NBR Radio Special: The ethics of Middle Eastern intervention

Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Elliott Abrams talks to NBR reporter Nathan Smith on NBR Radio and on demand on MyNBR Radio.

The effort to reinforce Iraq against the Islamic State (IS) goes deeper than just politics; it is about defeating a “truly evil” militant group, according to a visiting US former official.

New Zealand’s mission to train Iraq’s military – part of a wider US-led coalition – must to be seen in the context of the wider Middle East’s most important dynamic: the age-old Sunni and Shia split. 

Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Elliott Abrams says the world is witnessing the breakup of both Syria and Iraq along ethnic and religious lines and that neither of those countries is “coming back.”

Speaking to Nathan Smith on NBR RADIO, Mr Abrams brings the experience of a long career in the highest echelons of US foreign policy, unpacking some of the Middle East’s most pressing issues.

Mr Abrams was deputy national security adviser for the George W. Bush administration, serving in both terms. In this role, he played a crucial part in maintaining US-Israel relations during a growing tension over the Palestinian peace process between the US and Israel.

He spoke to the NBR about how a Syrian transition must protect the Alawite minority from persecution, that it cannot leave President Bashar al Assad in power, how the Iran nuclear talks concluded with a “bad deal,” that Iraq’s government needs to repair ethnic rifts and how Turkey’s re-engagement into regional affairs poses both optimism and reasons for concern.

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