September 23 - The Khorasan Group and the Various Jihadist Factions; Has the Assad Regime Become Irrelevant?; The Gulf Between Climate Realities and Political Efforts So Far

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Full Program



Part 1

We begin with the bombing of Syria by the U.S. and five Gulf Arab countries and look into why aircraft and 40 cruise missiles targeted the Khorasan Group, which the Obama Administration believes was on the verge of executing attacks against the U.S. and Europe. An expert on the various jihadist groups and their offshoots, Nicholas Heras, a Middle East researcher at the Center for a New American Security joins us to discuss the internal political factionalism within the jihadist movement and the extent to which the Khorasan Group is al Qaeda’s elite special forces unit organized to target the “far enemy” using foreign fighters who have flocked to Syria from the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, who they train to return to their countries of origin with sophisticated explosive devices.




Part 2

Then we explore the reasons for Turkey’s reluctance to join the anti-IS coalition and whether they will act soon, as well as assess the durability of the Assad regime that is all-but irrelevant as foreign air forces bomb its territory to defeat an enemy that the Assad’s have been unable or unwilling to confront. An expert of Turkey and Syria, Henri Barkey, a Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University, who served on the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning staff, joins us to discuss the impact of the U.S. and its Arab allies extending the war against ISIL in Iraq into Syria.

henri barkey


Part 3

Then finally we look into Tuesday’s U.N. summit on climate change with Robert Stavins, a professor and the director of the environmental economics program at the Harvard Kennedy School and a lead author of three climate reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We  discuss his recent article at The New York Times “Climate Realities” and the gulf between a looming and perhaps irreversible crisis the planet faces, and the faltering efforts of political leaders to begin to address climate change.  

robert stavins