Guide to Just World Ed’s “Story/Backstory” project

In our “Story/Backstory” project, JWE President Helena Cobban each week writes a column that examines the longer trends behind some aspect of current US policy in the Middle East, or some current trend in the region itself. Then, shortly afterward, she records an audio podcast that delves yet deeper into this “backstory”.

For this project Ms. Cobban draws on a 45-year career as a writer, researcher, and thinker that has involved her spending considerable amounts of time in the Middle East. For 17 years through the late 2000’s, she contributed regular columns on Middle Eastern and global issues to both The Christian Science Monitor (Boston) and the London-based Arabic daily, Al-Hayat.

We launched the “Story/Backstory” project in mid-February, 2019. It is scheduled to run in the first instance for 13 weeks.

The text version of each episode is released each Wednesday (or so), generally on the Mondoweiss website. The audio version is released on Just World Podcasts, two to three days later. (You can subscribe to JWP podcasts either there or on iTunes.) Most of the podcast episodes run 25-35 minutes. Please note that we’re still tweaking their format…

Here’s your guide to the text and the podcast portions of each episode, as they appear:

  • Bolton pushes United States to over-reach in Iran: Text (May 15) | Podcast (interview with Amb. Chas W. Freeman, Jr, May 17)
  • Thinking fast and slow in reporting Israel-Gaza fighting: Text (May 8) | Podcast (May 10)
  • A crucial US Senate vote on Yemen, aka ‘Saudi Arabia’s Gaza’: Text (May 1) | Podcast (Interview with Dr. Sheila Carapico, May 3)
  • The UAE’s seedy influence operations, a footnote to the Mueller Report: Text (April 25) | Podcast (Interview with Ben Freeman, April 26)
  • Palestinian prisoners win a notable battle: Text (April 17) | Related blog-posts, with input from Yousef Aljamal: 1, 2, 3
  • Algeria’s popular movement making waves: Text (Interview with William B. Quandt, April 12) | Podcast (Interview with Amin Khan, April 12) | Bonus Blogpost with key documents (April 11)
  • Palestinian Jerusalem under attack: Text (April 3) | Podcast (with guest Nora Lester Murad)
  • Trump’s support of Israel’s annexation of the Golan: Text (March 26) | Podcast (contains interview with Amb. Peter Ford)
  • Beating Israel’s ‘But Khamas!” ploy: Text (March 20, 2019) | Podcast (contains material from Ahmed Abu Artema)
  • Gaza the crucible: Text (March 13, 2019) | Podcast (contains interview with Dr. Azzam Tamimi)
  • The two-state solution is dead. Let’s plan for the one state: Text (March 6) | Podcast (contains interview with Dr. William B. Quandt)
  • The curious case of US domination of Palestine-Israel peacemaking: Text  (Feb. 27, 2019) | Podcast
  • The longer arc of US-Palestine relations: Text (Feb. 20, 2019) | Podcast