tv [untitled] December 18, 2013 6:30am-7:01am EST
hello and welcome to cross talk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle syria in collapse western backed rebels have either been routed or on the run so do you support of jihadism now prevailed in rebel held territories civilian populations terrorized meanwhile assad remains in power with this military in town what's next for syria. to cross not the war in syria i'm joined by sonny in london he is a contributor to al-jazeera and the guardian and in new york we cross to jason he is a writer political commentator and contributor to counterpunch and dissonant voice
sorry gentlemen crosstalk rosen a fact that means you can jump in anytime you want sunny if i go to you first in london it looks like the western backed forces there rebels are basically they've dissipated they're on the run and the united states is talk thinking about talking about dealing now with the national islamic front that's in syria right now i mean what do you think of that before. well i mean i think it's dangerous because we don't really know who the rebels are and i also think that it's not clear exactly where where the peace talks will go you know i mean firstly we have to figure out whether we want assad to stay or not and i don't think the united states has a clear idea of the us and it's not clear whether assad is going to stop his war with with the civil war in the country so you know the one hand we have massive war civil war going on inside the country and the other hand it's not clear whether who
is backing who and what rebels are working with so i think the key thing now is to get assad to stop bombing his own people and have saw and stop the civil war one studies done then you can have a discussion about where the country goes next where they're ok sweetheart leaves but he waited in haiti and something you cannot do you can you flip it over also two years maybe saudi arabia and qatar start stop arming the rebels as well. both well i think so yeah i mean maybe but you know firstly assad is far more equipped than the rebels and secondly yes you can argue that saudi arabia and qatar should stop interfering the same way the russia and iran interfering in the country too i mean although that's going to go well i mean of middle eastern policy yes but they mean syria if you like it or not it's still a sovereign state and it has a internationally recognized government so it is making them equal and is. under international law and doesn't make a whole lot of sense jason if i can go to you in new york come back to you jason if
i go to you in new york the u.s. state department is considering dealing with the islamic front to meet certain particularly people that have much well let's say western values now but i think what we've seen is the ruse that the free syrian army is the epicenter of political opposition to the saddam regime has been exposed so the united states and france and britain are in a trouble spot and i think they are looking for practical solutions here i mean the they basically were withdrew their support from the free syrian army not completely but to a degree when the. basically ransacked the free syrian army headquarters. close to the border of turkey and that was kind of a statement that really the free syrian army and the syrian national coalition are not powerful they're not taken seriously by anyone outside the west yet if i can
stay with you but nonetheless a few months ago the obama administration was going to launch a war against syria in the name of the people you just mentioned but apparently they are not really players or never have been players on the ground no i think they've been the pawns of foreign influence all along and now we're seeing as as the u.s. retry. it's slightly i think we're seeing the sort of saudi arabia and qatar really step up and we're seeing the emergence of a strong proxy war between really saudi arabia and iran really the sunni extremist sunni and then the factions on the other on the other side and we're seeing this proxy war which shows no signs of slowing down or ending maybe it's just that the american influence will be marginalized within it ok sunny but if this is a proxy war which i agree with jason here what does that have to do with the syrian
people i mean this is going on over two years now and if you look at the islamic front they're not talking about a democratic syria is a matter of fact they're looking at a very syria that would resemble something closer to saudi arabia so why should western powers even in their wildest imagination be thinking about talking to people like that well it's always. sunny first go ahead sunny. it's always been a proxy war because russia and iran have helped assad and saudi arabian qatar and to have helped the rebels so you know let's it's not a new situation and the united states came in and said we're going to try and help some of the rebels and last year they announced they were going to start some of them early this year but as you said yes some of those on the ground the situation has changed in the united states is now realized that actually helping some of these people who go against their own sort of aims and values well exactly how
sunny is that exclude idea is that a good idea because you know i seem to remember the movie dean in afghanistan you know don't you see a historical parallel here at least beginning. well i mean let's talk about the fact that one hundred thousand people have been killed by killed in syria over the last two years most of them by assad and how many millions of people have been driven out of the country as refugees and the point is that this civil war has to and assad is not going to end it and the people in the country don't want him as their leader so something has got to go and that's sort of what you're saying if you're saying that more people have to die more syrians have to die for your political goal here i mean assad has support within the country it's difficult to determine because taking a public opinion poll in a country having a civil war is difficult but because of the type of rebels that are prevailing right there it would appear even his power base is getting stronger because well
they don't want to live under these types of. regime or a saudi based i mean you know you're looking at i was taking survey but i mean you know when you say the word hundred thousand that number that's on all sides you make it sound like it's only civilians on one side go ahead. i said primarily killed by assad but let me just to get to the double standard here in places like afghanistan we say that those people are freedom fighters fighting against their occupying forces was in syria now a lot of the media is obsessed by painting all the people who want freedom for their country. make you know jihadi is so you know let's not how about double standard head some a lot of these people are fighting gates assad and they might be religious but they're fighting against assad because they want freedom for their country and that he and assad is the dictator so he does his not a democratic country and he's a dictator let's not pretend the round and what what's happening here is russia and
iran are propping up a dictator because they can control him rather than having free democratic elections in that country ok so what i'm trying to say is that we want to have democracy in syria if we want to do stuff you do these rebel groups interesting here and say are they interested in democracy i've mentioned this before here they're not interested in democracy at all so they're not actually very much you know i mean somebody keeps the country together that's the that's what russia has been supporting him it's a sovereign country jason jump in in new york go ahead you've been patient if the islamic front takes over or the islamic state of iraq and the lavonne. takes over what they want is a karate baystate you know the imposition of force sharia law the likelihood that they were certainly with the islamic state of iraq and the persecution of minorities they're killing christians they're killing druze they're killing alawite
it's they're killing. you know disagreeable sunni's who who are they now are killing is the question so i think the idea that they would form a stable government let alone a. secular one is insane but i think there are parallels to what we saw in afghanistan the eighty's when the cia. came together with the pakistani intelligence and. and saudi arabia to prop up the rebels and overthrow the government there what happened the rebels took power they couldn't cover and that led to the rise of the taliban and all of the consequences of that so i think where there are definite historical parallel you can certainly going in general being here out of history had sunny go i want to jump in and make two points firstly that i mean yes you're right it's that these could be the hardest who want to kill any and minorities in syria but right now there's a lot of people being killed in syria already let's not forget that a lot of people millions of people have been driven out as refugees so why is that
not being talked about and why is nothing done about that and secondly yes we don't want you know some. oppressive state in syria we want to democracy but what assad is doing now is not a democracy so that the end of the day if we want free elections if we want a stable country you're going to have to talk about the fact that syria and that in syria right now assad is killing and driving out his own people and that is but sunny sunny question do you think do you think that the foreign rebels that are in syria right now should have the right to vote in syria they're not even syrian citizens there are tens of thousands of foreigners there there are what are they fighting for they're fighting they're fighting for some kind of visual public not for syria sure and i don't want those people right now gentlemen i have to jump in here and we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on syria state with our king.
survive it's not compared to bill i mean gold we're not going to eat gold we're not going to bait with gold. we're not going to drink what clearly what amal is and is in a desperate economic situation absolutely right what we're running to do is say there for any kind of economic development from the outside is going to be a benefit their only purpose is to extract as much money as possible to feed into the global financial system. with we are part of the geo political economic system that's extremely are split to do. first of all is a question with the mining should even be carried out altogether can it be done in a way which doesn't destroy people's lives resources environment soon will you know those are pretty serious questions mining is not a what
a moment problem it's happening in asia in africa and south america in central america in mexico and it's even happening in canada and the united states. proximately sixteen percent of imports came from illegal fishing. the european union is ironically taking fish from some of the poorest nations on earth so this is a very serious and very urgent problem that needs immediate international action. give birth to enter our territorial waters they fish they load this fish into the ships and leave for europe. to day illegal fishing just taking the bread out of our mouths.
i know c n n the m s n b c news have taken some lot slightly but the fact is i admire their commitment to cover all sides of the story just in case one of them happens to be. true. that was funny but it's closer to the truth and might think. it's because one whole attention in the mainstream media works side by side the joke is actually on your good company. and our teen years we have a different approach. because the news of the world just is not this funny i'm not laughing dammit i'm not i. got a sense of the jokes that will handle this stuff that i've got. welcome
back to cross talk all things considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the war in syria. ok jason i'd like to go back to you before we went to the break here i mean it's really quite interesting is that you have all these foreign fighters in syria right now we mentioned in the earlier part of the program that you have the western backed rebels have basically melted away or in some cases even going over to the other side in the other rebel camp the islamic camp. and you were saying also it's the end of the first segment is that in the if this is going to be some kind of if they do prevail at least where they are we have to remember we could end up with a partition that assad just might stay there and the rebel held territories will be
rebel held with a very strong jihad is tinge to it here but how does that bode for the region because we look at you know all these people that have gone across the border from turkey they may really regret that right now we also have lebanon and we also have iraq i mean this is a potential cancer a tumor that is just going to be continued to expand and get more vibrant if it continues to be allowed to grow and i said in the beginning of the program washington is considering talking to these people yeah well one sign of the destabilize ation in the region is that the u.n. i think just yesterday issued a plea for humanitarian aid they're looking to get six billion dollars of humanitarian aid to deal with the syrian crisis there are two million two point three million that have been syrian refugees outside the country i was in a stamboul a couple weeks ago and there are syrians families on the street begging for turkish lira. children playing flutes hoping to get some money displaced people internally
inside syria there are there's supposedly six million people that have been displaced internally so it's really chaos and the reason and one of the other considerations that you have to take into account are the kurds in the north who are being attacked by the you know the islamic state of iraq in the lavaca the kurds are sitting on top of the oil resources of syria there in northeastern syria northern syria there in northern iraq there in southeastern turkey there and western around so they converge and there are about twenty five to thirty million kurds and they've achieved a level of me in iraq as the government there is weakened so what's going to happen if syria destabilizes you've already got a destabilized iraq what's going to happen with the kurds are they going to really begin to push hard for their own state of kurdistan so anyhow how do you it's it's
only a few weeks away it's playing and geneva two how do you feel about that because again the reality on the ground is that assad isn't going to go is a matter of fact he can it least in many ways he can say that he hasn't he may not be winning the war but he certainly stopped losing it months ago here this is a political reality on the ground right now assad is in his people said that they're willing to go to geneva who is he going to talk to because again these western backed people that were there for two years just seem to have dissipated going away is the islamic front calling they go go and sit down i mean who is assad going to talk to the few does show up i mean i think it's unclear exactly who is going to talk to who in geneva two but one thing is clear you know that it is true that assad is now again get the hand but it's not clear how assad is going to end bill his own stalemate you know at the end of the day most of the people in the country don't want him there that rebel strong strong parts of the. area large
parts of the area of syria are now controlled by rebels and so at the end of the day he's hemmed in and he has to find a solution some form of solution to stay within power and other people not only within the region but outside of saying to him that unless you leave this is never going to end so i think that's the key issue here and frankly everyone every syrian who can i mean on twitter for example most syrians that i've seen say they want assad out now if they want assad out and assad wants to stay and we're going to have a perpetual stalemate in this country i think what the geneva two talks should be should be about focusing on getting maybe some sort of a diplomatic solution so you can leave the country and have free. and certainly less when it was seven hundred seventy if i could stay with you here i mean let's get in assad's head here if he's not losing and no one is forcing him to leave then why would he yeah that's the problem i mean that that's why i said initially i mean you know the thing is
a side is the only instance force it's only because the united states threatened that he would they were going to bomb him that he actually gave up his chemical weapons. stockpile after denying that he actually existed so i think to a certain extent that has to be a joint. effort by saudi arabia and other middle eastern countries and western forces to say we want you out and this is the way you're going to get a free safe passage out of this country but if you don't leave then this is going to be a perpetual state made in a civil war that is going to destabilize the entire region for perhaps a decade you know an even more and it's going to be millions of people who are going to be displaced continually throughout that area and you know and it's going to affect other countries there's no other way out of this assad has to go do a lot of people we've been hearing ours for two years you know jay said assad has to go it's not going to happen if it was going to happen it would have happened and he has the upper hand he's not he's not losing this war. or of course he doesn't
have control over the entire part of the entire solver and borders of syria but you know there's a lot of people there in between that. don't want it like we've mentioned before do not want to democracy here he's not going to leave if he has the strength to stay and that's why i brought up geneva two that is one way to move this process forward because i agree with sunny we will have a perpetual stalemate here the man wants to show up in geneva who's he going to talk to. yeah well he's he's not going to leave although although i think that the obama administration is going to recognize that and it seems that obama has begun to shift from a focus on the a conservative regime change to maybe more of a more realist stability priority in the region and i think that they should use this geneva conference to you know to their advantage to qur'anic state in syria is not going to be to the american advantage or to the advantage of the syrian people
so why not push for a transition to a transition of the government i don't think that i think the the geneva conference will be stillborn if the united states and its allies goes in with the precondition regime change of leaving power i think they need to back off of that that red line and look at a way to. pursue new elections fair elections and obama can claim that he has the facts and the assad regime by quarantining and removing and destroying his chemical weapon so he can claim that political victory and then move toward stability in the country it's a very interesting insight if i go back to you in london here we have heard washington and riyadh mentioned here they're not on the same page any more the types of people that it's funding in syria the types of fighters and some of the amazing grotesque atrocities that are being committed and i'm going to and say on
this program all sides commit atrocities in this awful civil war but don't forget these people that are being funded by saudi arabia qatar all the help in the world from turkey they're the ones that have to be dealt with as well can the saudis they could turn these people loose they can fund them they can train them maybe but can they turn them off when they want to it doesn't history would suggest they can't well i think there's a double standard having let's compare studio two of going to stun in two one for a brief moment hey you know inside got a thought no one says you know we won the dictatorship there so that we don't have a destabilisation of the country people are saying you know let's let the united states leave and also in afghanistan no one says you know these people who are trying to take over the country are jihad is so we should never allow the near power at the end of the day we want democracy without what we should want and we should help that we should apply that rule across the board so we should want
democracy in syria and this talk that you know everything's been destabilized and syria is going to be on the hold together if assad is there it's kind of saying that firstly we don't want these muslims in their power and second wow ok sunny to sign it resign if you don't like the double standard if you don't like that double standard if you don't like the double standard then i guess we should use your ally . and the united states and its western allies should attack occupy syria and do the same thing to syria that it's done to afghanistan what do you bet the results would be the same i mean not entirely it's not entirely the same because saudi arabia qatar and lots of other countries like turkey are involved in syria and trying to also help the people there i mean you know the thing is we all always criticize the united states for this for example propping up the papers and now you're basically saying obama should probably be pater you know and so i find that no one side of a guy frankly quite i think he should sit in the united states has lots of dictator
friends in the world and talks to them all the time and gives them plenty of money why can't it sit down with assad and end this horrific war you don't have to like each other want to negotiate what the united states and the soviet union had agreements they didn't have to like each other but they did get agreements and they did get treaties. sure so basically you're saying that the united states are they coping with going to be a few syria you know there's a whole hundred thousand and when you look at history and you saw what happened in afghanistan and then you saw what happened in libya just a few years ago the chaos that reigns in libya now where warlords and mercenaries are running rampant i think that sitting down with assad is a reasonable strategy especially since he can say on the what we want the tower he wants united states to stop their funding to pay to is no i mean i think this is that what started as a con of the one hundred say that you want the united states to stop funding
dictators and how better to bring democracy or at least promote democracy on the other hansei an option it's by the united states is getting rid of dictators in libya and syria because those people bring stability to the country i mean that's a double standard ok that's why the united states supports the dictatorship in saudi arabia i think russia all right surely if you're only there run out of time shouldn't be i really appreciate your balled up being on the program many thanks my guests in london and in new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember cross talk rules. only will. wealthy british style it's time to.
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