Guest: Régis Le Sommier. We discuss the fact that the United States and its western allies are in denial about having lost the war in Syria. Calls to reboot that war are unrealistic and against the wishes of the majority of Syrian people who are living in government controlled areas, still suffering under sanctions and whose voices are rarely heard in western media. The sanctions are being used in an effort to keep options open for regime change and to deny the Assad government the opportunity to rebuild and stabilize the country. Western leaders and media are also in denial about the nature and objectives of the people who control the opposition held areas. Régis brings us insights from Syria having spent time on the ground there in both government and opposition controlled areas.
Correction: in the interview I said that Jennifer Caparaella worked for the Institute for the Study of Peace but the name of the organization is the Institute for the Study of War. Apologies for that!
Régis Le Sommier is director at the Paris Match magazine. He has covered American presidential elections and interviewed several American presidents, other leaders and celebrities and reported from many places around the world including Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also spent time on the ground in Syria in both government and opposition held areas.
On this Foreign Policy Focus and Around the Empire swapcast, Kyle and Joanne discuss the five year anniversary of the US/Saudi/UAE war on Yemen. The anniversary has received almost no media coverage in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Ironically, the five years of war in Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – making Yemen one of the most likely to be devastated by a coronavirus. The US/Saudi/UAE/UK bombing campaign has intentionally targeted the civilian infracture of Yemen. Now – before coronavirus even reaches Yemen – 24 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and millions of children are at risk of starvation. Yemen must be remembered and the war must end.
Recorded on March 26, 2020. Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Guest: Matthew Hoh. We talk about the Afghanistan Papers that were published in the Washington Post at the end of 2019 and the media treatment of these issues. We discuss Matthew’s experience in the military and in foreign service, the war in Afghanistan during the Bush and Obama administrations, and the culture of lying that has developed in the military. Matthew resigned in protest in 2009 over the war in Afghanistan.
Matthew Hoh is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy in Washington, DC. He’s a disabled veteran, a former US Marine Corps officer and Department of Defense and State Department official. Matthew was in the Iraq War with the Marines and in both Afghanistan and Iraq with State Department teams. He is on the Boards and Advisory Boards of a number of organizations including Expose Facts, Institute for Public Accuracy and Veterans For Peace. He writes and speaks regularly on issues of war and peace, has appeared on numerous media networks and his work has been published by a wide array of online and print media
FOLLOW Matthew on Facebook. Find his recent writings at CounterPunch, antiwar.com and on his website https://matthewhoh.com
Guests: Jennifer Pan, Alexandra Siegel. We talk about their research paper titled “How Saudi Crackdowns Fail to Silence Online Dissent” which was published in American Political Science Review. They studied the effects of well-known Saudi activists, religious leaders and journalists being imprisoned for online dissent. They analyzed tweets and Google search data from 2010 to 2017 using automated analysis of text and crowd-sourced evaluation of content to draw conclusions about the behavior of their peers and followers. Their research showed that it did not suppress online dissent overall.
Jennifer Pan is an Assistant Professor Dept. of Communication Stanford University. Her research focuses on political communication and authoritarian politics, political censorship, propaganda, and information manipulation in the digital age. She uses experimental and computational methods with large-scale datasets on political activity in China and other countries. Website: http://jenpan.com
Alexandra Siegel is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University Immigration Policy Lab and a Research Associate at NYU Social Media and Political Participation Lab.
In her research she studies mass and elite political behavior in the Arab World including intergroup conflict, extremism and disinformation. Her analysis involves large datasets from social media, text and networks, machine learning methods and experiments. Website: https://alexandra-siegel.com