At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, displaced populations and conflict zones were considered especially vulnerable, driving early fears that the Middle East would be especially hard hit. The first wave of the pandemic shook Iraq and Iran, but the worst fears did not materialize, at least not initially.

Now, however, cases are increasing across the region. The pandemic is straining areas already buckling under sanctions, armed conflict, regional rivalries, corruption, and economic depression. On this episode of Order from Ashes, international affairs researchers at The Century Foundation discuss how the pandemic is accelerating regional crises and why it has not yet led to any systemic change. (There’s more TCF analysis of the pandemic in the Middle East in the new roundtable, “Middle East Strained by COVID-19, But Not Transformed.”)

Participants include:

  • Dina Esfandiary, fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Michael Wahid Hanna, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Aron Lund, fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation