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tv   The War Room  Al Jazeera  April 5, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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>> the us is now the world's largest oil and gas producer, in part because of what's happening here in north dakota, where advances in fracking have unlocked crude oil in the bakken shale formation in the western part of the state. north dakota is now producing more than a million barrels of oil a day. ten years ago there were fewer than 200 oil-producing wells in the bakken. now there are more than 8,000. >> they call it boomtown usa this is where all the money is. it's crazy the amount of money
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you can make here. >> this rapid pace of development and the flood of workers coming here, has given north dakota the lowest unemployment rate in the us. but it's also raised questions over the dangers of working in the oil fields. >> the more jobs you complete, the more money you make. the faster you complete them, the faster you can get to the next job. let's say i mean you take your time. if you be safe, you are not i bet you could cut your pay in half. >> fault lines spent six months investigating some of the risks in north dakota's oil fields and uncovered a dark side to the boom. >> a lot of these workers come to north dakota, get chewed up and go home to recover. i get calls from attorneys in other states all asking the same question. what in the hell is going on up there? >> thousands of people from all
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over the country have been leaving home to seek work in the bakken. one of them was a former marine from hazel green, alabama. >> we're in northern alabama to meet the family of dustin payne who after serving two tours in the marines found a job as a welder in north dakota. >> hi scotty? >> how are you doing sir? >> i'm josh rushing with fault lines. how are you? >> pretty good man, y'all come on? >> thank you very much >> i was so proud of him when he joined the marines. i was very proud. >> it's interesting to see this kid and then that picture. >> i imagine you guys must have been scared when he deployed to war, twice. >> i was scared but you know when he came home from the wars and he was fine. i kinda quit worrying about him. >> like i knew going to nd that there were some dangers >> nothing like that... >> i never expected it though. i was more worried about him when he was overseas than i was when he was in north dakota
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>> with a limited background in welding twenty-eight-year-old dustin payne got a job as a welder for a pipeline construction outfit. after seven months he was offered a higher paying job welding for a much larger company, nabors completion and production services, a subsidiary of nabors industries. but a month into the job with nabors, dustin began raising red flags. >> so this is his phone? >> this is his phone. >> this is a text from dustin to his girlfriend that says "i'm going to be here all night. that's even if i can weld it." and he says, "i'm literally going to be welding something that is full of oil. very dangerous." to which jessica responds, "maybe you should say something." and dustin responds back that he did say something... and jessica responds, "yeah, that could kill you." >> i'm sure it made everybody mad, but he wasn't going to put his life in danger. >> while working in north dakota, dustin met jessica summers,
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the woman he planned to marry. >> he would make comments about how he never thought about proposing to a girl, or he knew nothing about diamonds or rings. one day he said you know, it's all about the clarity and the cut. and i thought wow >> oh man he's a big ol softie for that ol lady i tell you he was. yeah. he loved that woman unconditionally. >> after serving two tours of duty with dustin, dj allred followed his friend to north dakota to find work. >> one good thing about the oil field is you don't need a lot of experience. like i didn't know anything about the oil fields before i came it was, can you work hard, yeah, you're hired. >> dustin and dj were roommates and often talked about the challenges of their jobs in the bakken. one night dustin told dj that he was thinking of leaving nabors. >> i had a pretty rough day and it was, it was a tough one, it a lot of things went wrong. i was actually talking to him
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about quitting. and he brought it up and he was like oh i'm thinking about quitting, too. and next day he had his accident. >> on october the third last year dustin was welding on a tanker in the nabors yard when it exploded. he was rushed to hospital and pronounced dead five days later. he was the third nabors industries employee to die on the job in the bakken since 2010. >> on this backside here, you're about to see where dustin had his accident. >> after he died, dustin's family learned that he had been asked to weld on a salt-water tanker. saltwater is a byproduct of the fracking process and can contain hydro-carbons, gases and other explosive chemicals. the american petroleum institute guidelines recommend a strict safety protocol before a tank is welded on. >> and you can see on the pictures from the explosion clear as day that all of those thief hatches are closed. >> the explosion was so bad that dustin's pick up was parked about 25 feet away, it blew out all the seals on his doors,
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it blew out the sunroof on the truck. >> investigator ross rolshoven was hired by dustin's family's attorney to look into the accident. >> in dustin's case, the top thief hatch was not open. so there was no natural draft ventilating through the top of the tank. >> look at this. >> oh man i didn't see that. you can still smell it up in here. >> you think it would still test hot? >> i believe so. >> i wonder if that's the area where in the area he was working >> yeah >> what happened to dustin was unfortunately very avoidable. the truck should have been put outside for 24 hoursyou check for flammable gases and do that type of thing. and if it doesn't pass at that point, you let it sit outside for another 24 hours. >> kinda surprised to see it still sitting here. >> they probably just forgot and moved on about it, i mean hell the caution tape ain't even up. it's still just ragged, ranked and ripped. just someone to replace.
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>> like where along the lines did somebody screw up trickle down to dustin and now he's gone. >> we're headed to nabors to try to find out in dustin's case it seems like basic safety regulations weren't followed. why was he asked to weld on a tanker that was still explosive. so that was a deadend we're told that there's no management here that we can speak to. we're back on the chase again with the headquarters in houston to see if we can find someone there that will talk to us. >> good morning nabors >> hi good morning. my name is josh rushing i'm calling from a show called fault lines. i'm up in williston north dakota. >> over the course of two months fault lines repeatedly tried to contact nabors about their safety record and what happened to dustin. our requests for an interview
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declined. the data varies, but dustin payne was one of at least forty oil and gas industry workers who died on the job in north dakota in the last four years. his death is currently being investigated by osha. >> 40 guys have died out there since 2011. all sorts of accidents. we're looking for accountability. what part of that accountability lies with you and in your office? >> with me and with osha. you know, like i said in the coldest terms, our responsibility is to enforce the safety regulations. >> eric brooks is the area director for osha, the occupational safety and health administration. it's the federal agency charged with enforcing health and safety in the workplace. osha only has nine fulltime compliance officers for north dakota, and according to some estimates it would take decades for osha to inspect every workplace in the state. >> while we have 9 people assigned to this area's office, we have the collective of osha's resources that we draw upon in order to make sure that we can improve and effectively enforce
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osha's standards. >> i've never seen osha come out >> wait, you've never seen osha at a site in four years? >> no >> everybody knows about osha. and eh but everyone just does the bare minimum to get by you know. >> john was a friend of dustin payne's. john's not his real name. he asked us not to use that. he told us he worked in the oil fields in north dakota for four years and has been on hundreds of well sites. >> when things that happen like what happened to your friend dustin does it make you step back and kind of ugh decide how long you want to do this? >> yeah i mean you think about longevity, you look at all the all these safety violations and your just it just when is it going to happen to me
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>> oilfield work is some of the most dangerous in the country. osha tries to mitigate some of that danger by regulating worker safety issues. but there are surprising aspects of the industry that remain unregulated. >> and what do you do? >> wireline. >> what so what does wireline mean? >> well wirelines, we lower explosives underground to predetermine depths >> wireliners lower explosives thousands of feet into the ground as the first step in the fracking process. >> all these companies are using explosives right. >> wireline, yes. >> is there any kind of general requirements for that? >> there's no doctrinal training if that's where you're getting at. >> yeah >> no. there's no doctrinal training. >> to deal with explosives? major explosives. >> no, you'll go, it's basically just prac app you know just going out to the field
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and me teaching you, you know, just hey this wire to this wire. >> workers like john are paid between one and two percent of the fee given to their employer to frac a well, so the faster they work, the more money they make. >> i work a twenty and ten twenty days on and ten days off. the longest i've ever been out on a job site is 69 hour straight. >> sixty-nine hours straight! that sounds like it could be dangerous? >> yeah, definitely. >> it's a ticking time bomb really. something could have easily happened all the times i've fell asleep in the crane while running it. or let's just say i fall asleep and my hand hits some of the sticks and let's just say i lower the 6,000 pound load right on the top of someone's head, you know there's so many things that can happen. >> do you regulate how many
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hours someone can work? >> osha does not. osha doesn't have hourly work limitations. osha does not. >> that's a huge safety issue that doesn't fall under... >> it doesn't fall under us, unfortunately we don't have regulations that say once you work x amount of hours, you have to have x amount of hours off there is a lot of things that i can do and there is a lot of things i can highly recommend. >> any new osha regulations are devised at the national level in washington dc, with input from interest groups. so, even if there were a will to impose more regulations, they could take years to implement >> is it out of control? >> yeah i would say i mean the problem is it's pretty hard to complain about the hours you work when you're making that kind of money. i mean you got people coming up here young, starting out making a hundred thousand a year or you can be like myself who makes 200,000 a year and so it makes it really hard to complain to
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management that you're working too many hours when there are a lot of people that would love to be in my position. >> the breakneck pace of production in the bakken is so grt that employees are often not given the most basic information about the hazards they're exposed to. brothers jeremy dagget and brandon belk worked for a company called badlands power fuels cleaning the inside of frac tanks for around 20 dollars an hour. >> do you know what chemicals have been in that tank? or are you just jumping in and taking a guess? >> no, you're just jumping in. you've got no clue. there should be a msda sheet for every tank that you jump into, a material safety data sheet, which lets you know which chemical is in there and what you gotta do if you're exposed to the chemical. none of those were ever provided. >> what could be in a tank. you're at a place like power fuels, and they're like go clean that tank. what are some of the common things that can be in a tank like that? >> you know, it could be used for storage of oil,
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it could be used for storage of fresh water. it could be used for storage of salt water, i mean the things that it could be are probably a dozen or more. >> and of all those things, how many of them wouldn't be bad for you to go in and breath? >> i would say clean water. and that would be the only one. i would not go into one of those tanks without a respirator, absolutely not. >> jeremy says that he and his brother brandon asked for respirators from the safety office but were never provided with any. >> i went in one day and had a safety concern as far as washing tanks that had flow back in them. flow backs is all the stuff that comes out of the earth when you're fracking. so i said all this stuff is radio active. it's probably cancer causing. you know. and then he was like do you smoke or do you chew? and i was like, yeah, i chew. well that's more cancer causing than cleaning tanks are. >> on july 3rd 2013 brandon took
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jeremy's place cleaning the inside of a tank, and let jeremy take the easier job of going on a dispatch call. >> i went on the dispatch >> why did he take your spot? >> because he's a big brother. he'd do whatever he could to help me out in any way. and that's what he was doing that day. when brandon came out of the tank 30 minutes later, jeremy told us his brother vomited and passed out. his co- workers suffered respiratory problems and skin and eye irritation. >> the next day, it's fourth of july. i got off work and we're all hanging out in the field, lighting off fireworks and everything like that, and i seen him and his face was swollen and his eyes were all puffy his throat was bleeding. he'd take napkins and he's go like this, pull it out and there would be blood on the end of it. that night brandon went to the
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emergency room. the medical report from that evening states that he had pneumonia and a white area inside his mouth that appeared to be peeling. and my brother went home and he put on facebook that he was scared to go to sleep. and he didn't wake up the next day. brandon's autopsy report found that he had non-toxic doses of methadone and an anti-depressant in his system. it attributed his death to a combination of a drug overdose and pneumonia. despite the autopsy report, brandon's family believes that his death was work-related. >> what do you think killed him? >> i think it was the chemicals. i've never seen anybody's throat swell up, or their whole entire face swell up the way that his did. >> osha issued the company a citation for failing to test the space for hazardous atmospheric conditions and another for failing to train their employees. >> the company wasn't doing atmospheric testing. this is the very beginning of the safety program especially with regards to confined space.
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you gotta know what you're doing. you gotta know what's in there. the company was issued $17000 in fines for multiple violations. fines like these are one way that osha tries to keep companies in check across the bakken. >> what's the purpose of the fine? >> well the purpose of the fine is to be a necessary deterrent effect. in its crudest and most blatant terms it's to try to have a punitive effect on the employer. >> you know its really important to talk about dollar amount. because there is really no dollar amount that is worth the loss of a person's life. if it's a high gravity violation our statutory maximum is $7,000. >> but $7,000 isn't enough to have a punitive effect on employers that are making as much money as they are. >> i would agree with you. many of them, many of them $7000 doesn't seem like a lot. i really hope, for most employers out there, it's certainly not the threat of an osha fine that drives your safety program. >> if you know that you're not giving your employees proper protective equipment, proper training, proper knowledge on what they're doing, and you've been told that you're
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not, and you continue not doing it, when somebody passes away, you should be held responsible for that.
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>> fatalities are the worst of what can happen in the oil fields,
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but there have been thousands of injuries. between 2009 and 2013 north dakota's workforce safety and insurance agency known as wsi received more than 9000 claims from oil industry workers. >> the consequences for serious life changing injuries and death are so minimal that it provides no incentive at all for these oil companies to clean up their act. >> steve little is an attorney in bismarck, north dakota who specializes in wsi cases. >> workers compensation not just in north dakota but everywhere was created to prevent employees from suing their employers. and in exchange the employee was supposed to get what's called sure and certain relief. that i think is where the bargain has been broken, frankly. >> alright josh, if you grab that box and i'll
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get the worms. >> yeah, i got it. one of steve little's cases involved dennis whedbee who was injured in the bakken when there was a well-blow-out on an oilrig. >> you can get it out there, right in front out there. >> right there. >> can you describe what you remember? >> i remember pain - it was the worst pain i ever felt, and the whole time i was in hospital i was always in pain. i'm still in pain now phantom pains now. >> without a job dennis was forced to move back to pennsylvania to begin adjusting to life with one hand. his local doctor told him he would be a good candidate for something called a myoelectric prosthesis. >> i was really excited about it 'cause the founder of this hand has the same amputation as me >> what's he able to do with it? >> oh, you can tie your shoe, you can crack an egg, you can roll a dice, you can pour with it. >> the prosthesis that dennis wanted cost 70 thousand dollars. he filed a claim for it with wsi. companies pay premiums to wsi and this pool of money is used to compensate injured workers. >> they sent me to minneapolis.
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flew me out there, i talked to.... about 15mn i talked to this doctor, 15 minutes. in spite of what dennis' local doctor recommended, the wsi appointed doctor determined that dennis was not a good fit for the prosthetic arm that he wanted. >> i don't understand it. i don't. i didn't lose a hook. i lost a hand. i want a bionic hand >> whedbee appealed the wsi decision to north dakota's supreme court, but the court ruled in favor of wsi. >> if you have an injured worker and you have a myoelectric arm or a hook that you can offer, is it about the money? >> yeah some--part of it has to do with cost. >> bryan klipfel is the director of wsi in north dakota. >> the other part is, is this is this going to benefit the injured worker in the job that they're going to i mean? >> but there's no one in the world that would ever argue that a hook would benefit a man better than a robotic arm. i mean unless, can you make that argument? cause i >> no, i don't think you can but what
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i'm saying with the mioelectric arm if you are going back to so a job where you have dust and manufacturing environment i think then it would probably will not work as well as the hook will. >> so do you ever return the money to the companies, >> if we've had a better rate of return on our investments then we do give back a premium dividend to our employers. >> we've found something on the website, i just want to make sure this is factual. maybe you can read that and tell me. >> that's correct. >> that is correct? a hundred and seventy-four million went back to companies between 2005, 2013? >> uh, if you look at you know from 2005 it's probably been about $750 million. >> to go back to the companies? >> yep. >> whose interest is wsi actually serving? >> i think if you're a large employer, if you're a politically connected employer,
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wsi is a good deal. >> one of the things i want to understand in this story is who is accountable? >> the governor is statutorily in charge of workers compensation in north dakota. >> it is now with great pride that i have the honor to introduce all of you to the governor of the great state of north dakota - the honorable jack dalrymple >> the governor is also chairman of the industrial commission, which can influence the pace of oil and gas development in the state through its permitting process. >> i think legislators and the governor's office and the regulators are being influenced by oil money, you bet. >> we should all be proud of the vital role our state is playing to help america strengthen its energy independence. >> fault lines requested an interview with the governor several times with no success, so we've come to the capitol in bismarck to ask him about worker safety in the oil fields.
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>> hi governor sorry to interrupt, i've come from washington dc and i was wondering if i could ask you a few questions. i host a show called fault lines >> you what? >> i host a show called fault lines. >> fault lines? >> and we've been out in the bakken and i was curious why you didn't bring up worker safety in your speech today and why you haven't done more. 40 guys have died out there in the last four years. >> well we have to begin a receiving line right now so i'm not going to have time to go into that with you. >> but you can answer a question about that, right? >> we have answers that we can provide >> i mean 40 people have died out there, that's something that you could answer right? it's gotta be important to you, right? worker safety in the bakken. i mean at least for their families, to tell them that you're interested. >> i gave the governor a chance to answer one question about
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worker safety in the bakken, he wouldn't do it >> the oil industry was the largest contributor to governor dalrymple in his 2012 gubernatorial race. >> you think about one but forty my god. it's terrible. >> and for what? >> so they can make more money. >> more money name of the game. >> less than six weeks after dustin was buried, another nabors industries employee died on the job in north dakota. >> i just don't understand it continuing to happen. like how many people's got to lose their life for someone to finally open their eyes okay we're doing something wrong here, let's make it right. it's all about profit. >> if jobs are going to keep producing as fast as they are
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and money's just flying in, you know as fast as it is. it's going to stay this way. there's no way people are going to slow things down. they keep drilling wells and keep adding on more rigs and oils producing and moneys a flying, nothings going to happen, no way.
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>> the islamic state is spreading to affiliates in libya and nigeria and ter cells in europe. the islamic state is shrinking, the territory that it controls in western iraq and syria, under constant pressure, it's top leaders killed in drone strikes, it's money drying up. which is it? is isil losing on the battlefield and winning on the internet and as bombs explode in europe and africa and the middle east, losing and lethal,
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that's the "inside story". welcome to "inside story," i'm ray suarez. while the republican presidential field was still big and filled entire debate stages, one thing that all of candidates agreed on, some more urgently than others, the united states wasn't doing enough, hardly anything to combat the growing threat of the islami islamic state of irad levant, sometimes called diish. thousands military strikes, blowing up training camps, oil supplies and fighters. the allied governmentsocabled gd in a loose fashion, and worried
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so about the young men and women flowing into iraq and syria, but they have also killed them in bunches month after month after month, and yet, isil is far from whipped. it has spread to other countries. it's outreach to the young, the marginal and the impressionable. and as they have learned with regret in belgium, senegal, nigeria and california, the threat is real and continue. that's our focus today. islamic state under pressure, shrinking, losing and lethal. here's aljazeera's mohamed. >> a significant vance against isil in syria. government forces backed by russian air power have recaptured the ancient city of palmyra from isil after days of intense fighting. following a large stale operations, you're units operating in the countryside,
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backed by syrian and russian air forces, successfully in the city of pal mire a they had came over the ridges and killed large numbers of isil terrorists and destroyed bunkers. >> reporter: isil took over palmyra, also a world heritage site last may, and they began staging mass executions. known as the bride of the desert, palmyra used to have tens of thousands of terrorists a year before the conflict began. but the city is not known for its ruins. the prison complex, for decades, it was one of syria's most feared detention centers. thousands of government proponents were tortured there. shortly after taking over the city, isil took over the jail, destroying a symbol of control. it's location makes it
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important for the syrian armed forces and their allies. while russia recently withdrew most of its forces from syria after six months of aerial bombardment, the syrian president has of late also made advances in not rebel territory. recapturing syria makes an advance from the iraqi border to the south and the isil heart lands to the east. >> what it means to fight a group on the battlefield and in the streets of your cities at home. the fight against isil. joining me for that conversation, search fellow for the international security program, president for policy of research. and a non-residency senior fellow of the atlantic council. did the world finally figure out how to fight isil in
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western iraq and syria? >> well, i think the fight against isis or isil in iraq was already proceeding before last month. they were the iraqi national forces and the kurdish forces supported by the u.s. coalition, and they have taken back the city of tikrit, ramadi and they're trying to move to center of iraq. what's new is up until last week, they had not launched any major offensive against isis. the retaking of pal mire a. this is partly the result of the cease-fire, that has blocked it's main opponents and the opposition, and the russian and american pressure to negotiate in geneva the regime doesn't want to negotiate. and shortly after the brussels
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attacks, isis in palmyra gives them the momentum and changes the narrative from the dictator group who doesn't want to negotiate to the hero saving greco roman civilization in the deserts of syria, and you see a lot of commentators and politicians in the u.s. almost rushing to embrace a new version. >> is the noose tightening around the territorial islamic state? >> i think it is. on pal mire a. i think that it's a public relations victory necessarily than an important strategic victory for assad. i would take exception to that. i think that assad wants to create a binary situation where the world has to come to his side, and that had been bombed heavily by russia, certainly up until this cessation of
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hostilities, but yeah, i think that isis is losing clearly, territory, and they have had no successful offenses for a year when they have tried to move into new areas, they have been beaten back, but as you pointed out, they're in places like libya and africa, and so even as you constrict their control in iraq and siriarch there are pockets of this group elsewhere, and there are foreign fighters in european cities. >> so what's the calculus? how do you access the effectiveness as isil as a group if at the same time they're losing territory, they have also got people releasing videos on the internet saying, we're isil too, in northern nigeria and in northern libya? >> i agree that in general, isis is losing. for example, territory, it's losing important urgent but it's more like public affairs in palmyra, but they had problem in that area, and
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that's very big for isis. and i agree, like in general, they're losing. there's a terrible morale going on inside of isis, defections like crazy, and everybody who could possibly defect, who are not on terrorist lists, they're trying to defect. the leadership is moving their families to iraq, particularly anbar province, but in other areas of the world, they need -- they are cornered right now, so they understand that they're going to be over soon in syria and iraq, but they're trying to find a way out. they're looking for other places. if you corner the dog, at some point, it's going to try to jump back, because it just doesn't have any other place to go back. so i think that's exactly what happened with the brussels attack, and paris. because we're very successful on the ground, and in syria, they're trying to find other ways. >> so it's interesting, the
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idea of defections. does that mean that you have to attract more people to the fight, sneak them in over borders or is the number of men that they're able to put on the field constantly shrinking? >> it's constantly shrinking. so for example, previously, what types of fighters isis had for example. they were very ideological guys, mostly like foreign fighters, fighting for the ideas. and those were the guys who burned their pass ports and were all over tv beheading people. and then there were local syrians, who joined for money and power. they told the majority of them that they would convert to christianity if they enough. so they weren't in the
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isisidalogy but they needed to feed their families so, they don't have a way out. and those are the guys doing all of the stuff in brussels and paris. local syrians who joined for money are trying to defect. it doesn't pay anymore. isis doesn't have money. and they have decreased food rations, so those are the guys who are trying to defect to other groups. isis has a very big problem with that. so right now, they're drafting everyone that they could be possibly get to their territory. previously, the people sitting in the isis office, some bureaucratic office, now they're all fighting. >> the fight against isil. stay us, we'll be right back in a moment. it's "inside story".
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>> my guests are here. and did you want to say something? >> i want to add to whatvera said. i think even with the u.s.-led coalition and the bombings going on. what has affected isis, the drop in the price of oil.
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they're not getting the money they used to with the oil sails, and there has been a lot of introduction of facilities, but they don't have the money. >> let's remember that this group had the announced ambition to be a state. and when they were on the upswing, if you look at the map, their footprint was cities connected by the sort of connective tissue of highways across largely uninhabited places of eastern syria and western iraq. as they lose some of these cities, does their ability to even maintain that status of a protostate, a state that's in formation start to fall to pieces? >> to some degree it does. a lot of their world appeal and their ability to eclipse al qaedas the main brand of radical jihaddism was their success, but they have three
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measures of successful the first measure was taking these big cities of raqqa and and that resonated with radicals around the world because that was a major victory. the second measure was the group of organizations from nigeria to the philippines, which joined up in this new global franchise of isis, and that for six or seven months was the story among radicals. the third and more dangerous from the west, the measure that they used, raids, which we know as the attacks in brussels and paris. in their ideology, all of these "successes" are approve to their followers of god's favor. so when they succeed in a raid in paris or brussels, or a sympathizers in san bernardino, they advertise that as proof that god is on their side.
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and that's what brings more of the hope and brings more followers. and so that means, in terms of strategy, that defeating the protostate, yes i it's very important because it will dent their brand in a major way, but they will have other means to try to prototype that brand. and the other means, the raids that i talked about, which are the ones that affect our cities, and were not affected by -- but those won't go away any time soon. >> let's talk about how those things depend on each other. when isil speaks to the world, if it's state is shrinking, does it become a less effective recruiter to do these on regs in other places? if it's failing in iraq and syria, is it a less attractive
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thing to join up and start doing things in other places? >> yeah. i agree. i would say that right now, no one wants to join a circus. and with paris attacks, they tried to increase recruitment, so they were gambling on sentiment, and the slow -- because basically, sentiment, a lot more dedicated fighters would want to join, especially in france, because france was sending a lot of people to isis. and refugees are those major -- the biggest force of people who are not interested in the goal of the group, but they need to eat something, so basically, if they don't have any other job, they would consider going to work for isis, so they were gambling on that, because they were very low on recruits. but it failed.
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it didn't increase foreign fighters coming in, and actually, a lot of local foreign fighters right now are trying tove defect. like a guy who defected to peshmerga two weeks ago. and so this strategy failed for them. >> barbara, does isil become more dangerous as the state becomes less effective and controls a smaller footprint in that part of the world? are things like brussels less predictable, less trackable, becoming more possible? >> indeed, there are about 5,000 europeans who have gone to fight syria in iraq and come back to europe. and i think this is maybe the ticking time bomb for europe, the question is whether they become disaffected and decide it's not worth blowing themselves up for a group that's not succeeding, or if they decide this is the time to double down and stage a horrific attack.
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one of the most worry some thing that we've seen is that isis has been surveying nuclear sites. and if you're an apocalyptic group with an apocalyptic vision, what better way than to set off a dirty bomb and sabotage a nuclear facility. the 5,000 people who have come back, and as we've seen, the european intelligence services are scrambling and trying don't a hand on them before they can commit another crime. >> the islamic state, losing and lethal.
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>> welcome back to "inside
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story". i'm ray suarez. the fight against isil. succeeding on the battlefield and still a pitch battle outside of it. losing and lethal, mira, paul, and barbara are with me, and barbara, you walked us through the possibilities of dom batting terrorism, but one of the tantalizing things that i'm watching is that more attention is turning to other combatants on the ground in that part of the world as isil is losing and shrinking. does success bring other problems? what to do about assad, which hasn't been solved. what to do about a resurging, kurdish, nationalist terrorist state that crosses borders throughout the region. >> we haven't talked about the news either, which is the al qaeda affiliate in syria, and it has distinguished itself by not trying to attract
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fighters in syria, it's homegrown. we have to worry about that group. syria is divided, and it's probably not going to come back together as a state. thanks to russia, assad has been able to extend his territory a little bit, but he still controls the area of one-third of the country. the kurds are on the move, and they are interesting because they have support from both the united states and russia, and obviously the turks don't like them. and they have expanded their area of autonomy in syria. and then you have the chunk of isis, is it likely to be an al mall gum of groups that have support from the saudis and the united states, and it's not as if isis should rinks, it's going to be more coherent. >> if you look at the layup there, and look at for instance russia's continue involvement, even if you beat isil, you
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still have a lot of unsolved problems there. >> yeah, i agree, for example, the most dangerous thing right now is -- it's not better, it's al qaeda. and they are local, they don't have foreign fighters, they were known for not taking foreign fighters, meaning that they probably have less intelligence from inside compare to isis and then they are homegrown, a syrian group, and they are a main recruiting strategy. for a long time, they had way more people that wanted to join than they could take. getting to el nostra was harder than getting to -- so it didn't
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decrease. it increased after what a lot of syrians disagree with. so i think that al nostra could potentially taking the place in isis as important on the ground. >> does it change the entire who is fighting who sort of battle lines, the calculus in a place like syria, even if you beat isil? >> first of all, to be realistic. isil is not on the verge of being defeated. it will be a couple of years before we can say that they are defeated in iraq and syria. and even if we defeat hem in iraq and syria, there's no pathway to defeating them in libya. so isis is on the verge of losing territory, but not on the verge of being defeated and that's important to keep in mind. secondly on the terrorism and the concern in the west on how to combat this threat, part of it, yes, is defeating them on
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the battlefield to do two things. one is to deny them the place to plan and train and dispatch people to locations, and second, it's to impact, to no longer make them a success story. but effectively, when we see the difference between the record of terrorism in the u.s. since 9/11, or in europe, there are two factors that are important. one is the hard security of intelligent surveillance, sharing information, all of that which improved in the u.s. over the last decade, and it's just beginning to be put together in europe, and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the soft side, the social side. in the u.s., muslim communities are connected and not ghettoized. and connected to other
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institutions in the country, and whereas europe has a long way to go to deal with those communities. one out of 10,000 young people might get radicalized. and there the communities are not integrated enough to early on indicate that warning. so it's going to be a long struggle, and terrorism will certainly be with us for this generation at least. >> we're close to the end of our time. and i'm interested in the idea that defeat is still years away. you're cutting down on the money, and killing the leaders, and shrinking the territory. the number of fighters is down, and defectors are up, and why is victory years away? do you agree with that assessment. >> i'm a little more optimistic, i think when the collapse comes, it's going to come. already the u.s.-led coalition is nibbling at the edge of mosul. and i think that the caliphate
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could collapse rather quickly. the problem is the ideology and the animosity to the west. as paul pointed out, the disaffecting of so many muslims. and that's not going to go away. are people joining the el nisra front? and until the middle east it settles down, which is a very long time from now, we're not going to see the end of this. >> i want to thank my guests. vera is a research fellow at an international security program. paul is vice president of policy and research at the middle east institute. and barbara slaven is the acting director of the future of iran initiative at the atlantic council. on the next "inside story," we'll head to the frontiers of necessary with dr. francis collins with the institute of
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health and national research institute. i'm ray suarez, thanks for tuning in, and let me tell you, there are just three more editions of "inside story," so keep watching and good night.
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>> this is aljazeera america, live from new york city. i'm richelle carey. tony harris has the night off. it is election night in wisconsin. how the outcomes could shakeup the race for president. fall out for the panama papers. the prime minister of iceland is forced to resign. legalizing it, the only colorado town that just said no to recreational marijuana is reconsidering. plus, charged up and ready to go, auto

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