Day: October 17, 2019

Background Briefing: October 17, 2019


Does US “Credibility” and “Leadership” in the Middle East Still Mean US Hegemony?

We begin with the contrast between the international condemnation of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria and the enormous popularity Erdogan has at home with even opposition parties heaping praise on the military operation as jingoism and patriotism consumes the media just as it did here when the U.S. invaded Iraq with “shock and awe”. Graham Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA and author of “Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East”, joins us to discuss his latest article at “Everybody Betraying Everybody in Syria” and to criticize what he considers superficial and over-the-top headlines in the media’s coverage of what is happening in northern Syria. We will examine the role of Russia and the extent to which Putin, unlike his American counterpart, practices diplomacy and has good relations with all players in the Middle East; Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Qatar, the UAE and Yemen. And following a stinging rebuke for Congress yesterday with a House resolution vote of 354 to 60 condemning Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds, we assess whether the interventionists in Washington who argue the U.S. must maintain its “credibility” and “leadership” in the region, actually mean U.S. hegemony, which with or without Trump, is on the wane.

What the US Calls a Ceasefire, Turkey Calls a “Pause in the Operation”

Then we speak with Wladimir van Wilgenburg, a journalist and political analyst specializing in issues concerning Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey with a particular focus on Kurdish politics who has covered several major battles against ISIS in northern Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan and is the author of “The Kurds of Northern Syria: Governance, Diversity and Conflicts”. He joins us to discuss the just-announced cease-fire deal between the U.S. and Turkey which leaves Turkey with a 12 mile buffer zone inside of Syria.


Susan Rice on the Chaos and Disarray at the Top of Our National Security Structure

Then finally we speak with Susan Rice, who was National Security Advisor to President Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and is the author of a new book, just out, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For”. She joins us to discuss the chaos and disarray at the top of our national security and foreign policy structure as Trump insults Speaker Pelosi and his former Secretary of Defense General Mattis as well as her own experience under fire from post-truth Republicans cynically advancing their Benghazi conspiracy in the absence of facts and evidence.