tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg November 20, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin this evening with our continuing coverage of the paris attacks. a paris prosecutor confirmed abdelhamid abaaoud, the presumed ringleader, was killed. they used fingerprint analysis to identify his body. he was involved in four out of six plots against france. he was known to have traveled to syria. officials have learned that he
returned to europe through grace. he was a belgian national to , aido grew up in molenbeek district in brussels that has emerged as a hotbed of extremism. belgian officials arrested nine individuals in brussels today, seven of them linked to a man vest.tonated a suicide questions remain as authorities persist in their investigation rate among them, whether isis is pursuing attacks outside of syria and iraq. french prime minister manuel valls described the threat in a speech this morning. prime minister valls: what is new is the modus operandi, the way of carrying out an attack, of killing, is constantly evolving. the macabre imagination of the ringleaders is endless. assault weapons, stabbings, all
of these together carried on by individuals or, in this case, organized commandos. nothing can be a excluded from imagination.s' and i say this, of course, with all of the necessary qualifications, but we bear it in mind, there is also the risk of chemical weapons. charlie: mayor bill de blasio advised that in a video threatening an attack on manhattan was not credible. mayor de blasio: as you know, there was a video portraying scenes where we are now in an obvious attempt to intimidate the people of new york city. it is important to note that credible and specific threat against new york city. charlie: joining me now, will mccann. his new book is called "the isis
apocalypse." graeme wood is a contributing editor at "the atlantic." his march cover story "what isis really wants" generated much discussion about the group's intentions. leads the investigation department at "the new york times." on theicle today focuses rise of isis. he says -- many strands of blame, but no key to the complex puzzle. let's begin with the rise of isis. take as to how this group again began and how they have grown? ian: you have to look at two different moments, and the first moment -- this will be a little controversial -- 2003. the american military came into
baghdad. some of our early decisions were, you know, we did not have a lot of experience there, so it is difficult to cast a deep blame, but we marginalize the regime of saddam hussein. a lot of really talented people -- talented, able people in the bureaucracy had nowhere to go. the people supported these shia, al-zarqawi, aly, jordanian militant, was smart enough to see that. he was very clever to realize that these people were going to be marginalized and he ended up organizing very quickly. i recall talking to an insurgent back in 2003 and it was very clear, it was a sunni who lost his job. they talked about religion, talked about tribalism. so, anyway, we all know the story, america's fight with the insurgents there is well known. i think it took us a long time. and by the end, i think most people agree and people who
disagree with the invasion say that the american military, aligned with sunni tribesmen did , did a pretty good job tamping down the al qaeda, you know, sunni insurgency -- charlie: the so-called awakening. ian: the two of them together, yes. i did some reporting. i think they did a good job, but there were a lot of problems involved. and this wass -- very clear. i did some reporting back in 2009 and 2010, the shia controlled government made a lot of promises to the sunnis. they said, we will give you jobs, we will pay you salaries. your families. again it's very tribal. , we will take care of everybody. you will be integrated in this. and they were not. there was a huge disaffection among sunnis. if i can make a broader point, it's really difficult to cast
blame on, you know -- there are a lot of things to talk about. where did these sunnis have to go, really? there is a shia state and there's no question about that. in some ways, i think at the end we can talk about isis, but where do the sunnis go. -- where do the sunnis go? they have been very isolated. charlie: and some say that they are the key to defeat isis? ian: some are, yes. charlie: what would you also note? there was a need for a muslim government that was aided by the construction of a caliphate. i have talked to many who were supportive of the group, who had gone to the group to fight, and they would say the idea of the caliphate, a unified government
for all sunni muslims is something that they had wanted for a long time. it answered a deep longing. so especially for the foreign fighter element of this, it is important to see that in some ways, this is a long time coming. it was satisfying something they had been thinking about and intellectually developing for a long time, and also it is important to note it was the revival of a kind of islam that really was left behind by many of the jihadist movements that had come before, too. charlie: help me, tell me if i am wrong, but my recollection of the story was osama bin laden was against creating a state because he thought it would create new problems. graeme: yes, it's a very ambitious thing. if you put down a whole new flag and you say this is where we are going to rally to, this is where
to attack if you want to attack us, you make yourself vulnerable to all sorts of things. charlie: the middle east is full of that. graeme: it is something that you can rally two, of course. saying, if you do have a place where there is enough chaos, there is enough disaffection, a vacuum of power, you have a great opportunity to put down that flag and be fairly sure no one is going to attack you and take it away. charlie: the maliki government turned out to be much worse than any one expected, including americans who supported them. how does that tie in? and who is al baghdadi? he is from a northern part of iraq. his nickname growing up was "the believer," because he had a devotion to religious texts, but for tellingant
people off for not hearing to -- adhering to his form of islamic law. throughout his life, he gravitated toward more and more extreme forms and ultraconservative forms of islam until the year 2000 he big basically became what we call a jihadist and was seeking out to carry out revolution against the state. at the same time he was getting his graduate degree. he ended up getting a phd in 2007 while he was fighting an insurgency. he was very clever in navigating the cutthroat politics of the islamic state and rose through its rank to become its leader in 2010. charlie: he was also in prison for a while. will: he was. he was detained by the americans in 2004. he was only there for nine months. he made important connections. he served as a spiritual leader, imam, working with other jihadists, but also members of saddam hussein's regime.
he kept those connections. many came up with him through the ranks of the islamic state. charlie: help me understand how that came together to emerge as the beginnings of what we see today. will: in 2006, they proclaimed their islamic state. charlie: 2006? nine years ago? will: over the objections of bin laden. they did not feel the timing was right to do it, and other jihadists laughed at them because they did not have a state. it was really the american withdrawal in iraq. and the civil war in syria that gave them the room to operate. they had been pushed underground as a terrorist operation, but they took advantage of the chaos in the political disaffection among the sunnis to begin state building. they assassinated people they thought would resist them. they carried out intense campaigns of proselytizing, and then they moved in troops, took over towns and built the state you see today. the problem is, they are prosecuting a war. which puts their state building
enterprise at risk. charlie: having a state means there is territory, but it serves for recruitment. this is real. this is serious. we have a place. will: that is right. eme said, it is the biggest attraction to other young muslims who are looking not only for a sunni homeland, but they are looking for the appearance of god's kingdom on earth, which disappeared in the middle ages and they claim to have re-created the so-called , caliphate. they say it is a fulfillment of prophecy and heralds the end of time. ♪
charlie: what about the recruits and those people joining them? who are they? where are they coming from? what can we say about them? ian? ian: i think we can say they are from everywhere. charlie: around the world? ian: yes, around the world. what has most concerned people, they are from the west. from europe, especially. we have created a democracy. why don't you like our democracy? what is wrong with it? what would make you go back into what is essentially a medieval caliphate? i think it tends to be a mixture of people. please, you all know more way of -- no way more about this than i do. they are very devout, religiously. it tends to attract people who are very much searching in life, who tend to be lost in looking for meaning.
graeme: i have found people with really diverse backgrounds. people who are shockingly learned. people who are incredible readers of texts, who know their tradition very well. they have a very skewed reading of that tradition. i have known people a few years before they became supportive of the islamic state were simply criminals. they had no idea about any of the things that they are now spouting about for anyone who will listen. so, it's a very wide diversity of people. charlie: tell me if this is wrong again, but my impression of abdelhamid abaaoud, he was one of those. he was he really was -- not a learned religious fanatic. he was very much a criminal. he flunked out of school. i believe he had run into the law.
he was in that category who found the islamic state almost to be a life of redemption. that seems to be a very common trope. they do find sincere belief, but it's after a long time of lacking any belief at all. ian: this is consistent with isis. al-zarqawi, the man often credited as being the founder was a thief. he found redemption in religion, the idea of a state. it's not surprising to find people like that finding the state attractive. charlie: america will not find redemption in religion? ian: indeed. in this particular one. charlie: al-zarqawi, again, he is considered to be the father? ian: he is the intellectual father of the islamic state project. he conceived the idea after he flees afghanistan, he is hiding
out in iran, he's thinking about where to go next. he sees the americans are going to go to iraq and he decides to pre-position his network of terrorists before the americans arrive in order to create chaos because he believes that he can capitalize on it to found an islamic state. charlie: at that point, before he was killed, did he make the association with all of those x iraqi generals? ex-iraqi generals? will: he did. and a number of them joined up with his organization. charlie: what do we know about al baghdadi's abilities as a leader? is it he who enhanced the idea of beheadings? will: no, it was zarqawi. it was soon after the other
garaib revelations. he marched his captives out in the same orange jumpsuits. it horrified his superiors. but it's really emblematic of their more brutal form of insurgency. charlie: what is the attraction to the young people they are recruiting? will: some of them just get off on horrific acts of violence. for some, in the west, it creates questions about whether the islamic state is truly islamic or not. traditional scholars come out and say, no, no, this has nothing to do with islam. and then the islamic state comes out chapter and verse. it creates questions in the minds of young muslims. some of them end up joining as a consequence. in your piece in "the today, manyes" strands of blame, but no single missed key to the group's terrifying and complex puzzle. you didn't write the headline --
ian: i did not. [laughter] charlie: but it's your story. tell me about those strands of blame, but no single missed key. ian: when you look at the many strands of blame, i mean clearly, if we had not invaded iraq, i think it would be a question about whether isis would exist. the invasion of iraq and the way that we did it gave zarqawi a very clear path forward. charlie: and allowed the sectarian war to fester. ian: exactly. there were many inflection points of getting the sunnis and the shia together. it didn't happen overnight. then there is the question of president obama. a lot of people say the withdrawal from iraq. we had them down. that's the real, sort of -- we left no troops there, the iraqis us there, but could we have pushed more to get people there?
and you know, i don't have the answer to that. could we have continued to keep pressure on that? would we have moved into syria after that? in terms of, you know i have a , lot of questions in my own brain about -- you know, there is a lot of talk about arming the moderate anti-assad groups in syria, was that a big mistake of obama's? i don't know the answer to that. arms tend to go in the hands of bad guys. i'm sorry? charlie: and some of the arms that we sent in did go into the hands of -- ian: that is the point that i am making. charlie: some of the vehicles. ian: but what is very clear, we underestimated isis. there is a cost to action. there is a cost to in action. when you underestimate someone, you can make a really clear equation as to what is the cost of action versus inaction. charlie: let's talk about today. all baghdadi, everyone is interested in him.
raqqa, wee is thin guess. tossume if they are chance take him out, they would. they want to reduce so-called collateral damage. but they would even risk collateral damage for him, i'm sure. but they do not know where he is and raqqa is a town of what, 2000? >> just about. and he is known for operational security. he was known for showing up at meetings and keeping a veil on his face. he has survived in that organization by being able to hide well. charlie: but he did make that appearance at the mosque on friday and spoke. will: and announced himself the caliph. charlie: if you look at this before paris, before 11, before , before thebanon sinai and the russian plane, were they winning or losing? the administration argues they were shrinking the territory of the caliphate.
will: yes, that's true. they were shrinking the territory. they have lost something like 25% of the territory. they have lost tens of thousands of fighters. charlie: and key people have been taken out. will: but they have been able to expand into other areas, which is why they were able to carry out that attack on the russian airliner in egypt. they have a powerful insurgent group that pledged an oath of allegiance to them and because of the political instability in the middle east, there are so many more places they can go. ian: they have a threefold strategy of expansion. the first one is conquest. they pretty much got to the margins of what they could accomplish in iraq and syria. they got to the edges of shia dominated areas and they simply cannot hold that territory. but as will is saying, they also have this ability to draw in allegiance from other groups and capitalize on allegiance in -- chaos in libya. northern nigeria. those two strategies are very
much alive and putting a lot of emphasis on getting allegiance from groups like al-shabaab in somalia and others. they are not finished. although in iraq and syria, there's no question, they have had defeat after defeat after defeat. this is the last one and the string of defeats that they have had that have happened slowly, but surely. charlie: do you see a change in strategy, tactics question mark -- in strategy, tactics? a global reach? that they want to achieve new objectives by attacking the west or russia and different places? graeme: on the one hand, they have been saying over and over again, we are going to attack the west. they have shown pictures of the eiffel tower, pictures of the white house in flames. they have always endorsed this. it has usually been in the model of inspiration, telling people that are allied with them or sympathetic to them they should be behind these attacks.
what is new, they seem to be such larger attacks, so organized, there is a real possibility they were planned and provisioned from inside -- charlie: they have money, and they have the threat of violence in terms of being able to get access to a plane. if you could threaten somebody in a way that nobody would know or if you have enough money? ian: yes. totally. my question is why now? on the global business. they had distinguished themselves from al qaeda. they would take territory and fight on the ground next to them. what is the moment? why did they decide to go global now? i don't know the answer to that. charlie: what are the three or four answers that might be?
ian: i defer. here is one possibility. one is they believe themselves to be extremely strong, that they can with stand and attack and even if there is a coalition, including france, russia, the united states that , the result will be in their favor. i think that is, first of all unlikely to be true. but there are other possibilities. one possibility is we do not know yet what the association is between syria and paris. between syria and sinai. it's not actually clear it was exactly planned from raqqa. there are aspects to the way it was announced that suggests the bombing of the russian airliner in paris in a way took them by surprise. charlie: the isis leadership in raqqa? graeme: at least their pr department. they have always tried to capitalize as much as possible.
if you look at the most recent issue of their official magazine, as a magazine person, i can tell you there was a cover that was torn up so they could put paris on the cover instead. at least some unit of the pr apparatus did not know this was happening and did not have a magazine that would fully exploit it and glorify it. charlie: there may be an easy answer in this, but how did they get so smart about technology? graeme: they seem to know about layouts. social media. they have people who are clearly trained, people who could make a living as copy editors at -- charlie: an advertising agency? graeme: if they ever repent from isis, they might have a job at "the atlantic." charlie: let's talk about this -- let's talk about the name. americans are confused. we all use the word isis. everyone in the government seems to use the word isil, and now you hear john kerry and others use daesh, which people come from the arab states use with me.
will: they are all the same thing and they come from the name of the organization two years ago when they called it something else. i think it is fine, whatever they call it. daesh as a pejorative of the islamic state does not like -- i do not think that is true. they don't worry about it. they call themselves the islamic state. i personally have no problem doing it. the president is very careful not to, because he believes by calling them islamic, you're justifying their religious identity and by calling them a state them a you are recognizing them -- charlie: and i assume it offends a lot of other muslim states. will: right. that is the idea. it is a state. whether it is islamic or not is something for muslims to weigh in on.
i don't think it is for the president. charlie: wherever they have gone, they have taken over american equipment and given it to the iraqis. correct? >> yes. charlie: they don't have an air force. how strong can they be militarily? what is the evidence of their military strength? will: i think they are strong enough to take the territory they have taken. charlie: like mosul? will: like mosul. but what makes them work so well is not the arms they have captured. what makes them work so well is there careful preparation of the battlefield. everything they do in terms of psychological operations and infiltration before they even sent the first man in. they have completely penetrated a town. they will assassinate -- they will know who to assassinate or if they have done to people who have stood against them in other towns, so when they roll in, the local security forces are out there.
they do not want to stand up and die. charlie: severed heads on sticks and all of that. >> that's right. i would go back to the idea that the isis state may not exist if the sunnis had somewhere to go . you see sunni muslims going into sunni muslim areas. at i think they probably do not welcome isis, but they look at the alternative something, you know, maybe it's all right for now. charlie: assuming you want to degrade or erode or eliminate isis, how you go about convincing the sunnis in those territories, and bar province province for example? you made a terrible mistake in -- and these guys are not people you want to be associated with, even though you share sunni islam?
ian: i think it is a very, very difficult case for the iraqi government, the americans to make. the americans have been on the ground since 2003. the tensions between the shia and the shiite go back forever. when saddam hussein was there is not like the shia were treated particularly well. in fact, just the opposite. i don't know how you make that argument. i really don't. graeme: i think one part of the argument is just to show that they are losing. right now isis has this narrative of inexorably expanding the caliphate. charlie: they are on the march. graeme: they are winners. they are going to reach rome. if they are not even going to reach erbil, they do not look nearly as inviting. when they see them being pushed back, it will be much easier task to convince sunni arabs in iraq in particular to sign on to the fight against them. ian: and they are the key here. the sunni tribal leaders.
will pointed out very well that one of the early reasons that isis in fact succeeded was they were able to convince the tribal leaders after the americans left that, in fact, they should come over to their side and i think that is a real key here. charlie: a lot of those leaders and tribal leaders have to know the tactics of isis, yes? and not approve of them or in in fact fear them. what happens if they turn on us? will: right. rules byslamic state fear, but it has also been clever with the tribes. it looks for clans that will work with it. it gives them a share of the spoils. and they go after the clans that resist them and execute them en masse. and because there is no major military on the ground to resist it, they get away with it with impunity. charlie: what is your opinion today of some of bin laden's
and thent, al-zawahiri, al qaeda leadership about isis? will: they do not consider the caliphate to be legitimate. al-zawahiri has a deep distaste for al baghdadi -- he finds him insubordinate. there is a lot of bad blood between them, figuratively and literally. they have been fighting skirmishes. but he has recently held out and branch, saying i will never recognize your caliphate, but i will work with you on the ground. it's not inconceivable there could be some rapprochement between the two groups. ian: it is not clear how much that will even matter. al-zawahiri is consistently referred to and described by isis as being a doddering old man who is irrelevant to jihad today. as a global organization -- it doesn't make him look great if al baghdadi is thought to be on the front fighting, where is he
interesting things. one of the interesting challenges when they went to palmyra, for example, the old roman city to the southeast. it was a test of can they really govern? i don't know the answer to that. i think the fact that they started blowing antiquities of means it was not entirely successful. they had to expand in cruelty, but also what do you bring to me as a government? charlie: where are the other muslim states? we know that there is an enormous hatred on the part of ans, but the sunni states like saudi arabia, jordan, egypt, where are they? >> they are absent. with the exception of jordan, every other state has a higher priority than the destruction of the islamic state.
and there is one big reason. charlie: what is it? iran? will: yes. oh, certainly. for turkey, it is the kurds. they are more worried about the kurds. charlie: so each of those states, before you take out isis, let's take out a assad is committed to being supported by shia from iran or from lebanon, right? will: that is right. they have been free riding on the united states. president obama gets a lot of criticism for not taking the fight to isis. the united states is one of the few countries that has taken the fight to isis. all of our supposedly it partners have been free riding. we ratchet up our strikes and the others decline. >> that's right.
charlie: what is the argument with the president when they say, you allowed assad to cross the redline, you did not do anything, you did not support the moderate troops against him when they are doing nothing? will: that is true. and i think that president obama rightly rolls his eyes when they come with those talking points. ian: it is easy to say you should do something. it's difficult to say what you should do. his critics, particularly on the right. bomb them. boots on the ground. really? how? charlie: that is what he said in his press conference. if you have a plan, tell me. i have not seen a better plan. i have not seen a better plan from the military. i have not seen a better plan from anybody in the state department. ian: the republican candidates have not come up with a better plan either. charlie: other than take them out. ian: it's difficult. it's very difficult. the invasion of iraq showed that. you can go one with all of the force in the world. you can stay for all the years you want, but it's hard to win. charlie: what should the urgency be? i am asking questions that obviously political people have no answer yet. some depending on their ideological bent may suggest one thing or the other.
is this now the biggest threat to america's national security? will: not in the homeland. we are more worried about lone wolf attacks here. but i think we should be very worried about the kind of attack we saw on the russian airliner. there are lots of smaller airports around the world that are exposed, and that would be my great fear. that they mobilize one of their affiliates or operatives in the middle east to carry out that kind of an attack on american airline. ian: and i would say the lone wolf attack -- charlie: describe the lone wolf. ian: it would be a one off as opposed to an organizational thing. charlie: paris was not that. paris was an organizational thing. ian: exactly. they will shoot a lot of people in a theater or a school or something like that.
that frightens me. that said, my hat is off to america's -- excuse me, america's police and intelligence. there has been a lot of years that could happen. the opportunities have been there. and it hasn't. they have done an extraordinary job. an extraordinary job. charlie: in terms of -- ian: preventing this sort of thing. charlie: everyone says since 9/11. since 9/11, people have set up his table, 10 years ago, five years ago, last week and said, i'm surprised there has not been a major attack. we know that they have turned back attacks. here in new york, they have acknowledged they have turned back. ian: it is incredible. it's amazing. and a fully operational attack like what happened in paris, all of this coordination would be very difficult. one person with a gun going and doing something in the name of the islamic state would not and the fact that that has not happened is amazing.
charlie: on the cbs show, they said the response time in terms of how they are equipped to do that in the u.s. is much, much smaller. much quicker. that is one thing we need to say about lone wolf attacks. isis has encouraged us in the past. garland, texas would be an example. but they have not killed many people. the number of lives claimed for the attack is usually on the average one or two, which is why paris matters so much if it does actually show a change in strategy and tactics for isis. if isis is saying now you should focus on these kinds of attacks, then we won't just get people who are in effect low -- ineffective, low functioning. it will be more like the paris model. whereas before, isis was just saying, if you can make it to
syria you should do that. , if you can't, you should perpetrate an attack. which only leaves a few people behind, actually. charlie: french president francois hollande has declared war. france has declared war. has the united states declared war against isis? >> [all talking at once] charlie: hasn't gone to congress for a declaration of war? ian: no, the president has been very clear. that he does not, yes. charlie: the cause? ian: he was elected on the idea that he does not want to put americans in harms way and he's a very cautious president, and i think he asks the question what after? what do you do? charlie: and his foreign policy is based on part in don't do stupid stuff. they have had some success in knocking off leaders, the finance chief, other people. if they were somehow able to buy their way in, get some
intelligence operating inside and could have al-baghdadi, would that stop them? will: it would not hurt them organizationally. there are many people waiting to can prosecute a war and they are his advisers. what removing al-baghdadi can do will be removing a very powerful recruitment symbol. nobody i can think of has let a a jihadist state that has had his lineage from the prophet mohammed -- charlie: he has serious religious credentials. as a student of religion. will: he has a phd in koranic studies. he has the lineage from mohammed -- charlie: do you know anyone who has written about knowing him? will: personally?
yes, but it tends to be former friends. his current friends are keeping quiet and staying close to him and close lipped. charlie: talk about the entry of the russians in syria. will: it is going to make it more complicated. i personally welcome the russians taking the fight to isis, but i worry it takes attention off the assad regime. the assad regime has been fueling this conflict. from its earliest days, it released the jihadists from prison so they could radicalize the protest against a sod. and they have had a modus vivendi with the islamic state. they have not gone after him. charlie: why? will: they prioritize state building in the sunni hinterland. all of the other rebel groups want to overthrow him in damascus. if you are assad, you worry about those trying to overthrew you and damascus. charlie: he is more worried
about our nusra and others. ian: it is also a symbolic thing. you can make the case, i am fighting this awful insurgency. i am the person against real terror, when really it's in his interest to be on isis' side. charlie: bob gates was talking to me and says one of the things i have not heard anybody talk about is the potential for what the western intelligence or buses, including the cia, can do on the ground in terms of infiltrating, sabotage activities to make life harder for isis. i think there are a number of things we can do without sending more troops and aggravating the situation in terms of turning people on the ground against us because we are back in there. >> it's not a very leaky ship, unfortunately. the isis regime, information does not escape. humans do not escape. when they try to leave, they are killed. it's not a simple matter to get information out, to get agents
in and infiltrate. i'm not terribly shocked. will: and they are good at this kind of subterfuge, too. they will be able to spot it when it is used against them. charlie: so, do you have a judgment about how well the president has done fighting against isis? will: personally, i think he has played the best hand he possibly could with the cards he was dealt, given that are other arab allies have other priorities. charlie: everybody has a different priority. will: everybody has a different priority than the destruction of the islamic state. i think he has done what he has been able to do, given the circumstances and given the political dysfunction in syria and iraq. the disaffection of the sunnis, that's not going away anytime soon, and there's very little the americans can do about it from the outside. charlie: the russians are back, so assad has more strength and is gaining territory.
i don't understand whether -- how -- i don't understand why he used barrel bombs against his own people. that just seems maddening to me. ian: well, i think -- charlie: he doesn't care? ian: he is crude. he does not have to waste his money on regular bombs. it scares the beejeezus out of everyone. he has shown no hesitancy about killing enormous numbers of people. he killed tens of thousands of his own people. a barrel bomb -- the mere effectiveness. i don't know. charlie: like aleppo. ian: yes, exactly. graeme: his strategy has been to make life terrible. to make life in syria so bad that everyone would prefer it like it was before when bashar al-assad ruled every inch of the country like a tyrant. charlie: what am i missing? what have i not brought up that you think is important to understand who they are and
where they want to go and how to stop them? will: one thing you have not mentioned is their use of these grotesque videos on social media. i mean -- charlie: to recruit or to scare? will: to recruit and to scare. they want to scare their enemies, but they want to attract the kind of people to those kind of videos. they are prosecuting a brutal insurgency. they are governing brutally. they want the kind of person who looks at the burning of a pilot and says yes, i want to be on , board. ian: one issue that has been difficult to wrestle with, to what extent are they pragmatic baathists? to what extent are they religiously-based? to what extent are they iraqi? to what extent are the syrians? to what extent are they representative of sunni aspirations? i think it is a mix of all of these different things and people want to put them in different barrels. i do not know the percentage of
each there. i would love to see that sort of parceled out and teased out a little bit more. charlie: what about this debate about radical islam and all of that, the notion, the fact that most seem to come from fundamental islam -- out of wahabis or wherever they come from, and arguing they find everything they are doing in the koran, and yet at the same time, moderate arab leaders like the king of jordan, some of the saudis, and others say that is crazy. sibley by saying what they say does not make them -- simply by saying what they say does not
make them islamic. will: right. they clearly come out of the wahabi tradition. their jurisprudence is different from the kind you will find in saudi arabia. they are very careful to document and explain and justify what they do with reference to scripture. what interests me is the times they depart from scripture, because sometimes there are things in scripture that cut against them. there are many restrictions on how you're supposed to wage war. they find clever ways to get around those because it's inconvenient for their form of insurgency. charlie: so, in other words, if someone from within the faithful points out, they have arguments to get around that argument? will: that's right. ian: the burning of the jordanian pilot would be one good example of this. charlie: muslims killing muslims? also using fire -- fire is supposed to be reserved as the punishment god uses. so, many muslims objected, in addition to the other reasons to object, that they were using something that was specifically reserved for god. in the video though and the
statements afterward, they came up with a loophole. they said, apparently we are permitted to use reciprocal punishment. so, if this guy burned civilians in raqqa because he dropped bombs from his jet, then we can burn him. there is a contradiction. it is a religious tradition. it will have many interpretations, contradictory interpretations, and in that case, find one and very carefully lay out the case. you know, you could take a vote among muslims. that is not really going to settle which one is correct in which one is not. it's a religious question. what we can say for sure, when they are looking for justification, they are looking in the islamic tradition. charlie: is this going to be a long twilight struggle? graeme: i think it is.
i don't see any easy answer. i don't see anything around the corner that suggests this is over. one of the difficulties is, say what you will about the difference between isis and al qaeda, it is inspirational. there are lots of people around the world who can pick up this idea and move it elsewhere without a lot of resources. charlie: and the argument used to be made, there are people who had no jobs, connections in life, no sense of identity and this gave them identity and out came from poverty. my impression is that is not quite true. will: no, the links between poverty and terrorism are very weak, if not nonexistent. people join organizations like this for many different motives. for the islamic state, is enough to build the state -- it was enough to build the state to attract all of these different people. charlie: that does raise this question. how can those who oppose isis win the war of ideas? how did they do that? will: the islamic state has a two word slogan.
enduring and expanding. both of those have to do with the control of territory and survival. they have state everything on their ability to build a state and maintain the caliphate. the ideological fight is an actual fight. it's not going to be a war of words. isis is not trying to win over broad muslim appeal to its cause. you do not burn a sunni pilot. they are going for a narrow segment of society and their political success has attracted that -- charlie: i assume that segment of society, you mean sunni muslims? it plays a predominant role in the middle east. will: that's right. but they are going for a very small sliver that would be excited by their political project, but also their extreme form of violence. charlie: but there's no limit to their ambition? will: no, they want to reconstitute the early islamic empire which cover the muslim
majority countries of the world and going up to spain and elsewhere and eventually they want to pop or the world, so so it'snquer the world, limitless in their minds. charlie: i hear you saying economics or education is not the answer, in other words to stem the recruitments that replenish those killed by drones or military attack? ian: i think that this has been proven from the very beginning of political islam. the muslim brotherhood egyptian who is considered sort of the intellectual father of fundamentalist jihadists. he specifically came and said, no, i don't like this. i don't think you can use money or western ideas or education and say, that's the answer. it's a rejection of that. charlie: the point to me does not seem to be so much you have to believe in western ideas. the point is you literally need people who come from the same place to convince them of an alternative.
what would that argument be? ian: is northern iraq and particularly poor place question -- particularly poor place? the tribal lands of iraq and syria -- i don't think so. charlie: let's talk about it. we talked about the awakening and the surge. part of that, the awakening, part of that was the fact that the sunnis turned on al qaeda. >> correct. charlie: what would it take for the sunnis to turn on -- if the sunnis in a large way, sunni tribes in iraq and syria would turn on isis, that would be the beginning of the end. >> it would, but i think we have been under a misapprehension. because of the success of the surge in the war in iraq and the awakening, that groups like the islamic state collapse because of their brutality. they are charitable to people. -- they are terrible to people. the people rise up and throw
them out. that is not necessarily true. there is a very large military on the ground working with those tribes. if you want a good analogy, look at the taliban. the taliban would still be with us today -- and it was terrible and governing and fought a brutal insurgency. it's misstep was in tagging eyes in a -- antagonizing a powerful foreign nation. that is why it collapsed. >> and they are coming back. because we are leaving. charlie: on that note, thank you. a pleasure to have you here. very much. a great piece today. thank you for joining us. until next time. ♪
♪ emily: he is the owner of the world's very first model s, and an early backer of elon musk's tesla and spacex. a fast talker with an unconventional investing philosopher who once shadowed steve jobs. he has amassed one of the biggest private space collections in the world, and has spent his days pondering the future of artificial intelligence, genomics, and self driving cars. joining me today on "studio 1.0," steve jurvetson. steve, thank you for being here. it is great to have you. steve: thank you.