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tv   Worlds Apart With Oksana Boyko  RT  June 22, 2014 2:29pm-3:01pm EDT

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about whether the u.s. should start to work with iran and the policy makers and pundits in washington are separating to two camps and they're fighting bitterly about this some do not of course want the united states to begin cooperating with iran they are fearful that this will have a very bad effect on israel and saudi arabia others believe that counterterrorism is of the utmost importance and that iran can help the united states beat back isis and al qaeda in the region professor landis i would have to discuss that iranian angle a little bit later but before we go there there was the media's framing of the events in iraq it is very predictable they're sort of putting all the blame on. government he felt to build a functioning democracy here alley and they did the sunni's and i think we can admit that some of that criticism is valid but the question is could it different person have done a better job is it fair to put all of the blame on
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a law like here and instead of looking somewhere else let's put it this way well a lot of this is domestic politics president obama is down the polls there are elections coming up midterm elections coming up and the republicans are very eager to hurt obama's reputation and to to ding the entire democratic party by saying that america has failed and american leadership has failed by allowing maliki to become more sectarian and to create this situation in which isis has found fertile ground in iraq but isn't it true that both their baba publicans and the democrats share the blame for what is happening in iraq because obviously it was the republican problem president who launched the invasion of iraq back in two thousand and three but it was their democratic president who oversaw the disintegration all of theory which also contributed to what is happening on the ground in iraq. yes absolutely the democrats are coming back and they're saying
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this entire isis episode shows the incredible strategic blunder of president george w. bush in in attacking iraq and casting down the sunnis from the top of society to the bottom destroying. destroying the state of iraq which kindled this sectarian struggle and just as you said it's not clear that any shiite ruler would have been able to assuage sunni anger sense of injustice and and fix up the situation so that there would be genuine power sharing america believes in power sharing democracy in the middle east and we've seen the russian point of view very skeptical about this they believe that the middle east is not ripe for democracy and in general russians have support supported the view that only strong men can bring order to
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a very divided society well i think i would like to disagree with you on the characterization of their russian policy i think roger put in if they said that it is up to the syrians or up to the iraqis to decide who they want to be in charge and there seems to be a pattern among those arab societies to really look. for a strong man perhaps because they're really tired of war and care but if i can bring you back to that issue of dimona ization i don't think westerners or western media western pundits can afford to demonize all molecules to quiet the same extent that they demonized assad even though i think there is a time to a doing that but speaking about assad do you think the west has gone too far in trying to diligent the minds him can it really sort of go back and try to at least assad in its fight against terror groups and would that be in the best interest of assad himself because sure. results
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a significant threat to syria but so does the united states wouldn't that be in the best interest of assad to make sure that americans are preoccupied with isis in iraq as much as possible so that he could actually deal with his security issues on his own well you're absolutely correct that america is facing a very difficult dilemma in syria as it is in the entire middle east its national security interests in fighting al qaeda and counter terrorism concerns versus its national desire to promote democracy to defend israel and to harm iran and russia to a certain degree by taking down this long time opponent assad so americans have been very eager to weaken assad the trouble is they thought that they could weaken assad and keep a syrian state causing some kind of political transition towards a democratic government we are seeing that that is not the choice it's not
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a choice between democracy and assad it's a choice increasingly between sunni rebel groups who are chaotic and becoming increasingly radical and and assad dictatorship and the more america weakens our side the more they're creating fertile ground for radical islamic groups well i agree with you it's just a simple as that but you mentioned earlier this longstanding desire on the part of the american political establishment to her and iran to hurt russia to hurt syria and obviously nowadays the the mood has somewhat changed you know now americans are calling for a corporation with the russians there is a possibility of cooperation with the iranians but from my experience of covering foreign policy i think americans can sometimes be very very opportunistic and i wonder how big would do you think would be the temptation for some americans to.
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take what they can from their rations from the iranians from the syrians use their intelligence unit is that manpower and rely on that military and then sort of push isis back into syria back into perhaps even the iran you know essentially kill all those birds with one stone well you're absolutely right you bring up a very very difficult problem and i think i think that washington is toying with the idea of some kind of reposts moment with iran on the question of iraq and syria because iran today is the most stable country in the region it's with iraq and syria falling apart with saudi arabia in the midst of a question of who's going to become king next the iran is a source of stability in the region and it's why it's got a strong military it's what it dislikes isis and al qaida so. of course it's very there are many dangers in teaming up with iran for the united
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states if america looks like it's siding with the shiites and with iran to kill sunnis and to damage their interests this will alienate the gulf our our longtime allies it'll alienate the saudi arabians already some qatar cutty's have come out and said if america begins engaging in airstrikes against isis and against the other cities this will be seen as purely sectarian play on the part of america and it won't be appreciated and you can't you just mentioned that there is a danger for the americans. in engaging with the iranians but what i'm asking you if there is a danger for the americans for the syrians for the russians often gaging with the americans because you know those activities towards those countries there are very deep seated and sure there is now a common interest for all those countries a fighting be insurgency but how long do you think that common interest will prevail how big of
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a temptation again would it be on the part of the american establishment to really not turn these cooperation against those countries in the region well america's relationship is is as you as you suggest very complex in the region many people vilify america see it as a source of of imperial injustice. of a recent pew poll in the region showed that the majority of sidney's not just christians and other minorities but the sunni populations of jordan turkey lebanon israel and did not want the united states to further arm the syrian rebels so the neighborhood is not interested in more stability in the region even at the price of hurting the syrian rebels so they don't want to marry because help but maliki we saw just this last few days has asked for american military strikes again. isis speaking of which i mentioned demonic zation of assad earlier and i
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think to some extent the assad government made it easier for the west to demonize him because of the use of these have a military force against communities where hardline islam is and other rebels too called do iraqis or indeed americans if they choose to get involved. have any other like military alternatives other than using airstrikes and ground offenses that will most likely result in large civilian casualties well you're raising a very difficult question here i'm not a military expert but you know one can't help but compare the massacres that have taken place in that in the killing in syria to the killing in something like the american civil war where abraham lincoln presided over a civil war in which seven hundred thousand americans were killed in america the united states was thirty million people in eight hundred sixty at the time of the civil war syria's twenty four million so they're not very different in size in the
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united states seven hundred thousand americans were killed in our civil war almost sixty thousand prisoners were killed. so the numbers of deaths in civil wars are very high it is difficult without a precision bombing without smart bombs without high tech instruments of war to pinpoint the opposition at the same time i don't want to come completely exculpate assad because there is i thinks plenty of proof that assad has in fact targeted civilian objectives whether it's hospitals or food he has surrounded neighborhoods in order to starve them to death so yes these are primitive weapons starvation bombing you know diff depriving people of food and medical help and and of course the international community to find them as as war crimes professor and as i talk
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to me greeba here not that i want to be or sound apologetic for our some of the tactics of the syrian government that but i think we have to keep in mind that brutality is always relative and you cannot compare i mean no instant leader who is dealing with a civil war in his country to sound western leaders who are dealing with very different sort of challenges once you. start comparing a subtle molecule who has a similar challenges on his hands i think the brutality comes out and i saw what different lives but we have to take a very short break here when we come back taking on isis will most likely be a collective effort and if engaging anime sounds challenging enough what about disengaging france or should i say frenemies that's coming out on a world apart. to
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try to. force you. to think everybody. let me. know what. my own life like to. say to me. this is. nothing. this is. just you still will be just if you see the state aid to be with each other.
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economic red tape or. now i. want to. sign. this agreement to all european views on any for all about what they're going to do budget this randi thing the european union's a job they don't listen to i'm sure there are a needs to. do i mean if if the european union got very upset well can you do about the ukraine for example do anything.
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on merit in the financial world. to moments having to stop exemption only takes no demand for credit you're not going to get any economic benefit in life there absolutely. so. welcome back to worlds apart to riyadh discussing the latest developments in iraq and syria of joshua landis director of the university of oklahoma center for middle is studies professor landis just before the break we were talking about the potential engagement of america's traditional adversaries in counter-insurgency such as iran syria perhaps russia but what about washington getting tougher on its allies like saudi arabia because it's no secret that saudi money was a crucial factor in the rise of the extremist can obama afford to take that on well
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he is beginning to tighten up i think the regulations on saturday in the gulf there is more intelligence sharing there's an attempt you know turkey in the last few months has started to restrict the free movement of both al qaida and isis across the border between syria and turkey and for a long time turkey made no discrimination between you know the moderate fighters and the radical fighters saudi arabia did and co wade and other gulf countries did not restrict fun transfers to these radical islamist groups and the united states didn't criminalize that either by the way no they did not you are absolutely right the united states dragged their feet they did declare early on in the uprising that there. was a terrorist organization and shout out to mr and others were terrorist organizations and prescribe them but it did very little to carry through with that and to force its allies to equally prescribe those groups there was
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a you have to remember there was a giant hue and cry amongst the american allies and amongst syrian opposition in general when america took this step because in fact it's split the opposition into between those that have been prescribed as terrorists and and work with al qaida and. those that are considered the moderates and increasingly the united states is looking to its moderate syrian allies to kill the more radical syrians and that has caused complete chaos it's interesting here that you mention that because president obama is all is often being criticized for doing very little on syria for his nonintervention but i wonder everything that you mentioned so far acquiescing to. you know saudis and turks aiding and financing those terror groups isn't that a form of intervention be the different form of intervention but it is still here still influence the development and the continuation of that culture if they have
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to very significant extent is it fair to really criticize obama for non intervening when i would argue that he did everything he could by not intervening well i think you're right i mean there is tons of chris the united states and yet the united states has done so little to really help the syrian opposition the united states spent only a little bit more than two billion dollars on this struggle so far and when we compare that to what united states spent in afghanistan or iraq at the height of the fight there fight that is a less than one week spending but professor land is the big death toll is significant despite the fact that the united states hasn't invested all that money in syria you know and still how few of that around the civil war has so many people being killed i wonder if it's not that actually an example of leading from behind intervening a country from the backs of your allies in the region where you're right united obama was very clear he said assad had to step aside he called the regime had to go
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and and he he has supported the rebel opposition as as well as the united states from the beginning of this organize the international community in a friends of syria getting the europeans on board trying to. at the arab league to condemn syria trying to get turkey and saudi arabia to intervene with troops early on so yes the president obama despite not spending very much money on syria has played a very big role in trying to beat the drums of war on the part of the rebels and and to get assad to step down from power and move aside now professor london a one of the reasons going back to that saudi factor one of the reasons why obama has done very little or perhaps nothing to make the saudis turn out of that money was washington's reluctance to allow either of these sides have
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a decisive victory i saw you argue previously that the united states as well as perhaps other international players have have an interest in keeping the syrian conflict simmering at a low boil i wonder if the sounds of urgency is any different in iraq is the united states interested in resolving the isis threat there as soon as possible or would it drag on as we saw in syria well that's a very good question the united states is debating today of how much about how much support to give to maliki many people believe that he is too sectarian that if america supports him it will offend cinese turn sunni world against the united states and alienate our support in the gulf therefore they're very reluctant to get in with direct military support they would like to get diplomats on the ground to begin negotiating as they did during the occupation between all sides to
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try to bring some kind of political resolution maliki is very unlikely to allow the americans to once again become a major political force in baghdad arranging deals between sunnis and shiites and becoming it putting itself the center of iraqi politics so i don't see maliki accepting this. and then i equally do not see the united states stepping in in a big way to use air power or put its own troops on the line in iraq so yes in the short answer is america may allow this to percolate on as long as it doesn't see baghdad falling or a real threat to its interests in iraq it may not step in and use drones and air power to kill the sunni rebels well interesting we talked earlier about the possibility of involving iran. perhaps syria perhaps russia and be iraqi crisis and i wonder if there is any chance from your perspective over some sort of
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a deal on syria for the sake of joining forces in iraq could this assault on the rag be sort of used as a silver lining for for the syrians you know there are obviously there are possibilities for a deal on syria i do not think that americans or that president obama will take them i think that he is trying to stay out of this i think americans are very torn about what to do in syria they have not invested very much in this so far president obama's basic attitude is that the united states cannot adjudicate this sort of six religious and ethnic civil war that's going on in iraq and syria he believes that george bush made things worse by intervening and he's very fearful that he if he intervenes with some kind of power and money it will also make things worse that's what he said over and over again we do not want to create a worse problem than we had before and this is led him to paralysis on the syrian
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to stay out of the syrian agenda mess and i think that he will continue to do that even though there is considerable criticism of him he may continue started to trade intelligence with the iranians with iraq ease. trying to come up with lists of who are where is isis giving them coordinates so that the iraqis can go and kill them. i suspect america's probably moving in that direction always and that the very same tactic that was employed by the americans in their dealings with saddam hussein and his war with iran when they gave them coordinates of iranian troops so that saddam hussein could go after them and kill them again that seems to be you know fitting into this notion of leading from behind yes indeed and i think that's what obama's going to do and in his big speech two weeks ago at west point his big
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foreign policy speech he said counterterrorism is our uppermost problem in the middle east we're going to pursue it he's going to dedicate five billion dollars to a special fund not to get americans involve themselves but to train a local actors and this would be the maliki government to this would be egypt and so forth to pursue terrorists and al qaida in the region he does not want to take. the lead he wants to be able to. train and fund and encourage local powers to do this on their own said america doesn't get stuck in the middle east and that he can shift hopefully american priorities to the east one who profess a lot and as you know forgive me for saying but if america doesn't want to get stuck in the middle it's probably shouldn't be getting involved from a gather go you know we keep hearing over the last two years we keep hearing from
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washington that there are no good guys in in syria as if millions of civilians simply don't exist as if they don't count as good people is there any hope for the syrian people off stopping this war you know given what you just sad very sort of practical rational and sometimes very cynical approach on the on the part of the american administration they howled create these crises but now it looks like they they don't want to sell but you know it looks that way and i and obviously america has not been completely innocent in this situation as as i said the government stood behind the rebels when they first began to demonstrate and then fight against assad but you know i think it's as an american one has to say that this is a syrian the syrian the start of this fight the syrian people rose up against assad and first demonstrating and then fighting with arms the united states did not make
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those decisions they didn't force people to do it they did begin to speak out on the side of the rebels but they have done very little to arm the rebels so in that sense you know america has played clearly a role but it is not a decisive role this you know the syrians have done this to themselves professor learned to see if i mean to interrupt you here i know you covered the war in the rocks i guess substantially and i think americans say it would seem that they have learned the last ans of the american engagement in iraq when it was clear that you can adjust. comment how the country is democratized and yet it seems that the very same mistake the very same aspirations were of play here in syria the american believe that somehow if you put your weight behind one of the parties that you can actually have the desired outcome and in this case the outcome seems to be a very you talk and as you pointed out earlier that you can actually bring liberal
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say secular government. to power in syria where in fact we are now having a choice between a rock and a hard place between the north or in tire and regime and hardline radicals is there anyone in the middle of the i think you're right that increasingly america is becoming cynical about the possibilities of democracy in the middle east we've seen syria fragment and you know when you compare this i think to america in the one nine hundred eighty s. when version ski and carter and later reagan helped fund the mujahideen in afghanistan to drive out the russians from afghanistan they regretted this a great deal because they ended up with al qaida they ended up with chaos and nine eleven today they've been faced with a similar dilemma do they want to drive russia out of syria and by and large i
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think the american response is. they don't want to make it easy for russia they have not tried to take syria away from russia they'd rather have russia deal with syria then to become the major military power well i think is a very cynical choice you just said that they didn't try to take syria way from russia but i think they tried to take syria break away from syrians and that leads me to my very final question professor landis you are one of america's foremost experts on syria i know that your have family connections in that country if we are from your analysis that you love this country its history its culture how do you already sad your goodbyes to the good old syria the syria that we knew only four years ago have you buried it in your mind or is there any hope of resurrection well you know that's a very good question in some ways i have buried it because. we used to spend every
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summer my wife a syrian and my kids would go to their grandparents village and they learned arabic and for four years now we have not been back to syria i realize they they've forgotten who their grandparents are to a large degree we speak on skype every once in a while but it's not the same thing they are there they've forgotten their arabic largely and they're forgetting that they're syrians and so there is a sense of mourning that you've lost you've lost one half of your family and you've lost your identity especially for my children who could be half syrian half american and today. you know they come back from school and they they express many of the anti arab and anti muslim prejudices that are so widespread in america and they seem to be not even aware that they are syrian themselves so in that sense there is a deep sense of mourning that one has lost the country i really share that deep
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sense of mourning with you and i think the whole humanity lost a lot when we lost syria but unfortunately we have to leave it there i appreciate you being on the show and to our viewers please keep the conversation going on our twitter you tube and facebook pages and i hope to hear again same play fame time here on the part. his name was joseph copas he was nazi germany's minister of propaganda the myths that he created exist to this day. used gerbils propaganda was posing actually trying to denigrate other nations while
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at the same time raising ordinary german so steams would. keep its complete use of goebbels snoo precisely what the masses need to hear in order to make them follow him he was like the kite paper from the fairy tale that made rats follow the chain of his plight. the myths created by the chief nazi ideologist bound for tal saw in the west we have to fight these myths today the memory of those who was in the second world war. dramas the truth be ignored to the. stories of others to refuse to notice. food since changed the world light snack.
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food picture of today's you know. from around the globe. look to. live from moscow at eleven pm ukrainian military anti government fighters accuse each other of ignoring it declared ceasefire as more civilian lives lost in the attacks. really is. to create got its gas cut off this last week making europe then anxiously here could revert to its old ways and siphon the transit pipeline. also coming up to islamic radicals edge of a closer to the iraqi capital reportedly now capturing three more cities on the way . and israeli troops may do offices in the west bank including ours seizing hard drives and destroying equipment amid the intense crackdown against palestinian authorities we delve into.


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