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tv   Cross Talk  RT  July 19, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT

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hello and welcome to crossfire for all things considered i'm peter lavelle syria and reversed momentum rebels are now killing one another in alienating the people they claim they're fighting for the assad regime has regained lost ground and is on the offensive in the meantime western powers are showing we lucked to provide arms to the rebels is it now time to consider a process to stop the violence and to talk peace.
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to cross-talk the war in syria i'm joined by kelly vlahos in washington she's a journalist at antiwar dot com also in washington and we have a son rory he's an independent defense consultant and author of the book the great powers versus the hedge a man and in london we crossed a cocktail come already he's a writer and a journalist right folks cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage you to kill me if i go to you first in washington with a stalemate and with assad's forces gaining ground isn't it time more to take seriously the peace plan that has been proposed by the united states and russia yes i think it is time to consider that but the question is can you get both sides to the table and i don't think that there is any indication right now that either side is ready to get there there seems to be a stalemate on the diplomatic process. the russians and assad and in the rain ians to assert. xtend do not want preconditions and coming to
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the talks america wants preconditions the west wants preconditions so right there you have the ultimate stalemate in the meantime you have the u.s. saying it's going to start providing arms we know they've already been providing arms to the rebel groups which provides another. cause to a stalemate at that diplomatic level so yes talks would be fantastic that would avert more and more deaths adding to the ninety thousand plus now but can we get there we don't know yet inside in washington aren't there enough arms already floating around awash in syria now why do they need more arms looking at it from the very his perspective i mean the idea that usually would be were just clearly described park but i think your great great in saying that. the u.s. . you know there were preconditions but there are directions there are sorts.
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here's the problem that you have. in the syrian fighters would like to see gone through russia and iran on the other hand the. absolutely or no part of or for that option you see syria is the last stronghold for russia if. that is noble i think it's a whole it has a long letter to the russians and it has a lot less to do with russian foreign policy than interventions in general around the world cup if i go to you in london because it isn't a russia specific situation isn't right russia is the one that proposed the peace process. well one of the things i have to say about syria is also the last bastion of arab secularism what we have to recognize is that though we dislike assad so he has this is not a genocide this is a civil war a lot of people have died as a consequence of two sides fighting. each other assad has
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a substantial constituency within syria that supports him this constituency is made up of shiites it's made of a lot of these it's made of christians and also many secular syrians who have seen the rebels that conduct and have moved back to have pledged a renewed allegiance to assad and we mustn't disregard that fact to set the precondition that assad must go or no talks is to prolong the conflict is more dead bodies on the streets of syria kelli jump in because if this is the i think you're going i think you're over it's ok go ahead i think you're overstating i think you're overstating assad's constituency yes your support of all those people that you're mentioning but that support is also should get he doesn't have supported ninety percent of the population which is you know sunni arabs so. the bottom line for us is that time is go in for him to negotiate and steve unfortunately russia
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didn't seem to understand that unfortunately iran to the seem to understand that and of course or the u.s. side i think the united states being very being very corey i think i've always been very smart if i think i may just find it as figuring out and let's. go ahead london jump in i think think i. yes i think i think the problem is not that time is running out for assad as you know these prophecies about assad's imminent departure his imminent collapse have been going on for two years has been in power i met a pakistani shere in syria pilgrim who'd been living in syria for sixteen years and he told me if everyone in syria wanted to go he would be gone this is not to say that a substantial number of syrians don't want him to go they do want him to go but there is a constituency in syria that supports a sub the problem is that we don't have the west doesn't have anyone to bring to the negotiating table the syrian opposition is completely fractured who represents the syrian opposition could could give me five names that represent the syrian
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opposition who can go to the negotiation table and talk to assad no i cannot give you for him it would be to the point in that the the poorest in the middle east great powers that be they have lost their influence wherever so that's the that is one of the delimiters you know the people the countries who can bring about some sort of meaningful peace are not you know in a rush or they might be saudi arabia or because the thirty one year old severely depressed or very depressing find syria that's a very depressing thought that saudi arabia would be playing that role can we go right ahead because there are certainly feeling on the hardest activities in syria absolutely i think this i mean this sounds very trite but it all depends on your point of view. when you you ask the question of whether we should or i think you asked the question that whether we should be still arming the rebels well if you
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want to continue the the military stalemate yeah i think continuing to support the rebel groups whether those weapons get in the wrong hands or not will continue the civil war the ongoing conflict and prevent assad from had. thing at all to make victory this the ultimate detriment is that the people who walk suffer the most the most. if you are a science group. on the other side of the russians the iranians it would be better to get this to a bargaining table stop arming the rebels so that assad will continue maybe getting the momentum on the battlefield and feel as though he is in control enough to come so the talks if he is in control of those talks and there are no perfect preconditions for him to go. that is you know that would be their best scenario on that side but the united states wants to see him go so i mean
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it is a huge mess it's all from your point of view why it should have to be all about just one man that's ridiculous let's go to london how does one way to look at this peter perhaps one way to look at this perhaps one way to look at this is not to look at syrians as assad's people or the opposition's people as outsiders it is just for a moment look at them all as syrians if the stalemate continues what we call stalemate as of this war is frozen between two sides what happens as more syrians die so to place the emphasis on assad's exist is to prolong this war the fact is that assad is in charge of substantial portion portions of syria he may not control a majority of the territories but many many of the people who were living in the rebel controlled territories have migrated to territories that are controlled by the by the government so rather than dividing syrians as assad's people of the
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opposition people perhaps we should look at them as syrians and consider that they continue to leave the country as refugees their lives have been devastated to this this is a mountain of fire this is a forest fire and what we seem to be doing is trying to dose of more petrol. that's just killing more syrians this isn't for this is this is you know what with a polite euphemism be very very stupid ok it's on in washington go ahead and unfortunately the unfortunately the whole game is about removing assad you said it wasn't so offended but that's only for one side that sets for one side was you going to have been astonished i saw what do you think it's on is it it worth. for one man you know from from a personal level of course not for personal is of course but we're talking about great power games here we're talking about crushing do you think it's here we're talking about. the upper hand in he sees that what we would do to have an
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influence on the lawn. or to start a school russia has this is a sort of religion you know this is on the other hand. did the united states is doing is doing everything by being smart but making sure that it goes with that which emerges. as it were ordered lisa substantial twitter which means being with a group which is not a group in terms of the sun and once a service is gone then of course it's going to be a miss i mean we're going to miss no it's going to be a bigger mess for us are going to go on. for as far as i'm concerned are you going to see the future if not if he isn't going to use gore where he will go with the engine will you come up with is that he will go eventually telling john mccain we have to do it and we jump in head to head kelly i think the question here is and i would like to hear this from our other guests is if you did remove assad from the
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situation with there still be. today this massive sectarian divide in syria and s. and a partitioned country have we got to the point where even without assad you would have a civil war i don't know i'd be interested to hear what the others have to say on this because if we do remove aside there are these long standing issues you have the great power game but you also have the sunni can flag ration that is happening all over the middle east right now i don't know if that's going to go away if assad is removed or if he stays and there are some good that he's not. ok kelly i have to jump in you know we're going to go to a short break and after that. we'll continue our discussion on syria state with. a really nice one. is a. look.
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you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so for lengthly you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else and you hear or see some other part of it and realize everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm tom hartman welcome to the big picture. the worst year for those. white house of the day the radio guy for the tale of minutes from a quick profit i want to watch closely to do because you've never seen anything like this on call.
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please. welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to mind you were discussing the civil war in syria. ok inside of washington kelly brought up a very good point what would syria look like if assad suddenly left ok how would you imagine that with the civil war come to an end magically know absolutely that whatever syria whenever assad go it is going to be a mess that is why i would like to see that he i would like to see that he can go on right now so before the situation gets even messier once he's gone which means
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syria is going to be a very similar place it's egypt but you see somebody you suddenly suddenly department can get together and. help these insurgents and other elements to come to some sort of a status will be made a good point that the sunni sectarian divide divide is going to be that it has been there has been good for fourteen hundred years now after iraq it has intensified after syria it is it is further intensive right but you know just because it has it has the potential an ominous partition of becoming intensified there is no sense in saying ok let's let's go or let's let. the butcher of damascus staying power. continue with this and you know kind of a sign you want to see it you want to see the culture is you want to see the pictures in the opposition when to i mean they're not nice people i mean eating a march in front of a camera you know they're not they're not that's why that's who i that's who i want
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i want these great powers to to help bring about some sort of approach you are right now so well so i tell you the russian peace plan i put on the table for a year and it's not getting much traction it's go to london capital jump in what's what would i think i think i you know. you know syria is a pluralistic country it's in the fourth century i think the poet mulayam just said syria one world my country it's a homeland of so many different sects and so many different religions for the last fifty years what has been happening to christians in egypt for instance the copts in egypt would be unthinkable in syria with the beginning of this revolution i met christians who said we never thought of ourselves as christians before the rebels came and told us you are christians you have your homes so eighty thousand people or what were expelled from their own homes and homes these are ancient community as we lived in peace with their neighbors what is today in syria there is no single
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entity that speaks for even a modest majority of syrians you get rid of the state you get rid of assad what happens is that his constituency that supports him will begin another insurgency it's this is not going to be the end of the civil war but it will be the elevation of the civil war to a new even more violent phase i think assad has got it wrong he seems to be under the what i should mention your get rid of saddam you know it i'm telling you the solution you seem to be under the impression before i get to my solution may i just make a point about what you your solution is that you seem to be thinking that you get rid of us are there and suddenly the great powers go inside and they macro manage things they put everything together they couldn't do that in afghanistan they couldn't do that in iraq they're not going to have that for syria right can manage . yes well facilitate well it's a citizen of the now you know what it's not is that but that's assuming that it's going to be how exactly do you envision the western government there that's what your son is saying essentially between the lines and that probably isn't going to
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happen kelly jump in because what we see now is a partition on believe that it's going to be a pro western government he is an inhabitant of cloud cuckoo land it's not going to be approved government i mean every story it's going to be the truth syrian government i'm not getting it maher noted with. the hopefully it'll be but that's not my argument precondition ok because they're in themselves are divided on what comes to my group syrian song ok kelly it looks to me that the country could be partitioned ok assad will stay in his part of the country here and the rest of it will be given up to jihad it's not a pretty picture no not a pretty picture i mean what i want to what i'd like to know myself and i don't have a crystal ball is i mean what is the solution to keep our side in power is the solution to bring assad to the table to create some sort of national unity government that incorporates all of these different factions or is the solution just to go back to
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the way it was which obviously wasn't. it that there was an opposition and an honest to goodness freedom movement that was there there was a kernel of it it happened ok we've got way far away from that but things were not good. assad is a dictator so what do we want what is the solution i understand that just taking him out and then resume change is going to come with all sorts of repercussions that we might not want to live with just like in iraq i mean that is the most recent play and example but what is what is the alternative i'd like to know ok go in london you want to feel that is a very good question. let's go to london go to it's moved through assad there's a you know syria was a dictatorship a very repressive dictatorship where the government was conscious of every every individual's private lives that dictatorship had to go but when the rebellion began
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even before it could spread through syria it was expropriated by regional powers with their own interests so the arabia started supplying arms the rebellion began began in march in two thousand and eleven in april there was a massacre of seventy two people by june the people who were living under this repressive regime were already armed already taking on the mightiest army in the arab world in the middle east after after israel the second in the middle east they were already taking on this this would have been impossible without the supply of weapons in the supply of weapons came from saudi arabia and saudi arabia had its own reasons to do that qatar amplified the struggle of the rebels whether it's news network turkey. internationalize this conflict the dictatorship what was it what was originally a conflict between a dictatorship and an oppressed population evolved into something bigger into
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a civil war we're looking at it through the lens of oppressed people fighting a dictator but this is turned into something entirely different to apply that all solution to this new problem is to create something we may never be able to manage again and you probably will break up the region for a very very long time a son you want to jump in and. well you will never go that syria will never never go back to being what we are not. a sound guy and we are not creating any we are not kuwait for what i have my share of objection who is this week we'll leave that west. creating anything if anybody's creating anything in syria it's going to be the syrians now kitty we're going to mention. any any possible solution with our son there's good the chances of any solutions with us are these history he doesn't know it and the events would prove prove to me right the days of i said the guard or syria is going to reemerge that perhaps is going to be a divided state but it will never be
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a democracy i don't think in the short run and it is not likely to be to be a pro western state so you know it's just like take a look at what's what what's happening in iraq i think i think it's going to be a very similar situation except syria is much more pluralistic than than you are so in that sense is going to be a large of miss that's what i would like to see the conflict and know that's that's how i would like to see them go and let the saudis own a guitar a should stop the army now if he told the blood just on what he would agree with that the saudi should stop sending arms now. so you should stop jets arms to the jihad is i totally agree with that i can i do a good indoors there but the question is who are you going to arm and do you have any control over who gets the arms he sees like that like the soviet situation in afghanistan so it is it is a mess that's why let me repeat obama explaining his card beautifully he's staying on the sidelines and he's saying ok you guys you fight it out and once the a.t.o.
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you know something that except a lot of beautiful scenario would be to talk peace more and not arming more cali. yeah i think and you know sun had brought up obama and the administration i'm sure many of your viewers had seen maybe some of the testimony by our new u.s. ambassador to the united nations samantha power yesterday who called the security council the u.n. security council a disgrace for not getting more involved in stopping the conflict in syria with the implication that we are not at the security council isn't doing enough to sanction and get rid of assad so you have this conflict going on within the administration on one side you have the military who have for months have been saying that we should not get involved in syria and then you have people within the administration including susan rice and samantha power are calling for more
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intervention we have part of the congress is saying let's arm the rebels some in congress saying let's institute a no fly zones and even ground troops and then you have the other half of congress saying wait a minute if we continue to arm these rebels we don't know where our weapons are going they're going into the the wrong hands so there is this conflict within the administration which is sending all sorts of mixed signals and we have obama who said that we will start arming the rebels and then two weeks later the congress says whoa whoa we're not ready to do that so i think that the lack of leadership though the lack of direction. that wishy washiness of the united states is indicating that i don't think that we're going to be much of a player in any of this and london is good or a bad player. in london you want to apply that because you know you have saudi arabia and qatar in the united states. but they have very different interests in
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syria radically different. been pushed into a corner and you made the remark. the republican establishment has from the beginning been trying to portray him as a lily livered president who's been leading us from from the behind that's the phrase he's leaving us from behind so in order to appear tough he said that this is a guy that had so we're going to still is a guy that has a weekly kill that starts. that's right he you know in or in order to appear tough he made the statement which i think i think he's regretting he said if assad uses chemical weapons that's a red line that immediately created an incentive for people who want to induce american intervention and they forged evidence saying assad used chemical weapons which frankly is is insulting to the intelligence intelligence of every ordinary citizen because chemical weapons were last used in iraq. and for the chemical
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weapons to be used saddam hussein had to fly fourteen sorties i think and that killed five thousand people now we're now we're being told that chemical weapons were used with such precision that only twenty five to fifty people were killed by a government that is winning when a government to which two hundred fifty thousand soldiers still pledge allegiance why why would this gun sorry why would i have to jump in here we've run out of time many thanks to my guests of washington. and i want to thank our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time remember. this is.
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led mission is. going to take three months for charges priests to make amends three. three. priests mostly blank video for your media projects. tom. cole.
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