Regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia have a hand in nearly every hot spot around the Middle East. The two rivals don’t control what happens, but they can play a major role in destabilizing battleground states—or calming tensions. There are many spots ripe for diplomacy: the war in Yemen, the simmering instability in Iraq and Syria, the political crisis in Lebanon.

On this episode of Order from Ashes, we hear Middle East expert Dina Esfandiary and Iraqi analyst Sajad Jiyad about the new round of diplomacy. What has prompted Iran and Saudi Arabia to be willing to talk, and where might they be willing to calm tensions?

Participants include:

  • Dina Esfandiary, senior adviser for the Middle East and North Africa, International Crisis Group
  • Sajad Jiyad, fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation