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.
Gulf Cooperation and Bailout Billionaires?
We're always gloriously counter-cultural, a little like the regions we discuss, but if you're looking at the image for this podcast you'll get a rare look at the faces of the two contributors - host James Abbott and the voice of Middle East Analysis Dr Harry Hagopian.
In today's MEA podcast, the first after a short summer break, they discuss Qatar's role in the turbulent weeks of a transitional Afghanistan, Lebanon's slow recovery from economic meltdown, the 1000th 'what next' for Israel / Palestine - particularly the Palestinian Authority, the shifting north African sands of Morocco and two topical Hagopian afterthoughts.
If you want to jump to a particular conversation, here's the timeline:
Start - 2m 3s
2m 4s - 21m 48s
Qatar's role in transitional Afghanistan
21m 49s - 40m 23s
The authority in the the Palestinian Authority
40m 24s - 50m 55s
Lebanon's slow recovery - Billionaire #1
50m 56s - 1h 3m 26s
Morocco's shifting political sands - Billionaire #2
1h 3m 27s - End
A year on from the devastating Beirut port blasts
Dr Harry Hagopian's message on the one-year anniversary of the blasts that tore through the port in Lebanon's capital Beirut taking lives, livelihoods, hopes and aspirations with them.
Tunisia: A coup or not a coup? That is the question
If it looks like a coup and smells like a coup, it's a coup... right? Not so fast says Dr Harry Hagopian in this 'Middle East Analysis' podcast as we focus on Tunisia.
When a president dismisses goverment, sacks the prime minister, blocks parliament and orders journalists to leave, surely we're witnessing the classic hallmarks of a coup d'état? Perhaps not. Once the dust had settled on a bold move by Tunisian President Kais Saied, it seems he has 'frozen' parliament for 30 days to address the country's ills. It's a watching brief and Dr Hagopian's willing to wait and see for now.
The two other realities we're looking at are the near failed states of Iraq and Lebanon. Both look like pawns in an international chess game but can either come back from the brink?
All this and more in our hour-long summer podcast.
New leaders but age old problems
New leaders are popping up all over the place in the Middle East and North Africa. Today's 'Middle East Analysis' is something of a presidential, prime ministerial and parliamentary podcast as we take a closer look at the newly or recently elected men (obviously) in the limelight.
First to Iran and a man who could well be in line to succeed Supreme Leader Khamenei, President-elect Ebrahim Raisi. How will the 60-year-old conservative cope with Covid and the potential resurrection of the nuclear deal?
Then to Israel as Dr Harry Hagopian gives us his take on the man who has taken over from Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister following his 12 years in office. But what do we know about Naftali Bennett?
Two north African realities are explored - Libya and Algeria.
Libya looks set for elections in December 2021 but the question that always hangs in the air is: how do you get the foreign troops and mercenaries out of the country? Will a new parliament and president take control of Libya's future?
And what of Algeria? Dr Hagopian describes recent elections as "extremely telling" but what exactly do those elections tell us? Especially considering the very low turn out of under a third.
Ahead of Harry's final thoughts, we turn a wistful glance in Lebanon's direction. Akin to a post-World War 20th century meltdown, the 'Switzerland of the Middle East' is in a sorry state with unaffordable high prices and shortages of bread, medicines and petrol.
Israel - Palestine: Violence begets violence
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 Holy City of Jerusalem and whether we can find hope, dignity and humanity in this maelstrom of suffering.
As usual, those who suffer are the men, women and children trying to live their lives in the middle of this simmering cauldron.
Elections, non elections and a right royal rumpus
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 Middle East and North Africa to the South Caucasus and a final thought on the Armenian Genocide 106 years after the commemoration date of 24 April 1915.
From: 53 mins 1 sec
Dip in, dip out but we hope you take something from it.