tv [untitled] December 23, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm EST
the american occupation of iraq officially coming to a close do speak it's time to take stone was the war in all the patients worth it. dozens are killed in damascus and the first suicide bombing since the syrian uprising began in march authorities are laying the blame on al qaeda these attacks come as arab league observers arrived in the country in an effort to work out a peaceful solution to the conference called weapons. just days after the pullout of u.s. troops the iraqi government plunges deeper into political crisis following a bombing wave that claimed more than seventy lives prime minister nouri al maliki a shiite has called for sunni deputy. lot of concern to the u.s. administration insists it left behind a stable country nine years after launching the invasion. and big brother is coming
and he could be in your british taxi human rights activists by a surgeon surveillance cameras which are now to be installed in every taxi in the city of oxford recording not just video but audio as well authorities insist that the risk of personal intrusion is acceptable compared to the public safety benefits . those are your headlines and coming up next cross talk peter lavelle and his guests discuss the spoils of war in iraq and whether america's foreign policy is really about spreading freedom and democracy stay with our. hello and welcome to cross talk i'm peter let's go with the american occupation of iraq officially coming to a close this week it's time to take stock was the war in occupation worth it are
there any winners is a rock a better place and is war now the natural state of u.s. foreign policy. to cross-talk iraq's future i'm joined by sabri in london he's an exiled iraqi academic in tel aviv we have mayor javedanfar he's a middle east analyst and lecturer at the interdisciplinary center in herts leah i mean washington we cross to hillary mann leverett she is a professor of u.s. foreign policy at the american university and a former white house and state department official all right folks this is crosstalk me that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it but first marcia is this a major milestone in american foreign policy you know i think as far as getting the troops out it is a milestone with only a few thousand troops waiting to depart from iraq by december thirty first president barack obama's address last week officially spell the end to a nearly nine zero military mission the pullout fulfills one of obama's key
electoral promise says and winds down the war that has cost the lives of nearly four thousand five hundred u.s. soldiers and more than six hundred thousand iraqis despite iraq's still fragile security this could be the first real lol in violence after four decades of political and social turbulence this is an extraordinary achievement one made possible by the hard work and sacrifice of the men and women who had the courage to serve and there's a lesson to learn from that a lesson about our character as a nation. but there are more lessons to learn than the one about the american at this people on both sides of the fence have been left. better by the conflict and the occupation that succeeded while many iraqis are eager at the prospect of autonomy others are wary of the country's continued reliance on u.s. support. big cannot afford to be completely absent from iraq and therefore while agreeing to withdraw troops as per the agreement they are in no way coming back varying civilian clothes and in fact i don't see any lessening of american
influence as far as iraq is concerned. in america too the invasion has long since become a point of deep contention among politicians and the public and even president obama has gone so far as to call it the conflict has become a major aid on the us treasury with the price tag said to be up to three trillion dollars and in the epic of the arab spring and the rise of islamism in the middle east the geopolitical stakes of staying too have become too high for now the iraqi government has promised its people that by two thousand and seventeen the country would become one of the wealthiest oil producers in the world and the political system with power sharing does seem to have more legitimacy leaving a gleam of optimism so the world and especially the u.s. are now only left to hope that these fragile signs of democracy would take hold even if through military force well let's talk about milestones i'm afraid if i go to you first in london mr obama said this week now we knew this day would come
we've known that for some time but still there's something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long is there anything profound about the end of american or official american involvement in iraq i think. you could call it the biggest blunder which is happened in the twentieth century twenty first century the problem is america's leaving and leaving iraq and there's the infrastructure was destroyed iraq is go to veneer of democracy but the fact it's in the hands of theocratic really politicians i think the biggest winner of this war on america leaving is iran and this one of the militias which has got another connection to iran i think iraq has been left into a theocratic really and the future i think. kind of america has a moral responsibility to help iraq but i think it's forsake it ok hilary if i can go to you do you see any positive outcome from this at all because i mean i asked if there is any winners and i think fareed picked up on one of them i mean the
united states' position in the region in the arab world is in tatters and. obama's calling it a profound event well i suppose it's profound in that sense. yes i mean it is it is profound in terms of the u.s. strategic position which if you compare the u.s. strategic position in the middle east and globally today with what it was on the eve of the u.s. invasion in two thousand and three it is quite dramatic keep in mind on the eve of the u.s. invasion of iraq in two thousand and three the united states was in a very very significant powerful position in the middle east it had a constellation of states in the middle east call american clearly pro-american states aligned with it the states that were not aligned with the united states were contained constrained relatively weak saddam hussein's iraq was in a box the islamic republic of iran was relatively weak hamas and hezbollah had not been legitimated electorally in their respective arenas the consolation for the
power in the middle east for the united states was very much in america's favor back in two thousand and three on the eve of the invasion today clearly that is not the case unfortunately the united states is actually on the run we have actually been kicked out of iraq it's not just that we draw on our troops we have been kicked out of the country which is really a very profound development for the united states i mean if i go to you in tel aviv it's quite interesting here is that we what kind of legitimacy does the iraqi government have because we're on the one hand we have really been quite american has been quite constraining keeping troops there which they'd like to do the iraqi government saying no but they don't want them to leave completely so is that the role of the u.s. military now is to make me maintain that there is a government in baghdad that is friendly to the united states. well the u.s. government now has very limited options in terms of what can be done in iraq it has we've drawn its forces the only thing it has now it's an embassy in iraq which
actually is a massive and this is sixteen thousand people five thousand of them are private security contractors but they are their mandate is within the premise of embassies that the united states and the consulates that he has in iraq america's position in iraq now that he has left has actually been diluted it doesn't carry dissenting weight when it comes to domestic iraqi affairs i think there are other outside players who've got there much bigger in power saudi arabia is one of them certainly iran is another major player turks are going to become much more involved and what happens in syria will have an impact also in fact one of the reasons why we see the recent skirmish domestically skirmish within iraq between prime minister nuri al maliki and his vice president. me is because of the question of syria vice premier vice president vice prime minister title hashmi is very much against
the government of bashar al assad has voiced support for the opposition in syria. against it he has voiced his support for bashar assad and he's very much in terms of supporting bashar al assad standing with iran so there are other players new players and existing players we've got a much bigger. as america's position is quite dilute very interesting franco to you i mean everything we just heard we do everything we just heard here is that there are mobile there more than one iraq so it sounds like to me go ahead. yes i'm sorry what i wanted to know and i think it's extremely important from my colleague in tel aviv is the united states one of the most important impacts of what happened in any . of the u.s. invasion is the united states has ignited sectarian tension and conflict in the middle east which is having profound effects ripple effects throughout the region i think syria is a critical piece here so is saudi arabia of course iran is the one positive thing
as is as the united states withdraws even though we had a very bloody to day today in baghdad in iraq as the united states withdraws the one positive potential peace here is the united states will have less of an ability to actually use iraq as a battleground for this sectarian tensions that we've been igniting in the region that's the one potential positive but it would require from here in washington and of course there's not that much hope of it but it would require from here in washington for us to recalculate our position in the region instead of setting the different states and sectarian interests against one another we should be bringing them together in a way similar to what we did in europe awhile ago with the organization for security and cooperation and europe where we actually bring various states various sectarian interests to the table where respect their legitimate national security concerns and have them working cooperate fully rather than pitting them against one
another if i go to far a view i think we've already done that i think the u.s. and its allies have already done that they've actually created three iraq right now they don't look like they're going to stay in one sovereign state for much longer we see the divisions grow more and more and more and the outside players that have been mentioned on this program are very much interested in doing that and on top of that is that the u.s. will have no i left in iraq as things go along but what do you think about the world by i agree with you i mean i agree with you from the washington as well you see you. know very peculiar situation because they want to run the united states and. they're going to do very well this will. in other countries in the region you see the problem in iraq now as as i said is the biggest blunder blunder because there was a kind of. equilibrium in the region which has been done by the.
for about four hundred years the united states really broken the political equilibrium so now iraq has been this integrated into three parts and i think it will be very difficult very difficult to persuade for example the shia part of the iraqi society who have got strong links to iran to relinquish part of the wealth and power in the southern and middle part of iraq so i think. after the american left iraq withdrawal from iraq we could see straight away in two days not in maliki has started a kind of like dictatorship he kicked out his partners from government and i think we are descending down a kind of at least a noose for the duration between the three parts of iraq ok if i go back to you i mean it's very interesting to me is that as as the departure of us officially leaves we see all of these events unfolding very quickly i mean is there really any kind of democracy on iraq or is it just been a fiction for americans to feel that they've done something right. to be honest
with you i think until until the americans were there because it seems to me that their institutions have some kind of a backup that they could build institutions and if it all went wrong they could count on u.s. security presence in iraq to help them and i think now that the u.s. military has left that has been dealt a psychological blow those institutions still exist but they don't feel as confident as before because they feel that they have lost that support ok i'm going to jump in here we're going to we're short break we're going to short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on iraq state park. and.
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and. i welcome you to little three month we're talking about iraq's prospects. i. am. i. ok hillary i'd like to go back to you in washington what's the learning curve here i mean usually this program we have a lot of debate it looks like we're all agreeing with each other right here but i guess it's hard to take the case that it was a success in iraq ok but what about the learning curve here because now we have syria on the radar i mean is there anybody in washington that's realized you can't countries to reform ok you have to have a different approach and i would like to say maybe later in the program every
region of the world has to police itself because outside interference in the greater middle east over the last half century has just been mitigated disaster. you know i mean i think quite the contrary not only is there no learning curve here that that that it's been a disaster but in fact i think the upcoming presidential election here in the united states will put to put the debate even further afield further further furthermore in terms of u.s. primacy in the world particularly if newt gingrich is the republican nominee for the presidency he is already quite president obama on notice that the president and it's a question of whether or not president obama believes in american exceptionalism this idea of u.s. primacy and particularly u.s. primacy in the middle east is something deeply embedded in u.s. strategic culture and has been so for many decades well during the cold war the united states was more successful and having a policy in the middle east because it was constrained by this. union what we've
seen since since the end of the cold war in one thousand nine hundred ninety one is the united states has tried to continue its had to monic impulses its desire for us primacy in the middle east with and without any constraint that is the major problem but it is something that is deeply embedded in u.s. strategic culture and in fact not only do i not see. any real possibility on the horizon for the united states to pare that back and to actually look at the world more in a balance of power scenario but i think particularly with the presidential election coming up in the united states we will see the issue of u.s. primacy affirmed and reaffirmed and potentially drive the united states to yet another conflict in the middle east and if i got a point jump in. can i please please go ahead there is there's a there's one thing i'd like to. just sort of washington republicans of not one yet and i don't think that her description of the u.s.
policy at the moment is quite accurate we don't see president obama invading countries just because of his own will be saw it became you. know usually in libya proved the intervention of the of libya was approved by the united nations it wasn't a unilateral move by the united states and i have to say that if the international community and i emphasize the word international community and the u.n. approved the use of force against bashar assad's forces in syria who are causing massacre's it would be a mistake for america not to participate and i don't think anybody in the middle east will forgive the united states of america human rights playing to human rights when he says really fairly or three us if that's what the u.n. wants. but the question of human rights the concern about human rights whether it's in libya whether it's in syria or whether it was in iraq is always a fig leaf for u.s. primacy and for the u.s. to intervene whether it's libya syria. a little rally was a nice ration all right
a fair fight if i'm going to back track a line. as you guys are going to try and exactly where i want to go hillary was saying you know during the cold war the united states had a constraint it had the soviet union is a new soviet union for the united states in the greater middle east iran. well that's a reality that it's going to go to london first go ahead fareed go ahead sure. the question what i'm saying is that iran become the new soviet union for the united states and the region i mean its enemy ok it has to find an enemy. that has been for a long time and has been for a long time is like the enemy of the united states but the problem is iran has collaborated with the united states and with britain and in invading iraq and it's collaborated heavily with the united states and britain and invading afghanistan. and so the problem is our iranian position is really peculiar we don't know whether it's for example in public it's been very much a us policy but in private it's been collaborating with the united states in iraq
collaborating in afghanistan so i think. they have only to blame themselves for a. mistake in politics and the region i think iran has been heavily involved in iraq has been heavily involved in syria and i think this is counterproductive productive i think iran should really take lessons from what's happened to iraq i think the iraqi people has really if you go to the streets of baghdad goes through something like there everybody there is really weary of the your intervention and the american intervention i think any intervention and the internal affairs of countries is wrong. is a gaited by the united nation under the whole community what's happened in iraq was a you know outlaw intervention by america and britain and the us was that was completely wrong on false pretenses and information hillary how optimistic are you are about the u.n. role in this here because i'm looking at ok first there was a new u.n. resolution. going to iraq and now the there is we have. a lot of cajoling back and
forth but you foresee that nato could be seen to be used as the air force of some kind of opposition in syria i mean the libyan example which seems rather doubtful right now what's another scenario here. it seems doubtful but i can see a scenario where you could see somewhat of a coalition of the like minded you know we've seen this in other sin and other arenas the united states can work with turkey with jordan with saudi arabia with gulf arabs to put together a coalition of the like minded the issue is that for the united states the united states is focused and has been historically on trying to defeat competitors to u.s. power so the focus with iraq and the regional players stay in the middle east is now we are moved we are really focused targeted front and center on iran as the next great competitor to us power and therefore needs to be defeated just like iraq needed to be defeated remember there were no weapons of mass destruction in iraq
there were and were no ties between saddam hussein and al qaeda all of that was a fig leaf because we needed to defeat this potential major arab power that is now focused on iran and you will see the battleground for that the proxy conflict to get out here on going through baghdad going through damascus going to any place else the united states needs it to go so that we can corner contain and eventually defeat iranian power that has been the focus for for for for us. for for the for u.s. strategy in the region i go back to tel aviv i mean everything that hillary had to say is very logical but you know every single step of the way of the last half century the united states seems to have got it wrong in the greater middle east i mean so if we take we put iran in the target place right now i mean what what is the possible we will get it right this time because we keep getting it wrong. peter i don't think the u.s. is going to wrong in every instance that go to the wrong in some instances. do not . it states has done very well i think in the case of specially. rather late in the
day i say rather late in the i mean when he was going out there on a shooting people i think the united states has done very well in supporting democracy in tunisia this is been very very positive this is done a lot to improve america's image in terms of iran we are looking at the united states who is doing very well now compared to five years ago with regards to iran the united states' position has been boosted by his dual track of diplomacy and sanctions united states position has been boosted by the position of saudi arabia which is now supporting the united states against iran and also uranium mistakes we saw the attack against the british embassy in tehran that was a gift to anybody who wants to isolate the government so president obama. you know i think you know. what excuse me this program is about the end of america fishel american occupation of iraq when you say that the iranians are the net winner of
america's failure in iraq. now and the run is the net winner ok here we go back to london let me put this all the way you had there were a go ahead the same day that the majority of the majority of sunni sunni arabs sunni arabs polled think that iran is trying to get a nuclear weapon and even greater majority of sunni arabs sunni arabs polled think that would be a good thing for the middle east that is a dramatic indication of how and where are you sure. you're going to get to go to london go ahead. you know i don't think i think this is totally wrong i mean i would like iran to have a do you think i don't think so. and i mean. i was under a lot of islamic movements who are new to iran and all were for the because the iranians of they have
a nuclear power in the region and it's only interested in remission against iran was what he was effectively tied the sunni arab governments are against iran but what iran has effectively done it is it has galvanized the grievances of sunni arabs across the middle east and has used the. arab government i think you intervention or a very radical years old if you if i might come into it i think your information is probably a year or two years old the information now on the arab students that iran is really a threat to the most out of countries i think iran has gone out of this war is essentially ordered by the main reason the main reason i don't think you're right i don't know where do you get used to come to these three thousand islamist movements ask everybody even those people who are close to iran even hamas is being very critical of the iranian position on the on the out of go from the arab countries so coming back to the question i think iran has been the greatest one from this. on hegemony on iraq has been great united states is very weak politically and
militarily in the region especially in iraq i'm talking and iran has been very strong so i think as i said from the beginning this is the biggest american blunder longer than the twenty first century ok i'm going to give you the last word in the program what should the united states do the region in light of its official withdrawal from iraq. the united states needs to stop igniting sectarian conflicts throughout the region and stop hitting two different axes against one another right now the united states has developed an access a washington riyadh tel aviv ramallah access against attack baghdad. beirut potentially damascus even maybe i. by going to gaza tonight in the middle east we have to be no longer and instead of dividing the sectarian divide or break it together ok mind you we had twenty seconds go ahead in tel aviv. i think what we seeing iraq yes it was caused by the united states of course it opened up
a pandora's box but the hatred between unfortunately has existed for many centuries that existed even before the all right folks we're not going to solve it on this program i want to thank my guests today in tel aviv london and in washington thanks to our viewers for watching us here are to see you next time remember. if you. still. want. welcome to the future new year's wishes on technology updates next generation playthings made from super strong ultra light weight building materials good health and with the help of nuclear isotopes a cleaner planet thanks to
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