perpetrator, a mediator, a student, or a healer of it.

Ultimately, I want to make it lucid that neither war nor peace is a foregone conclusion. Both are a product of upstream causes that make one or the other more likely. Understanding and embracing this fact is critical when trying to find moral and ethical solutions to our many local, regional, and global challenges.

-----

The project, ’The Voices of War’, aims to challenge the traditional narratives of war by giving a voice to those who have experienced its complexities firsthand. These voices come from a diverse group of individuals, including refugees, soldiers, negotiators, academics, development workers, and anyone else whose life has been impacted by war. Through these interviews, I hope to shed light on the complex causes of conflict and the multifaceted experiences of those caught in the crossfire.

War and peace are not predetermined outcomes. Rather, they are the result of a range of political, economic, social, and cultural factors. By exploring the root causes of conflict, I hope to foster a deeper understanding of the complexities of war and the factors that contribute to it.

One of the key themes that emerges from the interviews is the human toll of war. From the trauma experienced by refugees to the moral dilemmas faced by soldiers, the voices of war offer a powerful reminder of the devastating impact of conflict on individuals and communities.

At the same time, however, the voices of war also offer hope and resilience. Despite the devastating effects of conflict, many of those I spoke with have found ways to heal, rebuild, and move forward. Whether through professional engagement, volunteering, community building, or simply persevering in the face of adversity, these individuals serve as a source of inspiration for us all.

Ultimately, ’The Voices of War’ seeks to challenge the dominant narratives of conflict and offer a more nuanced understanding of its complexities. By amplifying the voices of those who have explored its complexities in one way or another, I hope to contribute to a more informed and empathetic conversation about the causes and consequences of conflict.

    106. Jason Pack – Aspirations of Peace in the Middle East: A Deep Dive into Regional Dynamics and the Global Enduring Disorder

    106. Jason Pack – Aspirations of Peace in the Middle East: A Deep Dive into Regional Dynamics and the Global Enduring Disorder

    Today, I spoke with Jason Pack, author of the acclaimed book ‘Libya and the Global Enduring Disorder’, and a recognised expert on the Middle East. Jason also hosts the excellent Disorder podcast and serves as a senior analyst for emerging challenges at the NATO college in Rome. With over two decades of research in the Middle East, Jason brings a unique perspective to understanding the complexities of the region’s geopolitics.
    This is Jason’s second appearance on the show. We first spoke back in May of 22, in Episode 55. That time, we explored Jason’s excellent book and his concept of the Global Enduring Disorder. You can listen to that episode here. Today, Jason joins me to discuss the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East, how it relates to the idea of the Global Enduring Disorder and what we might need to consider when looking for an enduring and just peace in the region.
    00:00 Introduction to Jason Pack
    Jason discusses his background and the relevance of his work in current global affairs.
    Jason shares his transition from studying to focusing on Middle East geopolitics post-9/11, including his experiences in Beirut, Egypt, Syria, and Libya.
    06:20 The Concept of Global Enduring Disorder and Orderers vs Disorderers
    Jason explains his concept of 'Global Enduring Disorder', contrasting the current global landscape with the past, focusing on the shift from order to disorder.
    Jason proposes a perspective to view global politics as a struggle between forces of order and disorder, expanding beyond traditional ideological divides.
    13:15 The Impact of American Foreign Policy in the Middle East
    An Analysis of the influence and consequences of American hegemony in the Middle East, particularly regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.
    15:15 Interconnected Global Conflicts
    Jason discusses how various global conflicts, including the Israel-Palestine issue, are interconnected and influence each other.
    Exploring the involvement of Russia and Iran in fostering global disorder, including their potential roles in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
    23:05 The Three Blocks of Middle East Geopolitics
    Jason categorises the Middle Eastern geopolitical landscape into three distinct groups, focusing on their respective roles and alliances.
    25:56 The Pivotal Role of Qatar in Middle Eastern Peace
    Jason discusses Qatar's unique position in the Middle East and its potential role in bringing peace and stability to the region.
    33:15 The Middle East Peace Process: A New Approach
    Exploring a novel approach to the Middle East peace process, involving regional players and addressing underlying causes.
    39:10 Addressing Root Causes of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
    Discussion about the necessity of addressing the underlying causes of the Israel-Palestine conflict, including the creation of a Palestinian state and the role of external influences.
    42:15 The Complexity of the Israel-Gaza Conflict in Global Perception
    Jason delves into the reasons behind the global attention on the Israel-Gaza conflict, highlighting the unique position of Jews and Israel in global dynamics and the disproportionate global response to the conflict.
    52:38 The Potential of Qatar in Resolving Middle East Conflicts
    Jason reiterates the strategic importance of Qatar in bringing peace to the region, emphasising its unique position as a mediator among various conflicting parties.
    55:09 The Influence of Gulf States in Global and Regional Politics
    Jason discusses the growing influence of Gulf states like the UAE and Qatar in global and regional politics, highlighting their roles in funding, cultural influence, and diplomacy.
    01:02:14 Closing Thoughts: Challenges and Hope for Middle East Peace
    Jason concludes with his thoughts on the ongoing challenges in achieving peace in the Middle East and the potential for a new approach involving Gulf states to bring stability to the region.
    Resources:
    The Road to Middle East Peace Runs Through Doha, Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy

    • 36 min
    105. Professor Greg Barton - Terrorism, Jihadism, and Violent Extremism: Exploring the Roots and Impacts of Radicalisation

    105. Professor Greg Barton - Terrorism, Jihadism, and Violent Extremism: Exploring the Roots and Impacts of Radicalisation

    Join The Voices Of War at https://thevoicesofwar.supercast.com/. Can't afford a subscription? Email me for an alternative solution. Universities and educational institutions can always reach out for full free access to episode files.
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    Today, I spoke with Professor Greg Barton, a prominent Australian academic with a distinguished career specialising in global Islamic politics and countering violent extremism. His expertise, particularly in the realm of Islamic thought, positions him as a leading authority on issues of terrorism, extremism, and the development of effective interventions. Author of several influential articles and books, Professor Barton offering deep insights into the convergence of religion, politics, and societal challenges.
     
    This is Greg’s second appearance on the show. Last time he joined me was on Episode 81, where we discussed the process of radicalisation generally. On that occasion, we used the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Covid pandemic as well as far fight extremism as the vehicle for our discussion. Today, Greg joins me for a follow-up with a particular focus on the events unfolding in the Middle East and their impact globally. 
     
    Main topics we covered include:
     
    0:00 Introduction to Professor Greg Barton: A brief introduction to the episode and Professor Barton's background in global Islamic politics and countering violent extremism.
     
    5:52 Deliberate Provocation by Hamas: Analysis of Hamas' tactics in Gaza and their global impact, including use by extremist groups for support generation.
     
    8:10 Waning global support for Israel: An assessment of how global support for Israel might be shifting in the face of their response to the October 7th attack.
     
    16:43 International Humanitarian Law: A reflection on Israeli application of the laws of war on their military operations in Gaza
     
    23:42 Jihadism vs. Islamism: Clarifying the Concepts: A discussion aimed at differentiating between Jihadism and Islamism, with a focus on Hamas.
     
    39:06 Decoding the Radicalisation Process: Exploring the 'triple P model' of radicalisation and how individuals are drawn to extremist ideologies.
     
    44:08 Battle for Hearts and Minds: An analysis of the likely impacts of current military actions in Gaza on future cycles of violence.
     
    53:34 Radicalisation at scale: A reflection on the ongoing global polarisation via mainstream and social media
     
    57:25 Human Nature and Extremism: Emphasising the inherent potential for good in human beings and how this can be leveraged to counteract extremist ideologies.
     
    1:08:20 Greg’s biggest concern: A reflection on how the current situation can descend into an even greater calamity. 
     
    Professor Barton's insights offer a comprehensive understanding of the intricate dynamics of global Islamic politics, terrorism, and the ongoing challenges in countering violent extremism. His unique perspective combines academic rigour with a deep understanding of the human elements at play in these critical global issues. I hope you get as much out of this conversation as I have. 
     
    Resources:
    •           You can listen to Greg’s previous episode here.
    •           You can view my short reflection on the current situation here.
     
    Finally, don't forget to review, rate, and share The Voices of War to help us continue exploring the complex narratives of war. To comment or take the conversation further, please connect with us here:
     
    https://www.thevoicesofwar.com 
    https://www.twitter.com/twitter.com/thevoicesofwar
    https://au.linkedin.com/company/the-voices-of-war
    https://www.youtube.com/youtube.com/thevoicesofwar

    • 45 min
    104. Nadim Shehadi – Beyond Gaza: Unpacking the Middle East’s Entrenched Conflicts and Power Dynamics

    104. Nadim Shehadi – Beyond Gaza: Unpacking the Middle East’s Entrenched Conflicts and Power Dynamics

    Join The Voices Of War at https://thevoicesofwar.supercast.com/. Can't afford the subscription? Email me for an alternative solution. Universities and educational institutions can always reach out for full access to episode files.

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    Today, I spoke with Nadim Shehadi, a distinguished Lebanese economist and academic, who delved into the intricate mesh of Palestinian, Israeli, and broader Middle Eastern politics, economics, and conflicts. With a rich background that spans prestigious positions at the Fletcher School, Chatham House, and Oxford as well as personal experiences of previous wars in Lebanon and beyond, Nadim brings a nuanced perspective to the complexities and tragedies of the region.
    Some of the key topics we covered are:
    ·      Gaza Dynamics: Analysing recent events in Gaza, Nadim offers an expert take on the guerrilla warfare tactics of Hamas and the cyclical nature of the conflict with Israel.
    ·      Global Reactions: The discussion turns to the diverse international reactions to the Gaza conflict, highlighting the polarising effect on global politics.
    ·      Trap Warfare: Nadim introduces the concept of 'trap' warfare, elucidating how Hamas's tactics bait international disapproval for Israel.
    ·      Lebanese Sovereignty: The conversation addresses Hezbollah's role in Lebanon, discussing the challenges to Lebanese sovereignty and governance.
    ·      Civilians in Conflict: An exploration of the civilian experience in Gaza and Lebanon, emphasizing the human cost of ongoing tensions.
    ·      Resistance and Negotiation: Nadim contrasts the methodologies of armed resistance and negotiation in political struggle.
    ·      Lebanon's Political Mosaic: A historical overview of Lebanon's political evolution, with insights into its unique culture and the legacy of empires.
    ·      Intricacies of Conflict: Nadim delves into the intricate connections between local politics and broader regional dynamics, underscoring the international community's involvement.
    ·      Regional Dynamics: The discussion highlights the strategic roles of Arab states, the Gulf region, Egypt, Jordan, the European Union, and the United States in fostering stability.
    ·      Critique of U.S. Policy: Nadim offers a critical analysis of the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, noting a misalignment with the complex regional context.
    ·      Security Concerns for Israel: Insights into Israel's security priorities and the existential challenges it faces from regional adversaries.
    ·      Underestimating Iran: A critique of the U.S. administration's oversight of Iran's influence in the region, particularly in relation to the JCPOA.
    ·      Policy Proposals Examined: Nadim assesses Antony Blinken's policy proposals, suggesting they lack the depth required to grasp the region's nuanced challenges.
    ·      Survival Mentality: The conversation closes with a personal reflection on living under constant threat, depicting the day-to-day reality of Middle Eastern geopolitics.
    Nadim Shehadi's expertise sheds light on the historical and current challenges facing the Middle East, offering a profound examination of the power dynamics at play. This episode is a must-listen for anyone seeking to understand the deeper narratives that shape this complex region.
    Resources:
    Lebanon is revisiting the ghost of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war by Nadim Shehadi
    Some reflections on events unfolding in Gaza by Vedran 'Maz' Maslic
     
    Finally, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and share The Voices of War to help us continue exploring the complex narratives of war. To comment or take the conversation further, please connect with us here:
     
    https://www.thevoicesofwar.com 
    https://www.twitter.com/twitter.com/thevoicesofwar
    https://au.linkedin.com/company/the-voices-of-war
    https://www.youtube.com/youtube.com/thevoicesofwar

    • 1 hr 3 min
    103. Dr David Livingstone Smith - Dehumanisation in the Israel-Palestine War and its consequences

    103. Dr David Livingstone Smith - Dehumanisation in the Israel-Palestine War and its consequences

    Join The Voices Of War at https://thevoicesofwar.supercast.com/. Can't afford the subscription? Email me for an alternative solution. Universities and educational institutions can always reach out for full access to episode files.

    ---
     
    Today, I spoke with Dr David Livingstone Smith, who is a philosophy professor at the University of New England. He specialises in the study of dehumanisation and mass violence. David is the author of several award-winning books, including ‘Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others’ as well as ‘On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It’. David’s most recent book that is: 'Making Monsters, The Uncanny Power of Dehumanisation'. David joined me to provide his expert opinion on dehumanisation we are witnessing as part of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. 
     
    Key Topics Covered:
    Dehumanisation and Its Roots: David delves into the psychological and social aspects of dehumanisation, explaining how it serves as a precursor to violence.
    Israel-Hamas Conflict: A focus on the risks and implications of dehumanisation in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
    The Role of Fear: David discusses how politicians, particularly authoritarian ones, capitalise on fear to manipulate behaviour.
    Social Dynamics: The conversation touches on how social forces and community behaviour can either inhibit or encourage violence.
    The Power of Public Opinion: David emphasises the need for influential voices to steer public opinion towards constructive solutions. 
    Resources: 
    You can find my previous discussion with David here.
    David’s Substack, which includes all the essays he mentioned is available here.
    Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others
    On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It

    Finally, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and share The Voices of War to help us continue exploring the complex narratives of war. To comment or take the conversation further, please connect to us here:
    https://www.thevoicesofwar.com
    https://www.twitter.com/twitter.com/thevoicesofwar
    https://au.linkedin.com/company/the-voices-of-war
    https://www.youtube.com/youtube.com/thevoicesofwar

    #Dehumanisation #IsraelHamasConflict #SocialDynamics #TheVoicesOfWar #DavidLivingstonSmith #IsraelPalestineWar #IsraelHamasWar #Israel #Palestine #Hamas

    • 42 min
    102. Special Release: Chris Gunness - Scratching Beneath the Complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    102. Special Release: Chris Gunness - Scratching Beneath the Complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    My guest today is Chris Gunness who is a seasoned journalist and diplomat with decades of experience reporting on and working in the Middle East. Chris began his career at the BBC in 1982, and for 23 years, he served in numerous capacities including reporter and foreign correspondent. In 2005, he transitioned to diplomacy, joining the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and later became the Spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA). Post-UN, Chris founded the Myanmar Accountability Project in 2021, which brings criminal prosecutions against members of the Myanmar Junta and he is currently the Director of this initiative.
    Chris joined me for his reflections on the tragic escalation of violence in Israel and across Gaza and the West Bank.
    Some of the topics we covered include:
    Underlying Causes of Conflict: Chris delved into the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting the blockade of Gaza, the ongoing Israeli occupation and unfettered settlement expansion.
    The Blockade of Gaza: Chris discussed Israel's control over Gaza's land, sea, and air borders, emphasising the humanitarian crisis this has caused.
    Dehumanisation: Chris talks about the ‘Red Lines’ policy and how it reflects the dehumanisation of Palestinians.
    Role of the International Community: Critical reflection on the international community's role in perpetuating the conflict, particularly the U.S.'s unwavering support for Israel.
    Need for a Mandela Figure: Chris suggested that the conflict needs a leader with a vision of peace and the courage to see it through.
    Israeli Cabinet's Rhetoric: He points out the dehumanising language used by some Israeli cabinet ministers, such as ‘Gaza needs to be put on a diet’
    Resources:
    Professor Rashid Khalidi - Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: An Exploration of Root Causes and Geopolitical Dynamics
    Finally, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and share The Voices of War to help us continue exploring the complex narratives of war. To comment or take the conversation further, please connect to us here:
    https://www.thevoicesofwar.com
    https://www.twitter.com/twitter.com/thevoicesofwar
    https://au.linkedin.com/company/the-voices-of-war
    https://www.youtube.com/youtube.com/thevoicesofwar

    • 56 min
    101. Professor Rashid Khalidi - Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: An Exploration of Root Causes and Geopolitical Dynamics

    101. Professor Rashid Khalidi - Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: An Exploration of Root Causes and Geopolitical Dynamics

    Join The Voices Of War at https://thevoicesofwar.supercast.com/. Can't afford the subscription? Email me for an alternative solution. Universities and educational institutions can always reach out for full access to episode files.
    ---
    In today's episode, I am honoured to host Professor Rashid Khalidi, a distinguished scholar and the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. Known for his profound insights into Middle Eastern politics, Professor Khalidi is also the author of the ground-breaking book ‘100 Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017’. He joined me to discuss the intricate dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the geopolitics of the Middle East, and the role of international actors in shaping the region. Given the ongoing escalation of violence in Israel and across the Occupied Territories, the importance of nuance cannot be understated.  
    Some of the topics we covered include:
    Historical Roots of Zionism: Understand the pivotal roles played by Britain and the United States in the creation of Israel and support of Zionism.
    Israeli Settlement Expansion: Explore the controversial policies surrounding Israeli settlement expansion and their impact on the region.
    Life Under Occupation: Gain insights into the daily struggles faced by Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.
    Western Hypocrisy in International Politics: Examine the dichotomy between interests and values, and how Western nations often display hypocrisy in their international political stances.
    Religious Influence in Israeli Politics: Delve into the role of religious ideologies in shaping Israeli political policies.
    De Facto Annexation of Palestinian Territories: Learn about the unofficial yet impactful annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel.
    Challenges in Palestinian Diplomacy: Understand the hurdles faced by Palestinian leadership in their diplomatic efforts.
    Global Geopolitics and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Explore how the conflict fits into broader geopolitical trends and alliances.
    The 'Shared Values' Argument Between the U.S. and Israel: Examine the evolving narrative of 'shared values' and its implications for U.S.-Israel relations.
    Potential for Change in Israeli-Palestinian Relations: Discuss the possibilities for meaningful change in the conflict, particularly in the context of shifting global public opinion.
    Don't miss this enlightening episode that offers a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle Eastern geopolitics, and the role of international actors.
    Resources:
    Professor Rashid Khalidi’s book: The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017
    Finally, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and share The Voices of War to help us continue exploring the complex narratives of war. To comment or take the conversation further, please connect to us here:
    https://www.thevoicesofwar.com
    https://www.twitter.com/twitter.com/thevoicesofwar
    https://au.linkedin.com/company/the-voices-of-war
    https://www.youtube.com/youtube.com/thevoicesofwar

    • 58 min

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