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Hold Your Fire!

English, News, 4 seasons, 154 episodes, 4 days, 22 hours, 29 minutes
Join Crisis Group's Executive Vice President Richard Atwood as he dives deep into the conflicts that rage around the globe with Crisis Group analysts and special guests. These experts bring a unique, on-the-ground perspective to understanding both why those conflicts persist — and what could bring them to an end. Hosted on Acast. See ( for more information.
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Bonus Episode: Polarisation, Political Violence and the U.S. Elections

Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on the U.S. elections from Crisis Group's Ripple Effect podcast.In this episode of Ripple Effect, Michael and Steve talk with Rachel Kleinfeld, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about the state of U.S. democracy and the risk of political violence as the U.S. heads toward the November elections. They break down how we should understand polarisation in U.S. society. They assess the potential risk factors that could contribute to political violence in the run-up and aftermath of the November elections and how they compare to the 2020 elections. They discuss how Washington is navigating the difficult task of promoting democracy abroad while facing its own challenges to its democratic institutions. They also talk about what politicians on both sides of the aisle can do to mitigate the risk of political violence in the near term.For more, check out Rachel’s piece Polarization, Democracy, and Political Violence in the United States: What the Research Says. You can read more of Crisis Group’s in-depth analysis of the topics discussed in this episode on our United States program page.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
4/24/202446 minutes, 31 seconds
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Bonus Episode: What Egypt Wants in Sudan

Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on Egypt and Sudan from Crisis Group's The Horn podcast.The conflict in Sudan between the country’s armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has been a major source of concern for its northern neighbour Egypt. Cairo, a backer of Sudan’s army, now faces both a humanitarian crisis that is spilling over into its borders and an increasingly challenging geopolitical landscape with Sudan, an ally since the fall of Omar al-Bashir in 2019, descending into chaos.This week on The Horn, Alan talks with Michael Hanna, Crisis Group’s U.S. Program director, about Egypt’s role in the war in Sudan. They look at the historical ties between the two countries, current political dynamics, and Egypt’s response to the 2019 popular uprising and political transition in Sudan. They discuss what is behind Cairo’s support for the Sudanese armed forces and how it positioned itself toward the current conflict in Sudan. They also discuss Cairo’s views of U.S.-led diplomacy and the role of Gulf powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Sudan and the Horn of Africa more generally. They also talk about the long-running dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and how the war in Sudan might affect Cairo’s diplomacy in the region more broadly. For more in-depth analysis on the topics discussed in this episode, check out our Sudan and Egypt country pages.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
6/30/202345 minutes, 5 seconds
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Bonus Episode: Eritrea’s Long Bitter Feud with Ethiopia’s Tigray

Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on Ethiopia and Eritrea from Crisis Group's The Horn podcast.The contemporary rivalry between Eritrea and Tigray goes back several decades. After an almost-17-year-long civil war starting in the mid-1970s, the Eritrean EPLF and Tigrayan TPLF jointly defeated Ethiopia’s Derg regime in 1991, resulting in Eritrea’s independence and the TPLF taking power in Ethiopia. Despite their joint achievement, their already-complicated relations soon started to sour. A growing power struggle, as well as unresolved territorial disputes between the two sides, led to a deadly border war lasting from 1998 to 2000. Meanwhile, an increasingly repressive Eritrean regime found itself regionally and globally isolated. A new administration in Ethiopia under Abiy Ahmed signed a peace agreement with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in 2018, formally ending the border war. However, this rapprochement between Addis Ababa and Asmara also appeared to pave the way for Ethiopia’s civil war, with Eritrea allying with Ethiopia’s federal government in the war against Tigrayan forces in northern Ethiopia that started in 2020.In this episode of The Horn, Alan is joined by Michael Woldemariam, associate professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, to take a deep dive into the long and tumultuous relationship between Eritrea and Tigray to understand Eritrea’s motives and objectives in the Ethiopian conflict. They talk about the origins of the relations between the EPLF and the TPLF and their shared struggle against Ethiopia’s Derg regime from the 1970s to 1991. They unpack how relations between the two sides soured in a struggle for power and authority, culminating in the deadly border clashes starting in 1998. They also discuss how Eritrean President Afwerki’s motivations in the conflict in northern Ethiopia have shifted over time. Finally, they talk about how to navigate Eritrea’s role while trying to end the conflict in Tigray. Please note that this episode was recorded before the 2 November truce agreement between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray’s leaders.For more in-depth analysis on Ethiopia and Eritrea, make sure to check out our Horn of Africa regional page.  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
1/20/202350 minutes, 8 seconds
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International Women’s Day Special Episode: Can War Be Feminist?

Both our political mapping of conflict and peacebuilding efforts too often neglect the powerful role of gender dynamics in driving war. The identities of men and women shape their motivations and strategies at times of conflict, as well as the ways they experience violence, whether as victims, fighters or peacemakers. This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh are joined by Azadeh Moaveni, Crisis Group’s gender and conflict project director for a special episode for International Women’s Day to discuss the complex relationship between gender and conflict. They highlight some of Crisis Group’s recent work – discussing how women and girls experience Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis and their roles as insurgents and peace activists, as well as the story of women’s peacebuilding in Pakistan’s North West tribal belt, and how their hard-fought struggle for rights has shaped the prospects of a region mired in militancy and cultural conservatism. They also talk about the outlook for women across Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover, and the ongoing detention of ISIS-affiliated women and children in Syria, forbidden from returning to their home countries. They explore how considering gender can enrich our understanding of conflict resolution. They end with a discussion on several countries’ adoption over recent years of feminist foreign policies, what those policies entail and the value of framing foreign relations through a feminist lens. For more of Crisis Group’s work on gender, make sure to explore our Gender and Conflict page and check out our recent reports: “Women and Peacebuilding in Pakistan’s North West” and “Rebels, Victims, Peacebuilders: Women in Cameroon’s Anglophone Conflict”. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
3/11/202255 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Ukraine War: A View from Moscow

Russia’s war in Ukraine thus far has not gone Moscow’s way. Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have expected that Russian forces would capture Ukraine without much resistance, but Ukrainian forces have put up a fierce fight. The Western response has been more united than Putin appears to have anticipated. Russia faces economic isolation, after Western leaders have enacted crippling, far-reaching sanctions, shutting off the country from the global economy. They have also sent arms to Ukraine and deployed additional NATO troops in the countries on the alliance’s eastern flank. Yet for now nothing suggests the Kremlin will reverse course. Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials continue, but have yielded little. Russia has stepped up its bombardment of Ukrainian cities. Casualties on both sides, and among Ukrainian civilians, are mounting. This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood is joined from Moscow by Andrey Kortunov, Crisis Group trustee, director-general of the Russian International Affairs Council and a leading expert on Russian foreign policy. They discuss Russian perspectives on the war, decision-making in the Kremlin, why President Putin appears to have miscalculated so badly and what the next few weeks might hold for the fighting. They look at the danger of the crisis escalating into a wider confrontation between Russia and NATO, potentially through one side misunderstanding the other’s intentions, and at ways to avoid that happening. Andrey also lays out what options exist for de-escalating the conflict and obstacles to that happening. For more of Crisis Group’s analysis, visit our Ukraine regional page, and make sure to read our recent Q&A: “No-Fly Zone: War with Russia by Another Name” and our commentary: “The Ukraine War: A Global Crisis?”. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
3/9/202241 minutes, 46 seconds
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Special Episode: Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2022

As Russia appears poised for a military escalation in Ukraine, humanitarian catastrophe looms in Afghanistan and negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal enter crunch time, what should we worry about in the year ahead? Each year Crisis Group’s flagship publication 10 Conflicts to Watch, published with Foreign Policy magazine, looks at the trends, wars and crises that keep us up at night.On this week’s Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and guest host Ásdís Ólafsdóttir, Crisis Group's Online Communications Manager, are joined by Comfort Ero, our new President & CEO, to talk about what we’re watching in 2022. They talk about big trends overshadowing global affairs: the impact of the pandemic and the climate crises on international peace and security, the human toll of the world’s worst wars, the major and regional power rivalries that hinder peacemaking and make for several increasingly perilous flashpoints, as well as the U.S.’s evolving global role one year into President Joe Biden’s tenure. They look up-close at the latest dynamics in individual crises, from Ukraine and Yemen to Afghanistan and Ethiopia, while sketching out some reasons for hope in an overall gloomy picture. For more information, make sure to explore the whole of our flagship commentary published with Foreign Policy magazine: “10 Conflicts to Watch in 2022”. For some more hopeful news, you can also check out Crisis Group’s Twitter thread 10 Reasons For Hope in 2022. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
1/21/202243 minutes, 16 seconds
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Special Episode: What Will the Taliban Do Next?

The Taliban is back in power in Afghanistan. A few days ago, insurgents entered the Afghan capital Kabul, topping off a week in which they had swept through cities and towns across the country. Back from a summer hiatus for this special episode, Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group expert Ibraheem Bahiss about some of the decisions the group will have to make. What will a Taliban government look like? Will the movement share power? What will its rule look like? Will it roll back some of the freedoms Afghans – women in particular – have enjoyed over the past two decades? How will it pay for the costs of running a state? What will its foreign relations look like? They unpack these key questions and what the days ahead could hold for Afghanistan. For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Afghanistan page. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
8/19/202134 minutes, 2 seconds
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Special Episode: Gender and Conflict

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Naz Modirzadeh and Richard Atwood talk to Azadeh Moaveni, Crisis Group’s Gender Project Director, in honor of International Women’s Day. They look at the challenges in implementing the goals of UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security twenty years after its adoption. Azadeh also talks about Crisis Group’s work on gender and conflict. She details recent research on the dangers for local women’s groups of getting involved in counter-terrorism. She also talks about her well-reviewed book on young women joining ISIS, Guest House for Young Widows, about women’s involvement with other militant groups, including Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, and about the controversy over repatriating ISIS-affiliated women and children from Syria and Iraq.For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Gender & Conflict page. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
3/8/202131 minutes, 40 seconds