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tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 22, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EST

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>> who do you protect? >> ...of what's really going on in ferguson >> they were so angry because it could have been them >> fault lines ferguson: race and justice in the u.s. one hour special only on al jazeera america >> chaos in an al-qaeda stronghold. growing controversy over an invitation to israel. prime minister netanyahu agrees to speak to congress. why president obama said he won't be meeting with him. and deflate gate denials. the coach and the quarterback speaking out about the deflation controversy following the new england patriots to the super bowl.
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>> this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris. yemen is a country in crisis. less than 4 hours ago the president of yemen signed a deal with houthi rebels to end months of crisis. today president hadi resigns leaving the country in chaos. >> this is the resignation of yemen's president. the country's head of state after the revolution. it comes a day after he agreed to houthi demands including a change in the constitution. shia houthi fight tours control the capitol of sanaa. but they've been in control of most parts since september last year.
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they've been promising statement and calling for the setting up of a new presidential council. in this secession itself, there have been calls for the north that shows how divided this country is. there have been calls for the solution to the crisis. >> i ask everybody to be wise, to be in a spirit of national union, to respect the supreme interest of yemen and dialogue and political solutions. >> some analysts say that hadi should have resigned months ago. >> it's a very bad thing and a very good thing. it's a very bad thing that things have reached this, but i think it will bring public mobilization around the president, around the government. >> when hadi took charge in 2012 he faced the challenge of united a divided country.
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yemen had ruled for decade by ali abdullah saleh. there wases a brokered deal, but hadi was the only candidate on the president ballot. he never got fullbacking many of whom still support saleh. that support became apparent when houthis were taking mortar tore with almost no resistence from the army. there were protests against inflation, corruption, and became an alternative to state authority. hadi did try to make amendments. he announced a national dialogue with over 500 members including all of yemen's tribes and leaders. but in his resignation letter he said did he not receive support from the regime party and houthies. he was a western ally. he promised to fight al-qaeda.
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it has been running training camps in the country. it made gains in southern yemen around the 2011 up rising. it's been beaten back since then but what it will do next is an ongoing concern now that yemen is entering another bout of uncertainty. al jazeera. >> yemen's houthi rebels are calling on their supporters to gather in the streets of sanaa. the president's decision to resign cast doubt over the international community and how it will deal going forward. the u.n. has stood firmly behind president hadi's government throughout the crisis. kristen saloomey is live with more on this. >> reporter: that's right tony, the security council just two days ago had an emergency meeting on this situation in yemen, but the response from the united nations since the president's resignation has been surprisingly quiet. we're hold by security council diplomats they're watching the situation closely, but no meetings have been called.
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the secretary general is also monitoring the situation closely, we're told. no statement yet. that's very unusual for the united nations but a sign, i think, that this resignation really caught the international community off guard and they are still trying to assess exactly what is happening on the ground. it's not to say that they're not concerned, not at all. as i mentioned there wases an emergency meeting two days ago where the security council said they want an end to the violence. they want a resumption of dialogue. there were concern about houthies surrounding the presidential palace, and things seemed to be moving in the right direction on wednesday. they sent their envoy early on thursday to hammer out the details of the agreement and oversee its implementation. he was having a meeting with the houthies and with the president, and right after that
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is when president hadi resigned, and the u.n. has been silent since then trying to assess what is happening. but that isn't to say that they're not concerned just as the united states is concerned about al-qaeda and the arabian peninsula possibly getting more of a stronghold there given a new power vacuum. the united nations shares that concern. they are watching the situation carefully, and i would expect some statement from the secretary general in the coming hours, if not sooner. >> that's interesting. it will be interesting to sort of really dig a little deeper to find out what happened there on the ground of yemen over the last 12-18 hours. kristen saloomey for us. thank you. the u.s. is closely watching the events in yemen. the state department still recognizes him as the legitimate leader of the country. jamie mcintyre is live for us. what more is the u.s. saying about the crisis in yemen right
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now? >> reporter: well, the events in yemen are closely being monitored here. washington has a pair of ships standing by in case americans need to be evacuated from danger, but right now the u.s. is trying to figure out the best way to proceed. the houthi fighters firmly in control of yemen's cam capitol president hadi promised to share power and the crisis seemed to be easing. >> there would be an established processes of dialogue. >> reporter: but as the state department was applauding the overture the agreement was collapsing. president obama was informed of the latest develops as he flew back from speeches in kansas.
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[ sirens ] >> reporter: u.s. now risks losing a key ally in the war against al-qaeda. under hadi's tenure the u.s. had nearly a blank check to use drone strikes against the apaq leaders. defense secretary chuck hagel said yemen is in no position to guarantee any guantanamo detainees won't return to the battlefield. >> the conditions today aren't any different than they have been. >> the pentagon has two ships standing by ready to evacuate the american embassy. they're equipped with helicopters and hospital facilities but the for now the
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assessment is there is no need to rescue the americans. >> just four months ago they cited yemen as a place for the u.s. to work with a friendly government in target al-qaeda. ly let's bring in peter, a yemen analyst. what do you think happened over the course of last maybe 12-18 hours here where the u.n. envoy is literally on the ground in sanaa talking with houthi leaders, and the president is effectively and the cabinet effectively resigning. >> what seems to have happened is houthies came to a deal with the president. they agreed to release his chief of staff who they had kidnapped over the weekend, and they agreed to withdraw from their positions. in turn what they asked for were
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certain political positions and changes to the constitution. it seems they came through this morning with a list of political lists they wanted. they want vice presidency, and various other senior positions. at that point the cabinet met. they discussed this among themselves and decided they couldn't continue pretending to be politically independent if they're going to have the houthies overseeing everything that they did. and atthey quit, and now hadi is trying to play a clever game by pushing the houthies into horror reasonable demands by quitting. >> the group now wants to establish a military council. what does that say to you? what does that mean? >> this has been rumored in yemen since the houthies effectively seized control in sanaa in september. this idea if the president went there would have to be some kind
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of structure to take over for him. there are two things you can do. you can use the yemen constitution put in a speaker of parliament. i think what the houthies would prefer would be to create ruling committee for the country that gave the regime that they created or they want a veneer of respectability by making sure that people they trusted were at the very top of the committee. >> that's fine but there are other actors in the region to consider correct? so what are the saudis going to do? what are the sunnies in the south going to do in response to what is happening in sanaa? >> well, what we've been hearing over the last few hours one of the founders of the secessionist movement in the south of yemen announced that the south is seceding. >> they're going to get together tomorrow and make this official.
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>> they've been heading towards secession since the mid 2000s. what we're see something a concerted attempt in the south to seal themselves off from the north. they're very worried that the houthies will come down and try to consolidate control over the south. in terms of the saudis, they're in a very difficult motion right now. hadi was kind of their guy. he was someone that they thought they could do business with. with the houthis they don't have that feeling. and they believe that ali abdullah saleh has been behind a the houthies, so they're not great friends at the moment. >> so do you think that there is a chance that the now former president, he's resigned, president hadi will join the secessionist movement in the south? >> that's something that the success secessionists have been talking about for a while.
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whether he would consider that, that's a different question. if i were him i think the best move would be just to walk away from the whole thing. you wouldn't want to be the former president of two countries in quick secession. >> what is the united states, what are people watching, what are we all to make of the kind of chaos that is going on in yemen right now? we should mention an al-qaeda state as well. >> there is a strong al-qaeda presence in yemen. in washington for many years they have seen the local franchise of al-qaeda to be one of the deadliest in the world. it was the local franchise who planned the under pant bomber in 2009, various cargo bombing plots in 2010. their fear has been that the franchise in yemen would exploit
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the vacuum, power and launch more attacks abroad. i think those fears would exacerbate that they were behind the charlie hebdo attacks in paris two weeks ago. and they fear that aqap would be able to gain ground in effect because there is no state. >> peter appreciate your time. thank you. he leaders of the coalition fight against isil met in britain today to strategize. the 21 members met with secretary of state john kerry he says it is not just helping of the middle east defeating isil is crucial to security in the west. >> we all understand that dash daesh, as it is commonly known in the arab world it is not a syrian problem.
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it is not an iraqi problem. daesh is a global problem and demands a global response. that's what we've come here today. >> they've talked about cutting off isil's funding stopping recruitment, helping those caught in the middle of the fighting. nearly 12 years after the u.s.-led invasion of iraqi prime minister tony blair is still facing criticism for britain's role there. we asked blair about that and more. >> reporter: tony, i had a chance to sit down with another tony tony blair or former prime minister of the united kingdom who is an assault to try to rehabilitate his reputation. he has been called the most reviled man in the united kingdom largely because of the--his role in bringing the united kingdom into the iraq war along with president george w.
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bush. recent events including the onslaught of isil have started to vindicate his position. he's talking a lot about that. he's very involved in the middle east so i started by asking him what he thinks needs to be done in iraq to stabilize the situation and how long he thinks western forces need to be there on the ground? >> i think it's really difficult to say how long the commitment is going to last in trying to defeat these people. i hear that you can put a time limit on it because what is necessary is to see this in the context now of what is happening. obviously not just in iraq but syria, yemen nigeria central africa and other parts of the world. my view is wherever these people are, that's where you'll have to confront them militarily. >> you were a populist. you were the first labor prime minister in such a long time. you won such a big majority the
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first time you won and you've been hanging around people who are not thought of as men of the people from al sisi in egypt to the cass sacks to jamie diamond of jp morgan. >> i decide my own decision on things. sisi i think is a real hope for egypt and i personally--but not fairly democratically elected. >> well, i would say that he is fairly democratically elected. there are issues. >> that was illegal. >> right but there are issues around al jazeera would disagree. >> as you can see tony blair not so interested in defending his position with these relationships, both with the egyptian government, with the jp
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morgan chase but he's said to be making millions of dollars from consulting contracts with these various entities. he said he's just being him and he's going to keep on being him. >> yeah, davos switzerland a big about face in europe, and why investors think it's good news. ukrainian troops abandon an airport to russian troops after months of intense fighting.
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>> okay, a plan to jump start europe's economy sent stocks high on wall street. it is spending $1.3 trillion to buy private and government debt. it is the same kind of stimulus plan used to boost the economy here in the united states. today's decision is really an about face for europe, which has spent years trying to improve
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its economy threw austerity. patty sagba is here with "real money." will this work? >> that's the $1.3 trillion question. it really is. first about the mechanics of this. this is quantitative easing. it is quantitative easing. this is not printing money. what they do is they buy up bonds, government bonds and private bonds from banks by crediting their account with money that didn't exist before. it's virtual money. it's not coins or notes but virtual money that spells helps to swell the balance sheets of these banks. and the hope is that that will lend out money and stimulate activity. but in europe they hope that it boosts confidence. talk of this has already devalued the you're euro to a
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certain extent. but the big question is this going to boost confidence to the point where you're going to see more business activity that is going to lift up the stagnating economies. >> a couple of things. mario strogny who is he? >> he is the ecb chief. he's the one who rolled out this program. there has been pressure on ecb to buy up government bonds. germany has been very opposed to this. they want to see other european economies do structural reforms specifically with regards to their labor markets. but there is a real problem with stagnating economies and low inflation and in some countries deflation. deflation strikes terror into the hearts of economists. that's when prices are low and people suspect that prices will drop even further and that grinds economy activity to a
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halt. >> did that work here in the united states? >> another billion dollars question. the first round of q.e. was largely credited for pulling us back from the brink of going into a depression. the main consensus of the first round of qe is a good thing. but the jury is out on the last round. the q.e. drove a lot of money into the stock market. it helped to boost houses. people who owned assets who tend to be more well off. the more well heeled, the 1 percenters they played out like bandits. but as for that money still trickling into the economy the jury is out because which still see depressed wages. does it work or does it just benefit the members of society who need it the least. >> patty remain here, because you can contribute to this story. peter is with us as well. we were just here moments ago talking about the situation in yemen. do we have him? he's going to be joining us in a
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second. saudi state television, i'm told now, is confirming that king abdullah of saudi arabia has passed away. we have known for some time that he was battling illness. he was hospitalized with pneumonia. as you know saudi arabia has been a long-time ally of the united states. it's been a front relationship and this is a huge story huge news that the king of saudi arabia the king abdullah, has passed away. >> the big question now is succession. succession is always a big question and with saudi arabia, everybody wants to see a very smooth very peaceful transition happening because of course this is opec swing producer. when you're talking about opec there, are 12 countries but really the one that matters
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saudi arabia. because they're so important to global oil markets that is their cache. and to the outside observer, it is largely a black box even for experts who watch it closely. this was saudi arabia it has been a family who has been ruling. what happens now? >> and the family is an older family so the next in line, i mean there has been this talk for years how do we get--do we need to change the line of success session succession to make it younger and bring youth into the line. that's a debate that i'm not sure has been settled in saudi arabia. i know there have been books written on this very topic. >> the succession is clear and we know who is going to come, but the big question is who comes after this. and because at that point you're
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talking about not the direct sons of abdullah aziz. but the big branch of the family after that. the next generation after that. and who has that claim on the crown? and so this is going to be the big question swirling around. because as i said, the saudis obviously want a peaceful succession. everybody else wants a peaceful succession. they don't want in-fighting especially in the region, and with what is going on in the region where there have been power vacuums exploited by isil. everybody is going to be looking at what does this mean? is this going to be a smooth transition to the next successor, and that all important to global oil market. >> crown prince salman is the heir apparent. you can see him in the screen right there and the breaking news is of the death of the saudi king, king abdullah has passed away. we have known that he's been in
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poor health for some time now. recently in the hospital with battling pneumonia and patty you just said it, saudi arabia is at the apex of so much of what is going on in that region right now. when you talk about the steep decline economically in oil prices what that's meant for other economies around the world. what it has meant around the united states and in venezuela. we've seen long lines for food and basic needs and the saudis said that we can live with low oil prices because in part, you know this better than i do, they have a huge sovereign well fund. >> they can produce oil more cheaply than anybody. they're deliberately sitting on prices. even if that means that they have to tap in to their cash reserves that mount of cash that they're sitting on, they're willing to do it. the saudis have said that they're doing this is to protect
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their market share against oil fracking. but there are political gains they've been getting from this as well. it's putting pressure on iran, for example. iran needs oil at $140 a barrel. and so crude is falling 60% since june. this is why saudi arabia, it's very key because of oil oil markets and securityivity region. >> i'm thinking about saudis essentially being the biggest player in the ggc in all of those states there. you mentioned geopolitics i'm thinking about the relationship with iran, with iran, with egypt. so there is a lot to consider here and it is a very full diplomatic plate for saudi arabia economic slate. the crown prince is the heir,
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we've known about this for quite a long time. let's take a break. we'll continue our conversation on this. the breaking news at this hour is the death of saudi state television confirming the death of saudi arabia's king, king abdullah. we're back in a moment. this is al jazeera america.
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>> and breaking news at this hour is the death of saudi arabia's king, king abdullah, we believe at the age of 91 just information that i'm getting. and we want to talk to simon henderson, reporter for the financial times. he's actually on a bus. we may drop the call, but simon i appreciate your time. simon, i've got king abdullah pegged at 91 years old. i know that's close. am i on the number?
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>> you're on the number. he was important in 1923, so at some point this year he was going to be 92. i doubt whether he actually got to 92. >> so the reporting as you know from the saudi state television is that king abdullah has passed. what are your initial shouts? >> first of all it's a sad occasion. he's been a very hard working clean. not immensely progressive in social terms but a very firm sense of what he wants to do with saudi arabia. he's been probably a good friend to the united states as well, and his immediate legacy is one of disappointment, saudi disappointment with the united states which feels let do you down in terms of middle east
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policy. >> conservative, fair to say. not a reformist and at a time when there are all kinds of calls within the country wouldn't you say for reforms. >> absolutely. in saudi terms he was a bit of a reformist. he had a daughter, princess adilla who was an advocate a public advocate she presumably had her father's ear and she would tell him that she thought that women should drive but the country was so conservative, but his reply would have been, i hear what you say but i can't do much about it. >> what do we know about crown prince salman, the next in line
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of the succession tree. >> this is the extraordinary thing. he was born in 1936, so he's 78 years old 79, he has had his own physical problems in that he has had at least one stroke. indeed one of his sons have died of heart attacks. more worryingly is that mentally he's very old and frankly he's senile. and so you have a situation whereby you have a he got a new king in saudi arabia, very much the number one decision maker yet the number of issues which are rocking the king at this
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moment. isis iran and plunging price of oil, it's hardly a policy list that you want somebody who is in charge who is most certainly not up to the job. >> but that is far from suggests suggesting a power vacuum, correct? you wouldn't suggest that anybody take the passing of the king and whatever questions there might be about the successor to mean now that this country is going to go through a period of instability and there might, in fact be some kind of power vacuum, correct? >> yes, there won't be a vacuum of such. there are too many princes around for there to be a vacuum. what there will be, though, is tension within the royal family whether salman is up to the job if he's the man to do it, and
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who replaces him after that. there will be all sorts of generational and half-brother, cousin struggles on who will be the next lettered. >> yes, and we were talking about this a bit earlier. maybe you can elaborate on this further. this idea of bringing younger blood, so to speak into the line of succession. that's been an ongoing debate for some time now correct? >> the system they've had in saudi arabia is that the throne is cast not from father to son and then to grandson, as would be in many monarchies, but rather has been passed from brother to brother amongst the sons of the founder of the king
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who died in 1953. it's this brother to brother succession that has occurred since then. the trouble is now that they're running out of brothers. at some point soon it's going to have to go to the next generation. which line of the next generation it goes to is unknown, and must be a source-- >> we reached him on the bus. simon, thank you for your time. let's get more now on the life of king abdullah,. >> reporter: he was one of the world's few remaining absolute monarchs but he became de facto ruler in 1995 when his
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predecessor had a stroke. at the time he was current prince but with a tremendous amount of power and influence. he was known to foreign diplomats as devout and conservative with strong ties to the countries bedouin tribes. but even then he pushed for change in the kingdom. >> he has inspired openness in two particular areas in for women and freedom of expression. there is an outburst of criticism social criticism and government policy inside of saudi arabia that has happened within the saudi government. >> when he took the throne in 2005, abdullah had to overcome pressure from conservative clerics to continue his program. he worked to trim the high-spending habits of his large family and tackled youth
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unemployment by liberalizing the economy and stimulating the private sector. he granted women the right to vote and run for office, and issued them with i.d. cards allowed them for the first time to do business without involving a male guardian. abdullah's other major decision was to set up accounts of royal elders to make their way of succession more ordinarily. but domestic concerns gave way to global ones when the united states was attacked on september 11 2011. 15 of the hijackers were saudi citizens. he told conservative clergy to stop teaching intolerance in schools and mosques. his next major challenge an september 11th was iran. the king's foreign policy focused on efforts on what the monarchy saw was the increasing
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influence of shia in iran. the iran also influenced the stance of arab spring. he supported change in libya and looked at legal demonstrations by saudi shia activists in the east of the country only acerbated fears. saudi security forces cracked down on protesters raising controversy on the king's record on human rights. in recent years activists demanded change through
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petitions ended up in jail, and political parties and public demonstrations were banned. but generally king abdullah confronted his fears of an up rising in a different way. he spent $130 billion on housing, jobs and other social benefits in a bid to win the hearts and minds of the majority majority. his calculation worked. despite an line calls for a day of rage, the anti-government protests never took hold. and the king remained largely popular figure. his critics though, believe he could have done more give saudi arabia's vast oil wealth, to help his population. >> people were convinced that there would be religious dialogue between sunni saudis and shia saudis. since 2009 we've seen relations
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deteriorate. >> but now the stability the ruling class has enjoyed is under threat. not from looming poverty or possible up rising but from old age and potential succession problem. the country has recently buried two crown princes and now a king. prince salman is nearly 80. with his appointment the current prince has been created the first time to perhaps reduce the possibility of a succession crisis in the near future, but even he is nearly 70. the crown in saudi arabia passes among brothers before it goes to sons. in a few years the last direct son of the founder of
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saudi arabia will either have died or become incapacitated by age, which will leave several grandsons vying for the throne. the real test could be just around the corner. >> joining me now is peter salisbury. and with me is patty sagba. we were just talking about yemen a couple of moments ago. and i asked you about the saudis and minutes after you leave the set we get this news about the death of king abdullah. what is your reaction? >> i think that in the short term what we're likely to see is a lot of refocusing not just in terms of the media, but within saudi arabia on what is happening internally, how to manage the line of succession onward and how to manage things in terms of arranging a very
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smooth period of transition for salman. what that will mean in terms of regional policy we'll have a brief moment where saudi arabia's attention is with dawn from the rest of the region withdrawn from syria iraq and yemen and it is possible that some people within the region will try to take advantage of that. >> at a horrible time. when you think about it. if saudi's attention is drawn away from syria that means isis and that means the nuclear talks with iran going on right now, and you know that in the past saudi arabia has said look, if iran goes nuclear that could set off an arms race throughout the gulf states. this would not be a time for saudi to take its eye off the geopolitical dynamics in that region right now. >> sure, absolutely. one of the other issues that
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saudi arabia really faces at this time is that salman's health is not been that great. he's pushing 80. he has not appeared in public as frequently as possible of late, and there is this issue of how hands-on of a leader is he going to be? at the same time, abdullah has been sick for quite some time and really has not been in position to run the country for the last four years there have been complaints within the diplomatic community within the regional leadership. sometimes it's hard to know what saudi arabia's position is on various topics. i would imagine with this succession we'll see a similar fussiness on key issues around the region. >> i was thinking as peter was
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speaking how transparent of a process are we likely to see here, and you're telling me to be mindful that there is still a possibility that this does not go smoothly, and we have a bit of a crisis, and what might be the implications of something like that. >> well, what the saudis is going to want to put out there is that we have the succession all sorted, no worries and it's business as usual. this is the image that they want to project to the rest of the world. they were cognizant of that that. this is a monday monarchy, and this is an absolute monarchy, and there are huge stakes with this monarchy, and this is a very large family.
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so who is going to be the faction within the next generation that is going to ascend to the crown? this is a big question. how is all of that inner family jockeying? how is that going to impact things? >> it's interesting peter i'm thinking there have been a conversation for the past few years, certainly in 2011 when i arrived in the middle east, the reformist movement inside saudi arabia and how that was essentially being put down, and most--it's most vivid display is this whole idea of women needing permission to drive in that country. is there a moment here that is available for reformists to try to see some initiative, to push forward that reformist agenda in the country? >> i think one of the issues that saudi arabia have been discussing over the last few years is this issue of who comes
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next and what that really means in terms of conservatism versus liberalism. there has always been a bit of a balance when the crown prince and the second crown prince. we're seeing someone who is relatively conservative and coming from a relatively conservative family versus mokran who is the more liberal of the two. the attempt was to balance things out here. but the bigger question, as was mentioned a moment ago what happens in terms of succession beyond this moment? do we see a conservative leader then building into succession for his own son? and really see things going down a more conservative path, or do we see things passing on to the aging brother. but in terms of attempts of liberalize and improve people's premiums and rights, i really don't think that that's this moment in saudi arabia.
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>> stay there, if you would please. i want to get to my colleague patty colhane. when i come to you i ask you about reaction to washington, and i'm going to do that here. but there is a huge story here and there are so many geopolitical dominoes on the table at this moment. has there been any reaction from washington player that please. >> wow, tease exactly what you're hearing on twitter. even though he was in ill health we knew that because the last time he was season with the president he had an congestion tube in his nose. but that has taken some people back when it companies to their comes to players in the region. now think about some of the
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things about saudi arabia. when it comes to islamic state in iraq and the levant, they said they wanted to train people to be part of the monday der oppositionist, as the u.s. calls them. they're looking for saudi arabia for yemen. yemen is in complete chaos right now. they look to saudi arabia to have some influence there don't forget that aqap is based there. they look for oil. a lot of u.s. presidents have been basically criticized by showing too much deference to the saudi king, but the reason is let's think about where the price of oil is now? it's because saudi arabia said they were not going to cut production. they have great influence on the opec members and that's why you're seeing oil the way it is right now. in the region when it comes to saudi arabia is uncertainty.
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the king is also, so far the news is just breaking in washington. we expect there will be some statement from the white house not in person because a lid has been called. probably a paper statement and i wouldn't be at all surprised if we saw president barack obama trying to make it to saudi arabia for the funeral to show how important the u.s.-saudi relationship is because lately it has been a little rocky. >> that's terrific. patty, i know you have responsibilities to our age colleagues but we'll get you back as soon as we can. michael shure is with us. your thoughts on the news that saudi arabia's king abdullah has passed. >> it's a complicated relationship but a long-standing
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relationship through the white house, through the presidencies. one thing that we're not talking about is what a good customer saudi arabia has been to our defense department in terms of buying our aircraft and munitions. they've done that with us and the united kingdom. not to mention the politics of it. jeb bush, his family was very tight with the saudi royal family and jeb bush all but running for president right now. because of that i think that the saudi relationship will come into play in 2016 in a way that it hasn't. they tried to sell themselves as progressive and, indeed, they were more progressive than their neighbors. and they bought their way out in a sense as we heard in that last report of having to go towards democracy completely by appeasing their people with infrastructure and rebates as it were, on taxation. it's a complicated country and
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an interesting relationship. i don't see that succession is going to be a big difference from one to the other. patty is right, i would see president obama not just vice president biden going to the funeral and taking a big role in the remembrance of king abdullah abdullah. >> i remember as you make the point that it seems and always has been a complicated relationship. i was thinking back on the obituary report of mohammed vow. for so many in this country when they think of saudi arabia, they think of 9/11, and 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in those attacks on the united states were from saudi arabia. but as you make the point it is a deeply complicated relationship. patty has made the point. peter salisbury has made the point. patty colhane has made the point, that there is--there are layers to this relationship,
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it's very complicated and there is an addition to that country saudi arabia being a good client state, it has helped in oil prices with that relationship with the united states. not only that, but moderation. they're trying to fight back that shia, you know, i would say fund mentalism to a degree that comes into play. i think to have that voice of moderation in that region is so vitally important to the united states and they were able to distance themselves in a sense in the oratory about 9/11, with the oratory that listen, they were born here but this is not saudi culture this is al-qaeda. they were supportive in the time afterwards. i think they were able to do that well. king abdullah was able to do that well, and the united states has appreciated that. as you said, it goes back to
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oil. it goes back to petroleum. we would not be having though conversation if it were not one of the oil-rich parts of the world. >> we have patty sagba on set with me patty colhaneu talk about the relationship that king abdullah and sawed eye saudi arabia and united states had. >> yes. >> patty sagba on set was willing and ready to jump in on that point as well. but go ahead patty colhane. >> just wanted to make the point, let me talk about the u.s. relationship with saudi arabia especially with king abdullah. president barack obama had to fly to saudi to make amends.
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the reason why he had to do that was because the relationship had hit a rocky patch. it was after the first revolution in egypt and president obama called out for mubarak to step down. the saudi were very upset about that. they feel that he abandoned a long-term ally and they feared that he would do that to someone who was a monarch. but the biggest blow talking about saudi in the context of saudi and iran defining the region. when the president we now know was in secret negotiations to begin negotiations with the iranian officials to over their nuclear program the saudis were really mad about that. they felt blindsided and betrayed that is when we saw the president fly in and got the first hint that the king, king abdullah was in ill health because he was seen for the very first time with an oxygen hose
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in his nose. this is going to be a huge story in washington, and a huge concern for the obama administration because of saudi arabia's importance in the region. >> patty colhan next washington. and patty sagba you're scribbling away madly. what are your thoughts. >> one thing to keep in mind. they're going to project a smooth transition, but to outsiders it's a black box. >> which means what? >> which means we don't know what goes on inside until it breaks out into the headlines. that's one thing. it is not an easy society to penetrate. for example when you brought up the 9/11 hijackers, don't forget in the wake of 9/11, saudi arabia had a very serious internal security problem with extremeists inside it's own borders. >> mecca is on your screen now.
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i wanted to identify the picture you're seeing and look at the saudis at mecca right now. wow. go ahead patty. finish your thought. >> the question is not only how smooth will this transition be, but does saudi arabia have internal problems right now that could bubble to the surface right now? this is always an uncertain time whenever we're talking about power transition, especially in a country like saudi arabia. it is a kingdom. it is a monarchy, it is so crucial to world oil prices this is something we have to look at what is their internal security at this moment. >> that's a good point. the internal security situation. >> what is it? to all outsiders it looks like they've got a lid on any problems that would be there. but of course during these uncertain times that's when these elements can really bubble to the surface. >> peter, before we get to the
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top of the hour, i want to get closing thoughts from you, and i hope you stick around for "real money" as well, but what are you thinking? what are your thoughts at this hour? >> i think at this moment in time what we'll see is a lot of people speculating on what is happening internally in saudi arabia. as the previous speaker said this is a really closed society. it's really difficult to know what's going on internally, but i do expect that there will be considerable turmoil within saudi arabia. even though it's been a long time coming, for many people king abdullah's death was just unthinkable. there was a huge question not just about how people who are shia and maybe opposed to the wahabi elements in society but how they're going to react to the appointment. >> well said. peter, thank you so much, peter salisbury.
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patty colhane patty sagba imagine shure michael shure in los angeles i'm tony harris. "real money" is next with david shuster sitting in for ali velshi. breaking news saudi arabia's king has died. he was one of the most influential and significant figures in the middle east and in the global economy. we'll take a look at what his passing means to the region and america. and tony blair talks to ali velshi about security in the face of extremism, and having a thick skin in the face of extreme criticism. and richard branson talks about moving forward in the wake of a