tv [untitled] September 16, 2011 11:31am-12:01pm EDT
dissipated south stream gas pipeline moves a step closer to reality as russia signs landmark agreements with top european energy giants the project is aimed at delivering russian gas directly to european consumers bypassing other transit countries. now the dangers of a dramatic escalation in the syrian conflict are up for discussion that's next year an arctic. wealthy british science says the time to rise for. the. markets weiner scandal. find out what's really happening to the global economy is a report on r.t. . continue.
to. follow and welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle series growing cycle of violence is this country to state of quasi civil war or about to start a civil war if this current regime falls from power what could replace it and how should the international community act. it. cross-talk syria's future i'm joined by mark levine in washington he's a senior fellow with the truman national security project and a talk radio host in cambridge we cross to george joffe he is a research fellow at king's college london and in detroit we go to me he is a journalist and political analyst all right folks crosstalk rules in effect that means that you can jump in anytime you want and i really encourage it but first let's see how the world has been reacting to events in syria. as protests in syria continue unabated up to three thousand people most of whom are civilians who are
already thought to have died in the government's crackdown despite this the international community has in effect ignored the bloodshed opting instead for sanctions and rhetorical orations i think that increasingly are saying president assad. lose legitimacy in the eyes of his people and that's why we've been working at an international level to make sure that. we keep the pressure up to see if we can bring some real change in syria but i like made us aerial campaign in libya syrian protesters have been largely left to fend for themselves and that despite syrian protesters calls on the international community to interfere the syrian people cool on the united nations to adopt a resolution to set up a permanent mission in syria and yet there has been no u.n. resolution of the sorts experts say one of the reasons for the lack of action is president bashar assad's military arsenal which far outweighs that of low market
dollface some politicians such as france's foreign minister have also pointed the finger at russia which opposed foreign intervention in libya and is likely to go to a un resolution of condemnation against the syrian government. objective is to a resolution security council condemning the use of violence against civilians and organizing a vision of sanctions it's a hard struggle we do not give up but most importantly the syrian question seems to be about the clash of competing interests over syria's diverse ethnic and religious makeup so far the struggle for reform in the embattled country has resembled the playing field for regional powers like saudi arabia turkey and iran with few in the west willing to provoke the latter. for across our team. ok first i'd like to start with george and cambridge the mainstream media is
looking at syria is just the slaughter of innocent civilians innocent protesters but a little bit deeper description would probably be this is an armed insurrection because we have members of the security forces and presumably the military that are taking casualties why is the you think it's being reported this simply is just. assad's government attacking protesters when they see some of these protesters obviously appear to be armed. well i think the short answer is that at the moment the majority of people demonstrating are unarmed ok and so you can argue that it's a peaceful demonstration but the problem is that you're quite right. amongst the demonstrators in some parts of the country the demonstrations have really been armed and there have been massacres and security forces as well so the problem is whether or not the demonstrations overall do become the. and should that occur then i think the outcome in syria is going to be very bloody indeed ok mark if i can go
to you would you would you call this a civil war that it's beginning it may be a civil war now and it's of war that could just continue to develop over time because it looks like the assad government regime is not going to give up very easily it's shown that well it's true the government represents a tiny minority the alawite population in syria and that extend that the majority sunni is one have a voice in their country it could become a civil war right now although it's a bunch of innocent pacifist people the vast majority of them have no arms who are trying to fight to have a voice and they're all i have to do is look at today's washington post it's a picture. this is a pacifist this is a young man not twenty five years old these to hand rose to the soldiers who were lowing down protesters trying to get them to stop him for she was just murdered tortured brutalized along with three thousand six hundred innocent people in syria right now it's just people fighting to have a voice in their country and being brutalized by their own government would be i mean in detroit how would you describe the events playing out in detroit in syria right now would you call it a civil war. an armed insurrection i think it is
a big it i believe it is the beginning of a civil war there are elements there that aren't the syrian government has pointed out that the opposition certain elements within the opposition have been armed by outside forces particularly the united states as well as israel they claim that they have a confession from a former general from syria who defected and he's going to be featured on syrian television are very soon to talk about the involvement of the united states and israel and this overall unrest that's been taking place in syria now for the last several months we have to keep in mind that syria is one of the countries that has been targeted for several years now by the u.s. and by other western powers for regime change and the people who are calling for the imposition of a no fly zone and for international intervention have to keep in mind that this is
not helped the situation at all in libya we just need to take libya as a playbook we've had the bombing of libya now for six months and the situation there the conditions are deplorable for the civilian population is divided the people of libya and we do not want to see the same situation develop in syria because it's going to be the united states and these western industrialized countries and the populations within these western industrialized countries that are going to be victimized by this war that they're planning to carry out against the syrian government came in values the same are going to see much settlement i see mark in washington and the solution you disagrees very much marco right ahead after this program. i hardly know where to begin the syrian people would be lucky to join the libyan people and to nation people in the egyptian people in freedom they would be lucky to get rid of the dictator who has already murdered three thousand six hundred innocent civilians his father killed tens of thousands in
hamas and. if the syrian government is on the up and up and frankly i don't know anyone who believes the syrian government not only the syrians not by the syrian government i don't know any nation in the world who takes serious word to syria the syrian government said if they are telling the truth then allow the media to syria allow the media into the squares allow the myriad media to see the troops and knowing down innocent people like pacifists people and our role is to soldiers if they don't allow the media in because they know they can massacre and torture and brutalize a lot more people if they don't allow the media in nobody believes the syrian government not even in fact the people the syrian government what do you think about that george i mean we heard earlier that the united states and other countries in israel was mentioned have an interest in seeing syria being disable you say unstable excuse me well i have to say i find confusion of truth and misunderstanding there quite extraordinary as far as i know it's certainly true that the united states has for many years now called for the syrian government to
be overthrown or modified and it's also true that has been some evidence that the american government has begun an officially to encourage armed insurrection inside syria but to suggest that israel would do so i do find strange not because i believe that israel is not capable of doing so but because actually it doesn't serve israel's interest to do so if indeed it gets rid of the syrian government it disturbs a stable situation inside the middle east which has been too expensive for a very long time and it's gone no guarantee that what will come instead would be more acceptable to it almost certainly will be less so you only have to look at the situation that's developed in egypt that's developing in jordan and is what's occurred in turkey to see that so i really don't think you can lump together the israeli government with the united states in that respect and then beyond that too the idea of an external intervention of the kind that occurred in libya doesn't seem to me to be in the remotest sense possible like the. all to being courage and
to suggest that in fact the intervention in libya was to the disadvantage of the libyan people when the gadhafi regime was if possible more brutal than that president assad seems to me to be quite simply ludicrous what do you think let's go back to detroit what do you think about that i mean if it doesn't seem to be in everyone's interest to see the assad regime fall apart as a matter of fact there's a lot of other issues involved we have iran we have saudi arabia we have has it's extremely complicated i mean it's assad is the devil you know in the region in a lot of people are quite satisfied with that. well the fact of the matter is is that there is an alliance between the syrian government the government in iran hezbollah the resistance movement in lebanon as well as hamas in palestine and these are the sworn enemies of the united states as well as the western industrialized countries along with israel israel operates as the forward operating
base of u.s. interests in the middle east you could not lump the developments in egypt and tunisia and what has happened in libya and syria for the simple fact that the governments in egypt and tunisia have long had long been supported by the united states and to a certain degree are supported by them today as well we have the egyptian special forces that operated with the m.t.c. in libya in order to topple the gadhafi government in libya also we have the situation in to meijer where the armed forces there assisted the n t c and nato forces in destabilizing libya and it does not serve the interests of the syrian people or any other people in the region to have a direct u.s. and western involvement in their countries the arab league has been attempting to mediate the situation inside of syria the secretary general of the arab league mr
not bill l.r.b. i was in damascus about five days ago and this is what needs to be encouraged it needs to be encouragement of dialogue but i talked to him and i'm going to jump in right here we need we short break and after that short break both will continue our discussion on syrian state parties. if you. like millions of americans have lost. thousands of dollars in retirement funds and i haven't had as bad as many it's not just about the fed it's about the need to. me ma'am brown got to say. sam.
sam. and accede. to thing. needed. now. since this is my film i get the last word this financial crisis will not be turned off like a light switch. well when one deals with wall for us to realize that this tremendous amounts of damage that are done not just human damage but damage to the physical environment in which the battlefield takes place tremendous amounts of damage done by aerial bombs by napalm . coming from the city whether it's a sonic boom say factory marine mammals or it's the burning oil fields here in iraq or destroyed reefs in the pacific for ramming purposes the list just goes on
and on the geneva conventions of nineteen forty nine states that they are shall be taken in the war to protect the involved against widespread long term and severe damage the united states although it is accepted almost all of the provisions protocol one has taken exception to that. and. welcome back to crosstalk i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're talking about the future of syria. ok mark i want to go back to you in washington so give me your opinion should there
be an intervention an armed intervention to overthrow this regime in damascus and if we should do that should it if we should it is a coffee out then should we do with bahrain as well go ahead. first of all i think that's a last resort i don't think we have tried all the sanctions i fact i think contrary to what i.b.m. he was saying united states and very slow to say anything about syria and the europeans have said something far before president obama finally said that president assad has to go frankly we were slow in libya as well the english and the french took the way it was until khadafi promised to find everyone in their closets and murder and massacre them that the united states finally came in to help their id in terms of an armed intervention that for the syrian people to decide this is their revolution again in today's washington post as they talk about the murder of this pacifist matar the person used to hand roses to the soldiers and hand them water and the people who firmly believe in nonviolence in fact he would chant peaceful peaceful as the soldiers were killing the civilians it's up to them to decide whether armed intervention is the right way to go unfortunately the more
pacifists are murdered the more the syrian regime will be likely to face armed intervention if the people of syria do take up arms intervention against the government then i think the west has to seriously consider whether to have a no fly zone much as they did in libya but we haven't reached that step first i want to see harsher sanctions i want to see harsher sanctions from the europeans they have gas deals with syria they don't expire until november let's expire them now it's put a lot of pressure on this regime to stop mass krantz on people george if i can go to you it seems like a pattern is starting now and if we look at libya as that pattern you start with a no fly zone then you have you know the resolution one nine hundred seventy three and then we see it by any definition by any standard that resolution was very much abuse and i don't care about the outcome at this point but let's look at the resolution in international institutions and international law do you perceive that the same thing could happen with syria. well first of all i agree with you the resolution one thousand nine hundred ninety three was the abused and nato in fact
activity is the vehicle by which western powers were able to demonstrate their distaste for the could deaf ear regime and remove it but there isn't patton but the patent quite an interesting one and let me just add first of all that i think it's most unlikely there be any intervention in syria because the syrian case is completely different and the ramifications of an intervention will be far more serious but the pattern that seems to me to be interesting is that we're doing intervention not one remove when all that cian gaging on the ground but we're doing instead issues in indirect mechanisms to achieve the ends that we want and indeed inside the arab world the arab press has noted this and there's been a lot of criticism of what occurred in libya and there be a lot more should to be applied to syria to have a much arab regimes and arab newspapers may dislike the assad regime if indeed we with repeat that process they regard this as the potential for the beginning of a new round of nato imperialism inside the region and to that extent therefore the
point you make is quite valid if i go back to detroit is this a pattern that we see that the we see with the arab spring we've all dictators being thrown out of all or supported by the united states and now this is just another western wave of neo colonialism just to put in people that ok the old ones are out there not popular find new ones to put in and use this this liberal interventionists playbook to get what they want. i think the u.s. as well as the nato countries are very concerned about the uprisings that started in december and to nisha and spread to egypt and other countries in january and february their intervention in libya was an attempt to stave off further revolutionary movements that may take on the anti and perilous and i advise zionists character and that is why they are now in libya trying to control the political direction of the country there that's why mr socko see and mr cameron it
was announced today that they were in tripoli and this is indicative of the fact that this so-called revolution in libya was nothing but an effort of regime change that was hatched in washington london and london and paris and they want to do the same process carry out the same process in syria as well as iran and why have they not intervening in bahrain and yemen where we've also had. these being committed by the regimes there because those regimes do the bidding of the united states they do the bidding of the british and the french and of course we have to keep all these factors in consideration when we try to analyze what is going on in the region we cannot say that what happened in egypt and into these earlier in the year is the same type of process that developed in libya and what is going on now in syria because those regimes have been target for decades for destabilization down by the united states and by other western industrialized countries so we have to keep all
of these variables in mind in libya they engaged in over twenty thousand sorties there was over seventy five hundred airstrikes against that country of six million people which have no air defense that was never in any substantial evidence that massacres had occurred inside of libya if they had been the evidence would have been shown to us over the various cable and satellite television stations are you out the well right if i get around here if i had just been given if i could jump in here mark again i see you just. go ahead i do i think i'm a young guy gives no credit to the people of the region it's as if they're pawns in some imperialist game let the people of libya like the people of syria like the people of iran like the people of tunisia like the people of egypt like the people of yemen in bahrain all of them want freedom all of them one avoids all the of tired of corrupt dictatorships who massacred their own people in the case of gadhafi he says there's no evidence he massacred his own people listen to the words of qaddafi himself when he said we will find you in your closets we will show no mercy this is a man who was threatening to massacre virtually everyone in benghazi and he says
it's all about a new imperialist design look whatever games the western powers or russia are playing we i'm happy to discuss with you but no one should doubt this is an indigenous movement of people who are seeking their own freedom this by the way makes a very different from the war in iraq which i was very much opposed to what united states imposed its will on the ground these are people who are asking for their own freedoms and the west has been very late to support their cause i'm glad we are the church if i can ask you i mean there is an element of hypocrisy here we've already heard it i mean why not yemen why not bahrain because these are just western allies or or or very friendly to western powers but syria isn't and i'd like to point out i mean it's a sure europe has more trade connections with syria but with united states talks about sanctions it ended any kind of trade relationship years ago so i mean what kind of leverage is there but george had this to stay with a double standard in the region of patent double standard isn't it. well you know
i'm afraid international relations is characterized by hypocrisy anyway states do what they can no or they might like to do or they may claim they would like to do so norms don't really apply practicalities do and in this case it was easy to intervene in libya it was easy because diplomatically nobody would object and it was easy too because it didn't have any direct ramifications on other countries that's simply not true in the case of syria and therefore it was late in the day that we began to hear condemnations of the assad regime and despite the huff and puff from washington we haven't yet heard anything to suggest there's going to be military intervention no european state has suggested that either nor will they they can't simply forward it or becoming engaged in it and the result is that the only mechanism is available sanctions against the regime which is quite frankly massacring its own people let me just add in libya the regime certainly did
massacres and population and there is evidence of it and it is known a series of mass graves have been uncovered particularly in tripoli the demonstrate that quite clearly so to that extent i think we need to be very careful of the way in which we evaluate the interactions and the reactions of the states in the developed world to these two different crises and then make another point to actually nobody really wants assad to go in iraq exactly and he will go exactly i think that's a very interesting point if i could ask mark here don't you we have to be careful what we wish for because what is going what could replace assad ok are we going to have ethnic strife we're going to have religious strife i mean it's it's you could never it's easy to start these things but it's very very rarely do you get the outcome that you hope for i think we've seen that over the last decade. well i agree with you peter anytime a dictatorship goes it's unclear what's going to happen next i think tunisia is likely to be the most successful egypt is already showing signs of even in libya
they're showing signs of some secular islamic battles back and forth i think that any time you have a dictatorship you're always going to have three parties you're going to have a dictator in place you're going to have the people who promote religious intolerance or ethnic hatred and you're going to have the liberal democrats and of course i'm on the side of liberal democrats i want to see them succeed you're absolutely right there's no guarantee of success but as far as i'm concerned assad may be the devil you know but he is a devil and he's an awful devil and i think that we're better off without him come what may although i must admit i don't know what will come i just know that assad is a terrible horrible leader of syria and you know me if i go back even to try what do you think we could come after this regime if it falls so i think the there are so many different opinions out there it could probably stand for a very long time. while we don't know what would come after but we do know in regard to diplomatic opposition to the u.s. and nato bombing of libya the african union fifty three to fifty four member of the
organization opposed the intervention in libya from march to term when they issued the initial communique by the peace and security council this was totally disregarded by the united states and by the nato countries as well as the empty seat which is supported by the united states and the nato countries so to say that there was no diplomatic opposition to the war against libya is just purely false and it's very well euro centric heinous approach and in regard to the attacks on civilians in libya nobody is talking about the attacks against black libyans against africans from other parts of the continent who have been rounded up who have been imprisoned who have been beaten and tortured who have been lynched by these in t.c. rebels who are backed up by the united states and nato where is the outrage about the cable and satellite television networks and. the so call international humanitarian organizations in regard to the treatment or i'd like to jump in on the gentlemen here and give us insight i think to give george
a last what do you think the regional deal with this this problem in syria itself without having to have to have western powers in intervene western powers are not going to intervene it's as simple as that and at the moment they have said regime will prevail whether we like it or not simply because the majority population is in damascus and aleppo still supported because of their own economic interests and because of their fears of instability if they don't so until that changes there's going to be no change in syria not in the short term in the long term that's another matter so we really conduct forward to any question of intervention and i'm not certain we can look forward to regime change either all right general see how the story unfolds many thanks to my guest today in washington cambridge and in detroit and thanks to our viewers for watching us here are see you next time and remember cross talk rules.
tonight r t the un appears powerless to prevent the threat of violence because border with breakaway cost of the self declared republic customs controls despite local serbs protesting against the move we've got the very latest for you coming up . also in the wake of the british and french leaders visit to libya and a show of support for the new authority we look at how the u.k. still invites for oppressive regimes on a shopping spree for military hardware. plus the much anticipated south street gas pipeline moves a step closer to reality as russia signs landmark agreements with top european energy giant. russia's norwegian soil artie's close series takes you to what used to be the western most soviet settlement of the embodiment of the communist greed on the spitzbergen archipelago up.