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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  September 11, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT

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welcome to al jazeera, i'm tony harris in new york, and here are your headlines. diplomatic efforts to deal with syrian's chemical weapon are moving ahead. this is a plan to hand over the weapons to the international community and destroy them. france wants to include the threat of military action if syria doesn't comply, russia opposes that. still no decision over a law that takes aim at federal gun laws in missouri. it would make illegal for
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federal authorities to confiscate a person's weapon. the governor says it goes against the constitution. a controversial mortgage plan in one california city is moving forward. richmond could be the first city to use imminent domain to buy homes from banks. there will be a court hearing on the issue tomorrow. new vehicles sold in the u.s. are using less gas. a new survey shows the average gallon per mile is 24. "inside story" is next. ♪ on september 11th, last year on attack on the us consulate in benghazi, libya, left four americans including the ambassador dead.
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we'll examine the current situation in libya and what it means for washington. this is "inside story." ♪ hello, i'm libby casey, as the situation in syria has grown increasingly violent, very little attention has been paid to libya, the last country where the u.s. became militarily involved. president obama made only a passing reference to libya on tuesday night, saying any military operations against assad would not be as prolonged as the u.s. action in libya. the lack of security that followed the intervention in libya lead to the death of the u.s. ambassador. christopher stephens was the first ambassador to be killed in
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the line of duty in more than three decades. >> the united states condemns this outrageous and shocking attack. >> it has been one year since a group of gunmen stormed the u.s. consulate in benghazi. the day after the attack, president obama pinned the perpetrator's as libbians protesting over a film. >> since our rounding, the united states has been a nation that respects all faiths. we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is no justification to this type of senseless violence, none. the world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts. >> since then independent investigations found no evidence of a protest happening at the site, and while the u.s. government had said there were
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no warnings, we now know ambassador stevens had requested more protection. an operation lead by the french, british, and americans enforced a un sanctioned no-fly zo zozone -- [ technical difficulties ] -- the country's autocratic leader for 42 years. it's now been 23 months since the end of the regime. this is the state of libya today, an estimated 50,000 libbians remain displaced from the conflict. libya's oil and natural gas production plummeted after local militias took over oil ports. just this wednesday a car bomb exploded in the heart of
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benghazi near the foreign ministry building in another example of the country's deterioration. we begin in tripoli. earlier we were joined via skype for a report for the associated press. he told us about the challenges faye faced by libbians today. >> libbian currently is going through a political struggle, and we're still waiting for the constitution to be written, and now [ inaudible ] dynamics, so things happen on a days by basis. you have these political conflicts where assassinations take place, and some of -- many activities much like you had this morning, there was an explosion in benghazi and there was an attempt that took place in tripoli but it was diffused
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before it went off. so to be honest, it's for the residents of tripoli and benghazi and the rest of the country, they just go on with their daily life like always. they have been, and the only thing is that we have some incidents where, you know, bombs and assassination of political figures and exgadhafi figures are still in the country, including military and army, high-ranking officials. >> you have a young family with you in tripoli. what expectations do you have for the future? >> for now -- for now what we see, we have this aspiration that libya becomes a very advanced you know -- libya is a wealthy country, you know, as we have this oil resources, and we have so much resources that we
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can actually invest in, and we hope after we right the constitution, that we have a running state, and laws that actually can lead us to the new libya, and we look up to libya as -- to be one of the developed countries, such as the uae and the rest of the gulf nations. >> what does that mean for you, though? how engaged is the citizenry in these efforts, and what does it mean for you and your family? >> it's -- it's quite problematic since i have this fear every day that if i participate in the political, you know, struggle right now and try to play a role, and oppose to some of the political parties then they might target me or my
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family, so it's a bit chaotic at the moment, and very dangerous place, especially when you are actually active in the political scene, especially there being many assassinations of political activists and journalists over the past few months. >> he is a libbian and former ap reporter speaking to us earlier from tripoli. now for more we're joined by ambassador robert hunter, he is now a senior fellow at the center for transatlantic relay shun r -- relations, and by a senior fellow at the atlantic council's center for the middle east. give us a picture of what it's like right now in libya. what is happening right now? >> i think before i jump into the picture, i think one of the
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biggest challenges facing libya from the beginning is manage expectations. i think that's important when we are looking at the situation particularly on libya, they have faced a lot of challenges, and that continues to be the case. the daily life continues to be difficult, you have problems with electricity, and you have a government that is trying to build institutions, and it goes back to the expectations that building those institutions can't be done quickly, the announcement of a national dialogue gives us a little hope moving forward. >> what is your assessment? >> yes, there are expectations, but somewhere someone has to begin to do something for the people. and the state of the situation in a state like benghazi where the water comes now and then, the electricity doesn't come often, streets with pothole,
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there is no security, there is no -- garbage all over the city. in that shows the government has not begun to do the things it is supposed to do, thus giving the people a sense of lawlessness. >> professor hunter, we heard that there is quite a bit of fear, and how does that play out in the daily experience and in the faith that things are on a road to something better? >> i agree that short-term pessimistic, long term, optimistic. there is a lot of money there, but there is a very dysfunctional political situation. and the rest of the world walked by after the conflict came to an end. we heard about basic elements of
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infrastructure. we haven't heard about failures in education and health, thanks that -- [ technical difficulties ] >> we national congress that they may rush through a constitution, and do it quickly in four months, and that's worrisome. >> i agree, this is one of the most important problems, not to lower the expectations should they be met in such a way that the people do want to participate in what is going on in the country, and [ inaudible ] local governments or local groups that then affect
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negatively the whole process of the institution building in the country. >> who is in control? how powerful are the militias, ambassador? >> there is no military that gives people confidence that they can get on with their lives. so far they are failing. >> we're talking about militias being in control in parts of the country and also the resources, so how does that effect the bigger picture of life there? >> it shows the weakness of the centralized government. it cannot only control of the -- the -- refineries, but also the borders, and that raises concern, but i think you're not going to be able to deal with the militias until you
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deal with the national dialogue. >> time for a short break. when we come back, we'll take a closer look at whether the u.s. and its allies could have done more stabilize libya after gadhafi's fall.
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♪ >> welcome back to "inside story." as american's debate how the u.s. should deal with the crisis in syria, we're taking a closer look at libya. still with us in washington we have u.s. ambassador robert hunter, manal omar, and kareem of the atlantic council. ambassador, looking back, how
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successful or ineffective was the u.s. and nato involvement? >> i think it took a while to get together with the lead. we call it leading from behind, but it did have a successful outcome in getting rid of gadhafi, the problem is people wiped their hands and said let's move on to the next problem, and didn't do the things that would have been required in order to help libya be libya, particularly in aid in terms of investment, in terms of training, in terms of supporting the ngos, the non-governmental organizations that can do a piece of work without it looking like a new imperialism. we forgot about libya, which i think was a terrible, terrible mistake. >> what should have been done differently, kareem? >> i will go even further than
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that [ inaudible ] because of the [ inaudible ] gadhafi, because of the fact that everybody recognizes that nato came in and was [ inaudible ] nato should have stayed in one form or the other. under un [ inaudible ] to help this centralized government, to help disarm the mediation, train and prepare a body of security, that would have shortened the [ inaudible ]. >> so you say that libbians have a positive feeling? >> there was a poll taken less than a year ago that came up with a strange title that said libbians are more pro-american than canadians. >> that may surprise americans because of the footage we have seen over the past year. so when you reflect on the intervention, what was the success, and what failed? >> one of the primary issues was not looking at it long term.
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the humanitarian and building alliances that are demand driven by people in libya, which was being asked. the successes is partnering with the right institutions. you have ministries that are very active and trying to make change. you have certain members of the gnc trying to do the same. >> ambassador hunter where was that take us now in terms of the commitment of the long term effort, what can be done? >> i think it's important for the united states and particularly the europance, which have much more to lose if things go really bad, to start putting the time, attention, money, people to be helpful to the right libbians to get on with their lives. we have just kind of forgotten about it. we're seeing that elsewhere in
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the region, where just a quick shot in and then you are gone just created longer-term problems. >> what happens if nato and the u.s. doesn't get involved? >> the praise will be paid by the people of libya, and the export of fighters in other countries, and be paid in terms of terrorism, migration, pressures and the like, particularly in europe. >> go ahead. >> also the problem of oil. the problem that oil is not flowing is increasing the price. the effect on the economy even on the general will be felt. so it's not only a security and immigration problem, there will be an economic problem. and a stabilizing factor for other countries. libya descending into lawlessness will cause [ inaudible ] egypt and
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neighboring countries, so it is not something to be taken lightly. >> how do you see that that happens in a way where libbians have control -- so all parties are happy in terms of those inside the country and those giving the aid from the outside. >> one of the things we're hearing over and over is we get the concept and we agree with it. we want security, rule of law, and move towards democracy, what is missing is how you do it. and the technical assistance of really supporting a society. they need people to roll up their sleeves, and find out how to deal with detainees, and how do you deal with this border problem, so the technical assistance is even more important than the money. >> when we think about the oil assets and things like that -- >> yeah, the farther we go into the [ inaudible ] countries you
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have to think about some form of police [ inaudible ] border controls and intervention. today i am sort of -- it might happen. i'm afraid that six months from now, we'll state the only hope. >> we'll continue with this thought in a moment. when we come back has the chaos in libya spread outside of the borders? stay with us.
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i will not put american boots on the ground in syria. i will not pursue an open-ended action like iraq or afghanistan. i will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like libya or kosovo. >> that was the only time that president obama mentioned libya on his tuesday address. we were discussing how the 2011 intervention in libya impacted the rest of the region. we have u.s. ambassador, robert hunter.
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let's talk about the legacy that libya leaves behind. first of all, ambassador, the nato intervention, what sort of taste has that left in the mouthings of the american policy makers. >> it just ratified the idea that we don't want another middle east role. we only played a lead from the hind role in libya, but people are saying not again, please mr. president, not another war, so it hadn't have been for libya, maybe we would have been more, quote, forward leaning, but because of it i think people are even more reluctant to see us do anything in syria today. >> and we have to talk about what happened in benghazi, how much of a game changer was that? >> i think that was more about washington politics. people who want to get at
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secretary clinton, and the president. chris stephens and others paid for their lives, knowing what risk they are taking, because they what foreign service officers do. but the congress, i do believe would have voted down authority for the president to strike syria. >> manal talk about the overthrow of gadhafi and the attack on the consulate last year. >> i think they are tied in a lot of people's minds. what ended up happening was we had an intervention, we helped bring down gadhafi but those same people turned on us a year later. the idea of syria isn't just a level of intervention, it is who is the opposition? are they going to come back to haunt us, the way in some people's mind right have happened in libya. and that's very hard to
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reconcile now particularly when you are talking about syria. i think the other thing to keep in mind is the iraq and afghanistan fatigue is the big cloud that make libya and syria more difficult. >> how does the situation in libya impact the situation on the ground in syria? in terms of weapons on the grounds. >> there is a lot of movement [ inaudible ] volunteering to going and fighting [ inaudible ] many cases. at the beginning the libbian government itself, not this one but the one before sent the weapons and ammunitions to the [ inaudible ]. the fact that the country is in a state of lawlessness, allows for weapons and fuel to move from libya up to syria, [ inaudible ] egyptian boarder is now secure and more tight. and it goes back to what i said before, the fact [ inaudible ] control of what is going on, it
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allows single groups, or single individuals to act in a way that is not [ inaudible ] stability of the region. >> things have changed since the overthrow of gadhafi, but we're still seeing the export of weapons in the business. >> well, you have a lot of islamists, terrorists, i'm choosing my words very carefully, because it's a tiny fraction of people in the muslim world, and you have the minority regime in iraq, and sunni countries trying to reclaim the balance by getting rid of a minority regime in syria. the united states is caught in the middle with no good answer for us, and unfortunately we're in the process of getting drawn
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more deeply into it. this is spreading outward from tunisia, and then libya, and egypt which is still with us, and now being into the heart of the middle east, and i'm afraid it is just going to get worse. >> perhaps legacy is too long-term of a word, because we're still in the short-term years after gadhafi's overthrow, but how much is that playing into the minds of syrians? >> there is an understanding that libya would have been very different if thanks were not different. and i think that's kind of the concern in syria, and the feeling without any real military intervention this could become a prolonged civil war with more deaths and displacement of people.
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there is a hope that eventually an intervention similar to libya would happen in syria from a strong group of people in syria. >> it [ inaudible ] libya teaches one thing. a strong -- or a light military intervention not targeted precisely, because in the beginning they were talk about protecting civilians, but there was not plan of something to do after the regime was overthrown. so if you do the same thing in syria, and the president seems to be not this, not this, not this, not this, so what a small attack [ inaudible ] signal to the opposition, without a clear plan of what and in favor of whom are you going to tilt the balance. >> thank you so much to all of you. that's it from washington and for me, libby casey. ♪
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