tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera November 25, 2015 1:00am-1:31am EST
"on target" tonight. turee blows a war plane out of the sky putting it's allies in a tight spit. the 17-second midair drama that caused a modern day cold war controversy. syria's war has just mee tas sized into something bigger, and all the inconsistencies in the west's policies toward the syrian conflict now have the potential to set off a real war
between russia and the west in the middle east. earlier today turkish jets shot down a russian war plane that crossed from turkey into -- from syria into turkey. now turkey is backing syrian rebels fighting to oust bashar al assad from power. russia is on the other side of the fight against those rebels. both fight isil, but neither seems to have made that its priority. 17 seconds, that is all it took for two russian su-24 fighter jets to stray 1.3 miles into turkish air space. one of the two planes slipped back into syria. the other, which had only been in turkish air space for 17 seconds, was shot down by a turkish fighter jet. the russians say it was shot down over syria and not turkey. whatever the case the pilots in the russian plane share chuted to the ground on the syrian side of the border where syrian
rebels say they killed them both. here's why this all matters. turkey is a member of nato, and turkey's downing of a russian jet today was the first of its kind in the history of the nato alliance. if the russians decide to retaliate against turkey, the nato treaty stipulates that an attack on one member will be considered an attack on all. indeed, the turks called for an emergency meeting of nato to discuss today's incident. the ironic thing is that turkey, russia, the u.s. and others say they are united around the goal of defeating isil in syria. instead, they're just playing with fire by backing opposing sides in syria's civil war and fueling potential conflict with each other. for month on today's turkey lsh russia tensions, we have this report. >> reporter: they have had a history of conflicts for more than 400 years ago through the first world what. in modern times relations were
described as solid and based on mutual interests and respect. in the terms two countries trade tens of billions of dollars worth of goods every year. more than 50% of turkey's gas is supplied by russia. the war in syria has soured their relations. president assad is a major reason for the increasing tension between turkey and russia. tensions escalated in september whether russia launched air strikes against isil and tearian opposition fighters. last month government liters in anning ra complained that two russian jets violated turkish air space. russia's targets inside syria triggered a harsh response from turkey. on monday turkish leaders called to the united nations security
council to hold a meeting to discuss russia's air strikes against villages in syria. more than 1,500 syrian turks have fled nir homes to head to the turkish border. the shooting down of the russian jet will reshape politics, especially towards syria. assad and isil could be the spark for a new wide war. there's a fight already between turkey and russia. a spark for a wider war. al jazeera's senior washington correspondent mike viqueira joins us with more on this. nato had the meetings the turks asked for and put out a statement saying in early october russia violated turkish air space and the allies strongly protest these violations and condemn them into nato air space. they made a point of saying they're standing in alliance with turkey. what does this all mean?
>> well, if there's going to be a further conflict, it largely depends on russia. it's up to vladimir putin, really. today we saw francois hollande at the white house. in the wake of the paris attacks, he met with david cameron. angela merkel and putin on thursday. they said it's their top priority to make sure this downing of a russian fighter does not escalate into a wider conflict. that's what they want to do. both leaders try to emphasize the fact that despite upping on isil targets, the air campaign, there will be no french boots on the ground. president obama, of course, has been resolute in barring any possibility that americans will be there as well. the focus instead on those talks in vienna still a long way from even getting started. no one can agree on who is going to represent the there.
the question is, ali, as both leaders say russia cannot be part of the diplomatic solution, it's obviously the focus until russia targeted isil forces, and they've targeted any to bashar al assad including those backed by the united states and allies. in it doesn't refocus the air campaign exclusively, it can't be part of the diplomatic process. that begs the question, can a diplomatic solution be reached without russia who obviously has a large presence inside syria in backing the regime. >> russia took a position that nothing important in the world happens without russia these days. it's up to vladimir putin, you said. article 5 of nato says, quote, an attack on one country is an attack on all. does anybody talk about going to war over this, or is this a let's step back and have everybody calm down? >> again, the focus is on the
diplomatic push in vienna. they decide who sits at the table. there are different backers in this. the united states, russia and who believe that there are particular opposition groups they're attacks should have a prominent place for a ceasefire. many groups are actually gaining ground against the assad regime if not against isil itself. it's a shape of of the table negotiation at this point. in the meantime, president obama says there's making progress on the ground against isil. you heard how they're trying to attack sources of revenue and the oil convoys and tankers and trucks that are a large source of revenue for isil. there's absolutely no question that even though there is tough talk now, even though there's an escalation in the air campaign on the part of the french, it's an intensification of what's already happening, and everyone agrees that looks at that that isil won't be defeated and be
pushed out of raqqa and other areas unless there's a con fin gent on the ground. there's no alied powers at this point. the question is peshmerga or arabs within syria? who is it going to be? there's a new fresh set of complications. so there's no easy solution and the events in the last 24 hours have complicated things immeasurably. >> the peshmerga are nato allies and with the u.s. in trying to oust bashar al assad. the u.s. is working with kurdish fighters in syria and in iraq. turkey is bombing those kurdish fighters in syria. so the whole thing becomes very confusing. in proxy wars of the past, you kind of knew who everybody was backing. here it's really layer upon layer, and that's part of the issue that i think came out of the u.s. and the nato statements today, that this lack of coordination, we've seen it between the u.s. and russia in the past with planes getting
close to each other over syria and now we saw this. there's been a call in the nato statement for everybody who is doing anything mill taerl in the area to coordinate with each other. >> right. you're right. it's an absolute mishmash and completing groups. turkey as you noted when it joined the air campaign to allow the flights out of the airbase on its territory in southern turkey, they have concentrated much of their targets on many of the kurdish forces that are nominally or at least associated with those forces that the united states is not only backing but depending on to take the fight against isil, particularly on the northern fronts in the fight against isil. so no shortage of players here. it's really just a myriad sort of quagmire and one of the ironies is president obama warning vladimir putin this wouldn't come to a good end. certainly some is being borne out now.
in fact, there's a quagmire there, russia or no russian involvement. >> a lot of people warn it's only a matter of time by somebody's plane gets shot down. there's a lot of history to the turkish/russian relationship. with only 17 seconds in question, turkey pulled the trigger on a russian jet. that might sound rash to some, but coming up i talk to a man that said turkey had every right to do it. >> welcome to al jazeera america. more reporters, more stories, more perspective. >> from our award-winning news teams across america and beyond. >> we've got global news covered.
tensions between russia and turkey hit an all-time high after the turks shot down a russian fighter jet violated the air space along the syrian border. both countries back on posing sides and the new tensions could fuel a potential conflict with each other. the implications are huge because turkey is a nato member and long-standing u.s. ally in the middle east. despite the intentions they say turkey had every right to down the russian war plane today, the executive director of the center for strategic xhuk, a think tank in the turkish capital of ankara. he served as an officer in turkey's air force. thank you for joining us. i understand that if things are what turkey says they are, then turkey had every right to strike down the russian war planes.
nato is backing turkey up on that and if russia was in clear violation of turkey's border, that makes sense. was it the smart thing to do right now given the tensions in syria? >> there's a history to this incident of today. there have been some violations in the past, and the turkish side has been patient. there have been talks between the turkish authorities and russian authorities to have a protocol, and that the russian side understands the rules of engagement that the turkey side had announced a while ago. so the incident today should be seen as a last step in a long couple of months where there have been violations. i agree perhaps it was not the most effective way of dealing with it. as you know, the issue has much larger implications including how the two sides are backing --
two different sides in syria especially after the paris attacks. president obama and president hollande's efforts to form a strong and robust coalition against isis, perhaps it wasn't good timing. as i said, i believe that the turkish authorities had -- were on the legal side and had every right to protect its air space. >> in nato's communique today afterage emergency meeting and it made clear october 3rd and 4th when a similar incursion occurred and russia was asked not to do this. the coordination is one thing. the protocol is the u.s. and russia has figured out the day after doing the same thing so the jets don't end up shooting each other down or crashing into each other. turkey is the opposite of an island in the world. it the center of everything. what's the next steps now? turkey is a nato member, a western ally.
if it engages in military activity with russia, it does so with nato sitting on its shoulder. >> yes. but i think we've seen in the afternoon statements that seem to suggest there is on both sides a willingness to de-escalate president obama ace statement and the nato statement as well. however, we might see the russians responding in indirect ways, he is special li inside syria, perhaps continue to bomb in northern syria. turkmen and those fighting the assad regime more fee row shusly. and there's no doubt today's incident will complicate president obama's efforts to form a new coalition that would take on isis more effectively. >> let's discuss. you wanted to put today's shooting down of the plane is in
some context, and that was use. . bigger context. let's go further. the relationship between turkey and russia has actually been very good. turkey gets half of its natural gas from russia. foreign minister lavrov from russia was going to visit turkey on december 25th -- or november 25th, tomorrow. he was -- he's decided not to do that. what about turkish/russian relations and what this does to it? >> well, this is a very good question. turkey and russia had a good decade of strong relations. 58% of turkish natural gas is imported from russia. 4 million tourists come annually to turkey. the trade relationship is improve, but this is an important milestone. president putin's statement today has been very harsh.
he seemed to be extremely angry. the cancellation of the visit by lavrov as you said is important, and he also indicated that he didn't want any russian citizens to stay in turkey or change their plans to travel to turkey. so there is quite a bit of bad bld now between ankara and moscow. it remains to be seen as how effective the american and european efforts for de-escalation will be on the russians given what has happened planes. then also a helicopter that came to rescue was also hit by opposition forces in northern syria, so the russians whim be eager to somehow respond to the turks in the coming weeks or months. but there is no doubt this will be a -- it's a watershed moment for turkish russian relations. >> give me a larger picture.
things were looking great. turkey re-established itself play in the world. it's the anningor points between east and west and turkey looked in both directions and did well. now turkey made an enemy of a former ali in assad, and i don't hold turkey responsible for that. it's got a fight with isil and russians and an ongoing fight with the kurds outside of turkey's borders inside and outside. turkey has too many fires going at the moment. >> indeed it has. unfortunately president erdogan after the 2013 protests and a number of other scandals that broke out has turned more authoritarian domestically, which had an impact on the kurdish problem inside turkey. recently just before the election the violence between the pkk and the turkish security
forces was restarted. unfortunately, turkey's relations with the united states, with the european union have worsened due to issues on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, a lot of pressure on the turkish media. so turkey's foreign relations have been impacted very much with what's going on inside turkey. of course, president erdogan's insistence on focusing regime change in syria has been detriment, while many of turkey's allies focus on isis and other parts of equation. indeed, turkey's foreign relations no longer look as promising and as confident as they used to be a number of years ago. however, i think in this incident today, i think there's not much to be blamed on the turkish authorities. i think it was rather irresponsible by the russians. i listened on my way here, the turkish radar officer caulking
the russian pilot not to better turkish air space, and unfortunately the insistence on that has brought about what happened today. so i think two sides, you know, are somewhat responsible, but there's no doubt that the russian insistence on violating turkish air space was simply out of place. >> thank you for joining us, a former member of turkey's parliament and the executive director of the center for strategic communication. oil prices are caught up in the tension between turkey and russia. what it could mean for you is coming up.
behind the conflict in syria is something we've talked a loot about on the show, oil. though syria is not a major oil producer, the conflict there involves several major oil-producing players from russia and the united states to turkey, even isil. the price of oil has been a major driver of policy. oil futures rallied today. west texas intermediate hit the largest single day gain in three weeks as tensions between turkey and russia ratchet up. $42.87 if you want to buy a barrel and take it home tonight. to help break it down is the director of the energy futures initiatives. good to see you. thank you so much for joining us. i think that you feel that the risk of everything that's going on in the middle east from isil to syria to iraq to afghanistan to turkey is all priced in. when one says something is
priced into a stock, that usually means it's already there. i mean, at 42, 43 bucks fof air barrel is anything really priced in? >> i think it is. the middle east turmoil has been going on for a while, and i think the market has no illusions that this turmoil is going to go on for the foreseeable future. the downs of the russian plane this morning he is claittsed the situation. it has the potential to further escalate what is already very convoluted proxy war in the middle east. at the same time, i don't think it affects the fundamentals of either the conflict or the oil markets. >> so let's talk about the micro stuff as opposed to the macro. there's a major pipeline from turkey out to the mediterranean. there are northern iraqi oil fields controlled by the kurds. there's a lot hanging in the balance in terms of energy, and iraq is actually turned out for
a bigger oil producer than some gave it credit for being just a few years ago. in fact, there's a reality if this proxy war becomes serious in syria, in iraq, in that area, that actual oil supply may be cut off. i guess your point is that there's more than enough oil supply in the world right now, and it doesn't matter all that much? >> precisely. when you look at iraq, despite the turmoil in iraq, iraq managed to increase the production quite substantially in the past 18 months or so. if you look at the infrastructure in the region, the threats and terrorist threats from outfits like the pkk have been there. so there are to a large extent irrelevant or not directly connected to what transpired this morning. you were right to point out there's about a 550,000 barrels of oil that is mostly from iraqi kurdistan proper and then from kirkuk transferred to the turkish border.
that infrastructure is quite well protected, at least kwl it comes to the events in syria. the kurdish fighters and peshmerga have been remarkably successful in pushing back against them in the last couple of months. they just recaptured sinjar a couple of months ago which is a major victory cutting off the route in raqqa. they managed to regain territory from that in the last couple of months. so the territory is under their control including the pipeline that reverses that territory seems to be quite safe for the moment at least from the syrian perspective. >> for the moment at least. let's go back to macro. let's talk about what these low prices of oil have done to world oil production. there's really an argument that saudi arabia wanted its market protected and would not decrease production in order to raise production and prices. what kind of number does oil need to be at per barrel for american fraccers, produce of
production? the u.s. department of energy forecasts that brent crude, not the west texas i just showed everybody but brent crude averaging are $56 a barrel in 2016. i don't know that that's enough to get the frac cer back to full production. >> it's a very difficult question. >> it's a very diverse, convoluted scene in the u.s. it's hard to do the mining and that each producer and the bottlenecks in transportation infrastructure and all the myriad of other factors that go into the commercial oil now. conventional wisdom indeed puts the break-even price on average for u.s. producers around $50 to $60 a barrel.
again, it's very -- it varies very vastly along the -- >> you would agree at $42.87 for west texas, that's too low for fracker science. >> that's too low for some frackers. i would still argue that many predicted a sharp decline in u.s. oil production in the past 12 months since the collapse of the oil price. there was a significant decline in the oil production in the u.s. i wouldn't call it a sharp decline. so the production in the u.s. proved to be remarkably resilient in the last 12 months, and, in fact, the lower prices triggered production and efficiency gains in many producers that made the break-even price go significantly lower than many predicted. >> always good to talk with you. that's our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. the news continues here on al jazeera mechanic. >> the only live national news
show at 11:00 eastern. >> we start with breaking news. >> let's take a closer look. >> for years, the sporting world has struggled to find out which athletes are cheating, using chemicals to get an edge. now one of the long time sporting powers, russia, is staring at a ban from athletic competition. russian athletes are accused of being engaged in long-term systematic dope, and there's evidence that russian authorities knew all about it. from the olympics in rio and an olympic sized scandal.