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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 308  Al Jazeera  November 6, 2017 2:32pm-3:01pm AST

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his resignation there two days earlier iran and its ally the lebanon based shia group hizbollah accuse of being behind the move iraq's highest court has declared that no regional province can break away that's in response to september's kurdish secession referendum the central government in baghdad had asked for legal clarification after what it called a misinterpretation of the constitution by kurdish leaders cattle earliest opposed president carter's push to mount has been released from police custody in belgium he and four former ministers handed themselves over to police in brussels after spain issued a european arrest warrant twenty seventeen will be one of the three warmest years on record the un's whether agency made the announcement of the comp twenty three climate change conference in germany these are the first un climate talks since president donald trump decided to pull the u.s. out of the twenty fifteen paris climate agreement fiji is presiding over this conference its prime minister has called for urgent action as the island suffers
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the effects of climate change. as the headlines we'll have more news here here on al-jazeera after inside story thanks. on the brink of turmoil lebanon's prime minister quits varying he'd be assassinated as a power struggle intensifies between saudi arabia and iran so will lebanon again become the battleground for other people's was this is inside story.
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hello and welcome to the program i'm off this hour lebanon's prime minister saad hariri his resignation came as a surprise the fact that he did it from riyadh accusing iran and its lebanese ally has bowler of sowing strife in the arab world sent shock waves through the region. i hereby announce my resignation as prime minister from the lebanese government now is the will of the lebanese is strong and that determination is steadfast and will overcome any attempts to impose any custodianship over them from powers either inside or outside our country i would like to say to iran and its followers that they will be losers in their intervention in the arab affairs our nation will wake up as it did in the past and bad hands in the region will be cut off from. now a former lebanese president serai once said lebanon has always been the battlefield
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of others' wars and many fear that that could be happening again now hariri is resignation shatters a delicate deal that put him in a coalition government after a two year political vacuum it's not the first time a lebanese government has collapsed it happened in two thousand and five twenty eleven and twenty thirteen the country's political structure requires that the president must be a maronite christian the prime minister a sunni muslim and the speaker of parliament a shia muslim last year lebanon's parliament swore in a new cabinet dominated by hezbollah and its allies in a major victory for the shia iran backed group add to that hezbollah's military wing has been racking up victories in syria building up its arsenal and steadily increasing its influence at home and that subset some including saudi arabia right let's introduce our guests now joining us on skype from beirut is joseph katich ian
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political commentator and senior fellow at the king faisal center for research and islamic studies from tehran we have most of our cautious i'm here is professor of journalism at the applied sciences university and from boston we have rami corey senior public policy fellow and adjunct professor of journalism at the american university of beirut thank you all very much indeed for joining us can i start with you joseph sayyid hariri said that conditions that have prompted him to quit are similar to those in two thousand and five just before his own father rafik hariri was assassinated what with tb referring to well he was been referring to the outside intervention obviously lebanon has always been the battleground for other people's wars in two thousand and five period when everyone assumed that the. it was a new kind of stability that has been reached. unfortunately the experience of the
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past decade or two has not been particularly positive and he was referring to the fact that his own life was in danger apparently we don't know all the details that has been that have yet to be published but apparently there was an assassination attempt on his life and he escaped at the last moment now it remains to be determined of course whether this is just a facade of whether there were some serious political disputes between the different parties in the country which is probably more likely that eventually led him to make the decision that he has made at a most of her in tehran a bit he directly accused hezbollah of threatening the lebanese people and he accused iran of trying to destroy the arab world i mean it's a huge accusation isn't it. well yes of course it's a huge accusation and it resembles the kind of tweets that upon the sol of the minister for p. g.c.c. if lurkers just to read it and released in his account like many other statements
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made by salvi officials and that was also another indication that this close the. resignation has been requested or ordered by saudi arabia and we all know everyone including proponents and opponents of hariri everyone believes that his resignation within tale economic security and political repercussions for the country and all groups agree also that this was done at the request or ordered by sol the arabia and there is a reason for that why the solve these have done that i think you know deal with it through the program ok but all say a foreign ministry spokesman from tehran also directly attributed at washington as being in collusion with saudi arabia's being behind this and that the forcing of harry to quit oh yes the point is that the grass when the in
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standing here in tehran is that after the soul these lost their war of militancy initiative that was distorted by them and their allies including israel and the united states and syria and in iraq and after they lost you know their militants that they backed especially in eastern syria now these along with the united states are working on a scheme in order to use their other cards in the region that entails economic and political leverage that means using petro dollars in iraq in order to gather influence to steer some differences among shiite groups in there and also to help put in some of. bridge on his i mean we've got the gist of of your theory let's go to rami who are you now in boston because we are moving away already women being away from the brass tacks of what's going on in beirut and rummy what's your assessment of the situation and what happens next there's this new prime minister
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does that mean the end of this coalition government well if it does they'll be they'll stay as a caretaker government but whether there is a government or isn't a government or is a president or isn't a president as lebanon has experienced in recent years ultimately doesn't make a huge amount of difference for the reality of political balance of power in the country we've just been through a period of the last year or so when we had a president we had a prime minister we had a functioning parliament the cabinet started making big decisions on parliament also on election laws gas agreements. elections coming up all kinds of taxation systems so these were major moves for the lebanese system which has been pretty dysfunctional for many many decades so that when the prime minister resigns like this in a dramatic fashion on television in saudi arabia the signal is really about saudi policy as much as it is about internal lebanese affairs but there will be a moment of confusion concern some turmoil politically but the lebanese will
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reassemble as they always do to share the party that is political incumbency in lebanon and they've always done it and they'll do it again the losers will be the ordinary people who will pay for this with higher taxes with more corruption with poor quality services water electricity garbage etc and this is very routine for lebanon unfortunately the new factor though is the external direct meddling of saudi arabia and iran and now the united states in the. in the legislation to pressure hezbollah of the external meddling is far more intense than it ever was before and this mirrors what we've just been through in syria in the last five years with direct. military participation by foreign countries so what's happening is different qualitatively to some extent but quite quantitatively different but qualitatively this is lebanon playing a troll as a regional punching bag shock absorber and battlefield for their rivals in the
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region and the power is further afield and that case if so from what romney is saying it sounds as though it's almost business as usual for lebanon unfortunately insofar as the the big play is saudi arabia and iran are likely to take out their grievances. on the battlefield the battlefield being being lebanon in particular beirut it would have taken anything away from what rami just said there is no doubt that outside interference has always defined lebanese politics but there is so much of that one can argue i think that at the end of the day the responsibility really lies on the lebanese themselves the fact that lebanon has been a dysfunctional country is not so good to be a sport or iran's fault or anybody else's fault it is the lebanese fault the lebanese have failed to actually create a nation state what they have done is as we've just heard and i fully share with
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remi's analysis corruption and all kinds of agreements that have been made over the years by the establishment in order to perpetuate themselves in power but this is where this particular episode now has dramatically changed the situation that that instead existed in lebanon for the past year after the election of president on to the presidency which i remind you occurred with the cooperation and the support of prime minister how do you see this balance of power now has collapsed the biggest loser in what has occurred yesterday was not how do you raise this missile it was president to own losing the balance of power that he built his entire presidency on it. main stream be determined how do you respond to this and whether next comes in next web or do new prime minister is will not be able to bring back this balance of power that existed between the president on the one hand and
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a cabinet on the other do we have we have ahead of us some pretty tough periods of time and we can easy to blame outside forces for interfering in lebanon but at the end of the day the lebanese must assume a hundred percent of the responsibility ok and most of us how is this being viewed in tehran is this being viewed as as potentially a loss of territory a loss of influence because of course hezbollah has been as we've already said has been consolidating its power and influence in lebanon of late so is iran concerned that the backlash to this and now the ensuing power vacuum is likely to to destabilize if you like the gains that have been recently made by hezbollah and its allies you know the game but with due respect to my colleagues in washington in beirut that a real with them on a number of points that's exactly what the solve these one they have turned the table in you know lebanon and in order to lay much pressure economic and political
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pressure as well as the pressures that come with. instability and insecurity to lay all these pressure on the government on the president on the people in order to come to the conclusion that if they stand with israel a lot they would have to you know of software more especially considering the united states sanctions banking sanctions against these by a law when a country's also of as we all witnessed last night. is confronting or is faced with new military threats by israel all together the sanctions the military threats by israel as well as the political chaos that. solve these and steered in lebanon since yesterday they're all of our working as components of one single scheme and plot in order to pressure the lebanese people to come up with this conclusion that they need two forces belong to grant some concessions to saudi
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arabia and its allies and iran that's the way it's seen in tehran rami at let's look at this in the wider context now of the profound changes that are taking place in saudi arabia how does this fit in to what seems to be a completely new vision emanating from riyadh as to how saudi sees itself and how it projects itself in the region well i think there are several dimensions potentially to that when i started arabia today is like the kremlin in the one nine hundred sixty s. you don't really know what's going on inside the institutions or the families that make power but from what we can see my assessment is that there are several dimensions the first is that the saudis after really making big mistakes and cut syria and yemen where their policies have really been failures to a large extent they're looking for a win of some sort now
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a win doesn't necessarily have to be peaceful a win could be creating instability and chaos in lebanon and and forcing a new realities there but to make saudi arabia look tough and this is one of the things that the saudis have been saying for three years or so now that they are going to flex their muscles take care of themselves protect their national interests and and not rely on others so that's one dimension the second one is of course the saudis have this hysterical fear of iran and whether it's justified or not it is very intense and they are doing anything they can in the region to try to weaken iran and one way they think they can do this is by weakening hezbollah or pressuring hezbollah in lebanon so that's another dimension the third one is that hamad bin sole man the crown prince and effectively the ruler of so. arabia now is undertaking an incredible set of measures arresting princes senior princes and billionaire business people who have been pillars of the regime and others and saudi arabia and putting them under house arrest and this is to affirm not just his
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incumbency but that here the new policies that he wants to implement in saudi arabia and economic social political fields will all happen without any opposition or even any discussion or criticism the problem with this is that these have all been tried before in lebanon by various people to weaken hezbollah or to create a bit of chaos to weaken the links with syria and iran and they've never succeeded they've they've always failed and this is where the great dilemma that faces anybody who tries to interfere in lebanon sliman today is not like lebanon of one nine hundred seventy five or nineteen ninety five it's a completely different country with a very powerful group called has below with external links that has been able to maintain its strength and be directly incorporated into the governing structure so it's a big challenge for saudi arabia to find foreign policy tools that are effective
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rather than inept as they have been in the last ten or fifteen years or so and most of our a very very strong and empowered hezbollah of course attracts the the attention of israel as well which has been making some bellicose noises in recent months with the more muscular saudi arabia apparently more willing to to take military action and does he run feel that it would meet that head on but it meet that challenge head on or is there a possibility that there is another form another forum through which to look perhaps could be fostered well of iran so far doesn't believe that these military. threats by israel or by saudi arabia would come into action as a matter of fact this is a psychological warfare are launched against this bill law and the lebanese altogether but as
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a matter of fact there are reports coming out saying that saad hariri when he was in riaz and to syria to beirut he was conveying a message from saudi arabia to meeting with the top advisor of uranium supremely there duck their ability asking him on behalf of the solve these to give up iran's political support for yemen if they want to go ahead with their role in the region and give some parts give back some part of their role in syria in the future of syria back to this all of the to the saudis and apparently there was sponsors been tossed saying that iran would not relinquish its support for the yemenis and neither for hizbullah iraq or syria and saudi arabia should be realistic and prick magic and come forward of for real peace talks not. the talks that it
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intends just to go on to spread its head ramoni or to reclaim its last throes in the region so that's the current condition for the time being doesn't believe that there is going to be any military conflict but there is no need for tehran's middling all is really you know. military reports and experts have reiterated that hizbullah has grown ten times more powerful than it was in two thousand and six when it forced the israelis out of the country after three thirty three days a war and the israelis have estimated the law has over one hundred thousand myside is that could rain down on israel if. any kind of clash arises or starts against them saw but the estimates here in tehran show that the israelis are not at all wheeling to start any kind of conflict with hizbollah last patiently
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considering that a foreign invasion would unite the lebanese around his bill lloyd again and that case if they must if that tells us that the view from tehran is that this is a psychological warfare that doesn't seem to be a real possibility of a military escalation a military confrontation between these powers is that how it feels in lebanon today no quite actually feels very bad i think that hyperbole aside no one really knows exactly what's going on behind the scenes whether or not this party or that party is going to get involved in escalating this there are fundamental differences that need to be focused on between lebanese parties themselves out how d.b.s. prime minister was one of the most common dating individuals in the political system of lebanon and that what he thought was a good reason why it was it wasn't at that accommodating nature that got him into
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trouble with riyadh it's possible that the saudis it's not like that but i'm first talking about this the lebanese scene it's so sad how do you he was trying as much as possible to accommodate all parties is a genuine political part of the country but there is a difference as i said just a moment ago between what was inside lebanon and what has been not by itself by its own volition without the agreement of the lebanese government which means the lebanese people with its foreign interventions whether it's a syria or elsewhere this is the fundamental dispute this is the weakness of hispaniola that no one can really push under the rug because it's part of the lebanese political establishment it is not an avian part of. the country but it must submit to do will of the legitimate institutions of the country and we have a constitutional process that needs to be taken into account when the government decides that there's going to be
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a policy of none to fear instant studio routes where everyone must accept who it was but it has not accepted this how do you try to accommodate it didn't work now you're honest really is not about how do you do it anymore it's really what president only is going to do and we will see whether he is meet with he has the middle to actually be able to save his presidency because that's where as i can see his presidency is finished and romney does saving president presidency and tail finding a new prime minister and finding one quickly well that's his job it's his responsibility he has a lot of extra respect weighed on his shoulders now to step up he's a forceful determined fellow and he will probably be more effective in trying to find a name a prime minister and get parliamentary approval for that than previous presidents have been but as we've just heard there are really serious internal issues in lebanon particularly about the role of hezbollah internally and externally that
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have never been addressed never been seriously grappled with and the lebanese have been unable to do this and the reason hezbollah has become so strong and so powerful is because the lebanese state was not able to do what it's supposed to do to protect its citizens from israeli occupation and raids to provide services etc etc so there's a chicken and egg situation here the until the lebanese government can really be strong enough to serve all of its citizens hezbollah feels that it has to play that role but there are several does just want to other things i just want to mention quickly it's been very clear in lebanon for about the last eight ten years that there will not be an internal civil war unless it is intentionally sparked from outside the lebanese have had many opportunities to resume fighting and they've all . has resisted it in the last in recent years because they understand that they had their civil war everybody lost and they're not going to do it again the second critical point is that unlike in previous years there is no single powerful
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external patron that is either responsible for lebanon or will come in and save it now as there had been historically before you had the french you had the americans you had the saudis you others iranian stepped in at some point for partial reasons but there isn't a single and syria of course was running the country for fifteen years there isn't a single external powerful patron now that's going to step in and most of the world frankly is has pretty much gotten tired of the lebanon and its internal squabbles so the lebanese are facing a really tough situation and i want to really have women in time for their system so i have to jump in very quickly mystify can i ask you whether iran is prepared to exert some influence over hezbollah because it seems the size and power of hezbollah is critical to the the well being of lebanon as an independent state can you be very quick these. no i say there's an astro law that hezbollah leader of stated
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a few times very recently iran aids his will last sense economic aids and other aids but it never or there's a law that's what say that's an awful lot of his will largely there are stressed iran never you know or uses is by law as a pocket or it never orders the group to do this or that this is his ball law that is you know playing in there as a matter of fact as well lovely there declared of very recently that it was him and his group that came to tehran and asked the ukrainian leader to start the fight of the fight against the terrorist groups in syria so they convinced the reigne and leave there to go to syria that's the factor that i have to i have not i have to jump around once an independent and united lebanon i have to interrupt and thank you very much indeed. thank you list of. thank you very much rami curry as always thank you very much indeed really interesting conversation thanks
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a lot now if you want to see the program again you can see it online al-jazeera dot com is our web site if you want more discussion you can get our facebook page facebook dot com for the slash a.j. inside story there's always a twitter is fair as well handle is at a.j. inside story i'm at dennis from the whole team here in doha it's by far. on counting a cost black gold big dreams and a mega city in the desert why saudi arabia is pinning its hopes on a ram coach
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coverage of latin america and most of the world was about covering khuda taz tragedies of quakes and that was it but not well how can people feel how they look how they think and that's what we do we go five and a half months of demanding it through an education system that was introduced to. latin america as you know has have to fill a void that needed to be filled. with the headlines on al-jazeera north korea has dominated talks between japan's promise to a and u.s. president donald trump in tokyo both leaders set the tone for a dog and what they called strategic patience as.

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