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Each week, we’ll dive into the top news happening around the Middle East to discuss the stories behind the headlines. With the proliferation of regional conflicts and political drama, we will break down the major developments, provide insight from some of the foremost experts, and have fun while we’re at it. Off the Hookah with Phil and Cooper is a production of Al-Monitor.


Episode #115: Seen and Not Kurd (feat. Bulent Aliriza & Jack Detsch)

by Phil & Cooper Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019

This week, President Trump made a controversial decision to pull the US military out of northern Syria, allowing Turkey to proceed with a military operation against one of America’s staunchest allies in the region, the Syrian Kurds, the same coalition who did the lion’s share of destroying the Islamic State. Is there any rhyme or reason to Trump’s decision? What are Erdogan’s goals for northern Syria? And what has the reaction been from Washington? Dr. Bulent Aliriza, the Director of the Turkey Project at CSIS joins the podcast, as well as Al-Monitor’s Pentagon correspondent, Jack Detsch.

Extra Listening:

  • Episode #82,  Walk (Back) This Way (1/10/2019): Trump announces pulling troops out of Syria, only to be stopped by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
  • Episode #110,  The Not-So-Safe Zone (8/22/2019): The US and Turkey agree to a buffer zone along the Turkey-Syria border to prevent any military operations against the Kurds.

Music: Aynur Dogan - “Zor İmiş Meğer” (Spotify | Apple Music)

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