A bi-weekly round-up of policy relevant news about the Middle East, with a brief interview about why it matters for US foreign policy.
The Rise of the Machines: AI and the Future of Air Combat
A few weeks ago, an AI algorithm beat a human pilot in a series of simulated dogfights, as part of the AlphaDogfight challenge to “demonstrate the feasibility of developing effective, intelligent autonomous agents capable of defeating adversary aircraft in a dogfight." The simulation touched off debate about the future of air combat. To discuss this, Aaron spoke this week with "Mule", an F-15E Weapons Systems Officer and Ryan "Stinger" Fishel, a F-15E pilot, about the simulation and the future of air combat.
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
Ground Deconfliction with the Russians in Syria
Events in Syria have brought American and Russian militaries into close contact. In recent weeks, a video emerged showing Russian helicopters flying low over an American patrol, and it was later revealed that US soldiers were injured when a Russian vehicle rammed an American vehicle. To discuss ground deconfliction, Aaron spoke this week with Bob Hamilton, FPRI Black Sea Fellow and a Professor of Eurasian Studies at the Army War College.
Stay tuned for the launch of FPRI’s upcoming book Russia’s War in Syria: Assessing Russian Military Capabilities and Lessons Learned on September 14th.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates: The Art of a Deal
Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to begin negotiations to normalize relations, so long as Prime Minister Netanyahu suspends his plans to annex the West Bank. The move was widely welcomed as beneficial for regional stability, but also raised questions about whether it was sustainable. To discuss the agreement, Aaron spoke with Dr. Joshua Krasna, a senior fellow at FPRI and a professor at NYU's Center for Global Affairs.
The U.S. Air Force and Turkey's F-35
What is the latest with Turkey's F-35? To get the latest, Aaron speaks this week with Valerie Insinna, Air Warfare Reporter at Defense News, about the latest with Turkey and the F-35.
Mysterious Explosions in Iran
In this cross-over podcast with Arms Control Wonk, Aaron speaks with Fabian Hinz, a frequent guest on the podcast, about the recent explosions in Iran and what open source intelligence has revealed about the two incidents.
More Trouble in Libya: Egypt Raises the Stakes
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has threatened to send armed forces across the border with Libya, following Turkey's successful ousting of Khalifa Haftar from territory his militia held in the western part of the country. The flashpoint is Sirte, where Turkish-backed forces are deployed and possibly preparing to assault, and which Sisi has pledged to defend. To discuss the Egyptian view of the conflict in Libya, Aaron speaks with Michael Hanna, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation in New York.