tv Cross Talk RT November 20, 2013 2:29pm-3:01pm EST
hello and welcome to cross talk or all things considered i'm peter lavelle since the start of the arab spring there have been hopes of change and the creation of a better future so i believe this is not been the case could be a bomb to democracy by nato is breaking up and on the verge of a civil war in syria the civil war has ground down into a stalemate partition is the likely outcome it would appear the only winners are the forces backing instability. to cross-talk the evolving middle east i'm joined by my guess people come ready in london he is a writer and a journalist in new york we have michael kelly he is a defense reporter for the business insider and in colombia we cross to joseph he is a middle east expert currently at the university of south carolina or
a german cross-talk rules in effect that means you can jump in any time one can people find go to you first in london it's not getting a lot of media coverage and in the west but it looks like libya's is falling into another war a civil war this time on top of that we're told the pentagon wants to train about eight thousand libyans in a nato country so can you explain to me why did nato have to destroy the country and now it has to train its security forces well from american perspective the invasion to the overthrew of gadhafi was intervention light and now i think the decision to train libyans because it is too late too little there are simultaneous uprisings erupting all over libya and the government doesn't know whether it has to govern or suppress these uprisings so it's a it's a mess in libya ok with you if i can stay with you what's the next step if there's a civil war on the on the horizon. we can. tell right now i mean there are signs of a civil war already. but to what extent will dissolve the state will dissolve it's
not clear yet whether the american decision to intervene and to train the libyans what kind of an effect that will have on the ground is yet to be seen but ok it's a little too late or maybe a little too early or josef i go to you in colombia i mean if we look right now that libya is a failed state i mean so what do you do i mean you train eight thousand troops whose loyalty is very unclear because loyalties in libya itself is very unclear and when the country is breaking up into three discrete parts right now what is eight thousand troops going to do to salvage the situation in libya. well i think that they will not do anything good and i agree with you completely and then i was very skeptical to start with about why there should have been any intervention from the outside in libya but you know i mean let's be honest about it it's easier said than done if you're not a libyan you are outside of libya i really believe the gadhafi regime is of no use as it was gave some stability to libya at least it seems like that and what they have been in libya could have been handled in
a different way but look at the already and now we talk about the next stage i agree with you we are in a civil war if that's what people said there is absolutely right about that the extent of civil war is not to be measured of acetylene by the number of casualties but by the fact that there is a problem that cannot be result politically and people kill each other and of course it started now we stance of people it will go on to andras and maybe thousand go out for a go probably not but that's the way it started in syria a country that we should talk about later here i don't believe that the americans are in for anything good there in libya and if anyone asked for my advice i would tell them not to do anything but you know a bit that they don't ask for your advice or my advice that's for sure michel if i go to you i think i do have a good indicator of where this country is going and we look at the number of militias at the height of the force overthrow of gadhafi there were about fifty thousand members of militias now there are two hundred fifty thousand in the countries of watch with arms i mean what in the world is going to happen next year this is one of the most dangerous countries in the world and you talk about syria
in the next part of the program i mean this is a culmination of just everything that could go has could go wrong hands gone wrong for this country and the spillover effect for the region is beginning to be felt. yes religion is going to continue to fracture i mean you see normal nonviolent protesters in tripoli yesterday and continuing today telling the government to do something about all of these militia men that are surrounding the city and being used for political means on all sides it looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better definitely come people but i mean i we heard i think you started out with intervention light humanitarian intervention light i mean this is turning into something far more than that nato broke the country through its bombing and it has left no infrastructure whatsoever for the country to govern itself and it's only look at it's only amount of time before we're going to see blowback here there is just too many arms too many people with different loyalties and we have
a government that can't rule the country and you know what there's a lot of oil there so i suppose that will get attention. well what happened there were no independent institutions in libya to begin with it was via family it was owned it was owned and run by gadhafi but he brought an element of stability to the country when he was removed nato had a responsibility to go in and build institutions to assist the country in rebuilding itself you still didn't get the do you think. do you think that was ever considered because as you pointed out using your words intervention light you know we just go in a little bit we'll in the place will take care of itself will be a walk in the park if i can quote the vice president cheney when he talked about iraq i mean this is something that is not hard about ok and if you break it you own it don't you think not that's absolutely right and this is the this is the idea of going and doing something and feeling good about it but building nations nation building takes years and years and years and that requires treasure and blood and i
didn't think any of the nato nations were interested in sending their money or their troops ok all of them sending the expertise to rebuild a country now they want to train a thousand troops and it's come so late it's almost it's almost a surgery to. you know one of the issues here is we have these militias some of whom are or are fanatically religious islamic groups and they are going to be exporting not only are they spreading it in the country itself they're exporting it abroad and when we look at mali and the connection with what's going on in syria as well i mean this is something again in the law of unintended consequences it's a death spiral when you think about it. well that i agree with you completely i mean this intervention from the outside in libya was not. a very carefully with a view to the future by those who intervened. they wanted to have a short term profit benefit in their web profit is in place here because when you
look for example of that all of a france french company says that in a lot of good to them so says they're not just in libya but in neighboring countries. and you can look also at the french intervention in mali in the context of what there been in libya an attempt by two different french president by the way sort of course here and now we're all on to a land to show that france has its own interests and policy and all that but look i mean the real problem is and i believe the capella started referring to all that is that there was nothing in libya before gadhafi was brought down because gadhafi wanted libya to have nothing other than his own regime all this business of the german area you know the popular committees and so it was all nonsense of course it was a dictatorship and they also were with the tribes those who were loyal to him as opposed to others what happens in a civil war in another country like the not dissimilar by the way toward that in lebanon in the seventy's or what's happening in syria now or in iraq is that when the regime breaks down for this or that reason mainly because of the combination of
external and internal factors interventions the loyalties got down to the most rudimentary fundamental level of loyalty which is the tribal the local the sectarian and libya is not an exception and in any other a country like there thought in libya as well that will be slimy forces there will be less or more fanatic like you have in syria and the export of these people from libya to other countries is obvious like it was from afghanistan and so on so i mean all these dangers are there peter and right now i can already only tell you look the safest prediction to do or to make about libya is it's going to gone ok michael and we need to win in there to save the libyan people and how do you think the people feel now what were they saved from. they're very conflicted because in january two thousand and eleven when those protests started it was about delayed housing units and the months later they were around the same police headquarters in tripoli just protesting the government and now there's no state institution there's
no government and you find these college students back out in tripoli protesting the militias that replaced the government on the ground and have swelled to these amazing numbers roaming territory that they have just commandeered so i think that they are very conflicted in just devastated by the situation in their country. said they were in the early in the program and said it was too late when i mentioned the training of libyan forces by the americans what should the outside world do now when looking at libya anything because you sometimes doing something is worse i would say what nato did was far worse than what was there before it seems to me people on the ground were reflecting that on as well but i mean what should the international community do now to deal with libya other than contain it what the outside world when you say i think the responsibility to restore order in
libya is it falls on the shoulders of the nations which brought about a great calamity and in order to restore in order to restore order they will have to do a lot more than train eight thousand people this is again like intervention this is again on the cheap it will require a lot more it will require aid it will it will require expertise it will require bringing people to america training them it will it will require the building of institutions that will require it will take at least a decade to restore order in libya and it will be incremental but i don't think people do you think do you think that the united states and nato can ever you know earn any kind of respect from the libyan people no i mean at the top ten years is a long time when you're in a civil war. i know there are i know there are pockets of gratitude that we have to acknowledge that but i think there was a deteriorating security situation dissolves in libya and i think in order for them
to back that gratitude they will have to do a lot more than give speeches in training telling people ok michael you want to jump in right before the break yeah i agree i think if the security situation is moderately helped or fixed a lot of these protesters now they want these militias out of the capital so anything it will take a substantial effort but anything that people can help with expertise or are simply uplifting these state institutions the army that is decimated will would be great ok michael i have to jump in we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the arab middle east stay with r.t. .
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welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle two minute we're discussing the evolving arab middle east. ok joseph we're going to switch gears here going to talk about syria right now the the syrian national coalition has dropped its demand that that assad must go how significant is that for you because for most of the if not all of the major opposition groups having assad go it's always been their key point to the point of just being obstinate in dealing with the peace plan that the russians and the americans of it least tried to at least russia has pushed very hard for you do you see an evolution josephs in the situation in syria when it comes to the opposition or is this this national coalition group just so we relevant now because of the rise of the fundamentalists there i would not i don't think that that is really
significant and the s. and say this city and they shouldn't call eastern is not important they never been reported by the way the forces from the ground read the ones there and the situation in syria is not getting better it is getting nowhere for the time i mean just in the last forty eight seventy two hours. were all kinds of clashes and losses to both sides one of the big rebel leaders was killed there was a huge explosion that killed many syrian soldiers in a suburb of damascus you had asked us so you can see that all this is brewing up and continuing and quite frankly this peace conference if it ever happens will not succeed nothing can. can change the situation right now the civil war in syria is going to continue and there you know it reminds me and i am in all of that and if i can say so i mean i was monitoring the lebanese situation and the syrian from the united seventy's and eighty's and all that was the third geneva conference about lebanon other was the second geneva conference about lebanon and i think came out of it because in
a situation like that where the force are supposed to each other you know it's like a fundamental clash for survival between differing forces has to be some kind of a decision on the ground in order to lead to a political decision and right now i don't think that there is going to be any real decision on the ground it's kind of if we borrow a turn from football you know it's a draw and this is the rocking gold for quite some time and so long as the road there i don't see any real possibility for a important significant political breakthrough whether it is in the mine in geneva or any other place whether it is a russian or american plane but i'll make one point about the russians here and if i may could quote myself because on the twenty eighth of january of twenty seven thousand i wrote it appeared that russia should play a positive role about the chemical weapons and they did and i'm very happy about that and the reason that they make the point here is the american administration should have been in touch with the russians long time ago in order to facilitate some kind of a political arrangement when it might have been working right now i believe there
is no real incentive for anyone to do something dramatic because bashar assad looks like he's winning but the opposition may claim that look with we controlled sixty or seventy percent of the ground they're not exactly so it's kind of a draw and right now i'm not. the mystic about those people it's very interesting what would joseph just said because maybe a side can't win this civil war but it looks like he's making a lot more gains than the opposition is a matter of fact the more and more you read about what's going on with the rebels as they're turning on themselves more and more often assad may never get all of syria back where he's got a good chunk of it and he might be quite satisfied with what he has because you know i mean when your opposition is in a circular firing squad don't interrupt them just let them keep firing you know they're killing each other and assad is just watching from the sidelines and he's making significant gains in aleppo today just recently one of the major rebel leaders. was killed he's making gains and the opposition which has been making
significant demands of assad that he should step down or he should make concessions it's actually the opposition that has been making concessions first they said that they will not go to attend the peace talks in geneva now they say they will and their condition for that is assad should open up humanitarian corridors which he is so now they're using now the opposition which is ridden internally fractured is now depending upon its patrons in saudi arabia to attack assad's allies for instance in lebanon today the bombing syria has pointed the finger at saudi arabia. america wants iran out of the peace negotiations but really the country that is prolonging this war that is the core the cause of the instability is saudi arabia and it's it's absurd that's how the arabia is our ally in this region of the irony of ironies michael it's interesting that we met the saudi arabia has been mentioned because we had secretary kerry say that the united states and saudi
arabia agree on the ultimate goal he doesn't like to see exactly what the ultimate goal is anymore because i think washington's been a little bit red faced about assad must go because it's not going to happen but we do see two different trajectories here we have the american one which seems very blurry to me. and saudi arabia is just going to do whatever it damn well pleases and it's going to continue fueling the war irrespective of the suffering of the people of syria or the impact on the region because it's only looking at iran well it is true that since august twenty third the gassing of. the americans chose not to intervene or even provide military support to the rebels anymore and really the base is this is a full on as joe said is a full on military conflict and so when you have iran and russia backing assad and hezbollah forces inside syria fighting for assad shia militias trained in iran fighting for assad the saudi arabia sees this as. just as
serious a conflict as iran does and so they're going to provide military backing other countries are going to military backing to counter that and so even people who had a true assistance to it has been it has been appeals or in time it just. saudi arabia has been traveling jihad these into syria long time before has been into the picture saudi arabia has suppressed the operating in bahrain it has funded the brigades who today launched the strike the bomb attack on the iranian embassy have also launched attacks on israel in the same vein or iran has been on the ground and so you know why. anyone would realize that you are a russian weapons of who's been nonstop showing there are so saudi arabia the most interesting to try and. clear that it's iraq gentlemen gentlemen let me just being here gentlemen let me go jump in ok here talking over each other ok what we just
heard there talking over each other is this is turned into a proxy war it's very patently clear here these jihadi instead of being funneled into through saudi arabia with turkey's help amazing they're going to really regret this one day if not already been funneling all these people foreign nationals. into a civil war that everyone wanted to call a revolution and now it's just a proxy war which is taking the lives a lot of people that do not want these foreigners in their country this is i'm glad you mentioned lebanon earlier because this is what it's going to get down to in my opinion a partition go ahead joseph. you know that i mean i'm kind of find myself in a kind of funny situation as it is rarely to intervene between iran and saudi arabia to decide who started what self doesn't matter anymore look it's the sushi war as they call it the sunnis and the shes and led in lebanon and syria have become there are enough of this war whether it was started by the saudis or the iranians doesn't matter i'll just mention my little fact that maybe not everybody
knows one of the main forces of ideological inspiration for the airlie wabi movement way big is the famous syriani been tamia who is the one we issued the famous fatwa against the alawite you know many of the fields ago so the saudis said that the legal situation here which is very obvious is they don't want to see the syrian regime surviving with the iranian connection in all data but the fact of the matter is that there are two conflicts that are in connected there is a syrian civil war that the vast majority of the syrian people the sunni population they don't want our side than not going to like him in the future but there is also a proxy war as i said before this so she was raised it was said by michael before you know that are she volunteers or so from yemen even let alone from iraq and all of that and of course hizbollah and the saudis of sending their own people and you know of course is going to on everybody else it's going to spread it's already spread in three pilots now in beirut it will go on to maybe other places that's not good news but this is something which is out pentagon because look it started by
the syrian people they didn't want bashar assad the alawite with eight by the sunnis the sudanese i did by the alawite i mean i'm simplifying something which may be too complicated but that's the true story of this sect story is that there was and still is yes there is a distortion for a new candidate it started. it started as a limited but it started as a limited but genuine people's uprising and it was appropriated very early on by outside powers turkey saudi arabia and qatar qatar is back steps turkey turkey is almost regretting its role because it's now it now has to deal with militants on its borders saudi arabia is funding them continuing to arm them it things it has a free it has a license to destroy syria and it's it's it's it's conduct is truly deplorable and it's astonishing that no one in the west has said that saudi arabia should get out of the syrian conflict ok michael in new york how do you feel about that became
completely you know we don't air it i must take up a result we don't have a big debate because the only debate between us will be when did it become not just to save a lot of a thought for an external what i agree with your look it's all interconnected but this is that may tell you that it's always been like that because you know really but this it was also interconnected so you know one cannot deny the fact that the first before and foremost that was a civil war it's now also in the external a regional problem and they thought she was you know it has its deep roots in israel and i think if they had a great interest is going to go to the privileged i believe i did i think saudi arabia has played let's go to michael moore kind of the new yorker you and michael going to jump in. i mean right the reality is you can't put the blame going on how this started when people jumped in i mean you have backers on both sides and people that will benefactors on both sides but today that bombing in beirut that was claimed by an al-qaeda affiliate in lebanon they said in their message that they
will continue attacks until hezbollah and iran leave syria i mean that right there shows you how complicated this is and messy it is right now it's not a matter of a blame game because that is the conflict that is that is the reality on the ground is that you have all these interconnected things and they're they're interconnected within a military conflict a sectarian military conflict that can that has no end in sight really all right gentlemen we've run out of time fascinating discussion many thanks to my guests in london new york and columbia and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember.
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