Israel, Iran, Gaza, and the US: The view from Dubai

Former BBC foreign affairs reporter Suzanne Kianpour on Hillary Clinton, Trump and Russia, Israel and Gaza, legacy media and misinformation. You know, all the easy things.

I first met Suzanne through a friend who works in national politics.  He introduced her as a “serious person.”  This is not to say that Suzanne is subdued or grave; she’s rather the opposite.  What he meant was that she is someone who should be taken seriously. Which, from him, was the highest and rarest praise he offered.

At the time, Suzanne was covering the Saudi led war in Yemen; one of the very few (if any, at that point) women who were permitted to embed with the Saudi military.  In the time before and since, she’s worked as a foreign affairs and political reporter for NBC and BBC.  She’s covered the 2016 US election with the Clinton campaign, led the BBC’s US coverage of the Mueller investigation, and covered the 2014 Gaza war while based in Beirut.  Her interviews include Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and other senior leaders from Europe to the Middle East to Hamas.  Suzanne is now the founder of Helmet to Heels (an independent media company launching in 11/11, partnering with Civil), the creator of Women Building Peace, and an adjunct senior fellow for the Middle East Security Program at the Center for New American Security.

Suzanne has also lectured at UCLA on misinformation, speaks fluent Farsi and passable Arabic, and is based in Dubai.  During our talk, she was texting with a contact living in Gaza.  All to say: Suzanne has a unique view into the Israel/Hamas war, the perspective from the region, and the way the war is covered in the US, Israel, Iran, and the Arab states. 

During our talk, Suzanne recalled a conversation with a senior Iranian diplomat at the UN General Assembly last September.  When the topic came up about the ongoing US efforts to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, Suzanne said, “the official’s tone changed, in a way that I clocked it…” and it felt ominous now in the wake of the 10/7 attack in Israel.  This struck me throughout our conversation; how often Suzanne notices these small things, as best happens when immersed in the place and language of the story you’re covering. 

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Here you'll find two podcasts: First, The Civil Podcast (formerly Steelman/Strawman), in which we talk with guests from across politics, media, and culture to explore the best forms of opposing arguments. Second, The Spies and Lies podcast, Ian and Suzanne will analyze the latest news, interview newsmakers, and do deep dives into politics and international affairs.
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