The Troubled History of the Balfour Declaration

On November 2nd 1917, Britain's Foreign Secretary Aurther Balfour penned a letter to Lord Rothschild on behalf of the British government. The text of the letter contained less than 100 words, but they would go do in history for what they would mean to the Zionist Movement. The Balfour Declaration, which confirmed Britain's committment to build a Jewish homeland in Palestine, was among many conflicting agreements that the British made during WWI. In this episode Danny discusses the history of the Balfour Declaration and its troubled legacy.

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Additional Reading:

Libya, Iran, and the Missing Imam

In late August 1978 Imam Musa al-Sadr arrived in Libya for talks with government officials. Sadr, a charismatic Shi'a Imam who had rose to prominence in southern Lebanon in 1960's, was in Libya to possible means of bringing peace to Lebanon. While away in Libya, Musa al-Sadr dissapeared and has not been seen since. In this episode, Danny discusses the circumstances surrounding Sadr's disappearance and Musa al-Sadr's legacy in Lebanon today.

A picture of Imam Musa al-Sadr hangs from a residence in Beirut.

A picture of Imam Musa al-Sadr hangs from a residence in Beirut.

Sources:

  • Ajami, Foud. The Vanished Imam: Musa al-Sadr and the Shi'a of Lebanon
  • Halawi, Majed. A Lebanon Defied: Musa al-Sadr and the Shi'a Community
  • Cooper, Anderson Scott. The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the final days of Imperial Iran
  • Shanahan, Rodger. The Shi'a of Lebanon: Clans, Parties and Clerics
  • Norton, Augustus Richard. Amal and the Shi'a: Struggle for the soul of Lebanon

Syria, Trump, and Chemical Weapons

Last week, Syrian airstrikes targeted the town of Khan Shaykhoun with what appeared to be Sarin gas sparking international outrage. Russia, Iran, and Syria denied the attacks while President Trump ordered counter-strikes on a Syrian air base near Hama. In this weeks episode, Mike and Danny discuss the situation the attacks in Syria and the possible ramifications.

Additional Reading:

Inflation Nation: Egypt's struggling economy

Since 2011 revolution, the Egyptian economy has struggled to find its footing. During the past year, the Egyptian pound has steadily lost value as foreign cash reserves have steadily fallen. The cash crunch in Egypt has hurt the popularity of Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi and led some activists to call for protests against the regime. In this week's episode Mike and Danny discuss the economic situation in Egypt.

Additional Reading:

Can Syria be put back together?

The Syrian civil war has been exacerbated by the weakness of the competing parties involved. The Syrian opposition is divided, the regime relies on the foreign support of Hizballah, Iran, and Russia. The country continues to fragment and appears to be losing any sense of national cohesion. In this week's episode, Mike and Danny discuss whether or not Syria can be re-united.

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