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tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  September 14, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT

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do keep it here. the united states orders air tricks to hit so-called islamic state fighters in iraq and syria. military attacks is half the battle. i look at how they fund themselves and what can be done to bankrupt it. and a small but wealth country of qatar has been an influential and controversial player in the region how to stop u.s. companies leaving america to lower tax bills. sheila bear has a simply solution - eliminate all corporate taxes. i'm ali velshi, and this is
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"real money". this is "real money," you are the most important part of the show. tell me what is on your mind: america's focus is on the middle east and what the united states and its allies will do to stop so-called islamic state insurgents wreaking havoc in iraq and syria. part of the answer will rely on cutting off the group's financing. in all the violence sweeping the region, one of the biggest weapons is money. some of the funds are provided to groups fighting on the ground by governments in the region. saudi arabia, turkey and qatar have been accused of funding terrorism. al jazeera's terror company is based in qatar, and is funded in part by the government. over the next few weeks we'll children how governments -- whel
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examine how governments in the region funnel funding to groups in the middle east. tonight we focus on qatar. at first clans, qatar hardly seems a place that would be a big player. it's a small country, population 2 million. a quarter are civilians. they export more than $100 billion of oil and gas every year. when measured in terms of gdp that translates into 85,000 per person, 60% higher than in the united states. all that money executives this small country a disproportionate presence on the global stage, and analysts say qatar maintains good relationships with opposing sides in the region's myriad conflict. >> the goal has been for the countries to use their vast wealth to by influence around the region and demonstrate significant policy independence from their neighbours, notably
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saudi arabia, but also the united arab emirates, both with different views of the regions. the qataris sought to place themselves in a broader populist position in the region. >> unlike it's neighbours, especially saudi arabia, qatar was and continues to be a supporter of the arab spring uprising sweeping dictators from power. they doll out cash to governments, political factions and armed insurgents. it played the role of peacemaker and arms supplier, making it hard to define ultimate goals. for example, it hosts the largest u.s. air base in the middle east, along with the forward headquarters of the u.s. central command, responsible for military operations in afghanistan. at the same time, qatar hosts ex-island leaders of the afghan
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taliban. in syria, qatar aims to unseat the regime of bashar al-assad. it's a goal that the united states endorses, but qatar's methods drew intense criticism. that is because it directed support not just to groups opposed politically to the regime, but critics say to armed islamic extremists. >> it is clearly that qatar supported some of the more hard line groups. >> the u.s. treasury accused qatar of hosting terrorist financiers. last year treasury identified two private individuals it accused of funnelling money from qatar to al-qaeda affiliates in syria. white the treasury didn't say the two ever acted on behalf of the qatari government, it criticized qatar's:. >> qatar denies supporting terrorists, but it works with other nations, including the united states, britain, germany
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and france, along with six countries in the region, to provide support to syria's armed opposition. >> there are those that are quick to point out that qatar supports all kinds of groups, and oven kinds those who are critical of the qatari positions have competing foreign policy agenda. >> qatar's policies clashed with larger neighbours saudi arabia. the biggest dispute between the two is qatar's support for the muslim brotherhood in egypt. in 2013 qatar gave mohamed mursi's government $8 billion in aid before he was forcibly removed from office. the saudi arabias, on the other hand threw their support behind egypt's military, which removed mohamed mursi and outlawed the muslim brotherhood party. and for years, qatar, a moderate state focused on technology, education and media hosted a fire brand egyptian cleric, a vocal opponent of egypt's
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current regime, and a supporter of islamic movements across the region, including the muslim brotherhood. qatar plays host to the political leadership of hamas, the palestinian faction that is idea logically aligned with the muslim brotherhood. qatar denies that it gives financial support directly to hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by israel and the united states. but qatar has pledged 400 million in restriction aid to gaza, which is controlled by hamas. >> so we have a real problem with qatar, to some extent, trying to have it both ways, yes being modern, but at the same time trying to be a home to the taliban, home to hamas, and others. it gives out mixed messages, and they rightly want to be embraced by the community. it has to shed the baggage of trying to bank roll some of the
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most extreme forms of islamist forces out there. >> qatar may be arriving at a way to shet some of that baggage by reverting to a role as indispensable mediator. >> i'm thankful for the mediating of qatar in curing bowe bergdahl's -- securing bowe bergdahl's release. >> that's a role we are happy for them to play. they intervened with the release of bowe bergdahl, and intervened with al nusra front, to meet write the release of peter threeio curtis. >> i had no idea that so much effort was expended on my behalf. >> in the eyes of some critics, the benefits as qatar as a mediator is outweighed.
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i talked to the u.s. ambassador to syria from 2002 to 2003 before becoming president and c.e.o. of a nonprofit education group. he's a seasoned diplomat working in iraq, jordan, united ar ash emirates. the former headquarters of the u.s. central command responsible for military operations in iraq and afghanistan is based in qatar. ambassador says that makes the relationship between the two countries complicated. >> qatar is a member of the gcc. there's problems with saudi arabia and the united arab emirates over backing parties. but the gcc led by saudi arabia and iran has a rivalry. the obama administration is trying hard to come up with an agreement with iran on halting
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their development of nuclear technology that would almost certainly lead to nuclear weapon and weaponization of their missiles. so qatar is a member of the gcc. it is very important, having an air base there when we are concerned about i.s.i.s., iran, and its hedgeo monnic ambitions, other groups in the area. all of this make qatar an important player for the u.s. and the gulf. as your report painted out, there are -- pointed out there are incredible numbers of contradictions in that relationship. >> they go further, because one the other countries that america is attempting to put pressure eastern on through the u.s. treasury, to try to stop the funnel of funds is turkey, in addition to other regional important roles, is an n.a.t.o.
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ally, and borders syria and iraq. this is a complicated scenario for people like you who have been ambassadors, where you say "hey, we need you to stop this", but on the other hand say "we really need this from you", and in the middle need their mediation to get hostages released. >> thalent, and you have to balance -- that's correct, and you have to balance the interests. it's the president of the united states who has to decide how far he's willing to let the fellows go in terms of actions we don't like in order to get some cooperation we do want. >> let me ask you this: there's talk about formal authorisation for the u.s. to train and equip militants fighting the islamic state in syria. by the way, by definition they are fighting the syrian regime. you know, this is complicated, it's dangerous stuff when you
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make a decision to say these are the boots on the ground we need. they are determined they can do it, but we are fighting another group, and every time the united states takes a decision to do ta, 10, 15 years later they come back to bite us. >> in syria we know. we have been covertly helping helmets of the froe, people that -- free syrian army, people that we think can be trusted with our weapons to do the right thing, fight the regime, and not slaughter civilians. we have seen that i.s.i.s. ended up with u.s. weapons, not only those that it captured in and around mosul and iraq from the iraqi army when it collapsed and the battle up there, but they have also defeated free syrian army units and taken their u.s. weaponry as well. >> let me ask you this, this is a hard question to answer. there are so many examples in the last 25-30 years of
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unintended consequences about making decisions about who we back and fight in the middle east. think this forward. it seems obvious to americans and the world that we have to put our back. >> defeating the islamic state group as they are called now. are there unintended consequences we should worry about today? >> in the middle east there are always unintended consequences. and in battling i.s.i.s., we don't know what the blowblack will be on some allies, like jordan and lebanon, do we want the syrian regime to fall tomorrow? would that be in our best interests given the fact that it's not just i.s.i.s. that we are dealing with, but we are dealing with the nusra front, part of al qaeda. they gi their allegiance to the leader of al qaeda. you have the islamic front, a grouping of organizations that
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want sharia law imposed in syria, even though there are plenty of groups in syria that don't adhere to sharia law, and whose religious tenuates would not permit that. >> a pleasure to talk to you. the ambassador is the president and former ambassador to the united arab emirates and syria. next, hamas - the united states and israel denounce it has a terrorist group. i look at why - that story and more as "real money" continues keep is here. -- keep it here.
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a hearing held on capitol hill last week looked at countries that support u.s.-designated terrorist group. focus was put on hamas and the palestinian factions to qatar. al jazeera's parent company is based in qatar and funded in
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part by the government. qatar denies directly supporting hamas but is unapologetic hosting its leadership on its soil. qatar pledged $200 million in aid to gaza, controlled by hamas. one of the experts testifying before the panel is stephen cook, senior fellow on middle eastern studies, and says qatar is using its vast wealth to gain influence. >> countries sought to place themselves in a broader populist position in the region, there's no denying the fact that there is support for hamas, at least support for resistance against israel's occupation and its - and its policies with regard to the gaza strip. >> the united states and israel have complex relationships with qatar. it is home to a major u.s. base from which actions in afghanistan and other parts of
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the middle east are based and will likely be based in the future. until 2008, qatar was the only gulf country with a delegation from israel. that was shut in 2008. they had relationships in the past, and qatar had a role in the past and continues to as a mediator of sorts. they mediated the rescue - the release of a hostage. where we see treasury condemning qatar for a permissive environment for terrorism, we see the president thanking qatar for help on various matters. tell me how you weigh that? >> well, you know, this is the policy. there are areas and realms in which the qataris are unhelpful, and there are areas where they are incrediblery helpful. the existence of app air base, the place from which the united states has conducted both wars in iraq and afghanistan, and will likely conduct the increase in operations in iraq and
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perhaps syria in the coming days and weeks and months, is essential to the u.s. military. as you point out, the qataris have been at times rather progressive when it comes to israel. al jazeera broke the taboo of having israeli officials and average israelis on television in the arab world. there was a trade delegation in qatar. the countries are investing in the israeli soccer league, particularly in jerusalem. there are different aspects to country policy and it makes it difficult for the united states to wash its hands of qatar during the hearing, the idea of amappedioning an ir -- abandoning an air base. if it happened, it could have to happen over a long period of time. at the moment, given the realities of the international
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situation in the middle east, it's unlikely that the united states would take such drastic steps. we'll have to live with the qatari relationship with organizations like hamas. the trick is to leverage the relationships to our advantages. thus far, the qataris and the turks relieved - helped to relieve the pressure on hamas. the trick for american diplomats and officials is to use that relationship to apply pressure. >> this is specific to qatar's relationship and turkey's relationship to hamas. when it comes to the islamic state, these are different. in qatar, while it's transparent about its relationship, it's straight up about the fact that they do not support islamic state. do you believe that? >> i think the evidence that they support the islamic state is very thin. it's based on one statement by german intelligence officials, that has been subsequently walked back by everybody.
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it's not to say that there weren't qataris that support the islamic state. it doesn't strike me that there's evidence. when it comes to turkey, there's an effort on the part of the turks to turn a blind eye to extremist groups operating and syria, using turkish territory to engage in warfare, left without an american or western or brode baste multinational intervention in syria. the turks came to the conclusion that the best way to inflict pain is to allow the groups to operate. i think they have come to learn over the course of the past few years that it's not the wisest policy in the world. >> bringing up an interesting point, the concept of the wealthy donors supporting the military groups, versus governments supporting the groups. the u.s. president pointed out two people that have been able to operate in the loose
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financial environment allowing the support of terrorists, but they didn't say they acted on behalf of the qatari government. is it an important distinction. >> it is an important distinction and it's worth emphasising and repeating that there's a distinction, lost in the policy debates in washington. i think that the remedy to this is similar in that leveraging the economic power and mite of the united states financial system, in order to pressure these individuals or groups from funnelling money to these militant organizations, but i think that it bears repeating that up until now there's no direct evidence themselves in a case of the islamic state are funding - as a policy are funding this organization. hamas is different. as you pointed out, there was $400 million investment in 2012, there has been some discussion
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in turkey of a $300 million investment in hamas. they are open in a clear government policy. i want to be clear, you're with the council on foreign relations which has not received money from entities or governments we are talked about. >> that is correct. >> we will talk more. i want to talk, as i mentioned to my viewers, about the other countries in detail, about turkey, and saudi arabia and others. you are a great source. steven cook, a senior member for middle eastern studies. next, controversy about u.s. companies relocating overseas to save an taxes, former fbi sheila bare says america should make a bold move and get rid of corporate taxes, i'll examine that and how it may work for us, stay with us.
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what you are about to hear may have you throw something at the tv screen, or you might think it's brilliant. sheila bear played a keel role during the federal crisis as head of fdic, to protect the government from financial stocks by assuring the bank deposits. due to the outcry of companies moving overseas you may expect her to lead the charge for companies to pay uncle sam their fair share. not so. she says throw out the corporate income tax and we'll all benefit. >> it's more and more give to collect income taxes, you are taxing an entity, it's not a person, a piece of property or a product, or something tangible, it's a legal structure and it's
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easy to put it overseas. yes, i think longer term, i think the best thing to do is get rid of it. i would replace the revenue, there's a number of ways to do that, reforming the personal code. if you get rid of corporate income taxes, you should make wage earners like me, and people who get their income from capital gains and dividends, warren buffet. we should pay the same rate. his is half of mine. >> because our system rewards people who invest in companies. >> that's right, they do. >> if you made $100,000 on investments last year your tax rate is lower than if you made $100,000 in salary. >> absolutely. we are penalizing work. the rational is we are taxing the profits at the corporate level. get rid of those taxes, there's no reason it shouldn't have the same rate for the wage income and capital gains number. there's other ways to make up
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for the revenue. it's easy to collect a value added tax. most everybody views a v.a. t. most everybody uses a v.a. t, and you have to be careful it doesn't impact low income people. it should cover food, medicine and necessities and provide credit to mitigate the impact to lower income people that consume more of their pay. i think we are fighting a losing battle. when people think of a corporate income tax they think we are taxing the rich and powerful. we are not. we are taxing an organizational structure and it can be repackaged and sent overseas. >> i can see you, you are in the studio, you haven't seen me for a long time. i look the same. i have the same set of hair - i have a better chance of growing hair than any of this that you just suggested. >> that's probably true. >> income tax reform - is it
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possible. i heard this before. people suggest it, is there a reason why this goes nowhere? >> it's behind me. corporate tax reform should be low-hanging for a decade. i don't understand. we have an uncooperative action at the federal level. the big guys pay 10-15%, it's the smaller businesses that don't have the legal staff and lobbying to get the exemptions, and you have wam earners, like me and you who pay high rates. i say with my combined tax and state and tax, 53% is a marginal rate. every dollar i make, $0.53 goes to one government or the other. it's wrong. it needs to be corrected. again, we have - suppose edly we have high rates. most people can cabinet around it, the rich and powerful can
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get around it. >> a lot of the refrain on the progressive side is tax companies, the refrain on the conservative side is if we had lower taxes, it would be easier than the contortions you talk about. why not lower the tax rates? >> no more social exceptions, lower the rate and broaden the base. the broader the base, the easier it is to collect. if people pay 25%, the top rate, no more special privileges, it will be easier to collect because it's spread out. when you have a system like ours, where everyone has a special exemptions, and others with the higher rate. you have discontent and more tax rates. lowering the rate, broadening the base, making sure lower
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income people are protected, it's the way to go. a lot have been saying this on the right and left. there was a beautiful plan, top out everyone at 25%, the individual, the corporate, small business, everything, you can simplify the tax code if you do that. lobby yists are thick in washington and all worked for the special exsem shons and don't want to give it up. we haven't had leadership to defy it. >> from your lips to washington's ears, sheila bear, thank you for talking do us. the former share of the fdic and senior advisor at the pugh charitable trust. this week op "real money," scots go to the polls. we follow the polling and the for and against economic argument for leaving the uk. >> and petro porashenko and new sanctions targetting his
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country. that is the show for today, i'm ali velshi, thanks for joining us. you are at the "listening post" scratch at any big story in london and you will find a rupert murdoch angle. so, it is with the scottish referendum. one reporter ran his copy by the cia before it went into print. we look at what goes on at the obituary disk before it goes bo


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