Podcast: The Middle East, ISIS, and the US

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US commander with colleagues of the Kurdish militia YPG in northeast Syria, April 2017

Is the Islamic State the central issue in the Middle East? Has the US been sidelined? And what of the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar?

Rosemary Hollis of City University London and I joined BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday to talk about these issues and more in the region.

When it comes to Syria, the US game is to use the Islamic State as a diversion to avoid confronting the main issues. ISIS is a very deadly element in the Syrian conflict, and the US is working especially with Kurdish militia to try and push them back — but the core issue is still the Assad regime vs. its various opponents, and the US has retreated from this.

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