tv [untitled] October 7, 2011 9:01pm-9:31pm EDT
there's the headlines up next also the arab spring peaceful else is guess what challenges lie ahead for people in countries who are toppled debates coming up. and. welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle what is the distance between the arab spring in arab democracy some people of the arab middle east have demonstrated they can rid themselves of dictators but what have the challenges associated with the ballot box and is the west sincerely interested in seeing democracy take root in the arab world. and. cross-talk arab democracy i'm joined by lisa daftari in los angeles she's an award
winning journalist with expertise in the middle east in boston we have your him may tell he is head of the charm hertzog center and on the faculty of ben gurion university and in seattle we cross to ramsey beirut he is editor in chief of the palestine chronicle all right folks so the crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want since you had to go first this morning for this program what is your opinion of the state of the democratic process in the arab world right now from tunisia egypt leave libya and then maybe looking a little bit about the struggles going on in yemen and syria. well i don't know if democratic is is the word that you should use in entire across the middle east but particularly in this case because it doesn't look that that's the way it's going to go i mean these things don't happen overnight revolutions don't happen overnight and we're not going to see the exact results pan out overnight however these revolutions usually happen in three steps first as a popular uprising second the dictator is toppled and third there is an empty stage
an opportunity for well organized well supported well funded groups to step right in and in all of the cases that we've seen in all the countries that have experienced an arab spring we are seeing an islamist influence hovering overhead and the groups that have been around for many years not giving the young people in these countries an opportunity to form a secular coalition to gather their constituents i mean it's been three decades in egypt for decades in libya that they have not been to the governing themselves they are new with this they don't have the experience and they're not having that be the opportunity or the time to. organize and for the young people to really get themselves heard this was their movement and unfortunately we're watching as it unfolds and it might be a hijacking of the movement by these other islamist groups ok well we heard the word hijack really early in the program i thought we'd hear a little bit later what do you think about the state of the democratic process i
mean you know we're looking at obviously where there have been major changes in that's tunisia and that's also egypt and libya but ari do you see this hijacking process is it too early to say. no i i do believe that there might be not might be the is in fact some hijacking process taking place but the hijacking is not happening by the groups within these countries who are very much interested in having a real democratic process and the way the hijacking is happening by the us it's happening by france happening by britain it's happening by the very forces that have supported the dictatorship in these countries for many years i mean who have propped up and allowed her to rule over his people for all those years whose money whose support whose military funding wasn't at the u. us i know it was in south africa i know for a fact it wasn't trash it must have been the us it is infallible us so if there is
any hijacking that's going to happen to take this country's back to the era where mubarak and khadafi and these men have ruled over the middle east the hijacking will happen from the us and other western allies however as i think the question itself offer kind of clues to the answer it's a democratic process it's a process it has a start and it's already started the question is will it yield the results that are intended by the revolutionaries and i think there is going to be a struggle and the struggle is under way right now to ensure that democracy in fact becomes the real outcome the ultimate outcome of all of this ok your image i'm going to you in boston so we we have the word hijack we have we've heard one say hijacked from within islam was mentioned and we have ramzi that is saying hijacked from without where do you stand there or is there a third way. well first i think that it's too early to see if all we are having this hijacking scenario no doubt.
we are. watching or experiencing a decisive moment in the story of the mainly. societies and regimes in the middle east to this into a transition phase or stage that will take a different spin off time egypt is not libya. and libya is not the iman and so on so for now as for the question of the. meanings of this transition phase i would say that the most important challenge here is of course to the egyptian society or arab society in general. first the challenge is coming through this new political map we are having
a completely different political map in tunisia in egypt and the beginning of this in of course. the uprising in libya. second it will come very soon that this struggle between the different political parties will get to the question of phrasing a new constitution it's really this is a huge. if i may jump in here and say i mean but also there's another dynamic that's in play here is how much is the old regime want to hang on in it in a different guise a different party in that we see that very much in egypt right now we've seen a lot of scuffles going on right now so at least if i can go to you i mean you know you see this the mubarak two point zero coming in because you know the military is extremely powerful in egypt extremely close to the united states still and the the united states would probably like to see that ally relate allied relationship stay
there and so the regime and the postman bardic regime is just mubarak without its head. right but there's a there's a problem here where you have yes the military on one hand but how about this big constituency of eighty five million people who are in perpetual revolutionary mode they have no means of moving forward and seeing this next chapter of a of are not able to go on and do the nation building as we had all we talked about back in february and at the beginning of their movement that they will have to spend the next few years obviously the next few months with you know in long term at least another decade in nation building mode and they haven't been able to do that and in the meantime. groups such as muslim brotherhood they have the they've won over the people because they've been around for years they've done things for the people they put up soup kitchens and schools and libraries and they have pander to their constituency which is usually the lower socio and i cannot make groups and
you know that's why revolution starts because of poverty it's because of unemployment people do not go to bed at night thinking about democracy and about you know these lofty ideals and they don't also go to bed thinking about sharia law what they do go to bed thinking about is how they're going to put bread on the table the next day how they're going to feed a family how they're going to use their education that they've received and there's no jobs i mean these are the real concerns of the people and whether or not they're going to be heard in the next chapter of islamic rather egyptian government i doubt it because their extremist influences are too strong and the united states well i mean this again. is an extreme live as it is it is your dream soup kitchens and libraries. so we look with the muslim brotherhood the muslim brotherhood yesterday. you know let me just say something i think this is a very quick descending view of the arabs and this is
a very typical kind of right wing american view on about or at least mainstream america really protests and then a little bit know that let me let me just let me just finish my thought out and then you can jump in but i have to finish i had to finish my thought you know people do go to bed people do go to bed thinking about democracy and arabs do go to bed thinking about freedom and their rights to express themselves and to have their own they're presented to the parliament think about it they have earned it they worry about it the whole revolution for its sake it's not about the poverty per se libya by the way libya in particular is one of the has the highest national g.n.p. in the entire continent of africa yet this still went through a process that yielded almost fifty thousand deaths obviously democracy does have a price freedom does have a price and they would do anything to get it and now this guy who you know will carry the most he will the muslim brotherhood's opening opening kitchen me in
a soup kitchens and all of that and this is how the one hearts and minds just that's all archaic thinking that is still perpetuity for some reason the muslim brotherhood have been around for over eighty years and they have been a solid and consistent jump in here is the mark you are. going around in boston you've only spoken once of this program go ahead sir. well i think that we should think about the role of the political islam and especially of muslim brotherhood in this stage out of the box of the previous stage which was the stage of authoritarian regimes supported by the west and all this now it's not that the west or other countries are not interested in sometime involved in what is going on in egypt of course and other places but the most important thing is that the challenge today is not only to normally islamist parties it's
a huge challenge for the political islam. parties especially the muslim brotherhood now see what happened since the beginning of this year in egypt the muslim brotherhood themselves have been split into several camps so they come for the first time to the place that it's not one monolithic muslim brotherhood it's by far more complex so the point here that i would like to make is that we should think in a different concept about the role of the political islam in this stage and i don't think that political islam or more specifically the muslim brotherhood are about to hijack the revolution in egypt. all right we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion of arab democracy state working. mum and if you. want.
to close a team has been to the spitzbergen archipelago. for the world's northernmost actually presides over a ghost. town r.t. goes to pains a group of village volunteers rebuild a column from roots. where technological breakthroughs save lives. and where people are forced to stay for. much of close up on the bar to. a very warm welcome to you this is your news today protesters on the. streets they are. ladies and gentlemen your
chance to choose seems such a good move for example the status of the human experiment is exploding with. business rap music what it snows to be trying to make sense of the global economy and it's all came things as financial template. to maintain our confidence in markets and. wants to be seen trade imbalances risks to keep the nation's close to collapsing in some loan foreclosed homes. to fail switchblade banks again feel level like thing is us crashing timonen smashed ceiling to inflame just like ultimate justice in athens three the ottoman empire strikes me. increase the term economy. ok.
say. ok well i'm sad to go back to you in seattle i suppose really what it gets down to when i hear in the mainstream all the time is that islam and democracy and arabs are just three things that just can't get along but it's kind of interesting isn't it that the dumb muslims and arabs in this top part of the world they just been denied democracy for forever they've never had a chance at it and so yeah everyone comes out batting saying it's all antithetical i mean as it hasn't what we should we just give arabs and muslims a lot of arabs or muslims a chance of having building their own democratic societies instead of being told if it's extremist or not extremist or moderate enough or state is to now for outside influence enough i mean it's very early days still. exactly peter but for them it's really not too early because what really worries them is not about the relationship between islam and democracy this issue is being resolved based on the internal dynamics and electrics of this very societies single day there are
debates in the arab world and arabic t.v. stations about secularism in islam how is this relating to women how is it relating to. the economy but these things do not really matter to the very people who come and infuse this whole islamic elements what worries are two things first they are worried about this menace this islamic terrorist menace that they have exaggerated they have created to some extent and exaggerated and they cannot get over it frankly and it's just really not part of our society we do not think about our guard that they are night just not part of our culture i was a dan no no losers just hold on the other point i have here is that is that the other thing that worries them israel and this is a major major issue they don't bring it up sometimes straight forward but this is what it is they are worried that if the muslim brotherhood in egypt take over the
market and the world renegotiate camp david if you know in fact let go of it altogether so they are worried about their ally israel they are worried a bit of this foreign policy interest but they are not at all worried about the needs and the desires and the interest of the people but they wouldn't come straight forward and say that it is this is this is in fact what is happening you want to jump in and go right ahead lisa go ahead no that's absolutely absolutely untrue it's about terrorism it's about extremism and has nothing to do with israel it has nothing to do with the u.s. it has everything to do with the people of these countries who went out onto the streets who risked their lives who are continuing to risk their lives it's about the daughters and the sisters look just just the other day i read a report about. where we are about the. there's any that says if you're cary grant hearing about them if you need a hundred here and listen listen in to heal him but just as of this question was to stand what they are saying the same question please as long as he wanted to hear so much about these anyone why did you fund military regime why did you fund the
military regime in egypt and you funded all sorts of color up through the middle east for so many years why did you give the egyptian army one point three million dollars a year for what see for the daughters and sons of egypt you really care about them that much that you would be arming the very people who have been have been posing as as the defenders of the egyptians but in reality they have been and trashing course with the egyptian people ok you know i want to go to you know i want to go to boston here israel was brought up here and i want i don't want to talk about directly about israel because what i might arab democracy here but there are people that would say and you might call them cynics is that the only thing the west is particularly interested in is in democratic change in the arab world is make sure they're pro western that's what they want they don't really care about anything else because as ramses pointed out for decades dictators were supported because they were friends of the west so no matter what the outcome is that it's not about democracy it's about western influence still go ahead. well this is one perspective
the western influence or. spot or by this. huge transformation but i would say that actually two points here the one is that at the very beginning of the uprising in egypt tunisia other places these were it was not on the actually on the table it was not an issue israel it started . later on we have. disagreements about. saving gas to israel. after the whole debate within egypt about the can they did now i would like to say here. i think something that is important to this discussion we should look at various perspective here it's not that one party in egypt including the muslim brotherhood will gain at the end of the day one
hundred percent they want it from the cake so yes the army most probably will transfer power to an elected government but they will play a significant role behind the scene this is obvious to the egyptian army really connected with the united states with the peace with israel so i think that concerning the peace treaty or commitments to the peace in general i do not predict a collapse of the this commitment but three and this is the most important change is that an elected government in egypt we to surface the voices of criticism an end gear and resentment against israel's policy and this would bring to the table much more aggressive egyptian policy told being israel without risking all neglecting commitment their general commitment to the peace with israel so let
me let me run through. you know on this one because it's an interesting point it's an interesting point here i think again you know western powers have been so involved in the region and people would call it a neo colonial experiment it's coming to an end are this is really what's at issue here is that these countries that are going through this transition whatever that transition we want to call it is going to have eventually their own foreign policies and this is something that really shakes up the work we haven't seen that in the post-war period go ahead. we know very well through so many public opinion polls that have been taken in recent years how do our ups actually feel about about israel about us foreign policy about the patient of iraq about all of these things we know for a fact how they feel and we know that if these these future governments into debris presenting the opinion of the masses then we know that there is going to be a problem here for the u.s. it is going to be a very serious problem for israel as well and this is why this is why there's
a major game underway here in which the u.s. and nato are trying to hijack the arab revolution to insure that the outcomes are as immutable and as likeable to u.s. foreign policy as possible and they are not as. as mention too aggressive towards israel i think the outcome of this game will determine the real deal but from what i see especially especially in egypt and in tunisia it's going to be a democracy for the people and by the people and it's not about bread and it's not about food it's about the life of the egyptian people how they really will have these themselves and their relationship in that it's not at all. jump in. that's that's completely that's completely wishful thinking what we have said from the beginning of the arab spring is that we have not seen being an anti-american movement or an anti israel movement we didn't see american flags being burned on the street we didn't see israeli flags being burned on the street and that was a very positive sign that this is
a grassroots movement it's about nationalism and you know what as soon as those whatever government takes form in the next stage they will use exactly those sentiments the anti-american sentiment the anti israel sentiment to rally the people around the flag it was done in iran three thirty years ago it will be done again it's the smartest move the government can do to rally and unite the people the common goal at this point with the people with nation building the common goal with the new government will be anti israel anti us anti west sentiments mark my words your him when he says well democracy is very scary for you isn't it. you want to reply to that i was saying this is why democracy real democracy is very scary for people like lisa because they are going to produce what you would perceive as anti american but by the way they are we are not anti americans egyptians are not anti americans egyptians are anti the very policy that the us has instituted in their country they want to see that change change those policies and
believe me you will see egyptians not being anti americans that's all ok you're about to go back to you in boston it is. this could continue saying we're talking about independent foreign policies and i mean would not be better for what some people call mistake we call the peace process between the palestinians and israel because israel would have more of a stake in making a peace with the palestinians and then you take the issue off the table well i understood from you that this one is not the issue here in this program so just about what you know and i'm saying you know what i mean really i mean it's very clear we don't make it very clear here is that lisa is saying you know it's going to be anti-american and it's going to be anti israel but if israel has this moment this opportunity to make a peace process real then they get their security in the palestinian is going to resonate i mean and and that shows that these countries would have to have a genuine foreign policies that are independent where people would actually support their government in having
a peace process itself all through the region go ahead. ok so first i would say that i don't think that. the an elected government will automatically reflect. i would say an aggressive. foreign policy toward the united states i think there will be much more criticizing of the american policy and especially more criticizing of israel but the more important thing here is also that when we raise the issue of israel israel is not like you know a remote player so it heavily depends on what israel will do or perceive about the arab spring or more specifically about an egyptian. government who would live to maybe rephrase articles in the camp david agreement now in israel and we have a right wing coalition this right right wing coalition do not interested at this
point in progress in the peace process with the palestinians especially because for . the arab spring presents a threat they see they are of supreme court process of them across the nation as a huge threat coming in the direction of israel and they trying to diffuse this fred just by. buying some time through dis manipulative policy that netanyahu is basically. doing with the american administration her father was. going to jump in here we've run out of time here we'll see what happens when the arabs go to the ballot box many thanks to my guest today in boston los angeles and in seattle and thanks to our viewers for watching us here to see you next time and remember our struggles.
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again this is the headline. waging a long war ten years after the invasion of afghanistan when they took coalition commander stanley mcchrystal says america's only home way to reach new goals in the country citing a frightening and some can stick lack of understanding in part for the player. interim government forces in libya launched their biggest the time to get on one of his last remaining strongholds as stiff resistance from fighters a lot of the ousted leader but despite many residents there's still a high risk of civilian casualties with large numbers of citizens staying. and anger over the whole of bias is gaining momentum in the u. i said the demonstrations spread to more than a dozen cities.