tv Inside Story Al Jazeera March 17, 2015 2:00am-2:31am EDT
>> the new home for original documentaries al jazeera america presents only on al jazeera america hello, i'm ray suarez. the syrian masses - people desperate to live normal lives have been the victims and bystanders as forces beyond their control tear the country to pieces. a new report from a big group of non-governmental organizations details terrible suf rings at the hand of their government, various groups fighting the government and neighbours with designs on one outcome or another, in many ways leaving fate. it's "inside story".
20 non-governmental organizations and n.g.o.s issued a report called failing syria, they targeted the united nations security council, and the international community. according to the n.g.o., the 15 members of the council have not lived up to the commitments spelt out in the very resolutions passed by the security council. the report about the syrian conflict says this spiralling catastrophe is a stain on the conscience of the international community, concluding that without action by individual governments, u.n. resolutions means little more than words on a page. it can no longer be ignored. among the n.g.o.s - oxfam, save the children and the refugee council.
we begin with the secretary-general of the coup, and a former united nations under secretary general for humanitarian affairs. good to have you with us. in the years since the united nations resolutions were passed. how has the world failed syria? >> the security council has failed syria in so many ways. a year ago the security council promised a viable peace process humanitarian access, sources for work and refugees victims, and also protection off the civilian population. millions more have been displaced. a million homes have been erased. access to the victims
has not become better. we have lost contact with millions of people that are now in hard to reach areas. and there is no viable political process. so, yes, the security council failed to implement his own resolutions. you know the inner workings well of the united nations, how it gathers resources, how it makes consensus and deploys in the field. before? >> i have seen it once before, to build up to the iraq war in 2003. against the security council paralysed and we ended up with the iraq war and the iraq aftermath. that still is haunting us in iraq. now, we have a bigger catastrophe which is syria. the syria war is bigger than any
other displacement disaster of people. it's the biggest refugee disaster, probably since the 1940, and '50s. we had nothing like it, and still we have paralysis among the greatest powers, and among the regional powers. >> do you think that at the time the resolutions passed, the world community assumed that this was not going to be as long a conflict or comprehensive as it's ended up being. now we are looking at a situation where when the smoke clears, millions of people will have no homes to go back to. >> i think it's correct that there was a misjudgment by so many quarters, including the great powers in the security council. they didn't really understand how big and how bat it would become.
it's not good, the political climate between the west, russia and china. russia and china vetoed repeatedly and did so at the time it was a smaller conflict and u.n. action would have been effective. now, they agree to resolutions a year ago, but they all failed to realise this. we don't have enough money for the victims. the armed groups have enough arms to fight against the civilian population. there is no pulling together among the big powers and the regional powers to have the parties go to the negotiating table. on the contrary, they are betting on different horses in abyss. >> that betting on different horses.
the different views of what the desired outcome in, it's like the permanent five have given the bill for the syrian conflict to the people of the country. >> in many ways it is the fact. the bitter reality in the climate between west, russia and china has not been as bad since the iraq war. the syrians should not become victims for rivalry among the big powers, nor should they be the victims for iran and saudi. shia and sunni leaders fighting each other at - and using syria as the battlefield. so we, the humanitarians find ourselves in the crossfire together with a civilian population. we are cementing, you know, despair and bitterness among millions
and millions of young syrians, i fear unless there is a total change of policy among the big powers, among the regional powers. we'll be having the - we'll be struggling with the effect of this catastrophe for generations to come. >> let's talk more about that. you have the experience in this area. the longer the syrian conflict goes on, does it become harder to undo the effects, to get people back into the country of syria, to get them out of jordan, out of lebanon and black into building a coherent society in sir qua. >> absolutely -- syria. >> absolutely, that is the bitter reality. now 4 million people are countries. >> 7.5 million are refugees
inside mirria. more than half of the population has been forced out of their homes. now, their places have been taken over by groups that they fear they have nothing in common with. it may take a long time before it's safe for them to return. one estimate i herd by one of the people servicing the ill-faith mediation efforts was that there are 2,000 militia groups with a name. individual groups with 10 or more fighters. it's harder to end a war with multiple groups fighting each other on the ground than a smaller conflict. however, it's important that we do not give up hope.
if we believe that this is only going to have full speed of costs, it will go badly. what we have to believe and argue is that this is a manmade disaster, it's not a tsunami. it's a manmade disaster, it can be ended. we have to start in 2015, and by local ceasefires, by funding the humanitarian work, negotiating access to the children, by giving school to refugee children so they get hope. >> great to talk to you, joining oslo. >> thank you -- camp in oslo. >> thank you for having me. >> despite repeated efforts, fighting and dying goes on unabated with the syrian
government fighting to save the area. the united states, and a long sleight of international partners agreed about getting rid of i.s.i.l., and not about whether to leave bashar al-assad for another day. when we return, we look at the states and strategy for different parties and interest and what they mean for the future of syria. stay with us, it's inside story. >> tomorrow on "the stream". >> the annual south by southwest festival has been a breeding ground for some of the biggest tech innovations in the world. we'll take you there, giving you a glimpse into the future. >> "the stream". tomorrow, 1:30 eastern. only on al jazeera america.
>> thursday. >> to the apaches, it's an ancestral place. >> sacred lands threatened. >> were the apache consulted on this? >> no. >> a controversial deal. >> we would love to have a mine in the community. at the end of the day, it is an issue of fairness. >> america tonight gets an exclusive interview with a foreign mining company accused of taking native american land.
>> people have been very critical of your company, saying that it'll leave a permanent scar on the landscape. will it? >> an america tonight special report: "mining sacred lands". thursday, 10:00 eastern. only on al jazeera america. welcome back to al jazeera america, i'm ray suarez. what to do about syria as the civil war enters its fifth year. secretary of state john kerry appears to open the door to negotiating with syrian president bashar al-assad. here is what he said on c.b.s. "face the nation." >> i'm convinced with the efforts of our allies and others, there'll be spread pressure on bashar al-assad. >> and you'd be willing to negotiate with him. >> well, we have to net. >> the state department pulled back saying washington would never negotiate with bashar al-assad.
turkey, a nato ally, is angry that a new coalition has lowered the priority for bringing down the bashar al-assad regime. iranian forces and iranian-allied iraqi fighting men are prominent in the fight against iraq as iran is at odds with the united states over just about everything. and iran is pulling for bashar al-assad to hang on in syria. american partners in the fight against i.s.i.l. include sunni monarchies that detest iran and want to push back the powerplay across the middle east. under relationship status fill in - it's complicated. we look at the syrian conflict with an executive director of the american-iranian council and a researcher at princeton, working with former senior diplomat who serves as iranian representative at the global partnership for the prevention
of armed conflict and director of government relations of syrian-russian relations, welcome to you both. are all the forces, all the different countries removed in syria and iraq fighting the same war or multiple wars in tandem on the same piece of land? >> i think syria is different to iraq. thank you for having me, it's a pleasure to see you again. they are fighting different wars. a reputed research center in the u.k. tell you that only 6% of bashar al-assad's counter-terrorism targeted i.s.i.s., and 6% targeted i.s.i.s. the iranian militias iranian g.i. c, they were spotted along the
borders with jordan. they are working hand in glove. it's on the ground, aiding and abetting the regime, and the war crimes. so the iran is fighting along side the regime. citizenry. >> how would you answer the question. are we looking at one regional war or one war in tandem? >> all right. the conflict is raging in the middle east is multilayered. it's not just about the influence of regional powers, we have international community and world powers dealing with ideologies and interests in the middle east. what has happened, unfortunately, in the syrian conflict. it spilled over to neighbouring countries by humanitarian crisis or the rise of i.s.i.s. or d.a.e.s.h. when we talk about the
battlefields or battle theatres that the countries and groups are fighting. they involve the bashar al-assad government fighting the opposition. at the same time you have a multitude of other more pressing rise of d.a.e.s.h. coming across the border that has sidelined the issue, and the importance of the syrian conflict within the country has become more of a regional pressing issue for the united states and allied forces, and ironically with iranian, fighting against i.s.i.s. it is more complex than what it was in the beginning of the crisis in syria in 2011. how important is iran in helping the bashar al-assad regime keep its deprip on whatever small -- grip on whatever small part of control. >> there's no question that the
iranians have been providing assistance to the st peter's basilica government. it goes back to syria and iran seeing each other as a regional ally, a defense agreement between the two countries, and there has been deep-rooted cultural and trade. it's in the interests of iran to have bashar al-assad in power, and maintain influence in the region. that's an open secret that this is the case. it is paramount for iranian involvement for any solution, and this is where i want to emphasise that point. >> okay. so rain wants bashar al-assad to remain in charge. we saw the secretary of state dropping his guard and conceding that the united states recognises that bashar al-assad
is in power in syria, even as it prosecutes the war against i.s.i.l. the french foreign minister said over the weekend that that was a big mistake. conceding that bashar al-assad remains in power is absolutely necessary for bringing peace to the region. >> we spoke with the department of state over the weekend. as you mentioned, it issued a statement clarifying the statement of secretary kerry, we do not believe that secretary kerrry meant exactly what he said - that syrian opposition is committed to transition talks with members of the bashar al-assad regime. they went to geneva in 2014 to negotiate a solution, and try to hasten the end of the conflict engulfing syria, and the regime did not engage in geneva
in good faith. so secretary kerrry called it a magnet of terror. we do recognise that there needs to be a transition. be... >> you heard imam a moment ago, they are not going anywhere. >> it's not the only thing i know about secretary of state john kerry, i know where he stands, i'm not going to define him by the statement. we know what his thinking is. we know about his conversations with us. we know about his conversations with our regional allies, and his diplomacy, and he's an ally within the administration. by necessity, there needs to be negotiations with members of the regime. and the opposition is committed to that. the negotiations will be about a political transitioning. it's not someone. so long as he
said in power, they'll you stay in power. >> if nobody gives in, it's a recipe tore stasis. >> this is the problem. every solution by the international community had one major player absent from the talks. in switzerland, on two occasions, iran was not there. how can you reach a political settlement in syria without having every party involved. this is why i believe in the future, if there is a political solution, you need the iranians on the table to bring about weight to the negotiations, and a political process by pressing bashar al-assad to take concessions. that will not happen if iran is not at the table. >> by the way, iran was invited to the geneva talks and was asked to endorse the geneva community.
it is the main document endorsed internationally, and they said no, and said that bashar al-assad needs to stay in power. the reason iran was not included - they were invited, they were not included, it refused to recognise the legitimate aspirations of the syrian people. story. for months i have been asking how does it end. is bashar al-assad in power, is syria a state, is there a kurdistan carved out of iraq. do the enemies retreat to neutral corners after the threat is turned back or do they go after each other. good answers have been in short supply. i try again after the break. still ahead on "inside story". >> heavily armed combat tactics >> every little podunk wants their tank and their bazooka...
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you're watching "inside story" from al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. we've been looking at the deepening humanitarian crisis in syria, and the strange bed fellows created by the rise of i.s.i.l. when the smoke cleared and a destroyed, destitute and repopulated syria tries to reemerge, who gets what they want? my guests are with me still. let's talk about syria after the war. is it still a unitary state? >> i hope so. this integration of syria will not be in anybody's positive ambitions for any country.
it has already caused so much insecurity in the region, and should remain a unified country. that's first and fore most. i want you to look at satellite pictures. put out two satellite images of syria by night, showing what happened in the last four years. the first image is from march 2011. we labled the city of aleppo one of the largest. here is what it looked like in 2015. with syria says 97% of the lights are out in aleppo. 83% in the whole country since the civil war began. >> guess who's trying to place a siege on aleppo and people in the cities. iran and hezbollah. they made an effort to take over the city. they were pushed back. i am sure they'll try again.
that is why i would like to go to the point that your guest brought up. if iran would like to be part of the solution, by all means. they need to stop aiding and abetting the regime. they need to remove their troops, and remove hezbollah from syria, and if they are interested in engaging in diplomatic talks in good faith, i am sure that there could be a chance for that. so far that has not changed. that has not changed their before, they continue day in day out. iran could bring that timeline shorter by stopping active participation in the war on the ground in syria. >> mohammed is aware that this conflict is multiple players, and everyone has a role and responsibility in it. the turkish corridor that provided the weapons and ammunition to the opposition,
the ply and creation the monster of i.s.i.l. the u.s. cover for this continuation of funds and weaponry to go to the opposition that today has created this mess in syria in the region. iran cannot step back and say we'll hand off the region and the country. the problem is that the conflict retires first and foremost, the iranians said over again. >> let me jump in there. it's pointed out that a lot of players, and you heard them talk about 2,000 armed militias with names, identities and funds. >> there are a lot of militias, but the overwhelming majority are syrians, i'm not talking about i.s.i.s. i mean, i.s.i.s. emerged in 2013. but before that the syrian
opposition was making advances. the regime lost control of 50% of syria. it was the syrian opposition of locals against the regime. he was the only one in may of 2013, that the tide against the syrian position changed. your guest is talking about turkey... into . >> have they been a protagonist. >> it's the syrian opposition. these are the locals, these are the downs people, people that owned the city and neighbourhoods. they don't want to be ruled by bashar al-assad. what business does rain have to say, do you know what, you are the locals, which president should you have. we are the ones to decide. >> you noted an alliance.
what is this. does iran have has a combatant. >> we have little time. i want to give a solution to the issue. the breakthrough between u.s. and iranens up iran to come through. there's a political solution. no precondition, bashar al-assad, international community should be on the table when there's a humanitarian crisis, they need to start the discussion now. >> do you agree on that much? >> there's only a political solution, and we need to address the crisis. through humanitarian corridor, for that to be achieved, we need everyone on board. if we could have solved the crisis, the war wouldn't be entering its fifth year.
i want to thank you both for joining me. thank you for joining us on this edition of "inside story". get in touch on facebook, follow us on twitter and watch next time, i'm >> every day across america military-style raids are taking place. local police dressed like soldiers break down doors in the hunt for drugs. >> this is not what we think of as police in a democratic society.