tv [untitled] October 26, 2012 8:30am-9:00am EDT
bit of a bumpy ride came an opportunity i just couldn't pass up this is what i was hoping for when i heard i was coming to a place called wolf island a chance to get close and personal with the locals and it's these guys are going to act as foster parents but the next generation will come here using the older walls as surrogate parents has already proved a successful technique. every year i place infant wolves with one year old wolf cubs whose parental instinct is totally shaped and they take them as their own cubs it's going to continue to take time and money to rehabilitate the wolfs reputation in russia. but the keepers here hope their research and dedication will mean that wolf island remains a place where visitors can truly understand the cool of the wild.
and. the low in welcome to crossfire computer lavelle living in a turbulent and dangerous neighborhood and this is long been lebanon's fate the assassination of the country's top security official and the political fallout that is followed again reveals just how fragile this country is for those powers in forces determined to see the end of assad in syria will be destroyed lebanon in the process. to cross-talk lebanese mayhem i'm joined by claude saw jaime in beirut he is a journalist author and political analyst specializing in middle east politics also in beirut we have now xabi he is the director of the research unit and in washington we cross to gareth porter he's an investigative historian and journalist or a gentleman cross-talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want
if i go to you first in washington everyone knows lebanon is a very fragile country so in whose interest the most this time around is there to see interest in stability in the country. well that question of course is is not easy and say no and i would preface my own answer to that by saying that very seldom if ever does reality in lebanon conform to the presentation of it in the western news media and at the current narrative of course is that the the syrians are really interested in destabilizing lebanon in order to somehow take the heat off the the regime from within syria now you know i'm not in a position to say that that's impossible but i would say that it seems a bit of a stretch and the logic of it is not at all clear at the same time i think that
there are there are there's plenty of reason to believe that there are forces within lebanon itself i.e. the g. hottest of the sunni jihadist movement particularly based in the north who have their own interest in destabilizing lebanon and who would be very well aware that the assassination of a leading sunni figure within the lebanese government would be the perfect formula for doing that as well as for energizing and giving momentum to that very soon a jihadist movement and i would just point out that this is indeed what happened after the assassination of right president hariri in two thousand and five that was precisely what happened ok so i would suggest that there is an alternative explanation ok in a cloud if i go to you and be released what's your interpretation of this because there's so many different one thought there going on there there are it's
a very confusing situation but let me just remind you what president bashar al assad said a few months ago when things are going really bad and he said that he would be willing to. set fire to the entire region i don't know these were his exact words but it was more or less along those lines that he would destabilize the whole region and so this could very well be along the lines of what he had said the other thing is gareth just said that the assassination of a a government official this is more than just a government official this is this is the assassination of the head of the intelligence services. it is very serious when you're sensing someone of that stature you're you're you're demining you're taking apart the structure of the state so i think it's of it's not just a minister of state or a politician that's been skilled it's someone who is very important imagine in the united states if they killed the head of the cia or in russia. with the security
forces there that. if they killed those people this is this is what we're dealing with today you're you're you're you're taking away the structure of the of the lebanese state and that's a very dangerous and sat on march feel and be rich not very difficult to destabilize lebanon is it. well the situation has been very tense since the assassination of prime minister former prime minister a few headed in two thousand and five there's been a really there's been some clashes between the two different groups in lebanon that are. you know supported by foreign powers. but i don't think that to destabilize the situation lebanon is in the hands of mr asaad or in the hands of fourteenth of march or in the hands of the the side of his and the north or even in the hands of hezbollah if this is a matter that is in the hands of the international community and i think the fact that lebanon has not drifted to
a total as state of chaos and the past three or four days is because the international community and more nominally i would say the the year representatives of the five permanent members in the security council have made a clear statement that they support the current government and they support because they want to the situation to remain stable in lebanon and so therefore there because they know very well that if things go out of hand it will be very difficult to regain the minimum stability that is required in order to reach a political settlement so i think at the end they know very well that any clash between the two groups will actually involve international powers and they're not ready for that and i think especially the americans the americans are elections coming up and i think it's election time and when it's election time it's it's not very wise to go into a battlefield where you don't know the where the results are not guaranteed and the evidence that the results are not guaranteed is that so many western governments
thought that the syrian government was going to collapse the first two months three months four march now it's been two years of fighting and destruction and and i don't think there are any sign that their achievements it is going to collapse on so that that that is really well is situation are allowed on the site about your guest if i go to you i mean people are saying they're outside meddling inside of lebanon but it's outside meddling inside of syria this is why this is all probably happening. well of course and this is a situation where there's really no possibility of a resolution of this of this civil war in syria without the international community doing much more to try to bring about peace i mean that has to be there has to be a shift in the international community i.e. the united states the europeans in particular. from destabilizing syria and getting rid of assad to trying to find
a way. toward a peaceful settlement that that's the only possibility and i think that that is the missing piece still at this point you know i do understand i'm i'm quite ready to agree that the u.s. policy while i think it at the beginning it was simply interested in destabilizing i.e. getting rid of assad's regime but i think that it is now aware that the dangers of that are almost if not at least equal at least equal to the advantages of getting rid of assad and that what could come after that could even be worse than than the regime so i think that there is a degree of prudence now that was absent at the beginning of this of this adventure in syria cloud what do you think about that you think there's a rethink going on because the rebels certainly don't seem to be changing their mind. the rebels are getting stronger i think. they're getting stronger they're
getting more arms they're getting more support from saudi arabia from turkey from qatar from the u.a.e. from the united states from france great britain i think what needs to happen first of all is i think that the united states and the especially the united states needs to start thinking outside the cold war era i think we're still very much thinking cold war terms i think russia has to become more involved in a positive manner in getting a cease fire and change in imposed in syria russia still has a lot of influence with syria it's probably the only ones with along with the iranians and the chinese to some degree but i think russia has for historical reasons a very important role to play and i think the americans are missing the opportunity there and instead of using the russia as a partner there they're trying to think along cold war terms and it's upsetting
moscow of course ok you know if i got all my i mean everything they claw just said there you know with the arming and saudi arabian everything oh that's all bad for lebanon it always is bad for lebanon when stuff like this is happening. well yes yes it's bad for lebanon and any any any involvement of the lebanese in the syrian conflict is bad for lebanon are it on the side of the regime or on the side of the rabble i just want to say that you know the there has always been a call that russia can play a bigger role and and that russia has. interests in syria and therefore it should play a bigger role and but i think it's a bit misleading because the there are two sides of the story so well the russians the iranians the chinese and their g.m. are saying that the americans and the europeans and the and the western community can do can do more by stopping the smuggling of weapons by pushing the
saudis the qataris the turks and the and their allies to stop smuggling weapons into syria and i disagree that the americans are not taking the full opportunity there taken a full opportunity and the evidence is that the as the other guest said from beirut that the the rebel groups are getting stronger yes they're getting stronger in terms of military equipment also i mean the today the year doubled. as was the case in afghanistan against as always union and the and the last and the past century they have now. missiles a drunk missiles that anti-aircraft advance missiles that have are being smuggled by the americans through their allies to the rebel forces so but the situation and the solution the situation point is that the solution is not a military solution there should be a dialogue between the different groups inside syria as i still enjoy some popularity in syria and therefore there should be a cease fire there is a chance now to have been called for a cease fire adjoining becoming
a it and hopefully there will be this would be a start for a longer ceasefire longer true is that will allow the different groups to come on the dialogue table and. find put it to conform to show yes and i would agree with me i don't know what we're going to amount to a lot of the break here cause you are agreeing or disagreeing jumping go ahead sure i am i'm i'm i agree i think i think it's very important that a solution is found if i think it's important to take a step back and look at look at the situation in the overall middle east and how it to terry raised over the years and if you look at it in currents of ten years since nine hundred forty eight. let's take that as a starting point the creation of the state of israel every ten years it's gotten progressively worse and more dangerous and the weapons are getting stronger and more powerful and more dangerous and more more lethal and we're not getting anywhere it's just our calling let me jump in here and we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on lebanon stay with us. and.
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a little to mind you were talking about lebanon and its turbulent neighbors. ok i guess i'd like to go back to you in washington when it comes to lebanon there's never a disinterested party ok and i'm thinking about the united states has been in iran ok i don't think the americans really care much about lebanon at all they look at a different picture and there's an israeli angle also to this sure they the americans are always going to be looking over their shoulders at what the israelis want in lebanon and that's certainly a major factor if not the dominant factor in u.s. policy has been for many years going back to the 1980's clearly we know the story about how the israelis really put the pressure on the united states and somehow got them to. allow all the terrible massacres that that really.
are still remembered in lebanon of course in the nineteen eighty two so i mean this is this is been a major factor but i think the united states also you know does take into account. you know what is the likely hood that the policies that it follows will have implications for the rest of the region and and i think that they as i said before i think that there is a greater degree of caution now than there might have been a few years ago about destabilizing lebanon there was a time when the united states was more or less openly making it clear that it was encouraging a coup against the government in lebanon and in syria as well so there's there's reason to believe that now the united states is much more cautious about the the costs and risks of destabilization i want to come
back also to to ask my fellow discuss sense here what the logic is to believe that the syrians could could gain by an assassination of this prominent sunni figure and you know quite correct that that he was in a very sensitive position as head of intelligence for the internal security forces but it's simply not clear to me how that would be expected to play out how it would help syria rather than simply add to its problems by potentially leading to a change in government which would be more sympathetic to the rebels rather than to syria ok claude you want to feel that question it's a good one yes said absolutely so it's a good question let me just. address something that that garrison said just just a few second. ago we said that the united states allowed or israel the united
states allowed the massacres to happen i don't think anybody allowed the matter snap and the they were carried out without permission of the united states it's just i'm not here defending u.s. policy in lebanon far from it but anyway that's just to set the record straight to answer that question about how syria benefits from killing someone like. hasan. keep in mind that if several things first he was he was very influential and he was very anti syrian he was pretty large fourteenth you had you had very close ties with the u.s. intelligence services with the russian sorry with german and with french intelligence agencies so he was not a friend of syria now for syria to they also didn't like the fact that he was. he was looking out for the interests of march fourteenth and lebanon more than he
was not syria's mansour i wanted i would assume to have someone with a more subservient to them as they often find the case with other lebanese politicians he was not one of those so it certainly helps them to get rid of someone like that who is investigating the death of who is investigating certain syrian actions in lebanon so i think it's just goes along with the game the syrians have been playing in lebanon all along it's just more of a continuation of what they were doing because i it is this that. if i can jump to him in character had. so sorry don let me let me just say it's just not clear to me why the result of that assassination but it's to be expected to be you know someone who would serve the interest of syria i mean the history here is that you have
a very. carefully put together compromise within the lebanese government in which you know pro pro syrian and pro hezbollah people are cheek by jowl with people who are anti syrian and he has below i mean you know you have that sort of compromise. it seems to me you know far more likely that instead of being replaced by a pro has. or pro syrian figure you would get somebody of the same ilk as well as the possibility of course you of course a resident of a change of government a new prime minister. who you surround that's my point. in the fact that that he would be replaced by someone who is the same political thought as as as. there's no doubt about that but what you're doing is you're sending a message that the next guy is going to be the more careful about upsetting the
syrians i mean the same thing with a very interesting point it was a smart what do you think about that ok what do you think about we just an interesting exchange i think it's important but yes i think it's very interesting about what we need to actually look deeper into the identity and the function of mr have found is that we somehow plan was was the was the mediator in fact he was an intelligence person he had contact and that's why as mr clode just said he had connections with the intelligence forces in the region and international and intelligence forces he had on for a function to be a mediator between hezbollah and the. future movement and the fourteenth march coalition. and a very clear example last of that is that in two thousand and eight when there was the violent clash between the two groups which simon has and did not participate in that clash on the side of mr halvey against the resort called prophecy the end girl on the contrary he acted as a mediator simon has an organize the visit of mr howe the elite to damascus to meet
with their president bashar al assad so he had a function an intelligence function yes it's true i agree with claude that he wasn't a serious man in lebanon definitely not he was more likely the saudi man in lebanon or more likely the american man eleven and a transplant yes i agree and that could put him in danger yet he had a function and it's more important i think that than the labeling the function of the guy is good could have served this indian interests because they needed they would still need to stay in touch if they want to go out of this mess with a political settlement he is the person who can help them in order to mediate with the other groups and there are a lot i'm not lying or i don't want to violate and omar let me let me add one more hour and i don't go again ok i'm going real quickly or one more point justin ok go ahead. along the same lines it is it is also a fact that without a whole house on was the key person in rounding up the intelligence network service
reel in lebanon which allowed him very strongly with hezbollah which supported that . money and also so he has played a role as just as almost a client and they're going to be i want to i want to add one more thing yeah absolutely right he was he was responsible for the arrest i think of fourteen different israeli networks in lebanon so i'm not mistaken but also if there is a rigorous lying around beirut right now that this could possibly i'm just saying it's a rumor so for what it's worth that he is assassination was part message to the lebanese government for the arrest of. a. former information minister who was arrested and accused of planning to. of the use of bringing explosives from syria to plan terrorist attacks in beirut so that's that's something that's floating around i have no idea who that is all right and yes most
. u.s. general general has done was also there is a third track that we haven't been looking into and the media hasn't been looking into it that yes he was very active in in in what just said yes he he arrested the former minister and they quit the case now is that in the military tribunal and he followed you know he arrested a large number of people frustrated off for spying for israel and working for israel and some of them were convicted and he also was after the al qaida people and five had to slam people in lebanon he and i said the large number i remember in two thousand and eight he has the group intelligence force was responsible for actually leading to the death a. a man called the leader in the islamic fundamentalism or god i was under and tripoli and he was also responsible for following. the movement in lebanon so
that's a that's a third possibility that i think should be taken well momar you know you know you're going to say this man had a lot of enemies did me. and i want to when you're in that situation position you're you know when you're in that job you have a lot of enemies but let me let me just say that whoever carried this out had to know one thing that he was going to be where he was when he was at the time that he was that is information that only very professional intelligence agencies can start the kind of information that anybody can pick up that's true so whoever did that was was well placed ok ahmad like about you because you are in beirut i mean considering the history of lebanon in the civil war is there a possibility in your mind that it could be repeated. unfortunately i would i cannot. deny this. account of my colleagues would also deny this we have won three. crimes in the past and i've been on and
there's been a lot of foreign intervention going on there been some terrible crimes that took place here i don't see any guarantees that it can be it can't happen again in fact the assassination of. my colleague from baseball just talked about the message so i was a dyke thinking what could this message be i mean you know we found a house and was supposed to he had a function also to protect politicians from assassinations and he would actually call them up and tell them you know i overheard some i have some information maybe you better outside lebanon or you both take some extra discussion. that we had another half an hour many thanks to my guest in beirut and in washington thanks to our viewers for watching us to see you next time and remember across town. is.
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