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tv   Jimmy Wales  Al Jazeera  April 14, 2018 7:32am-8:01am +03

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him to distinguish himself from president obama that he can actually enforce the red lines that president obama made in terms of chemical weapons use in syria but the trick here is that he wants to do that without militarily changing the dynamics on the ground in syria which work in present tribes favor in terms of defeating isis but the problem here though is that if it's his domestic policy true syria policy is that we've been hearing that assad can't win the war using conventional weapons so he will have to go back to use them if he wants to bring it to an end if he uses them again then the u.s. is going to have to respond again so we're sort of getting into the second trump going to have to have a better policy but it depressed. well i'm not sure i mean i think that the assad government in syria the russians and the iranians have been extraordinarily effective in terms of using conventional was weapons to keep the
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assad government in power and to push isis out of syria. where i see the concern coming is not immediately or places around damascus where i see the next battlefield in a sense in terms of chemical weapons coming potentially is it live and i think that could be a tremendous crisis with even far more casualties than we've seen in duma but that's not something that's going to happen tomorrow and i think for president trump as long as it happens after the november midterm elections here in the united states he can handle it again the critical thing for his reelection is that he annihilated isis these things on along the way as as cruel and callous as this may sound these are just bumps in the road in terms of his campaign pitch to claim that he annihilated isis because it is a nice distraction for trump isnt it. in some ways it is certainly the former f.b.i. director call me has an explosive new book coming out this weekend where he's going
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he was scheduled to have back to back media coverage throughout the week culminating on sunday with a star appearance this week with george stephanopoulos one of the most popular sunday news programs here in the united states now director called me is looking a little bit less interesting in terms of domestic politics here all the coverage is now on syria so certainly it helps in that regard for the next few days but again i think that his syria policy is often underestimated here because it's so much a product of domestic politics but it is a policy and it is one that trump has been effectively been able to use on the campaign trail which has already started in places like west virginia ohio other strongholds of his that he is following through on his campaign promises to defeat isis and he's due to have another potential. hand with a north korean meeting with kim jong il in next month in may in this particular strike in syria will be sending a strong message when to the north koreans. it could except that i
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might my sense is that this is much more of a political strike than a military strike and i'm not sure the near the north koreans are going to be very you know very disturbed by it i don't think i don't think that i side you know president assad in syria is very disturbed by it i don't think the iranians are very disturbed by it and i don't even think the russians are disturbed by it so i'm not sure really will help him in terms of president trump in terms of showing some sort of strength of the you know the north korean leader but you know we'll have to see how that how that blends and formulates if they in fact have their meeting ok. big thing to watch out for hilary thanks very much for joining us from washington. u.s. defense actually james mattis has called for the international community to stand up against the assad regime let's listen to his words i want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the syrian regime in conducting these strikes we have
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gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties but it is a time for all civilized nations to urgently unite and end in this syrian civil war by supporting the united nations back to an even peace process in accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons we urge responsible nations to condemn the assad regime and to join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again and bush prime minister tourism a has said that there was no alternative way to stop the assad government from using chemical weapons we are acting together with american and french. the syrian regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and at ballroom way and a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the syrian
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regime is responsible for this latest attack this persistent pattern of behavior must be stopped and again barbara joins us now live from london so the dean what do we know at this stage about the u.k.'s involvement in this action. well the ministry of defense here in britain has put out a statement saying that four tornado planes from the royal air force off from cyprus from a military base there in the early hours of saturday british time and took part in air strikes on a facility western of the city of homs now the ministry is saying that it was a successful attack they say that they had identified the target as a former missile base and somewhere where they say the syrian government was
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stockpiling what they call chemical weapons precursors nearby a command post was also said to have been targeted. they do say that it was a successful attack but of course we're hearing from syrian state media. the attacks on facilities in and around homs did not succeed we heard in the last hour or so quoting state media that missiles targeting the homes area with water than diverted but three civilians were injured so it's not clear what exactly what impact those missiles are they were storm shadow missiles fired from british planes and others actually had but it's clear that there was there was a concerted operation because that statement. video statement by two reason may that you just heard from came after
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a phone call between her and france's president emmanuel michael and what third nadeem with it was to is a maze justification for these strikes in syria. well the excerpt you just played made it clear that she's saying this was in clear response to what happened last weekend the alleged use of chemical weapons by the syrian government in duma in eastern huta she says that this decision she didn't take it lightly she said that it's in britain's national interests and basically the bottom line is that the use of chemical weapons by any government by any regime cannot be allowed to become what she called normalized but listen to this sentence from her statement we cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized within syria on the streets of the u.k. or anywhere else in the world so this is not just about sending
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a message to president bashar al assad it's also sending a message to his military backers in moscow because of course the british government has been pointing the finger very directly at president putin and his government for the nerve agent attack on surrogate scrip our and his daughter in the southwestern town or city of solsbury in the u.k. and that in recent weeks has led to extreme tensions between the two countries expulsion of diplomats and on friday the russian ambassador to the u.k. suggested that attack or the pictures that we've seen coming out of hospitals in duma could have been staged or directed by britain and others that they are causing these attacks happened in the middle of the night the u.k. it's still very early hours that it's not yet light but are you seeing any reaction to this so far. not politically it is very early but we know what
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will come out of the british opposition labor party because they have been demanding a recall of parliament saying that any military action by britain with the us should not happen before parliament has a say and also before of an independent un the lead investigation into exactly what happened in duma. be concluded will neither of those things have happened the british parliament is currently on a recess but. members of parliament not only among labor but also the ruling conservative party have said in the last few days that parliament should be reconvened before any action happens will obviously that that's not taken place let's not forget that there has been no vote in parliament specifically on retaliating for the use of chemical weapons since twenty thirteen when david cameron was british prime minister and that vote in parliament went against him and that was a big factor in. pushing barack obama to decide the then u.s.
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president to decide not to strike when there was a chemical weapons attack in syria allegedly by bashar assad's government there was a subsequent vote in twenty fifteen in the british parliament allowing the governments to use military strikes against so-called islamic state i saw but i was not to do with chemical weapons use so this this issue is very very controversial here among politicians of all colors and the british public if you believe the latest opinion poll do not support the idea right now of britain taking part in military action wider military action in syria forty three percent of respondents in a poll published last monday said they didn't back the idea twenty two percent were supportive senate gets more reaction from the ng than this itself waking up properly in the coming hours from the moment they nadeem anything. for joining us there from london i hope we have a channel and french president has issued
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a statement regarding the joint strike in syria saying we cannot tolerate the normalization of chemical weapons which represents an immediate danger to the syrian people and to our collective security france and its partners will resume efforts today at the united nations to allow the implementation of an international mechanism that will establish responsibility stop impunity and prevent the syrian regime from doing this again. joins us now from paris and it's a very similar language that we've been seeing from the french president and the british prime minister to reason may that be they cannot allow the normalization of chemical weapons. yes that's right i mean the french president in that communique from the elisei is pretty much saying that he felt he had no choice because the use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law of rights and something had to be done to show
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that it's simply not acceptable now what this statement also says is that the french president is convinced that the attack in dumas was carried out by the syrian regime it was a chemical attack and therefore that is why france decided along with the united states and the united kingdom to carry out these airstrikes for macro his priorities also larry out these airstrikes for macro his priorities are also laid out in that statement he says the diplomatic solution must must be the main priority of course rather than a military one as you said the talks will resume at the u.n. to try and talk further about ways to try and investigate any chemical weapons attacks on the ground and bring the perpetrators to justice also that humanitarian access must be allowed on the ground to try and reach those people who are being touched and of course the civilians who are involved in this conflict what we don't
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know though is still what proof the french president has that chemical weapons were used by the syrian regime in dumas a couple of days ago on thursday french president a man on my car said in a television interview that france had proof that the syrian regime was behind this attack but we still don't have any further information we do know though that the defense minister the foreign french foreign minister will be speaking shortly here in france so perhaps we'll learn a little bit more about france's involvement both in those airstrikes and whether or not they might disclose what kind of proof they had in order to carry out these airstrikes was it inevitable that tash that france would join these strikes given the sort of language that we've been hearing from his father's presidency. well it all sort of point this that way i mean i think there's no doubt that emanuel michael's credibility was really at stake here because his policy on syria since becoming president need
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a year ago now has never been entirely clear he said very close the beginning of his presidency he used to say that president assad must be part of a diplomatic solution for syria but in the past few months he really has toned that narrative down he's also said consistently that should chemical weapons be used in syria it would be a red line crossed for france and files would retaliate but until now france hasn't acted so i think if the president didn't act at this time. after after of course talking about this over the last few days saying that france have proof that chemical weapons have been used to france had not acted then his credibility really would have been at stake now what we were wondering was whether or not france may act alone it certainly has the military capacity to do so but him at all michael style is much more than multilateral approach so it's no surprise that he decided to act alongside his u.s. and u.k. partners so what was the response there from the public in france or was it in the
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middle of the night and expect you to know response now but generally to war footing as it is the public been behind him. well it is indeed a very early morning here in paris at the moment so in terms of public response hasn't been much but i mean i think that over the past few days what we have seen of the french public watching these pictures of people have around the world of children and mothers and civilians in a presumed chemical attack the french president has told the french public that this is a chemical attack that it was carried out by the syrian regime and as far as that's as far as that's part of the picture i think for many french people they feel that the french president would then be justified to retaliate because they feel horrified by the fact that a regime could carry out such an attack they also know the president mark karr has spoken repeatedly about the fact that if chemical weapons were used then france
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would retaliate so the fact that he has kept his word would be respected on the other side we have heard over the last couple of days some opposition m.p.'s or even those within him and all my calls own party who have urged caution because of course they've seen france become involved in libya in two thousand and seven under president sarkozy that became something of obviously of a political military mess and they don't want to see france getting dragged into something further so i think people in france will be waiting to see exactly what's going to happen next is that is are there no more airstrikes at the end or is this the beginning of something much bigger. ok let's ask about thanks very much for joining us though we are hearing that we're going to be hearing from the french defense ministry and foreign ministry within the coming hour larry i can see them probably come in mid coming minutes we will be crossing over to that when it
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happens the french reaction to these strikes overnight on syria this is the scene in syria we can see a short on the streets of damascus there is or could be any city in the world can it is peaceful cars going about their daily business people going about their daily commute one of those strikes by the u.s. the u.k. and france was in damascus it was an eastern damascus and it was hitting a scientific lab but looking at that shot there you wouldn't know anything had happened a tool that strike overnight did hit damascus it also hit two targets two chemical weapons facility targets near homes in another part of the country also enjoy a very reports now in the last seven years of the war and how these limits is sort of strikes have not been able to stop chemical weapons attacks there is a warning here that some of us may find some of the images disturbing. another
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batch of syrians forced to leave their homes. these are nearly four thousand people displaced from doumani of the syrian capital damascus where the latest suspected chemical attack happened. we lived in birthdays in eastern guta especially in the last three days with the original creation in juba which used resulting in suffocation cases among the civilians. with force displacement of hundreds of thousands of people in chemical attacks were unthinkable for these protesters in two thousand and twelve in the beginning really mobile videos used to capture the peaceful syrian uprising against bashar al assad . then the syrian government began its crackdown with the arrests torture and killings the opposition also picked up weapons. and radical groups such as ice and took advantage that was the first event for the assad government which insisted it was fighting what it called terrorists. a major syrian chemical attack and change
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things in two thousand and thirteen and the threat of u.s. action inside syria remains that the threat. the international community is credibility is on the line and america and congress's credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important we have to act because if we don't we are effectively saying that even though we may condemn it and issue resolutions and so forth and so on. somebody was not shamed by resolutions can continue to act with impunity. and that impunity continue despite the u.n. chemical weapons watchdog destroying the syrian government's declared arsenal. the trumpet ministration responded in two thousand and seventeen the missile strikes
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inside syria but also gave warning to russia president assad. as with previous incidents there's been international outrage failed un resolutions and u.s. missile strikes in syria seven year war the international community has been outraged multiple times and at times took limited action but all that has failed to stop attacks on civilians who oppose president assad. hundreds of thousands have been subjected to the tactic of starvation and the. thousands frighten the skaven many died on the way the world has effectively shut down the borders around syria so people and. some of the job others here are needed to. know the syrian opposition leader been hearing from him not very and he's been calling for an end on attacks against all civilians by the syrian government on twitter he said maybe the regime will not use chemical weapons again but it will not hesitate to use weapons in social community has allowed it such as barrel bombs and cluster
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bombs pro syrian government commanders also reporting an airbase west of damascus and near the lebanese border was hit during the operation goes the lebanese capital beirut well as a whole has been following events and developments inside syria so first of all the rebels response saying i mean we didn't really expect them to be celebrating these strikes because they don't have any lasting implications for the war do they. no because these strikes really were never about regime change the strikes were never about toppling the syrian government the opposition undoubtedly upset that more action was not taken that the government is not being held accountable and they do not think that these strikes will deter the government from carrying out more attacks and the question that many in the opposition ask why are you just focusing on the chemical weapons attacks when more people have been killed by conventional weapons and it's not just that. even with the threat of u.s.
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military action yesterday we heard from. the top advisor to the iranian supreme leader say that the next military offensive will be an eclipse so iran a supporter of the syrian government already talking about the upcoming military operations and mentioning it live it live that is in the northwest of the country the province under the control of the rebels but it is also according to the united nations the world's biggest displacement camp up to a million internally displaced people live there and that area has long been a target of the syrian government and the russian government so the opposition worried about what comes next because it's not just about chemical weapons attacks it's also about air strikes and we know that thousands and thousands have people have been killed over the years as a result of conventional weapons ok as i know you are getting some reaction only from iranian and russian sides of the war because they are allies of president
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bashar al assad just to give us an idea of what we're hearing especially from tehran. well yes the iranian foreign ministry condemning this attack and earlier the russians condemned the attack and both of them a warning of consequences but there is no doubt that there is a sense of relief because there were fears that first of all that russian military personnel would come under attack which will put moscow in a very difficult situation and it will have to retaliate that did not happen now we heard the u.s. defense secretary say these strikes were aimed at the syrian government it was a very clear message because many were worried that this operation or this retaliation had more to do than just retaliate against a chemical weapons attack but it had to do with weakening iran in syria that there will be strikes targeting iranian bases or bases or areas belonging to the controlled by the hezbollah armed group of the lebanese group allied with iran and that didn't seem to happen now
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a syrian military commanders being quoted by pro-government media saying that a base near the lebanese border has been hit now there is no independent confirmation but in fact if that base has been hit then it would be an iranian target and we have to say that tensions have not eased especially between israel and iran and this is quite serious because yesterday we heard from hezbollah say that iran is going to retaliate for the israeli air strike on monday that targeted the syrian base and iran acknowledging that seven elite members of its forces were killed so the threat of further military action involving israel and iran is possible and what are we hearing from damascus. well there celebrations in the streets the people took to the streets they're celebrating they're calling this a victory they're condemning what they're calling a tripartite aggression people are saying and this is just a limited action almost mocking the operation they were expecting something much more there is no doubt that this was
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a limited limited operation of course different than what we saw last year last year it was a unilateral strike targeting one base that was the u.s. of course retaliation to the chemical weapons attack in the north of the country this time around there were more than one target there was a sustained attack for almost an hour where people were worried the explosions were being heard but now that the dust has settled people believe that the government was not really affected the military capabilities of the syrian government hasn't been affected really those were the red lines of iran and russia that the military capabilities of the syrian government and its allies are not affected by these strikes so does that mean then that it's business as usual i mean if we go back to what we've been seeing recently on the ground in syria. has been cleared of rebels and the fighters that were there in an evacuation deal they've been basically corralled into an area now in live are we going to see a continuation of of the war there as it has been going so far. well the
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syrian government has never been more comfortable since the start of this conflict of course thanks to the help that there's been receiving both from the iranian government iranian sending forces on the ground the russian military the russian air force so the government is in a very comfortable position. to the fact that it over to recapture the eastern has been seen as a major military achievement a victory for the government because it has long been a thorn in the side of the government at the doorsteps of damascus at the doorsteps of the seat of the government's power so those airstrikes were not about regime change the opposition is in no position to launch an offensive to try to take advantage of these air strikes a very different picture than it was in two thousand and thirteen when there was a threat of western military intervention following a suspected chemical weapons attack in eastern huta as well then the rebels were in a much better position but at the end there was a deal there was a diplomatic way out of the crisis that led to the dismantling of the syrian chemical weapons stockpile in some way or another if you talk to diplomatic sources
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here an analyst here in beirut they'll tell you that these strikes in one way or another was a compromise or a way out of this crisis because it was a very dangerous crisis that risk a direct showdown between the u.s. and the russian military what about the o.p.c. w. if we just look at the situation. because that day to go into duma today where the suspected chemical attack took place to give that assessment as to what was used in the attack and confirm or deny whether indeed chemicals we used is that likely to go ahead. well we have no indication that that fact finding mission is now canceled its mission really they arrived the first batch of chemical weapons inspectors arrived late yesterday the second batch is expected today there were they are to go to do my the site of the suspected chemical weapons attack they're going to investigate and inspect the area some are worried that the evidence could have been tampered with since there's a new authority on the ground when the chemical weapons attack happened or the
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suspected attack happened as the rebels were in charge of the area and now the russian pull in military police has been deployed and russia and the syrian government insisting time and time again that they are not responsible for this attack in fact the russians even accuse the u.k. of staging this operation this chemical weapons attack so it is still not clear some believe that the o.p.c. w. is sending this mission was staving off the possibility of strikes but clearly that did not happen and was a wondering just maybe finally what the reaction locally in the region is going to be or has been if we've seen anything coming out of the governments around him because president trump did say that he acted with the support of his allies he did specifically mention castle and other countries well yes at the end of the day people are worried the situation in syria could spiral out of control many many players involved in this conflict international regional players each one of them
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stakeholders in this conflict and so there was a real big fear that this.


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