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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  March 26, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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step. >> larry, i am going to did you to speculate here, we are hearing that over 10 nations are involved in this military operation. any idea what countries involved and what their roles might be. >> it might be the people bombing in syria the united united arab emirates could provide aircraft. i think the others may be providing bombs they may have some intelligence, i don't know if they have people on the ground there. but as i look at it so far it seems like mainly moral support that they are providing because in firms of the military operation. they don't need many more air forces. how long do you see the air strikes going on for. how long will they do it.
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a week before they see results, or the houthis take other action or iranian proxies decide to do something then that will be the key question. i think they are hoping shock and awe to begin with to get their attention. and, you know. come to some power-sharing arrangements. if they don't aqueous and go back to the -- aqueous and go to the table, we are in this what proxy - regional war. >> yes, you can. wars are easier to start they are difficult to stop. you don't want to lose faith or appear week. if the houthis don't give up, what do the saudis do increase the campaign fight an sirge si
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or intercity wars in tikrit. it's easier said than done. >> let's bring in our correspondent omar al saleh now. he joins us on set. the real question is this is the initial impact of the air strike. the real question is how long will this last? >> well the saudis made clear in their statement that it will last for - till they achieve their goal. >> what is their goal? >> it is to degrade and weaken the houthis and end the military takeover of yemen. if you read the statement they respond to the coup by the houthis. they'll need to end the coup in the capital. can they do that by air, i doubt. that's why when i read some
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reports, say they have 150,000 ground troops ready, as well as other armies from the region, so i think there could be a ground offensive as well. will that last? how will they help the yemeni president and his government? it's not clear. his military or the forces loyal to him are outgunned and outnumbered by the houthis, and by supporters of the toppled president. this will take some time. >> at this stage we are ruling out - you are ruling out dialogue, there's no more dialogue with the houthis? >> at this stage there isn't dialogue, only after they weakened them militarily then there'll be dialogue and president hattyabd-rabbu mansour hadi, and the other political parties say the houthis are part of the yemeni society, and part of yemen's political landscape and they need to be in any
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agreement, political agreement to end the current crisis. >> okay that being the case saudi arabia is not the only one that is in this coalition, shall we say against the houthi rebels, there are other partners qatar, bahrain, kuwait, others. 10 nations aligned themselves with saudi arabia. are these members prepared for a long drawn out war. if there is ground forces will they contribute to the forces in yemen? >> i think they are prepared. they took the decision because it reached a red line a limit for them. the security is in danger. therefore they have to act. when you reach that stage i think you are prepared. saudi arabia is the biggest loser in all of this when the houthis took over yemen. so it affects their security
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directly. the houthi strong hold the bored of saudi arabia. the entire country, yemen is a backdrop. the saudis cannot afford to lose yeg or have yemen controlled by a group with the saudi enemy, iran. the regional security is also in danger. you have essentially, the houthis controlling an area overlooking the seaport on the red sea. this is where about two to 3 million barrel of oil goes through there up to the red sea. it's a strategic location. they will not allow the group in control of such an area. >> what is iran's interest in all of this. >> personally, the iranians are trying to expand their influence in a number of countries, we
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have seen it in iraq, syria and lebanon, and also in yemen. i personally think that they are trying to (a) promote the shia cause to be loyal to bring them under the form of the iranian revolution and they are loyal to the supreme leader. they tried to back the shia'as in the region either a majority or minority. what they will gain from that is more in the cause, and second to raise takes in the regiontake...
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they see any deal with iran and the u.s. over a nuclear issue at the expense of saudi arabia and the rest of the gulf countries. >> very complicated, omar al saleh, thank you for trying to simplify that to us. earlier i spoke to robert grenier, a former counterterrorism official and i asked about the timing of strikes. >> i don't think we'll so a large-scale sustained ground invasion of yemen. i could be wrong. i don't think we'll see it now. as the situation on the ground deteriorated as the abd-rabbu mansour hadi government has been forced to flee put in a position where it cannot mark a counterattack against antagonists, those loyal to former president salah, or the houthis, the saudis felt they
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needed to take some action to get the attention of the houthis and drive a negotiation. >> they certain have gotten the attention. we know that three houthi commanders have been killed in those air strikes. what is the goal of these air strikes. will the houthis be forced back to the negotiating table? will they continue to fight this coalition. >> you know this is not just a struggle between the saudis and the houthis. remember what the houthis are doing now needs to be understood in the context of a complicated political equation in yemen. the houthis, for the current reach depends on the support of the military meaning that they are - depending very much on the alliance of convenience with the former president salah. it's not clear how long this will continue. i suspect that some of their aims are divergent at this
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point. again, it's - the saudis i think, are trying to create a situation where it - they increase the cost to the houthis of continuing along the current line. i suspect that former president salah has his own objectives in all of this. it remains to be seen how the multiple political equations will play out. i think that ultimately we'll have to get to negotiations. >> mr grenier, i want to pick on your counterterrorism expertise. we know al qaeda in the arabian peninsula operates in southern yemen. we know there's an i.s.i.l. threat in the region are you about to see or predict the two forces will take opportunity of the conflict happening in yemen, and further their agenda in yemen? >> well i think there's little doubt about that. and one of the great ironies in
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all of this is that it's the saudi arabia perception that what we see going on is essentially a sectarian war inside yemen, one taken advantage of by the iranians and, therefore, is working against the saudis strategic interest in the region in the region wide struggle if you will that the saudis feel themselves to be involved in with yemen. to the extent that the yemenis see the conflict in those terms, that stokes further opposition among sunni tribals, particularly in the southern part of the countries, and while yemenis see the struggle those on the sunni side of that equation effectively wrapped themselves in islam that take advantage. therefore, that means that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula,
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and further north of the country, one of the great ironies in all of this is that the saudis if anything, may well drive a consequence of increasing the strength of the radical extremist groups in yemen who pose a threat to them. >> let's get more from our correspondent omar al saleh, joining me on the text. omar - saudi arabia is leading the coalition against the houthi rebels in yemen. at the same time saudi arabia has to contend with an i.s.i.l. threat in the north. they are also contending with their own domestic terrorism. there's al qaeda that is active with i.s.i.l. elements in saudi arabia and you have the houthis in the south. how much of an appetite does saudi arabia have in terms of trying to quell all these fires, shall we say? >> i think they have the appetite because you mentioned a
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threat, a direct threat for their own security and their existence, because al qaeda's campaign against them. they want to topple the rule in the kingdom. this is declared for years. it's serious what saudi arabia is facing in terms of an internal campaign by al qaeda and i.s.i.l. the other threat is coming from the southern neighbour, and that's yemen, and it has a long border with yemen, and the houthis stronghold is driving there on the border. and saudi arabia has a lot at stake here. across the border there is a sizeable shi'a and in there territory there are saudi shia's as well. they fear iran getting a stronghold in their backyard
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will create problems for them. >> it's a real threat for king who just ascented the throne. >> it is absolutely. >> it's a challenge for his leadership. >> absolutely. this is - he's trying to be decisive and facing it. this is his, i believe, first military action since becoming a monarch. and they were forced to do that because i personally felt that when the president abd-rabbu mansour hadi was surrounded in his palace before. they fled to aden in january. i think the death of the former king, king abdullah delayed the attack. when i read the statement coming out from the g.c.c. countries. they did repeat the same words that this is a houthi military coup, and the g.c.c. will take
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whatever measure is necessary. i think the death of king abdullah made that lain. >> you were in aden when the houthis overran the capital and took over the capital in sanaa, and we saw president abd-rabbu mansour hadi flee to aden as well. you have been talking to yemenis as well. how do they feel about what is going on in the country? >> they were unhappy, taken by surprise and sad to see the country. yemen is a poor country. more than 65% of people on the poverty line according to the u.n. they have hope. after the toppling of the former president, they have some democracy and civility. the government will help find jobs for them and the economy to feed the population. they felt they were taken by surprise by a small group of
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people the houthis, overrunning the country. and they see their president and the government unable to access to do something to stop them. they were annoyed. the anti-houthi sentiment was growing and building up slowly because they won't accept the take over of the country. >> on the other side the houthis have not had the success without their own popularity because they had their own support in yemen as well. >> absolutely, they have popularity in yemen, depending on the areas, mainly in the north, and they have some support, also in the capital sanaa. and that support kind of dwindles or shrinks when you go south of the capital. there you wouldn't find houthi support. estimates suggest that between the houthis make up somewhere between 10-25% of yemeni the society, it's not very very big much the houthis, in terms of
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military numbers, the numbers of fighters it's estimated to be from 1,000 up to 50,000 fighters. i think the 50,000 is an examing ration and i think it's 10,000 up to 15,000 fighters. the main point the houthis cannot control yemen alone and achieve what they have achieved without the backing of the toppled former president salah. >> he has an uneasy alliance with the houthis as well. they were former enemies, are they enemies or are they in alliance. >> i think they are allies at this point. however, at some stage there'll be a clash between them. i don't think one trusts the other. i think they have a marriage of convenience, if you will to settle scores with the political enemies in - in the country. i think the split started
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between them after president abd-rabbu mansour hadi fled aden because the former president wanted the resignation letter to go to the yemen parliament. so the parliament, which is under the control of this party, to try and perhaps nominate a president who is loyal to the former president. on the other hand the houthis wanted some sort of presidential counsel where the houthis play a major role. the differences between them we are seeing emerge because of these points. >> thank you omar al saleh, speaking to us on the impact of the houthi rebels on yemen. if you joined us on al jazeera, we have rolling coverage on the recent air strike led by saudi arabia on sanaa. the capital of yemen, against houthi rebels. earlier hack im al-masmari spoke
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to us via skype. >> everywhere woke up. and the attacks happened quickly. the targets have been the headquarters, council offices, gathering points anything that belonged to the houthi forces even the missile brigade. this is a full-scale war in sanaa, starting an hour ago, and by morning we will know the damages. we can't leave the house. by early morning it will be different. different to what it was an hour ago. >> are the air strikes continuing as we speak.
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>> they are nonstop every second. you hear by the second a different location around sanaa. that's where i did it earlier, that the sanaa of the morning will be different to last night. completely different. all the air strikes will have results, especially since we heard they targeted the yemeni military airport, trying to handicap the airport and haven't succeeded. >> hakim, you said they have been targetting the military airport. what about the main civilian airport. >> they are targetting the civilian airport in areas where the military airport is located. it's not the airport attacked the military war planes located in the airport. >> does this attack take you by
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surprise? >> again, everyone in sanaa has to wake up. it began with a massive explosion that shook the houses of sanaa. people got up and went to the streets thinking that the explosion happened next door while everyone in the capital sanaa thought the same thing. it was a heavy explosion to begin with. >> i was trying to find out if you were expecting any sort of strike in this form. we have been hearing for the last few days that the saudi arabia forces massed troops along the border. there were no indications whatsoever of air strikes like this. >> there were no indications but the houthis are using antitank missiles to ensure the air strikes do not succeed. again, they took the houthis by surprise, especially in this late hour of the day, and the
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attacks did not happen while abd-rabbu mansour hadi was fleeing or running away or being defeated. it happened during the nightfall when people did not expect and the houthis thought fitry was a given. right now, it's a different scenario, and the houthis will have a hard time convincing the yemenis that they - this war is not their fault. >> are the air strikes taking place just in sanaa, from what you understand. >> as of now, there has been explosions in the streets of aden in another province but the target is sanaa. >> people must be panicking. is there anywhere for them to flee to get cover. >> most now are trying to find a place to harbour. again. they just started, people are
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starting to panic. when the damages are seen or the destruction is seen. that's when people panic. >> a member of the houthi council said this will trigger an all-out war in the region. >> i do expect the houthis to invade saudi arabia like they did in 2009. that's what they warned. it's not over today, it's not a one day success. saudi arabia will see a lot of devastation because the houthi militants defeat abd-rabbu mansour hadi within hours, they will have a hard time. they have the manpower to do so with tens of thousands. >> saudis say they want the houthis to take part in the political process.
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will this push them into doing that? >> anything is possible. as of now, we have to forgive the idea of dialogue. it doesn't make sense that you bombard a nation. the houthis hoped before that they would be involved. this is the beginning of the proxy war. >> sara jamal is a political analyst and spoke to us earlier. >> there's shelling. good morning, i can't differentiate between the late hours. i hermremember waking up to 1:00a.m. to a huge explosion that i never experienced anything like this before not since at least 1994 when i was six years old.
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today i would like to be a witness to give a testimony via this opportunity, rather than being a political analyst. >> what i can describe is sounds. i don't know if you can hear them. >> yes i can hear them. >> the sky is full of light. sanaa has witnessed a number of armed conflict. nothing this intense since 2011. even then it wasn't intense. it is also psychological. this is a war that i as a yemeni have nothing to do with. not - neither of the two parts represent me. months ago the hope i had was in the peaceful resistance with the armed militia. now this is a depiction of iran and saudi arabia fighting their
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own war, a war using our lands, using our people. it's important for me to mention that there is no such thing as separate military camps in sanaa. this is a problem that former president salah created. aligning all the military camps in the capital, within residential areas. right besides my house is a camp. we are a mixed social system. the camps are in the north. iranian supported militia are advancing in the south. even those on the front are poor yemenis fighting a war that is not theirs. >> have you any idea of the
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casualties from the air strikes in. >> nothing yet. i tried to call a couple of friends that live next do al-daylami air force base. no response. i can only imagine what it's like. the morning will tell us about the casualties. we need to understand that - i mean there are other ramifications besides the death. it's not too late to stop this madness, there's a chance for iran and saudi arabia to understand that this is not the rite war zone for them. ramifications are going to hurt everyone in the region. yemenis want peace, they have been living without a president, even - before president abd-rabbu mansour hadi had to flee to aden. before that when technically there was no president or government, people went to the
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markets, still had their weddings making a normal life. there weren't cases of high crime rate or robbery in spite of the absence of former security. yemenis want to live. what saudi arabia and iran is doing is turning this into a war zone where nothing will cultivate but revenge. the one thing that should have happened was in 2012/2013. the 20 points would have built a base for dialogue and prevented all of that. the one right thing that the u.n. can do is stop dealing with yeppen as an agenda and stop listening to experts instead of expats that look at yen as a war zone. there's more into yemen and yemenis than fighting al qaeda.
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what is happening will make al qaeda bigger create more militias, create more hatred. you can only imagine if you lose a relative under such shellings, how you grow and feel and in the middle of this poverty, in the absence, there's no option but to join one militia or the other. >> if you have joined us on al jazeera, we have rolling coverage on the crisis that is occurring in yemen. overnight, to let you know saudi arabia-led coalition has executed an air strike military separation, over yemen's capital. we know that at least 10 people have been killed in those air strikes. we - it has been reported that at least three houthi rebel commanders were killed in those areas. we will confirm those reports as they come in.
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now, this of course happens after the houthi rebels rejected peace negotiations sponsored in doha. stay with us on al jazeera, more news at the top of the hour. we have rolling coverage on the yemen dries us. saudi led g.c.c. coalition has began a military operation in yemen air strike start he hadding houthi fighters. there is more support coming from the 10-nation coalition egypt, jordan, sudan, ma rack owe and pakistan have expressed their willingness to join the fight. several key places including the presidential palace and police headquarters have been hit. houthi tv in yemen says at least 10 people are are dead and there are reports of dozens of