TCF World Podcast: Who Cares About A Faraway Siege?

December 21, 2017

It’s been a year since the dramatic siege and fall of Aleppo, and another part of Syria suffers under blockade: Eastern Ghouta, on the flank of Damascus, where an estimated 400,000 civilians languish under arguably worse conditions than Aleppo experience, but with little international attention.

Syrian activist Marcell Shehwaro was at the center of the popular uprising in Aleppo, and won a reputation as an unflagging supporter of civil society and a critic of abuses by the government and also by rebel militias. Today she is working from Beirut to give voice to her fellow citizens trapped in Eastern Ghouta. “Every morning I ask myself what did I not do for Aleppo, so that I can do it for Ghouta.”

In our second segment, we hear from James Sadri, executive director of the Syria Campaign, which works with citizens’ groups inside Syria and tries to carry their message abroad. His organization is best known for its efforts to publicize the work of the White Helmets, volunteers who rescue Syrians from bomb sites. He marvels at the resilience of Syrians and the failure of the international system to uphold its commitments to human rights and law—and wonders what the international liberal order can salvage from its shameful record in Syria.

Participants include:

  • Marcell Shehwaro, a Syrian civil society activist from Aleppo, currently based in Istanbul and Beirut.
  • James Sadri, executive director of The Syria Campaign.
  • Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

This podcast was produced by Harrison Cramer. 

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TCF World Podcast: A Post-American World

December 8, 2017
Donald Trump's presidency has brought into stark relief questions about America's role and standing in the world. Author Suzy Hansen has spent a decade investigating America's complicated relationship with the Islamic world.
 
She unspools some of the delusions and denials that undergird America's troubling foreign policy, and asks how it's possible to be a progressive at home and in the world in her new book, "Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World." TCF talks to Suzy Hansen in Istanbul.
 
Participants include:
  • Suzy Hansen is contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and has written for many other publications. In 2007, she was awarded a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to do research in Turkey. She currently lives in Istanbul. Notes on a Foreign Country is her first book.
  • Thanassis Cambanis is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

 

This episode was produced by Harrison Cramer. 

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TCF World Podcast: Talking with Syrian Exiles

November 30, 2017

More than five million Syrians, over one-fifth of the country’s prewar population, have left their homeland since the uprisings began in 2011. As President Bashar al-Assad claims victory and reconstruction talks ensue, many of these exiles, refugees, and émigrés see no possibilities for return.

On November 30, The Century Foundation published a report on national identity and belonging among Syrian exiles by TCF Foreign Policy associates Lily Hindy and Sima Ghaddar, based on their series of extended narrative interviews with displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Europe, and the United States. 

Participants include: 

  • Thanassis Cambanis, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Lily Hindy, Policy Associate, The Century Foundation
  • Sima Ghaddar, Contributor, The Century Foundation
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TCF World Podcast: Iraq after the Kurdish referendum

November 9, 2017
The Kurdish drive for independence has foundered and Iraq has reestablished control over disputed areas. Ethnic strains remain, and political divisions are flaring within Iraq’s major communities.
 
How much control does Iran really have over Iraq? Can Iraqi prime minister Haidar al-Abadi maintain his balancing act, keeping Iran and the United States both on his side, and avoiding dangerous strongman overreach?
 
We speak in Beirut with Renad Mansour, a research fellow at Chatham House, and Christine van den Toorn, director of the Institute of Regional and International Studies at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.
 
Participants include: 
  • Renad Mansour, research fellow at Chatham House
     
  • Christine van den Toorn, director of the Institute of Regional and International Studies at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.
  • Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
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TCF World Podcast: Syria’s Next Phase

October 20, 2017
As Syria’s conflict settles decisively into a new phase, much of the fight has moved to diplomatic salons. Reconstruction and normalization are the biggest questions of the day. If Syria is to be rebuilt, who will pay? If Bashar al-Assad wins the civil war outright, will the foreign governments that opposed him now change tack and reestablish full diplomatic relations?
 
These questions frame the Syrian government’s diplomatic agenda, as it tries to leverage battlefield gains to reap lasting political dividends. Western governments are perplexed, as they ponder whether and how to continue their opposition to Assad.
 
Participants include:
 
  • Thanassis Cambanis, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Michael Wahid Hanna, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Aron Lund, Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Sam Heller, Fellow, The Century Foundation
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TCF World Podcast: Press Freedom in Egypt

October 20, 2017
Egypt is enduring the harshest crackdown on civil liberties and political freedom in its modern history. As media outlets, civic institutions, and political parties buckle or vanish under inordinate pressure, Mada Masr has managed to maintain a small space for free expression, publishing critical and engaging content in Arabic and English.
 
Founder and editor Lina Attalah, speaking in Cairo, discusses the risks and challenges of editing a publication that regularly publishes stories irksome to the government. She also discusses Mada’s experiments with collective management and reader engagement, as the publication seeks to succeed as a journalism business.
 
List of participants include:
 
  • Lina Attalah, Editor of Mada Masr
  • Thanassis Cambanis, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
 
 
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TCF World Podcast: Hezbollah and Iran’s Road

October 12, 2017
Has Iran secured a path to the Mediterranean, as some analysts and politicians claim? What is Hezbollah doing these days inside Syria? The Century Foundation’s foreign policy team considers some of the more alarming analysis of Hezbollah and Iran’s position.
 
Tehran and its Lebanese partner have achieved many of their aims in Syria, changing the strategic playing field — although some of the threat assessments seem inflated.
 
 
Participants include:
  • Thanassis Cambanis, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Sima Ghaddar, Policy Associate, The Century Foundation
  • Michael Wahid Hanna, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Aron Lund, Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Sam Heller, Fellow, The Century Foundation
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TCF World Podcast: Demythologize ISIS

October 12, 2017
In TCF World’s inaugural podcast episode, Century Foundation fellows Thanassis Cambanis, Michael Wahid Hanna, Aron Lund, and Sam Heller try to put to rest some of the mythology and exaggerations that have grown up around the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). After three years of power in a self-declared caliphate, ISIS is on the run from Mosul, its capital in Iraq, and is on the verge of defeat in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. Nonetheless, many commentators and U.S. policymakers still contend that ISIS is as powerful as ever, and is winning even while appearing to lose.
 
The Century Foundation’s foreign policy team considers drivers of the Islamic State’s resilience and resurgence, its actual strengths and potential, the impact of territorial losses, and the fragile commitment of some governments to exterminate ISIS.
 
This podcast is a remastered and edited version of a conversation originally posted on July 18, 2017.
 
 
Participants include:
  • Thanassis Cambanis, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Michael Wahid Hanna, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Aron Lund, Fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Sam Heller, Fellow, The Century Foundation
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