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Hold Your Fire!

Join Crisis Group President Rob Malley and Board Member Naz Modirzadeh, a Harvard professor of international law and armed conflict, as they dive deep into the conflicts that rage around the globe, along with Crisis Group field analysts and special guests. This new podcast brings a unique, on-the-ground perspective to understanding both why those conflicts persist — and what could bring them to an end. 

Episode 12: Ethnicity and Conflict in Myanmar

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk about the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh with Crisis Group Europe Program Director Olga Oliker. Then they speak with Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey about Myanmar’s identity crisis as it emerges from the second democratic elections in its history.

Episode 11: “First, Do No Harm”: A New U.S. Foreign Policy under Biden?   

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Brittany Brown compare their own experience with presidential transitions to the Trump administration’s refusal thus far to pave the way for Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House. They then explore what a Biden foreign policy could look like with Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser for Senator Bernie Sanders, evoking the motto: “First, do no harm”.

Episode 10: Protests against Police Brutality Shake Nigeria

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood try to make sense of a very convoluted electoral map, with no clear winner, the day after the U.S. election. They then turn to the protests against police brutality that have shaken Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, with Crisis Group Senior Adviser Nnamdi Obasi and Africa Program Director Comfort Ero. Lastly, they offer an update on the sadly predictable military escalation in Ethiopia.

Episode 9: Can the U.S. Avoid an Election Crisis?

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Steve Pomper talk about a bizarre Oval Office meeting that enraged Ethiopia and a must-watch documentary about social media. Then they take a deep dive into the risks of election-related violence in the United States with Carnegie Senior Fellow Rachel Kleinfeld. She unpacks the combination of risks that place the 2020 presidential contest in a category apart from any other in memory.

Episode 8: What Makes Peace? Colombia’s Ex-President Santos Says It’s Harder than War

This week on Hold Your Fire!, former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos takes Rob and Naz behind the scenes of the negotiations with the FARC guerrillas that achieved a peace deal and won him the Nobel Peace Prize. Santos, also a Crisis Group Trustee, explains that making peace was much harder than leading the war effort. Beth Dickinson, Crisis Group’s analyst for Colombia, joins the conversation to give an update on how the peace agreement is working out.

Episode 7: Turkey Flexes Its Foreign Policy Muscles

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob and Naz talk with Nigar Göksel, Crisis Group’s Turkey director, about how Turkey is flexing its muscles in its near abroad — Syria, Iraq, the eastern Mediterranean, and now Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as farther afield in Libya. Then they get an update on the Azerbaijani side of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh from Zaur Shiriyev, Crisis Group’s analyst in Baku.

Episode 6: What’s Behind the Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Rob and Naz question the efficacy of international sanctions, as the European Union wields this overused tool against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. They are then joined by Olesya Vartanyan, Crisis Group’s senior South Caucasus analyst, for a very personal conversation about the toll the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh has taken on her friends on both sides as well as analysis of the role played by Turkey, Russia, and other external actors in the conflict. 

Episode 5: President Trump’s Off-the-Rails Foreign Policy

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob reminisces about his recent trip to Azerbaijan, where he saw warning signs of a “frozen conflict” ready to thaw. Naz explains why the U.S. might regret trying to designate the Huthis as a terrorist organization if it cares about  helping Yemen make peace. They are joined by Aaron Miller, a veteran U.S. diplomat and Carnegie senior fellow, who examines the successes and shortcomings of President Trump’s unconventional diplomacy, and explains how the phrase “nobody ever washes a rental car” applies to conflict prevention.

Episode 4: Libya's Proxy War

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob pays a very personal homage to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and confides about what keeps him up at night. Naz explains the convoluted legal argument laid out by the U.S. to try and justify its snapback of UN sanctions against Iran. They then turn to the complexity of the war in Libya, torn between foreign proxies and militias, with Crisis Group Senior Analyst Claudia Gazzini.

Episode 3: Ethiopia's Political Crisis

Naz Modirzadeh and Rob Malley reflect on U.S. support for the Yemen war and the conspicuous absence of the Palestinian issue from the normalisation agreement among Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. Will Davison joins them to discuss the enormous challenges facing Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed amid rising ethnic tensions.

Episode 2: Afghan Peace Talks: Dealing with the Taliban

Naz and Rob discuss French President Emmanuel Macron's dive into the murky waters of Lebanese politics and the Trump administration's stunning decision to impose sanctions on the staff of the International Criminal Court. They also speak with Andrew Watkins, Crisis Group's senior analyst for Afghanistan, about what to expect from the country's pending peace talks. Do the Taliban have the upper hand? 

Episode 1: Israel, the UAE, and Normalisation

In this first episode of Hold Your Fire!, Naz and Rob talk about the role foreign policy played, or didn’t, at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and explain why the U.S. attempt to snap back UN sanctions on Iran was met with a collective shrug internationally. They welcome Crisis Group’s former Arab-Israeli project director, Nathan Thrall, to discuss the Israel-UAE agreement, what it means for Palestinians and whether he believes there can be a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Click here to listen on iTunes or Spotify.