Background Briefing: April 2, 2024


Israel’s Killing of Seven Aid Workers Who Were Feeding Starving Gazans Sparks International Outrage

We begin with Israel’s killing of seven aid workers from Palestine, the UK, Australia, Poland, Canada and the U.S. who were with Chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen making food for the starving Gazans. Joining us to discuss this and Israel’s attacks on UNRWA and its apparent strategy of starvation is Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) who was formerly the executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, where she oversaw 19 countries, with staff located in 10 countries. She has led dozens of advocacy and investigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers, and political rights.


Will Israel’s Strike on an Iranian Consulate That Killed Top IRGC Officials Provoke a Wider War?

Then we assess whether the Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, which killed top IRGC officials, will provoke a wider war and speak with Thanassis Cambanis, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and Director of the Center for International Research and Policy. Until recently, he worked as a journalist based in Lebanon and his books include A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, Once Upon a Revolution: An Egyptian Story, and most recently, Shia Power Comes of Age: The Transformation of Islamist Politics in Iraq, 2003-2023.


What the U.S. Could Learn From the Electoral Rebuke of Erdogan’s Dictatorship and Kleptocracy

Then finally we examine the results of municipal elections in Turkey, which were a rebuke of the Erdogan dictatorship and the kleptocracy of his family and cronies. Joining us to discuss lessons the U.S. could learn from this reversal of authoritarian rule and the restoration of democracy is Ahmet Yayla, a Professor of Homeland Security Studies at DeSales University in Pennsylvania who also teaches counter terrorism courses at Georgetown University, and is a fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. He formerly served as Professor and the Chair of the Sociology Department at Harran University in Turkey and was a counterterrorism police chief in Turkey.