tv [untitled] April 11, 2011 7:30am-8:00am EDT
tune in to khan's report on r t. three thirty pm in moscow good to have you with us here on our t.v. easier headlines mitri medvedev needs his polish counterpart bronislaw komorowski for a commemoration ceremony mourning the victims of the tragic disaster the service is taking place at the very sight of the plane crash that killed poland's president and ninety five high ranking officials a year ago. african union putting their peace plan for libya to the rebels colonel gadhafi accepted the proposal after talks sunday but the stalemate unlikely to be
resolved unless the libyan leader steps down. and france slammed for its discrimination policies towards muslims as a law banning the burka goes into effect it's being portrayed as a path toward integration but could instead have the opposite effect. next peter lavelle and his guest on cross talk to scott's whether foreign intervention in libya will pave the way for al qaeda to take root in the country that's coming your way next. can. stand.
alone welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle opening the door to tear the al qaeda franchise has been largely absent from the arab awakening in north africa people appear to be embracing democracy and not radical islam however this may change the military intervention in libya and the violence in yemen could be an opportunity for al qaida. can. still be. discussed in the arab world today i'm joined by and he's in washington he's a senior political scientist at the rand corporation also in washington we have got him rami he is a human and civil rights program director at the muslim american society freedom and in austin we go to derrick crow he is the political director at the brave new foundation and another member of our cross talking you know on the hunger right derrick in austin you got up early as for this program so i'm going to go you first . is we've we've thanks you know during the day we look at the the transformation
of the arab world the him the embrace of democracy and getting rid of these vicious dictators have been around for for decades the dictators and some of people on the right wing of said be careful al qaeda is out there going to take advantage of it but we've seen successful growing successes in the arab middle east but now we have the intervention in libya and we're hearing al qaeda again do you feel that there is a strong enough evidence to believe that al qaeda is trying to infiltrate itself into the ranks of this civil war is what's happening right now in libya because we haven't heard a lot about al qaeda lately and all sudden we while we get the word from the cia there's a flicker of activity how do you reflect on that. well i'll i think al qaeda is always looking for ways to insinuate itself into situations where there's chaos or a lack of law and order like we're seeing in afghanistan right now we're hearing that even though we shoved thousands and thousands of more u.s. troops into there somehow we still have al qaeda cells popping up and that that really shows i think the brokenness of the u.s.
strategy there for on one hand but i do think that there's always the danger that when there's these areas of instability like this that al qaeda tries to insinuate itself but our i think you should always take with a grain of salt sometimes the united states intelligence community you know off the record pronouncements that al qaeda is insinuating itself into a situation because they're kind of the bogeyman that we've set up when we want to intervene somewhere and you know if i go to you in washington it was that cache of documents that came a cache of documents in two thousand and seven and it was revealed in iraq that a number of volunteers to be suicide bombers came from libya from eastern libya now again is this going is this just the bogeyman coming out in a and this is just to try to convince people for or against intervention because again the. pure coincidence that a lot of these people came from eastern libya apparently are new ally in the region as this civil war goes on what do you think about that is how true is it. well
there used to be a group in in libya the libyan islamic fighting group and this was. one of the many groups in north africa that they had some degree of association with i would tell you that what happened is they care about the government was successful in essentially crushing this group most of the of the leaders in jail and the ones that survived migrated to other places of. of conflict so this is this is why you find libyans for example in high positions with the al qaeda core in pakistan afghanistan area is because of the defeat of the levy and islamic fighting group in libya and now what happened in libya is very very before this latest crisis it's very very interesting because the
they got their free government enter into. into these questions with the recently there is leaders of the libyan islamic fighting group and somehow the leadership of the group went through a process of reassessing and they examining their ideology and they and there are three now seeing violence and as a result of these a number of them were left out of prison so basically i would tell you that the not have a strong presence in libya when the revolt against gaddafi develop this is what i don't think that there is a great danger or the extremist groups will take over the world every incident on that is very interesting figure but it's very interesting irrespective of the numbers here i mean and it in and all kind is always changing it's like you know him if i go to you in washington and it's there it's kind of an interesting irony right here i mean maybe formal i'll kind of beauty there are calls to arm these
rebels i mean it. there is a great of historical irony there isn't there i mean these people that were. sworn to destroy western influence and their allies in the region or could be armed by the united states and nato is there i mean it's kind of like the mujahideen and possibly if it works out. well well that's a possibility i think we have to understand that al qaeda is not a political organization in the conventional sense of the word it's not structured around an ideology it's really a terrorist group it's. whose primary purpose is to create situations that destroy human life and that insinuate themselves and political situations that will ultimately lead in some attack perhaps on the united states of america or other western countries the sense that i have right now is that civil society in libya and the civil society that emerges from the civil war is going to have to be very good visual and also very much aware of the fact that tolerating that kind of
violent extremism is not a benefit to either the evolution of democracy in libya or to live in coexistence with the rest of the world so my sense is further that those of us who really reject violence and reject violence as a means of moving the arab world forward and specifically libya forward will ultimately have to be not only aware of that potential danger but also build up civil society to the point where. those kinds of attitudes and those kinds of extremist ideologies are not are not tolerated or supported ok if i if i go back to . it's very interesting and we feel look at the. how the intervention is changing the kind of the discourse that is going on here i mean only a few weeks ago we were talking about the great rise of democracy now more of the focus is on civil war is this an opening for al qaeda to say look i mean the the
americans or nato allies they're going to protect some of their dictator friends are going to let some of them go it's a lot more ambiguous than this narrative it's the freedom of nations in north africa they can take advantage of that. it and they kind of tell you that could the first speaker remains show oh. it is always looking for opportunities to take advantage of chaos let me mention one thing i do see a great deal of both a similarity between what is happening in libya today and what happened in boston the in the mid ninety's because usually called the during the the war in bosnia. muslims were beleaguered and they turned to for assistance you know iranians were the main supporters of the of it was in muslims in the early stages of the war there was
a danger of infiltration by extremist elements there was a whole brigade fighting in bosnia on the site of the muslims of out of mujahideen these were extremists. many of them were affiliated with al qaida so you had these this situation in bosnia in the mid night the ninety's were it look as if extremist elements were going to gain great influence and they did know what the united states and its associates partners and allies did in bosnia they engage with the boston for the nation comprising both the a muslim and croatian sites and they put in place a program to train and equip there are forces of the boston for the nation so there was this that engagement and what that did is it provided the united states with the lead british that it needed to drive out the influence over there any and very
has a very
interesting i've never heard this comparison intellectually to derek an answer here the comparison between bosnian intervention in bosnia and intervention here in libya the difference is they can da faecal is still a very powerful figure he does have resources to hit back and i mean here back at the west the boston. didn't in that situation there it wasn't going to get more it was going to corrupt the entire region over a much further in this case it's still there ok maybe you didn't get rid of all of those nasty weapons ok maybe there's a few hanging around still so the comparison is not very good in that sense how do you feel about that i mean you know this intervention is giving a message that you know it looks could be critical for many people in the region. and example saudi arabia it's like i said earlier it's not it's not the same narrative all the way through go ahead i think there's a real ambiguity here there's not clear lines between good guys and bad guys in our
media life portrayed
here in the united states like you mentioned earlier the top of the program the region in which the united states is backing armed forces inside of libya is a region that is sent numerous people to fight americans in iraq and afghanistan and they're actually members of the libyan resistance movement that have admitted that they have actually been in iraq in afghanistan fighting against the americans and these are the same folks that we're trying to arm with with expensive united states weapons and and trying to back with airstrikes you know back to the topic about kind of first second we had mentioned that they want to take advantage of chaos i mean al qaeda is in a brand a crisis right now like there's these democratic uprisings in egypt and other places have really kind of shown how how impotent their. ideology is in speaking for the aspirations of the people across the muslim world and it's a real threat to them when people without weapons stand up and try to take control their own destiny rather than going through our broken ideology but you're right
that the overall point that you're making here is that there's some real moral ambiguity here and for the united states to charge in like we're defending quote unquote freedom fighters versus an evil dictator there's no no real indication that that's how it's going to come out watch. me but i'm a fine go to you i mean again if we just get a real quickly before we go to the break here is america helping or hurting its image with this intervention into libya. i think it's going both actually mad is the irony i do agree with the the assessment that there is moral ambiguity there is no very clear game plan or exit strategy that we can discern on the part of the reality on that point there gentlemen i'm going to jump in here we're going to one short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion of stay with her. book. can. still. look good.
when she's not enough. when it's something really crucial. when you want to get down to brass tacks we bring you our special coverage years of research and construction. all to hear the famous. for the first human blasting off into space. and returning as they hear a. question will be. will. bring you the latest in science technology from around russia. we've got the future
covered. welcome back to cross talk i'm peter lavelle remind you we're talking about al qaeda in the arab world. slim. but first let's see what russians think about this organization and. with democracy in the air many in the arab world now have hope and expectations of change to the people's pope or appears to have marginalized radical fundamentalists and other groups though in a live band yemen this may not be the case and there is growing evidence that al qaeda is on the move in both countries the public opinion foundation asked russians
what is the target of al qaeda thirty nine percent of the respondents say it's the entire non muslim world and another four percent actions targeted only against some particular countries it remains to be seen if civil war and foreign military intervention well play into the hands of al qaeda and other groups peter right you know in a in washington if i can go to you and we were talking about this brand issue that kind of house it's a really big problem as pointed out earlier part of the program but they are resilient and it isn't going to go away i mean expansionary we see events unfolding in yemen which again we'll see a lot of from event people on the ground seeing western hypocrisy there they will go in and take out one person but not another ok but this is where our kyra does have some traction in some sense ok now again rebranding how did it what is the what is the effect of strategy for them to rebrand if they can embrace democracy but they can still point out the hypocrisy of the west well i think this.
awakening as you call it and the response or thought of the west police police awakening those we send some very very serious challenges to i would tell you that . i think ok that would have had the benefit that if the west had supported dictators because i would tell you that one of the themes from the very beginning is that they were struggling against the west because it was western support that can. apple states as they call them up with state governments in place that was the whole theory that they had to strike against the west in order to weaken western support of these up of state play games that if the west were forced to withdraw its support they would fall with the milk that they say show on the we are seeing. the milk of the station process that we have seen in conflicts like egypt.
in tunisia in libya of course in return in armed conflict you know ok this argument is we can't because if they see these. masses facing against against the paper sheep and so far there is no indication that these are islamist revolutions they're not going to think there will be as far as we can see them there are humans who suspect we're if they see the west soup or the being the democrat the station process it makes it very hard for them to blame the west for the ills of the arab world the muslim world i should say saudi somebody difficult problem for them and i don't see. very good power putting for al qaeda itself in a way that would be convincing to the muslim population of the middle east when you dare to think go back to you i mean that's
a very interesting point here but i suppose maybe we're all getting ahead of ourselves too because we have to see where the democratic process is going to go in the region it's still very very early days i mean anyone that's going to say it's democracy failed in the in the in the or in north africa is it is just really it's a street premature we haven't seen where it's going to go to before the events in tunisia are still being played out in egypt and unfortunately in the middle is this awful civil war being played out in libya how much it can it you think can induce it because of events in libya depending on how long it can take will slow down the democratic process because you know even the countries on both sides living in tunisia to start getting worried if this is going to grow and we see al qaeda using potentially using libya's a base because of the chaos that's going to worry a lot of people and it's going to be hard liners and people the security hardliners are going to feel emboldened again. well i think there are a couple of points i'd like to make to that first is that the earlier point you were asking the previous guest about what's the opportunity to hear what the worst
thing that could happen is that in the united states conduct of the war we screw up and there are a lot of civilian casualties right like how we conduct our support of these rebels if it goes badly that's probably his best opportunity in the region and that's unfortunate and related to that is how the rebels conduct themselves and how the revolutionaries conduct themselves if they retain power or in the areas where they have power if if we're seen to be backing a regime that's going on a spree of revenge killings or unjust imprisonment and there's been some indications of that with that with the revolutionaries then that really hurts us in those areas and we're seen as propping up a corrupt regime the same we were seen as propping up a corrupt regime in afghanistan now as far as the instability goes you know one of the excuses the united states used to get into this situation was that if we left if we let this situation get out of control then the instability there would affect what's going on in egypt and around the region but what i think that analysis fails
to take into account is that what's going on in libya is in a large part a result of the instability around it with the democratic uprisings in the countries nearby and you had that enthusiasm reach the libyan street and they decided in some areas that it was their turn for an uprising and in some cases it's gone much worse than it has in the places in egypt and in the region but you know to the larger point you brought up about western apoc recy the other opportunity for al qaeda is what's going on in bahrain quite frankly i mean there's a there's a very serious crackdown on people who want reform and that's been tacitly supported by the united states by a lack of condemnation there so i mean there are a lot of traps here for the united states if we're not careful to get boxed into a situation where we actually empower al qaeda as. ideology message what am i going to do is the united states empowering i'll kind of by accident through the law of unintended consequences by exactly it's intervention there because
a lot of people would say it least in the in the inside the beltway they'll say look this is our opportunity regain momentum in the north africa because well the americans in the western capitals have been pretty red faced all their buddies are leaving power one way or another and they probably will continue to with this demonstration effect but the united states jumps in there and being humanitarian and is derek pointed out and these types of situations you inevitably kill civilians americans are very good at killing civilians in afghanistan and on the pakistani border ok there's no reason we believe it's not going to happen continue to happen in libya. well i think inevitably it happens all the time in war and it does create a very real question about the motives for the intervention i mean just yesterday we heard the american secretary of state state that the only way the bombing is going to stop is for. the forces to pull back and ultimately to relinquish power and ultimately for gadhafi to go into exile no that's not humanitarian
intervention that's regime change the other question that really is very pressing is what is the real character of the so-called revolution going on right now is that a real democratic revolution or is it simply hatred of gadhafi being replaced by possibly something that is non-democratic and not necessarily friendly to the west so i think that the nature of military intervention in a complex situation is such that we really don't know how it's going to turn out and how it's going to play out so i would say that the best strategy is to do what's necessary to protect life but to let the political dynamics of the situation sort themselves out and to be ready to support civil society in its reconstruction and mind you the the real growth of extremism happens primarily because people have no real options in terms of food clothing and shelter in a society that is highly stratified and it has a high concentration of wealth in the hands of very few people i understand that
that is very much the situation in libya so the question becomes can we can the world in the muslim world in the muslim american world support a transition that is really democratic and support those elements in civil society in libya that want to see reconstruction without an ongoing armed conflict i think that is the question and that's what's in front of us and he'll go to you in washington it's interesting i mean we all agree here that democracy is not the favorite card al qaeda likes to play its rejects with democracy but is derek pointed out is that you know if this goes on. for a long enough though you know you could have extremist groups saying look what democracy does these people want democracy it tears up countries it creates civil wars and you still have western intervention the west is still calling the shots here so is it really just a matter of time and intensity before this to go either way before people say look you know embracing this always democratic ideas it's the west trying to manipulate what's who's going to be in power and if this goes on longer and longer you know
we're supporting people we really don't know very well. you know it's very interesting that you know that he's create a great deal of criticism of the west in the in the arab world in the arab media for its interventions i have never i have not heard that argument made in the context of the democratic revolution under these going on in the in north africa and other parts of the arab world to lay that is not what people are saying the people in the other countries want democracy i mean that's that's that's a sense that you get from looking at the egyptian media for example no one is like you see in the west of manipulating the market or see to establish some sort of control over the arab world i think the danger is the opposite then your is that if they're not happy sation feels they are world will go back to the type of thing
this particular genes that it has had for the last fifty years and it is in fact there on the representatives represent that if this or these regimes the fact that their own police plan seems to the needs of the population that has generated the legally some of the extreme you some of these al qaeda so if you look at the long term picture of what's happening today in the yemen other places you see that there is if the sources of the legal issues are less eliminated the arab world needs to go through the same bite of their milk i think about who she and that lot in america east asia and eastern europe have gone through originally to give your life what you want you're nodding your head. yeah yeah i want to be clear that i don't think that the united states support of democratization is at all a threat to the united states or in danger is our image around the world but i think is the danger is the support of the united states militarily for
a fact. is that we're not sure about yet i think if you dare say it was down we're going to have to give you more time but it is a very interesting point many thanks my guest today in washington and austin and thanks to our viewers for watching us here arche see you next time and remember crosstalk rules. hungry for the full story we've got. the biggest issues get the human voice face to face with the news makers on the party.