tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera October 7, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT
globally in the future. >> reporter: it's an under water mystery offering a glimmer of hope for a happen tad under threat. sarah clark, al jazeera, hong kong. a quick reminder that you can always gets all the latest news on our website at al aljazeera.com. i'm ali velshi, on target, imperfect alliance. america and saudi arabia may share military but not always alliance. i'll look at the differences the middle east is on fire. united states policy in the region is coming undone in places like iraq, syria and yemen, we are seeing civil wars, power vacuums, i.s.i.l., al qaeda, and interference from
individual players like russia, iran and saudi arabia. the saudis, of course, are america's allies in the region, with u.s. coordination, saudi arabia is funnelling weapons to rebels in syria while dropping bombs on rebels in yemen. the u.s.-saudi arabia alliance is about shared agendas, combatting iran's growing influence and securing the flow of oil, but not unshared values. saudi arabia is a conservative islamic state ruled by a monarchy. since taking the thrown in january. saudi agencies pressed on with arrests tryings and execution. ali was 17 when arrested during an anti-government demonstration in 2012. a saudi court convicted him of terrorism and violence against police, and last week, the court uphold his death sentence. public beheading and crews fixes.
his father appealed to the king to pardon his sound. nothing short, not even saudi arabia's dismal rights record can get in the way of influence wielded because of oil. since the summer of 2014, the saudis decided to keep oil prices down by as much as 50%. they have done so by producing the oil production to record heights. that's had a 2-fold effect on the world, the lower prices undermining u.s. oil producers who until recently succeeded in taking market share from the saudis, and undermined the rivals in all the middle east wars, iran and russia. as messy as that sounds, saudi arabia man itchulating the oil market for political gain is relatively straight forward. what is messy is saudi arabia's truck with terrorism. many accusing the government of a blind eye to insight funding by saudi arabia citizens.
the saudis, many whom follow a form of sunni islam consider themselves to be the guardians of islam's holiest places. to that end many saudi clerics encouraged citizens to support uni muslim groups throughout the middle east. critics say that by granting the clerics so much latitude, the saudis may, in fact, have gotten themselves into trouble the more extreme clerics in the country, they haven't been rained in. they run inside mecca, medina, the holy places and have control of the education system, the public place, and they have a global presence through many of the embassies. >> that global presence kept the money going. >> the u.s. department of treasury said in march 2014, that sympathetic private donors have been channelling money to organizations throughout the
middle east and beyond. private money has gone to the private al qaeda link. in pakistan, the citizens finance financed lashkar eltoiba, possible for killing 172 poem. that goal is the establishment of the islamic state in kashmir. in neighbouring yemen, saudis funding the group. it is notable for high profile terrorist attacks, an attempt to blow up an airline. in december 25th, 2009. the saudi record has been mixed on terrorist. it's significant ideological groups.
>> and some critics charge na in syria that the saudi government ignored news about its own citizens joining and funding forces battling the regime of bashar al-assad. one of the groups was al nusra, the al nusra front, the syrian branch of al qaeda. using social media, one cleric boffeded a campaign stating that those could earn money for the following: officially saudi arabia says government officials and religious scholars have condemned terrorist acts, and the underlying mind-sets to support terrorism. but early on in the syrian conflict. experts
agree that private saudi money was used to fund the islamic state or i.s.i.l. >> there is support for i.s.i.l. among saudi arabia, and it's likely it's been funded in the past and it's probable that the citizens try to send money to i.s.i.l. >> in 2014, i.s.i.l. forces made lightening past gains in syria and iraq. iraq borders saudi arabia in the north. bringing a brutal estate that reflects no boundaries home to the sued yeas, and saudi arabia is leading an air campaign against shia rebels, known as the houthis who seized power from the sunni dominated
government backed by the saudis. the threat to saudi arabia from i.s.i.l. fighters in the north may bring back dark memories for saudi arabia, back in 2003, al qaeda launched a series of brutal attacks inside the country, killing scores of people. the saudis responded by cragging down on hundreds of suspects. but the private saudi support for external financing continued, and may come back to haunt the saudis. within the border, the i.s.i.l. associated group targeted saudi security officials in a mosque attack that left 15 dead in august 2015. it was the deadliest attack within saudi arabia within recent years. the same group claimed responsibility for two other separate suicide bomb attacks at shi'ite mosques in saudi
arabia's eastern provinces in may. the bombings killed a total of 26 people. in may 2014, saudi arabia announced that it had uncovered a plot to kill government officials and attack national and foreign interests in the company. 62 suspects were arrested, almost all saudi nationals, and according to the state newsagency, some were encouraged to carry out the assassinations by saudi i.s.i.l. members in syria. in response the sued yea government began a campaign to stop citizen from backing islamic terror organisations especially those criminalizing support for many groups, including i.s.i.l. >> it's 100% illegal to send money to i.s.i.l., to encourage ideological support for i.s.i.l., and it's illegal to go abroad to syria and iraq, to
night with i.s.i.l. >> in september 2014, saudi arabia joined the u.s. coalition against i.s.i.l. in air strikes led by the united states, saudi jets struck targets within syria. significantly on board a jet was a member of the saudi royal family. it may be the clearest message that the saudis are serious terrorism. saudi arabia is fighting i.s.i.l.
saudi arabia is one of the united states important allies in the middle east. president obama relies on the saudis to stablilize oil markets and stand firm in the face of iranian ambitions. the two allies are coordinating actions in syria and yemen, where civils wars are raging. the u.s.-saudi alliance comes under strain. the two countries have different views on iran's nuclear deem, on human rights and terrorism. >> saudi arabia's permanent representative to the united nations, a former member of the ashura council, the saudi king's advisory body, that drafts laws
and cults on important matters. thank you for being with us. >> thank you, ali. >> you have a chance to watch my introduction and the story that we just did. what do you not thing was right. okay. >> you started out by staying that saudi arabia and the united states do not share values, that is wrong. start out by saying saudi arabia officially or u.n. officially supported neal nusra, that is wrong, and that the record on counterterrorism is mixed. that is wrong. i can go on and on. many of the points you raised were factually wrong and conceptually inaccurate. >> let's start at the beginning, human rights. we are trying to get conversation on what is happing to ali mohammed al-minu. we can't get a confirmation if an execution date has been set. >> there is in no execution date set. the legal process is ongoing.
until the legal process is completed, it does not make sense to address a case that is currently being reviewed in legal circumstances. that process is ongoing. >> as you know, death sentences in saudi arabia have to go through multiple stages, the last is the personal approval of the king, and that process is not yet complete. >> when i said saudi arabia and america don't share values, that's one. in america no one is executed for protesting. >> no one in saudi arabia is executed for protesting, we share human rights. >> you have to be committed of a capital innocence in the united states. a very violent crime. >> same in saudi arabia. i'm not going to discussion a
case and what this person may or may not have done. that is the same, you do not get killed in saudi arabia for expressing your opinion. >> let's talk about expressing your opinion. rave madowi was sentenced to 10 years in gaol and lashes for an opinion. that's an opinion. >> he's not executed. >> i'm not meaning to criticize, differences. >> i am not sure if they are value differences. we have our system. sure. >> that doesn't mean we have differences in values. >> let's go back to a point you made about allegations. that some saudis, not necessarily the saudi government is funneleling money or weapons to terrorists. if any is doing that, that person or group of people are committing a crime.
>> that part was accurate. in the united states, during the irish problems. there was a lot of money and weapons funnelled from the united states or the ira. country. >> here is where the issues dash there are clerics that might be inciting this behaviour. is the saudi arabia willing or able to do more. >> there's a difference between clerics, old people, expressing sympathy and support for the people, in a struggle against a regime. and between direct incitement to kill or go to jihad in iraq and syria. the latter is forbidden by law. whether you are a cleric or an individual, if you commit that, you are committing a crime. this has been the case in saudi arabia, well before it was declared in many other parts of
the world, and the clerics who hold, you would argue, more power in saudi arabia, than in many countries. saudi arabia has a lot of influence from the clerics. are they on board with what you are saying? >> all the clerics, that have official positions in the saudi arabia government or structure have condemned acts of terrorism, condemned going out for jihad in syria, iraq or afghanistan, and issued fatwas to that effect. there is a matter of an expression of opinion if an individual cleric somewhere is expressing his opinion on what is a religious jurisprudence type issue. he's entitled to do so. the incitement is prohibited by law or punishable by law. >> one of the things that i think you did not like is there may be saudis that supported the
al nusra front, the al qaeda franchise in syria. the allegation is not that the suede government is doing this, but saudi citizens are doing it. >> a long time ago. it was declared a terrorist organization, nusra, any support going to prosecution. >> am i going to stand up saying there's not a single. of course not. it will be chased. and the full strength of the law would be plied to those people. >> i think we worked through most of them. if anyone comes up, you can let me know. >> critics say saudi arabia >> every saturday night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping... inspiring... entertaining. no topic off limits. >> 'cause i'm like, "dad, there
think we have a discrepancy? >> we have 500,000 out of the 2.2 million that we are referring to, residing in saudi arabia. over and above 250,000 who were living in saudi arabia before the crisis started. but more than 2 million people have been to saudi arabia and left to other places in the gulf region or elsewhere in the arab world or the world at large, there's no discrepancy. we have received more than 2 million people, of whom 500,000 are - continue to live and settle in saudi arabia. not as refugees, as guests. >> they have gone somewhere else, the other. >> they have gone smrm else. >> -- somewhere else. >> i think the criticism is saudi arabia signed the refugee protocols, defining how someone calls themselves a refugee and what's to them. why not? >> i'm not familiar with this issue, i'm not going to give you an answer on it. the point is that we receive
these syrian brothers and sisters, and don't treat them as refugees, but as guests in the country, and give them all the rights that saudi arabia citizens have. >> let's talk about yemen. some human rights groups pointed to saudi arabia's campaign against the houthis, as targeted. >> well, first of all, your description of the houthis as shi'ite rebels, and that's why saudi arabia - i think that is a misrepresentation. we are not dealing with houthis o-shi'a as shi'ite or sunnis. we are dealing with rebels government. >> of course, we have supported the yemeni people and government. we think it's our responsibility to do so. civilian casualties, we are using
targetting and we have technology to that effect which we owe to the americans and to the british and to the french who are helping us in that process. so we try as much as possible to avoid civilian casualties. >> probably, yes. >> as in old wars. it would be civilian strategies. keep in in mind. any time there was a bombing exercise against a specific target, the houthis would come along and would shoot artillery fire into neighbouring places in order to show it off as collateral damage and civilian damage. that is where most of the civilian casualties had come from. you should not forget the artillery barrage, that the houthis unleashed against aiden and other places in the south when they occupied them. in this challenge, when we were talking about air bombardment
and precise targetting, that could be shown. artillery shelling, against the civilian population has been arbitrary. they have closed most if not all the civilian casualties in the war in yemen. >> before the deal, i spent two weeks in iran. >> there are posters in president obama and the king. that is the alliance that the iranians see as lining up against them. the posters were about the saudis and the americans. yemen seems like a bit of a proxy war. saudi arabia is not particularly pleased. they voiced concern. i guess at this point saudi arabia is behind in supporting it. it's problematic for saudi arabia. it's a major power legitimized. the deal is done. finished and we have endorsed
the deal to the extent that it avoids the development of nuclear weapons, and our hope and expectation is that this deal is going to cause iran to act more responsibly in regional affairs. >> this will be the way we will judge the deal by. >> you say we shouldn't characterise the houthis. it feels like a proxy war, saudi arabia suggested that iran is backing the houthis. >> they are backing the houthis, that's for sure. it's not a proxy war, iran has no business being in yemen, they are not an arab country or the d.c. c country, it has no direct borders. it has no business being in yemen, or what it is trying to do is to create proxies that can fight their wars, it's the same thing with hezbollah. we are not going to allow a hezbollah type of thing to start on the border. >> let me ask you.
he's over on the other side of town. some were puzzled by the membership on a key council. and saudi arabia said it will not mention any language referring to development goals. we go back to the beginning of the conversation. gay rights are all the rage in the united states. >> if that is a value of gay rights, that is one we do not share with the united states, but we share it with the vatican and with a lot of catholic countries, and most of the world. >> in fairness, i mentioned the guys that have the lashes, the guy that's up for crews fixation and gay rights. >> we have more values than we have differences on. >> you sure it's not mostly oil that you share. >> no. we don't share oil. now the united states has enough oil of its own. >> sued is said to be, and you
said it was right or wrong. burning at a rate of $12 million a month. you are involved in a lot of regional stuff. and would need oil prices to return to $106 a barrel to break even. the group tells us that. tell me about this. in your introduction. it is posing prices. they have a higher production of oil than at any point in recent history. not romantically so to cause oil prices to collapse. what caused them to come apps is oil production from other places in particular and other countries trying to pump as much as possible. as far as we are concerned what we did is try to protect our market share in that regard. we have an ambitious development programme in saudi arabia. and that development programme
is not going to stop, because oil prices come down. we are able to draw upon the reserves and borrow in the international market. it is going to continue. what do you think about russia in syria. >> i think they are permitting a big mistake by getting more involved in president bashar al-assad. and president bashar al-assad is not going to be able to leave syria in the future. it's inconceivable that after the number of victims that fall pray to a government machine, a killing and bombing that bashar al-assad can expect to conduct business as usual. and for russia to help that process move along, i think they are betting on the wrong horse, and i think they are getting stuck in a situation that is not going to be pleasant for them. neither in russia or syria. >> i hope we sorted out some
questions >> i hope so too. i leave it to your determine. >> permanent ambassador for the millennium development goals have run their course. the plan to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. now the nations of the world are embarking on an ambitious new sort of targets hoping to make the world healthier and wealthier in a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable way. get rich, not dirty. it's the inside story.