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On the Middle East with Andrew Parasiliti and Amberin Zaman

Andrew Parasiliti and Amberin Zaman interview newsmakers each week from the US and Middle East about the latest news and trends in the region, with additional commentary from Al-Monitor’s ‘on-the-ground’ correspondents.

On The Middle East

Most Recent Episode #61

Samuel Ramani, a tutor at the University of Oxford and expert on Russia and Africa, explains why international mediation on the Nile Dam talks may continue to flounder; why the UAE has been an "exceptional actor" in the GERD negotiations; the linkages between the Persian Gulf and Red Sea security; the relative interests and influence of the US, Russia and China in Africa; and more.


-Saudi-Ethiopian relations strained by Nile dam dispute - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

-How water has become a flashpoint in the Middle East - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

-UAE offers to mediate Nile dam dispute in name of Red Sea security - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

-What UAE’s growing presence in Somaliland means for its Horn of Africa strategy - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East


On Israel with Ben Caspit

Ben Caspit, an Israel correspondent for Al-Monitor, brings you weekly interviews with newsmakers and officials to discuss the latest news in Israel.

On Israel with Ben Caspit

Most Recent Episode #53

Following recent revelations that governments were spying on journalists, opposition politicians, activists and others using Pegasus spyware, Ben speaks this week with two representatives of NSO Group, the company that developed Pegasus. Brig. Gen. (res.) Ariella Ben Avraham currently serves as Global Communication Executive at NSO, while Shmuel Sunray serves as legal adviser to the group.  

Rejecting accusations against NSO, Ben Avraham states, “Because of NSO, people around the world are safer…Our product enables governments to save lives, and we see that every day. We are not the enemies of anyone. We do not have data in our possession and have no access to it. We do not operate the system. All those headlines are actually pretty funny.”

Sunray argues that the company had adopted international regulations on who to sell to, how to ensure that the product is used in a proper way, and how to deal with misuse of the software, if that happens. He says that NSO would be happy to take part at an international discussion on finding the right balance between national security and right for privacy.


-Pegasus intel project brings Israel more trouble - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

-Israel 'looks into' NSO cyber-espionage affair - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

-Israel under fire after allegations against NSO cybersurveillance group - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

Off The Hookah with Phil and Cooper

We get it: the Middle East can be a complicated place, and sometimes it’s difficult to wrap your head around all the regional conflicts and political drama - that’s where we come in. We’re here to break down the major headlines, talk with experts and journalists, and give you a clearer picture of what’s happening in the region so you can impress your friends and promote our podcast. Sorry, that’s the shameless plug we were supposed to delete. Oh well. Off the Hookah with Phil and Cooper is a production of Al-Monitor.

Off The Hookah

As the coronavirus crisis continues to grip the world, the markets have been on the shakiest ground yet since the 2008 economic recession - especially with regards to the price of oil. In the last few years, Saudi Arabia and Russia have developed a special relationship to stabilize oil prices in the face of growing competition from the Americans, who for the first time has begun to outpace both countries in terms of production. But when demand for oil began to fall precipitously in the face of COVID-19, the relationship ended in a messy way. Phil and Cooper break down the bad breakup and how it’s affected economies worldwide.

Extra Listening

Music: Elman - “Антигерой” (Spotify)