Skip to main content

tv   Geneive Abdo Discusses The New Sectarianism  CSPAN  January 8, 2017 5:00pm-6:04pm EST

5:00 pm
and my brother said, well, i can't get rid of the rats unless you get rid of the bird feeders. so it's the same concept. the only way we will secure global borders if we ask our neighbor thouz make you safe, then i will be safe, too. >> you can watch this and other programs online. [inaudible conversations] >> hello, everybody. thank you for coming. we're going to have the a discussion and then we'll open it up to q & a after 30 minutes and as you probably know or may no know this is being filmed by c-span, so thank you very much, c-span and ask a lot of
5:01 pm
questions and be as provocative as you want to be so we can have a lot of very interesting conversations and that will be great for television. so, my name is general have no abdo and we're honored have joyce caram, the washington correspondent for alhaja and one of the most insightful journalists writing today, and has a very interesting and very truthful take on all sorts of issues in the region and also what happened in washington and if you read her coverage bottomtive iran nuclear deal it was spot on. >> thank you. >> so we're very honored today to have her with us and we're going to -- going to bin and they're going to start taping. >> well, thank you everyone.
5:02 pm
good to be here, and i have to say, reading the book, over the weekend, being interjected with a terror attack in turkey, another attack in egypt, isis taking el nero. it's brought it full circle. i think most of you have been in washington following the events in the middle east but i really find sense of realism and a real touch from the region that genieve brings into the back. i think what i like about it is it just paints a very good big picture of what is happening in the middle east. there is no nonsense. no wishy washy talk about the future of the liberal
5:03 pm
democracies in the region. you don't get this. you really get what is happening in the region right now, a complex understanding of the dynamics that you -- that -- i'm shocked at always missing in the conversation in washington. how many of us have heard about -- the last year in the debate in washington? not many. and it is a major part of what is going on. it took jenny four years to research and write this book. reading it i saw -- i grew up under tripoli, lebanon, and and she actually went there. she went to kuwait and bahrain, and that where is i think this book is different.
5:04 pm
it's also refreshingly very honest, and candid, over realities in the region. that we try to spend, we try to censor here in tech d.c. it tells who who i paying who and which cleric is sitting in baghdad or tripoli and spreading hateful rhetoric on twitter. this is a debate that definitely we need to have in the region, and i think to understand the post arab spring middle east. this is a truly must-read. congratulations on the book. will only take 30 minutes, then we'll go to you for questions. but i will start by asking you,
5:05 pm
at which point watching the arab spring you said to yourself, this is not eastern europe. this is actually not the mess we all believed in here. in walk washington, dc and in places like syria, for example, where it is an open inferno now. do you think if the regime acted differently in the beginning or the opposition was not armed things would be different and we wouldn't be at this sectarian upheaval we're seeing today. >> guest: in syria? >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: i think you raise a broader issue which is really important and that is that a lot of the discussions in the beginning of course everyone was very hospital miss -- optimistic and you used the diplomatic term that my book is honest, but a lot of people always say i'm too cynical and that every time i give a lecture.the middle east everyone sis we're going to kill ourselves.
5:06 pm
because i generally am's mix i mystic about the region but it's more of sort of a realism and so when the arab uprising started i think that there was far too much optimism about the outcome and given all the different factions, whether they're religious, political -- it was obvious that this was going to take generations to sort out in the beginning. i think in case of syria, it is like most uprisings -- what is important is to talk about the similarities because if you look at bahrain, look at syria, if you look at egypt, the uprising started all with the same goal, which was to oust dictators. in bahrain it one regime change. was to create a constitutional monarchy and to improve the current form of governans so they all began that way but
5:07 pm
after a short time all the uprightings detear you're rates into the con flicked of religion, conflicts about politics, conflicts among sunnis, extremists versus more -- hate to use the word moderate but within the sunni tradition, how islam was going to be practiced. i think that the moment for me when i knew this was going to be something significant and different and violent was when i was in egypt, right after president morsi was elected and was interviewing in cairo and he said to me, what our goal has nothing to do with changing the egypt shouldn't government. we ever glad the muslim brotherhood is in power but our objective is to redefine how islam is practiced. >> host: that actually come outs very vividly and very strongly in the book, how different the sell feats are playing -- sell fats are playing the game here.
5:08 pm
given what is happening in egypt, particularly do you see them being the more dominant sort of quote-unquote islamis force in the future? and are we -- as arabs, are predestined to the cycle between awer to tear yapism and sectarianism? >> guest: i think that in terms of the -- it depends on what country we're talking about. in egypt,ey, i mean, obviously they -- this generally speakings' don't want to simply identify this -- the went from being an arab movement into being politicized because there was an opportunity. so when the collapse happened, when mubarak waisted from power -- was ousted from hour
5:09 pm
they got in government and that was something that had not happened on that scale before. i think now -- i'm actually going to egypt tomorrow, but i think i could probably answer this more effectively in a week from now but in any case, i think that what happened are are eave the arain uprisings is that it empowered enemy in some cases. some of the -- were cooperated by the government and more or less that is still the case. >> host: ever see them going mainstream? >> guest: , i don't think so. the there are a enough opening within religious interpretation and -- there's a tomorrow now that is always -- a term now that is used but dem democratization and they're part of this constitution and there's room for -- an opening for different interpretations.
5:10 pm
so i don't see that they are retreating. think if anything they'll become more prominent. >> host: you always talk a lot about post saddam iraq, iran's role, past resentment from arab shia towards iran and how the rise of isis has really changed the dynamic. you followed iran for a long time. is iran first winning today? do the paradigms of iran and isis mute tillly benefit from each other in a place like iraq, and what is the future of the iraqi state looks like. >> guest: i think, joyce, you have written a lot about this as well. iran's role in region and we're
5:11 pm
probably on the same page. it's clear win i went toadish first chap ore of he book is about the establishment -- it is clear that they have a -- one is they want to distinguish themselves from persian shia. so they feel that what happened as iran has become much more powerful in arab poll that would people equate persian shiaism to arab she shiaism. and another thing that is important is they feel that the iraqi government has been cooperated by the iranians and they don't know what to do about it. >> host: are the right? >> guest: it seems so. i mean, cooperated is too strong a word but clearly if you have revolutionary guards in the country, you have all sorts of -- the forces, iran's presence, militarily, they have religious influence in the
5:12 pm
country, which began not from arab uprising but since the u.s. invasion, then of course iran has a great role to play in iraq, and i think that for a lot of the arab shia, that is not okay. and so -- on the sunni side some of the tribal leaders who were interviewed in the book basically told me that -- i met them in-under biehl, not in iraq, but ---under biehl and not in iraq but a the told me they supported the takeover of mosul because they thought that given the choice between an iranian can backed shia government that a marginalizing the sunni and isis -- >> host: but then you know we see ourselves going through the same circle and before it was isis, it was al qaeda in iraq.
5:13 pm
now we are into new jersey la fallujah has been taken and liberated three times and. in it seems -- i don't know if it's just us or nobody wants to see the missing piece here or address it. are we going to go through this same cycle as long as this sectarian question, as long as these sectarian problems are not honestly dealt with? >> guest: unfortunately, i think so. because the -- even if you death with, say, an al qaeda is suppose supposedly on the rise but even if -- in washington the
5:14 pm
issues are addressed through there has to speak some military discussion but what would learn is that all the islamist moms, whether they're extremists or not, they're evolving in ways we can't control and certainly cannot be controlled or affected by military solution. and because there's rivalry -- i think it's important to explain that even though my book is about the shia-sunni struggle there's also a sunni-sunni struggle and a shia-shia struggle. so all of this complexity and these conflicts that are being played out on the ground are sort of an invitation for tropical extremists because they can capitalize on one group versus another. so even groups that -- why would
5:15 pm
sunni tribal leaders support isis? well, isis was able at that moment in time to capitalize on their -- the marginalization that's were feeling from the iraqi government so there was an opening. >> host: back to iran's role in this. i remember -- in lebanon, hezbollah was just a small group in the early '80s. orchestrating terror attacks but not really claiming them. and here we are at a point where hezbollah is actually now publicly -- it's involved in syria and yemen and to a lesser extent and bahrain and iraq. what does it say about the iranian policy in the region and has actually the hezbollah model succeeded so that they could
5:16 pm
republican plinth -- replicate it in other places. >> guest: that's a really important question because as part of the divide that is escalating between the shia and sunni, what is interesting is that if you look at speeches from, say, the beginning of the arab uprisings he didn't play the shia card and neither did iran. automatic knee holm knee was talking about these were arab uprighting to fight colonialism and imperialism but as of 2014 when he made a big speech in july, he basically said, hezbollah now is a shia militia and that -- i'm si my fight it but that what's message when he acknowledged they that boots on
5:17 pm
the ground in syria. but round has done see the sale same thing, but a our their military activity in arab countries they can noening lower talk about pan islamism and being a state that represents all the forms against the west. and so this, i think -- this is what talk about in the book -- the reason that these speeches are important and the reason that these developments are important from leaders, whether it's hezbollah or company main any is the way it's perceived on the ground. arab societies now are in a state of anxiety. >> host: complete limit i was in morocco last summer and average people would be -- they don't like the king much but we don't want to be syria.
5:18 pm
and i think that trauma effect that the war in syria had over the region -- not just syria. you look at libya as well. it is a step back for the efforts of democracyization and the liberalization in the region. but on iran specifically it's i think a fascinating experience, experiment to watch, that coming from lebanon, again, that hezbollah would be actually now an occupying force for in syria, that the -- in iraq, despite what we hear in washington, it's not a quote-unquote pure resist cities force against isis and i don't know how we actually can get out of this now because this
5:19 pm
has become the new status quo and the argument you hear repeatedfully d.c. on governance, on human rights, but how are you going to -- how does that remotely resonate with what is going on the ground in areas of conflict. do you see any hope for a push for better governance in region anytime soon? >> guest: again issue think it dependings on the done country itch think that in bahrain, probably not, because the mainstream shia mom -- has been completely isolated from the political process. in egypt, there is a very rerepressive government in pour that is not inclusive. if you go down the his doesn't seem very optimistic. in lebanon, i always think of
5:20 pm
lebanon in a different category and maybe you disagree, but i sort of look at lebanon as a post sectarian era in the sense that despite the fact that there are religious factions, all sort as dispolitical interest groups, somehow he lebanese, having fought 15 years of several i self-war issue there's social contract in lebanon where hezbollah is very important in the government but people have decided, okay, basically this is a fait accompli, can't do that much about it. let not kill each other over it. >> host: and the syria effect. >> guest: and the syria effect that is terrifying people because nobody wants to become syria. >> how much the proxy war in region, contributed to where we are today? you look at libya, for example.
5:21 pm
there is a proxy war happening between the sunni-sunni aspect, regional sewn nye-sunni proxy war. wind lib yaw, iraq as well, there's proxy war over there. so, how do you address this? do the populations of libya or iraq or even lebanon and syria, do they have any will power as this point to break out of this proxy war, that the region has fueled and benefited from for a while now? >> guest: i think difficult and i just want to mention as we're talking about this, we don't want to give the impression that all of arab societies are engulfed or engaged in the conflicts.
5:22 pm
most people actually feel victimized by the conflicts cond they feel helpless and that's why, is a mentioned, people feel a lot of anxiety, but what has happened to your point about proxy war wars is that you have the states, whether it's turkey, saudi arabia, iran, jockeying for power on a geopolitical level, and that affects the societies, and that -- and some fractions react to it, some fractions try to take advantage of the situation, of the proxy war, and then others are just completely innocent victims. and that probably the majority of arab societies now, is that they have to live in these conflicts, whether they're driven by states, whether they're driven by extremists groups and they feel very helpless that can't control the future. they couldn't even control where they get a job or not. forget about the political future. >> host: at any place like
5:23 pm
syria, the actual activists that started the uprisings are either kidnapped, like -- father powell has disappeared. many are now in exile and the knew dynamic we're approaching in syria is between -- after the soon fall of aleppo, increasingly coming between assad and isis on the one hand and then al qaeda created nusra. they changed their name now. but do you see this dictating the new narrative in areas of conflict where the two extremes will take over if these conflicted are not addressed? >> guest: i think that that's the case, and if you look at in
5:24 pm
the old days egypt before the arab uprising started. you remember form are president mubarak said you have to support any government because the only -- i'm the only alternative to muslim brotherhood. which he painted as an extremist group which is not an extremist group, and so that was always the choice, and i think that narrative continues. it just became complicated because they're nor powers now. but assad played the same narrative in the beginning. he said, extremists are going to take over syria so you have to support me against the uprisings bag the at tentative is worse. so i think the basic narrative has not changed. we have seen a pattern. we've seen the direction it's taken. the only difference now is that there are lot of different players and than there were before on both of these
5:25 pm
extremist sides. >> host: i also enjoyed the chapter on bahrain, how you went there, how you described it; two questions here. had saudi gcc not enter recented, what would this situation be like at the moment? how real is the iranian role in bahrain? and we don't hear about the bahrain but what is the -- if the current status quo continues. >> guest: i think bahrain, ann even though it's a minor sort of unstable state in the scheme of things, which is why i guess during president obama's administration there wasn't that much focus on the situation in bahrain but i think if you look at the developments that happened there, they very much mirror the developments in other
5:26 pm
countries, as it regards the shia-sunni issues. for example, as you mentioned, when the saudis invaded, the uprisings bag an shia and sunni led uprisings. there were sunnis involved because they wanted to create a constitutional monarchy in bahrain. but when the saudis invaded, what, three months, four months into in the uprisings, it allowed the government to completely change the message and the narrative. so then it became sunni, saudi saudi arabia and the sunni-led bahrainy government against the shia and that extend to iran as well. so then the government ban through propaganda campaign on television, in the newspapers, which are run -- state-owned -- this was an iranian plot, that
5:27 pm
the shia in bahrain were part of to overthrow the government. >> host: and that. >> guest: and where the saudi inv-8 came in -- invasion came in is it helped the government advance this narrative. >> host: it's almost this self-fulfilling prove see -- proffer professor from sees prove cities we see but another aspect it is close to heart when you start talking about twitter, the level of hate across the board. people don't like the extremists narrative that we see on twitter from opposing sides. just last week, after the fall of aleppo, you saw the hezbollah rhetoric was extremely sectarian on twitter. there was this video of hezbollah journalists going through the flag and climbing up
5:28 pm
to the citadel of aleppo and essentially declaring victory. just yesterday, after the bombing in egypt, you saw people celebrating the killing of christians and these are mostly tweets in aarabbic that we don't get translated much here in was but you talk in length about the role of the social media in fueling the sectarian war and what worries me we don't have the tools or the oversight to address it. how big is this problem and your direct enen gauge immigrant are
5:29 pm
den gauge. with clerics that fuel the hate speech. >> guest: it's a huge problem. because this is being articulated in arabic it's difficult for people in the u.s. to understand the magnitude. the reason i went to twitter is that i was trying to -- ann always asked, how do you know that this anti-shia sentiment exists? how can you prove it? so, i thought, well, okay, twitter seems like a good way to try to figure out the anti-shia sentiment and the tweets soar graphic. they're going to grind the flesh of the shia and -- the things said are just horrific. but to your point about is it important? i think it's hugely important because if you look -- some of the people i profile in the book have 14 million twitter followers. so, even though in term's methodology -- i'm about the last person to be analyzing the technicalities of social media
5:30 pm
but i look at it more from a substantive point of view, and even if you can't scientifically evaluate the penetration of these messages, who is following them, how does that affect what happens on the ground, i attempted to do that, not very -- you can't really decide, okay, someone is tweeting about the battle, how did that fake what happened on the ground? it's difficult to know but if someone has 14 million tour followers you have to assume somebody is absorbing this material and it's massive. if you have millions of followers and i think the other thing that is dangerous is that it's refined best other media. >> it does marginalize people like me.
5:31 pm
were trying to take a view here, everyone is throwing -- we have had it and the arab world for a long time now, and i don't know how you address it... i started reading back through them what they had tweeting in arabic and at least 12,000 said i didn't tweet that, somebody else did. and we could get into the conversation of the power of the
5:32 pm
internet and social media but it encourages people to be more aggressive than they would be and create more hostility. but they were trying to convince me they didn't tweet back. finally, it was one particular i said okay if you didn't tweet this, answer a question do you think they are real muslims? i think the danger of twitter in addition to a lot of other dangers is that it gives people the license to be more aggressive and if they had to confront to strangers like me or anybody else outside of their community is what they were saying, they would want to retract it. but once it is out there -- >> i'm glad you are out of that meeting safe.
5:33 pm
one last question we have in the administration, we both heard from the president elect so far in the middle east. do you think there is anything different here from what i've read for example there is no national human rights or any form of oppression and egypt. there is a laser focus on counterterrorism and there is an interest in pushing iran back in the region or at least that's what we understand from the few nominations he has made. is that still realistic today,
5:34 pm
given how much influence iran has had today and iraq, lebanon and even new places like lebanon. so what do you expect from the trump administration and looking at the region, what are he's looking like in four years? >> it's dangerous for anybody to predict, but having said that, it does seem that there would be an attempt to deal with iran in a different way. but i just don't know how effective that will be. i think that short of having a direct effect on the hardliners in iran and the revolutionary guard which is impossible, and what people don't understand is
5:35 pm
that there are many states, the state of the foreign ministry and th the state of state of ths in the revolutionary guards in the military apparatus and so you are dealing with many different states and this is why the nuclear negotiations with the presidency and foreign ministry that process doesn't have an effect on what aired on does in the ground except the nuclear deal has provided iran with tax reserves, the ability to sell loyal but presumably could aid the apparatus in all these countries. but i don't -- i think that if the administration does try to do something to minimize the influence in the region, that is a good thing i just don't know if it is possible.
5:36 pm
>> the dynamics of the conflict, they are -- >> i ask myself how are you going to counter iran when you were going to offer support for the groups that are funded by iran. >> that's part of all the complexities. the united states has basically endorsed the government in iraq that are working closely with iran so that is one situation but then they are against the government supported in iran and that's why the nuclear negotiations were a very complicated process and some people in the administration said, and i don't know if this is true or not come with one of the reasons the united states never attacked the area of a crucial time was because the
5:37 pm
obama administration didn't want to disrupt the negotiations on the deal. >> so, these competing forces and interests make the u.s. policy very complicated and conflicting. >> you don't see this gap sealing itself. >> on that's not so optimistic note, we will turn it over to questions from the audience. i think someone will bring the microphone. please identify your self. and i should have mentioned this half an hour ago. >> i'm with at the atlantic
5:38 pm
council. i'm looking forward to reading this and my question is about you mentioned the sectarianism and for me the politics and the divide are not only between the different countries but even a lot of local communities, so what is this divide given? >> i think what's new is first of all the points i mentioned earlier that there are many more competing messengers and interpreters of how islam should be practiced, which has increased the violence.
5:39 pm
in the '90s, for example when i wrote a book about the muslim brotherhood of egypt, if you wanted to know what was being said you went to the mosque and stood up to listen to the friday prayer. basically, even though they certainly were not uniform, there were certain trends of the message that was being conveyed. there were some that were more than others and some that were self appointed. if you go to the neighborhoods of egypt, not just egypt but i call them the freelance shapes. that phenomenon didn't start in the 80s or 90s. but what happened, if you can magnify that like a thousand
5:40 pm
times, that to me is what has changed. there are many interpreters about how this is practiced and although this is a very controversial point, one could argue that isis is promoting a certain practice of the faith is 99% of muslims don't agree with, but the point is they do use the tech -- text to justify their actions. even then it says islam is a sword and they don't subscribe to this belief. so there are many competing messages and messengers and that is what has changed and has escalated the whole divided and created more violence. the other thing to keep in mind, and i didn't mention this before but in the old days if you want
5:41 pm
to look as an example, the air was much more control of three religious message by state institutions and the states the egyptians started losing in the 70s but even in the '90s, there was a lot more state control over what was said from the pulpit and on the street. the state has less control with a state from what is being projected to be an islamic practice. >> it does seem having grown up intupin the civil war for exampe that every kind of limitation we had is off now. the new level of brutality or
5:42 pm
what we saw at the cathedral yesterday. >> it's a free-for-all. that is what has changed. >> we are going to go here and then back here. >> some people say it is just as cruel as isis. do you agree with that as evidence and number two, it seems so far the only country that seems to move toward democracy where this all started do you think this is sustainable, thank you. >> i'm glad you raised the point. i write somewhat extensively on
5:43 pm
the first chapter i do think they are very violent and i watched a lot of videos when they went into other places and hanged people from lamp posts i saw people being executed at one point. what's more important getting back to the question that is raised as some of these militias were created calling upon the shia and sunni to rise up against isis and some of these were formed as a result so this is a cleric issuing the religious decree to try to combat extremism that's what happened is once he encouraged
5:44 pm
people and called them to arms he couldn't control what happened later so now they are listening to i'm simplifying access titbut to some degree noe commanders are the revolutionary guards. so, i think that it's a good example of not being able to control the message that once you unleash something, you don't know what the consequences going tto become and yes they are very violent and i have every reason to believe the videos i've seen were legitimate. i checked with people. they were given to me by legitimate sources. some of these videos are on the internet. i am not an expert on tunisia or north africa but what happened generally speaking is very positive. but when we look at the success stories, you have to place them in the context of the region. one of the reasons that it's
5:45 pm
been more successful in terms of the role of the islamist movement in egypt is a they compromise with the government, so they knew when to participate in politics and when not to participate in politics. it wasn't an all or nothing proposition. the government decided i think incorrectly that they were going to oust democratically elected government and create a military dictatorship and so, i don't think that gives us hope for a success story where there was much more of the democratic process. >> and was it also because of the past transition that happened but how much did the education program that the tunisian government invested in the country also help in this? >> the education system as far
5:46 pm
as i know has been less polarizing in terms of middle east history and how islam is taught as a trade so you are talking about a different context but i'm certainly not an expert. i'm giving you my general impression. >> yet we do see that the number going to syria is coming from tunis. also, there were good signs of the elements of radicalization that was also happening underground. it does exist funded by the
5:47 pm
outside and threw schools and other aspects you talk about in this book and other models. >> i have a question about the east africa literal. let's skip the area to the border and go while the way down to mumbai for, the tanzanian coast, zanzibar and the western part of madagascar. i know the area fairly well and that's when i was there there were sunnis and shia and they were all living in peace.
5:48 pm
but the ethnic origins of these people there were sunni and shia and it was very next. it's an area of considerable friction and i wonder if you have any ideas on what is going to happen there. thanks. >> i can't speak to that because i don't research that part of the world but the only thing i will say somewhat related to the question is if you are interested in polling on these issues and other parts of the world and how the view is vice versa, the form has been excellent on these issues and the geographic span of the polling is huge. what they found which i found to be fascinating is they do the
5:49 pm
pulling over time and ask the same questions becaus because yt to have consistency that what they found is that as the saudi's developed more of a presence in parts of africa before they had a presence in africa when they asked them what are your views, they didn't know what it was. but as they became more influential in some of the countries when they pulled later they got a much more negative response so that speaks to the perceptions on the ground of the state driven sectarian discour discourse. i can't speak to that because i don't research that part of the world.
5:50 pm
>> the secretary-general in his speech talked about nigeria. it would be very interesting to watch with a vocal hezbollah in the continent. >> [inaudible] first question he mentioned the conflict erected just recently.
5:51 pm
who is using who? how is that link? thank you >> yemen is a perfect example. they were not necessarily backed by iran but as time went on there was an opportunity to be
5:52 pm
involved on the willingness and this town in particular people have a tendency to view iran as this aggressor state that's going to invade this country or that the strategy is complicat complicated. iran wasn't involved in the uprising that some of the groups that developed as a result of the government are now accepting
5:53 pm
their plate or indirectly such answer the question, this is in the way they began in yemen is a perfect example of that. >> [inaudible] do you see any compromising points for the countries given
5:54 pm
that iran has been relatively stable [inaudible] do you see any compromising points for these missions? thanks. >> i'm a journalist and spend a decade reporting in the middle east recently steered. i would like to mention the plaintiff at the different characters and i've seen it first hand throughout the region
5:55 pm
but there's also the power of money and arms and that is coming from one interpretation or two saudi arabia and iran and those are the sources of the war and arguably the source of many conflicts throughout the region. what do you think the u.s. should do about this and is it reminiscent aligning itself back in the cold war and having it come back to bite us in the behind or is it more like the two sides fight each other out, who cares let's just be cynical as long as it doesn't spill over into the west.
5:56 pm
>> the one common denominator i don't think that they can influence either country in terms of what it does in the region and when the uprisings began and the saudi's have just gone into bahrain at the same time secretary of state hillary clinton was having small meetings with people who know something about the world in office and i was with a meeting with seven to ten people if we asked whaask what is the uniteds going to do and she said there's nothing we can do about the saudi's, next question. [laughter] so i think that is the case. i've never been in government and i have no idea what the united states should or should not do. but the leverage is limited. what does the united states have
5:57 pm
in iran in terms of preventing revolutionary guards i and the force from operating i just don't know what the leverage is. again this is a controversial statement about what they did throughout the nuclear negotiation is they were very strategic to make sure that the negotiations were on the about the nuclear issue and they made it clear that it wasn't going to be about iraq. it was confined to the nuclear issue and that was smart on their part. i was in some private meetings but i knew that would never happen because it isn't in their interest. so the way they try to convince some americans is if there was going to be a nuclear deal and all parties could agree on the
5:58 pm
conditions and terms of the agreement then there would be some sort of a negotiating process in which they would offer concessions but as we have seen, that hasn't happened. >> is there any opportunity between the saudi's and iran anytime soon? there would have to be interests by both sides and i don't know what they could be because they are both benefiting from the rivalry so what benefit is there in concessions? >> covering the war from here, we did here at the beginning from one defense official that there is a silver lining of al qaeda and hezbollah fighting in
5:59 pm
2013 i would like to find the same official again to see how the silver lining still is and we have one question over there. .. >> i need, my question is how
6:00 pm
far do you believe that the kurds, in spite of facing their own troubles fight against isis and the crisis and all that, they did that role in the right way, and what is the missing part of the kurds on their own? >> i don't really think i can speak in an informed way about the kurds but only thing i will say is that in iraq, basically the kurds have a defective state. that's pretty clear at this point. as a result of everything that is happened in iraq. i think the kurds, if you look at the iranian kurds the kurds have been victims everywhere. iran is a perfect place where
6:01 pm
the have been victims. it's been very difficult for the kurds in iran to fight for equal rights with the rest of the population. when mohammed was president the kurds had more power and they were empowered by his administration. they were were allowed to have their languages and schools. he appointed kurdish officials that headed kurdish majority areas of iran which had been quite taboo. i cannot really speak to what their deficiencies are if that is your question. i'm not qualified to do that. >> d.c. the kurds, they are sunnis themselves, then avoiding getting sucked into the sunni shia war? >> i think we have already seen that. the kurds, when i ran ran sort
6:02 pm
of came to the rescue of the kurds, when isis was at the doorstep, you already started this strange alliance, not alliance but that's putting too much of a point on it, but you already saw some sort of cooperation in the kurds were thankful thankful to the iranians that they came to their rescue. they asked what about sunni states. why didn't they come to our rescue. so that is where, as i said remember opportunity, the iranians offer opportunities and unlikely they sometimes accept them. >> thank you so much everyone. enjoy the rest of the day, and please enjoy the rest of the day after buying a copy of the book outside. it will make a great great read over the holiday. >> thank you for coming. club.
6:03 pm
[applause] >> here's a look at upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country. on january 15, book tv is in key west, florida for the annual key west literary seminar which features award-winning biographer robert carroll, journalist gail collins, and many more. and junior 20th and nine, we are in california for the writers festival. that is the fourth annual festival include senator barbara boxer, and pulitzer prize-winning author, lawrence wright among others. next month look for coverage of the savanna book festival in savannah, georgia. in march it is the ninth annual tucson festival of books from the campus of the university of arizona. for more information about the book fairs and festivals


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on