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Off the Hookah with Phil and Cooper

Al-Monitor

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Off the Hookah with Phil and Cooper
Off the Hookah with Phil and Cooper

Off the Hookah with Phil and Cooper

Al-Monitor

2
Followers
2
Plays
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About Us

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.

Latest Episodes

Seen and Not Kurd (feat. Bulent Aliriza & Jack Detsch)

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. Turkey launches Syria invasion hours after informing US of plans(Jack Detsch) Turkey launches attack on Syrian Kurdish forces as US steps aside(Amberin Zaman) Trump allies in Congress assail decision to let Turkey attack Syrian Kurds(Bryant Harris) Islamic State fight paused as Turkey invades northern Syria(Jack Detsch) Turkey's route into Syria full of pitfalls, uncertainties(Semih Idiz) 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)

18 MIN6 days ago
Comments
Seen and Not Kurd (feat. Bulent Aliriza & Jack Detsch)

Double Double, Oil and Trouble (feat. Henry Rome)

Phil and Cooper play catch-up on this month’s news, including the attacks on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. These drone and missile operations took out nearly 5% of the world’s daily oil supply and shook world markets. Although a rebel group in Yemen took responsibility for the attacks, the US and its allies have put the blame on Iran. What do we know so far? What would have been Iran’s rationale if they are responsible? And what comes next? Henry Rome from the Eurasia Group joins the podcast to share his insight. Iran denies involvement in Saudi attacks Zarif: Attack on Iran would mean 'all-out war' Iran defends strikes on Saudi oil facility but denies role Saudi oil facility attack challenges Washington's regional commitment(Karen Young) Lost opportunity? Rouhani departs NY without meeting Trump(Laura Rozen) Extra Listening: Episode #103, How to Lose the Iran Deal in 10 Days (6/21/19): A breakdown of the recent tensions between Iran and the US. Episode #107, Ship Out of Lu...

17 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Double Double, Oil and Trouble (feat. Henry Rome)

Déjà-Yahu (feat. Akiva Eldar & Lara Friedman)

Israel held another election this week after a first round in April led to a stalemate, when Prime Minister Netanyahu was unable to form a majority government. Though the results from this week are equally confusing, there’s a likelihood that Netanyahu’s grip on power is weakening. Phil and Cooper parse through the numbers: what led to this, what parties are in play, and what comes next? Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse columnist Akiva Eldar joins the podcast, along with Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Intel: How Netanyahu's push for redo elections backfired (Danny Zaken) The surprising political tactics of Israel’s Arab party (Shlomi Eldar) Netanyahu down but not out (Mazal Mualem) No talks about peace for Israel in its electoral agenda (Akiva Eldar) Netanyahu's plan to annex Jordan Valley kills all chances for Palestinian state (Daoud Kuttab) Extra Listening: Episode #78, Honey I Shrunk My Coalition (11/29/2018): Phil, Cooper, and Danny Zaken discuss...

22 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Déjà-Yahu (feat. Akiva Eldar & Lara Friedman)

En-voyage (feat. Yousef Munayyer & Danny Zaken)

President Trump’s foreign policy circle shrunk a little more this week, with National Security Advisor John Bolton getting the boot. But the other less-talked-about announcement was the resignation of Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s appointed envoy for the “deal of the century” - the long-awaited Israel-Palestine peace deal. Who is Greenblatt, what were his accomplishments, and what does it say about Trump’s foreign policy? And will it make a difference in crafting any sort of workable peace plan? Phil and Cooper discuss this and also get some perspectives from Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Israel Pulse contributor Danny Zaken (@danizaken). Palestinians see Greenblatt resignation as sign of failure for US Mideast vision (Daoud Kuttab) Will Greenblatt’s resignation hurt Netanyahu? (Danny Zaken) Extra Listening: Episode #105, Bahrain Drain (7/12/2019): Jared Kushner releases the first portion of the Israeli-Palestinian “deal of the ce...

13 MINSEP 14
Comments
En-voyage (feat. Yousef Munayyer & Danny Zaken)

Yemen At Work (feat. Naseh Shaker, Afrah Nasser, Bruce Riedel & Bryant Harris)

Phil and Cooper do a deep dive into the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. We look into how a unified Yemen was first formed, and how today, nascent movements in southern Yemen are looking into splitting the country once again. Two Al-Monitor contributors and Yemeni journalists, Naseh Shaker and Afrah Nasser, join the podcast to lend valuable insight into a civil war where conflicting reports are rampant. Also, Gulf Pulse columnist Bruce Riedel talks about the role Saudi Arabia and the UAE have played in the conflict, and Washington correspondent Bryant Harris speaks about the increased lobbying from Yemeni separatists in DC. Aden standoff puts Hadi's legitimacy at stake (Naseh Shaker) Yemen’s southern separatists take case to Congress (Bryant Harris) UAE shifts course in Yemen (Amar al-Ashwal) Riyadh faces new setback in south Yemen (Bruce Riedel) Southern Yemeni women enter storm of politics, war (Afrah Nasser) Extra Liste...

22 MINSEP 7
Comments
Yemen At Work (feat. Naseh Shaker, Afrah Nasser, Bruce Riedel & Bryant Harris)

The Not-So-Safe Zone

In northern Syria, Kurds have secured their own little autonomous nation since taking control of the land during the ongoing civil war, where they’ve served as consistent US allies in the fight against ISIS. But their northern neighbor Turkey is dead-set against any sort of Kurdish state and have threatened to invade to eliminate the threat. The US doesn’t want to lose the Kurdish alliance, so they’ve brokered a deal for a “peace corridor” on the Turkey-Syria border. But what are the details? And will it work? Phil and Cooper discuss this and more. Extra Reading: Turkey, US agree to coordinate on Syrian buffer zone (Ayla Jean Yackley) What does US-Turkey military deal really entail? (Cengiz Candar) Deciphering the cryptic safe-zone deal between Turkey, US (Metin Gurcan) Syrian Kurdish commander sets conditions for safe zone talks with Turkey (Amberin Zaman) Turkey, Syrian Kurds remain at odds in safe zone visions (Fehim Tastekin) Pentagon sends team to scout Syria safe zone (Ja...

14 MINAUG 23
Comments
The Not-So-Safe Zone

PMU Can’t Touch This (feat. Ali Mamouri)

Iraq is stuck in the middle of the US-Iran tensions, as their new government tries carefully to play both sides. One point of contention is the role of independent, predominantly Shiite militias in the country, with some holding strong pro-Iranian views - these militias are known as the PMU, or Popular Mobilization Units. But there’s been an outcry after Iraq’s prime minister decreed that all these militias must come under the command of the Iraqi Armed Forces. Phil and Cooper break down the basics: why were the PMU formed? How much power do they have? And what comes next? Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse editor Ali Mamouri joins the podcast from Baghdad. Extra Reading: The Dueling Ayatollahs (Ali Mamouri) Political differences ignite conflict between PMU factions (Hamdi Malik) Iraq orders militias to fully integrate into state security forces (Ali Mamouri) As US pressure increases on Iran-backed militias, they turn to Iran (Ali Mamouri) US hits back at Iran in Iraq as tensions rise (Ali Mam...

18 MINAUG 16
Comments
PMU Can’t Touch This (feat. Ali Mamouri)

Death of a Tunisian President (feat. Fadil Aliriza)

Back from a summer break, Phil and Cooper discuss the recent news out of North Africa: the Tunisian president, Beji Caid Essebsi, died at age 92. There was a huge outpouring of support for Essebsi’s rule, both from Tunisians and the international community - but does this really reflect his legacy? Where did Essebsi get his start, and what comes next for Tunisia? Fadil Aliriza, a journalist based in Tunis and editor-in-chief of mesh-kal.com, joins the podcast to talk about these recent events and more. Tunisian president's death leaves conflicted legacy, unclear future (Simon Speakman Cordall) Extra Listening: Episode #83, The Jasmine Revolution, Pt 1 (1/17/19): Emir Sfaxi joins us to discuss the 2011 fall of Ben Ali and the beginning of the Arab Spring Episode #84, The Jasmine Revolution, Pt 2 (1/24/19): Amberin Zaman joins to discuss her reporting on the ground in Tunisia during the anniversary of the revolution. Music: Nermine Sfar & Ali Sabri Belaid - “Twarri Nwarri” (YouTube)

14 MINAUG 10
Comments
Death of a Tunisian President (feat. Fadil Aliriza)

Ship Out of Luck (feat. Jack Detsch)

Phil gives an update on the recent escalations between Iran and the international community, culminating in their capturing four oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. What’s the Strait of Hormuz, and why is it so important? Also, Cooper discusses the recent arrival of the Russian S-400 missiles in Turkey, and what that means for their participation in the American F-35 project. Jack Detsch joins the podcast and talks shop with the pod about both topics. Iran claims massive counterespionage win Iran says tanker crisis can be resolved diplomatically Intel: US troop boost a warning shot at Iran (Jack Detsch) Intel: US boots Turkey from F-35 program after Russian arms deal (Jack Detsch) How Turkey is planning to handle US blowback over S-400s (Metin Gurcan) US forced to mull sanctions against Turkey after S-400 purchase (Amberin Zaman/Jack Detsch) Extra Listening: Episode #98, S-400 Days of Summer (5/10/19): Phil and Cooper explain the conflict behind Turkey’s purchase of both Russian ...

23 MINJUL 26
Comments
Ship Out of Luck (feat. Jack Detsch)

East Med & Down (feat. Amberin Zaman)

This week, Phil and Cooper explain the age-old territorial dispute between the Greeks and the Turks for the island of Cyprus. The dispute has re-entered the national conversation as Turkey presses forward with some ambitious plans to drill for oil in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in waters claimed by both Cyprus and Turkey. Why is the Turkish government so determined to drill? And how have other countries responded? Al-Monitor senior correspondent Amberin Zaman joins the podcast after reporting from Cyprus on the story. Eastern Mediterranean crisis balloons as Turkish drill ships multiply (Amberin Zaman) EU downgrades diplomatic ties, funding with Turkey over Cyprus gas drilling (Diego Cupolo) Congress advances bill sidelining Turkey on Mediterranean gas dispute (Bryant Harris) Eastern Mediterranean heats up as gas rivalry stakes grow higher (Metin Gurcan) Militarization of Mediterranean rises with exploration disputes (Metin Gurcan) Music: Monsieur Doumani - “Mandra” (Spotify | ...

17 MINJUL 20
Comments
East Med & Down (feat. Amberin Zaman)

Latest Episodes

Seen and Not Kurd (feat. Bulent Aliriza & Jack Detsch)

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. Turkey launches Syria invasion hours after informing US of plans(Jack Detsch) Turkey launches attack on Syrian Kurdish forces as US steps aside(Amberin Zaman) Trump allies in Congress assail decision to let Turkey attack Syrian Kurds(Bryant Harris) Islamic State fight paused as Turkey invades northern Syria(Jack Detsch) Turkey's route into Syria full of pitfalls, uncertainties(Semih Idiz) 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)

18 MIN6 days ago
Comments
Seen and Not Kurd (feat. Bulent Aliriza & Jack Detsch)

Double Double, Oil and Trouble (feat. Henry Rome)

Phil and Cooper play catch-up on this month’s news, including the attacks on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. These drone and missile operations took out nearly 5% of the world’s daily oil supply and shook world markets. Although a rebel group in Yemen took responsibility for the attacks, the US and its allies have put the blame on Iran. What do we know so far? What would have been Iran’s rationale if they are responsible? And what comes next? Henry Rome from the Eurasia Group joins the podcast to share his insight. Iran denies involvement in Saudi attacks Zarif: Attack on Iran would mean 'all-out war' Iran defends strikes on Saudi oil facility but denies role Saudi oil facility attack challenges Washington's regional commitment(Karen Young) Lost opportunity? Rouhani departs NY without meeting Trump(Laura Rozen) Extra Listening: Episode #103, How to Lose the Iran Deal in 10 Days (6/21/19): A breakdown of the recent tensions between Iran and the US. Episode #107, Ship Out of Lu...

17 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Double Double, Oil and Trouble (feat. Henry Rome)

Déjà-Yahu (feat. Akiva Eldar & Lara Friedman)

Israel held another election this week after a first round in April led to a stalemate, when Prime Minister Netanyahu was unable to form a majority government. Though the results from this week are equally confusing, there’s a likelihood that Netanyahu’s grip on power is weakening. Phil and Cooper parse through the numbers: what led to this, what parties are in play, and what comes next? Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse columnist Akiva Eldar joins the podcast, along with Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Intel: How Netanyahu's push for redo elections backfired (Danny Zaken) The surprising political tactics of Israel’s Arab party (Shlomi Eldar) Netanyahu down but not out (Mazal Mualem) No talks about peace for Israel in its electoral agenda (Akiva Eldar) Netanyahu's plan to annex Jordan Valley kills all chances for Palestinian state (Daoud Kuttab) Extra Listening: Episode #78, Honey I Shrunk My Coalition (11/29/2018): Phil, Cooper, and Danny Zaken discuss...

22 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Déjà-Yahu (feat. Akiva Eldar & Lara Friedman)

En-voyage (feat. Yousef Munayyer & Danny Zaken)

President Trump’s foreign policy circle shrunk a little more this week, with National Security Advisor John Bolton getting the boot. But the other less-talked-about announcement was the resignation of Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s appointed envoy for the “deal of the century” - the long-awaited Israel-Palestine peace deal. Who is Greenblatt, what were his accomplishments, and what does it say about Trump’s foreign policy? And will it make a difference in crafting any sort of workable peace plan? Phil and Cooper discuss this and also get some perspectives from Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Israel Pulse contributor Danny Zaken (@danizaken). Palestinians see Greenblatt resignation as sign of failure for US Mideast vision (Daoud Kuttab) Will Greenblatt’s resignation hurt Netanyahu? (Danny Zaken) Extra Listening: Episode #105, Bahrain Drain (7/12/2019): Jared Kushner releases the first portion of the Israeli-Palestinian “deal of the ce...

13 MINSEP 14
Comments
En-voyage (feat. Yousef Munayyer & Danny Zaken)

Yemen At Work (feat. Naseh Shaker, Afrah Nasser, Bruce Riedel & Bryant Harris)

Phil and Cooper do a deep dive into the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which has become one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. We look into how a unified Yemen was first formed, and how today, nascent movements in southern Yemen are looking into splitting the country once again. Two Al-Monitor contributors and Yemeni journalists, Naseh Shaker and Afrah Nasser, join the podcast to lend valuable insight into a civil war where conflicting reports are rampant. Also, Gulf Pulse columnist Bruce Riedel talks about the role Saudi Arabia and the UAE have played in the conflict, and Washington correspondent Bryant Harris speaks about the increased lobbying from Yemeni separatists in DC. Aden standoff puts Hadi's legitimacy at stake (Naseh Shaker) Yemen’s southern separatists take case to Congress (Bryant Harris) UAE shifts course in Yemen (Amar al-Ashwal) Riyadh faces new setback in south Yemen (Bruce Riedel) Southern Yemeni women enter storm of politics, war (Afrah Nasser) Extra Liste...

22 MINSEP 7
Comments
Yemen At Work (feat. Naseh Shaker, Afrah Nasser, Bruce Riedel & Bryant Harris)

The Not-So-Safe Zone

In northern Syria, Kurds have secured their own little autonomous nation since taking control of the land during the ongoing civil war, where they’ve served as consistent US allies in the fight against ISIS. But their northern neighbor Turkey is dead-set against any sort of Kurdish state and have threatened to invade to eliminate the threat. The US doesn’t want to lose the Kurdish alliance, so they’ve brokered a deal for a “peace corridor” on the Turkey-Syria border. But what are the details? And will it work? Phil and Cooper discuss this and more. Extra Reading: Turkey, US agree to coordinate on Syrian buffer zone (Ayla Jean Yackley) What does US-Turkey military deal really entail? (Cengiz Candar) Deciphering the cryptic safe-zone deal between Turkey, US (Metin Gurcan) Syrian Kurdish commander sets conditions for safe zone talks with Turkey (Amberin Zaman) Turkey, Syrian Kurds remain at odds in safe zone visions (Fehim Tastekin) Pentagon sends team to scout Syria safe zone (Ja...

14 MINAUG 23
Comments
The Not-So-Safe Zone

PMU Can’t Touch This (feat. Ali Mamouri)

Iraq is stuck in the middle of the US-Iran tensions, as their new government tries carefully to play both sides. One point of contention is the role of independent, predominantly Shiite militias in the country, with some holding strong pro-Iranian views - these militias are known as the PMU, or Popular Mobilization Units. But there’s been an outcry after Iraq’s prime minister decreed that all these militias must come under the command of the Iraqi Armed Forces. Phil and Cooper break down the basics: why were the PMU formed? How much power do they have? And what comes next? Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse editor Ali Mamouri joins the podcast from Baghdad. Extra Reading: The Dueling Ayatollahs (Ali Mamouri) Political differences ignite conflict between PMU factions (Hamdi Malik) Iraq orders militias to fully integrate into state security forces (Ali Mamouri) As US pressure increases on Iran-backed militias, they turn to Iran (Ali Mamouri) US hits back at Iran in Iraq as tensions rise (Ali Mam...

18 MINAUG 16
Comments
PMU Can’t Touch This (feat. Ali Mamouri)

Death of a Tunisian President (feat. Fadil Aliriza)

Back from a summer break, Phil and Cooper discuss the recent news out of North Africa: the Tunisian president, Beji Caid Essebsi, died at age 92. There was a huge outpouring of support for Essebsi’s rule, both from Tunisians and the international community - but does this really reflect his legacy? Where did Essebsi get his start, and what comes next for Tunisia? Fadil Aliriza, a journalist based in Tunis and editor-in-chief of mesh-kal.com, joins the podcast to talk about these recent events and more. Tunisian president's death leaves conflicted legacy, unclear future (Simon Speakman Cordall) Extra Listening: Episode #83, The Jasmine Revolution, Pt 1 (1/17/19): Emir Sfaxi joins us to discuss the 2011 fall of Ben Ali and the beginning of the Arab Spring Episode #84, The Jasmine Revolution, Pt 2 (1/24/19): Amberin Zaman joins to discuss her reporting on the ground in Tunisia during the anniversary of the revolution. Music: Nermine Sfar & Ali Sabri Belaid - “Twarri Nwarri” (YouTube)

14 MINAUG 10
Comments
Death of a Tunisian President (feat. Fadil Aliriza)

Ship Out of Luck (feat. Jack Detsch)

Phil gives an update on the recent escalations between Iran and the international community, culminating in their capturing four oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. What’s the Strait of Hormuz, and why is it so important? Also, Cooper discusses the recent arrival of the Russian S-400 missiles in Turkey, and what that means for their participation in the American F-35 project. Jack Detsch joins the podcast and talks shop with the pod about both topics. Iran claims massive counterespionage win Iran says tanker crisis can be resolved diplomatically Intel: US troop boost a warning shot at Iran (Jack Detsch) Intel: US boots Turkey from F-35 program after Russian arms deal (Jack Detsch) How Turkey is planning to handle US blowback over S-400s (Metin Gurcan) US forced to mull sanctions against Turkey after S-400 purchase (Amberin Zaman/Jack Detsch) Extra Listening: Episode #98, S-400 Days of Summer (5/10/19): Phil and Cooper explain the conflict behind Turkey’s purchase of both Russian ...

23 MINJUL 26
Comments
Ship Out of Luck (feat. Jack Detsch)

East Med & Down (feat. Amberin Zaman)

This week, Phil and Cooper explain the age-old territorial dispute between the Greeks and the Turks for the island of Cyprus. The dispute has re-entered the national conversation as Turkey presses forward with some ambitious plans to drill for oil in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in waters claimed by both Cyprus and Turkey. Why is the Turkish government so determined to drill? And how have other countries responded? Al-Monitor senior correspondent Amberin Zaman joins the podcast after reporting from Cyprus on the story. Eastern Mediterranean crisis balloons as Turkish drill ships multiply (Amberin Zaman) EU downgrades diplomatic ties, funding with Turkey over Cyprus gas drilling (Diego Cupolo) Congress advances bill sidelining Turkey on Mediterranean gas dispute (Bryant Harris) Eastern Mediterranean heats up as gas rivalry stakes grow higher (Metin Gurcan) Militarization of Mediterranean rises with exploration disputes (Metin Gurcan) Music: Monsieur Doumani - “Mandra” (Spotify | ...

17 MINJUL 20
Comments
East Med & Down (feat. Amberin Zaman)