Background Briefing: October 19, 2022


US Generals and Admirals on MBS’s Payroll Oversee the Transfer of Advanced Weapons Even Our Reliable Allies Can’t Buy

We begin with revelations by the Washington Post and POGO, the Project on Government of Oversight, that a revolving door of top US generals and admirals are on MBS’s payroll overseeing the transfer of the most sophisticated advanced weapons to Saudi Arabia that are not even available to our reliable allies like the UK, Canada and Australia. Joining us 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 her article at The Hill, “An end to US military support for Saudi Arabia is long overdue.”


Iran’s Regime is Losing Its Grip as Members of the IRGC and Basij Refuse to Shoot Down Teenage Girls

Then we speak with one of the founders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, units of which are on the ground in Crimea training Russians in the use of Iranian drones that are raining down destruction on Ukraine’s infrastructure killing civilians. Joining us is Dr. Mohsen Sazegara, an Iranian journalist and pro-democracy political activist who was a founder of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and held several high ranking positions during the early years of the Iranian Revolution. We discuss how the kleptocratic clerical regime in Iran is losing its grip as even members of the IRGC and the Basij militia are refusing to shoot down teenage girls demanding freedom and democracy.


How to Reverse Our Slide Into Oligarchy Enabled by a Reactionary Supreme Court

Then finally we examine what progressives can do to reverse the republic’s slide into oligarchy as a reactionary Supreme Court that is primarily a political actor, entrenches minority rule by an anti-democratic Republican Party. Joining us is Joseph Fishkin, a Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Bottlenecks: A New Theory of Equal Opportunity. Also joining us is William Forbath, who holds the Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law and is Associate Dean for Research at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Law and the Shaping of the American Labor Movement. Together they are the co-authors of The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy and we discuss their article at the New York Times, “How Liberals Should Confront a Right-Wing Supreme Court.”