tv [untitled] June 14, 2012 10:32pm-11:02pm EDT
a lonely and welcome across town peter lavelle violence in syria is now officially called a civil war this is probably cold comfort for the syrian people as western powers decide the fate of this war torn country what remains to be seen is whether the syrian civil war one call for the entire region. to. cross-talk serious serious situation i'm joined by brian becker in washington is the national coordinator of the answer coalition in norman we have joshua landis he's director of the center of middle east studies and associate professor of middle eastern studies at the university of oklahoma and in istanbul we cross the. he's general manager of the news agency all right cross talk rules in effect
gentlemen that means you can jump in anytime you want brian back in washington it's called the civil war now now this war will end with winners and losers who will be well let's start peter by making clear that the united states government the western powers england france the former colonizers of the middle east have actually promoted civil war they promoted civil war because their go in the case of syria as it was in libya as it was in iraq is to overthrow the existing independent government now is syria unlike libya and unlike iraq has a different set of political and social contours clearly the syrian government has amassed popular base the opposition also has a base of mass proportions in the case of syria they are being assisted internationally by russia and by china in the case of the opposition they're being supported by the united states britain france and the client regimes the gulf states audio. arabia qatar turkey and so you see civil war but it civil war with
international dimensions and the international situation will of course have a direct impact on the outcome i believe that there is going to be protracted conflict i think the syrian government is fighting to the finish and their allies russia in this case recognize that if they were to be overthrown the united states would create in syria a proxy client regime as they have in iraq and as they have in libya ok if i go to you and i ask the question who would be the winners and losers when considering what we just heard here only the syrian people lose. i guess the loser of the syrian people and this is very upset because there are international dimensions of the crisis but all of the more than more than ten thousand people killed so this is you know of to see that's true ation is the ning.
but in my view the civil war all of this started unfortunately and people are dying . for four or four months and then i look from the from from a regional perspective i am afraid that implored internally explode because there are countries rated the syrian crisis in the first remember. lebanon which is already had experienced a really terrible civil war which can repeat again because sectarian well it looks like it looks i'm going to fire for the entire region joshua if i can go to you it seems to me that it's very simplistic in western media if assad goes it's all over without overt a civil war that will end the civil war just because assad leaves and i don't think he will go ahead no it won't no it's not going to end the civil war what we're seeing. as is he is
a sectarian civil war that twelve percent alawite it's at the top of syrian society the sixty five percent arab sunni at the bottom they're not the bottom they're wealthy but they haven't had power and they're going to overthrow this alawite regime i believe and we've seen the same thing happen when the colonial powers france and britain left the region in the second world war they left minorities in charge in all the eleven thousand states and what's happened in the post colonial era is that the minorities have been thrown out of power the maronites in lebanon the sunnis in iraq the the jews in palestine of course have been able to become a majority and they've solved their problem by by becoming the majority in gathering jews from around the world and of course pushing out muslim palestinians but the alawite so the last minority that rules and that's the heritage of the french colonial period the sunni muslims are going to overthrow them i believe in
what's going to be a protracted war because it's becoming a proxy war as your your guests have have mentioned and so it's going to be a long struggle and i'm joshua thank you for that we have history here liz very important let's take a look at some of the recent events in syria. am syria has descended into civil war and all means including force should be used under international supervision to help restore peace this is the take on the situation in syria voiced recently by friends french foreign minister for abuse said he would propose that the un security council vote on a resolution giving u.n. members a mandate to intervene in syria possibly as part of a military operation william hague disagreed with his french counterpart claiming britain should not intervene in syria as the situation there is far from critical clearly we're not we're not looking for any foreign military intervention and. i think we should not think about this in terms of. another libya at odds with pigs
believe that the world will not see the libyan scenario in syria u.n. observers were physically heard in the country they were attacked with stones metal rods and gunfire that block them from the rebel held town and raised civilians with the feared trapped by the traveling syria became infamous when it was inducted in the un's list of shame countries named for their physical and sexual abuse of children in allentown plates we're not taking sides in this conflict the only side we're on is the side of the syrian people women men and children who are suffering in syria. by blaming we're not saving lives so let's stop this game please because it ain't a game and number of worldly days claimed syria isn't if we're. really serious foreign minister however said the civil war was an unrealistic description of the conflict but what there it's labeled the civil war or not it is hard to deny
terrorism and revenge killing kidnappings and ransom mornings and attacks from state institutions as well as destruction if you can private property in the country and then you deny for cross-talk moscow. and i to go back to istanbul i mean one of the interesting things is the libyan scenario never was a point it was supposed to happen for libya and now people are talking about it in terms of syria there's no such thing as intervention lite i mean we hear people talk about intervention a lot of voices in turkey i mean if there's an intervention it's going to be fall out like we saw in libya which libya wasn't supposed to happen in the first place as i pointed out. in my view there is. entering. bloodshed and turkey of course doesn't like to roll unilaterally but what is lacking. is this is
turkey involved arming the opposition in syria today. turkey turkey doesn't take off usually but there are people all civilians and some soldiers or militias coming and going out from the warders but turkey doesn't accept that they're arming militias but i mean it is it is very difficult to find a settlement because there is. a difference of opinion within syria and in terms of people and the international community so this is this is the sad aspect of the syrian crisis in libya at least there was a consensus to help people being massacred there but since there are some falls on this constance's especially the russian government where there is a lot of money in it if i could go to brian there's a lot of consensus in the west ok about ending the regime in damascus is calling
for regime change really escalating the violence. well that's really what's behind the violence i mean the preponderance of fours was with the syrian government if it hadn't been for the outside interference the arming of the opposition the motion of civil war by the united states britain france and their clients in the region this would not have evolved at this point it was it inevitable that there would be a sectarian conflict as joshua seems to seems to ponder there i think the united states and britain and france are honoring change path they recognize the vulnerabilities in different societies if they're if they're divided based on religion or ethno sectarian divide those divisions are then utilised in order to break up the country we see in the case of in the case of iraq that's precisely what what the united states the united states did that in the case of yugoslavia it was an inevitable that you would break apart it was picked apart by foreign powers
that had their own agenda in the case of syria the united states britain and france are in the are in the quest that we colonize you know of a different kind of colonization but of colonization nonetheless of the entire or oil rich geo strategically important region the period the people of syria are are sort of pawns in somebody else's geo strategic chessboard and that's why this civil war is happening ok josh is this a new colonial project i mean to echo what we just heard. well if we want to look at the geostrategic dimension at the end of the second world war the united states. understood that it had defeated hitler by denying him oil and his panzers and his air force came to a stop and that oil was going to come out of the persian gulf for the united states in preparing for the third world war wanted to make sure that it had sewed up the persian gulf now iran is trying to push america out of the first gulf syria is
iran's ally russia china have important interests with iran and syria they see syria not so much as important in and of itself but as a marker it's a canary in the mine shaft if syria falls in the world the west is going to turn on iran and they want regime change in iran even more than they wanted in syria and in many western analysts of course are asking for regime change in syria so that they can carry out regime change in iran it will weaken iran that's them i mean just not sorry but it was only a few weeks ago is nearly two weeks ago or a few months ago everyone is talking about the democratic forces of syria what happened to that. well the united states wants to you this sunday revolts and the arab spring in order to change the regime in syria because it will help the united states it will bring inferior could bring syria out all right now i mean russia are going to go to a short break and after the show i continue our discussion on syrian state.
echoing something that you know i think is kind of interesting that it's missing from the discourse is that we all these democratic forces in syria are rising up against a great tyrant but i that whole thing has dropped out of the media why. well i think it hasn't completely dropped out in the western media but we have to understand the function of characterizing the struggle as a struggle between democratic forces and an autocratic government it's part of the script of demonization of those governments that are targeted for destruction by western powers and so the demonization propaganda machine was in full swing so in every case when the united states or britain or france the former colonizers of the middle east decide to intervene to overthrow a government they assigned their mission a noble cause to defend democracy to defend freedom to protect civilians they never say we're coming in to brutally exploit and dominate and take your land labor and resources and use you as a bargaining chip in a global struggle against others they never say it like that because nobody would
support that ok. now i would not accept that because yes there are international players having the role and special interests in the region but never forget that twenty countries are out of twenty two from other arab league said that it would be good for the regime change for the people of syria because this did not stop the american french or russian plans to change the regime but it's time to. people who are protesting so what would happen if that happens in any part of countries so for instance when i look at. when we. could look at the way you look at brain that's a good example. you know there is the intervention of sea ice time intervention anybody say that the and how can anybody say that the government of the united states actually cares about the lives of arab people they killed hundreds of
thousands in iraq they just bombed led me into smithereens they're intervening in syria the whole idea that they are not of states care about the lives of arabs is just nonsense or about democracy they support saudi saudi dictatorship ok yes how can you be heard even if you are in saudi arabia. you should also you should not going to forget that the operations. and then you had to prove so this is very important this is this has. been leave that's a figure of three and there is a larger question ok josh you want to jump in there the interesting thing is your question the interesting thing is that it once the no fly zone resolution was passed by the united nations when we come came to libya that's where the real death and destruction started go ahead josh. yeah no there is there is no doubt that
there was a structural problem here and that is that this the syrian regime has been very brutal in order to maintain itself and powered skep the police state now you can argue whether a police state is the right state in a country that isn't very it doesn't have strong national cohesion but it has been brutal and the syrian people have been revolting against it because it's failed economically they're very poor they're unemployed and it is brutal so we can't deny that the question is that in this regime change america and other countries begin to forget about the humanitarian issue and sanctions are very destructive tool and you begin to get this proxy war which then turns it into a grinding civil war and that's the danger the danger is that this process gets locked into a civil war that will hurt the syrians and russians do they say look at america hasn't brought democracy to afghanistan to iraq to any news places it's brought chaos and islamic fanaticism and so russia take some comfort i think in countering
the democracy argument by saying this isn't democracy this is chaos and there is an element of truth to that because the taliban came to power after america it waged a bloody proxy war in afghanistan and empowered the islamic fundamentalists and we're in this mess today because of a situation very much like what's happening in syria today and that's the danger is that we end up with an afghanistan type scenario in syria because of this proxy war and each side funding. one side in this is going to sway me go back to istanbul here what's going to happen to these minorities ok and you know because if we do have this outcome with the regime falls the minorities that are protected by that and they support the regime here they just going to you know move out and you know find a home somewhere else i mean what you know what i'm getting at here what i'm getting at here this is really we could see ethnic cleansing. this is a really big challenge for for the international community and therefore the
opposition in syria opposition yet is not able to convince people especially from the minorities from the elo ice or from the christians that they could guarantee their freedoms and their marketing crimes so this is one of the basic principles of the regime's existing existence or vegeta missy but there is also another concern that in most near in in the early ninety's because of the international interaction and international differences we lost more than two hundred pounds and people in was mia so i mean yes it is really difficult to shelve the crisis but what is the alternative. so this is a good thing i think this is brian interested more should go ahead go ahead jump in i think i think the example of yugoslavia by your guest in turkey is turned upside down yugoslavia was a multinational country that lived in relative peace between the nationalities for
a long time until the soviet union collapsed and then western powers no one is seen knowing that it was vulnerable because it was multinational started arming and financing different groups based on nationality and created the conditions for civil war in bosnia and then at the end nato went in and dropped twenty three thousand bombs and missiles on serbia for for three months until they could break away kosovo and we colonized that is that something good is that something is that the kind of action that we want for syria of course not of course what happens in syria i'm not defending every element of the assad government far from it what our government functions internally matters a great deal to the people in the country and there could be lots of legitimate grievances which there are i'm talking about what the western powers have in their up their sleeve in terms of their agenda and why they're promoting civil war that's right josh if i go to you and i think prime brains that's really very poignantly
brings up a very good point what's next ok because it seems to me that the west will change this regime forcibly ok they're really good they have a habit of doing it but they never seem to figure out what to do after they've done it are you any better this time. it's very difficult you know i see it quite differently than brian in a sense that yugoslavia turn into a mass not because the west forced it to become a mass but because tito had kept a tight lid on a multi-ethnic mess and when it came off the place exploded and we're seeing something similar throughout the eleventh when the ottoman empire was destroyed. creating nation states with one ethnicity inside is very difficult and turkey is a prime example turkey turkey anatolia ethnically cleansed it's christians there were about sixty of all of anatoly was christian turkey in some ways is able to devolve towards democracy today because of that ethnic cleansing that's the danger the jewish state israel jews from out throughout the middle east were ethnically
cleansed and they beat up the palestinians in order to grab a hunk of territory so they've been successful but it's been a great price now syria in some ways is still a no is arc it's got to have everything it's this multi-ethnic multi confessional society that hasn't figured out how to get along so the dangers of real revenge possible ethnic cleansing are there and you can't divide it like yugoslavia into separate states an alawite state a druze state a kurdish state an arab state it's too small it's too mixed up so this is where the challenge for the international community comes is how to save lives and not to allow that kind of revenge killing to take if i go back to assemble i mean no longer go ahead brian but i was going i was going to say the longer this civil war goes on the one likely there's going to be jeffersonian democrats running around later the international community concept. is a myth you have different you have regional interests in the case of turkey they have their own regional ambitions in the case of saudi arabia got tired kuwait
they're functioning basically as clients and proxies of western powers and the western powers and especially the united states which sometimes uses nato and sometimes acts unilaterally have a grander design for the middle east and that's. what's going on if you if we can't separate the internal and domestic and legitimate struggles of people against democratic governments and exempt from the global picture where western powers the most powerful militaries in the world are intervening to break up or overthrow governments or partition countries then we just don't see the big picture ok if i go back to istanbul i mean what is the endgame here because you know we've heard on this program already if we go to afghanistan iraq we have libya i mean all are just in tatters right now ok is can we expect the same thing for syria all in the name of democracy or these other lofty ideas. yeah i wish i could say to the game. very depressing situation but.
my friends that western involvement in this region is not is not helpful i mean looking to be looking to. other cases but i ask them what is the what is alternative the alternative is dictatorship are the people in this syria in another country is this the need to be ruled by the regimes. or if i could ask all of my guests here i mean why should the west be few ating one side arming one side i mean there is the west by choosing a side is perpetuating a civil war josh if i go to you you have the last word of the program go ahead. well this is a big challenge for syrians not to allow the outside powers to dictate what happens they have to take control and the opposition in syria is very fragmented their big
challenge right now is to become unified and to make their interests dominant otherwise this will just go on for a very long time and it will end up in destroying syria as some neighboring countries have been destroyed so this is really up to the syrians to become unified which is a very hard task ahead very hard task and thank you very much gentlemen for being on the program many thanks indeed to my guests in washington norman and in istanbul and thanks to our viewers for watching us here see you next time and remember. if you. want to. see british science. it's not time to. market weiner scandal. find out what's really happening to the global
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