The Great Debate

Podcast: Surprising changes underway for Israel’s military

By Jason Fields
February 5, 2016
PARTICIPANTS: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Noga Tarnopolsky

Israel’s defense forces are widely regarded to be among the world’s elite. Their training methods are copied by other militaries, actions taken by their soldiers and pilots are legendary. The Raid on Entebbe, the Six Day War, the 1981 air strike that took out a nuclear reactor under construction in Iraq.

Is it time for the United States to dump Saudi Arabia?

By Josh Cohen
February 3, 2016
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (C) to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting at King Salman Regional Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool - RTX23NE0

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (C) to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting at King Salman Regional Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin

Podcast: Why the Iran-Saudi showdown is a gift to ISIS

By Jason Fields
January 28, 2016
PARTICIPANTS: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Murtaza Hussain

Saudi Arabia executes a cleric who is a member of the Saudi Shi’ite minority. Iran’s government, which sees itself as the leader of the Shi’ite world, doesn’t work very hard to stop an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran that follows the execution. Saudi Arabia closes its embassy and tensions between the two nations, which had been growing for years, hit a new high.

China threatens sanctions against U.S. companies: Is this the future?

By Peter Harrell
January 26, 2016
Shipping containers are seen piled up at a port in Qingdao, Shandong province December 10, 2013. China's leaders began mapping out their economic and reform plans for 2014 behind closed doors on Tuesday, and would have drawn confidence from data showing the economy has sustained momentum from a mid-year pick-up into the final quarter. Picture taken December 10, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA

Shipping containers piled up at a port in Qingdao, Shandong province December 10, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

Vladimir Putin is the closest thing to a friend Israel has ever had in Moscow

By Josh Cohen
January 14, 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2015. Netanyahu said his visit to Moscow on Monday was aimed at preventing clashes between Russian and Israeli military forces in the Middle East. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Pool ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RTS24WH

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, September 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Pool

Saudi Arabia and Iran are playing a winner-take-all game

By Mohamad Bazzi
January 7, 2016
Shi'ites protest against the execution of Shi'ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Baghdad January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily  - RTX219P8

Shi’ites protest against the execution of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Baghdad January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

How the Saudi king benefits from a cleric’s execution

By Peter Van Buren
January 6, 2016
Members of the Shi'ite ulema council hold a sign for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia, during a protest demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan, January 2, 2016. The sign reads in Urdu, "Protest, Protest, Protest, we condemn the martyring of Ayatullah Shaikh Baqar al-Nimr and other Muslims, and demand human rights organisations take notice of the inhuman incident and bring fact-finding to the public". REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro  - RTX20S7T

Members of the Shi’ite ulema council hold a sign for Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who was executed along with others in Saudi Arabia, during a protest demonstration in Karachi, Pakistan, January 2, 2016.  REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Will the U.S. fall for Saudi Arabia’s deliberate provocation in killing of Shi’ite cleric?

By Trita Parsi
January 4, 2016
Protesters holding pictures of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr are pushed back by Iranian riot police during a demonstration against the execution of Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran January, 3, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX20VG3

Protesters holding pictures of Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr are pushed back by Iranian riot police outside the Saudi  Embassy in Tehran, January, 3, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

The state of play in the Syria talks (round 58692)

By Marco Vicenzino
November 13, 2015
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) listen while UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (C) speaks during a news conference at the Grand Hotel in Vienna, October 30, 2015. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said on Friday he hoped progress could be made at international talks in Vienna aimed at finding a political solution to Syria's four-year-old civil war but it would be very difficult. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool - RTX1U17Z

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R) listen as UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (C) speaks during a news conference at the Grand Hotel in Vienna, October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

Why the U.S. may still have to go to war against Iran

By Bennett Ramberg
October 26, 2015
A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor

The Bushehr main nuclear reactor, 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran, August 21, 2010. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi