February 1 - The Islamic State Pressures Jordan's King; Oil and Gas Expert on the Saudi Oil Strategy; Muslim Political Thinking Beyond Nationalism

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Full Program



Part 1

We begin with the latest beheading of a Japanese journalist by the so-called Islamic State that is putting enormous pressure on the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to engage in a prisoner swap for a captured Jordanian pilot in exchange for an Iraqi suicide bomber. A specialist on the region with extensive field experience in Jordan, Nicholas Heras, a researcher at the Center for a New American Security joins us to discuss the important connection between the Jordanian king and the tribe to which the pilot belongs, and the political strategy behind the Islamic State’s barbarism that is roiling the already fragile cohesion of the Jordanian kingdom which is facing multiple challenges from the wars in the neighborhood and the flood of refugees from Syria and Iraq

nick heras


Part 2

Then we get an analysis from a leading expert on oil and gas on the major shakeup underway in Saudi Arabia as the new king reshuffles ministries and fires ministers while giving his subjects a present of a $20 billion bonus payout to government workers at the same time keeping the price of oil low as the Saudis flood the market driving the “frackers” out of business while causing American oil giants like Chevron to post 30% losses in quarterly earnings. Fadel Gheit, Managing Director for Oil and Gas at Oppenheimer and Company joins us to discuss the shake-up in the oil patch and its implications for the future.

fadel gheit


Part 3

Then finally, with Senator Lindsey Graham condemning the president for not calling the U.S. confrontation with the Islamic State a “religious war”, while Obama counters that the problem is not with the 99% of Muslims but an element within the religion that “have embraced a nihilistic, violent, almost medieval interpretation of Islam”, we discuss political Islam with Arabic-speaking scholar.  Graham Fuller, the former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council joins us to explore the deeper historic, cultural and religious strains of political identity beyond nationalism in Muslim political thinking where the Muslim level of political consciousness contrasts sharply with the western ideas of nation-state.