Episode 33 - COVID-19 in the Middle East: Iran in crisis and the risks for countries in conflict

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By The International Institute for Strategic Studies and International Institute for Strategic Studies. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
In this episode, Mahsa Rouhi and Emile Hokayem join Meia Nouwens for a discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected countries in the Middle East.Iran has been one of the most severely affected countries in the world, with over 3,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 (as of 2 April 2020). Mahsa explains how the Iranian public has responded to this crisis and why the combination of US sanctions and regime negligence has worsened the outbreak in the country.Conflict-afflicted countries, such as Syria and Yemen, also stand to be gravely affected by this pandemic for a series of reasons, including the lack of medical facilities after years of conflict. Emile explores how this pandemic presents a ‘cascade of problems’ for these countries and will likely exacerbate existing insecurities, especially among vulnerable IDP and refugee populations.Both Mahsa and Emile speak on the mixed role non-state groups have had in combating the virus and why a lack of trust in state institutions has led to weakened public adherence to restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. They finish the episode by noting some positive diplomatic signs occurring during this crisis that could form the basis for renewed regional engagement after the pandemic has passed.We hope you enjoy listening and don’t forget to follow, rate and subscribe to Sounds Strategic on wherever you listen to podcasts.Date of recording: 31 March 2020Sounds Strategic is recorded and produced at the IISS in London.Theme music: ‘Safety in Numbers’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks.

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