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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 56  Al Jazeera  February 26, 2018 2:32pm-3:01pm +03

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even al qaida is spreading there in large parts of the governorates has never been as present as it is right now. the un says the number of people facing extreme hunger in south sudan is unprecedented more than five million people has about half the population and now entirely dependent on aid. south korea is pushing for both the u.s. and north korea to compromise said talks can go ahead a north korean general visiting the south has repeatedly expressed his country's readiness to meet the united states kim young charles presence has been met by protests in so many blame the general for the deaths of dozens of south korean sailors in twenty ten. students of return to their florida high school for the first time since a gunman killed seventeen people there earlier this month the school reopened to students and family members ahead of the resumption of classes on wednesday the building where the shooting took place remains cooled off that many students are
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there to lay flowers and pay their respects. ok you know up to date there is of the latest headlines coming up next here it is there it's inside story. donald trump and the gulf crisis the u.s. president is soon to meet leaders who imposed the blockade on eight months ago but what does he have to offer the saudis and their allies and would he force a settlement on u.s. allies in this volatile region this is inside story.
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hello and welcome to inside story from doha i'm. the diplomatic crisis between gulf countries is now in its ninth month saudi arabia the u.a.e. bought and egypt cut diplomatic relations with qatar and imposed a land sea and air blockade last june but that strongly denies their accusations of funding terrorism despite repeated efforts by kuwait to mediate the stalemate continues but could meetings starting next month between the us president and leaders of the gulf cooperation council help end the crisis those talks which are also due to continue in april will reportedly center around the possibility of establishing a g.c.c. summit later this year and discuss the regional role of iran. the u.s. and the e.u. have repeatedly called on the blockading countries to negotiate its first intervention happened just after the blockade when donald trump appeared to back the blockade in a series of tweets about qatar this was countered by u.s.
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defense secretary james mattis and secretary of state rex tillerson who both called for calm by july rex tillerson visited the region in support of kuwait's mediation efforts to bring all sides together during that trip he signed a memorandum of understanding with cutler on countering terrorism and in november the first bilateral counter-terrorism dialogue was held in washington between the us and cutler then last month qatar in the us held their strategic dialogue washington pledged to work jointly with a cup of to deter any external threat to cut those territorial integrity and cut announced it will expand the other they'd airbase which is host to some eleven thousand u.s. military personnel let's now get the thoughts of our guests joining me here in studio magic them saudi professor at qatar university schiff the buddha professor of political science at kuwait university and also in doha marc far assistant professor at the doha institute for graduate studies welcome to you all i want to start with you if these meetings actually happen with president trump do you
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believe that that could lead to a summit happening in which the leaders of all the g.c.c. countries would sit together and talk of this is certainly the million dollar question the it seems like that the white house would like to appear as if as if it is the ching and to this crisis prison trump would like to be the person who would end this crisis apparently after being blamed for starting it to at least instigating the incident that started it while in the same what we're seeing now is that the locating countries have not changed their positions but they have not changed its position so there is no real change on the ground with comes to what the dialogue can be about now the fact that trump will be receiving the leaders in that. starting with saudi arabia then the u.a.e. then but that kind of tells you that the main concessions have to be made by saudi arabia and the u.a.e. and this is why they're coming first they're coming first in order to make sure that they agree to holding
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a dialogue which is something they haven't agreed to until now while the emir of whether his highness will be coming at the end of this to kind of sum up what will happen at the at the dialogue their state department apparently they're trying to dilute the issue saying that even if there was a summit held in camp david the crisis will not be the only issue on the table so even if they couldn't succeed in breaking a deal of brokering a deal at that time they did they say that we had a discussion about. iran about the other issues and the region and kind of let that crisis issue unfold as it goes however i'm still very skeptical that such a summit can happen within the current climate shift what kind of pressure do you believe the u.s. could apply on leaders of gulf countries to make this happen. it's very possible that pressure. a combination of. pulls on so many things there are so many economic and. so many deals in the
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pipeline. there is a lot of. elements of protection the military umbrella i think america and the u.s. does have leverage and it doesn't have to be too blunt about that leverage but it looks that the gulf crisis since may of two thousand and seventeen has been very counterproductive to the americans maybe they have gained certain benefits but they have also lost influence as a result the turks are now in the gulf small theists are fearful for their independence. new ideology is evolving iran did benefit tremendously from the gulf crisis it feels at ease and even when it comes to commands and as a result of that the u.s. feels that this particular crisis has not been helpful now the u.s.
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is a more than one mind you you have the trump administration which is more under right in association with the netanyahu leadership in israel which is on the right that's off one mind and then you have the state department and the pentagon and looks to me that the state department and the pentagon has been putting a lot of common sense regarding how reckless was this crisis since it started in may and that is it continues one way or another that recklessness continues even with effects into the domestic situation in in g.c.c. states or more i want to pick up on what she just said and i want to go back to the beginning of the crisis because many believe that this crisis was prolonged because of what she was talking about mainly that divide between what president trump was saying about her and then with what you would hear coming from u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson supporting carter now do you believe that this could have ended long ago if there hadn't been these mixed messages coming from
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d.c. . well yes i think there is a good indication that a lot of this crisis emanated from the divides in washington itself and these divides and translate into divides in the region within the gulf states themselves but as she was saying and others as well i mean the problem now we have is not just do you have this showdown which is very dangerous between iran and saudi arabia between these two axes but also it within the g.c.c. itself there's a division and i think it's upon us now to mend fences to find a consensus amongst these gulf states and then later even a grander consensus because i think the danger we're having now in syria and elsewhere is a ratcheting up of the crisis by the united states whether it be in israel by taking a very very pro israeli line against all international law or against iran as well of courting disaster or against russia for that matter but some of these crises i just stare say that again before we sort of just blame them for everything we're
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inherited i mean a lot of this came from the obama ministration weatherby the tension with russia where the peace syria or else so i think we should bear that in mind before we just simplistically say you know trump is fall for everything i think the crisis was in the making before and the tensions were the making of war and now it is upon us to find solutions to these tensions mounted you were part of the delegation that was in washington d.c. last month or got something that was very important to them signing those bilateral agreements with washington one of them was a promise of protection the u.s. intends to work jointly with said to deter and confront external pressures to its territorial integrity just how vitally important was that this time the strategic dialogue that took place in washington wasn't only in its own project. through relationship in the united states and about that but it was also a changing in a shifting tone in d.c. you could have had the confidence in tell us is tone doing that dialogue and that
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this is while there. as of course a lot of hesitation before to support the openly like this because this officials of the pentagon and the state they knew that anything they could say can be the next day debunked by the president himself by a tweet or by. something coming out from the white house a communique or otherwise so the main difference that we saw when we were in d.c. the change of tone into a very confident pro stance position by the united states we've seen the three officials. mattis to listen and. the treasury. secretary all of them were speaking very fondly of their relationship with god over the weekend very confidently about the strategic relationship with that with qatar and i think this was mainly due to the fact that the white house has changed its position not dramatically but has at least given way to the state department and to the pentagon to run this crisis they have agreed to whatever seems line was from
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the beginning which is we have to get our people together they are our allies and we have to mobilize our allies through making them speak with with one another and now of course we're seeing that the white house is still maintaining that line is supporting what ellison is doing there's very little damage that trump is doing now . compared to the beginning of this crisis so i think the main thing the main lesson the main idea to be taken from the strategic dialogue at the time is that shift in the tone towards form accusing others of supporting terrorism speaking of as a reliable partner mark building on what marriage is so do you believe that president trumps position now on culture is just solidified in line with madison secretary tillerson. well i think it's a little bit too early to tell i think we'll still have to see what he intends what his strategy is from this bilateral dialogue it's not what it was initially.
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designed to be which is a communal dialogue of all the parties he's going one by one and i think it's a little bit would be jumping the gun if we rush to conclusions here and what exactly is and maybe he doesn't even exactly know he's playing it by ear maybe to some degree but i'm not so sure that it will necessarily you know follow a distinct strategy i think he's to some degree playing it to. weighing the options if you will to some degree for the u.s. it's not necessarily a disadvantage if there is some squabbling here or there we know the weapons deals that were being done but i think in the general picture and i'm going to emphasize this i think the overall danger here is we've seen an increase of tension across the region and it really really is important for the united states to go back because trump came into the into the office with a different agenda from hillary with ending wars in the middle east instead we're seeing is the opposite he's actually you know going down the line once again and i think that's against his voters and against american national interest as well
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shift at this stage what would saudi arabia and the u.a.e. want to get out of you know in return from qatar to try and end this and then what would be amenable to doing as far as concessions. that's a very hard question. as you can see the policies. tend to be. mostly hard to predict and sudden sudden shift. we've seen that internet in saudi arabia we've seen. in overall foreign policy and. however. there will be or must be some sort of face saving formula. this to be looked into given that there has been an agreement on moving forward. it
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will simply be that i think there was a motivation in this crisis that was economic and that failed if it was really a konami. so much of the objectives of the crisis as we understand it and as we've observed it since may and regarding qatar has failed from the so in the perspective so what would that face saving formula be is to be seen and yet there will be certain benefits. it's hard to. see where it will cut. go in these benefits but i also see established realities that would be very hard to unlock whether it's. qatar and on man or qatar and turkey or the whole issue of trust and mistrust will continue for years to come it's very hard to delve into such
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a crisis and expect to just. forget it so mistrust will continue i'm going to see expressions of this mistrust so it can be if when you look at the crisis now you see that it has reached at. mick's what else are you going to do beyond that and that that what is there that means some trade has to come flying their own planes the thing is it's set there and it's not the whole lot . that will come back but that it depicts that the options anyway yet that elation ship that the americans need may force that new equivocally amend the benefit for thirty. with the americans also may be off a certain direction that will help the agreement with got their thought on the positive not there is a possibility on another not we didn't know it's still early and things could
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happen and the american administration could also face challenges challenges that are also domestic and that also in saudi arabia the yemen or other aspect so it's a volatile environment and we need to keep this as we end a life i was in kuwait in december covering the last g.c.c. summit how many were surprised that out that even happened at all but it was supposed to originally last two days it only lasted a few hours and at the end of the day the leaders of the u.a.e. and saudi arabia did not even attend did that say to you that the g.c.c. is broken beyond repair i mean we're talking today about the possibility of another g.c.c. summit perhaps under the auspices of washington d.c. but are we at a point now where the g.c.c. is really broken. i don't think it's totally broken to the point of no return i think it's suffering suffered a huge blow but we have to remember that the g.c.c.
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as an entity never had such a strong political presence the g.c.c. always had of a decorative presence to do it you've seen always that political positions towards international and regional issues have always varied between various g.c.c. countries and they've been part of different. parties in different disagreements in the region we've seen for example that even before the arab spring there were the money many issues like their war on gaza for example that the israelis waged in two thousand and eight or other or other issues they've always been difference of opinion and very strong difference of opinion some countries in the region belong to if i might say even different camps when it comes to the outlook of the region how it should look at the g.c.c. has always been more of a social and economic body that kind of embodied the shared culture and shared norms of the region rather than being a political entity that make sure everybody falls in line and i think that the saudis what they wanted and the america is from the g.c.c. is for it to be a vehicle where they actually use it to explore how they can use their political
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had germany over the region and this would not work and this is why i think they did not attend in a very high delegations in december and i remember when you were there when you were there in the the whole itself we've seen how the difference in how the emir of kuwait is on the received his highness the emir and the other delegations this summit of it to me was a very strong point where it led kuwait to say listen now your problem is not only with qatar it is all it's also with the g.c.c. as a whole and this actually correct or wrong this always been there saying that this is the g.c.c. crisis where but that is bent against the g.c.c. countries there are only three countries in the u.c.c. that are participating in the blockading us qatar while kuwait and oman are more neutral and. nick and the last couple of months they've been even closer to that at the position supporting dialogue between the different parties so i believe that this is certainly in one of its low points in its history but it can we cover we
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never of course because this we are going to be i mean the people who are running this regime they're not going to be there forever so the end the entity was able to survive because of the kuwaiti summit and what kuwait did to make sure they survived and i think they can survive but it will be certainly weakened by what happened where do kuwait's mediating efforts in this dispute stand right now has there been any type of breakthrough in the last few months in trying to resolve all this not a breakthrough i think who it's sexist has been through the at the impact and the approach taken by the emir of kuwait. and that has been clearly to put it kind of kept to put the thiele being under crisis and to make sure that the crisis that's not exceed. just being a political force you cannot make. media
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crisis the way it expressed itself it was hoping to avoid a military confrontation and the effort succeeded and then you're of kuwait said there was such a potential and he said that in the white house and that the efforts helped put a cap on that helped prevent that and yet quits efforts continued through the g.c.c. summit has failed as it is right to keep the skeleton and the skeleton continued and therefore you will find kuwait's effort is to keep that balance yet kuwait as a small state today is is that they feel as secure as it was before the crisis because that crisis showed how how fragile was the g.c.c. how fragile relations between the g.c.c. countries that to the point where the emir of kuwait said in the white house when i was in riyadh just before the crisis days before the crisis during that big summit
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that brought the president up we didn't feel he said he didn't feel nobody felt that there was a sense of crisis among at least the kuwaiti delegation and yet it came a few days or a couple of weeks later so that's a is how fragile. so going beyond that to the future is going to mean a mechanism for conflict resolution is going to mean getting more other other dimensions other institutions to participate in the. i mean more people to people are more. assembly is institutions of of law and accord me be it needs to develop if it doesn't develop it will be as you said earlier a different kind of vision says see an american legacy see in an area which is not anymore a fully influenced by the u.s. in an area where there are so many paradigms so many regional players so many
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international players and therefore it would be a thought that a different form that is not exactly function. mark has the u.s. his credibility been damaged in this crisis and if so how much in both the region and in particular in g.c.c. countries yes i mean are you think i think you see there's a bit of a lack of trust in essence and on all sides in a way and therefore also those since the u.s. still remains a superpower an effort to sort of win that trust back or win the favors back but also to hedge and to look to other sources of support whether it be it on russia even turkey of course and this is probably the big conflict rooming looming in the background this showdown in the sunni states even before we had a sunni shia clash and now we have turkey saudi arabia clash if you want and the fronts in the front lines are clearly drawn. again i think u.s. diplomacy as an american citizen should be much more creative should be much more
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proactive inch should to go in new ways and i thought i would again not just playing the trumpet ministration but also the previous administration for a lack of creativity for foreign policy which was based basically on guns and bombs and knocked on creative diplomacy and regime change in a way so i think a new paradigm is needed desperately and even though trump was supposed to bring that new paradigm what we're seeing is much of the old and then some in fact and i think that's a big danger now in the future still. even if the g.c.c. does meet under the auspices of washington. what could come out of this do you think that a success would just be that there is a meeting or there have to be concrete agreements made it such as well to bar the term used by. there are a lot of faces to be saved and in order to broker any kind of deal between these countries these faces have to be considered and here i'm talking about saudi arabia who needs not get out of this crisis as
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a loser it's very important for the vision of the new administration in the new. parent and the king in saudi arabia to appear victorious out of this crisis and this of course will not work for that but those who need to establish their sovereignty you need to establish their strength and their positioning in this and this region and cannot abide by any perception that they come out of this issue as losers or that they kind of gave in to the demands of the of the countries the united states also wants to come out and trumps administration especially wants to come out as a problem solver. and they want to be able to say that we control our allies we can push our allies to the direction that we see fit and we can solve problems when we need to and these collection of face saving exercises will be quite difficult to to come by and come out with with a solution unless the united states decides listen we'd like to pressure one side
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more than the other and they know that this is very dangerous if they push the car that is that out there you can go towards russia can be more or less abiding to the u.s. and can feel themselves to be even less inclined to. where with the project of the base that they. enlarging it to the thousand and forty from here to two thousand and forty if they pressure the saudis and they're right if there is no nobody has an idea what they can do actually in the region they could simply just because it's very volatile and what they've been doing is very destructive it could all just blow up in one second so it is a very difficult mix that need. to be done in washington i think at the end only one thing can be done it's just getting people to sit down together and talk about the issue this in itself well be a step towards a solution all right we're going to have to leave it there thanks to all our guests measures of them saudis. and mark farha and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash
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