Podcast: The Middle East, ISIS, and the US

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.

Listen to Discussion

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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