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tv   Cross Talk  RT  June 19, 2013 11:29am-12:01pm EDT

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hello and welcome to crossfire for all things are considered i'm. a red line crossed and side to take in syria is just not a dreadful civil war it is now a regional conflict with red lines multiplying in a very dangerous obama's decision to direct our members of the coalition is a bold step that could lead to a greater disaster more arms and greater outside intervention bring about peace in this war torn country. to cross-talk syria i'm joined by jason pak in oxford he is a researcher of middle eastern history at the university of cambridge and president of libya analysis dot com in washington we have michael hughes he is a freelance journalist in a foreign policy analyst and in new york we cross to eric draitser he is the. stop
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imperialism dot com gentlemen crosstalk rules and effective means you can jump in anytime you want but if i can go to eric first in new york you see it ministration bill fixing facts in an intelligence around policy i think you know where i'm going to wrap two thousand and three well there's no doubt about it and you've already touched on the historical record that we've seen of the united states making sure that the intelligence fits a preconceived narrative one that serves its interests in the interests of the military industrial complex and what we've seen in syria particularly in recent weeks has been precisely the same pattern and isn't it a nice coincidence that the issue of the chemical weapons and the supposedly documented evidence from the united states of the use of chemical weapons so-called chemical weapons by the assad regime isn't it nice that that coincides with the military victories by the assad government in the city of qusayr a strategically important city that the supply lines of the rebels and the foreign
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terrorists that have streamed into the country and this pattern of timing these discoveries the discoveries of atrocities the discoveries of chemical weapons and all of this this is far beyond coincidence this is part of a premeditated and orchestrated assault on syria by the united states and of course its clients in the region ok and i think that all rights precisely what you're seeing along a lot said there jason it's not a coincidence all of this go ahead jason in oxford well i haven't heard that narrative before obama doesn't want to intervene in syria he got that on the petards of his own rhetoric obama is very hands off in his foreign policy decisions he would love to not have to get his hands dirty in syria but he said that chemical weapons were a red line they were used about a month ago it's taken this long for the administration to to gary that they were used beyond a reasonable doubt and sadly the escalation of giving arms to the rebels is something that neither obama wants nor cameron nor sarka. but materially it doesn't
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change anything the reality is we've been directly arming the rebels through our allies of saudi arabia and qatar anyway so i couldn't see it more differently than our previous mike thanks for it what do you think would you like to see some evidence of the use of chemical weapons in syria i would yeah i evidence would be nice but i think it's i think the point is moot i mean there are reports there was an article in foreign affairs that conventional weapons are several times more deadly than. and during world war one through world war one they came up with these new things called gas masks and the fact is the chemical weapons can hurt the side using them then those being gassed i mean it takes a lot a lot of chemical chemical material to do a lot of damage and they're much more lethal are there with less lethal than conventional arms i mean you know you take a bullet in the chest you're dead with chemical weapons it's a little harder to kill people you know not to sound cold but i think it was stupid
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to be quite frank to make that a red line i mean if you're going to make a red line make it around the conventional weapons but to pick chemical weapons it was just a political i think a political move because i think people have a psychological barrier when you use the word chemical you know they think you know mass there's massive stereo around that so obama expect them to admit it or not but it does happen for luge it does happen ok back to myself into a corner all right jason go it was a rhetorical gesture well it's good to expand the war jason it's not rhetorical right now is it. i don't think that it materially changes anything or if there was mission creep towards a no fly zone that would expand and change the nature of the conflict but that seems unlikely ok absolutely does it absolutely does materially affect what's happening on the ground in syria because what as we as we very well know as the new york times has documented. and many other mainstream sources have documented the
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united states in the form of the cia and various other arms have been working to funnel weapons into syria going on two years now but what's happened is that up until this point we haven't seen significant strategic victories by the assad forces now that we're seeing that on the ground it does change the dynamic and as soon as the victories by the assad forces became clear and the involvement of his advisers on the syrian side of the lebanese border particularly in the town of qusayr since we've seen these developments it has fundamentally change the calculus of what's happening on the ground so the decision to arm the rebels and this this constant droning propaganda about the chemical weapons most certainly does change the dynamic well jason if the rebels are going to be armed then we do see mission creep somehow don't we i'm very worried about mission creep i don't think obama wants to be in syria as it were i don't think he should be there sadly the
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republicans john mccain foremost among them are trying to box him into a corner and push him towards mission creep towards a no fly zone towards making a united front. against the assad regime what however arming the rebels might do which is strategically important as wesley clark wrote in a new york times op ed today is it could bring the assad regime to the negotiating table more importantly be a very important counterpoint to make a deal with putin it's putin's moment to become a great hero and. he's saying no he's saying no to the world to western powers you're not going to cut up another country that's what he's saying to the world. the moment has not come and he's ready potentially to say yes he. said yes it's not going to do it again end of discussion they're not going to do it again. go ahead michael. that's
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right. say we spent the u.s. spent ten years billions of dollars in afghanistan and iraq to dismantle al qaeda and now mccain and the obama administration you know it's getting dragged along so we can give weapons back to al qaeda i mean the new sure fun is. in iraq reconstituted they did a little rebranding i don't know al qaeda in syria did it work for them but essentially annex about ten thousand twelve thousand fighters right there and then the salafia star i mean there's tens and thousands of them who make the muslim brotherhood look tame i mean these are the people that. are also known as to who are poor weapons into syria and not get them in the hands of extremists i don't know how he's going to pull that off that's a good question eric we don't disagree about that at all there's no doubt that we should you know we should also remember that what's happened in syria is part of a larger context and the united states has had these networks in place for quite
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a long time lest we forget going back to the late one nine hundred seventy s. and the establishment of the mujahedeen going all the way through the ninety's and the various networks and we could go on and on we could spend hours talking about that what we've seen in syria just as we saw in libya is the deployment of extremists and terrorists elements which are used as a proxy of the united states to do its bidding yes it's true that we don't have a conventional war in syria nakedly imperialist war as we had in iraq or even as we saw in libya what we see in syria is much more complicated there's competing factions and let's also remember that everyone including those who support the opposition acknowledge that the only truly organized disciplined and professional fighting force on the ground on the side of the rebels ease the al nusra front the extremist elements the free syrian army and the for root brigades and some of the.
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other elements they are secondary players at best so when we're talking about arming the so-called good job we ought to be talking about arming the terrorists all right jason fair time jason jump in so yes i think you presented the facts accurately is of course al qaeda in iraq rebranded and most of the important syrian armed brigades are either salafist or salafi jihadi in their orientation however that's partially because we've only allowed the ca to reason the saudis to be funneling arms to their preferred groups now is our time to support more moderate elements and to have a stake in building some of these jason can you would you describe these groups can you identify those people who can. sure i mean i don't know if you know i have a new book about ashes of hama and the way in which the muslim brotherhood has become fractured over time in syria there are factions of the muslim brotherhood that would be quite happy do you think it is
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a simple it's just the way you keep control of who gets what. of this minute but i didn't say that. we should be arming and helping those groups who share a similar worldview to ours and i don't think that the muslim brotherhood is anathema to american interests in the region and we actually should have been involved earlier supporting some of these moderate islamic elements but politically like the brotherhood and moderate islamic militias that are on the ground because of course islam is going to have a huge role to play it i'm sorry. this imperialism go ahead jump in eric go ahead what's just been described with all due respect to the speaker is standard definition of imperialism the united states or any other power does not have the right to dictate the way the things go in syria the destiny of syria's to be left to the syrian people and the fact that the united states is what you get what you can process imperialism is foreign to that then you would say that the cutter reserve imperialists they've been injured. some of these arab state recognizes
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certain internationally up held principles such as non intervention which is a basic principle in trying to international law non intervention what you're advocating is exactly the opposite of that and it runs contrary to everything that we've known since world war two. i can't i disagree just finally gentlemen standing all right gentlemen i have to jump in here 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 me with. interview.
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good. morning news today violence is once again flared up. these are the images the world has been seeing from the streets of canada. showing corporations are on the day.
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it. you know you're.
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welcome back to cross talk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle do you mind people discussing the crisis in syria. ok jason i'd like to go back to you in oxford a lot was said in the first part of the program but you mentioned saudi arabia and qatar i mean do you think they support healthy elements in syria i do not and i want to clarify my position i wish the obama administration was not arming the rebels in syria and i think syria is a whole bag of worms that resembles the lebanese civil war from one hundred seventy five to ninety nine when i lived three years and in syria i know how deep the multi complex sectarian tensions are this is far beyond a sunni shia war and it reaches out into the entire region i wish we weren't
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involved but our involvement isn't imperialism and obama made certain rhetorical gestures about a red line he now has to follow through on them and he's done so in a good moderate and phased way it would be ideal if the switch from clinton as our foreign secretary to now kerry could mean that we could have a summit not just this g. eight summit but. when asked if you have. money one year ago the russians said look sort of i'm going to is my answer but you know we can make a gradual transition to a post assad regime with the state structures of syria are kept intact and syrian people be they alawite or a sunni islamists ok all but jane so it goes beyond what you did and prices are going up and saudi arabia situation tar well they agree. forget obama the reason the saudis are the key mediators who will fund the post assad syria so yes
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ok they're supporting jihad is strike now michael if i can go to you michael fine go to you well let's talk about iran and hezbollah because a lot of people say obama is interested now because of iran and hezbollah go ahead what are your thoughts my thoughts are that that's one of the problems with going out there saying we're trying to save civilian lives when on the other side you know you know one day mccain says we want to save lives and the other day he says we want to strike a blow to iran it would be the biggest blow to iran in decades so it's like you know what is our motivation here really and the reality is iran syria russia you know with their support they're trying to maintain a status quo and where you we with gulf allies we want to overturn the order in our favor we're being very opportunistic here and it's a there's ninety thousand people have been killed i keep hearing mccain run around talking about that number but the syrian human rights observatory who was aligned with the opposition by the way said forty thousand of those people are alway it's
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they guess what i highly doubt those are pro rebel al why it's this is a civil war not a genocide and we need to stay out of it it's you know we can't tell who the moderates are it's divvied up between salafis so i couldn't agree more and then we should stay out jason you want to react go ahead this is cross where involved. once more involved the ideal situation would be this conflict wasn't happening and once it was happening it would be ideal ideal to keep hezbollah iran and russia from supporting the assad regime and let them fight it out in the sandbox but now that all these other outside actors are involved it would be nice to use this step to bring russia to negotiate on table. law dealing with a sovereign state and. go ahead talk about outside as opposed to somebody. on the floor he says you are intelligent they make no sense. this is mr reaction i
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think the only conversation about what is happening is essentially essentially you're trying to say that the u.s. involvement in the conflict in syria legitimizes us involvement in the conflict in syria that because we got involved in the first place that somehow we should escalate our involvement this is a completely circular no i'm saying because the kind of rise in the south he said the russians and the iranians and hezbollah are. the point let our. everyone let you talk please. go ahead they're all right but wait a second wait a second the notion the notion that hezbollah and iran are involved ok i would like somebody who is using that white house talking point to provide me with documented evidence of hezbollah's involvement anywhere in syria aside from the town of qusayr so far looking at the documented record there is no evidence of hezbollah
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involvement anywhere beyond the region that's nearest to the lebanese syrian border so that is once again a united states and israeli talking point to legitimize and to justify continued so-called intervention which is not intervention the conflict in syria is an aggression against syria they may have used a civil uprising they may have used political turmoil co-opted it but it is now turned into an imperialist aggression no different than the imperialist aggression that destroyed the nation of libya michael do you want to react to any of that go ahead. and i think that intervention in any way we think the free syrian army that it's joshua landis at syria comment he's one of the foremost experts on syria he described it as thousands of different militia groups and this guy shoots them out. he's the general for the free syrian army he can't control these people and you know he has he doesn't have any operational control and like
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the old saying is that loyalty is temporary but guns weapons like diamonds are forever so just because today they're saying they're on you know someone side tomorrow they end up you know they end up coming back to bite us i mean in libya and i know jason is the you know the expert here but yesterday twenty two thousand twenty two thousand british intelligence shoulder launched missiles have gone missing since the whole thing began and i think syria is going to be even make more chaotic than that in libya in a post assad world i mean and one thing i was going to use that if we if we inject arms even into moderate elements do you think we're just going to prolong this thing or is that you know as much as we hate to admit this is the best bad idea to let when is that the path to least resistance as far as death bloodshed humanitarian issues jason very good question would you like to answer it and i
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would also like to ask the question there is the legal case and it was a very good question wait wait wait that was a very good question for michael to jason jason please. michael you raised some very interesting and informed points. we are dealing with the least bad alternatives here and that's a lot of the time what policy making is now to go back i think that we should want to gauge with the assad regime particularly in the years two thousand and three two thousand and four two thousand five those were the years i lived in damascus and i was always an advocate and josh landis was on a fulbright there just like me and we both believe that the the bush regime was making a mistake in not trying to reach out and befriend the assad regime so as to pull it away from the iran hezbollah access and at those times i think that was the right idea keep in mind that the the bathroom is secular and has. always been willing to make peace with israel and yes they demanded an extreme exchange of territory in
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the golan but there was a moment when it looked like they could be pulled away from that iran has been a alliance that moment has now passed and assad has gone beyond the pale just as coffee who we did a detente with from two thousand and three to two thousand and ten ok just to be kind of hail in two thousand and eleven someone had to read a. comic series of sovereign country go ahead eric jump in well i was just going to raise the point that it sounds like and i'm not and i certainly don't want to put words in his mouth but it sounds like we're trying to equate what happened in syria with libya as if libya was successful i would i would raise the question of if you were to ask regular libyans whether or not their lives are better today than they were under gadhafi i think we all know what the answer to that would be i think the other question would be if you ask syrians the same question you might get a very similar answer look if you're looking at libya the plight of the black libyans is almost unheard of in the western narrative there was genocide and ethnic
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cleansing that took place in libya that is still being removed from the narrative what we might see in syria if you can guess what had happened with secularism destroyed. the facts wrong what about the place where good you got the facts wrong about libya not about in less than you were in libya i was there just a few weeks ago and it's often it was a few weeks ago how do we know that gertie. all right gentlemen we're almost out of time let me say in of syria that the situation in libya is that the central government doesn't have enough power right and that the periphery. or some islamists in the south the southwest are challenging the center with things like the political exclusion law and the hundreds of march we're getting off the topic i want to say to syria michael michael if i'm going to be blindfolded if. syria does the west never learn from these interventions because i can't think of one that works and now we're doing it all over again no no and i think i think we've learned
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i think the russians came to mind going for it it doesn't end well and never ends well ok we've seen this more movie we've seen it never ends well and you know my question is how do we know that the majority in the majority of syrians don't support assad there was an expert from the i reckon two treaty to consider it an article a couple days ago he's making that claim and we don't know that's the million dollar question i mean if you're an alawite or christian a druze a professional middle class sunni some of these people do not want to see a post assad were fair scared to think that that's correct if you look at this let's not cleansing now. ok jason if you think there is a cleansing now if it's going to be horrific go ahead jason. that's that just lend us argument that of course there are about thirty percent who are minorities who for the most part support the assad regime although not all minorities do many of them do support the opposition and then there are the sunni urban upper middle
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classes who particularly in damascus and homs have traditionally allied with the bad all right gentlemen we're almost out of time it's not almost out of time gentlemen but i could give eric the last word thirty seconds and go ahead i just want to say that what you're advocating which is intervention in syria and the continued arming of these rebel factions runs counter to even what the peaceful opposition. in syria has said the national coordinating councils and other organizations who do not want continued intervention who don't want arming of the rebels who want to be able to resolve their own issues peacefully in a political manner not in a regional war scenario which is what this continued escalation is going to bring all right gentlemen i'm glad i'm glad we want to arm during this program many thanks to my guest today in oxford washington and in new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time and remember. the face of.
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the highway bill so in the bones of its make it's the wind through one of the wildest and most beautiful regions of russia a place that's home to less than a million people and to keep this the great frosts. join me james brown as i travel to the coldest inhabited place in the world. and meet some of the toughest people ontologies time is on the clinic's. just make sure that you keep your eyes on the road runner.
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indefinite term wiki leaks founder julian assange marks one year of the ecuadorian embassy in london saying he's ready to remain there longer even if the sex crime allegations against him were dropped still fearing extradition to the u.s. . no warm welcome president obama's visit to berlin is overshadowed by recent revelations about america's massive internet snooping on germany and other european targets. and a series of blasts. rocks a small town in central russia has killed one person and injured over forty more.

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