Month: August 2019

Background Briefing: August 28, 2019


Why Does the CIA Not Spy On the UAE?

We begin with the stunning news from Reuters that the CIA doesn’t spy on the UAE even though the United Arab Emirates finances a warlord fighting against the U.S. and the U.N. in Libya and it was revealed that former NSA hackers had worked for the UAE spying on Americans among others. A veteran CIA officer who operated in the Middle East, Robert Baer, who is now an intelligence and national security analyst at CNN, joins us to discuss this dereliction on the part of the U.S. Intelligence Community presumably following orders from the top since Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and many of his sleazy associates like George Nader, Tom Barrack and Elliot Broidy have business dealing with MBZ the leader of the Emirates and his protégé MBS the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Because of this intelligence blackout, the U.S. has no real idea of how the disastrous war in Yemen is going for MBS who started it, and whether the south of Saudi Arabia could fall to the Houthis or indeed if the deeply unpopular Saudi Crown Prince who relies on Pakistani mercenaries to protect him, could himself be toppled by his own family members some of whom he has tortured, looted and jailed.


Is the Mentor MBZ Giving Up On His Protege MBS?

Then we look further into growing instability in the Gulf with fissures appearing between Mohammed bin Zayed MBZ and Mohammad bin Salman MBS who are leading the effort to get the U.S. to confront Iran, if not go to war against the regime in Tehran. David Hearst, the Editor of Middle East Eye where his latest article is “When Saudis and Emiratis fall out”, joins us to discuss the divergence of Saudi and Emirati interests in Yemen which could signal a split between the young power-hungry MBS and his older and wiser mentor MBZ.


Trump Goes to Bat for Putin Again

Then finally we speak with Dr. Michael Carpenter, a former foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and director for Russia at the National Security Council. He joins us to discuss the peculiar fealty Trump exhibits toward Vladimir Putin which was on display at the private dinner the G-7 leaders had at Biarritz which was ruined by Trump’s boorish insistence that Russia get re-admitted to the G-8. And rather than blame Putin for seizing Crimea and starting a war with Ukraine which is why Putin was kicked out of the G-8, Trump doggedly insisted on blaming Obama instead.