Background Briefing: February 16, 2022


The Saudis Stiff Biden’s Effort to Lower the Price of Gas at the Pump

We begin with the rising gas prices contributing to inflation and their impact on Biden and the Democrat’s prospects in the November midterms which have led to the Administration to consider waiving Federal taxes on gasoline. Joining us to discuss Biden’s failed efforts to get the Saudi King to pump more oil to lower the price at the pump is Annelle Sheline, a Research Fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute and an expert on religious and political authority in the Middle East and North Africa. She has worked as a journalist in Egypt and Yemen, was recently a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and is currently completing a book on the strategic use of religious authority in the Arab monarchies since 9/11, focusing on the cases of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman. We discuss the coincidence that the Saudi Crown Prince MBS met with his pal Jared Kushner just before Biden’s unsuccessful phone call with MBS’s 86 year-old father, raising the possibility MBS is waiting Biden out in the hope of Trump returning to the White House.


How To Get Europe Off Russian Gas and Reduce Global Warming

Then we look into the consequences of a cutoff of gas to Europe from Russia if war breaks out in Ukraine and speak with Tara Connolly, the senior gas campaigner at Global Witness, an international NGO working towards a more sustainable, just and equal planet. She has over a decade of experience in EU energy policy and joins us to discuss her article at CNN, “Putin could turn off Europe’s gas tap. This is the solution,” in which she advocates green electricity solutions to get off the EU’s dependence on Russian gas and reduce global warming.


The Former Honduran President’s Perp-Walk on His Way to a U.S. Prison to Join His Brother

Then finally we examine the arrest and perp-walk of the former president of Honduras who the US wants to extradite to face drugs and weapons charges which could result in Juan Orlando Hernandez joining his brother Tony in a federal prison where he is serving a life sentence. Joining us is Annie Bird, a human rights advocate assisting communities in Honduras and Guatemala where she advances justice processes for human rights violations in multiple forums, including the Inter American Human Rights System, US courts and Guatemalan and Honduran courts.  She was a cofounder of Rights Action, and ran its office in Guatemala from 1995 to 2009 and was also director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission from 2017 to 2019.