tv Book Discussion on Islamic State CSPAN November 22, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm EST
station 11. books that i loved a great deal. it was great being a part of that. the books of been reading this year. dates and furies in the life. [applause] my notes are necessary, sweeping, important, transcendent, funny, jeering , sensual, human. these are books that ii love a great deal and hope we all get to read them. my children.
and so hard to be a part of it. in addition to writing there is drinking. upstairs in the balcony sponsored by books banning book-of-the-month club. thank you and good night. >> earlier this week's book about his book islamic state. he discussed the terrorist attacks in paris and the rise of isi s in syria and iraq.
>> editor in chief. founding editor-in-chief of the london-based newspaper and in 2012 middle east magazine, one of 50 most influential. author of two important books, the secret history of al qaeda translated into 32 languages and after bin laden. this new book islamic state digital caliphate university of california.
good. very good. there is camera but no sound. >> is it on now? >> yes, sir. thank you. very good. >> the technology. please excuse me. the caliphate. >> that is exactly right. >> as i read your book, engaged in a political project from the project of al qaeda. affiliates in syria, what would you describe the key difference?
know, it is actually five the islamic state has four distinguished elements. the 1st one is actually self-sufficient financially. lose about half a billion dollars. and they used $8 million everyday to the neighbors. so between $47 billion. so self-sufficient financial that al qaeda used to rely you know.
that is one thing. second thing, self-sufficient military wise. to send them arms. they managed to put their hands in a warehouse when they conquer a lot of cities in syria and they put their hands on a very sophisticated american arms. 20,000 iraqi soldiers. sophisticated arms behind them. self-sufficient military wise. the other, to differentiate, al qaeda used to be against
the taliban. but when it comes to the islamic state, the sovereign state, they are in their own territory. sufficient, very independent unless you send boots on the ground and so on. three major characters. there is another one, social media. all the corners of the world and communicate with their people and directly without any intervention, anybody to get in the middle of the process.
so that is why. we talk more about it is not just one man. it is not a one-man show. osama bin laden would love to see himself on cnn, cbc, al jazeera. that he is not like that. we have not seen him since. so the organization behind them. >> and it seems to me to be remarkable. the commander of islamic state is eliminated, there seems to be backup of leadership. >> yes. definitely.
you know, i mean, it is not one-man show. collective leadership. could the -- not actually the man who is running. a little bit to the root. actually the remnants of the army. security organizations. as people are expedient. able to run about 10 million population. it is a real state if you look at it. have a police force, water.
so i don't believe those. they are not running the state. highly expedient people. so they managed to run it. actually if you look at it from more stable, more secure than the other states around. there is no if you compare it to the syrian government or even the yemeni state. that is why those people and doing well. >> we tend to forget that. former officers and the iraqi army, former senior members of the party, the islamic state, preliminary
organizations in iraq. are those still around? >> yes. if you want to understand there are about six or seven keywords. the 1st one, the people in the middle east humiliated by the government and also by outside powers. frustration. so to our population under the age of 27. you have made it. so it's extremely important. and then underestimate, the
problem is, you know, the outside work falls under the organization. they never pay attention, stronger and stronger. no one pays attention. the left -- the lack of government in the middle east. most of the middle eastern countries, dictatorships, corrupt government. so the lack of good government is also extremely important. the problem is every now and then there is intervention. we are seeing in now.
the military intervention in particular, those invaders from the outside. we knew this would happen. whether we like it or not. whether we like it or not. but now you have a country which is completely diverted. so usually when you intervene by military means, though this vacuum. the islamic organization like al qaeda, homeless or command these kinds of things. the social media. you know, now is controlled by social media.
so this kind of thing, the terrorist organization. so these keywords, it's extremely important to understand. i believe the biggest mistake, when the americans invaded and occupied iraq. the republican guard under the banner. the problem is millions of the soldiers humiliated when nothing to do. so this kind of humiliation, the birth place of the islamic state as we see it.
see. mainly the republican guards. maybe a tunisian, afghan he, they are not the decision-maker. they can maybe play out the execution for example. we have different groups, and each group has its own speciality. the largest, for example, the saudi one. five to 6,000 of them. this is the most dangerous. others for example also the media on which is extremely important.
of the peer long line. in this treatise the management of savagery perhaps close to the islamic group. as i read your summary the fate seems to lie somewhere between non-muslims from the area and the phase of consolidating. so the period of savagery seems a little bit elected dictatorship of the proletariat. likely see an islamic state, a harmonious islamic society. >> very good. savagery is the manual of the islamic state.
when they send them in the paris because they want you will see this. they airports and train stations. this is the message. also, the other points, they have started. kills more than 40 people. now the french government, more than $70 billion. the tourism. in order to reflect. again, russian, again, for
>> you know, what they think of themselves through different. but the islam located in saudi arabia. consider some. so he is trying to get himself a character. to differentiate himself all over the world. they take it seriously are not. but the people call them, i believe that. less and less popular.
the sunni islam, the other side. we are actually the leader because of the sectarian divisions. >> generally opposed. in egypt and syria. >> it used to be that way. when i see,, you know, consists of turkey, saudi arabia, qatar. develop as a huge force. adopting now the muslim brotherhood. presenting himself as a caliphate trying to imitate the legacy of the ottoman
that the app relation was very shaky they decided to establish themselves strongly and they pose a threat to the saudi arabia family. that is why the later stages they were scared of them. they're very well organized. they have some sort of leadership and so it was frightening for the saudi arabia family so they decided to do something to fight them. but what is happening to syria right now they are adopting them in yemen, and and iraq, and in serious. >> i have one more question but i know the audience is interested in posing questions as well. perhaps they can think about the question and prepare to come to the microphone. i have to ask you one more thing
i can't resist. you remark at one point in the book that the islamic state is engaged in a campaign of expansionism. i think might one argued instead the movement is trying to protect the muslim community from attacked into a hack the muslim community from interference in intervention from outside powers like the western armed forces. what what would you say about that? >> when we look at the islamic state ideology doctrine there are differences. they wanted to take revenge from the americans from the crusader. when it comes to islamic state yes, they want to take revenge. but the major is to consolidate on this land. that is what happened. by the way, islam is a symbolic,
historian, symbolic meaning for them. why? because it used to be the temporary or summer of the caliphate. it is asked dreamily important for them. they did not choose muslim to be there, they chose something else for their symbolism. because they consider also it is critical. >> it is extremely important for them how they look at history and read it very well. so to conquer and consolidate their grip and then expand on
their surrounding. so i believe now, witnessing what is happening in syria, it seems seems the shift of priorities now. so this change of ideology or strategy is an extremely important. as if there now less to combine the islamic doctrine and al qaeda doctrine together. at at the beginning they are against al qaeda doctorate, we want to concentrate on the region. on establishing the state. when we establish the state we will look at other. it seems now because they are contained in parts of syria and iraq, maybe they decide it is time also to use terrorism. it seems it is a huge strategic
in their literature and doctrine. >> yes or, well as you know president barack obama has come under a good deal of criticism for making it very remark that the islamic state had been contained just a day or two before the attack on paris. i generally thought the president was right, do right, do you think islamic state had broadly been contained just before the separation? >> yes, i believe there some sort of success in containment of islamic state. now, they are not expanding at least. you have to remember it was only two years it was accepted properly. but it is contained in recently they lost places in syria that triggers police in northern iraq. so the loss of singe are and the
loss of others is a huge loss to the islamic state. so they start to lose some of their territory. maybe this will explain why they decided to expand to the paris. >> so there will be questions from the audience. i have have been asked to repeat the questions for purpose of this type, just to be sure. >> first of all, thank you very much it is exceeding worthwhile. >> can you hear that? question marks. >> no. >> okay i will just try to repeat it. >> i want to ask him to focus in
on saudi arabia and the united states, possibly iraq in the middle east. saudi. saudi arabia for the last 50, years or so has been a close ally from the united states. primarily based on our need for oil. as i look at saudi arabia and its policies and what has been doing in the middle east, i do not see a friend in the saudis and islam. i see someone who has been undermining many of our objectives in the middle east. it concerns me deeply. i would like us,. >> thank you. saudi arabia has had strong connections of strategy and economics with the united states. but for some americans saudi arabia does not look like much of a friend to the united states as a moment. the saudi arabia look like it is still a partner of the united states to you? >> well i believe it is sneaky at the time being. but the question is fair.
and reasonable and i say reasonable because saudi arabia used united states for its own purposes. the strategy of the saudi arabia is based on a strong doctrine which is to weaken everybody around them. so they want the american and the west also to intervene and defeat them in order to utilize. when saddam hussein emerged the saudi's, they wanted them to destroy iraq and remove him from power. they succeeded in using the united states as their own place. the same thing, they actually they use their financial muscle, oil muscle in order to push the
west to remove qaddafi from power. they succeeded to do for. but, i believe now there is the change of the american strategy. they realize that they cannot fight the war of saudi arabia. they cannot be the guard dogs of saudi arabia. i think president obama was aware of this. and when he interviewed with new york times he should clearly, okay we can can protect you from iran but the major, you have to actually look at your own people. young people who are unemployed, who are frustrated, who would like to have their share of power. who would like to participate in the protests. so, i believe now there's some sort of awareness in the united states. saudi arabia wanted american government to fight islamic
state in iraq and syria. boots on the ground. but obama said no, we cannot do it. we did it and iraq and look what happened. now, yesterday president obama said we are not going to send troops on the ground and i believe he is absolutely correct this time. >> their reports the saudi ruler is ill and there is rivalry among the senior to be the next king. to have any inside information about that struggle? >> yes, i knew someone. >> i figured you might. >> i thought you might know someone. >> and he told me he has some sort of dementia or alzheimer's. he keeps repeating the same story. they are also talking about the past not about the present. he told me this two years ago. i was really surprised. i asked other people, some said
yes, some said no. because now he was in saudi arabia with the royal family used to be patient rulers, they are not reacting quickly. so frustrating. but when you look at the rulers now because of the elders of the saudi arabia their son is taking over. he is not highly educated and a prominent university. he could actually create a legacy in order to promote himself as a future king of saudi arabia. this created problems among the other grandchildren.
there is a huge resentment, there is rivalry. people are actually scared about the future of the royal family. >> thank you, second question please. >> again, i would like to thank you very much for your comments, especially the comparison of al qaeda and basically in amateurish one-man show as opposed to a quite well organized isis and that is something that we do not understand. certainly certainly when you have any enemy to deal with unita understand that very well. so my my first, is thank you for that. now, when we compare world war one in world war ii, wilhelm had a very well operated operation, so did the emperor of japan. very. very well organized. they pulled up pearl harbor. but we beat them. my question is, every
government, every organization has weaknesses. as we try to understand isis, how can we defeat them question work. >> thank you, there have been powerful adversaries of the united states in the past, like japan and germany in the 1940s. very well organized, very strong administration, but those entities were defeated. every organization has a weakness and some vulnerability, do you see any important vulnerability in the islamic state? >> yes. i can see vulnerability. if you look at the enemies of the united states you'll see more than 100 countries would like to rooted out completely. they understand the danger of islamic state. you cannot for example, since the second world war we had the american and russian working
together to defeat the islamic state. it is our president for the last eight years or so. also, we have the enemies in the middle east are working together to root out the islamic state like iran and saudi arabia. never happen. you can see there are arc enemies, there are launching a war by proxy on yemen and syria, but when it comes to the islamic state they realize it is the danger for both of them. they are working together now to defeat that. it is defeat a bowl, i cannot say it is not diffusible. the problem is, what will happen after you defeated. the problem is if you look at the west, if you look at the west they defeated saddam hussain, they have have plan a but they never had plan b.
we want to, when it comes to after the morning after, that's the biggest question. civic remove the communists but they don't know how to rule afghanistan. they never created staples. the same thing in iraq. they defeated saddam hussein, removed him from power but what is happened after that? the problem is victory can be achieved but we have to have plans after victories. do we have any plan? what will happen to the middle east after we defeat, if we defeat the islamic state? no one can tell us about the future syria. no can tell is the future of iraq. how can we create persistence with this yet, this is the most
important thing. >> it you mention some external vulnerabilities of the islamic state. the question i think was about internal vulnerabilities. do you see anything inside the administration that might weaken the organization question i. >> yes. internal and next are not related. that is almost impossible. usually the internal vulnerability is defeated by the outside. this is the most important important, yes it is foldable inside because as i mentioned because of the lack of government. because the people are not involved, they're not determining their future. this is the problem. you have depriving people of their future people.
they're trying to cover their vulnerabilities by intervening syria, yemen, and all of this to cover the short comings. this is the most important. yes, we can defeat the islamic state, it is not undefeatable, it is defeasible. the problem is we have to have a model for the people of islamic state, the people. so as i mentioned it is the most ignored state. the problem is look at the middle east now, people are immigrating from syria, iraq, yemen, to the west. when it comes to their immigrating from the west. some people it is counter immigration.
we have to set up a good example, alternative models to the people and say look forgets about strategy we have a model for you, a model of coexistence. a model of prosperity. model model of human rights, independent judicial system. we have to say look, we are working for a long term for cheer not a short-term future. we are not good to repeat our mistake in afghanistan, iraq, libya. no, we have or a plan and we have our bee plan. is our b plan. until now we have never heard anything like this. >> do you see any sign that western government has those sorts of plans for the post islamic state in syria? >> i can't see it.
i remember i went by the office in britain to speak with the prime minister before the need to intervene for the behavior. i say look, i know you are preparing for some sort of intervention, you have to be very careful because al qaeda will be there, there'll are about 2000 on the other side. this will be a straight route for immigration and i would not be surprised if they would smuggle or mangled among those. you have to be very careful. seriously, in six minutes, they do not want to listen.
also people who are talking about the middle east from distance. they they don't know the feeling there. look is what happening. okay these but what is happening after that. have we established good governments there? have we established stark security policies? nato is the most sophisticated alliance in the world. of modern countries, why is this not actually established institutions? why did it not actually keep the same institutions and try to reform them. same thing in iraq. okay, united states is the most advanced country in the world. it is the biggest, strongest in our history. they invaded iraq. why they introduced secretary is on, they are multicultural
country. and establishing equality. the most important important thing how to build a country, how to make people coexist with each other. we cannot apply the same principle to iraq. that is why we are facing the problem in iraq and syria. >> thank you. another question please. >> my question was does he have any further comments about the role of iran and just a follow-up on what he was saying, something the middle east is not ready for democracy, we cannot import it there, could he comment on that? >> so when we think about the future of the region, after the islamic state, scholars disagree about whether liberal democracy as possible in this part of the world.
do you think liberal democracy with constitutions, elections, freedom of the friend press, is possible in the arab country #speemac it is possible, but the problem is we do not have the culture of liberalism. we do not have the culture of democracy. you cannot actually import democracy and say to the middle eastern people you have to adopt it. the problem is we have to prepare the grounds for democracies and for liberalism. unfortunately the west never did. they were supporting autocratic regimes over the last 60 or 70 years under the name of stability. we should encourage liberalism. we should encourage coexistence. i'll be glad to draw the audience to one point. most of the countries in the middle east which are facing instability now, it is when
people coexist the muslim shiite, this is the irony here. nobody looks at that. for example, syria, iraq, libya, yemen, and tunisia, egypt, these countries have a strong base of coexistence for living together. now, under the arab spring and people in the middle east believe of the conspiracy theory and i think it is an introduction to the west. which has coexistence? they were brutal, but society is used to living together. we need to actually spread coexistence. the problem of marginalization
is actually that principle element of islamic state because the sunni were marginalized in iraq because of that. american occupation because of the people like others who are working with american administration. those people actually had a theory that we should marginalize the sunni rules under the pretext. we have to look at that. why we destroyed that process of coexistence in the middle east, iraq, syria, libya, and other countries. this is the problem. >> as you know there is a moment of liberal democracy across the arab world with elections in egypt, iraq, syria and libya. during that moment they were
tied to westerners, to outside powers. it gave a bad name and reputation to liberal institutions. >> you are absolutely correct. the power, they were actually looking for a solution a long-term stability. they they introduced liberalism and they introduce democracy. by several means, there are teach you how to be liberal, how to communicate, with ballot box will determine who will rule. unfortunately the new imperialists are not repeating that experience at all. why for example that americans
thrive for democracy does not work properly. why why does it not work for example and i ran? why would it work and libya? this is a problem. when i say there is no plan b, that is what i mean. we should educate people, we should look for long-term strategies not just short-term strategy. like okay we are going to remove them, no we have to have parallel plans and strategy. to make people with a foreign intervention. they would love it. most of the people are looking if you open the gates tomorrow you would have 300 arabs looking and knocking at your door's because they believe america is the example of strata j coexistence. so we need to have this culture in an amicable way.
>> thank you. i think we can have two more questions if we're lucky. >> my question is, if there's going to be a plan b, if we in fact with islamic state don't think the plan b has to be her has to come from the islamic world rather than from the west? do see any signs of that happening? >> so if you there is a plan b for syria, lebanon, or yemen, might that plan better come from the arab world or another part of the world other than the united states and europe? >> we have to convince the arab rulers that especially in the gulf region, saudi arabia, you have to say look you cannot continue living like that. you cannot accumulate hundreds of billions of dollars on the
bank accounts. you have to put this money in a new surrounding and your neighborhood. yemen cannot be the oldest country in the world and at the same time adjacent to the richest countries in the world. you cannot have that. you cannot have prosperity while the people are carving in yemen. they're starving in jordan, jordan, and in egypt. this is wrong. so, i believe the combination of both the western power and the regional power to work together in the region. once you create for example what is happened in the northern island when i had some sort of coexistence to actually create jobs for the people there, so we need this in the middle east. we need the era money with some