tv The Stream Al Jazeera October 19, 2014 1:30am-2:01am EDT
terrific conversation. >> thank you. that brings us to this edition of the "inside story" thank you for being with us. i'm ray suarez. >> hi, i'm lisa flesher and here on "the stream" president obama intensifies efforts to unite the international community over the threat of isil we talk with insiders about whether the u.s. airstrike campaign against isil is working. plus, personal details on american hostage from someone very close to him. and later the nation's largest nurses union is demanding better safety protocols in handling ebola patients. hear why.
>> we have our co-host to bring the feedback in the program. a lot of arguing online about who to blame over isil's expansion. >> how did isil rise? are we taking appropriate counter actions against isil, and sal said this is obama's fault. blame him for the isil mess. however it's been 3.5 years in syria and blames all world leaders and the war has lingered, created a bigger problem and now has a name of operation inherit resolve. >> we look at the spread of the group islamic state in iraq and the levant known as isil.
nearly 60 countries are trying to stop the group. critics say the u.s. airstrikes campaign against isil has not stopped their advance. isil has maintained control of most of the territory it seized in the past several months stretching across syria, iraq, and is poised to capture the syrian town of kobane on the turkish border. and it could destabilize key u.s. allies leaving many to question the commitment by the u.s. is enough. joining me is rick brennan, former senior adviser to the u.s. military in iraq. also with us, former senior adviser at the u.s. department of state. gentleman, thank you so much for being here. rick, we're seeing continued ability by isil to expand its power and control despite the u.s.-led airstrikes. the pentagon has suggested they're more of a traditional army than a fractionalized
regular force. what kind of army are they? >> they're acting like an army in terms of gaining ground, the equipment they're using, but the tactics that they use are still terrorism. the important part when you look at terrorist organizations the tactics is not the organization. what makes this force so scary from standpoint of iraq and syria is that it has a desire to occupy land, which terrorists normally don't do, and is threatening not only the area in and around baghdad, but also the areas of baghdad itself. >> had we known that the form saddam rue jea regime are now part of isil. >> you have a perfect storm of so many factors that is bringing together people that otherwise would be at each other's throats. because they're united in this one front to try to secure the land, they're cooperating and you've got people like boko
haram and the taliban expressing support as well. how do we keep those cracks open? how do we interrupt those cracks and create the situation where they see each other as enemies and we can divide and conquer them. >> there has to be an internal conversation been in the white house. >> it's part of its military and all others other efforts on social media that we have to pursue. >> we asked the community will we be able to defeat isil without sending troops on the ground, and it now has a name operation inherent resolve. this implies that we can defeat isil if we send in troops. i'm not sure about that. . speaking about these airstrikes, president obama used the airstrikes that we've used against al-qaeda in yemen and
al-shabab as an example of success. will these airstrikes be successful and specifically that strategy that we've used in yemen and somalia, many people are saying it's the exact example of failure. >> i think it won't work. the extent of limit the airstrikes is not going to have the impact necessary. the united states i believe lost an opportunity when isil moved along the roads. if there had been a true air campaign to target those vehicles when they were in the open away from civilians, that would have made a significant difference. today they've moved back into traditional insurgency tactics, and they've moved into cities. there is no way to use 500-pound bombs that can kill people as far as 450 meters. you can't do that with bombs
without killing civilians. >> rick, does this low airstrikes count indicate internally on the part of the obama administration there is some doubt. >> i don't think there is a doubt in terms of the long-term threat. the issue is how do you use this air power without making it look like it is a sunni--you're siding why the central government of iraq as shia, and making it more of a sunni-shia issue, and you don't kill civilians. >> so i want to get back to what we were talking about earlier. even if the airstrikes worked and prevented isil from grabbing new territory, you have to control the groups' influence. >> you do. this is why it's critical to have ground forces. only ground forces control territory, and the iraqi forces simply don't have the capability right now. >> but are ground forces enough? >> this is a physical and a social phenomenon.
and we have ways that we deal with the physical phenomenon which we're trying to come up with, but there is a social phenomenon that we're not coming up with. it's only part of that. what's going to happen on the ground socially among these populations of people that help to build resilience among them so they can push back against these people. that's really the only effective way you're going to marginalize these extremist. >> let me get the twitter community. >> they say they're waging a twitter jihad and we'll see some of the tweets that the government is doing in combating isil on social media.
has the state department and the government's social media twitter jihad worked against isil? >> there is a structural problem with government getting in the way of this discussion. this is a television that is happening among peers. anyone from the outside, any authority figure who tries to get in that conversation is not going to have the same effect. the only people who will affect these young folks who are getting excited about this utopia that they think exists are their other peers who have credibility in their eyes. i know government has the motive, the mandate, the money, every reason to get into this fight but the question is how and should they? >> rick, i want to get into some of the geopolitical obstacles here. we've got turkey's reluctance to intervene. what message does that send hitting kurdish rebels being reluctant to engage in the fight against isil. >> you've hit a critical point.
the issue is that turkish interests are different than u.s. interests. arming and equipping a segment of their society that may be used against them later on, they're afraid about iran and the assad regime. i think they believe that isis is something that they can deal with later. that's going to be the same thing with the free syrian army once we start to train that. their interests are against assad not necessarily isis. when you look at the various countries in the region and try to get them engaged, you'll find they're all coming to the table with different goals and objectives than the united states. what we need to do is find those areas that web collaborate and corroborate. >> rick, last word in this segment. do you think isil will get to baghdad? >> i think they'll get to the outskirts of baghdad and conduct car bombings and those types of
operations making it a much more dangerous place than it is today. >> thanks to our guests for sticking around. desperate attempt from a family from a young man in indiana said to be the next person to be beheaded by isil. one of his closest friends talk about how th he's faring. and the nation's largest nurses union say that hospitals
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only on al jazeera america >> dear son, we hope that you'll see this message from me and your father. we are so very proud of you and the work you have done. know that we love you. and our hearts ache for you to be granted your freedom. >> welcome back. you just saw a message were ed and paul, parents of a humanitarian aid work captured by isil in syria. here to send his story is a journalist and friend .
>> we've heard a lot o about him. what would you want the world to know about him. >> he is an great guy. he has an infectious personty that you can't help but like the minute you meet him. that's why he was so good in his work in syria. that's why he has had friends come out to say so many working things about him in beirut where he lived. people gravitate towards him. he's warm, passionate, determined. when he turned his attention to the syrian people, that same personalty came through and he was committed to the work he has been doing in that country. >> horace, tough question, i want to see if you can get into the mind of some of these isil captors. we see his parents tweeting out to him. is there anything that they can do to change the fate that isil
has set for their son? do you see any wedge that could be driven in there? >> i think what's important for isil--isis to understand is that they are pressure porting to defend muslims in that region. they're pressur purporting that they're saving syrian and iraqi lives. and abdul rahman is an humanitarian. he went there to help the syrian people, to provide education and relief work, development work. if there is anything that they can see in terms of their humanity and faith they should see that abdul rahman is not only a muslim, but a humanitarian who seeks to give back to a place that he loves. he loves the people of syria, lebanon and iraq. it's a place that he's passionate about. hopefully they can see that about him and see that his faith
is what drives him, and hopefully they'll grant him his freedom. >> he raises a very interesting point is that isil is killing muslims. they're threatening to kill a muslim convert, who in islam is revered because they've chosen the religion and not born into it. the level of violence we're seeing is beyond the pale. where does this come from? >> they're in a deep-seeded discomfort. it's politics. they're trying to tap in to these young people who are motivated by that. the irony of the situation is that abdul rahman represents the putting faith into action in a positive way. he actually represents a role model for those who want to fight these extremists. i'm wondering the intelligence of these folks by putting him up front and center that they're showing young muslims around the world here is the role model for you if you want to help your fellow muslims and whatnot.
i hope we can get so we can get him safe and keep showcasing him as a role model. he could have a very effective role to tamper down this violent response to geopolitics. >> as you know isil is recruiting many werners for their army. thousands of foreign recruits. we asked the community are you concerned about isil recruiting americans or is the threat exaggerated? heather says: we have a vie called "think again, turn way" counter radicalization campaign. take a look at this. [music]
>> horace, i know you've been consulting with the united states government about this. what are your thoughts about this campaign? >> i think the numbers are exaggerated in the u.s. the numbers are in the dozens, but in europe it's a different case. i think in europe, in england and belgium and holland and kosovo and you're seeing larger numbers of people who are flocking to iraq to fight with isis. and what isis does, it captures the fear of people when it comes to geopolitics in that region. they're purported to defend islam and muslims. american-muslims have not bought into that narrative. this idea that america is at war with islam is not something that american-islams are convinced of. it's important for us to be alert, and to insure that we have narratives that was mentioned that are different, that show the real struggle for humanitarian work, for
development in the region, and helping the syrian people, but domestically the numbers seem to be exaggerated. >> in marketing terms we talk about the long tale the small but white-hot segment of the population that is motivated by this particular topic. that's what we're dealing with here. it's hard to destabilize. you can concentrate it to a small group of people, but it's very hard to destabilize them from that effort. any complain whether it's from the government or people or the communities to try to get that small group dislodged it's going to be very difficult and challenging, particularly if you're coming from outside that group. >> and when you had talked with abdul rahman, was he aware of the risks? i realize he knew the region, but did he know this was a possibility? >> well, he wasn't naive to the risks completely. he had been working inside syria in an area towards iraq in the east of the country. when he was working there, there
was a long baddel going on between the syrian government and the rebel forces. he spent a lot of his time working in the hospital there, being sheffield united. earth sort of involve involved in assisting people during battle. he was not at all naive to the risks of being involved in a war and what that men. the kidnapping was completely different. at the time that happened he had brought to the syrian communities he was working in. they understood that the work he was doing and they were helping him come in and out of the country. at the time it was thought those relationships that he had and the fact that he was doing work to help those people, and that they were transporting him in and out would have afforded him some safety. >> emma, we know that his mother has been tweeting in arabic trying to communicate directly with isil. do you know if she has had any success? >> i'm not sure if she has a husband.
right now we're focusing on any means we can, the family, the friends, the people he had been working with in syria, the broader community in syria and in america, you know, trying to appeal to those people to allow him his freedom because he is a devout muslim. he is a humanitarian worker and he wants to continue his work to assist the syrian people. every means possible we're trying to make sure that those people understand those things about him, and that he'll be granted his freedom. >> the u.s. has a long-standing policy not to pay ransom oh for american hostages. what are your thoughts? . >> horace, quick thought on that? should we change our u.s. policy towards hostages? >> i'm not going to comment on the u.s. policy on hostages.
but we need to put together a campaign for abdul rahman. he has done excellent work for this cause. a second u.s. nurse is diagnosed with ebola. we understand that she was on a plane to cleveland before she came symptomatic. and does fear trump logic as we prepare on u.s. soil. how cautious do americans really need to be?
>> welcome back, the ebola crisis continues to hit close to home as a second dallas healthcare worker who treated thomas eric duncan has become sick with the virus. emergency rooms across the country are seeing an increase of ebola false alarm cases. some observers say we may be blowing the threat of ebola in america out of proportion. here with us on skype is kate
bolter lead nurse where two ebola patients have been treated. and author of "ebola: how risky is it really? how fears don't match the fax." >> your team runs towards it. how do you overcome very real fear. >> i think lots of training. we have been working towards this for nine years. our nurses know our protocols. they know them very well. we have an environment where we check each other all the time, making sure that we stay safe, i think that's what is really important. >> you're at one of four bio containment facilities in the united states. you have protocols in place. you practice, you do drills. what else is different about the way you operate compared to every other hospital in the country into terms of when a
patient like this comes in? >> well, when a patient comes inial our staff, they normally work in different areas of the hospital. so they all come together. this is staff that don't normally work together, but when the call came through we all came back to the unit. this is our primary place of work, and we work as a team. we work really well together. i do think a lot of practice has to be the thing that has pulled through for us. >> david, obviously, all over the country officials have been having press conferences on this topic. government press conferences, hospital press conferences, i notice that they tend to take somewhat of a defensive posture. when you do that it is perceived in a way that makes it seem they're more worried. is there something that could
possibly be eroding the rust of people? >> they're doing a reasonbly good job of communicating, but you're asking early in the tease going into the break, is fear trumping logic? we use our fear to make judgments about enemy all the time. the nurse in nebraska is dealing with her a sense of control. emotionally if we have control over a risk it feels less scary than if we don't. americans are worried about ebola and in part because of the psychological factor of what the shrinks call availability. the more aware of the bogey man we are, the more it is on the screen, and the more we trust the medical people communitying the less afraid we'll be. the newer risk it is. we're familiar with the flu, but the flu will kill a lot more
americans this year than ebola. we're familiar with it, but ebola is new and exotic. there are emotional factors here that have a huge influence of how afraid we are or aren't. >> check this out. we're talking about the bogey man. >> kate, have the false alarms and panic overburdened our hospitals and personnel in some locations like dallas? >> i don't know. i really can't talk about other hospitals, but they do need to get prepared. i think--i don't want everybody to be afraid of ebola, but at the same time they need education. they need to know what to do if it does come to them. the hospital in texas didn't
know it was coming to them. they had to put their protect calls together very quickly. >> the largest nurses union demanding across the united states not just in staff but how patients are treated. what is your response to that? >> well, i can tell you that we're actually putting our protocols together, and getting them to be disseminated out to the country so people can see what we do. the cdc is doing a good job of educating. we need to pull together on this and share what we all know. >> all right, we want to thank both of our guests, and our guests previous in the show today. meanwhile we'll see you online. [music]