Day: May 20, 2024

Background Briefing: May 20, 2024

Does the Death of Iran’s President Open a Path for the Son of Ayatollah Khamenei to Succeed His Ailing Father?

We begin with the helicopter crash in Iran that killed President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amriabdollahian and assess whether this opens a path for Mojtaba Khamenei, the son of the Supreme Leader to succeed his ailing 85 year old father. Joining us is Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and a Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. A Non-Resident Fellow at Democracy for the Arab World Now, he is the author of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future and Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East.


Netanyahu Has Biden Torn Between Supporting Israel and Not Losing the Youth Vote

Then, following Biden’s speech at Morehouse College in which he called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, we will examine the predicament Netanyahu has placed Biden in as the president is torn between supporting Israel and not losing votes from young Americans outraged at the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Joining us is Jacob Silverman, a contributing writer for The New Republic and a contributing editor for The Baffler, covering tech and national security. He is the author oTerms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection, and his latest book, an instant New York Times bestseller, co-authored with Ben MacKenzie, is Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud. He also blogs at where he has an article we discuss, “The Students Throwing Their Bodies on the Gears.”


The Unholy Trinity of Far-Right Texas Leadership; Abbott, Patrick and Paxton

Then finally we speak with Terry O’Rourke, Special Assistant County Attorney of Harris County in Houston, Texas. He has worked on numerous civil and criminal environmental prosecutions for the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Harris County Attorney’s Office since the early 1970s. Having run for the Texas Railroad Commission, he served as an energy spokesman in the Carter White House, and developed a low-impact hydroelectric project in California. We discuss the unholy trinity of Texas far-right leadership, Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick and Attorney General Paxton.