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Middle East Expert Mohammed Ayoob Talks About Iraq, Gaza, and the Impacts of the Arab Spring

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Michigan State’s Prof. Mohammed Ayoob comments on Obama’s military action in Iraq, the renewed fighting in Gaza, and his new book, Will the Middle East Implode?

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Mohammed Ayoob is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Michigan State, and the author of a number of books on the Middle East and Islam.  He reacts to the decision by President Obama to airlift relief supplies to some 40,000 people displaced by the Islamic State, the Sunni militants in northern Iraq, and airstrikes that have begun.  He offers history and context as we discuss the complex challenges in the region:  our support of the Maliki government aligns us with Iran and Syria, our support for Israel limits our leverage with other countries, and the proxy war in Syria is extracting costs.  Ayoob dismisses a CNN report that Americans in the IS ranks are likely to bring jihad to the United States.

We discuss the use of the term “genocide” by Obama in his rationale for protecting the Yazidis and others from IS slaughter, and whether it applies to the Hamas-Israel conflict.  We talk about the “human shield” talking point of the Israelis, and Andrew Sullivan’s compilation of genocidal comments from top Israeli officials.

And we talk about his new book, which surveys the nations of the “Arab Spring” and the results to date.  While Tunisia has moved in a democratic direction, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen are either under autocratic rule or in chaos.