FROM Sarah Birke
Is the Desert Kingdom Ready for Change? Saudi Arabia wants to end its dependence on oil — at the same time it's increasing production. What sounds like a contradiction is the work of Mohammed bin Salman, a 30-year-old deputy crown prince in a country accustomed to rule by kings who serve into their 80's. But a restless new generation has elders worried about an "Arab Spring," at the same time Iran's influence is on the rise. In the US, there's criticism of repressive rule and alleged links to terror -- as well as warnings that weakening the alliance could open the way for China.
Iraqi Military Attempts to Retake Tikrit from the Islamic State Some 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and volunteer militia began an offensive today designed to expel ISIS, the so-called Islamic State from the city of Tikrit. It's seen as a key test in advance of a much larger campaign to re-take the city of Mosul. The Pentagon has talked about the upcoming offensive in Mosul, but says it has nothing to do with today's assault on Tikrit.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?