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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  August 8, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program, tonight, a conversation with king abdullah of jordan about the middle east and the future. >> there has been an umbrella over the arab world which has been arab nationalism for many decades and i think that the arab world has now moved beyond that to nationalism, today the major challenge for all of us, including jordanians is for each country to define itself, you know, today an he yiption is asking what it means to be an egyptian, a 2 in addition what it means to be a due in addition. >> a libyan asking what it means to be a libyan and a jordanian to be a jordanian. >> king whenbdwe when we continue.
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>> funding for tonight's program has been provided by the following.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: king abdullah ii of jordan ruled his country since the death of his father in 1999, the winds of change have swept through the arab world and since left the region forever altered, gone or, gone, qaddafi of libya, with these strong men now falling, political islam is on the rise and i spoke with king abdullah over the weekend in amman, the capital of jordan and shared his perspective on those issues effecting jordan and the rest of the middle east. much of our focus, conversation focused on syria where they believe bashar al assad's power is numbered. the prime minister defected to jordan today, the conflict in
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syria is a serious problem for jordan because of the tens of thousands of refugees i went to the refugee camps on the border that separate syria and jordan and spoke with some of the people who have come across the border and are now living in tents. here is my conversation with king abdullah. >> your majesty, thanks for taking this time. it is quite a moment in the region for jordan. >> absolutely. >> rose: let me begin with syria. how is this going to play itself out? >> well, that is anybody's guess. obviously as part of the international community we are desperately looking for a political solution and i think all of us going back several months were engaged with the russians because we felt that was the best option on the table. having the russians being the guarantor to the regime of finding an exit policy that allows a peaceful transition. that is still the best option on the table. the only problem i think over
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the past two months we have seen a creep on the ethnic violence, the start of potential civil war, when different segments of syrian societies are having a go at each other. so as well as we are doing our job on the political level, reality is on the ground may or may have already over taken the political challenges that we are trying to set for ourselves. so today is very confusing in syria. >> are you worried about the number of extreme minimums coming in, al qaeda and others? as part of the free syrian army's effort. >> we have been worried about that from the start because whenever you have a crisis anywhere in the world you are always going to have extremists taking advantage of the situation. we have been monitoring al qaeda elements coming into syria from ththe beginning of the crisis. we know that they are there. we know that they are
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established. they are being monitored but obviously because of chaos, whenever you have an internal struggle like this, it is fertile ground for them, and so we have to keep an eye on that challenge. >> rose: basketball there is still hope for a political transition? >> well, we have to hope that there is. and that is our job is to continue to push for a political solution. but we can't be knave, naive at the same time, i have been concerned over the past two months that the tone has changed internally on the ground, and so we need to accelerate. >> rose: characterize the tone change. >> well, sectors of society against each other, different elements, syria is different than iraq, countries in the region because there is such a different mosaic of syrian society, so many different elements the alawites you know
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of the sunnis and sunnis merchant elite, christians, druids, kurds, a syrians, as syrians, the mosaic, when you put all of them together they become the majority of the syrian population .., when, whenever there is chaos you get to a point where those groups sometimes have a go at each other. it makes it difficult for us to keep focused on the larger picture and w we have seen that level of deterioration on the ground that has created concerns for us and when you get to that point, have we lost sight of the larger picture of finding a political solution. i think there is hope but what i am worried about, the longer we take to find a political solution, and the more the chaos continues, then we may be pushing syria into the abyss, so my point of view, is let's move as quickly as possible, i mean conference after conference is great, international forums where we get the russians and
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chinese involvement is fine, but we can't afford the time, you know, where the politicians try to get together in international conferences but there is a reality on the ground that is catching up if it hasn't already. >> rose: and what is the abyss. >> the abyss is complete and utter civil war which will take us, i think years to come back from. so i am just saying that i am alarmed at the internal difficulties and, again, we are looking at a transition in syria, it is very important that we need to continue for the opposition to extend a hand to the alawites so that they feel they have a stake in the future of syria and i don't know if we are doing that enough. >> and how should that be done? >> well, again,. >> rose: the army should reach out to them and -- >> the free syrian army and the other organizations out there but there needs to be more work on the ground, how do we include the a alex rodriguez whites to e
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part of the discussions on transition .. we have talked to the russian and chinese about this, they fully understand that, but i don't think we are in an area where we are comfortable yet that they feel that that message has gotten to them. >> rose: what role are the iranians playing? >> the iranians obviously strategically, the loss of syria from the influences would be a tremendous blow for them. so from their point of view they will continue to support the regime as long as possible. >> rose: and supply arms? >> and supply arms. >> obviously because as long as the regime goes it is in their definite interests and obviously not just the syrians but to an extent the support of hezbollah in lebanon. >> rose: what do you think is going through the mind of bashar al assad? >> well, it is a good question. when the west -- i mean, i had a
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meeting with president putin here two months ago and his boyfriend is, the west was today, his point of view is, the west has to find a solution, no let's allow him a political solution that allows an exit. are we giving him enough choices? at the same time in his mentality he will stick to his guns. he believes that he is in the right. i think the regime feels that it has no alternative but to continue, and i think i mentioned this many times before, i don't think it is just bashar al assad, it is not the individual, it is the system of the regime, so if bashar was to exit under whatever circumstances, does whoever replace him have the ability to rechart and reform syria politically and the system doesn't allow for that because then i think the alawite structure crumbles this is why reaching out to the alawites and making them feel they have a major stake in the future of syria is so important, if we go back to iraq, you know, the
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major miscalculation then was when there was a policy of -- that created a nightmare we still haven't fully recovered from. and so that is why -- are we doing enough for the alawites? so for bashar at the moment, if i am reading the way he is thinking is he is going to do what he is going to do indefinitely. >> rose: how indefinitely can he do that is the question? and at some point he has to look at what has happened to mubarek, to qaddafi, to -- >> i try to put myself in his shoes. and the options don't look very good. if there is an exit policy for him to go out, where would he go? now, there are different arguments outside, you know, some people say well he has gotten to a point where he wouldn't be allowed to leave because of crimes against the state. >> rose: war crimes. >> war crimes. there is a thought out there if
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it stops continued violence then, you know, the lesser of all evils. i think his mentality again is, you know, if -- and again, there is -- i have a feeling that if he -- if he can't rule greater syria, then maybe an alawite enclave is plan b and that is something that needs to be considered, because if that happens. >> rose: that is an option you think for him to be bart of an alawite -- >> that would be, i think, for us th the worst case scenario because that means the breakup of greater syria, and that means that everybody starts land grabbing which makes no sense to me and if syria then implodes on itself, that would create problems that would create us decades to come back from. so that would be my major concern. and i can't remember which word
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was i, which war, i think 1973 they moved their major headquarters from mamas arkansas back to the areas to the south of their sort of alawite bases, during the war so it is not that hasn't happened before. so there is that mentality to create maybe that mini state, and, again, you have 2.5 million alawites .. and that's why i think we need to move faster because others may be dictating the pace of the way syria is going and that is what has me concerned. if there are other plan bs or cs we need to be aware of this and that's why we need to galvanize our efforts to make sure a unified transformation of syria in the way we need to -- >> rose: he said he will not use chemical weapons against his own people but killing his own people anyway. they are massing in aleppo as we speak. would he use in your judgment chemical weapons? >> i hope to god that he
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wouldn't, because i think that would be a trip wire for machinations in the international community. that miss miss clal miscalculation and the use of helicopters and and tanks he is using against his people, and he has been fairly successful in using them. >> rose:. >> the chemical weapons is something that scares everybody, what scares most of us is the weapons, chemical weapons coming into rebel hands and who are those snrebls and obviously the use of chemical weapons against innocent people and again, there are so many levels of attention against syria so as we are working on the political level trying to find a solution if he uses chemical weapons is that the trip wire that all of a sudden people have -- the international community has to react so i think he understands, i hope he understands that would be a major miscalculation. more complicate than that, what happens if some of those storage
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depp pots fall into .. rebel hands and i think i said that earlier several weeks ago that those weapons sites need to be secured by the international community, so immediately people have to cross borders of syria to make sure that those weapons storage deval patrick pots. >> depots are secure. >> you are not looking for a reason for ente intervention, ia crisis we have to react and the problem, i am wary of people looking at it as a reason, i hope people don't plan to push whoever they may be to make sure that those storage sites fall into -- the minute you cross the borders then no plan goes the way you plan it so the moment you cross the border with pill triit is anybody's guess what the outcome is, and going back, charlie, to your question about the strength of the regime i just want to maybe point out everybody sort of things, you know, what is happening to the opposition is definitely getting
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stronger but, you know, the regime has always been resilient and i think that we may be overstating the strength of the opposition, i mean, let's not jump to conclusions, he still has a lot of power, and i actually -- when you say how long does he have in power? my first question is, you know, how long does he have to govern greater syria? i mean going back to plan b, i mean he could still be in power, that is one issue. the other issue people need to look at are the finances depending on who you listen to he has between 5 and $7 billion of reserve in the central bank, if he runs out of money to run his country, i think that is more indicative of how strong the regime is, because if you can't pay your troops. >> rose: down from 17 billion. >> if i look at the weakness of the regime i look at the
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finances, so he if he has money coming in technically he should be able to hold on indefinitely if he runs out of money, can't keep the electricity power stations open and can't keep the water running and can't keep paying his soldiers, i think that is where the major crack is. >> and how long, what is the ticking clock on that? so that the economic pressure will be so severe he has no choice well, depending on who you listen to, financially, if you look at the central bank figures toward the end of the year technically but it depends on how much financial assistance he is getting from outside, so technically if he is getting enough money from supporting countries, that would go on for a long time. >> rose: here is the question. is this a man who wants to go down in flames? >> but is he the man who feels he is responsible for 2.5 million alawites? >> rose: do you believe that is the reason he is fighting even though he is committing war crimes he is committing war crimes because he believes he has to do this as the protector
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of the alawites business his father also was a protector of? >> i think there is a bit of that in his thinking, you know, that my father did it, why can't i? i have heard that from people that know him fairly well. but again i think it is a system, i think he is a hostage to the system that is around him and, again, if he was to be replaced, whoever comes in his place would he be any different and i think that is the lack of understanding that most people have about syria. whoever continues and takes his place has the ability to create a transition a political transition in syria. >> rose: how big of a problem are the refugees for you? >> well as of today, we roughly have 145,000 across the border, that is a major spike over the past three months. we are averaging anywhere between 300 to 1,000 an evening maybe coming over at night. we have 30,000 syrians that we
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have treated in our medical facilities. we have 25,000 children that we have inoculated underage of 5, 8,000 students now going to our school system. so it is a publish on us, and, you know, the numbers look like they are increasing. >> rose: are you keeping them in the refugee examples or moving outside of the refugee camps. >> what happens when they initially come through because we have no visa restrictions with syria they basically came through as i advice vheissu tord found themselves visitors, and going to the north and south, you have to remember half a million syrians are married to jordanian families and where -- in turkey the numbers are much less, the reason why they come to jordan is because of the culture and the language, they felt much more comfortable coming to jordan. but it got to a point where now it is an emergency. we can't afford anymore syrians coming through because of the load it is on the system we have here. so as a result we have now to create the ref jae camps because we just can't sustain anymore. >> rose: and how much cross
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border firing is going on? >> well when i was up there with the soldiers two nights ago the boys were telling me, there is firing sort of every other night. mainly the syrian army firing at refugees coming. >> rose: and you fire back in order to keep them, protect those that are fleeing? >> when the syrian army opens up against the refugees trying to cross we fire to the syrian positions to keep them from firing at the refugees so it is not an engagement between the two armies exempt for a week ago where the syrian army were firing at syrian refugees where they killed a young boy and wounded several others in the firefight to stop them from continuing the killing of the rest of the syrian refugees, there was an engagement against the syrian army that resulted i think in the death of two syrian soldiers. >> rose: do you worry this could get out of hand. >> not from our side. i mean, there is strict fire control, when i met them, when i
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spent time with the boys several nights ago, that night, the syrians old fire against our positions and the commander pa made a point of not answering back simply because i was visiting that night and they didn't want to give the impression i gave the go to fire. >> these boys are amazing, the company that i met had had 13,000 refugees go through their position in the past six weeks, that battalion has had 30,000 refugees go through them, that position, their battalion position in the past month and a half. and so the soldiers are sharing their bread and water with them, you know, bringing in wounded men, women and children. >> rose: but what is going to happen to them? >> >> rose: to. >> to the refugees. >> well the refugees are going to camps, the international community has been fantastic, the king of spain called me several days ago, so did the king of morocco, they are trying to provide assistance, we just got a message that the french were sending a ministry field
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hospital to help build the refugee camps so the international community are responding tremendously, to the northern border, i just met the australian foreign minister who was also visiting the northern border to help. >> rose: if intervention is required, what is the red line? what would require outside forces to go into syria to stop the violence? >> on the side? >> well, again, unfortunately i think it is the unforeseen, going back to the libyan issue as i mentioned it was the use of his air power, what we are talking about today it is chemical, it is something we haven't thought of, it is something that so shocks the international community they say enough is enough. >> rose: we haven't seen that yet? >> we haven't but we are getting to the point as i just mentioned recently, the sectarian violence
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is increasing, i fear that they may be a trigger, there may be a trigger point some where where it becomes a free-for-all. >> rose: and that trigger point may be? >> i can't point that out, but it is just -- at th it is gettig nasty tore the point -- when it gets to the point where it looks like there is no longer control over syria, then it is anybody's guess. and then i think everybody is trying to do the best of some really bad plans. >> rose: and a lot of people have a vested interest in seeing it go one way or the other. >> and the other problem is you have turks in the north, arabs to the south and east and israelis to the west, none of us who have been traditionally money to speak to each other with great confidence. and there are a lot of agendas. >> rose: and the turks have an alawite population. >> a larger alawite population in turkey than is actually in syria. >> rose: the arab spring, we have seen what has happened in egypt and tunisia and libya and now watching syria, bahrain had
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issues, where are we and what is the issue that is emerging with political islam? >> well, the arab spring, and again, you know, i hear this often in america, what should be the policy for arab spring? and we have got to get away from using the arab spring, because that is the word that is out there we will use it for now, because arab spring means different, different things to every country country so you can't have a policy toward arab spring. the best way of me describing it in the vernacular that is maybe being understood now, in the west is, arab spring is going to go through cycles, whatever happened at the beginning of this new phase of arab life, this crossroads that we crossed, we will look back when, whether it is five, ten, 15 years and say it is a good thing and it will be a major turning point in
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history. but each country is going to go through cycles, from arab spring to arab winter, we have seen that naah couple of countries. >> rose: what what is the arab winter? >> well, wrote you look at certain arab countries that have not been able to establish itself in a clear path, where it is going to go cyclical in a couple of areas, a couple of years until it actually settles down. certain countries, will move faster, every country today is trying to define its own entity and you have got to remember that arab spring started not because of politics but because of the economy, the whole world was suffering because of an economic crisis. and i think fortunately it led to political -- >> rose: and it was not religious? it was not against the west? it was not against israel it was about economic conditions? >> exactly. which then moved to political desire and in certain areas hijacked by more organized political parties that were -- ghoo is that what happened in egypt with the muslim
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brotherhood? >> where it happened in egypt, in tunis and morocco and elsewhere where the political parties that had been formerly organized had the upper hand on moving on the political -- on the elections because they were more organized, yes. >> rose: so what will islamic political parties, muslim brotherhood, the new president in the parliament, what will it mean for democracy? what will it mean for women? what will it mean for economic development? >> well, that has got to be an interesting challenge, because in a lot of countries, except for morocco and jordan, the muslim brotherhood for the most part were kept on the ground and not a part of the party, not a part of the political -- >> but they had the organization to take advantage when the moment came. >> exactly. and they have to become practical and can they become practical, so they have to move away from rhetoric to actually
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solving the problems of the people which really is the economy. we have 85 million young people in our part of the world that are looking for jobs. egypt in particular with its huge population that is a major challenge. >> rose: and the majority of people are under 18. >> well, look, in my country, 70 percent of the countries are under 30 for which a small country like jordan is a tremendous benefit and manager we will use for jordan's growth and prosperity and i think it is acompetitive advantage. it is more challenging for the bigger countries. so when i look at egypt in particular, i think that there is -- there is obviously a challenge between the military and the president, but i am also beginning to see some sort of practicality because they have to figure out a mechanism to move forward, and then the proof is going to be in the pudding, because very quickly, the people are going to demand an improvement of their welfare,
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and can the new government create jobs and fight poverty? >> so you are saying we will look now to see whether islamist party can create beyond rhetoric deeds that will establish their political legitimacy? >> exactly and i think that is the challenge. when you look at the politics of arab spring and you look at the issue of political reform in the middle east, i mean look at the problem in egypt. every country has set its own pace but there have been major challenges. what happened in egypt they decided to go to elections first and then a constitution and today, there is a fight between the muslim brotherhood that are the main people in government, and the military and they are fighting over jurisdiction. you had successful elections in tunis, you have now a parliament that is mandated for one year to write a constitution, but at the moment they are bickering over
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the constitution and there may be delays in writing a constitution so there are difficulties there. libya has just had elections, but -- and they have the same as tunis but they have a mandate of one year before another set of elections, another country had a transition but again there is no movement there. my cousin king hamad in morocco has a successful movement. each country has its challenges and wherever the muslim brotherhood has been, again, at different levels of challenges and, you know, reform is a pace to each different country. >> rose: do you have a better term than arab spring that might fit what we are experiencing and watching because it is so significant in the middle east? >> there has been an umbrella over the arab world which is arab nationalism for many decades and i think that the arab world has now moved beyond arab nationalism to nationalism, today the major challenge for
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all of us, including jordanians is for each country to define itself, you know, today an egyptian is asking what it means to be an egyptian, a tunisian what it means to be a tunisian, a syrian, i'm sorry, a libyan asking what it means to be a libyan and a jordanian today needs to find out what it means to be a jordan dane i can't and syria after whatever happens will have to find out what it means to be a syrian, that is the major challenge, so the countries are now .. looking inwards which is, which didn't happen beforehand and that is the major challenge and that's why we go from arab spring to arab winter maybe a couple of times n jordan i would like to think we are going through an evolutionary cycle, not a revolutionary cycle where we all sat down and had dialogue and moving at a pace where we are bringing everybody in. >> rose: will is also conflict in islam between sunni and shia. >> this is something -- the conflict about islam is used by
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politicians. i -- you know, i want to fight those that create the perception, in at this religion that there is a conflict between secretaries, the problem is that you have powerhouses in all religions, empires that want to use religion as an umbrella and when you look throughout history there are so many examples of that. so i don't believe in internal religious challenges in the middle east. i think the problem that we have had is this conflict that started with iran. and this, therefore, created this shia sunni conflict which i don't believe is on the ground. it is used for political purposes but -- >> rose: but some do. some look at the fact that turkey is sunni and saudi arabia is sunni and they are encouraging a change in syria and syria is controlled by the alawites, even though the majority are sunni, and they say, this is one more example of
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this beneath the surface conflict between sunnis and countries that have a shia majority you saw it in bahrain. >> but again, if you take one step back there is sort of more strategic interest, i mean, iran is a shia country,. >> rose: iraq is a shia country, majority. >> majority, yes, but i think again if you are looking at the think items, i think, shiites, the way i describe it is, you know, iran is a revolutionary nation and as a result, i believe, as a revolution, the only way you survive is the revolution has to continue and the only way a revolution continues is you need to continue to expand, because the minute you stop and you look inwards, that is when a revolution implodes on itself. and i think as a result, we have created these strategic conflict that shouldn't be there to begin with, so i think shias
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device has been used by politics and it shouldn't be there. i think when you look at iraqis, i still believe that if the majority of, as you say, of iraqis are shy a shia i think all iraqis believe in iraq and i think you will see that even most of the shia politician information iraq believe in iraq as iraq and not to be beholden to iran. >> rose: said in another way if you look at iraq and cheerily that is a country in transition as well, it is more important to look at the nationalism there. >> absolutely. >> rose: than to look at whether they are shia majority an next door to iran which is a shia majority, the important thing is the nationalism that exists. >> yes, there is no doubt that the iranians want to influence iraq and with their perceived loss of syria there is an attempt to have influence in iraq, there is also their
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attempt to make more influence in afghanistan on the other side, plus other areas of the peninsula and, as well as africa but i have noticed with shia leaders, really more of a determination to make iraq, iraq, and so there is this push back. >> rose: is this your hope or your experience? >> what i have been seeing and my hope. >> rose: both? >> and again it is work in progress. >> rose: whatever the arab spring is, or whatever the transformation taking place, those people who look at it and see the change it brought ask, will it come to jordan? >> when you are talking about the arab spring in jordan, i mean, again, if we will be at what -- look at jordan, i know what i call sort of the usual suspects of those that say the pace of reform in jordan in
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slow. my answer to them is, slow in respect to who? i just mentioned the charges of egyptian, tunis and libya. they worry about it slightly different and there is nothing conclusive. in jordan, in 18 months, we changed a third of the constitution, we introduced two independent elements to the constitution. a new constitution and for the first time, and independent commissions to elections which is going to be vital for the next phase of the political life. and a new political party law, a new election law, a teachers union this is everything demanded be at this muss brim brotherhood and more. i, when i say more i pushed for more, as well as all of the other groups that we have in the country. all of the legislation we did in 18 months, i challenge you to find a country in the world that could have done as much as we have done in 18 months.
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the difference between jordan and i think those other countries is, we did the hard work first and then we have elections at the end of the year. and i think the litmus test is going to be at the end of the year which is our elections. and my vision for jordan and i have said this from the begin is what i would like to see is three to five political parties, ideally, we have over 30 political parties now, three to 5 political parties representing left, right and center as quickly as possible. i see jordan's, in your terms, arab spring, is where we are today until we have this new parliament. and then comes arab summer, because the hard work will be with this new parliament, how do we achieve, left, right and center? in all of this discussions i have had across the country, over the past 18 months, 99 percent of the time when i have had either town hall meetings or bringing people to the royal court, all sectors of
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society, including the muslim brotherhood, halfway through i ask this question. where do you stand on health, services, taxes, education? now, a as an american you definitely know where you stand on taxes and health. when i look around the room and ski this question to jordanians 99 percent of the people give me a blank look. as an american you understand, therefore, how far we have to go. and i think jordanians when it comes to democratic understanding are far ahead of a lot of their piers in the region so the development of political parties as you understand them in the west is going to take some time. the new political parties that try to establish themselves in jordan have asked me and we are working with both democratic and republican constitutions in the united states, the westminster foundation of the united kingdom, these countries have, each country have gone through this transition more recently than many countries that are helping us.
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are all telling us to develop new political parties and you, unfortunately you need at least four or five years so the challenge is how do we develop, right, left, and center? what i would like to see at the end of the elections at the end of this year, you are going to have a new parliament but not left, right and center, but what i do want is to have a government or a parliament, i'm sorry, a prime minister elected from the people. the best way of doing that is to encourage the parliamentarians those who are not like political parties to come together as political blocks and they decide on the formation of a government. that allows jordan then over the next four-year period of parliamen trigovernment to start th establishment of a new political life of left, right, and center, three, four, five political parties and that will be our major challenge, that will be hard. >> rose: so you have nothing to fare from the muslim brotherhood fully participating in the elections in jordan? >> absolutely -- i would love
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them to run and the reason why they don't want to run and the reason they didn't run last time, because they have been unlike everybody everywhere else, part of the political seasonal, they have been a in the -- the reason why they didn't run last election and the reason they didn't run this year is simply because they are not going to do well in the polls. everybody knows them in jordan and what they are worried about is results. especially when you look at how well the muss brim brotherhood have done in egypt and elsewhere, they made a calculation six months ago that we are not going to rub because of results. so whatever we do, they are going to say no. and the message is -- and we are in contact with the muslim brotherhood. the question is, you know, it is not a miscalculation for us if they don't run, the miss, it is a ms. calculation for them if they don't run because if they are not a part of the process under the dome of the parliament, next year, they are
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going to lose out because this is going to be a parliament that allows the transformation of the election law and the formation of the political mood of jordan which way we are going to go. so, you know, i will say it one more time. they are shooting themselves in the foot about not being a part of the process. what i can't do is create a law just for them. it is better to have everybody, everybody unhappy with the law that just one political party unhappy with the law. >> rose: jordan like you, yet there is a feeling they want change. >> absolutely. >> rose: i want to know what you think that change is. >> well, it is a mixture of all of those, but i think the first interview i ever had where my father first passed away was to say that my job is to put food on the table, and what i meant by that was the establishment from my education in the west, it was pretty obvious to me that stable societies are built around a vibrant, capable middle class. and 12 years ago, that wasn't
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the case in jordan. what we managed to do with the economy over the past 12 years is build a vibrant middle class, with the economic shocks that we had over the past couple of years, you know, the economic class is i don't want to say teetering but under strain. now what happens, the more that you strengthen the middle class as an institution, the easier it is to move a government -- i mean society through transition. but also the more they demand of freedom, so i knew going into this it is a double edged sword but i am confident in my people that they, they know what they want, and as a monarchy, monarchy is a system that has to continue to evolve overtime, i understand that. and my job is to look at the people's wishes, and to evolve with them and to aid them in moving towards the light. we have as i said seven -- 70 percent of the population is under the age of 30, education i think is the strongest point of jordan, we are a powerhouse in
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it, pharmaceuticals and medicine. we have the most educated people in the region. and these people can take jordan forward. >> rose: one american said education was your oil. >> education is an oil. look, today, the top -- the top ten -- out of the top ten countries in the world for launching tech stocks in the company, two percent of the region's population but at the same time we provide 75 percent of all content of content for the internet, ad content for the internet, jordan is a powerhouse for such a small country. >> rose: does that mean when you look at jordan and anybody suggest the culture in arab countries does not promote the kind of entrepreneurship and educational opportunity that it did in israel? they are simply wrong? >> i think we can always give the israelis a run for their money. i mean if you look at the
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results of even on education results, on the international criteria, when it comes to sciences and mathematics we are equally if not in many cases we beat israel dla speaking of the american election would jordan be better off if there was a republican or a second term democrat in power? >> well, the simple question is we don't involve ourselves in the internal politics of other nations so it is up to the americans to decide. >> rose: but you have said that in terms of the israeli-palestinian issue, sometimes it is better to have somebody in their second term than their first term because of the political dimensions of that -- >> historically speaking we have seen second term presidents are obviously much more geared toward dealing with the israeli-palestinian issue because they have to use the first two years of getting grips with his job. >> rose: will it demand in a constitutional monarchy that you have and your popularity that you give up some power in is
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that a reform that is negotiable? >> yes, but this is what we talked about constitutional, when we launched the -- having created the royal commission for the change to the constitution, which i said was to go beyond the 1952 constitution which is what everybody asks for, including those at the beginning i said we shouldn't look at the 1952 constitution but look beyond that, when the final document came out changes to one-third of the constitution when i accepted the document from the royal commission, i said, gentlemen this is not the end of the document, this is still the beginning. and i think that as a society, we still have a lot of room to go with that. so please under no misconception is that the end. again, monarchies, and jordan to be competitive has to continue to evolve. >> rose: when you look at the changes that took place and where the arab spring arose,
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some say and this is part of the same conversation that there has been a modicum of discontent and demonstrations, but there is a simmering underneath it. do you believe that? >> well, look, in jordan since the beginning of the arab spring we have had 5,000 demonstrations, and unlike any country in the region, we have not had one single locals of life. >> rose: not one casualty? >> we have had -- no one has been killed. we had one bystander that suffered a heart attack and died. but i think that is a record even when we look at demonstrations in europe and even in your country, i think that is unique and that is because ofhe way i think our society dealt at the beginning of arab spring by including everybody in dialogue, and let's all sit down and figure out common sense how to move the process forward and tremendous commendation to our police forces that really took
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tremendous strains to make sure that in many cases they took tremendous -- i don't know how many policemen ended up in hospital because the order was take the hits and better take casualties than inflict on demonstrators. now, out of the 5,000 demonstrators i can say, again, it is the usual crowd that goes out every weekend. part of the problem i have with some of the members of the press here is, you know, for me, when you have demonstrations, numbers are very important, because if this demonstration this weekend is have you 1,000 people and you start a policy or you start outreach and the next weekend it is 2000, and after that is they thousand then you are doing something wrong. so counting on demonstrations has been critical for day one so if you have an idea how society reacts and what is very annoying about the press has been from day one is when i know that the
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figure this weekend is 850, and you read in the newspaper it is 10,000 and so the press, the web sites have been instigators in creating this tension, unfortunately in jordan there has been as you said this understood current but i think this has been fed by web sites and unfortunately some members of the press have been completely irresponsible. >> rose: does that justify arresting them? >> not at all. not at all. and jordan, i mean, when you look at jordan i think we are the biggest users of facebook in the middle east, it went up increased by 100 percent over the past year, we have national youth led debating societies that have sprung up all over, including hash tag debates and i encourage these and i think this also led to why we have been where we are in the middle east. >> rose: with all of the talk in the arab spring and all of the transformation taking place, there has been little
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advancement if not going backwards, and your hole and the hope of many people that it be progress between israel and the palestinians, what is the problem? and what can change to make it different in this environment? >> charlie, i still believe that, you know, and we all know that the core issue in the middle east is still the israeli-palestinian peace process. arab spring, syria, iran, at the end of the day ther they are sie issues, whatever happens the core issue the one that ignites the whole area is still the plight of the israelis and palestinians, our job in 2012 was to keep the process alive, g il we could get past the american elections, whether you like it or not you ca cannot moe guard on israeli-palestinian issue without the role of the united states and when you get in an election year, for reasons that you understand just as well
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as i do, we all have to tread water. so what jordan started to do because we saw an opportunity at the beginning of this year was to create these indirect negotiations between israelis and palestinians, we had a good start, january, february, it dialed down again and had another start to that over the past several months. and we are now in sort of an impasse because of, as crowell know, the united nations leaving in settlement, the palestinians toying with the idea of going to the united nations. >> rose: to the general assembly. >> we went through this last year. >> rose: are you supportive of this idea. >> obviously i am supportive of whatever the pa palestinians wa. >> rose: but the general assembly does haven't power but some -- >> exactly. so this is an emotional issue but, again, the crux of the matter at the end of the day whatever happens at the general assembly will come back to what
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happens in american elections and that will be the critical point of how the israelis and palestinians move forward, depending on who becomes president. >> are you satisfied with what president obama has done to advance israeli-palestinian peace efforts in his four years. >> >> he has done as much as he could but again there are practicalities on the ground, i mean part of the problem obviously is the u.s., or the international community was side racked by major economic challenges. >> rose: right. >> and the arab spring so, you know, i fully understand that, but that doesn't mean that the president has been fully supportive of all of the initiatives i have had, clinton worked tirelessly with us and many others in the arab world bringing the palestinians and israelis closer together and i think the mission we had in 2012, understanding american issues was -- >> rose: is it more difficult for the israelis because we have had the arab spring and we now have islamic governments and we
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have had, as you know, some change with respect to the palestinian community? >> there is more pressure on israel now we consider jordan's standing, our relationship with he equipment is extreme i extremely weakened, problems between israel and turkey, israel is more surrounded and feeling more volume tile, so it needs to solve this problem today, not tomorrow. >> rose: you have a very good relationship with the prime minister of israel? >> we have had a far better sets of dialogue between both of us and an understanding and the discussions we have had, he understands at least in the discussion we have had that he needs to solve this problem and get it off the menu, so to speak. >> rose: he knows that that he needs to get the israeli-palestinian issue off -- >> yes, yes. >> and do you think that he
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understands the change in the political environment that you believe brings additional pressure on him? >> most israelis believe that and -- >> rose: and the prime minister. >> when you look at what happened in egypt over the past year, it frightened a lot of israelis taos the safety and sanctity at this of israel and the quicker they solve the palestinian problem the, the fate of israel will be, so the problem of kicking the problem down the line is not in israel's interests and obviously what i continue to keep saying is if you look at just, you know, the population issue, i just met some foreign dignitaries from western countries that were saying to us that the problem with i see flail the next eight or nine years they have to answer the question, if there is no b ". bi state solutions and there is there going to be a democracy or an apartheid state and that's
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something they keep ignoring but every year that goes by, the choices for israel become less, and as a result, the pressure on i israel is going to be more, and they keep ignoring that reality. >> rose: why? >> well, a lot of the problem is, israeli psyche they think of today, and every israeli politician i talked to, i said, please, where is israel going to be ten years time? and work me backwards so i can understand how everybody can interlock with each other, and it is almost impossible for israeli to -- part of that is because i think they perceived security threat they can think only of today and not of tomorrow. i think most of the stakes most of us understand but i think sometimes the israeli internal politics doesn't allow them to ask that big question. but sooner or later that is just going to stair them right in the face and they can't ignore. >> rose: one thing they face is the possibility of iran acquiring the capacity to make a
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nuclear bomb. >> and that is a question that has been discussed many times. instead of bombing iran and the pandora box it opens, i keep saying that the cheaper solution is to solve the israeli-palestinian problem because the only reason the iranians are developing a nuclear program is to bomb israel on behalf of the islamic muslim world and on behalf of the palestinians because of the plight of the palestinians and the plight of jerusalem levels if you solve the palestinian problem why should iran make a nuclear weapon. >> rose: i don' i don't believer drive to make a nuke char weapon is part of the israeli-palestinian conflict. i think iran just wants a nuclear weapon for its own sake because they believe it will give them leverage and attention, not because there is no solution to the israeli-palestinian -- >> true. then the same question goes to why israel is using the same issue for attention.
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>> rose: do you believe that some kind of attack based on your own intel wrenls is coming up for decision sooner rather than later? >> what i do when faced with any crisis and in particular the issue of israel and iran, i always try and give myself a window of not before in my own mind. the same thing happened in the war with iraq. i didn't know what decision the president bush at that time would make, but i figured he would not launch against iraq before six months, and then depending on discussions i knew i had a window of six months to work with. with israel i give myself always a full month window. and so in all of my discussions i can say, that i am comfortable that we are not going to be faced with that problem for four months. >> rose: for four months? >> when i get closer to four months i will have zero to
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readjust that again so i have been doing that four years. >> each four months i push it back. >> rose: so you believe that nothing is likely to happen in the next four months? >> barring any surprises, yes. >> rose: why are you so confident? >> just there are there are so many other things happening, a whole different set of calculations. >> rose: it is always a pletz twrowr come to jordan and always a pleasure to have a conversation with you and to look at what is happening and this cheerily is a defining moment and i thank you for your time. >> charlie -- thank you, charlie, always pleasure. >> rose: king abdullah of jordan, the palace here in amman. thanks for joining us. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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