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.
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
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.