tv Inside Story Al Jazeera May 13, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
colombus's flagship. a wreck off the north coast of the haiti is the remains. santa maria, which sank during a voyage in 1492. "inside story" is next. the battle for homs is over. one of the most important cities in syria is wrecked, empty and in the hands of the asaad government. with the syrian opposition visiting the white house, the civil war is "inside story".
i'm ray suarez. 100 thus are dead, syrian cities in ruins, millions are in jordan, lebanon, turkey. there's no prospects for them going home. the military tide is turned in favour of the government in damascus, and president bashar al-assad. now what? the leaders of the main syrian umbrella group head to the white house at a time when it looks like bashar al-assad might hang on - hang on to what - his country is in ruins, people scattered, continent destroyed. militants met asitiesized through the country. it's harter than at the beginning of the war to imagine what syria looks like, how it becomes a normal country again. today is day 1,153 of the syrian
conflict, and the fighting rages on. and after nearly two years of trying to end the war,iations arab -- united nations arab league convoy lakhdar brahimi announced his resignation. >> i am sure the crisis will end. the question is everyone with a responsibility and influence in the situation have to remember that the question is how many more dead, how much more destruction. >> more than 150,000 have died, according to activists. millions more have been internally displaced or fled to neighbouring nations as refugees. in accepting lakhdar brahimi's resignation. ban ki-moon says infighting within the security council has prolonged the conflict. >> because of the division, because of the divided word, here and there, within the united nations, and in the region, we have not been able to
make any progress in the course of this three years. >> syrian national coalition president is in washington this week, pleading for assistance from his allies to take down syrian president bashar al-assad. >> the syrian people are looking to all the american leaders and american friends. the syrian people are looking to the important superpower in the world to help us lift the suffering and end humanitarian crisis that is affecting the syrian people. >> it's been a whirlwind of meetings, from the senate to the pentagon to the white house. they are outgunned by the raij , and seeking advance weaponry, especially man pads or surface to air missiles that can shoot down helicopters. the u.s. is he's tent to put more weapons into a theatre of
war. from syrian rebels to foreign jihadists bent on taking control of syria. we worked hard with the partners to assist the moderate paigs to ensure that the aid that we are providing the opposition is getting into the hands of the moderate opposition and not falling into the wrong hands. >> the u.s. plans to scent secretary of state john kerry to london to attend a meeting of friends of syria. earlier this week senior iranian officials boasted to the "the guardian" newspaper that pro-government forces supported by russia and iran have already won. another government insider
told the "the guardian": syria's opposition struggled with its internal militia groups, including islamist extremists who crossed borders to fight them and the regime. a turning point in the conflict came last week when syrian opposition forces surrounded the strong home of homs, a city dubbed the capital of the resolution, in exchange for safe passage to the country side much the city has been under siege for months. food, water and medicine has been scarce. withdrawal is a victory for as art. the military used harsher tactic.
reports center on barrel bombs, some packed with chlorine cannisters, leaving bashar al-assad comfortable enough to declare himself a candidate for president. the u.s. is calling that a sham. >> the prospects for syria on the programme - where things stand on the battlefield, in the refugee camps and the diplomatic salons of new york washington, london, geneva and tehran. we begin the conversation with a member of the syrian opposition coalition. welcome to "inside story." >> thank you for having me. >> what kind of messages were you getting on the hill. you were meeting with senior officials of the senate and house. what did they tell you? >> you have a historic moment
where the leaders of the coalition, are here in washington as part of an official invitation. they sat with leaders in congress and the senate where they laid out their vision, calling for the establishment of a foundation for a partnership between the new syria and the united states, based on common interests, and both opposing al qaeda factions led by the islamic state of levant and the terrorism conducted by the asaad regime on a daily basis against the syrian people, with the support of help provided by the iranian government and lebanese hezbollah. >> there's a high level of awareness that things have not gone well for your military forces, that the assad government seems to be in increasing control of the territory of syria. were you questioned about that,
whether you could pull it off. >> the message is being conveyed to the american public, lawmakers and leaders that the asaad regime believes it can win militarily, and believes in a military solution, not a political solution. the government in tehran made clear that the as art regime will remain in power. our message is that the longer that bashar al-assad stays in power, the more syria will syria will be destabilized and the region face destabilization, and syria will become a failed state, a magnet for terrorism. we have reiterated that message that asaad and his regime are the primary magnet for terrorism and destabilization in the region, it is in the interests of the syrian people to be
empowered with the stoles protect themselves against bashar al-assad to conduct mass atrocities, and is in the interests of the united states and the western governments to ensure that syria is not a failed state or a black hole where extremists can thrive and grow at the behest of ass add. >> it doesn't seem like he has miscalculated. he is winning, happening on to power. he has the army, air superiority from which he can rain down terrible ordnance on your forces in the field. how do you convince people waiting on the side lines to see a sign that you can be a future government. how do you convince them to come in on your side? >> what we have told - what the potential delegation in washington conveyed to american
policy makers is there have been advancers made by the asaad regime and militias in syria. at the same time his role should not be viewed as inevitable. his regime remains week and is propped up due to the support provided by the iranian regime, hezbollah and the russians. on one hand it's true, the asaad regime occupied homs. if you look at what he had to do and the cost it entailed, it's staggering. the regime cannot control cities it cannot bombard and destroy. it cannot bring towns and villages under control without coercion and starvation. this is the campaign that the regime launched in homs and damascus. this is not a regime that is confident or strong at its core, it can only exist by wiping out all those that oppose it.
and this is not an indication of strength. the revolution goes on. the asaad regime will never be able to control syria the way that it did. you cannot destroy an idea. you cannot kill an idea. and it has been made clear by the syrian rebels and the syrian opposition that they will continue the fight for their right to live in a free and democratic syria, regardless of the odds. >> thank you for joining us on "inside story." >> thank you. >> we'll take a break and when we come back - we'll talk with a panel of guests and experts who have been watching the region closely, about the next act in syria, this is "inside story".
brahimi resigned. as he bowed outside he said he believes the crisis in syria will end. the question he puts is how many more dead and how much more destruction will there be. joining us now, an advocacy director from the middle east issues at amnesty international usa. from norman oklahoma, joshua landers, director of the university of oklahoma's center more middle east studies, and a member from the hafic harir. >> center. you heard a member of the opposition. he sounded like their side of the question can prevail. in your view, is it too late to defeat president bashar al-assad? >> no, i don't think it's too late. insofar as the position controls
pager population zones and key geographies and has access to recruits, small arms and supply line, it's not too late. i would agree with you that the regime managed to consolidate to the extent where their survival is not at risk. >> joshua, what do you make of the situation now? has the tide turned in the favour of the damascus government? >> yes, it has. i agree with fisal, that it's not offer. there'll be a long and difficult insurgency for the regime to face. the rebels will be able to keep it alive. they have backers and in the united states. the united states is not going to look at them and throw in their lot with the rebels. the four largest rebel armies on the ground are not for democracy. that is i.s.i. s, working in
iraq, controlling a big swath of syria, nusra, the al qaeda wing or the islamic front, nor the kurdish - none are democratics, hold elections or want democracy. the united states is dealing with rebels in a very - with great difficult conditions. even saudi arabia's turning away from the rebels, we have seen them fighting each other. well over 3,000 killed each other over the last several months in interrebel fighting. the regime, even though it's weak, is powerful. because the rebels have been so disorganised, are fighting amongst themselves and have been unable to one the favour of the west. . >> joshua landize payments a picture of the opposition that if you are in the foreign office in london, if you are in paris
or the state department in washington, you are not necessarily cheered by the prospect by a lot of those guys winning either, are you? >> sure, i agree with you and him. i add that i.s.i. s, and some other elements - there are rebel groups that fall along a broad ideological spectrum, sum that may be considered secular nation ailists, and some muslims and nationalists who see syria as the end game. the truth of the matter is that this is a fluid situation. the orientation of a group is contingent on a number of things. other powers, other than the united states is on the rebel side still in the game.
the saudis are involved in the south and north. the balance of power is shifting. we don't know who is going to control the post as art syria. >> 1153 days in. we better turn to the people of syria. there are millions of displaced people. what kind of conditions are they living in right now? >> horrible continues. the places they live are changing from day to day. you have 6.5 million internal regees, internally displaced people. 2.5 million or more that have left and registered with the u.n., and others that are not registered. and hundreds desperate for aid, a quarter of a million syrians are living under siege, set up by the syrian government, which are crimes against humanity.
>> some of those refugee camps that spilled into neighbouring countries look like like mini cities. in the level practices of humanitarian relief, is there a rule of thumb about not wanting poem to live in those -- people to live in those conditions, even if it's better that being in the open, that you don't want refugee camps to be permanent places of residents. >> these are big questions. in lebanon, a population of 4.5 million. a million are refugees. that is the equivalent of the united states. these are huge numbers of people, and there are, as you say, refugee cities in lebanon, jordan and turkey. this is another reason why the u.n. security council needs to take strong action to ensure that humanitarian aid gets into
syria, which the syrian government blocked, as well as some opposition groups. there needs to be a solution to the conflict involving accountability and the international criminal court holding people accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. when wars end, is it part of the global settlement that everybody goes home? is syria necessarily going to want the 2.5 million back. >> one hopes so. the people of syria deserve to be able to return to their villages, sis and communities, the rite of return is an internationally recognised right that needs to be uphold. other countries need to facilitate resettlement. in 2013 the united states allowed the resettlement of 36
syrian refugee. >> 36. >> 36 in 2013. >> if bashar al-assad for the near term remains in charge, do those 2.5 million people become something like a hammer for him? almost a useful tool of state craft as he moves his chest pieces around the geographic limping pin of the roman -- linchpin of the region. >> yes, they do. they have become, in a sense, the southern front, the area around jordan, which is being - where militias are backed by the control room, backed by 13 countries. they do not want to arm up those militias, enough to conquer damascus. that means turning it into aleppo. two-thirds of the population of aleppo fled.
if the same thing happened to damascus, and it were destroyed by street-by-street warfare. there would be other refugees out of syria. neither lebanon nor jordan can sustain that. they will up the anti-. they have forced the unhcr to build camps. the neighbourhood is restraining any real arming of the refugee - the rebels, because they don't want more refugees, if the rebels win, they'll have to take the cities, major cities that asaad controls, and that means destroying them, and a big flow of refugees. asaad has the neighbourhood by the scruff of their neck. it's, in a sense, he can blackmail them with refugees. we'll fake -- take a break.
welcome back to inside story. i'm ray suarez. on this edition of the programme, we are talking about the syrian civil war. it's been three years, and the fighting rages on. the u.n.'s chief peace envoy resigned and u.n. secretary-general blamed everyone, including the world body he leads for the lack of progress. even if the fighting stopped tomorrow, wouldn't you still have years of work left now that so many people are out of homes that may not exist. >> definitely, there's massive prospect of refugees coming back from outside syria and internally displaced people and the long-term scars.
people will need long-term health care, mental health support to deal with the trauma that they have experienced. plus the large question of accountability, what about the people who ordered or carried out attacks on civilians and communities and violated human rights. these are important issues that need to be addressed. >> does the world keep its focus post conflict as well as during a conflict. >> that's the job of amnesty international and all of us to make sure the governments do. we don't want deals cut putting human rights concerns and accountability out of the room when the conversations happen about what is next. >> the fighting is not going to stop. you have iran crowing on one side saying basically "we have won already", as the syrian opposition is visiting the white house. so they are not assuming that it is over. are we looking at a long slug, at this late date, three years
in? >> absolutely. it's in the respective party's interests to portray that they are doing well. it's part of the psychological campaign that both sides employed. it's rhetoric to a large extent. depending on how you gip the end -- define the end state. someone controlling a fight on behalf of all syrians, that's not something that is possible. that's what it will take to reach on end state in syria, it's not on the cars. >> when one wins finally, this place will be wrecked. it was a middle class country for the region. >> i don't know about it being middle class. it was governed and there was a strong central flurry. that central authority, i think, has been destroyed. it will be impossible to reconstitute. no matter who wins, whatever
that looks like, the albeity to control it turns into -- the ability to control it - i don't see that as feasible given the current circumstances. in light of that, some of the people we speak to in rebel-held areas in syria tells us that should the rest of syria fall to the rebellion, people would scry to the regime-held areas, where life is variable. i find that disturbing. it's indicative of the degree of fragmentation and fracturing taking place across the syrian territory. >> do you foresee a syria that is a normal stable population, that governs with some international credibility and legitimacy. >> no, i don't. i see syria in a broken-down state. it will be hard to build. america will sanction syria and
restrict trade. i don't know if north korea is the right way to say this. iraq has rebuilt to a certain degree because it has oil. you have a shiite government in baghdad and a shiite-led government in damascus. in between you have a rebellious sunni population, very tribal. they are not going to be pacified as in iraq or syria. it will boil. because turkey, saudi arabia, the gulfar abs will continue to -- gulf arabs. the boarder of the two countries runs down the middle. they are not nations. they hate each other today. >> i'll stop you there. >> without separating people, it will be difficult. >> i have to wrap it there. we'll have you back. joshia, sunni and fasil. thank you, that brings us to the
end of "inside story". i'm ray suarez, from washington. >> this is an area where our government discriminates against its own citizens leading trial lawyer david boies is fighting to bring marriage equality to every state. a battle he says is akin to the black civil rights movement. >> in the '60s, you had businesses saying we don't want to serve fragr fran americans. >> boies along with ted olson took on proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. the two friends were also add versaries on another landmark u.s. supreme court case, bush versus gore. >> the leader of the free world was at stake. >> the high-powered litigato