tv Breaking the Set RT February 22, 2013 11:28am-12:00pm EST
forces used rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the crowds and public anger remains focused on claims that inmates are in a critical condition and were wrongfully detained. or if you kind of stay with us here out see will be a pleasure indeed people of elena's guests are debating the role of western powers in the syrian conflict that means one thing crosstalk in just a sec. if you have a business than you need customers right this is perhaps the simplest law of capitalism but if your business is making juvenile prisons how are you going to attract more customers by bribing judges into condemning innocent children so
you'll have all of the captives i mean customers that you need to charge mark silva jr from pennsylvania has been sentenced to twenty years in prison for illegally accepting money from a juvenile prison developer the pennsylvania supreme court determined that he may have unlawfully convicted up to five thousand youths some of former as young as ten years old for crimes they didn't commit this is obviously sickening a total exploitation of power but the thing we need to think about is the fact that the us has by far the world's largest prison population and a booming prison industry it leads me to believe that maybe this one scumbag judge from pennsylvania isn't the only one out there abusing his power if you see a prison full of kids near you you better make sure that they're actually baby guilty of something but that's just my opinion. she. couldn't take three. three.
three. three. three. three blows video for your media projects c.e.o. don carty dot com. recently said it was. a low in welcome to cross talk where all things are considered i'm peter lavelle syria and the dive into the abyss the obama administration is reportedly wreath. thinking its previous position whether it should openly armed rebel groups in this grinding civil war many have the opinion that civil wars with outside involvement usually lasts longer cause more deaths are more difficult to resolve through
negotiations so what is different this time around. crosstalk serious protracted civil war i'm joined by mark levine in washington he is a senior fellow with the truman national security project and a radio show host also in washington we have samara robbie he's a government relations manager at the arab american institute and in london we crossed to you as an adult he is a lecturer at oxford university and imperial college london he is also a member of the syrian dialogue project all right folks cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want you know mark if i go to you first obama's mulling this we're told this is a risk is this a good idea after everything that has happened well i wish he'd done something sooner i certainly most of the national military establishment everyone from syria from hillary clinton to leon panetta to david petraeus has suggested that we do a no fly zone like we did in libya sooner that we help separate the free syrian
army the democratic people from the terrorists that are now there and to arm them and to help them at this point was very late put it better late than never are do you know those who those people are how to separate them if we knew how to do that why wouldn't have done all i think so go ahead. well i wish we had done it i again president obama is reporting york times to over over ruled his military establishment i think he made a mistake i think there are there's more al-qaeda now and more terrorists there now precisely because we didn't help the people of syria who are fighting back against a brutal government but i have no doubt assad will not stop until hundreds of thousands of syrians are dead and it's just a matter of time there's already outside intervention you mentioned the problems of outside intervention russia iran and hezbollah are arming the government paying for the government cover and suddenly you know having stayed rabia and people having one are arming people there is well correct it's true oh it's true that
saudi arabia can either are giving me i met a south america do you think it's a good idea more outside intervention. i certainly don't and i don't think obama thinks that's a very good idea either i mean this ideas being floated around and people are talking about a lot in d.c. right now primarily because you know hillary clinton and martin dempsey and dave petraeus have all come out in favor of arming the intervention more but they by their own admission have acknowledged that they don't have an end goal they haven't figured out where that would lead they don't know what their metrics for success would be and it's clear that obama rebuffed them to begin with and the fact that he's now stacking his administration with people who are less in favor of that kind of heavy handed military policy shows that i think there's some acknowledgment the administration that the idea of an armed intervention the idea that this can be won through weapons and increasing the capability of those weapons is clearly been discredited over the past two years the fact that we've been in a stalemate for for well over a year and a half in terms of this armed intervention now shows that that's clearly not the way this is going and it has and what do you think about this because we also hear
talks that some members of the opposition are talking with russia and the arab league for negotiations there's a glimmer of hope still. i think the question of whether the american administration should arm the rebels or not needs to be qualified more i think the the the right question is how much the american administration is keen to arm the rebels because they are they are supporting them anyway so the question is and the difference between different administrations is how aggressive they want to be now they clearly admit all the time that they are supporting them with intelligence support with money and they are given the green lights to qatar facilitate the flow of the arms and the and and the militants from southern turkey so so the american administration from the early days are involved in supporting the rebels however they're very careful not to support them too much and tip the balance because they
know that that will have some some of this us versus the consequences once the syrian government realizes that a no fly zone is impending then they will probably take more vigorous actions and the region they face an all or all out war that will extend certainly its neighbors the american administration is very careful to protect the national security and of israel so i think the difference between the different administrations is that the previous advisors to obama were even keen to even consider that option off an all out war that will even involve around because they were quite there were quite aggressive i think the current administration with hegel brennan and kerry are more conservative and they want the syrian struggle to be contained within the within syria probably they don't want. they want to see the syrian army being weakened and their three way war style where they engage the islamists in syria in the war of
attrition but at the same time the they're making sure that israel's and that and national security is protected the talk about now russia hosting the opposition takes us to the. to the issue of fairness try to find the opposition in syria the the the majority of the opposition in syria believe in dialogue and don't believe in a military solution or a no fly zone as your guest market suggested from washington however there is a small fraction that it is very strongly affiliated and you can lated by by qatar and turkey and by by the united states those are called the syrian national coalition for unfortunately the said these very small group of people are given unlimited the support or a lot of a lot of support to build a so-called legitimacy that those are calling for militarizing the conflict the majority of the other opposition are are are very clear that the only solution to
the syrian crisis is actually by having talks and there was a like said there not only that mark jump in here because i noticed that you were disagreeing go ahead mark. i strongly disagree with a lot of things yes and i think sadler is right by the way that president obama is extremely reluctant and he has overruled his his national security advisers but when he hasn't suggest is not already an all out war i almost wonder where he's looking i mean turkey is involved iran is involved lebanon is clearly it's going to spill over to lebanon hezbollah is already sending fighters there's a hundred thousand syrians dead there's at least a million if not two million displaced both internally and externally millions are dying children are being shot at and it's a for a very small percentage of the population remember only about ten percent of syria is are we the minority that assad is a part of the minority that's controlling the country and there even are always in the free syrian army i've had members of the free syrian army i've had a number of syrians on my show and all of them are crying out for the west to do
something about it we're arming them very little it best we're providing things like you know telecommunications equipment and other non-lethal aid i think we should start the no fly zone i think it worked in libya i do not support western troops on the ground but when the people themselves are trying to overthrow their government we need to help the democrats there not the doc aid and not islam the. trying to fight for their own samar it worked in libya go ahead did it work in libya. no government certainly didn't work in libya we certainly didn't work in libya as we can see from all the things that have happened in libya in the past few months i think the problem here is that we're creating false buy in areas that don't really apply to the situation on the ground right it's not a situation of the smaller we minority versus the rest of the syrians that's not the case right there are luis who are in the opposition but there are also sunnis who are with the regime and there's a huge number of people who don't support either the armed opposition or the regime who have both committed you know terrible atrocities in the past few months but there's also a false binary between the idea that the u.s.
has to either flood syria with weapons and bombs and destroy its infrastructure and the idea that the u.s. or the western powers have nothing to do i mean there's a there's another option here which is to. every side into some sort of negotiated settlement rate to acknowledge that this opposition particularly the armed opposition which has hemorrhaged its legitimacy isn't capable of taking over syria in any kind of coherent way into a canard. there has to be some transitional process that brings more people in that frankly brings in other western powers that brings in russia and iran and lebanon and jordan we may not want to hear that and the u.s. isn't particularly willing to do that but that's an option that that is to me the only feasible way to prevent the complete disintegration of the syrian state i mean it's not just a question of bonding we are going to be there by charlotte can't work like you didn't libya jump in march that's the point of the program because i didn't go ahead can we all agree that bashar assad has to go that if assad does not only the
syrian peals wind him. people want him to go do they strongly do you know that all eyes are on that ninety nine ships are going to want to go absent in london just been absolutely i do not let's go to london well. you know that thank you that's a that's very important because this fashion of confiscating opinions from outside syria is the core of the problem this is this is typically the way off externally planning to destabilize a country it's it's not acceptable even in the u.n. charter to interfere in the country and try and change regime by force by by imposing no fly zones the ones that mark is talking about exactly the same no fly zones that we aren't going to see anyway because it's off the table russia and china have made it very clear that they were they were. going to and libya that's not going to happen again in syria the question is how
how can we execute a legitimate democratic process as syria that's certainly not by invading the country we go back to libya the death toll was of the syrian air force killing its own people. well well that you cannot anyway letairis. bombing civilians well. ok so we need we need we need to examine that statement a bit more carefully you cannot equate the fact that militants a lot of them are foreigners coming into syria being streamed to fight and acts of terrorism so the fact that there is a sovereign state trying to protect its civilians now for a state to resort to use on or trying to kill that civilian aircraft trying to protect its civilians assad is trying to murder the syrian people please to say he is trying to protect civilians well i don't know i think i think syria and they believe that i think i think i hear you talk about you this time you just have to
look you just have to look you just have to look at what happened just three hours ago the tragedy in damascus that. a bombing and damascus now harvested fifty children fifty school children children and students more than three hundred are injured i think i think this is a big question and gentlemen we have a heated debate here until we have to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on syria stay with us to. leave the one. isn't.
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welcome back to cross all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to mind we're talking about syria and mutual annihilation. ok not to go back to you mark in washington this whole talk about an intervention is more about what america gets after the fact after regime change ok that's what this is really about it's not about the syrian people it's not about children it's about geo political advantage for this state has been crushed well i disagree i actually think it is a moral goal i think in rwanda in darfur and cambodia we stop by and we did nothing while hundreds of thousands of people were murdered and i think hundreds of
thousands of people will be murdered and are continued to be murdered and we're doing nothing if you're talking about afterwards the answer is the syrian people will be very much against whoever was on the side of bashar assad the best thing that anyone can do including russia is to convince bashar assad to leave the country perhaps they can reach some kind of settlement ok let's go to london go ahead. thank you i think this is this is the core issue and it's very important to clarify this is it a moral or is it is that you put a political a war if you look at all the wars that america has that mounted over the last three decades in afghanistan they streamed the jihadists into afghanistan to fight the soviets then they invaded afghanistan to fight the jihadists in libya they supported them with a no fly zone then half of them went to mali they are the french are now bomb bomb bomb being because they call them terrorists other half of them are in syria they're called freedom fighters so the moral the moral side of the story is absolutely absent it's all about and it's all about profitable wars and that's why
they do not want to mount a traditional war in syria because syria to simply does not have the energy sources to pay back the bills they invaded iraq based on based on the hawks of weapons of mass destruction to help the iraqi people nothing was found but what they got was the oil the same happened in libya they it was a it was a humanitarian intervention it was a first it was the first time ever that the responsibility to protect our two p. was invoked and then there was a nato bombardment that harvested over one hundred thousand people at the very same week after the invasion lots of contracts for businessmen were made to libya who cares about who cares about the wreckage afterwards who reported on the one hundred thousand people who died in libya no one does in mali there is your opinion there is gold in northern mali in syria there is a there are many and there's the sources so they engage syria in the war of attrition i'm very sorry it's not
a moral duty and it's not for the americans or an american citizen sitting in washington to decide what's and what's the best interest of the syrian people ok well here even for once and i'm not very optimistic that the world will and so they can more responsibility but the only the only moral action that will be that will stop the bloodshed and in a month's time maybe is to actually instruct qatar and libya and the. the regional powers to stop the armed militants to stop violence and terrorism to stop bombarding universities to stop to bomb being cars in the major cities to stop at the stop beheading trucking people had and streaming streaming islamicists into syria in that way or the syrian people all the opposition and the government will come to will come to terms together probably in a negotiator i love this that will let me jump in here ira samara look like you want to say something please do go ahead. yeah i mean i just want to agree that you know the idea that any country goes to war commits its military to purely humanitarian reasons i think is quite naive and to see proof of that in syria you
just have to look at the difference between america's policy in syria and its policy in bahrain but this isn't a uniquely american thing first of all i think that's you know the way countries operate period but i don't think that means that you necessarily have to disentangle it from the idea of you know humanitarian benefit of the syrian people and i do think that a lot of people who support armed intervention at least some of the people i hope genuinely do think that it's for the best for the best the syrian people that that it benefits them in some way the problem is they're not acknowledging the fact that one the armed opposition particularly the secular armed opposition of such a thing exists and i don't know i'm not on the ground is hopelessly entangled with this kind of radical islamist element so to provide weapons or to provide any kind of military support is to empower the very people that we know run counter not only to syrian interests but to american interests as well but also it fails to acknowledge the fact that there is a nonviolent syrian opposition there is
a sense of people organizing on the ground to produce an alternative to this very brutal regime and when you empower the people with guns you are defacto disempowering the people who are already trying to build this kind of budding syrian civil society in liberated areas who are trying to build a sense of democratic respectful governance and sooner or later when the violence against the assad regime ends and it will the people with the guns are going to want to make the decisions and the people with the guns are empowered by the by the islamic militants and they're the ones who are running the show right now it's impossible to not acknowledge that ok well they're going to mark you acknowledge that it's been marred do you acknowledge that what we just heard yes. i would echo a lot of what samaras said i talked with a number of the people who are in that were in the nonviolent opposition trying to simply have a democracy or free speech in syria many of them were brutalized and murdered i very much fear the islamicists that are coming in one of the reasons why i support a no fly zone and i prefer that to arming them is because
a no fly zone simply stops the syrian air force from bombing and murdering vast numbers of syrian civilians it is up to the syrian people to have this this revolution i don't like the islamicists coming in frankly if we if we help them two years ago they would have been far fewer islamicists and terrorists coming in there they are there though and hillary clinton is a cave that she and handling of products a. democratic constitution go ahead well the issue is i mean a no fly zone for a while and not nearly as simple as i think you're making it sound i mean it's the destruction of a tremendous amount of syrian infrastructure it's the cost of hundreds if not thousands of lives it's you also have to recognize that syria has considerable air defenses so what happens when an american jet gets shot down in syria we're obviously going to go in and rescue that person them you have boots on the ground the idea of a no fly zone means could total military control over a large swath of syrian territory and then of all of the death of lots and lots of people you have to acknowledge that a significant chunk of the syrian opposition not this national coalition that's
been buoyed by the west but a significant chunk of the syrian opposition absolutely condemns any sort of military intervention no fly zone is high on that list remember the no fly zone is exactly the reason that russia and china are reticent to get involved in any kind of international consideration on syria because of the way they got burned with the no fly zone issue in libya so this isn't as simple as just going in knocking out some aerial defenses destroying the syrian planes and then hunky dorey all the sudden the syrian opposition runs rampant even if that were the case the syrian army never they don't want to have the guns ok let's go to london let's go to london. yeah well i think the scenario of a no fly zone is is really behind this this is not this is not on the table at all but even for the sake of argument it's not a flowery it's not flowery scenario that you can tailor according to what you really want it's not that you can dissociate the islamists from the less radical ones let's just look back at last year what happened in libya
a no fly zone supported the islamists supported the very radical islamists so it's not it's a no fly zone and only bring those you harvests closer to the syrian people and that will increase the amount of violence and go back to the death tolls from one from five thousand in libya before intervention but over one hundred thousand this is this is certainly not the case that we certainly were not going to see foreign boots on the syrian soil the question is how long the west is interested in prolonging and protracting this struggle in syria when there's the west going to believe that the balance is about to tip and it's night and now it's time to bring parties together i think i think that question the way it is and there's a good time and that's why we're in the trouble we're in right now go ahead mark jump in what the west i mean the west what is done everything that whatever you just go the question was done the. job is done the wealth of the guns let's everything go our under the west out of the massacred look any time any time you compare policy you have to compare it to the status quo and the status quo is that
one hundred thousand syrians are dead two million are displaced a million internally at least in the in x. turnley there is no hope for syria right now far fewer will die maybe hundreds of thousands will die of the no fly zone but not the hundreds of thousands that. we know are not going to look like you know there are just more in iraq hierarchically there are two there are two iraqis killed there are two important points here the west has done every every possible action that they could do to actually ignite violence. so far they've supported not in the least by their western values that nothing other than with intelligence support their bent supported them with communication means they've supported them with money and they've given. the green alliance or the regional countries to stream them and the other important question the other important thing is not to really haphazardly quote numbers it's not one million it's not one hundred thousand people died there are now according to the
latest support seventy thousand sure it is seventy thousand people if you look at the guardian what they had with thousand and two thousand and eleven there was a very there was a very go an article that there are seven point five seven point five percent of the casualties are women so and and the rest were men the majority of children are showing are between the age of twenty and thirty so the majority of those who are who are dying are actually why would syria have risen and battens so it's very sad that civilians are davis are doing nothing randi i was here last everybody and i don't turn away from each others who are signing or are going sam or go ahead. well i don't think there's any way to reliably know how many people you know we're all throwing around statistics and it's impossible to verify these statistics which i think says a lot about the fact that we really don't know what's going on on the ground in syria and we don't know the ways in which western intervention would necessarily effect change on the ground what we do know what we can establish from historical
precedent is that tend like the tendency for military intervention makes things worse and to arm and empower people who we don't necessarily know or from what we do know we know are hopelessly entangled with that extremist right wing agenda would probably be a mistake again i think it's very naive to assume that if the syrian armed opposition had em sixteen's instead of kalashnikovs all of a sudden they would be more amenable to a non islamist bent right that just had to listen i wouldn't be running the show i think is false i think it's totally false and frankly this type of islamist movement that we're so scared of this affiliated had to miss the type was originally finance and armed with western guns under almost the exact same scenario the hope that once we fled weapons into this market once we empower the insurgency we can hope to overthrow this incumbent government that almost never works and we have proof that it almost never works in the fact i just i mean it works i'm sorry gentlemen are kind of sorry we've run out of time many thanks and i guess today in washington and in london and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t.
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