Skip to main content

tv   News  Al Jazeera  March 14, 2015 1:00pm-1:31pm EDT

1:00 pm
investigative series... deadly force: arming america's police only on al jazeera america >> kurdish forces say they found evidence that isil fighters used chemical weapons in iraq and syria. >> you're watching al jazeera live from london. also coming up, the force in the pipeline, financial help from iran. fear many people are killed when a severe cyclone list vanuatu. >> we have reports of how men
1:01 pm
from the former yugoslavia are now fighting in the war in ukraine. >> hello kurdish security forces have found evidence which they say confirms accusations that isil are using weaponnized chemical agents in the conflict in iraq and syria. according to the kurdistan security council, samples collected after a sued attack contain levels of chlorine that suggested isil were using the chemicals as weapons. isil is suspected to be using chemical weapons previously, but this is the first time that an international investigation has proved those allegations. well, for more on this story we're joined by the managing director of the world's leading chemical weapons experts. thank you for being with us on the program. how surprised are you that chlorine might be being used by
1:02 pm
isil? >> not surprised at all. i just returned from iraq myself last night from spending a week in baghdad advising the iraqi security forces on how to counter the chemical threat from isil primarily chlorine. isil has seen our effective chemical weapons and particularly chlorine has been in syria and i think it was only a matter of time before they used it themselves. only this week we've seen extensive use of chlorine ieds improvised explosive devices. the fact that it's also been used in mosul against peshmerga forces does not surprise me in the slightest. >> what are the effects of a person being attacked by a
1:03 pm
chlorine weapon? hamish are you still with me? >> yes, can you describe what the effects would be on someone if they're attacked with chlorine gas? >> well, chlorine gas is almost the first chemical weapon used from 100 years ago. if you breathe it in, it creates fluid in your lungs. it's not as toxing as star
1:04 pm
starren but it creates a psychological fear amongst the people and therefore creates terror amongst the population and the attacking forces. >> from what i gather it's quite easy to get ahold of the chlorine the chlorine gas. what is the fear that isil might move on to something that is even more toxic? how likely is that? >> well, first of all chlorine is readily available all over the world. and islamic state has taken control of the chlorine factory which is where i assume they're getting it from. whether they move on to something more dangerous there is rumor, from the iraqi government. that is some assad mustard agent
1:05 pm
that may have fallen in their hands. the other key thing saddam hussein's chemical expert was killed three weeks ago and certainly the iraqis and syrians i spoke to believe he was there preparing some chemical offensive for isis when the coalition and the iraqi forces attacked mosul hopefully after they successfully defeat isil in tikrit. >> good to have your analysis. chemical weapons expert joining us from england, thank you. >> a pleasure. >> well, the iraqi military is holding its position on the edge ever tikrit as it tries to flush out fighters from isil. they're call forgive reinforcement as they regain control of the city. they already secured northern and southern parts of tikrit, and they're holding half of the
1:06 pm
city. gaining overall control would give iraqi forces the momentum to move towards another stronghold. isil has been trying to repel kurdish peshmerga forces. kurdish peshmerga forces had taken control of gwer about five months ago. our correspondents have this on the grouped in tikrit. >> essentially what iraqi militia commanders say is they need this time to get reinforcements into tikrit. and even in the areas where it's not in control any more, they have left behind boobie-trapped buildings, explosives almost everywhere and neighborhoods ringed by snipers. that's really why it's taking so long. it's the iraqi territory with militia members, and they're
1:07 pm
calling for more militia reinforcements as well as explosive experts. they need to go neighborhood to neighborhood, street to street, and clear some of those explosives before the iraqi troops and the militiamen can move further in. of then again the worry is who is going to maintain control of the city. which force will be able to hold it after they drive out isil. isil has been engaging in battles in other areas as they're driven out of tikrit. near kirkuk there have been battles over the last several days with peshmerga forces. in samarra there were airstrikes that followed an attack on an army post. they managed to capture more than ten iraqi soldiers. and that's not the only place. in the north in the town of gwer just 40 kilometers from erbil peshmerga say that isil has blown up part of a bridge.
1:08 pm
now that bridge was previously blown up by peshmerga forces, but then repaired. it was blown up initially to halt the advance of isil fighters towards erbil. but the fact now that isil has destroyed the remaining part of that bridge could indicate that they're coming back into areas where they have been driven back previously by kurdish forces and u.s. airstrikes. >> in libya there have been clashes between isil-affiliated fighters and militia groups backed by the tripoli. tripoli-based government. they came under attack long the coastline in sirte. [music] >> yemen houthi group which took control of the capitol last year has strengthened it's economic ties with iran. the move that is causing
1:09 pm
regional alarm it has pushed pledged $1 billion a year to support yemen. they have formed a new national alliance. >> reporter: there is a power vacuum in yemen and iran appears to be capitalizing ton. since the shia houthis force the president to flee the capitol iran has found a willing partner. a houthi delegation has just returned from a two-week mission from russian with an economic aid package. a spokesman said that iran is pledging to expand a port, help build power plants and provide yemen with enough oil to last a year. the houthis say that the pledge of support will boost the economy and bilateral relations. a spokesman for the exiled government said that the only ones getting a boost from this deal are the houthis. >> the iranian interference is
1:10 pm
merely by support between militias and militia groups. iran has not supported any country economically. the most important point here is the yemeni $8 million consumption of oil. i think iran cannot forward afford that kind of money. >> it comes with the direct the announcement of a direct flight. the yemeni government fears future flights will also bring more weapons to arm the houthis. yemenis continue to protest the houthi's power grab. a new coalition has been formed in sanaa to fight the coup. it's called the national alliance for rescue, and the president is in aden clinging to power as yemen appears to be flipping towards civil war. al jazeera. >> well, editor of the yemen post in the capitol of sanaa
1:11 pm
says that there has been a mixed reaction to this new coalition. >> the coalition is very influential and reminds us of the 2011 up rising here. it has similar similarities and the same goals. this is not an ain't houthi coalition. it's more of a coalition that tries to unite the country against the houthi call and houthi militant group that has taken control of the country. yemen is divide between north and south. the southerners are with this, and the northern provinces are divided in support. >> so on the eve of new talks with iran, the u.s. secretary of state john kerry said it's unclear whether an interim deal on the nuclear program is within reach. the u.s. and five other major powers will assume negotiations in switzerland on sunday. the group wants to limit iran's ability to produce enough nuclear pearl to whether an atomic bomb.
1:12 pm
they say this will be the last round having set a deadline for the deal by the end of the month. >> from the beginning these talks have been tough, and they've been intense. and they remain so. we've made some progress, but there are still gaps, important gaps and important choices that need to be made by iran in order to be able to move forward. >> the united nations is prepare to go lead recovery efforts in va next uanuatu when it was hit by cyclone pam. in the days ahead it's expected to continue heading towards new zealand losing strength as it does so. well communication with vanuatu is largely down, making it
1:13 pm
difficult to know the true extent of the damage. >> venturing out of their homes to assist the devastation left by drop tropical cyclone pam. vanuatu was hit by winds up to 270 kilometers an hour on friday. the category 5 storm the most severe on the scale uprooted trees and tore apart stores and homes. power was cut and as the storm raged residents could do little but wait. >> i'm in the bathroom with my back against the door. i'm listening to the roof, and i'm holding on to dear life. all i can do during this is think about people in vanuatu who have absolutely no shelter. this is going to be a horrific humanitarian disaster. >> as pictures of the devastation in their capitol
1:14 pm
slowly emerge, the real concern are for those living in smaller villages and on the outer islands. aid groups say it's possible entire villages have been wiped out. >> it's been very, very destructive cyclone hitting a country that has using a lot of traditional shelters and housing, which means they're quite vulnerable to this type of storm. >> vanuatu's president is away to conference in japan is unsure what ale he'll be coming home to. >> i come to you with a heart that is heavy. i don't know what sort of impact cyclone pam has had on vanuatu. >> may be returned from shelters only to find their homes destroyed. the u.n. is deploying a rapid response team to bring aid and
1:15 pm
pacific neighbors are also on hand. >> there are destructive winds rain flooding landslides, sea surges and very rough seas. traptropical cyclone pam will hit other eye glands islands. >> vanuatu has born the brunt with teetering trees downed power lines and flooding many areas we main remain too dangerous to assist. >> a ferry sinks along the coast of myanmar: >> plus the u.k. on the legacy of the man who led india's struggle against british rule. [music]
1:16 pm
1:17 pm
>> tuesday on "the stream". >> the annual south by southwest
1:18 pm
festival has been a breeding ground for some of the biggest tech innovations in the world. we'll take you there, giving you a glimpse into the future. >> "the stream". tuesday, 1:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america. >> welcome back. a reminder of the stop stories here on al jazeera. kurdish security forces say they found evidence which confirms accusation that isil abuseing chemical weapons in iraq and syria. samples collected after a suicide attack in january. it is said to contain chlorine that isil was using the chemical as weapons. houthi rebels in yemen say they've reached an agreement with iran to boost the country's economy. under the deal iran will pledge $1 billion a year to support yemen. and the united nations is preparing recovery efforts in
1:19 pm
vanuatu, one of the most powerful storms to hit the country. cyclone pam tore through the island nation in the early hours of saturday. when the anti-government protests began in syria four years ago few could predict the scale of the civil war that would follow. back then isil did not even exist. questions are being asked about whether the u.s. could have done more to prevent aisles' growth. from washington, d.c. roslind jordan reports. >> reporter: no one in the west predicted what isil would become but they should have. at the time the focus was on the aftermath of the arab spring. in 2012 in the middle of what was now a full-blown civil war the syrian military was accused of committing human rights abuses and brought this warning from u.s. president abraham. >> a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being
1:20 pm
utilized. >> reporter: a year later obama said he had proof chemical weapons had been used. he tried to build public support for military intervention. it didn't work. >> the united states had just come off two major wars in the middle east. there was very little appetite for a third. >> reporter: inside syria armed groups are waging war for their own ends. isil forged in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of iraq was there operating in mainly sunni areas. then it was on to northern iraq where u.s.-trained iraqi drops dropped their guns and ran. when isil fighters came within 40 kilometers of erbil the u.s. air war began. but it was the beheading of journalists on video that caught the public's attention. >> the beheadings of american journalists, no question, had an affect. that brought the strategic development, the idea that
1:21 pm
here's a country iraq and now a new group of insurgents is taking territory. that had a powerful effect on americans as well. >> since the start of the conflict the syrian opposition had begged washington to give it better weapons to fight the assad regime, but no avail. it's only now that u.s. has started training opposition fighters ironically not to fight the forces of assad but isil. >> if this group is to fight isis take the territory and secure the region, they would have to fight the regime or the regime may leave them alone. i guess it's possible that the regime will leave them alone but it's unlikely, though. >> it's too early to suggest that it could have prevented the red of else along the region.
1:22 pm
but it is clear effort that president obama's effort to limit it's own footprint has not worked. >> china says four people were killed in an aircraft dropped a bomb. myanmar said it was targeting rebels who want to take over the kokang region. we have who are from myanmar. >> this appears to be the worst spill over the violence since fighting bang in the kokang region more than a month. this latest incident was enough to say that they would step up operations along the board area. and it's easier enough for the chinese minister to monday the myanmar ambassador to launch a former protest. during the meeting he said he would like to see myanmar
1:23 pm
officials investigate the incident, report their findings back to china and also to punish whoever was responsible for the intrusion into chinese territory. this comes a week after myanmar landed them in chinese territory. there were no casualties in that incident, but it would suggest there is heavy bombardment in the area. the kokang region has been under a state of emergency since mid-february and a few independent reports have been coming out from there. this would suggest there is heavy fighting in that area. this is not the first time that fighting has spilled over into china. in 2007 three chinese citizens were killed when there was fighting between myanmar and independent army that spilled over into china. this would make china increasingly worried. not only does it not want to
1:24 pm
deal with a refugee problem, the people displaced from the fighting crossing over into its borders, but it will ply kate its position of non-intervention of not meddling in its neighbor's affairs. >> a ferry sunk in the west coast of myanmar killing 30 people. according to the ministry of information, it capsized after being hit by a large wave. rescuers have pulled more than 160 people from the sea but dozens are still missing. the conflict in ukraine is not just being fought by ukrainians and russians. old foes from the former yugoslavia were battling up against each other in the eastern ukraine. >> a peaceful town in northern serbia on the banks of the danube. this is where a young man was brought up. [ gunfire ] and this is where he is now in the bad lands of eastern ukraine
1:25 pm
fighting for the russian-backed straightists. that's him on the right. here he is among a group of serbs helping in the battle of debaltseve. greetings from serbia, they say. we spoke to them through the internet. why, i asked was he fighting in a war in another country? >> we serbs owe a great debt to russia. it has saved our country so many times. when i saw what the fascists from the west were doing i could not stay here. i don't care if i'm locked up when i go hope. >> we travel from serbia to neighboring croatia. in the capitol. zagreb these croats have joined the ukrainian government army. the croats are with the
1:26 pm
battalion which has links to the far right fighting in mariupol. they say they're not worried. the numbers involved are small. but i asked the foreign minister are these men breaking the law by going to ukraine to fight? >> no, they would be breaking croatian laws if they were joining terrorist organizations. but ukraine army is not considered a terrorist organization. >> but our information is that they're fighting for the battalion which is almost a freelance group with the ukrainian army. >> which is still not--it doesn't fall under the category of terrorist organizations. >> i met a member of a group that is in touch with the fighters and is sympathetic to them. should we think of these fighters as mercenaries? >> they're paid about 100 euros a month, which is less than minimum wage in croatia.
1:27 pm
they get messages of support through the internet. i wish them good luck. they'll need it. >> some of those who have gone are veterans of the balkan wars of the '90s. some are extremists from the margins of society. but ukraine's war is causing ripples here in the former yugoslavia. >> a new statue in london marks 100 years since gandhi began his campaign against british colonial rule. >> mahatma gandhi joins only ten other statesman here on parliament square. heading the unveiling leading politicians together with gandhi's grandson and bollywood legend. >> i hope as gandhi takes up residence in this great square at the heart of our politics and
1:28 pm
our democracy that we can all be blessed with the wisdom of gandhi today tomorrow, and generations to come. >> the statue is based on an image of gandhi during a visit to england in 1931 at the height of his fight for indians. >> even as he raised the struggle, he admired britain valued many of the things that it stood for and cherished its friendship. >> britain dominateed india's economy for 200 years but now india companies own iconic british brands like jag uar land rover. this is a more than a statue of a great man. this is a british charm
1:29 pm
offensive. >> this is not just about honoring a great man. it's about lucrative trade agreements. >> not at all. if you look around, you see the statue of nelson mandela abraham lincoln winston churchill. >> he was a thorn in the side of britain and started liberation movements around the globe. the tolerance that led to his assassination at the hands of a hindu nationalist. but he went on to inspire the likes of nelson mandela. gandhi also had powerful critics, especially among those bent on preserving the empire. winston churchill said that he ought to be laying bound hand and foot at the gates of delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with a new advice roy seated on its back. today churchill and gandhi are awkward neighbors. he's at the seat of british
1:30 pm
government and nevertheless his statue stands as a reminder that all power fades, and empires rise and fall. al jazeera london. >> much more, of course, on our website. the address is the ghosts of men and women fill the wards of government hospitals across india. they stare silently - suspended in limbo between the living and the dead. these patients are the infected - victims of a contagion so lethal it kills almost one and a