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tv   [untitled]    April 30, 2012 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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civilization notice their absence. is there life outside solutions possible. it is good to have you with us here on r t today you just in time for the headlines more deadly blasts in syria eight and injured dozens in a city near the turkish border this while you and i will serve as both sides to lay down their weapons and comply with the united nations peace plan. the world's top whistleblower presents his next explosive interview on r t this tuesday of course julian assange this time he's a new president of tunisia who was swept out of power by a popular uprising. and
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a few voices struggle to be heard above the war chorus in the u.s. congress with a strike on iran still firmly on the agenda this as critics accuse arms merchants on contractors of driving the debate. right here it comes up and another edition of cross talk. it is. still. a lonely and welcome to cross talk i'm peter all about countering revolution a little over a year ago the arab awakening started in quickly inspired millions in north africa
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and the middle east what is the current state of this awakening is democracy in civil society truly on the margins or are the powers of reaction again controlling the narrative and political outcomes. to cross-talk the counter revolution in the middle east i'm joined by v.j. prashad he's in chicopee he's a professor of international studies at trinity college in hartford and author of arab spring libyan winter in los angeles we have margie. day he is an ambassador for the national american iranian council human rights activists and columnist for harvard international review and in dubai we go to angela shah she's an award winning journalist writer and editor all right cross talk rosen effects folks i mean you can jump in anytime you want v.j. if i can go to you first should we be using the term arab awakening anymore is it passe is it meaningless now because we go through so many different countries in
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the arab world in north africa and it's basically a mass right now. well i would still use the term arab spring precisely for this reason that people have had a great sense of a breakthrough that finally kind of pricing has come longstanding were removed from power and the confidence of people has risen up and it's precisely because the confidence is risen that the forces of counter-revolution have organized themselves so what we are right now witnessing is an interest in them appeared in between where the forces of the arab spring continued to try to assert themselves but meanwhile the forces of counter-revolution are all going izing themselves to cut back against the people this is what the people want so this is
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a period in between we are not at this moment history is not ended it is still taking place ok well where do you come out on that's a very interesting point you were in some kind of middle ground right now but for sure the powers the power of reaction is extremely strong we can look at saudi arabia we can look at qatar these are major players and they're not for these arab spring values not by a long shot well you can look at the united arab emirates which arguably is the most western facing nation in the gulf to has this sort of first anniversary of the spring decided to make sure that citizens and expatriates know that it is not looking for the power of the arab spring movement to reach this country and it has started cutting back on. rights groups to democratic groups even its own citizens who had sort of freely operated under the system here which had
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been more permissive okmulgee what do you come out on this in los angeles here where is the arab spring going is it is it freezing up. well it i so it's important question to answer your question first i would like to put arab countries governments monarchs and regimes into three different categories on their one hand we have those arab governments who face citizen revolves opera izing citizens who are seeking rights of freedom dignity or equal opportunity and derision did not want to to introduce political reforms and the people who are able to to overthrow the those regimes to evict their rulers from the office. these governments you can name egypt tunisia and libya and a second group we have those arab governments who or monarchs who. wanted to introduce some political reforms when they faced our pricing they introduced
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some independent investigations for some atrocity which was committed by security forces and they had some legitimacy within their own people i think you can name back reign in this regard or jordan and the third group i think the group that when they first stop rising they just there are tanks ganz snipers military security forces and. to call there are prizing and demonstrators and you know i think syria is in in these groups i think each group of these countries are in the friend level of the revolution or phase of the revolution and well ok but and. this rich countries you mention you make it sound like a success like libya b.j. what do you think about that i mean libya is a mass right now ok it's not in the papers anymore because everyone wants to see assad go but libya is in a mess and the entire neighborhood feels that ok there's no successful revolution
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there ok now the euro is no evidence of it to points you know. i'll make two points one is certainly libya is a broken country unwilling to look at libya because then it ruins the idea of the so-called libyan model the exported model that some people want to take to syria so any look back at libya is going to caution you about using need to out in such a military kind of militaristic way nobody wants to talk about for instance the fact that an entire town in libya the town of thought it was ethnically cleansed you know there is no call for a full detailed forensic human rights investigation of what is happening in libya post nato intervention and nato as you know has refused any public or independent evaluation of its tactics in libya so that's the first thing secondly i think it's
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extraordinary to say that in bahrain there were reforms conducted and that these were in a sense taken up by the people is genuine you know just this last month there has been a series of protests about the formula one rally and in this month there have been people who have been killed in saudi arabia the state used military force against the population the man who set up the facebook site for a day is a rage was assassinated outside his house so it's not the case that these more lucky's conducted some reforms and you know the people who are satisfied with them they used transfer payments turning over some oil money to bribe people in the short term but certainly at the same time they used brutal techniques including in yemen where the united states is just pledged one point two billion dollars to the yemenis to help them put down for the uprisings in the country of yemen so i don't
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see you know i don't have. a saying wind approach to some countries having made reforms in the case of libya we have a broken state nor hope of any kind of real human rights evaluation and in the case of the gulf countries bahrain saudi arabia yemen there is in fact blindness towards the state violence used against the population who have genuine demands and history of genuine calling for transformation ok if i go back to you in dubai it's quite hypocritical isn't it for western countries to complain about violence in one country syria but not violence and other countries you know because they're aligned with the west ok yemen is a nice example right there and of course this blindside to about libya it's pure hypocrisy it stinks to heaven because nato did a good job quote unquote there it didn't. sure i mean you can understand the
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wariness whereas you know who's mubarak was an ally of the united states saudi arabia the united arab emirates are both allies and so they can kind of see what's going on here they're going to be very cautious. that the chaos that has been described is exactly what especially in the u.a.e. that it wants to avoid its whole economic model is based on being a bridge between east and west takes great pride in being the home to multinational companies to people from all over the world and it has made its mark in the global economy from this this sort of chaos described in libya what's going on even in egypt is the last thing that the u.a.e. wants and it will the leaders here will do what they need to do to sort of preserve what they believe is the correct model for this country ok but to go back to los angeles you know if we can look at syria here i mean different narratives are employed here but you know the syrian uprising the protests across the country to what degree or another we really don't know because of media access here but then
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it became militarized by outside forces i mean its neighbors have turned a protest movement into a civil war ok and this again these are from powers of reaction saudi arabia qatar and indirectly the united states and its allies. they're to blame for the civil war . that there's a significant gender just i go back to my previous point just to clarify more i didn't want to portray the picture that there is a huge top ian life style now in those countries who overthrown their regime or the other countries or introduce some political reforms what i'm trying to say is that . this is not a single set of process that can be achieved overnight changing from autocracy to democracy takes time and we have seen this experience in the history french revolution in american revolution russian revolution iranian revolution but it takes it takes time and i know for instance in egypt after the overthrow of the
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regime we were seeing now different groups different parties different some nationally some left there's some centrist muslim brotherhood some religious group which are not not playing to the muslim brotherhood student revolutionaries all these groups are coming together to form a coalition to form government and is it chaotic yes it is it's going to be chaotic it's going to be messy i mean that's that's a sign of the healthy democratic system it's i don't think in order night we're going to see is switzerland in these countries and. back to your point about syria i think. more importantly what we are seeing in syria is a some sort of tug of war between iran and the other arab gulf states specifically qatar and saudi arabia. i'm not mentioning jordan or iraq because they are taking a different position than saudi arabia in iran somehow and one how you see that
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it's trying to support the syrian regime and saleh a the foreign minister recently said that any any political change in syria should come within the framework of the assad regime and there are. they don't want to see the regime is or more from our dates they support them militarily their support and diplomatically and and before we go to break our hands we hardly got a break it has nothing to do with democracy ok and the welfare of the syrian people right all of this western media coverage is this junk all yeah well i think all it's depends on who you're looking for and so if you look on the iranian position let me jump in here we're going to watch your brain go back to you after the short break after a short break we'll continue our discussion on the arab spring and counter revolution stay with us. and.
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leaves keep this inside to carry the room. then. make. civilization notice their absence. but this is their life outside civilization possible. worlds with. science technology innovation all the list of elements from around russia we've got the future covered.
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ok. welcome back to cross talk i'm curious about to remind you we're talking about what is happening now in the middle east and the arab awakening. ok much i'd like to go back to you in los angeles because we were both having an exchange before the break here when you when you were bringing up a point that maybe for a different reason meant you know a lot of what's going on with the quote unquote of what arab awakening is geopolitics and i don't think that many people really want to deny that that we get these kind of heart wrenching wrenching stories coming out of syria and they are a terrible stories but i mean it's really kind of a geopolitical game now they're taking the arab spring the great ideas of the arab spring of the people on the ground and they're being used for geopolitical aims in
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the united states nato has already been mentioned here we have saudi arabia a major player and of course a lot of it is a directed against iran so it's not really about great ideals as it is just about power as usual. well i don't think so i think geopolitics is important and the social politic and social religious elements are important so we can for instance let's say for united states as hosni mubarak to be to step aside i don't think so united states should. every every arab country who faced uprising united states should immediately as the head of that cease to be step aside i think this is would be simplistic unrealistic and doesn't reflect the reality on the ground i think and doesn't reflect the complexity of the social politics of the different countries in the middle east the. strategic geopolitical elements are very important but i think we have really a new phenomena and yet if you see like what i notice is that you seen united
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states or european countries are not taking in regard with syria or egypt or other libya or yemen they're not taking a unilateral actions if you see their. mind come on then they will when you when the united states as well hillary clinton says this leader must go ok that's pretty unilateral sounding to me and sounds very definite as well what right does the united states have a say in what leadership and what they will should go if if i might come in here jump in jumping if i might come in here years you know i think that what we have to first of all get rid of some illusions one is that i think we exaggerate what we mean by unilateralism i would like to suggest that when most of these powers act they all is the figure of the security council or the so-called coalitions of the willing very rarely has there been one country as it were going it alone if you
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look back from the period after the end of the soviet union forward most of the interventions have happened either with security council authorization. and. the security council authorization once the invasion has begun and that latter example of course is cost of war where the war begins and then they go to the security council for. so i think let's not have a caricature idea of unilateralism in order to debunk it you know there is now being a study of the libyan war and what did demonstrated was that even though it was under the flag of need to the bulk of the military action assets that were involved were from the united states in fact the new york times in an editorial said that the europeans are not ready for primetime in other words it was in need to intervention but behind need to largely the armaments were the united states and
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right know given that the united states has created a new platform with the so-called arab need to the gulf cooperation. hillary clinton was at this new forum putting the united states in an active alliance with the g.c.c. this demonstrates a continued the of strategy with the united states is working with its so-called regional allies to maintain its own national interests overseas and in fact when there were protests against mubarak it was after frank wisner jr who was sent is the only boy to talk to mubarak and to try to find a strategy to lengthen mubarak's tenure not to ask him to step aside in fact frank wisner jr in his memorable television up link to the munich conference said that he had discussed a democratic transformation with saudi arabia you know all ironies intended imagine
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that an american is talking about democracy with riyadh regarding a protest movement in cairo it's ridiculous. and you know where you come out on that because of course you know some countries some people in the arab middle east can have the arab spring the arab awakening but some can bahrain's a good example they can't ok so what you know that is again a good start just a power power and they go ahead sure it's a big. so but you know their loss especially in this part of the world to some countries is a cage for destabilization by her in saudi arabia we need to keep stability in the gulf their allies with iraq and afghanistan. the connection is obvious you know here there's been clinton was in saudi arabia the very weekend when the u.a.e. kicked out the national democratic institute. and couple and some other pro-democracy pro-human rights organizations that had been operating here and the
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reaction from the state department was you know we wish it hadn't happened far far different than what you're seeing in some of the other arab countries so certainly certainly decisions are being made about which of these uprisings are going to get strong support and which of these uprisings will just sort of see what happens in the gulf other than bahrain and yemen qatar the u.a.e. saudi arabia saddam's had some clashes but very big but life has for the most part gone on and any time you had a little bit of dissent it has been quickly squelched in the last year and in fact the pace of that is being increased just in the last six months ok monday to go back to you in los angeles does it bother you that the united states is so so like the who we support supported with great ideas like democracy and civil society and others that are not because i mean my goodness i mean what is the kind of trust leveled can anyone have with you know even these medieval regimes like saudi arabia
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i mean my goodness i mean united states is one thing and does another with others i mean it's just a policy of hypocrisy. well i think it's it's not selectiveness i'm just going to explain it again i think there are first we should see the level of atrocity that committed by different arab regimes we can't really generalize and put one picture all over all of them again i'm saying this is very simplistic unrealistic and doesn't reflect the complexity of each country in the region when we talk about a brain i mean the level of atrocity which was committed by rain compared to syria which the united states asked to step aside is infinite in small i mean syria has killed the number of people killed in syria are more than. the combination of all other people killed in the op rising in the in the last year and. i mean my own family also live in syria and i have also i mean direct reports of the day which is
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which are committed in syria which is unprecedented i mean so you can't really i think there are different steps you have to take and the united states have taken first you would use diplomacy then you use dialogue if they don't want to use sanctions and sanction to then war then you would take other actions to stop the violence in that country and that includes i mean really don't include militarizing the conflict there is that you should also want to hold. outsiders that you saying that that just contributes more violence doesn't it. ok. i want to again to refer back to when the united states has not taken you know that action was in case of libya that your other guest mentioned he was there arab league impose a no fly zone and arab league who pushed their western countries to. actually. jump in not at all they were pushed out of hand this is
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a historical point this is this is this is. history it's important to remember that the arab league is a deeply divided organization and very rarely do both sides of the arab league come to a single conclusion at the meeting of the arab league where there was a discussion about a no fly zone only eleven of the twenty two members had come to that meeting and most of them where the seven countries that belong to the g.c.c. in that meeting the saudis and the qataris took the lead in that meeting they did indeed call for a no fly zone and give cover to the nato countries in the u.n. security council to push for resolution one thousand nine hundred ninety three that was in early march in may at the may meeting of the arab league the qataris put forward a candidate to be the next general secretary he used to be the general secretary of
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the g.c.c. but at the may meeting the rest of the arab league that had come to basically critique the g.c.c. refused to allow the g.c.c. candidate that is the arab nato candidate to become the head of the arab league and they instead chose to be who is the current head of the arab league again the arab league recently met in baghdad in just this last previous month high after members once again came the g.c.c. countries basically be. i courted the arab league meeting in baghdad only kuwait came for it and the reason they didn't agree with the arab league this time is over so-called overflights over iran in flights going on in syria let me jump in here. think we should be extremely specific i agree with you and we could be talking about the arab spring for the next year five years ten years twenty years
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well i think we're going to be talking about the arab side because i said i mean changing from more talk research to democracy really takes time and energy and efforts and this will not happen over night again some countries are going through . a phase of revolution still like syria and the people are not anymore afraid of the bullets and. you. know how long we've been talking about the arab spring i'm looking forward. looking forward to travelling with you to riyadh saudi arabia where our taxi driver will be a woman and you and i will sit in their cafe and discuss freedom and in the gulf region. whatever you do you think that's ever going to happen i'd like to join that trip. i want to thank all of my if you're not crazy we will all be in a bus one day in riyadh here many thanks to my guest today and she could be los angeles and in dubai and thanks to our viewers for watching us here to the next
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