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tv   Cross Talk  RT  June 23, 2017 3:29pm-4:01pm EDT

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take the south stream project something that was never completed it was meant to be a part from here to bowl varia that got scrapped because of pressure from brussels then came up with plan b. that was the turkish stream but this project was also in jeopardy it was holt's it for a while after ankara shot down a russian fighter jet over syria then when relations war restored in twenty six being the project got was started and now i saw it with my own eyes it is fully underway and it is planned to be completed by the end of twenty nine t. the maximum capacity as expected to be more than thirty billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. well russia may be well known for its icy winters but locals in the southern siberia were still more than a little surprised to see giant hail in the samba five people needed medical treatment to go full sized hail selling in lake. popular holiday resorts while cars
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and even some houses were left damaged the intensity of the storm was caught on camera by number of locals well bad weather has been wreaking havoc across the region a week that qualcomm's to say the worst outcomes. next it's politicking with larry king.
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hello and welcome to cross talk where all things are considered peter lavelle with the islamic state perceived to be on the defensive in syria many of the parties in this proxy war are eyeing the next stage of this conflict as a result russia and the u.s. are at odds is washington strategic interest in syria really iran. syria i'm joined by my guest christopher davidson in derm he is a lecturer in middle east politics at durham university as well as author of shadow wars the secret struggle for the middle east in london we have alexander mchugh he
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is a writer on legal affairs as well as the editor in chief of the duran dot com and in new york we have richard murphy he is a former u.s. career in boston or to syria and currently an adjunct scholar at the middle east institute all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i always encourage it alexander let me go to you first in london how are russia and the united states going to avoid going to war in syria. well i think that's a good question because at the moment we have a we have a situation where the russians are saying they will track us airplanes if they fly west of the euphrates river and of course there are russian and american forces in syria and they are backing different signs in the war nonetheless in spite of everything i think the local military commanders are sensible enough to try and work towards some sort of compromise so i think that we will avoid a clash in syria however there are conflicting political interests in
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syria and the situation in syria is changing very fast as the islamic state isis seems to be collapsing rapidly and as the proxies of each side are moving rapidly to trying to take over territory so i think we will avoid a clash i think the military is on both sides are determined to avoid one i don't think one can be completely excluded unfortunately chris ridgway you know on the same question there because it does look like at this stage of the conflict it is a movement of or a conflict of movement to get as much real estate as you possibly can because of the perception is that we are in some kind of end process of at least one of the stages of this conflict here so it's really a land grab right now to see who is going to end up sitting more powerful at some kind of peace table could you read it that way go ahead christopher. yes i think we have the long predicted scramble now taking place of course we have vacuums very
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rapidly developing as groups including the islamic state have to concede territory on an almost daily basis now so we're really starting to see the the gloves come off from the main actors involved in the conflict including the united states of course which is us with the other powers iran russia and so on trying to make sure that its assets on the ground are best placed. to assume that that real estate when the various jihadist groups start to go on the defensive and i think that helps us understand why we've seen these rather perilous confrontations at the past few weeks where we've had you know where we've had planes being shot down missiles being fired from outside of the country and so on because the stakes now very very high as things move very rapidly on the ground richard explain to our
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audience or maybe me because i don't really understand what is the strategic interest of the united states has in syria it is there even legally under international law it was not invited there by the sovereign state of syria and now it's creating some kind of military footprint one has to wonder given precedent this is that footprint could be permanent go ahead. i don't i don't think the united states is interested in a permanent. position in a military footprint huge strategic interest perhaps three three four one won't be you know as quickly as possible the capabilities of the islamic state. the other is the second and equally important one is preparing for negotiations which is the only way that this ghastly conflict in syria is going to be brought to an end whether it's through local cease fire or some other form of
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mediation it's only when we can get people talking to each other within syria i will say significant progress is being made to fulfilling our strategic interest in helping restore peace in syria third the question of united states versus iran well we are adversaries but i don't think that would i don't agree with the line of thinking that being an adversary means we have to be pumping up. to have a. continuing proxy war with iran ok what alexander is nominally speaking i agree with richard here but i mean why do we have to go through all this conflict to have sit down and for a peace process i mean there's ample evidence mountains of evidence that the united states and its allies particular qatar and saudi arabia and then we have on the
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side israel participating in all of this i mean this conflict could have come to an end a long time ago if the if they had been good will there is never been good will all whatsoever these the the western countries still support a lot of these nefarious groups that let them keep fighting so i find it really hard to believe you know this kind of narrative that we want to bring peace to syria because that was never been the agenda we we still have to put wonder if it's regime change is still in the cards considering past recent events go ahead alexander well the great. framework in which we have to understand the war in syria is obviously there's been an internal conflict within syria but that war became internationalized because of syria's central position as the key middle east of iran now iran has come to be seen by various countries by israel by saudi arabia and by the allies of israel and saudi
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arabia the united states especially as the great threat to the status quo in the middle east and the whole conflict in syria to a very great extent in my opinion was about breaking that link between syria and iran and that is what has kept the war going for so long and what keeps it going still well you could if you could throw in hezbollah in lebanon here christopher you know but the interesting thing is that if you look at in this century every particularly the illegal invasion of iraq all the way up to the present all of the countries i mentioned saudi arabia qatar israel and the united states and it's with other western allies of all the further the the advancement of the reigning in power in the region i mean every step backfires on them i mean it seems to me that what they want to do is they want to be able to be a proxy player inside of syria just for the reasons that our xander just said here
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but given their past or our track record i wonder if it's going to work it never works go ahead. well yes i think i think a very big part of the problem here for the united states in the western powers especially in the wake of the the aftermath of the iraq invasion in two thousand and three is that the hasn't really been any possibility of future western boots on the ground beyond the small groups of special forces we've seen are here and there the bottom line is the western powers have really had to rely on their regional allies including the gulf states including of course saudi arabia qatar united arab emirates to actually perform that role now they may be very well armed they have course of purchased hundreds of billions of dollars of western armaments over the years but they're not really getting much bang for their work in any of the regional conflicts where they're currently involved either directly in the case of yemen of course or in directly in the case of libya and syria where they're very much fighting through proxies if we contrast that with iran and its various allies
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and proxies including hezbollah are including the various militias it's been supporting in iraq we see relatively much more bang for its book as it were in terms of logistical and military support those groups have been provided with ok richard if i think a lot of people i think all of us agree that there is some kind of pivot going on in this conflict here. it's but it was worry about considering what happened at the very end of the obama administration when the united states accidentally quote unquote. you can see me but i'm being very ironic attacked syrian forces that is in the continues to happen and it's getting more and more frequent why is this happening what message is the united states that sending but it's sounds like you know syria's been carrying the weight you know fighting islamic groups that are supported from the outside they're the ones who have been carrying the water in this conflict here and then you have an outside power that wasn't invited in the country in the first place and it's attacking. the the enemies of the syrian state
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explain why is this happening. well your narrative should take account of the fact that the syrian regime has not been consistently opposing the forces of the islamic state its primary preoccupation over the last several years has been its opponents domestic opponents in syria whom it has labeled smeared if you will as terrorists all or terrorists who oppose those who take up who have taken up arms simply enough that doesn't reflect the realities on the ground in syria look syria is probably the single most complicated political military situation in the middle east today and i don't think anyone sitting in washington moscow. or you name it has a full grasp of those of those realities cypress yes but you wouldn't you wouldn't
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deny the syrian state to protect its sovereignty and to fight against people that rate rise up with it by willingly with outside support i mean that's what they have a legitimate right to protect themselves yes or no. i think it does abuse that right from the beginning back in two thousand and eleven when it moved with ferocity from the very beginning of unrest first of all saying look no one in no real syrian opposes us because they respect what we've done viz of the israel about position standing up against the colonial powers of cetera et cetera. the fact was that syrians had their transistor radios had their sources of information and there were disaffected syrians there were also loyalist syrians and we made richard. did we have to go to a break gentlemen we have to go to a hard break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on syrian
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state party. social environment. right. chemical discoveries over the last century made every day life easier but at what cost this is cereal is exceptionally sick. no wonder it's confidential. says since the years of industrial giants reap the benefit. caused by chemical production. as if these people aren't just experimental animals decades later the toxic environment continues to poison lives and we found these astronomically high levels of backs and levels that my staff think maybe some of the highest levels ever in the united
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states for almost thirty years this very serious problem had not actually been addressed what will that investigation into the chemical industry secrets revealed . this. welcome back to crossfire all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the situation in syria. alexander if it's that look at the position of some of the other proxy players in this conflict here. you know we don't know what the ultimate objective of the us in
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syria i'm still convinced that iran will play a role in it one way or another but let's look at like saudi arabia and let's look at turkey here. they're a very uncompromising in what they want and this is this is what complicates the western quote unquote coalition here are i don't i don't see this the saudis seeing syria as a partner again i don't see the turks doing the same thing particularly i think if you have there is evidence of this if you were to have an election in syria internationally supervised mr assad ran he would win that is something the saudis and the turks can't seem to cope go in go ahead. well we have to distinguish between two different conflicts in syria there is an internal conflict between the syrian government and its opponents and then there is a larger international conflict which involves outside powers like turkey and saudi arabia and iran and unfortunately what appears to be happening in the middle
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east is that we are seeing a division of the middle east between countries like saudi arabia and turkey and other countries which are now pursuing their own regional interests and in the case of saudi arabia i think it's quite clear that the regional the primary focus of saudi policy increasingly is becoming its feud with iran in the case of turkey i think it's more complicated because i think the turks have had regional ambitions which i think all beyond their powers to achieve the the problem is that we have to try and separate these different strands it we're going to steve some kind of a settlement in syria itself and when you have powers like saudi arabia like turkey which have their own interests in syria that is extremely difficult to do
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because that asks those countries to compromise on those interests which they have shown great reluctance up to now to do. well after all of the lives that have been lost and all of the money that has been pumped over this coming all the. all the propaganda if well and also of that and also alexander and to all of my guests and the prestige i mean remember why some wars start prestige you don't want to look weak you christopher let me go back to you in durham. i think it was the brookings institution was two years ago two and a half years ago they came out with a plan partitioning of syria and it seems to me that's gotten a little bit more currency in the last few weeks here do you see that that is a possibility because a lot of people say that's the nice way to end this here but of course for the regional players then you have a continued weak syrian state it will be broken up into sectarian parts and that it gives countries like israel the ability to a metal between the both of them i mean
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a weak syria is not really what is what we need here we need to have a unified strong syria and from what i understand syrians want that ok so partition do you think it's going to be shoved down their throat go ahead christopher. well i think the partition plan we're seeing which of course helps us understand what we were talking about earlier with this scramble for territory as quickly as possible the partition scheme is really the sort of bitter plan b. the plan a was clearly some sort of regime change fostering an uprising in syria as with the uprising in libya which we don't yet know the extent to which these were truly organic revolutionary movements capable of sustaining a truly nationwide revolution in the same way as the revolutions against western client leaders in chin is here in egypt so in both syria and libya there's no doubt there's been significant assistance to both of these uprisings which very sadly has
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seen many blind eyes turned both by ourselves in the west and by our regional allies in the gulf to the sort of proxies on the ground that we've been willing to assist either directly or indirectly to actually make sure those uprisings resulted in a change here we are six or six and a half years later that regime change hasn't happened hey presto we now have the same think tanks that were supporting and providing in many ways diplomatic for some of these jihadist groups now starting to talk about the need for a partition of a sovereign nation state richard is that the a lot of people say that that is the solution here i'm not really convinced of it because a lot of the groups the various groups terrorist groups that have given been given so much money in material support they have their own goals or if they're not necessarily easy to control i think we've seen that in this century you could let
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the genie out of the bottle but you can't control these groups here after you've given them so much funding and maybe even promises of something in the future that they can't on or at the peace table go ahead richard. to get to come home and i don't know. i hope that there is a spirit of pride that has remained with the syrians in being part of that country . they've been through hill and the fires still burn very hot with the hundreds of thousands of refugees out of the country the displacements within the country. but if the recent the desire to rebuild syria as it was. after the first world war until this breakdown the no we're going to have one or four mess to deal with i don't think there's any value in propositioning in the proposal that syria be subdivided into four or five sovereign states or highly have
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taught them a states there may have to be some decentralization to ease syrians way of getting back together my second observation is do not minimize the efforts by iran to flex its muscles in the region you can criticize all you will the role of the saudis the turks the gulf console the egyptians but they say in reply particularly the saudis watch what iran is doing the pressure it's exerting reasserting itself as a major power in the region ok well xander why shouldn't a rand do that i mean every other major power in the regional power can do exactly the same thing only iran can do that i find this just path all the g. in the us against iran just if it really hurts american national interest and they end in the the security interests of the middle east ok it's just the iranians they're the bad guys they're the only bad guys now they're not go ahead alexander
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well i think the point to and remember about iran is that iran is a part of the middle east it has always been there in the middle east and it has always been a major power in the middle east it's been a major military economic and of course eight. huge cultural power in the middle east and i don't think it can be excluded and i don't think it can be pushed aside and i think to try and do that is dangerous and can create all kinds of problems as it has in iraq and as it is it is as it is doing in in syria the thing that has to be done in the middle east is there has to be some kind of understanding of what the lines of influence are and what the various interests of the various countries are to get to some kind of a certain amount of the situation i don't personally think that he ran has some massive expansionist drive in the middle east are never really seen that i think
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the round went through a terrible the episodes during the one nine hundred eighty s. when it was itself exposed to a military attack by an arab state saddam hussein's iraq i think it's created regional alliances to prevent that sort of thing happening again on don't think that the iranians themselves who are i think realistic the whole have a more grandiose ambition than that you know it christopher you know it's interesting how western media the western narrative is that you know the movies are out of control there are there are crazy and you know the irrational no no they're not i mean they're very they're probably one of the most rational of the group they want their regime to survive they want their sovereign state to survive and if you're demonized ental sleeper decades by the west well why wouldn't you want to extend your influence i mean everybody needs to hedge their bets here i mean what i'm just saying is that over all is it the west creates its own problems in the middle east it should get out of the middle east and let the middle east take care
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of itself we would probably have fewer wars and probably a lot fewer arms go ahead christopher. well i think i think firstly with regards to the role of iran you know this is not the place of first to really provide it with any sort of any sort of media diplomatic cover for its i know nothing i am not of the last few years i'm not doing the analysis i'm not doing that ok i'm just saying as well there are different narratives there different going to support your point it ok yes you're right so my my way of looking at this region for the past few years would be that iran has you know after all acted rather defensively in its interests and the interests of its various allies in the region if we look in syria the iranian forces that are there there are question marks about how many how many there are there but there does seem to have been significant a rainy insistence to the syrian government that as far as i can see is entirely legitimate under international law iran was invited to syria on behest of the
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nation state of syria the same in iraq yemen it's a bit cloudy but there's no doubt that yet that iran and the rebels in yemen didn't really begin that vicious conflict that really began with the massive aerial bombardment led by saudi arabia and its allies so we look at least at those three conflicts the past few years in iran iran has acted rather defensively if we cast our mind back a little further to the two thousand and eleven situation in playing the gulf states saudi arabia united arab emirates try to very much per trade that bahraini uprising is having the rounds fingerprints all over it as far as i can see the evidence just isn't there you know that iran has systematically backed the pa trainee. writ again this was patrol a little in the regional mini arab media and certainly the western media as another
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reigning intervention let me jump in here let me give richard the last word here twenty seconds richard can the united states and russia bring peace to syria could soon. in the atmosphere in washington about russia russia russia go ahead twenty seconds but they certainly can. avoid any direct conflict between moscow and washington what they can do with some very disputatious. i don't know. the mystic and i think that we underestimating the loyalties many syrians towards the regime or the fear at least the regime when the regime should be replaced that they would be and will have fewer of the you know i have to jump in here gentlemen i wish we had a whole lot more time but we don't many thanks to my guests in london and in new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here next time and remember.
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this is our to america special. hosted by larry king. for one year so. good evening friends i met charles reporting tonight from london welcome to r.t. america special worldwide coverage of the first anniversary of breck said it was one of the most controversial moves any country has made in modern time the u.k. voted one year.


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