tv Cross Talk RT August 26, 2017 12:00am-12:30am EDT
interesting. was. a man is shown dead in central brussels off to stopping two soldiers police are treating the case as an act of terrorism. north korea launches three short range missiles into the sea lashing out of the ongoing us south korean military drills plus. the. stranded dolphins are reunited with their relatives in russia after their parents took them to iraq to join islamic state party has been running a campaign to help with that safe. kevin owen will be live from here almost studio
in around there was time until then it's the kaiser report. hello and welcome across town for all things considered i'm peter lavelle every once in a while crosstalk as a look at the big picture of a story in this case it is the middle east one of the current defining trends who are the winners and losers and how is this volatile and very dangerous region changing and is american influence on the decline in. cross talking the shifting sands in the middle east i'm joined by my guest so i mean nate are in beirut he's a middle east analyst and in erbil we have joe lauria he is an independent
journalist all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want i always appreciated let me go to you first joe my introduction was very very broad. from your standpoint and you're in iraq right now what what are the most important trends affecting the middle east because there's so much going on right now unfortunately particularly the united states it's overshadowed by what i call fake news i want to do real news on this program here joe your thoughts were how is the middle east changing go ahead it's very easy to get lost in all the details like this so friendly complex particularly in syria i think the overall if you're looking for a really big picture you have to look at u.s. iranian relations and in that in the subtext of that saudi iranian relations and below that the standoff between saudi arabia bahrain egypt against qatar which i think could be a prelude to a conflict with iran trying to bring qatar into their own capital. they were too
close to iran so i think that conflict again between syria and iran. us are choosing between saudi arabia and iran overshadows the entire region their sectarian proxy wars their conflict has to be brought to an end and some kind of an accommodation between these two regional powers they're not going anywhere there has to be a balance of power there the united states if it wanted to be a great power they're the only ones that have the leverage on both parties to bring them together to end their their their conflict because that spreads all over from grain to afghanistan certainly lebannon syria and in iraq the iranian saudi conflict is the overall issue right now and it has so many complex local localized conflicts that has to be dealt with and it doesn't look that way at all the trump administration is not doing that they are lowering themselves united states to the level of the sectarian combatants they are just taking sides are taking a sunni side in
a frighteningly complex sectarian war that goes across the region this is the major issue in the issue in the region and the major problem that washington is is committing right now ok let me go to sami in beirut we can talk about american influence in a second here but could i ask you the same question that i asked joe we knew your mind what are the main confines of what's going on in the middle east because as joe has pointed out it's a long long laundry list ok go ahead sami. yes i think what this is at stake today is the new order in the east. or that. one hundred years ago has definitely gone now that is you ordered but to a different players with different powers that opening them up and for instance you have russia. in syria especially in the last two years iran the united states of america and goodbye to
a lesser extent saudi arabia so this and you order. the. powers and of course i forgot that is a compact of the powers on the. road and the name of the game today is fighting the. core issue is who will be policing. this. the areas of influence. by each of the. two we have already mentioned so what's at stake today. you. define the balance of power for years. to come in joe it's very interesting in looking at syria here with the end of dash i saw islamic state it seems to me that there's a lot of jockeying position for what could possibly be could be some kind of peace
settlement. in your mind here is you know we have tillerson the secretary of state saying if i can quote foreign policy tillerson ready to let russia decide assad's fate i mean that is a remarkable statement considering the flip flop flip flop flip flop that we keep hearing from washington on syria i mean do you take killer since words at face value because i mean i thought it was interesting but i mean what's what are these guys going to say tomorrow go ahead joe. no i do not want his words at face value i don't think they know what the hell they're doing it's clear that look at that during the campaign trump said he would not announce what his plans are you know military plans or does want to give the enemy the heads up now obviously tactically in a battle that's you don't do that but the strict strategy of the united states for the middle larger middle east or in syria has to be explained to the american people whether we agree with it or not at least the obama administration you know pretty much stuck to regime change which we you know most of us on this show have
agreed that that's a mistake but trump we don't know what exactly they're trying to do there except iran iran seems to be the underlying theme in everything as you do everything they say. they've this seems to be shaping up some conflict with iran which is an enormously dangerous and even closer relationship with saudi arabia their religion but israel is taken for granted it's the same with every administration pretty much but the there are even closer to saudi arabia now in particular in this conflict with what they're having with qatar and i think that this is the only thing that we can discern coming out of washington is that they are shaping up to some kind of conflict or confrontation with iran which is an enormous mistake other than that on the day to day politics of what do they want to sod in or not whether russia will decide this or not whether the u.s. is cooperating with russia and syria not or whether they're going to shoot us shooting down syrian aircraft piloted aircraft this is just a complete model for
a region that's normally a model but this united states is not providing any clarity at least what the hell they want to see done in the region and this makes it even harder as an analyst to try to figure out what exactly is going on and what the u.s. motives are assuming i get the impression that there's been a devolution of responsibility here. taking what joe just said about saudi arabia do you think the administration is kind of allocating saudi arabia to be its point man in the region of course it has it's an israeli we have the so. the israelis very close together but there's one problem with all that and that is turkey and now a nato ally here i mean what's going to happen there because there's an enormous amount of friction here and it's all summed up in one word kurds go ahead sami. i think at the end in mind when it comes to the united states of america has been said to clearly by their chief of the pentagon general davis and he's
considering. for. interests in iran so the goal is facing iran now the problem. of america does not have the tools. to face to iran iraq and syria it's true that they could rely on a proxy which is. in iraq but this has limit because supporting the kurds could turkey and here i mean you can understand the position of secretary of state who try to. set the bridges with russia because washington needs russia to pressure on iran to limit on iran at least in syria so because of obama administration policy. that all would from. lack of clarity.
washington lost a lot of them in the east and a lot of leverage it's true that now it's increasing its presence in terms of. presence on the ground and there are investing more but it's not easy to get back. to all the situation where they were the major force prevailing today prime. to face up to iran but they need partners saudi arabia is deafening partner but they need other partners to this is where their son is trying to engage with the russian. it's very interesting is because i absolutely agree with sami i think it's the there are fewer and fewer tools of influence but there are more and more troops and troops are not a very good instrument of politics at the end of the day look at the number of
troops that are in qatar and what in all of these saber rattling we have from saudi arabia and other gulf countries here and the united states is right in the middle of that you have a turkey a nato ally the united states is on the other side in the conflict in syria i mean if this is too much military involvement it actually limits their options in a way go ahead joe. i'm not sure i agree i think ok but the other way around that the u.s. is not looking for proxies the saudis and israel if they want to attack iran which they've said repeatedly they basically do. while i've been solvent and pretty calm prince has talked about bringing the war inside iran they need the united states this is their long standing goal is to control the united states to back their plans they don't have the military might to fight iran they might have the might to back. to back a stream that's throughout the region particularly in syria but they can't take on iran without the united states coming on board i think that's what we saw when trump went to saudi arabia and to israel that they were lobbying him to do this
eventually and it's very scary because trump might be someone who will go along and do it he seems reckless and as far as qatar goes you know i mean and the qatar situation to get it shows again this will normally split and really a factor we have to consider is incompetence in washington right now because you've got to listen and not to some one side saying they want to negotiate selman and drops going out on twitter you know back in saudi arabia to saudi arabia to the hill to calling qatar the largest purveyor of terrorism in the world so you've got they've got to get together on the. same page somehow or other we don't know what's going to happen but they certainly are not. they are being lobbied to be the force for a war against iran and in southeast syria right now outcome for they are backing state their own rebels this is clearly an attempt to cut off the baghdad damascus highway which the iranians used to supply has by law this is israel's main concern is that the iranians continue to supply his blood they've been doing it by air but this is
a land route that the americans i think the trying to cut off that seems to be what their aim is although that's also a guess again right here like that jonah let me jump in here because isis is not there i have to feel that we have to go to a hard break and after that hard break we'll continue our discussion on the changing middle east a party. and book a clinical place called the. police a key key. get in you know who are going to commit they're. going to write baghdad.
that's like putting you in such false lead you don't want to die joyful for the what he said i feel we should i should think muslims you pull thank you for such but he said. things. here's what people have been saying about redacted and. pull along. the only show i go out of my way to. the really packed. yam is the john oliver of r t americans do the same. apparently better than. i see people you've never heard of love back to the night. president of the world bank a. seriously send us an e-mail.
welcome back to cross talk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the shifting sands in the middle east. ok let me go back to sami and beirut one of the most important changes it's been going on is the change in leadership in saudi arabia in the sort of giddy about it it looks like washington is given a green light is this really smart to embolden this young crown prince i mean you know the recent foreign policy of saudi arabia has been nothing but an utter disaster in that you know we can look at syria and we can look to yemen but it looks like the saudis are being prodded along early and given the green light from their allies does this worry you for the region and for saudi arabia itself go
ahead sami. definitely that is in new era in saudi arabia i mean some put it this is of of appeasement that is definitely in change and. it's more. it's better for the young prince given what's going on was in yemen given the challenge of facing up to iran which is not an easy challenge given that it line in oil prices i mean the conditions of his leadership are not easy at all but however one has to keep in mind that. has been directly hit by. inside saudi arabia so that was very close to a yard and maybe this pushed the leadership to this new change in
leadership and getting the fact that for the last decade iran's influence in that region has been increasing by the day let's not forget that in two thousand and three iran was trying to find a deed was the united states of america to be the second in line after the war in iraq today in iraq controlled largely by iran or iran proxies and that each and this road from damascus to baghdad what has been called the shiite crescent is now a reality and this is giving iran a high leverage. and the ultimate test today with regard to syria is to see and to check if iran will be to establishment
to establish definitely bridge that will link the military in iraq. well joe we go back to iran i mean it kind of goes to my point in talking about saudi arabia let's go all the way back to the illegal invasion of iraq in two thousand and three and let's go all the way up to two thousand and seventeen i mean iran's in influence is growing in the region well i wonder why it's because one failure in a venture after another i mean all iran has to do more or less stand there and it can influence increase its influence i mean this is i find it just really amazing when there's no learning curve coming out of western countries if you don't like a rand why are you hoping them indirectly over and over and over again it's i mean it's this is foreign policy internationally leighton's one o one go ahead joe there's no doubt that the american invasion here in iraq in two thousand and three helped iran's position regionally but it also led directly to the existence of islamic state in iraq many of the bath party officials that were
kicked out of power joined that group and are trying to get back to power they're almost defeated now in mosul but they'll continue as an asymmetrical warfare throughout iraq so that they're not going to go away but if you look from a western point of view if you're in brussels or paris or san bernardino or very land or any of the places that have been hit by either orchestrated or inspired attacks by the islamic state are you looking at iran as being a danger to western cities what is the last remaining and back terrorist group that attacked a western city this is a sunni backed saudi inspired and paid for in many ways groups i'm not saying this direct relationship between saudi arabia and those attacks they've certainly been supporting isis we know that from hillary clinton's e-mails so these are the groups that are threatening the west why is the west so obsessed about iran and when it's the threat comes from the saudis back groups and as far as yemen goes you know they was a deal you want to have a deal where the who these were going to withdraw from sanaa and that's when saudi
arabia bombed the day that that deal is about to come into into force the only thing that had settled was the presidency and saudi arabia. did not want to see any kind of democracy within their borders this is been a reckless war with yemen yes they've attacked now it's saudi territory it's become absolutely out of control and mom had been summoned as a corrupt deputy crown prince the effective king of saudi arabia has got no democratic control on what he does if any country with any with democracy would have been a lot of trouble politically after what the disaster in yemen but he continues on with this bellicose speech against iran with this possibility even of an invasion of qatar by saudi arabia and its allies this is just getting more and more dangerous and he has a reckless foresee that united states is backing to the hilt we now doubt that that son in law of trump is great friends with in my home and solomon so i don't know what to say about that now where we're headed with that sami is sticking with. sami this thing with saudi arabia here if i'm going to agree with joe here it it
seems that it wants a gemini in the region and it wants other countries in the region the gulf countries to mirror its domestic politics and foreign policy which means no human rights no democracy no civil society. al-jazeera comes to mind out of qatar i mean is this what the gulf countries are signing up to and at the same time the more they put pressure on qatar qatar just moves into the arms of iran again i don't understand the logic of how this supports the national interest of saudi arabia and the security of the entire region it seems are doing everything backwards in brawn go ahead sami. what it comes to democracy or countries and they mean including iran have so put including including iran on the side including iran including iran course including including of course including iran when you have i mean one set of experts that all of that would be allowed to
participate in that action. we cannot talk about the democrats it's not about to go into the ballot it's about free campaigning it's about creating the condemn the checks and balances inside the system and the human rights that are respected but this site i would like to focus on one made sure i mean problem was that tension between sunnis and shia and we cannot jump over to the reality the problem is not only between iran and between the saudi arabia the problem inside the house inside the other board itself you have this big divide between two sick did in groups and this is at the core of what the war happening in syria and this is. could inflame at any point in their been on in kuwait and behind and this.
problem i don't think that i mean putting the blame on one side would have definitely between iran and saudi arabia and that killing the real issue would have a lot but antagonizing or defeat or develop one part. of the other is not it's not definitely going to how to that is nor. good cop bad cop game here and we have a deep divide inside. the. dimension is. that putting or putting. the stability of the whole of the regions for years and decades to come so if diplomacy has to play at all to push the major players to that each. day yemen case and this case can be
a good start for this kind of man because the problem is not once more it was a cell. what jordan egypt. we have seen during the last day of this crisis there arises around qatar qatar is directly i mean. to be. a group. to where fueling terrorism and this crisis is not between qatar and start with. third and fourth major countries in the east including egypt which is a center of gravity of the award in that each and ok kill i mean how carrying divine how real is it in how is it being used as a political tool i mean if you look at syria for example a secular society. certainly ruled by iron hand but they did did
not have that kind of sectarian divide and now it is important to them i mean it seems to me that washington is pick the sunni's israel is overjoyed because it wants to see the sunni and shia fight and it gives them a breathing room and actually to expand i'm thinking of golan heights it seems to me it's a political tool the sectarianism it is it it isn't innate in the populations of the country because we always began with these are royal families these are dictatorships in there are people here not necessarily states go ahead joe that's a good question first i agree with sam about iran not being full democracy it has more democracy at the saudi arabia and while we're actually sectarian issue the sectarian issue is here i've been now here more than a year and a half in iraq i've spent well more than two years all over the region and it's a real thing on the ground people really do i mean people i know guys here were very friendly with
a really good guy the mention the well the moment you mention iran or she isn't they turn into monsters i mean it's just an amazing crowd. however that has come from the top in a lot of ways there's no question about that it is being used by the rulers of saudi arabia and iran i guess to. push their geo political interests in the region by using religious differences so that you're absolutely right peter in saying that but there are real theological differences you shut down and speak with people and they really get upset by things that shia believe that they some many of them believe they're not even muslims so to me theology becomes if there are all of history has been just a way to divide people and not to unite them in any way in which people could believe whatever they want to how they behave that that counts and unfortunately with behavior does bleed into belief leads into behavior so we see this division is absolutely on the ground as sammy said this is a huge huge problem and again as i said at the beginning only the united states is in a position to do something about that they have to bring the major sunni and iranian
powers and i think it's saudi arabia is more of the gravity a center of gravity than egypt it used to be i think egypt they have to bring saudis on the egyptians who are all can't really stage so i'm going to turn back here to get them in to we bring those things we together we don't run out of time those were pearls of wisdom many thanks to my guests and herbal and in beirut and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time and remember cross talk. about your second passing i phone we just learned you were yourself taking your last bong turns. to us we all do it but i tell you i'm sorry.
so i write. last words and hopes to put to rest these things that i never got off my chest. i remember when we first met my life turned on each breath. but then my feelings started to change you talked about war like it was a cave still some are fond of you those that didn't like to question our ark and i secretly promised to never be like it said one does not leave a funeral the same as one enters the mind gets consumed with death this one quite different i speak to you now because there are no other takers. claimed that mainstream media has met its maker.