Background Briefing: August 29, 2022


Iraq on the Brink of Civil War

We begin with the possibility of a civil war erupting in Iraq following the resignation from politics of the influential Iraqi nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr whose supporters stormed the Green Zone today resulting in 12 dead. Sadr has long rejected Iranian influence in Iraq and has tried to form a coalition with Sunnis and Kurds while fighting against the rampant corruption of a government that embezzles most of the nation’s oil revenues that never reach the Iraqi people. Joining us is Juan Cole, a professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan. He is also the author of the blog, Informed Comment at and is the author of The Ayatollahs and Democracy in Iraq, Engaging the Muslim World, and his latest book is Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires. His latest articles at Informed Comment include “Climate Emergency-Driven, biblical Floods affect 33 million People, Leave Millions Homeless” and “US and Israeli Right-Wingers Want Only One Thing in Iran: Regime Change” and we assess the latest crisis in a country on the brink of civil war.


Inevitably 3.3 % of Greenland’s Ice Sheet Will Melt Causing a Global Sea-Level Rise of 10 Inches

Then we examine a new report from Danish scientists with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland who have determined it is inevitable that 3.3% of the Greenland ice sheet will melt causing nearly a foot of global sea-level rise. Joining us is Dr. Richard Alley, the Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences at Penn State University who studies the great ice sheets to help predict future changes in climate and sea level, and has made four trips to Antarctica, nine to Greenland, and more to Alaska and elsewhere. He participated in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and has advised numerous government officials in multiple administrations from both major political parties including a US Vice President, multiple Presidential Science Advisors, and committees and individual members of the US Senate and House of Representatives.


The Need to Electrify Diesel-Burning Trucks That Haul Most of America’s Interstate Commerce

Then finally, following the recent announcement that California will phase out all gasoline cars by 2035, we will look into what can be done to electrify diesel- burning trucks that haul most of America’s interstate commerce. Joining us is Regina Hsu, a senior associate attorney in Earthjustice’s California Regional Office, where she works on the Right to Zero campaign. Regina primarily works to accelerate transportation electrification in California and nationwide. Much of her work centers on electrifying the goods movement industry and reducing pollution at the San Pedro Bay Ports, the largest port complex in the United States and single largest stationary source of pollution in the Los Angeles region.