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FROM THIS EPISODE

ISIS may be a looming danger in the Middle East, but US intelligence officials say the greater threat to US security is al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — located in Yemen.  Now that the government there has collapsed, are the President's drone strikes keeping American safer or increasing the risk?

Also, President Obama's delegation pays homage to Saudi Arabia's kings, old and new, and a conversation with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Photo: A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by US drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa. (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Producers:
Benjamin Gottlieb
Jenny Hamel
Sasa Woodruff

Obama Delegation Pays Homage to Saudi Kings, Old and New 6 MIN, 14 SEC

President Obama cut short his trip to India to honor the memory of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. During four and a half hours in Riyadh, the President listed common "strategic interests" despite differences on human rights and other issues. Caryle Murphy is a freelancer who spent three years in Saudi Arabia. She's author of A Kingdom's Future: Saudi Arabia through the Eyes of Its Twenty Somethings.

Guests:
Caryle Murphy, freelance journalist and author (@CaryleM)

A Kingdom's Future

Caryle Murphy

Has Obama's War on Terror Lost a Key Ally? 32 MIN, 27 SEC

Since the attempted underwear bombing of 2009, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has not been accused of trying to attack the United States. But its operatives in Yemen have increased from hundreds to thousands — and they claim responsibility for the massacre at Charlie Hebdo. Yesterday, the US conducted its first drone attack of the year against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Are President Obama's drone strikes keeping America safe? He admits his strategy is "not neat and not simple," but he calls it "the best option we have." After last week's collapse of a sympathetic Yemini government, is that still true?

Guests:
Craig Whitlock, Washington Post (@CraigMWhitlock)
Sama'a Al-Hamdani, independent Yemen analyst (@Yemeniaty)
Adam Schiff, US Congress (D-CA) (@RepAdamSchiff)
Nabeel Khoury, Northwestern University (@khoury_nabeel)

More:
Whitlock on the Yemen crisis disrupting US counterterrorism efforts
Senator McCain on need for boots on the ground in Iraq, Syria

Four Years into Syria's War, a Conversation with al-Assad 10 MIN, 50 SEC

In Damascus, Syria, last Tuesday the managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine spent much of the day at the presidential palace. In a lengthy interview with President Bashar al-Assad, Jonathan Tepperman asked a series of rough questions and got some remarkable answers. 


Jonathan Tepperman (R) interviews President Bashar al-Assad 
Courtesy Media and Communications Office, Presidency of Syria

Since the interview, Tepperman has called him "a spectacularly competent liar" and compared him to Hitler in his bunker — still insisting to his generals that Germany could win the war."

Guests:
Jonathan Tepperman, Foreign Affairs magazine (@j_tepperman)

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