FROM Ali Al-Ahmed
Sectarianism Renews Divisions in the Middle East By executing a Shiite cleric last weekend, the Sunni nation of Saudi Arabia created a martyr. It also inflamed its dangerous rivalry with Shiite Iran. Hardliners in both countries are now using sectarian differences to pursue political goals. Stability in the Middle East is at risk, along with implementing the Iran nuclear deal, finding an end to Syria's civil war and defeating the Islamic State. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia violate human rights and make war on their neighbors. Should the US choose one over the other or look for middle ground?
Is Saudi Arabia Serious about Declaring War against Terror? Saudi Arabia says it's formed a coalition of 34 Muslim nations against ISIS, other terrorist groups and their "violent ideology." The US was surprised, but calls the announcement "welcome." Pakistan, one of 34 nations named as a partner, says it wasn't even consulted. Iran, Syria and Iraq weren't included at all, raising questions about the divide between Sunnis and Shiites. Is Saudi Arabia just responding to Western critics, diverting attention from warfare in Yemen or making a real bid for leadership in collective security?
Saudi Arabia: Human Rights and Public Persuasion Saudi Arabia's justice system features public beheadings, hangings and floggings, which — to Western eyes -- are violations of human rights. But the Kingdom is so important to defense contractors, intelligence agents and stability in the Middle East that Western governments usually don't say a word. Now rare public criticism has outraged the Saudi royal family, and British leaders are struggling for damage control. Should recent incidents cause the US to be heard from, or would complaints fall on deaf ears?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.