Day: January 14, 2020

Background Briefing: January 14, 2020


Barr Blames Apple, Not the Saudi Education and Religious Establishment

We begin with Attorney General Barr’s shifting the focus away from Saudi Arabia’s culpability for the December 6 shooting of 3 U.S. sailors at the naval air station in Pensacola by a Saudi Air Force trainee. Instead of pointing to the Saudi education system that encourages hatred of Christians and Jews and the Wahhabi religious establishment which preaches anti-Western intolerance and nurtures jihadist ideology, Barr is escalating a fight over personal privacy versus public safety between Apple and the DOJ even though Apple has been working with the FBI since the day of the shooting trying to unlock the shooter’s phone. Ali Al-Ahmed, the founder and director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs who is an expert on Saudi political affairs, terrorism, Wahhabi Islam and Saudi-American relations, joins us. We discuss the lengths to which the Trump Administration is prepared to go to protect the relationship the Trump family has with the Saudi Crown Prince who is accused of ordering the grisly murder and dismemberment of a dissident Saudi journalist working for The Washington Post. Although the Pensacola shooter posted a message on September 11 stating “the countdown has begun” and visited the 9/11 memorial in New York over the Thanksgiving weekend and hosted a party at which he showed his fellow Saudi trainees a gruesome video of a massacre, questions about why we consider the Saudi’s allies to be trained on American bases are not asked. Instead Barr goes after Apple while praising the Saudi Crown Prince’s “unprecedented cooperation.”

Gulf Institute Exclusive Report: Saudi Military’s Official Magazine Promotes Hatred Of Jews & Christians


Will the Four Front-Runners Be Evenly Divided All the Way to the Convention?

Then we go to Iowa ahead of tonight’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, the last one before the February 3rd Iowa caucuses, and speak with David Redlawsk, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware who is a visiting professor at the University of Iowa. He joins us to discuss the tight bunching of the four front-runners in Iowa; Biden, Buttigieg, Warren and Sanders and whether that augers a Democratic Convention in Milwaukee on July 13 with no clear leader.


Will Candidates Be Asked How They Would Actually Do the Job of Being President?

Then finally, just ahead of the debate, we assess whether the moderators of tonight’s debate will try to make sparks fly with friction between Sanders and Warren already being generated in the press, or whether they will ask the candidates how each of them would actually do the job of being president. Jeff Hauser, the Executive Director of the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research who leads efforts to increase scrutiny on executive branch appointments, joins us to discuss whether there will be substance on stage tonight or a show.