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Interview With Patrick Cockburn: Islamic State And The Ongoing Wars In The Middle East

Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola are joined by Patrick Cockburn, a longtime Middle East correspondent well-known for his coverage of Iraq and Syria. He is the author of The Age of Jihad: Islamic State and the Great War for the Middle East.

Cockburn addresses the destruction of Mosul, the rise of Sunni fundamentalism, the role of Turkey in Iraq and Syria, and President Donald Trump and his potential plans for aggression toward Iran.

“I think it’s going to [ISIS] will suffer a defeat in Mosul,” Cockburn says. “Obviously, that’s a big defeat for ISIS because capturing Mosul in June 2014 was its first great victory. That’s when it declared the caliphate. That’s when it advanced on Baghdad and took most of eastern Syria, but I don’t think it will put it entirely out of business.”

Cockburn describes a point he has made about the lack of winners in protracted wars in the Middle East.

“In the past, when one was studying wars at school or at university, they would have a beginning and ending date. But that’s not true of these wars. Why is this happening? Well, I think states have been overthrown,” Cockburn suggests.

On Trump, Cockburn contends in Iraq and Syria the policies continuing under Trump were President Barack Obama’s policies. Policy, however, seems to have changed in Yemen. The State Department seems willing to drop pretense of restraint against sending guided munitions to Saudi Arabia to step up attacks on al Qaeda (which are units fighting the Houthi rebels, which the United States-backed coalition is also fighting).

During the discussion, Gosztola discusses a trip to New Zealand, and later, Gosztola and Khalek talk about Trump’s proposed budget and the GOP’s healthcare plan.

To listen to the episode, click the above player or go here.

Atlanta Muslim Ban Protest. Photo by tanip on Flickr.
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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."