In this week’s UpFront, we discuss the impeachment inquiry with a close friend of US President Donald Trump, Chris Ruddy.
And in our Arena, we ask ISIL analysts Jessica Stern and Hassan Hassan about the group’s future following the killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Trump impeachment: Is the end near for the US president?
The US House of Representatives on Thursday voted to approve procedural rules in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
The inquiry centres around a July phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
On the call, Trump allegedly threatened holding back nearly $400 million in military aid unless Zelenskyy investigated the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“I agree that it’s not proper and, and was a mistake,” said Chris Ruddy, a personal friend of Trump and CEO of the conservative news outlet Newsmax. “But I don’t think it’s a criminal act, and I don’t think it’s an impeachable act.”
“The president’s gotten a lot of bad legal advice,” said Ruddy. “If you look at this Ukrainian thing, a lot of it starts because his legal counsel at the time, Rudy Giuliani, told him to push the issue of corruption and investigating the Bidens.”
This week’s Headliner, personal friend of US President Trump and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy.
Can ISIL survive the death of its leader?
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was killed in an October 26 raid by the US forces in Syria. US officials say, facing imminent capture, al-Baghdadi detonated a bomb he was wearing, killing himself and two children.
Jessica Stern, Boston University Professor and Co-author of ‘ISIS: The State of Terror’, says the killing of al-Baghdadi is significant, but even if his organisation is severely weakened the conditions remain ripe for another ISIL.
“We know that some of the risk factors for terrorism include lots of young men who are unemployed or underemployed, sectarian tensions, sectarian conflict, sectarian war.”
Stern says the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 played a role in the emergence of ISIL, but US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of US soldiers from Syria is also problematic.
Hassan Hassan of the Center for Global Policy and co-author of ‘ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror’ says groups like ISIL will continue to attract members as long as authoritarian governments continue to hold power in the region.
Hassan believes the threat from ISIL remains despite al-Baghdadi’s death.
“Most certainly they will try to wage a campaign of revenge,” he said. He added that in 2006 and 2010 the organisation was also in a critical time, yet it survived.
In this week’s Arena, we discuss the future of ISIL and its ideology after the death of its leader.
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