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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  October 21, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT

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he dressed every first lady since jackie kennedy, that is all the time for this news hour, if you like the latest on any of our stories just head on other to our website, >> turkey wasn't going to help save kobane from isil. and then it did, and now the military is now attacked from the united states, a besieged syrian it city, 135 times. we'll catch you up on the fight with syria, isil and i wish ac on inside the reef. inside thinside story.hello, i'.
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the fight for kobane is going on right on turkey's border. turkey opposes iraq and isil. and it opposes the syrian government. and it opposes the syrian city. with a big ref see problem and isil on its border, surcky is frustrated with the obama administration because it meant aiding an enemy, the syrian kurds. the dam broke in recent days with iraq agreeing for iraqi kurds to join syria as they dropped weapons to the syrian kurds. it's complicated and a sign of how vital the american government and the rest of the world thinks it is for kobane
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>> clashes flair between the kurdish fighters and the islamic state group, dropping supplies from planes. >> last night, the planes dropped weaponry and food and medicine los to the city of kobane. and this is the first time that they have dropped help inside of kobane and also to the fighters. >> on monday, turkey's government announced that it's also helping the army known as the peshmerga by allowing fighters access to its borders. >> iraq's kurdish regional government announced that it's in cooperation with turkey and the u.s. by aiding kobane. actually, we're helping them by
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entering kobane to give support. >> it could be a sign that the attitudes are shifting with the turkish government. fighters within the government known as the pkk have long been anchored by a terrorist organization. meanwhile, in baghdad, more than 20 people were killed and 50 were wounded in three separate bomb attacks in the city's three shiite majority neighborhoods. >> when people gathered at the next blast site, another car bomb went off. >> and just outside of the capital in anbar province, isil fighters controlled most of the territory, including the largest air base. more than 6,000 soldiers from the iraqi military have been killed since june, since the government forces tried to take back the province. more than 12,000 troops have defected. the prime minister defended his
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country's army, admitting that it needs help, but not in the form of foreign boots on the ground. >> speaking frankly, we depend on our airforce. and we have an airforce, and we have army aviation and troops on the ground. an international effort is helpful because we look some systems, but we do not depend on this assistance fully. there will be no ground troops in iraq. this is my decision, and this is the decision of the iraqi government. >> the iraqi prime minister's remarks reflect president obama's view that the effort against isil will ebb and flow. >> our strikes continue alongside our partners. it remains a difficult mission, as i've indicated from the start. this is not something that's going to be solved overnight. we're confident that we'll be able to make progress in partnership with the iraqi government. because ultimately, it's going to be important for them to be able to, with our help, secure
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their own country. >> it has been a month since president obama pledged to degrade and destroy the islamic state. is the coalition winning? if not, why not? >> the islamic state, iraq and syria this time on the program, since the president announced a new alliance with fanfare, the army has escalated. but at the same time, is ill is getting pounded in kobane. joining us for that conversation, james jeffrey, a former u.s. ambassador for iraq, currently at the washington student. and phyllis benes. it's good to see you both, and ambassador, it's still early days. is what you heard the president outline in september being played out on the battlefield? >> t. ray, but in a messy
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fashion. turkey's reluctance is a problem that we have, a huge coalition, but with different objectives. and the fact that turkey has modified it's position and signed up with kobane, has indicated that president obama and his secretary of state secretaries, do their jobs right, they can get people to move, and that's port. >> was the government a missing piece until now in that coalition? >> it wasn't a missing piece. they have their own objectives, and one of which is to fight the assad regime, and that's understandable. that's a major reason we have isis in the first place, in terms of killing civilians, and they hav,ians, andthey're concee kurdish movement, the pkk, and the syrian kurds who tend to be
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all right with it. they have a variety of their own objectives, and it's up to us in our diplomacy to have reasons for what they need. and that's what's going on right now. >> when you watched the president roll this out last month, and watch it as policy is becoming real on the battlefield, do you think that it's a worthwhile goal? do you agree with how the united states and it's friends in this matter are going about it? >> i don't agree with how they're going about t what president obama has said over and over again, there's no military solution, it's true. and i think that the military aspect of what they're doing is making all of the potential for real diplomacy all the more impossible. so what that means is when the u.s. bombs in iraq, say bomb isis, what we say here is great, wow, that's great, they got the bad guys. it may be some bad guys, some
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civilians, and we don't know, but what it seems to be on the ground, for many iraqi sunnis, they see, here's the u.s. bombing in the interest of the kurds and the shia, and nobody is representing our interest, when they have faced tremendous repression, not from isis. some of them are facing that now, but for much longer, they have been facing tremendous repression from the u.s.-backed government in baghdad. which is a sectarian government. and the fact that there's a new prime minister, who said some of the right things t. that's a good sign, but the actions have not changed yet. and every time the u.s. goes in bombing, it prevents the possibility of winning over the hearts and minds as it were of the sunni tribal leaders and the others who say these guys are extreme i had and violent, but right now, they're less of a threat to us than the government and these sectarian militias.
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>> let's look at a crisis of a collapsing, in turmoil syria, but less so, iraq, with big problems, and as you suggest, american policymakers have said again and again that there's not a single military solution to but using diplomatic and civil means, how do you soak up the oxygen on which they thrive right now? how do you repress, suppress, the ability of this unusual force to run two big pieces of two big countries? >> it's a huge challenge, and i don't think there's an easy way to do it. i'm not opposing the idea that diplomatic means is going to answer the immediate crisis. i think there's an immediate crisis in kobane among other places. until today, the u.s. position was the defense of citizens in
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kobane is not our strategic plan. we're there because they suddenly presented us with new targets which can help in iraq. so the u.s. has been very clear that the goal here is not to protect syrians in kobane, or to protect kurds in kobane, or to protect civilians in kobane. that's the sideline. the problem is with the focus on the military, nobody is carrying out the kind of urgent diplomacy that's desperately needed. there's an old saying in china. that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time is today. that goes for diplomacy too. the best time for them is 20 years ago and the second best time is right now, with russia, with iran and a global coalition that's not just about killing more members of isis. >> mr. ambassador, to the degree that even if the military strategy is effective, if the allies are shoulder to shoulder,
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and they do a lot of things in military terms right in the coming months ago, it still won't solve the problem that created and sustains isil. >> she's right and wrong. first of all, i wouldn't put words in her mouth and say that she's particularly happy with the military campaign. she barely made a nod in that direction. there is no military solution to anything in the world, including world war ii. but what there are solutions which will not happen if you don't have a military component. isis is not a neighborhood watch to protect sunnis from assad and the iraqi shia-led government. isis is a transcendental regional force, devoted to extraordinary violence and extremely successful, that was rolling toward the azidi and kurdish areas of iraq and kobane with the intention of slaughtering or converting those
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people as part of a global jihad and they have to be stopped and there's only one way to stop them. diplomacy is working, and that's why wthey are supporting us wite peshmerga and not making a to do about the dropping of weapons, which would seemingly be in other circumstances our enemies. so there has to be a political side to this, and that's what i did for 35 years. but i learned if you don't have a military component, you're nowhere. that's where we were from january 1 until two months ago, and we watched this happening. happening in syria and iraqa. >> a response before the break. >> it's very important that we recognize what the cia has recognized for itself. that it has never worked when the u.s. tries to create proxy armies, by airstrikes and a military arming them. if we couldn't do it in eight
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years of occupation in iraq, when we had 160,000 troops on the ground at any moment, if we can't create a military that's capable of taking out this horrific small organization, i don't think that doing things in three months is going to happen. >> i disagree. afghanistan, iraq, at the end of it, there was almost no violence. central america in the 1980s, and afghanistan in 2001, these were messy conflicts, and they didn't end everything forever, but at the end of the day, we were better off than before we started. >> when we return, with more inside the reef after this short break, we'll look at what might work, and what might take some time in fighting the armies of the islamic state, in syria and iraq. stay with us.
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interpreter welcome back to "inside story" on aljazeera america. i'm ray suarez. since president obama called out the coalition last month, airstrikes video increased by isil remains a threat. what were the limits to what air power alone can accomplish. mr. ambassador, you were speaking before the break about military response, and root now, the azidis, who have been
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terribly dealt with by 24 army in iraq, are once again cut off and trapped in the series of mountaintops, sinjar, most notable among them. and really afraid that the next assault could kind of wipe them out. the military seems a very blunt instrument in dealing with kind of thing. even if you take out forces circling sinjar, threatening the azidis. if isil wants to really start killing them wholesale, if you won't put infantry on the ground, it's going to be hard to do that. interpreter i agree with you and i have long supported boots on the ground in major military formations, and certainly very robust advisory teams down to the battalion level. i think this is absolutely necessary. and in fact, you can, if you find forces such as the pkk we're fighting in sinjar two
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months ago, and some of the peshmerga forces advancing from the east and the west. you can find ground forces doing what we can do. at the strategic level, isis has stopped winning. they haven't started losing, but they have stopped winning. they have offensives, but they're about to go to the defensive in iraq and not so in syria at all. interpreter this is a tough one, no amount of talking, if they mean to kill the azidis, and no amount of talking is going to make them stop. interpreter i agree, and we have to recognize that what happened two months ago when the azidis were caught on mount siniar, the u.s. airstrikes are not what saved them. the kurds, who opened up the corridor in the back and escorted them down through the mountain and into syrian territory through tir ac later, but they were saved by, of all
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of the airstrikes that were being put forward with great fanfare and great acknowledgment by president obama, from what we understand, only half a dozen or fewer were around sinjar and the rest were at the oil center to make sure that nobody came near irbil. so the idea that it was the airstrikes that saved the azidis of sinjar became a myth, and i think that it became more people who had been opposed to airstrikes the sense that maybe it can work. it has not worked and i don't think it will work this time. if the azidi are saved, and i think they will be, it will be by local fighters and not u.s. troops, who have creeped more problems in the long-term than help. interpreter the national endowment for democracy, and
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welcome back to the program. you haired the new prime minister earlier in the program sig that he didn't the foreign troops on the ground fighting in his country. can the iraqi army defend itself, can new trainers create an iraq hey army that's effective and able to fight off isil? interpreter well, they have no option other than to try to build its strength. two things will not happen quickly. enough one, of course with foreign troops, nobody is going to be able to stop the tide of suicide bombers and car bombers that have been unleashed on baghdad. and not even the iraqi army can. this is a different type of war, and it will take time before the iraqi government can corolla. and the second area, as if isil is going to overrun baghdad and
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there's a question of the ability of the iraqi army to defend bagging about other cities. this is a myth. i think that the iraqi army can control the territories. it has already, and it can not overturn the tide against isil. that is true, but it can certainly hold grounds. and i don't think isil can be defeated simply by having a strong iraqi army or a strong air bombing campaign, or even foreign troops in the country. this is a phenomenon that needs to be looked at from a different perspective, and i don't think short-term reactions by governments, including the iraqi government, can change the balance and defeat isis as simply as a lot of people think. interpreter with greater focus on syria in recent weeks, more airstrikes in northern syria, a lot of focus on kobane, have people taken their eyes off of what isil is doing in western
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iraq? interpreter well, i don't think people have taken their eyes off of what's happening inside of iraq, but again, paying attention to it and sending more bombs there will not tip the balance. as i said, everybody acknowledges this is getting to be incremental and long-term, and it needs to be understood better. isil took the whole world by surprise within a period of a few months. they tripled, not only tripled, but they increased their wealth, their weapons, the number of soldiers, their armies by many many folds, and obviously, they took the world by surprise by their intelligence, the way they are campaigning and having their roots into so many other parts of the world and not just the territory that they control.
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they are facing an enemy that nobody is accustomed to, and it will take a while before it can be encircled and pushed back. so as we said, iraq is one frontier, and i think what's happening on the turkish border is another. let us not forget the syrians who are under isil control and those bordering kurdish areas in northern iraq too. interpreter when we return in a moment with more "inside story," we'll talk more about diplomacy with combustible interests on the ground. and enemies, aligned against a common enemy. secretary of state kerry has his work cut out for it.
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interpreter we're back with "inside story." on aljazeera america. i'm ray suarez. we talked a lot during this program about the limits of military power in the air and on the ground. just keeping countries with very
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different interests linked to each other in the fight against isil is going to be tough too, especially with iran looming just east of baghdad. still with us, the senior director of northeast in africa, and james jeffrey, former ambassador to iraq, and a fellow at the institute for policy studies. and phyllis, since you've been putting forward a non-military vision of trying to cure this problem, what would it look like, and what's the role of the new iraqi government? interpreter it's very important that there's a new prime minister in iraq. one of the big problems we have been seeing in iraq is the incredibly sec tarenism of that government. it's shia dominated, and dropping barrel bombs on syrian communities, and mass arrests, and torture in prison, and people being killed in large
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numbers, and this is by the iraqi government and it's shia militia, not what isis is doing, which is also terrible. and as he said, a number of things about the need for a more inclusive government. but one of the struggles in putting the new government together is who will be the ministers of intelligence and the minister of defense. and we have just gotten the new minute itsters appointed in the last couple of days. and what a surprise, the new minister of intelligence is the former held of the brig aid, one of the worst shia intelligences operating. interpreter when you look at these points, do you think that they bring something to the cabinet necessary that will make it possible for them to reach
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out to alienated sunnis in iraq? interpreter the secretary of defense, and his [ audio difficulties ] and this appointment seems to be not ideal by anybody's definition, but certainly, he
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has limited choices, and it's the political system of representation, and the necessity of brokering a deal. again, those are chronic robs with the political system which are ac and with the constitution, and with the level of maturity in culture, and it's not his making, but certainly, the result of abadi and the measures that he's taking so far, he needs time to stay on track. interpreter mr. prime minister, before we go, there was a lot of talk war weariness and iraq weariness when the president made his speech last month. and should america be prepared for a long time in this part of the world when we thought we were getting out? interpreter yes, we should, but not like in the past. we were weary of hundreds of thousands of troops running around, [ audio difficulties ] they know that.
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interpreter thanks a lot. great to have you with us. and this brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story." the program may be over, but ub conversation continues. we want to hear what you think of this or any day's show. log onto our facebook page and send us your thoughts on twitter. or reach me directly or follow me at ray suarez news. we'll see you for the next "inside story" in washington. i'm ray suarez.
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