tv Real Money With Ali Velshi Al Jazeera February 12, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EST
>> about issues that impact your world. >> infectious diseases are a major threat to health. >> "the week ahead". sunday 8:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. iraqi forces are finally gaining ground on i.s.i.l. not without help from america, and with iraq going broke as the oil business goes bust. how much more blood and treasure can the u.s. afford to provide. i'm talking about a man who had his own boots on the ground and trained its army plus one of the influential women attempting to shape the future of this region at war. >> we will hopefully, behind the
military piece come up with a civilized world narrative against a bunch of butchers. i'm ali velshi and this is "real money". an iraqi ground offensive against i.s.i.l. with help from the u.s.-led coalition is imminent according to general john allen, president obama's point man for confronting i.s.i.l. americans are in iraq aiding iraqi forces in reclaiming the territory. the president went to congress to get authorisation for the use of military for or war powers. iraq with u.s. help appears to gear up to retake iraq's second largest city mosul, which fell to i.s.i.l. last june.
iraqi kurdish peshmerga forces magged to curb i.s.i.l. fighters back while iraqi government force, with the help of local militia regained the initiative in the south. the gains have been achieved in coordination with u.s.-led air strikes and u.s. military advisors on the ground. so far president obama insists no boots on the ground. but there's one flaw in the president's strategy, and that is iraq itself. last year iraqi troops threw down their weapons and fled the i.s.i.l. onslaught. while that is not happening now, iraq's government is facing a financial crisis and one of the biggest oil producers in the world, iraq a broke because of tanking oil prices. imran khan is in baghdad. >> so the prime minister had a very tough time passing his budget. it was finally passed on january the 29th but it was a hard-fought political battle for
him. what that has done is it's raised a question in i can and abroad whether iraq relies far too much on oil and whether the adibsz to black gold is the undoing of iraq. let's take a look now. >> reporter: teachers protest. they haven't been paid in a year. >> translation: we have not received salaries for 11 months. no one from the government is getting back to us. it's not giving us clear answers, despite being disciplined in our jobs. we don't take days off or our vacation. >> reporter: it's not just teachers in the south, across the country there have been protests. the prime minister is in protest mode. haider al-abadi is promising relief is on its way. he blames falling oil prices for the problems. the budget is compressed. we know that the budget started with a draft law to have each oil barrel for $70, when the
council went to vote. they were surprised by oil prices. it couldn't build a budget on $70 per barrel. >> reporter: economists are pessimistic saying the economy is too reliant on oil. >> there's a lack of currency reserve, and the lack of having multiple sources of economy. we hope there'll be other alternatives to get rid of the crisis. they are being discussed. taxing government employs is one idea. at the moment only higher earners are taxed. a savings plan has been proposed. every state employee has a percentage of their salary put into a savings account. the government will use the money to relieve the crisis with the expectation that oil prices will rise and will pay it back into the future. iraq is trying to diversify the economy.
nowhere is it more apparent than here. this is the trading room of the iraq stock exchange and they sell everything from soft drink manufacturers to carpet makers. here there are challenges threats of violence and actual violence shut the place on a regular basis. that means there's a lack of foreign investment. >> iraq's war against i.s.i.l. is bleeding the country. it cost million to arm the shia militias and the army. that combined with a slump in oil prices threatened a crisis that could bring the country to a stand still. it can ill afford that when i.s.i.l. presents such a threat. >> what we see is president obama asking congress for three years of war. here in iraq there's fear that the money is not here to fight a long-term battle against i.s.i.l. finding the money presents a challenge for the iraqi government. >> here congress is debating
war powers to take the fight to i.s.i.l. over the weekend. general john alan said a new ground offensive to retake mosul is imminent. but with iraq just about broke, do you see or hear signs of preparations for an offensive? >> the preparation militarily are going on. what we have seen is key supply lines cut off. we are seeing the kurdish peshmerga forces take key bridges into mosul around the town. that's a key strategic wise in retaking mosul city itself. we are seeing coalition air strikes making a big difference in hoping the kurdish peshmerga take all of that. militarily all of this is going on. it's the long term what happens once they do retake a city like mosul. rebuilding costs will be in the billions and iraq doesn't have the money. it's concerning to the
international community and iraqis here. we see the preparations for them to go in. what happens next is anyone's guess. >> here in the united states polling indicates that most americans remain opposed to the idea of committing ground troops to the fight against i.s.i.l. in iraq. the margin seems to be getting smaller. what is the feeling onhe ground in iraq. do iraqis want americans in there to solve the problem that many think the west created, or would they assume the west be out of this. >> the official position is clear. we do not want a u.s. boots on the ground. the optics for that is bad for the iraqis we'll see it as a reoccupation of the country. he'd like enhanced military cooperation, they don't mind the advisors or people to train the troops they are looking for them to take the fight to i.s.i.l. and to do that they need the american military equipment promised to them for five or six
years, there was forces agreement allowing the u.s. to sell arms to iraq. they have been held up. f-16s, for example. the iraqi air force is antiquated. they need an upgrade. they bout the f-16s, but they sit on the apron of the andrews air force base. the men's are betting more involved in iraq. they don't want them involved as a ground force. they say give us the equipment you promised us. we are not acting for more but give us the equipment that we bought and paid for. >> i.s.i.s. overran northern iraq in part. you are reporting neglect in the south where the government control has a more solid footing, iraq is right for more erosion and greater inroads. >> the protests we saw was unusual for the south. these were government employees. being a government employee in iraq is a good job, a slave job,
you get a pension, a job that everybody would like. however, buns that erodes it's a -- once that erodes it's a problem. when the government employees are out on strike it means the government's writ is under mined. if the protests get bigger it's a problem for iraqis. it wouldn't be a problem if oil prices remained at $170 a barrel. it's now $50 or $60 making a dent in the budget. paying the public sector struggling to pay them you are undermining the government's authorities, they rely on the people to work for the government in government industry giving them an insulation from angry types of revolutions that we see in other parts of the world. >> the marginal cloud is it's
weakening i.s.i.l.'s finances. thank you for that reporting. president obama says the battle against i.s.i.l. will only involve limited ground troops. is this rel it can. istic. i -- realistic. i ask a retired army colonel. he says the u.s. will be in iraq for 50 years and needs 10,000 troops to get the money done. tell me what you think on facebook or twitter. keep it right here.
the senate confirmed ashton carter to be the next secretary of defense. the approval coming a day after president obama asked congress to authorise military action against i.s.i.l. in a letter to congress the president mentioned the possibility of limited ground action like the use of special forces to target i.s.i.l. leadership. the question is whether limited ground action is enough if defeating i.s.i.l. entirely is the goal. retired army lieutenant john nagel fought in iraq and earned a bronze star and literally
co-wrote the army counterinsurgery field manager and trained those embedded with other unit. he joins me now. if anyone knows what iraq's army is capable of and what it will need from the united states it's from him. he's the author of this book: good to see you. thank you for being with us. you heard imran khan's evaluation of what the iraqis are saying. they want to take the battle to i.s.i.l. themselves and promised not to cut and run like last time. they need american help they want american weapons and advisors. they don't want americans leading the battle on the ground. does that jibe with what you understand to be the case? >> it does. they want more american help than they have gotten today. currently 2,600 advisors we need to multiple it by five if
we take mosul back in anything like a reasonable period of time and with casualties and costs that the trouble iraqi forces can bear. >> we are not sure we are out of the woods on there being a troubled iraqi government. can i.s.i.l. be defeated with the iraqi forces in the lead and support from the west and other countries. >> they han, with the proper thought. they have -- they can, with the proper support. they do not have that. president obama is correct, the problem is that given the seriousness of the threat he is not willing to devote sufficient resources to defeat the threat in a reasonable period of time. >> how do we square the circle? we have a majority of americans polled who do not support the idea of american ground troops
in iraq. part of that is the constant space between what the promise is and what the reality ends up being, an idea of troops in the ground body bags coming back to america, and possibly years on the ground. you hold to the idea that we would be there for decades? >> i'm confident we'll be there for decades. it's a wise investment. we pulled troops out of iraq at the end of 2011. many analysts myself included. predicted a fiasco would result. we were right. iraq will be unsettled. it's in a dangerous neighbourhood. al qaeda and iraq continues to have a strong foot hold in syria, it's the islamic state of iraq and levant. we called them al qaeda in iraq 10 years ago. only the presence of american intelligence advisors will be able to defeat and destroy
ultimately the islamic state. >> you were involved with the people embedded to train people. i understand it's a different group of people then to now. give me your evaluation of their abilities. >> one of the big failings of the american military in the last 15 years of war is we have not properly prepared a group of professional advisors we do it on an ad hoc basis, they are good soldiers. we have not created units of professional advise juniors, we need them in iraq and afghanistan, in both countries for decades to come. this is a problem that we need to take seriously as an american military and nation. failing to do so is an organizational failures in 15 years of war. >> how do you sell it politically. the bottom line is it will be hard to convince americans that we are going back to these places and americans will be in
harm's way for stuff going on halfway around the world. it's not like the majority of americans support the idea of troops going back. >> it's not as if the majority of americans support the idea. the intensity is not great. voluntary military long-serving professionals gifts the president action. we need the president to sound a certain trumpet, to say that the it is worth the investment. political leadership given the appearance of an all-voluntary force, the professionalism of the force, will enable the united states to create a long-term commitment that will stablilize the middle east and prevent death and destruction and harm to citizens around the globe. >> it's a good ampingt let me
ask you -- good argument. let me ask you about unintended consequence, with air support ground action works better - we see is in mosul, diyala - troops pushing back i.s.i.l. what are the unintended consequences. if we commit in the numbers not just the president is talking about, but you are suggesting. what do we have to look at in the region that we are not thinking about, that we are not causing a resurgence of i.s.i.l. we are in danger of taking our eye off the ball in pakistan which is another hotbed. >> that's the reason we need to maintain troop presence because pakistani issues will be with us for generations. the good news is i.s.i.l. are such jerks that they burnt on camera a devout muslim jordanian pilot, inflamed jordanian public
opinion. they are progressively chipping away at their support in the muslim world. i don't think the united states will have a problem getting support. the vast majority don't want i.s.i.l. to have control or possession of the territory it has in syria. i believe it is doable. again, we've committed american leadership that acknowledges the seriousness of the problem and is willing to bite the bullet and take actions required before more american citizens are killed. >> the author of knife fights a memoir of modern war in theory and practice. good to see you. >> a pleasure. >> i.s.i.l. is not only a threat in iraq and syria. we have to keep an eye on the rest of the neighbourhood too. >> we need some brain cells on the pakistan problem. pakistan has nukes. this is not iran that may have mutes, pakistan has nukes
president obama's request that congress authorise american ground troops in the effort to defeat i.s.i.l. is winning prays from critics who say it's long overdue. back in september jane harman called on the president to unite congress and americans on a cause around which they agree. harman is an expert on national security issues who represented southern california in congress for nine terms. she sat on house committees on armed service, intelligence and homeland security and left
congress in 2011 and is the c.e.o. of the wilson center. a nonpartisan group. i spoke with jane harman at the world economic forum in davos, where she says she supports the president's approach to defeating i.s.i.l. >> president obama wisely avoided a full blown largely, you know big resourced war on the ground with an american face on it. >> he tried to find a way to build a coalition of 60 countries under the direction of retired general john alan and that coalition will do a lot of things - an air campaign that no one expects will win this but will degrade i.s.i.l. and train folks on the ground - you made the point about who we are training. we have to be careful. i understand this could go south, but i think of the bad options. this is less bad than many
others and hopefully beyond the military piece, which is not the best tool we have come up with a narrative, a world narrative, a civilized world narrative against a bunch of butchers who are not muslim. i argue that they are people that kill more muslims than non-muslims, and i don't see how anywhere in the koran, or any responsible version of islam, that that is permissible. >> what role does bashar al-assad have in whatever end up happening in syria, does he get o be at the table when we try to figure this out? >> well our policy was that he has to go. we were at least a player in restructuring yemen, where the leader of yemen wept. and we helped to put in and elected a government that reflected the same constituencies, but without the leader who was toxic.
i don't know what happens in syria, i read the newspaper, and there's speculation that bashar al-assad stays. but i think, my personal view would be a restructured government without him would have wider government acceptance and send a message that people that gas their own people and have been engaged in a civil war where their own people are targets don't deserve to lead countries. >> you are vocal about the fact that while all of this goes on and we are very focused and battle fatigued in america, pakistan is a place you think we have to watch. >> i wrote an op ed recently that basically says we have got to have some brain cells on the pakistan problem. pakistan has nukes. this is not iran that may have nukes. pakistan has nukes.
>> interestingly, it's not a failed state, it's an ally. >> it's not a failed state, it's an ally. it has a week civil government which is trying to become stronger and has a military with an intelligence service that no one would say is always on our side. >> right. >> it's not just because i watch "homeland" on tv. >> it's pressing. >> i have some experience with this problem. >> it's not clear that the pakistani military is on the side of the pakistani government. >> that's right. >> this is hard to handle. sometimes america does business with the i.s.i. >> there are been able leaders with i.s.i. >> we captured terrorists with their aid. >> the truth is that there are still terror groups in pakistan that are permitted to remain there by the pakistani government as an insurance policy against problems coming from the neighbourhood, and the
trouble is those groups can eat their own, i worry about the fact that six taliban commanders expressed frailtiy to i.s.i.l. they were reprimanded, whatever that may mean. i wonder if they were there. the pakistani nuclear programme is located in multiple sites. it was written in the public press that some materials moved by van on roads, and i'm extremely worried that tactical nukes could get in the hands of the taliban, and be transferred to i.s.i.l. which has no compunction against using them. pakistan - my two nightmares about i.s.i.l. in addition to whatever else is that they be equipped by some forces from pakistan and by this bombmaker in yemen, those that are still
at large and capable of developing weapons designed to evade airport security today federal bureau of investigation director spoke about the complicated relationship between law enforcement and race. in 2014 grand juries chose not to indict two police officers that killed unarmed black men in two different places. comey admitted an unconscious bias that police have but says police shouldn't by the scapegoat. >> i wonder if the discussion will race is focused entirely on law enforcement. when it should be about something harder to discuss. >> he says the deeper issue is the legacy of crime in african-american communities, and what can be done to change that. tomorrow we'll look at race and law enforcement and speak with pulitzer prize author about why african-americans are migrating away from cities in the north
and what can be done to change that legacy. that's our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. an emotional send off. thousands of mourners pay their respects to three murdered muslim students. the sister of one of the victims shares her pain after burying her brother saying i do. a federal judge forces a county in alabama to hand out same-sex marriage licences. why dozens of other counties are refusing to comply calling a