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tv   [untitled]    February 1, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EST

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this is all. top stories now moscow says it will back a weapons embargo on damascus because of the position groups operating in the country that some members refuse to acknowledge the u.n. security council ambassadors have gathered for a closed session on a draft the president. called concerns the face of wiki leaks founder julian assange wanted in sweden allegations of sexual assault. case is politically motivated and the response to his website publishing secret u.s. cables. indicates to iran is ready to cooperate on the issues over its atomic program and inspectors plan to make another trip next month. military chief claims
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it wrong could have nuclear capability within a year. that's it for me today my colleague here with us the news continues in less than half an hour from now in the meantime cross-talk debate syria's future and with any foreign intervention could help break the stalemate or make things worse.
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blowing welcome to cross talk you all about syria on the brink as violence escalates in this in battle country the calls for strong sanctions and even a military intervention grow in intensity what is at stake the protection of innocence or regime change that transforms geopolitics of the region. to cross document on folding in syria we have marwa dowdy in princeton she is a departmental lecturer in politics and international ations of the middle east at the university of oxford in washington we have david pollock he is a senior fellow at the washington institute for near east policy and in montreal we cross the maximillian forte he's a professor of anthropology at concordia university in montreal all right folks this is crosstalk that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it but ok first i'm going to go to david david the the white house says that it is inevitable that assad will fall so by saying it does that make it
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inevitable now i don't think thing it makes it inevitable i think what makes it inevitable is the situation. where the syrian people most of them are rising up against the regime. i think we've seen in other countries in the region and elsewhere in the world when almost the entire population of the country rises up against the government sooner or later that government will david do we know that the the majority of the people are rising up in syria and we know that. yes we do we know that we know. but just looking at the situation the country. thousands of people all over syria risking their lives to demonstrate week after week month after month against the regime we also know that
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from research being. people in syria really think. there's a media blackout i think it's still pretty hard to say ma if i can go to you in princeton has the west decided to support a side in this conflict in syria that is rapidly looking like a civil war well clearly there is an uprising which has continued unabated since about a year and now we're heading towards the first anniversary of the start of the uprising. there has been a brutal repression on the part of the regime and so far about six thousand civilian casualties killed in this repression so clearly there's a situation that here they are peaceful protesters who have been crushed by the regime security imperative and that has drawn attention internationally so there's been a sigh taken in the sense that there are human rights violations and i would say it's true that the uprisings have taken you know have continued and a large part of the population is supporting it you also have
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a part of the population which still doesn't know which side to take because they are afraid of what would come next and this is the part of the population which still needs to be comforted that there will be a peaceful transition to democracy ok max if i can go to you do you think the syrians still have a chance to negotiate an end to this conflict before there is this push for another humanitarian intervention and we all know what happened in libya and what is happening in libya today. well i think that's extremely doubtful as a matter of fact because just recently russia offered to host negotiations between all of the different parties and as we know the syrian national council you know one of the main opposition blocs has essentially rejected that offer possibly with some foreign encouragement behind them because one of the
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stipulations that they made one of the preconditions for the talks was that assad should resign so they wanted an old come of the gaucherie ations the outcome of a process as a preliminary condition and so the possibility of negotiations is very unlikely and from that point of view it's starting to resemble a bit what was happening in libya where the opposition consistently refused to engage in any sort of peaceful negotiations. so i think that's highly unlikely peter david yes david go if i can go to you i mean we've brought up libya here do you see that you see this turning into a libya like scenario where you know we go down the slippery slope of intervention when they say of what no fly zone means one thing then the reality on the ground in the bombing is another thing. no i don't think this resembles the libyan scenario partly of course because unlike the
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security council. given the threat of a russian and maybe also the chinese veto will approve any kind of military intervention in syria but i think if one is looking for a peaceful resolution it's very easy to imagine how that could happen and that would simply be. his ruling clique found asylum in moscow that would resolve the situation very quickly and very but he you think that's going to happen yes i do actually sooner or later i think that would be of great benefit to the syrian people and i think that russia would be able to preserve its interests in syria and in the wider region more effectively by negotiating that kind of outcome marlen by the opposition if i go to morrow actually i said
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regime is willing to negotiate with russia even if they're not willing to negotiate with us said ok tomorrow if i go to you why do you think that the the international community to quote the whole international community nato and its allies she did to determine who should leave who should be in power and who should leave power and this is turning into a pattern i think i would. right the libyan example is not a good case study for syria i mean there were there were calls by the transitional council for military intervention and that led to the nato campaign which by the way has created civil war today in libya there are still the spoils of war which are being fought for between the different rebel groups in the case of syria this is not a scenario which is favored by the majority of the syrian population there have been calls for a no fly zone scattered calls but i would say the majority of the population rejects any foreign military intervention with the fear that this would lead to the
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fragmentation of the country and in fact the start of civil war now we see that the conflict has started to become militarized because the civilian population is defending itself it's being besieged but this is a dangerous path and i would say if there is any transition towards a successful democratization there would have to be a choice that is made by the syrian people themselves and in that case they would have to claim in fact ownership of this revolution and if there is a piece one way out which means that the assad family relinquishes power peacefully and finds a way out why not that would be the ideal solution but that would mean still that there would not be delaying tactics you know talking about negotiations while repression goes on because the repression still goes on and at the same time trying to maintain itself and power that would have to be a real way out of the conflict but that would have to be decided by the representatives of the syrian people the syrian national council but also all of the opposition movements their local coordination committees and other groups on
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the ground which are the ones in fact suffering on a daily basis from the repression ok. the west has shown is that aside here it's chosen these were people called rebels or protesters that are actually we have desertions in the army i mean why should the outside world be getting involved in what is a civil war i don't care what people want to call it i mean you have a part of the population that is getting better armed through outside help. yes and on the and i agree peter very much. that the west has taken a side is that while it's been stated very clearly isn't stated by barak obama himself will who said that assad must leave you know that's a statement of preference for regime change. so there is an ambiguous that the saudi arabia has back to the syrian national council other members of the arab
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league such as libya have also recognized the syrian national council as the legitimate representative of the syrian people so there are outside interests that have taken aside the thing to understand is we live in a period of war. humanitarianism as has become the new ideology of imperialist intervention the united nations itself is serving as a kind of human rights the iter with a very selective attention and concern for particular countries and not for other countries and what distinguishes the selective ity in the concern shown is these are regimes that have been targeted by the united states that's where human rights really counts the united states wants to cast itself as being in a position as being the liberate or of arabs as being the force i will liberate arabs from themselves because they are fundamentally incapable of ruling themselves
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and so what we have here is a kind of rehash of colonialists doctrine david what do you think about that. i think it's very sad to hear somebody speak. in search would to me actually quote ridiculous why is it ridiculous why should we be sure why should we take it's ridiculous because it's ridiculous because it has no relationship to reality or to the fur coats whether in egypt or tunisia or anywhere or majority of syrians who are protesting in the streets ok yes that's correct that's not a cliche oh if i go you mention before we got it it's a cliche because nothing to do with my oh if i can go to you before we go to the break here do the majority of all the airports are actually majority of syrians recognize the syrian national council as a legitimate body representing themselves how do we know that why do foreign
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governments recognize it but we don't know if the syrian people do well the syrian national council has gathered sort of a big spectrum of the different opposition movements you have islamist you have seculars you have intellectuals you have kurdish groups so it tried to bring sort of a platform. sort of consensus platform but it is. you know divided and they don't have a united position this year national council is seen as the leading opposition force but you have other of position groups such as the national coordination committees and the two groups differ in their way they would see a way out of the crisis is the syrian national council that refuses dialogue with the regime because it says it has just been here a lot already but it was a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on syrian state party.
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it was shot four times in total. war as it were and. three of the boys are still alive bodies. and people should be allowed to defend themselves or they are gone from against the law abiding decent people are not a problem national rifle association person or group of basically retired military police loves to shoot holes in a i'm sorry if you know that the bullet comes out here and this makes it go bang and if what's in front of here is going to die that's all the training you really really need raise your hand if you know something's been shot ok place to live well
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one of the philadelphia lawyers or mistreats. to tell a lot of hopefully we will never have to use the weapons for self defense but we should be prepared the full class including the teacher i say close. seventeen students. and want to share and or still alive. and.
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welcome back across the computer a little too much of we're talking about events unfolding in syria. ok david i'd like to go to you in d.c. you know you've been on the program before and you know i'm a cynic so i'm going to give a cynical comment in that quote i question this has nothing to do with the syrian people this has nothing to do with their rights it has nothing to do with the killing of innocent people except for except that this is all about geo political change in the region you take syria down and it's a boon for israel maybe but certainly for other countries where hezbollah is weakened in the next target the great prize of the mall is around that's what it's all about isn't it yeah well that's. a point of view again has no connection with reality
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but what everyone likes findings by yourself why do you say that you dismiss you and you know you want to who are rising up. as i started to say before you interrupted everyone can see that the syrian people are rising up and risking their lives day after day week after week month after month thousands of people all over the country tens of thousands of people so you think there should be a literary intervention should there be a military intervention quote unquote stop this you know i'm not calling for i don't think there should be and i don't think there needs to be i think that the force of the people in syria will the regime. sooner rather than later ok well we did get your persone and you want to say it will have to die before that happens ok maher well what do you think about this is there anything to do is cheer for cern in democracy the way we were promised that in libya morrow if i can go to you in princeton i mean how much of a say is that
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a geo political play because this is something the saudis are just drooling over there is so pleased about this and a lot of people in media don't like to talk about the shia sunni sunni sectarian difference here which is playing a very big role in what's going on in syria right now. well peter let me just to get back to what was discussed previously before the interruption i mean there are two dimensions to the to the situation in syria now there's on the one hand a very legitimate powerful movement of civilians who are claiming in fact change in the country and access to democracy to social justice to economic and political rights and this should not be undermined this this is a powerful and legitimate movement which started peacefully it's been only since a month or a few weeks that it has become militarized which is in fact leading to the internationalization of the conflict but so far it has been in majority a peaceful movement now these movements are claiming change and access to power and the end of the over the country there is another side to the debate which is now
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the involvement of the international community and in fact the fact that syria is in a web of strategic alliances which is in fact trying to gain the momentum to take advantage of the political instability within syria to try to shape the geopolitical game in the middle east and we have calls made by neo conservative think tanks in america calling for military intervention regime change etc to build on this momentum and this is problematic highly problematic because the movement in syria has been very powerful and legitimate and has gained momentum inside and in the region if there are calls for military intervention if there are links made to syria's choice of partners in the region or syria stance in the arab israeli conflict that would bring that would deliver demise what has been so far a very powerful movement and a call for liberty and democracy max i tend to agree with that area if we do get a military intervention which i still think is likely. it's the outsiders that will
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determine the political outcome the eventual outcome on the ground in syria and it may have a whole lot to do with what i mentioned earlier when mentioning and you around. yes. first of all one has to avoid. really be critical about some of the kind of. sorts of simplistic narratives that are recycled continually by the media and this from what i'm hearing now also by experts as well you know about democracy about human rights the syrian people as a whole rising up because there are thousands in the streets but you know there are millions in the country. and i think the same problem applies to our conception of intervention is being narrowly reduced to direct military intervention you know either invasions or bombings and so forth there has been intervention in syria by the united states and by others but i'm going to focus on the u.s.
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for several years at least and now even if you knew nothing else what you will see described in the embassy cables that were published by wiki leaks is a pattern of the united states. providing funding to opposition groups that are tied to ultimately with the muslim brotherhood in syria and so forth this is not a secret what's also not a secret is that obama spokesman stated very clearly that the united states is pursuing a range of policy options what is known is special in intelligence circles and other circles as a continuum of force which involves sanctions dissin from asian campaigns psychological pressure attempts to isolate the regime and so forth and this is a kind of measure that's being put forth between put forth in front of the security council right now so there are all sorts of forms of intervention intervention has
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been happening and it's mean happening since before these protests even began ok if i go back to you david what do you think the outcome will be welcome. kind of syria i mean i mean everyone well i don't think anyone will shed a tear on this program to see the assad family go no one ok it's more about a process what do you think the end game is i mean and i said facetiously you know what kind of jeffersonian democracy what kind of country do you think is going to be there is a going to be hostile to the west it's going to be it will continue a serious can traditional foreign policy what kind of relationship would have with israel with iran with hezbollah there's a lot of people you know are focused on the here and now but those are the questions going to be asked whatever whenever we get to this endgame yes i know there's a good questions but nobody knows the answer to those questions and. outcome in terms of. syria's foreign policy is
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a question mark and i don't think actually any of the players involved has much of a clue about that. because you i want you want regime change or if you're asking for really demanding regime change without understanding what the unintended consequences could be that's interesting yes we are because many thousands of innocent lives are at stake that's the key. to anyone who insists on maintaining the regime is condemning thousands more innocent people in syria to death and that's why what matters is not what the foreign policy of the new syrian government will be but the removal of this vicious dictatorship as soon as part. of our want to think that russia's own interests can be preserved in that situation if it is willing to negotiate seriously with the syrian i was pretty sure
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we all agree that they're talking to them and my well what do you think about that the the law of unintended consequences here is again i can bring up libya when i mean maybe it's not a mass and it's getting worse. right but i mean without even comparing i would say the choice of foreign policy would be in the hands of the syrian people and any democratically elected government which will. represent the majority of the syrian population i find it a bit difficult that syria's future foreign policy would be decided externally or by whoever is not from from syria this will depend on the choice of the people and if the question relating to military intervention is about day daming syria and shaping its foreign policy this is highly problematic this is not a one of the red. but it's very interesting that you have countries like qatar and saudi arabia and other members of the arab league very much wanting to determine outcomes in syria so they have an interest in it i don't sorry i don't think
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they're just thinking about the people they're thinking about their geopolitical interests that's what states do there is no there is a geopolitical game which is being played between a broader coalition of the gulf states i would say the u.s. see israel versus what is perceived as the syria hezbollah iran axis and the instability now that is lived within syria is an opportunity for power politics for you know is somehow severity in the links between syria and iran and hezbollah and weakening this axis and this is highly problematic because the syrian people still despite the fact that we have instability within syria there's been a choice made by the syrian people and there i would like to address the points raised by max there is a powerful movement there is a claim for a change within syria and i think should that should not be undermined and that is not fair to the young people who are dying on a daily basis and continue to go to the streets now how would that be instrumental eyes this is the issue it should remain an indulgent us move and it should remain
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an indulgent us revolution and whatever comes out of the revolution the transition to democracy but you're saying the same at the same time you're saying this. it's getting internationalizing it absolutely is max if i can go to you again when we look at outcomes here i mean it's saudi arabia qatar qatar united states israel to one degree or another either it's very ambiguous which way it would go for them because they prefer the know the deal with the devil they know but this is the major change in the region no matter what the outcome is that is why i think we'll all agree that assad and his family are not going to be there for much longer. i am not one to predict the future. he could very well be there for much longer i'm not certain how things could work out. early on in the. early years of the cuban revolution a lot of people would say that you know the constable wouldn't be there much longer
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and he certainly was so that's not an area and we're trying to going to venture. i am kind of put off by the idea that foreign policies and democratic states whatever that means i think a lot of people understand democracy in the west to mean multiple parties and elections i would have hoped that the idea was a bit more complex and meaningful than that but the idea that in democrat that democratic states established their own foreign policies to reflect the will of the people as far as i know that's not the case max and we should really go on we've run out of time we marry interesting program many thanks to my guest today in princeton washington and in montreal and thanks to our viewers for watching us here are to see an x. time and remember crosstalk.
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