tv [untitled] February 9, 2012 8:30am-9:00am EST
it's getting really dramatic national media reports thousands dead. and the temperature is rising as the international community can find a compromise on how to deal with damascus after russia and china vetoed the un resolution on syria russia's foreign minister went to damascus to talk to the syrian leader shortly after having a shot. to negotiate now they say the russian mediation may be the last chance to settle the diplomatic so is it really possible to bring back peace and stability to syria and avoid a large scale military conflict. middle east report contributing to that by. the u.n. security council has debated two rival resolutions on syria the one vetoed by russia and china was proposed by the arab league the western powers. the syrian president to step down proposes something canonic sanctions including an arms
embargo the russian version of visions ending the violence through. only the west has. succeeded. both. position agreed to get around the table. when mr rabbani walked into the show thank you so much for coming for being with us and my first question is about the mehdi. become a media to the talks between the syrian opposition namely the syrian national council and the president do you think this can be considered good as a step towards a peaceful solution of the conflict were. like the military solution well i certainly hope it will succeed because as you indicated yourself this. they
will be one of the very final opportunities to prevent an even bigger catastrophe and in syria i think there are basically two questions one is the question of transition and the other one is what happens after that transition the basic problem in syria is that you have a. regime that is on prepared to negotiate about substantive issues. but which retain sufficient popular support and firepower to hang on for a very long time conceivably or at least to make. any transition very bloody and try to straw ficken you have an opposition that has basically put its eggs in the foreign basket and sought to get foreign powers to effect regime change on its behalf i think the russian and chinese veto in the united nations averted a scenario in which regime change in syria would be produced by external forces and
i. after coming back from damascus the russian foreign minister a lot of learns that bash our last hour has agreed on a referendum on a new constitution what does it mean anything does it mean that that syria is that is now headed in that. i mean for new times for more democratic no no i think you know a referendum on a constitution or missed. a promised one at that at this stage i think is much too little much too late i think what is needed is genuine and serious dialogue about a negotiated transition i think the opposition has to accept to negotiate with the government but at the same time i think the syrian regime has to be compelled to negotiate about substantive issues and i very much hope that one outcome of the russian mission to damascus was to play. swayed. that it is now
time for real negotiations about about real issues well this is another thing that allegedly said to the russian media there is that he is ready for dialogue but what is syrian opposition one of those people with whom he should he should start a dialogue i mean i mean if we talk about if you talk about the s.n.c. their leadership is abroad then there are a couple of opposition groups inside the country sell some multi multi faced sort of the opposite number so so so is there anybody there to talk to because for me i would next put in their will but it looks to diverse and to to do numerous i mean it is it is a divided and diverse and even fragmented opposition but nevertheless i think if. there are clear signals that damascus is prepared to negotiate not just negotiate
for the sake of negotiations but negotiate in the context of a of a genuine and fundamental transformation of the syrian political system i think first of all you already have some forces in the syrian opposition that from the very beginning have rejected the prospect of foreign intervention and have stated that they would be prepared to negotiate with the regime if the regime demonstrated that it is serious and at the same time i think once you were to get this context you will find that the syrian opposition will have to unify around the surge and in order to hear do you think it's impossible of for somebody as far right for the arabs as the version of the chinese to many in such a situation where when where when such diverse opposition is facing if you feel i think it is i mean the problem with. the syrian situation is
that there are very few potentially credible mediators left you have the western powers that have basically abandoned the prospect of a negotiated transition because they have chosen i think quite clearly for regime change by armed force if necessary the armed force of the syrian the i'm sorry for interrupting but they have abandoned because the west considers the being impossible you think this still possible not only do i think it is still possible i think it is i mean it may it may well fill the problem is that if we don't try it's going to become a much more catastrophic situation than it already is and let's recognize the current situation is already genuinely catastrophic the problem again is that you have. an opposition that appears broadly based enough and resilient enough to continue the soft rising for a very long time to come while you also have
a regime that has sufficient popular support and firepower to remain in power for a very long time in other words unless there is a negotiated solution this conflict could go on for a very long time and i think the method of the transition will also play an important role in determining what comes after the transition in other words. will the eventual overthrow of regime produce an even more violent domestic and potentially regional conflict or will it lead to constitutional changes of a more peaceful character while the purse here in moscow carman to the russian the marsh in the new security council as as a diplomatic victory as as as a as a wise move but the u.s. secretary of state called the veto on the resolution in syria a travesty why do you think why do you think she said well i have to say it's.
exceptionally ironic to hear no less. the american top diplomat announcing a veto at the security council as you know the u.s. has developed some something of a specialisation with in blocking security council resolutions that seek to to promote human rights in the middle east specifically palestinian human rights so i mean i take this with a very enormous grain of salt and i think that basically american position is that you know vetoes in the security council are only intended to support israel or not for any other purpose ok well one of the republican presidential hopefuls in america seventy two newt gingrich hughes's the amateur and said read through in this public speeches he says the u.s. could secretly ship weapons to the syrian opposition or build a coalition to get rid of unless it what do you take of that i think it's quite
likely that that in fact is a policy that is a ready being formulated and perhaps so that this isn't a republican policy you know it's already being beamed and not only by their states there is also been reports that with the support or at least the blessing of saudi arabia is already seeking to arm. arm syrian opposition in turkey i think with the defeat of the security council and also you know a sort of loss of appetite in the united states and the west more generally for another large scale or mode we've talked about the the the fractured in the multi faced opposition in syria to whom are they going to ship ship their weapon to do everyone well you know as gingrich put it it would consist of two parts one is covertly arming the opposition and another one of trying to get this armed opposition more unified so i mean they can already. find people to arm now with if
they can succeed and unifying these forces in making them a more coherent fighting force i think it's quite likely they will go for it particularly because there doesn't seem to be much appetite in the west for the kind of large scale military intervention we've seen for example in iraq or more recently in libya well what will you spend lots of time in many in europe do you have the feeling that that the west is getting ready to really run the libyan scenario no i don't mind my the indications i've seen as is that there's very little appetite for this and you know if you compare a syria to libya. gadhafi was isolated he had enemies everywhere and very few friends and certainly no alliances and in the past few years he was more or less becoming once again an ally of the west the syrian situation is quite different and the syrian regime has
a mutual defense pact for example with iran and and with. russia for example seems invested at least for the time being in the survival of the syrian regime so there are all kinds of regional and international complications in syria that simply did not exist in libya plus that libya turned out to be a lot more difficult than it was anticipated at the outset says moving the rabbi in the middle east toward contributing at spotlight will be that should lead to a break so stay with them to. play player. wealthy british style something that's not on the president's right.
a reminder that today we're talking to movie and i by any middle east group we're contributing editor would talk with the situation in syria and around syria well if i said finally quits. which as a possibility of course who do you think will pick up the pound the s.n.c. is most likely to become the the the ruling party in the country it would you say well first i don't think he will voluntarily quit and second of all it depends very much on how he eventually relinquished his power and you know some people have spoken of the prospect for example of a military coup perhaps coming from within and let's say the alawite security elite who will feel that if they can move him aside it will be much easier to negotiate a transition that preserves their core interests there is a possibility of at some point you know a sudden popular uprising. and key cities such as damascus and aleppo which we
haven't really seen yet there is a possibility of prolonged conflict and civil war and ultimately what i think would be most beneficial to syria although looking increasingly unlikely is a negotiated transition away from this you know dictatorial one party rule and i think you know we have to admit this this this is not only a dictatorial regime but has behaved with exceptional ruthlessness pitiless in fact against it against its own people and at least in my view has lost any claim to legitimacy that it made previously people in the west the politicians know the political class do you think they really prefer the rise of islamist. that's caused by the arab spring well neither this is not just to a person regimes like us it's pretty well that the answer has generally been no if you look at the at the choices that they've made they prefer
a stable autocratic you know security oriented regime such as we've seen in the buttocks egypt they're not used in egypt and so on i think what we're going wrong while what went wrong is rice is what went wrong from the west point of view was the people in the arab world basically said enough is enough and they rose up and overthrew their leaders and i think these things happened without any planning by the west against the will of the west but you know politics sometimes work that way that many people stake their destiny into their own hands against the wishes and interests of foreign powers that have been propping up vile dictators the special mission of the arab league can trees in syria how would you evaluate their work. well it's interesting that the report hasn't been published it has been leaked and it seems to be much more balanced. the reports about the report
we've been seeing in the process i would say that i think the arab league has increasingly become an instrument of several key arab states particularly the g.c.c. states and cannot unfortunately be seen to be a neutral party in the syrian crisis so so so. when the arab league monitors in syria there were only ten as you put it they report so european qatar withdrew their representatives it isn't for the reason i just mentioned law i think if you look at arab states like saudi arabia and qatar i think from their point of view the arab league initiative and the sending of monitors and so on was never really about resolving the crisis i think it was about laying the groundwork for international intervention or at least the internationalization of the syrian crisis that came to an end with the russian and chinese veto of the united nations
security council is for this reason that as we were talking earlier i think it's increasingly likely that they will now start to look at ways of for example sending arms to the syrian army. impression in general is like a period like twenty three days this is the nerve to evaluate the situation twenty three days since the army i mean well again i think unfortunately the arab league mission was never or at least for some key players it was never about the objectives that were stated what about this so called the un moroccan real solutions real let me say it leaves way gives way to normal dimension do you agree well i mean i think when you have a u.n. security council resolution that basically calls on the head of state to relinquish power and it's clear that number one the side of state is not only not going to relinquish power but retains sufficient. armed force and support to stay in power
for a very long time and at the same time that the opposition doesn't at least have the wherewithal to eject him from power it's certainly the groundwork for heightened conflict and in that context it could eventually lead to covert or perhaps even more overt forms of armed intervention i have to say i think it's a very good thing first and foremost for syria that the scenario has been prevented well you know for the second time in this program you say you sound like an optimist to say that the military is being prevented at least for now but we can remember that some thirteen years ago there was a chinese russian veto yugoslavia but the western countries disregarded it and so bombed you strongly so work on this happening you know well again it could happen again it could eventually happen again i think in the short term the more likely scenario will be covert support to the. two armed opposition elements i also have
to say that i very much hope that one of the well let me take a step back and say that the problem here is that there are very few potentially credible mediators left certainly not the arab gulf states certainly increasingly less turkey given its growing hostility with syria russia is one power i think that can bring sufficient weight to bear on damascus to persuade if not the syrian president then at least the syrian politically about the urgent need for a genuine political transformation that could prevent some of these catastrophic scenarios that you've been suggesting believe me being here you know in moscow you probably have heard the opinions of russian russian experts and politicians that the intervention in syria would totally miss balance the whole region that this is some actually think that that intervention. and syria will be the first step to
further attack iran is that true and what makes people think well first of all i would say that foreign intervention in syria or indeed anywhere on less there are truly exceptional circumstances bordering on the unique is something that should be rejected and the pose is a matter of principle i think that this is a specific situation in syria there are all kinds of additional reasons to reject and oppose any attempt at foreign military intervention in syria regarding your question about iran. i think those who have iran in their in their sights certainly would see. regime change or you know the destruction of the syrian state or whatever as as a good preamble to an attack on iran but i'm but i think it may be exaggerating a bit to suggest that iran is motivating current western policy towards toward
syria i think it's taking place more on its own terms with the potential fallout so so so you don't see a direct connection all i think i mean i think there is a connection in the sense that you know the same region i mean well iran has has has very few allies in the arab world and syria one of them is syria for all intents and purposes the only one would be partial exception of iraq and lebanon and clearly removing syria from this equation would be seen as a important and substantial benefit by by many western powers but to suggest that that is what's motivating western policy on syria i think will be probably going a bit too far and leon panetta head of the pentagon said recently that he is expecting israel to attack iran sometime between april and june and how should the state be taking this won't again all week or as a threat again it's very. difficult. to to read the coffee grinds of the tea leaves
if you will my sense of it and again this is speculation on my part is is that the u.s. at this point has no intention of attacking iran and it is genuinely concerned about an israeli attack on iran precisely because the americans seem to have come to the conclusion that the purpose of an israeli attack on iran will not be to attempt to destroy the iranian nuclear program but rather to provoke an iranian american conflict armed conflict in other words if israel attacks iran it will be impossible for america not to become involved in this the seems to be a growing concern in washington particularly during an election year and perhaps one element of such statements is to try to forestall such a scenario where why is america concentrating on its naval power for the year a new coast to to do the peacekeeper work moment or event
a conflict well i'm not suggesting that the americans. don't have their own conflict with iran but i think. in terms of your specific question about an armed attack taking place this spring there i don't think the american who don't know you may be right because because the radiance don't seem to be more worried about about this this naval activity of this year are they i mean. they react to other calmly to that well i think what you've seen in iran recently is is that they're getting increasingly concerned about the expansion of sanctions you recently had american sanctions on the iranian central bank you have the europeans adopting a resolution to stop the imports of iranian oil and so on and so you are now in a situation where in fact you do have all these heightened tensions and a growing possibility of perhaps inadvertent move by one side or the other lead. to
taunt conflict the recent the recent attack wounded russia in damascus how do you think it is connected with the whole situation russia is trying to play well again i think there are clearly. there are forces in syria that see the russian veto and the un and perhaps russian policy more generalists generally is somehow a betrayal of the syrian people but i think there are also others who view the russian role as having prevented the type of internationalization of the syrian crisis and foreign military intervention that they would dearly like to see thank you thank you very much for being with us and just a reminder that my guest today was maureen dowd middle east report contributor and that's it for now from paula spotlight will be back with more first hand comment on what's going on in and outside russia unfold then stay on our team to take a. look
syria's forces bombed the city of homs with reports of dozens more casualties but with the conflicting number of deaths coming from the country it's almost impossible to get a true picture of current events. as the e.u. plans to bring iran to its knees with an approaching all embargo there are fears that the movement could backfire and hit a european countries the hardest. plus u.s. drone attacks rained down on pakistan with hundreds of civilian deaths in collateral damage this as the country's foreign minister tells us here at r.t. that such measures are counterproductive to the war on terror.
worldwide news twenty four seven this is r.t. live from moscow with me rule research showing the u.n. says it plans to team up with the arab league and restart a monitoring mission in conflict torn syria president assad's forces say they are conducting anti terror operations for the meantime shelling several including the flashpoint city of homs but activists are accusing the government of a massacre saying hundreds of civilians are being killed over the past week something that is still hard to verify and with conflicting opposition reports of casualties there are those who believe the figures are being manipulated to push a regime change agenda. bennett reports. the syrian observatory for human rights syrian observatory for human rights the syrian observatory for human rights it's one of the most widely quoted sources of syrian casualty figures but it's not always telling the truth. the syrian observatory for human rights is left.