tv [untitled] October 19, 2011 3:30am-4:00am EDT
eleven thirty am in moscow these here are the headlines greece in during i'm not so forty eight hour all out strike that's expected to be the largest since the financial turmoil started to shut down those parliament prepares to vote on even more rippling cuts to avert national bankruptcy. and it's feared serious unarrest of turning into a full fledged civil war with soldiers reportedly turning on each other eleven troops killed this week sort of three thousand or more dead since the crackdown on anti-government protests started a lot of. israeli soldier and
a lot of shelly's finally reunited with his family after five years held captive by hamas dozens of former palestinian prisoners flown into exile to countries like qatar and turkey while hundreds of others have been returned to the west bank. up next on cross talk a look at the u.s. claims it's uncovered an iranian plot to kill the saudi ambassador to the u.s. and whether there is more about i mean there are souring relations stay with us. will. remain you deleted some signs and signals from the realms of. the future coverage. can. live.
a lonely and welcoming rostock i'm curious about a hoax or a major security threat for oiled against the u.s. when reads like a cheap hollywood movie script around it is accused to have been behind a plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador to the u.s. duran denies this the washington promise is a strong reaction to our american and iranian relations again on a collision course. to. cross-talk u.s. iranian relations i'm joined by one hundred marandi in beirut he's a professor at the university of taran in tel aviv we go to michael omar man he is a writer and journalist and in washington we cross to matthew does he is a policy analyst and director of the middle east program for the center of american progress all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want they very much encourage it but first marcia tell us the latest
chapter in this troubled relationship in our relationship that i didn't hostility for three decades now but last week saw yet another downturn in u.s. iran ties after washington came out with accusations that iran had been plotting to assassinate saudi arabia's ambassador to the u.s. it is an outrageous act that where the razor going to have to be held accountable and i think when you see the case presented you're going to find there is compelling evidence. which few have found the evidence compelling enough to think the allegations are not part of a larger effort to further isolate iran and pursue tougher sanctions against it and these sanctions already up for discussion in congress could include a ban on financial transactions with iran central bank as well as a ban on petroleum products sold by companies controlled by the country's elite military force the islamic revolutionary guard corps said to be involved in the plot meanwhile iran has continued to dismiss the accusations as a us conspiracy boy threatening to retaliate. they conduct such conspiracies
against us frequently and they are all useless and ineffective they say that they want to isolate iran but they have become isolated themselves but u.s. officials say the case stands on its merits pointing to the long term animosity between iran and saudi arabia driven by a power struggle between the shia and the sunni as one of the reasons to iran may have wanted the saudi a diplomat. beer dead this alleged plot has been tied to previous accusations of iran's involvement in the murder of lebanon's prime minister rafik hariri on top of that some see this is a continuation of iran's terrorism is against well the u.s. itself previously conducted acts of terrorism against america they've killed americans but not in the u.s. not in the nation's capital so this is a real escalation and it's just. the biggest off your any fear that we will come back. and so this poses a question why would iran want to risk provoking u.s.
military reaction against itself by carrying out the alleged attacks also and i'm going to ask you this peter what can the u.s. hope to do right now especially given the fact that many believe the evidence to be trumped up well mushy let's look at the merits of this case i'd like to first go to peru professor marandi and beirut i mean how do you make this because they make a story out today because even i have found it quite interesting even kind of humorous that the usual cheerleaders of american foreign policy let's say at the new at the new york times find the story to be comical in many ways and quite games race and other ways. well yes it is it's it's absurd and there's absolutely no motive the iranians have no reason whatsoever why they would wish to assassinate the saudi ambassador if they hypothetically wanted to do it why would they do it in the united states which is especially these a which is one of the most well protected places in the world they could do it in the middle east somewhere they
could find a much high profile target that's much more high profile the macit or the saudi ambassador isn't a very important person at all so why would iran which approach provoke the united states and of course saudi arabia despite three decades of very poor relations with iran more or less. iran has never heard a single saudi anywhere at any time if you recall saudi arabia funded saddam hussein's war along with the americans and the europeans they funded the weapons of mass destruction program in the europeans americans helped them develop it but killing many thousands of iranians but the iranians never retaliated so why would the iranians do such a thing now so the end of course they're pretty bogus as well but i guess we're here for their later years ok michael i go to you in tel aviv what do you think of the merits of this case because it looks like a lot of legal people are looking and saying this is an obvious case of entrapment of a buffoon. i don't know about entrapment. the case itself
works strange to say. but let's not forget that there is between iran and saudi arabia. several months ago. we could work through this. thing and saying the. head needs to be cut off the snake of iran. not to mention that iran has. been very pleased with saudi involvement in iran and there have been clashes recently in between. saudi forces so that and there's obviously animosity between the two. whether that is a motive enough to carry out an attack this big in the united states i have to say it sounds strange already matthew i'll get your opinion about this case because the more we look at it the more comical it appears i mean this is
a gentleman even his best closest friends say he couldn't walk and chew gum in think at the same time and he's making these really getting involved in things that can be so easily traceable i mean he seems like the most unlikely person to be carrying off this high level terrorist attack assassination you could actually prompt a war between two countries i mean what do you think of the merits of the case. on its face the the facts of the case as described by the attorney general eric holder seem very very strange seems you know they could force has carried out various acts of terrorism over the past decades but this seems a very very sloppy i think there's a real question here if they can if the allegations are in fact true where where does this land within the iranian regime but i have to say i think it does seem to me that they've done here they should be not shared as much of the evidence with the public as i would like to see what they have shared the evidence with members of congress including senator dianne feinstein the head of the senate intelligence
committee who has said that the evidence she was showed was very very compelling so i'm not inclined at all to just dismiss this plot. mohamed if i can go to you i mean when i look at this time in my opinion here it's really eerie it's i feel like it's two thousand and three right now and colin powell is addressing the security council to go to war against iraq i mean flimsy stuff to say the least expects lead a cast of characters involved i mean how is what's your reaction to this i mean and we have to remember this is an election year and i want to go into that dimension as well. well first of all i'd like to add that just recently the iranians released to the two supposed hikers who enter into iranian territory through iraq a military zone and an area where terrorists have been american forces were also stationed in enter the country illegally one of them's father was was was in the israeli army. the iranians released them and that was
a goodwill gesture so why would he run into want to do this and carry out such a. lot of been held in the first place treating this as an act of you know open if a sense on the part of iran no no they're absolutely they entered iranian legally they entered iran through a high the military zone and it was absolutely absurd for any ordinary person to even be anywhere near that area let alone someone people with such a background but in any case. it was only reminds one the fact they were there both americans and the three of them were americans and one of them's father worked in the israeli army so the fact that. his real reserve in the army i mean that's. ok well it doesn't make it any easier the fact is that they in the year entered the country illegally the father of one of them was an israeli army soldier they were there was a military zone and terrorists and the american forces were active in that area i think it's very clear if you drive to iranians and then to the united states
illegally through the mexican border i don't think the americans would release them out very easily even if the iranians demanded them to ok so let's in fact i think this is an interesting point and let's look at how the western media and western congressmen and women feel when the american government makes accusations it is immediately accepted to be true there are no questions when you i was watching c.n.n. right after the allegations were made and it wasn't why how do we know this is true it was why did the iranians do it so it does remind us that simply because military through a very. i'm sorry that's simply not want to. have been not in the mainstream really or this is going to be a plot it's all over the internet it's all over the blogs it's all. the same. i just don't like to continually gentlemen i can tell you with michael here michael would. say it's all true ok i mean are they trying to pick
a war with the united states and if they are why. i don't think they're trying to store a war with united states. if you watched from the new interview with al jazeera last night he actually took what i considered to be almost a conciliatory. deescalating tone. he talked. you know he said you know we don't hate the american people although the american policies are making the iranian nation just like the americans i don't think they're trying to. start a war of the united states and to be honest i think the united states government is also trying to back down a little bit from the accusations directly against iran if you listen to talk to the dianne feinstein's interview i believe it was on sunday she said point blank i have not seen any evidence that this goes to the higher echelons of the israeli government she only said within the quds force implying that there's a rogue elements within it now if they were if sort of more like the two thousand
and three buildup to the iraq war you would see a lot more accusations that the iranian government i don't think were saying that do you think about that matthew i mean it is a. rogue elements inside of the ranch let's see if it is even worse isn't it. so right now i think as i said earlier i think that's that's my real question is if this thing if this happened as described where does it land within the iranian government is this kind of myself starting a member of the could force but i also have to respond to the allegation that this is somehow like the build up to iraq i think the obama administration has made clear in a numerable ways maybe it does not desire a military confrontation with iran the militant us military has made clear that it feels that a military intervention in iran would be. disastrous for the real interest for you the same time and it only hey i'm just here but it has to go to a break here i think we have to have a recall you know everything is still on table gentlemen we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on around
soon which bright. moon and sun from suns to. starts on t.v. come. lynn you can still. live. live. welcome back to cross talk about your mind you were talking about iran u.s. relations live. in a. slim. ok mohamed you wanted to say something before we go into the break but i'd like to point out this is that and i want to talk about the israeli angle here is that israel for a long time has been calling for a military strike against iran ok but first on the hama go ahead you want to finish up what we have to say in the first part. yes i could mention a couple of things without being interrupted be grateful one is that it does remind
one of two thousand and three in the sense that the united states is being just as dishonest. to the facts are clear. there is no motive the story itself is completely bogus this this person who seems to be mad goes to mexico he said he says to a drug runner that i have a cousin who is a high general in the iranian armed forces which no one in the world would give that sort of information to a mercenary after all he went to mexico for ticket to give a deniability and then he he they send a wire one hundred thousand dollars i mean even if the people who made up the story had read a couple of spying novels they know that they don't wire money especially from iran and to mexican drug dealers they would do it in cash then he when he is in prison he calls this so pose an iranian general and he tells him on the phone to
carry out operations i mean come on the phone a senior iranian commander on an international line to the united states it's completely unbelievable and of course the iranians would know quite well that a drug cartel as huge as that which makes tens of billions of dollars they wouldn't risk themselves to carry out an attack on the united states to bring down the wrath of the united states but the problem is is that the united states is deals irrationally with iran it's not a rational player when it comes to iran and this is this is just a part of that no one in iran believes this story i don't believe that many people in the united states believe the story but the fact that the u.s. government pushes such an absurd story i think it just shows that there's a very little hope for for a rational approach in any time in the future with iran in the near future at least what do you think about their man. i mean because again i mean professor marandi
gave a pretty good detailed account of the story to date again you know what does the rand benefit from all of this i mean and the absurdity of it all unless more evidence comes out and ties it makes a tighter case it looks like utter nonsense. as i said i think there's a lot about this case that does not smell right to me. but i think the point about reading spy novels i think that goes both ways i think a claim that mr reddy seems to be making that the obama administration simply invented this plot out of whole cloth well you know they've read spy novels too so you might think they would do a better more convincing job if they were just simply trying to snow the rest of the world i'm not saying i'm doing said obama administration itself that it necessarily but i hope whoever did it i mean eating them that sort of information it could be. terrorist organization it could be other i don't want you know i understand there is a conspiracy theory you have about who is driving this i said i i think that you
can see the secondary but the bottom line is we have in iran we have a regime that has regularly used terrorism regularly use assassinate. all right mike i'd like to go to you gentlemen gentlemen please michael i'd like to go to you i mean over the years there have been many people in the israeli political and military establishment that if called for a military strike against iran i mean how does this is settled now in the environment as we have in the arab spring and what not and we have the the sunni divide when we're looking at a bahrain and these other issues which of course saudi arabia and iran are are looking at very very closely how does this all play into the mix for you because we have heard this before coming out of israel and some supporters of israel the united states that a military strike against iran is necessary. well this this incident would be very good for those calling for a strike against iran by israel or america because. the strongest ally obviously
not an open ally that israel could have for such a strike would be saudi arabia they need saudi air space to reach iran and they need to support in the arab world to do it but you know even though we have we've seen the strongest rhetoric in recent years and this under the premiership of prime minister netanyahu and even though they have all the military. preparations ready for such a thing but they're not prepared politically to do such a thing they don't have the support of united states they don't have the support of of anybody really and at a time when israel is going under for. this we're just. more isolated than iran is because of it it makes it more convenient procedures and i mean makes it more convenient doesn't it i mean it does create the political atmosphere for that kind of attack i mean listening to vice president biden president obama hillary clinton you know it will be a strong reaction i mean what else can you do it when i was going united states do against iran that has been done already except for go to war.
president obama basically spelled out sanctions and isolation he pretty much made it clear was saying well repeating the same wind just on the table he basically said we're not going to war over this. so you're right it does make it easier. it does help the argument of a strike against iran. but. i don't think it actually advances such a possibility of ok matthew it's very interesting here i mean we have the election cycle in the united states and just recently iran also talked about restarting negotiations with the west over its nuclear program now with this story this bizarre story all of that seems to be gone away and now mr obama is running for reelection and he needs maybe foreign policy credentials because the economy is in a in a in a rut i mean unless there's not a conspiracy theory this is called politicking. i understand but i mean if there's
one area in which president obama is doing very very well among american voters it's foreign policy it's national security so it's unclear to me why he would think that he just needs this this other point on iran in order to bolster his credentials he's the guy who got bin laden he's been very very successful in in arranging cultivating in bolstering an international coalition to isolate iran over its nuclear program the american people according to the polls approve of his performance on foreign policy and national security ok when you think about that professor marandi i mean is this all politicking d.c. puzzle pieces coming together without being called a conspiracy theorist. why it's obvious that the united states is doing very poorly in the middle east it's losing its influence with the with the awakening risings the economy is doing very poorly israel is in isolation and saudi arabia is not doing well at all it's fearful of its borders with yemen in inside saudi arabia so
it would be useful to sort of make the saudi ruling family a victim here so it does benefit the united states in many ways but there's another point that i'd like to mention and that is the the repetition of the claim that iran is behind terrorism. the americans have made these claims in iraq and afghanistan many times both the iraqi government and the afghan government have denied them time after time after time and also importantly the irony is that it's the united states that regularly carries out terrorist attacks a user a uses drones to kill thousands of people it's occupied numerous countries and iranian scientists have been put on sanctions for this and the same people who have been who are put on those lists later assassinated and of course the western media shows absolutely no some sympathy whatsoever for their families for their children because they assume that iran is developing a nuclear weapon despite the fact that there's never been any evidence evidence to
show that so in the west the problem is that corporate the corporate media is more or less on the side of what the american government does and i think that the americans do have an interest in pushing this case for for many reasons for the saudi family for israel and for itself if you're trying to you it which pushes saudi angle because i think it is very interesting because there was the victim of this alleged plot was a saudi citizen do you think that maybe this is something that you know not only is israel and probably in the united states to attack iran it's on at some point in time because of its nuclear program assad. these are saying now and i'm kind of echoing what professor marandi had to say is that the saudis feel enormous amount of pressure because of bahrain and because of its very troubled relationship with to around so this would be a nice card for them to play and get the americans to back them up on it. no i agree i think there are you can come up with a reason and justification for how this might benefit the us saudi relationship
again i will i will admit that is one of the points that actually makes me more skeptical of the plot as described because he ran on which is clearly like the united states iran has also suffered from the arab spring from the arab awakening but iran is seems to be very pleased with the ongoing tension in the us saudi relationship so it's unclear to me why they should want to carry out a plot like this which seems to me to have kind of papered over those tensions for the time being so yes one can develop i think the reasons for how this might benefit the saudis but to go back to president obama i think he came into office having argued strenuously for his effort his engagement effort with iran an effort to change the the u.s. iran relationship he tried that we met with with the iranians to try to hammer out some nuclear agreement this plot as described really does damage to that part of his agenda so in coming out in rolling out this the evidence as they have he seems
to be going against his own stated efforts and desires to change the u.s. around relationship so again it's not clear to me why he would want to do that. michel thank you bridge mind you go ahead jump in. i just want to make two points one is that i think the iranians feel pretty happy about the uprisings and the wakening or the arab spring or whatever you like to call it because almost all the regimes are were pro-american dictatorships so they're very probing nations with iran so on the whole iran benefits but with regard to the nuclear program obama never did any good at all in fact when the iranians along with the brazilians and the turks if you recall ricardo came to an agreement and obama promised to support it he wrote a letter to the brazilian president saying that he will back the agreement when the agreement was made he he quickly rejected it condemn the brazilians and the turks and then went for new sanctions in the u.n.
security council so you know obama has has not been on as he lied effectively very blatantly but again here despite the written lied american media welcome that is there and you can search it on the internet the american media never pursued this all right gentlemen we've run out of time very interesting discussion many thanks to my guest today in beirut tel aviv and in washington thanks to our viewers for watching us here as we see you next time and remember crosstalk rules.
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