tv Inside Story 2017 Ep 364 Al Jazeera January 1, 2018 10:32am-11:01am +03
is warning violence is except of all. the protests demanding the resignation of the president of the democratic republic of congo's turned violent at least seven people were killed and dozens arrested by security forces after catholics called for peaceful demonstrations they want joseph kabila to hold new elections. the largest party in israel's governing coalition has passed a resolution calling for the annexation of large parts of the occupied west bank land the palestinians want to build a future state on prime minister binyamin netanyahu isn't bound to follow the vote like he's recruited. hong kong activists are holding an annual march calling for universal suffrage organizes expecting about ten thousand people to attend the rally several politicians in favor of a more open system recently disqualified from positions in the legislature. and the world is ringing in two thousand and eighteen with spectacular fireworks
displays mexico city is the latest city to welcome in the new year. it's inside story next stay with us. twenty seventeen has been full of stories that have changed the global political landscape and al-jazeera has been there to cover them or. join us as we look back at some of our most memorable interviews of the year this special edition of talk. at this time. thousand and eighteen be the year when the war in syria finally and said he's confident his wisdom is no longer after russia helped him turn the tide but after the military gains what kind of political settlement is possible this is inside story.
hello and welcome to the program. two thousand and eighteen dollars when examining a story that has dominated headlines for the better part of the past six years syria is on many minds because of the millions dead one made refugees two thousand and seventeen was a good year for president bashar al assad's forces rick captured major cities and large areas of rebel held territory the russian result of saucy is due to host a new round of talks in january but after so many failed negotiations the prospect of peace remains elusive we'll get to our guests in a moment but first zain the whole reports from beirut. syrians in search of safety there may be less violence because of russian brokered local cease fires but there are still active lines in some areas of the country over the past year the
opposition lost sizable territory and the syrian government with the backing of iran have also recaptured from. the government is stronger than it has been since the conflict began nearly seven years ago but the war is not hearing. the war is far from. that is for sure and what we're seeing is perhaps a winding down the conflict in some parts. there is a likelihood an escalation. of the country almost a quarter of the country in the north east for example is outside the state's control the mainly kurdish region wants a federal system for syria the government wants said it would be ready to discuss this but now it calls the kurds traitors for working with a foreign country and the u.s. decision to maintain a troop presence in the enclave has alarmed russia which says there is no legitimate reason for them to stay. the war is over but the focus is already on.
russia's president vladimir putin wants to play a lead role in. the kremlin has created an alternative for negotiations the russian talks have overshadowed. and now with the plans to host the syrian peace conference in sochi russia's leader says he has the support of iran and turkey countries that are deeply involved in the conflict he also says syria's president bashar assad is backing the peace initiative that may weaken his powers but leave him in office for at least a few years with a reformed constitution. what we will likely see is a syria not divided but the void in terms of of spheres. influences it will be like a multinational company would countries holding shares and of course russia having the biggest share of a political settlement is still a long way off for opponents of the government what is being discussed doesn't
amount to peace but priorities have changed in two thousand and seventeen calls for us had to be removed from power were no longer heard western leaders now seem to be more concerned with working with russia to counter iran's growing influence in syria have put their ashes into table. let's now bring in our guest joining us in istanbul yeah a lot of these spokesman for the syrian negotiating committee in moscow clinic of his middle east expert of the russian international affairs council and in beirut sami and director of the levant institute for strategic affairs welcome to you all mr allawi they would like to ask you this question two thousand and thirteen the general sentiment among the opposition we're just a few inches from gaining the war now the general sentiment is the opposition is losing the war against bashar assad what do you what how do you react to this. well
i don't think that. the opposition is losing the war because originally the intention of the opposition was not a military one in the first place it was just a matter of us scream for certain rights and the regime on the other hand has selected the military solution for this issue and so far the military solution has proven to be a real failure and what attests to this fact is that all those attempts to find a political settlement for the crisis in syria and on top of russia. exerting all the efforts to find our political asylum settlement unfortunately and i shows just approaching this issue by the same means it's used for the military solution after it's interference on in two thousand and fifteen
and that's why it is having real problems in finding this settlement or in finding a solution in other words the syrian case is one of the rights of a political solution rather than a military one because the military solution has really proven to be a disaster it's not our due to the fact that it has divest they did their country displaced its people and without getting any results for them and and that e.g. in doesn't seem confident as you reported in your report in your introduction which is. i believe a misconception of the stew asian. because of the iranian element the iranian factor and the question factor that again is still there how could it feel confident ok without it it would go back and it all into more details about the
different players in the conflict mr clegg nickeled the russians are pushing for a political settlement does it come from this sentiment that they consider the war almost to the elder. so well indeed from the russian perspective and other leaders of other countries like iran iraq. and syrian government even the united states there can only hope that the isis is almost defeated in syria and iraq so currently russia it wants to concentrate more on the political process and that's the country that the majority think the political process is even trickier and how to then the military face firstly because. the size zero part of this will face an issue to discuss the most sensitive and difficult problems like. this additional and political reforms
elections the fate of us at the role of kurds in the country's governance the presence of the foraging. military formations in its territory so there is the whole set of this political issues which really put russia russia. and the tight spot because on the one hand it has its allies. in damascus and in iran. and the other hand have these. kind of rivalry powers are talking and israel in the united states which push for it if you want surrogate russia. it's a really tricky for it to a balance between them between those two things mr now did i mean the syrian opposition has recently said that he's going to establish a new national army but when you look at the situation on the ground the rebels are losing significant ground there are no longer in the eastern part of the country they are scores of damascus is almost entirely under the control of the government
except of some few pockets in the east some hold by the left with one province which is but then that's ground itself is very vulnerable do you still believe that the little bubbles can still stage a military come back i mean a military combat comeback no and this is not demetre as to mount of the opposition because based on the balance of power there is nothing to compare between. russian military force that saved that is e-mail and the capabilities that are in the hands of the opposition however best iran of this opposition a position as political because there is no alternative to c.d.n. . and any. that is made or invented by the syrian regime or. a law will not pave the way for a sustainable solution is sustainable solution can only be reached with the
participation of the opposition that unified itself recently so it's true that we can talk about russian victory in syria military victory however this victory should be sustainable ok and their way to do this is i mean to reach a political settlement and no political settlement is. good without the presence and the participation of at any time and see if you let's delve into the issue of the political settlements you said that you're not going to attend the sochi summit what are the options left for you if you don't want to be part of a broader comprehensive political settlement led by the russians the turks and the iranians. well it's not a matter of saying yes to what russia intends to hold in sochi or
saying no the issue is one of investigating this particular initiative by the russians as i told you previously that russia believes that it can solve their problems politically as it thinks that it's solved militarily you cannot use the same means and tools to approach the political settlement the russia has no parallel no compatible power in the field and it has jets all over the place it just use syria feel oppressed feel about what's its weapon mr alloted they were your problem with an initiative they would like you to negotiate a political transition they want to sell a set to stay in power and they say that you are welcome to be part of a broader political establishment but you won't be the only one to have the biggest say what is your problem with this perspective. ok well fine that's we
have to discuss then the nature of this initiative or this invitation to a sooty congress first when new russia has put a precondition for those attendees those who are going to attend it first they do not need they cannot discuss the fate of assad and his regime they cannot talk about political transition and they have to be certain members who are . along the same line with the regime's attendances for a political settlement in other words they are the product of the inside and whatever the intelligence needs another thing is that this particular congress if it just dumps all the u.n. security council resolutions upon which a political settlement is to be achieved in syria if they are of sidelined no one could just go to to. a submission for the russian acute patient of syria and
for the continuation of brutality dictatorship in syria because this dictatorship has proven to be the best prescription for the continuance of tension for they continue with your terrorism and at the same time it is it is a complete to block for any possibility for reconstructing syria and bringing back those who were displaced or dispersed all over the world. and this is a source for tension if the if congress if sochi is as such no one would go to and you notice also this diet of syrian opposition towards suchi and it is considered to be a submission for the russian will i say this cannot be the case let's further expand our discussion. clinic of how can even even heard what mr levy has been saying particular voice in the concerns of the sea in opposition how can the brushes retrack is the whole initiative in social. to be able to be to bring it in
a very appealing way to the syrian opposition but also to the international community are the russians willing to consider the fate of a shuttle asset well in the first place i want to say that russia didn't i mean the only book condition russia put for this congress is that all parties but it's a paid shouldn't have any preconditions. for the negotiations so secondly i think we should look at this initiative. in the same way as to not in the very beginning if you remember also the major and really big part of the opposition on the ground didn't want to participate in it but gradually they started to be told more and more and we all witnessed the results and effectiveness of us in the talks which resulted in making. ceasefire such. deescalation you know it you know as we know that was largely due to the turkish
intervention which spoke with the oppositional told them we would like you to go there hoping that the deed would be conducive to a political settlement now everyone is upset the turks themselves are saying but that is a terrorist he must go he has no future in any political settlement ok look. there are the gun was saying different things at different times he's switching his opinions and attitudes quite quite often so i don't think we should. i take it as a true words and to approach but definitely it's might have some play behind that but of course i mean we already have russian iranians to x. behind this congress will already have stephan de mistura the us or the warrior who supports this idea and probably now it's the discussions that he and the u.n. representatives was also present in such it. so this is why i
won't agree with with michael egan and his double that this congress is aimed at. over. and of taking over or replacing in no way it has such a role and quite the opposite ok mr not if this is something i wish wish is going to be a paddle paddle a path we should i think give a chance of the russians in a way or another because geneva has been there for ages but with absolutely no way out of this crisis many consider geneva to be a total failure why don't we give the russians an opportunity. i mean as long as. such she will come was an end in mind and and it can depict lucian is sustainable solution for syria yes why not because even the russian are saying that such is not in contradiction with the process is
complimentary but up to now we don't see the end in mind this crisis. of this crisis is easy and difficult at the same time because it relies on one point that is today a point of conflict which is the fate of mr assad that opened the way for that an addition period and this point no one up to now has been able to resolve and actually what there sochi order to mean far as long as it does not back to the core of this issue which is that there conflicting issue. so no such she or a notion eba or other process will reach a happy and ok mr ali the union member in geneva even would with the help of the international community the french the americans the british the. key players in
the gulf countries and also turkey the moment you got to the point of transitional period and the future of the country it's stalled because everyone was scared about the idea of another syria without bashar assad how can you convince the international community this time that a syria without bashar al assad is good for everyone. well the international community doesn't have a problem with that the problem really lies with russia itself had there been russian will towards implementing un security council resolutions be they the geneva communiqué or do solution to a two five four i think the geneva could have a chance how about i want to just refer back to what your guest from moscow are calling for most of the guardian a stunning stunning was meant to be a military and humanistic matter just for disk elation and for the
detainees to be released for a cease to be lifted and for aid to get to those missiles. and none of those goals were achieved as they intend they were intended to be unfortunately however russia wanted to use also the platform of a stana to politicize it when they introduced the constitution asserting constitution in one of the rounds and it was rejected and it found just a stunt to be to be not quite helpful in just going into that political track and that's why this matter was invented we can say that national dialogue was mentioned in two to five four but ask me who who is supposed to carry out such political dialogue it is the political transition body that is to be formed after a political transition takes place russia wants to find a political settlement for syria but not through these means and tools if it is really seriously and strategically determined to find
a solution it is not through these tactics or doing those three through ok through these means the second has to go into this thinks quite serious late and say well we need to find a put a political transition and we can carry on a political national dialogue inside syria rather in sochi or any other geneva can also find a chance. russia has good determined will do you think that the russians the turks and the iranians can sit together so that differences aside and work towards a comprehensive political settlement just by the conflicting agendas that in syria and in negotiations are better than their absence that's the first point secondly we already witness that in this over two thousand and seventeen russia to again iran has managed to reach certain agreements and reach certain successes in syria and i think it laid the quite solid foundation for their future. discussions
however as we already indicated in the beginning that the political track is even more complex and more complicated than the military one so here i won't. i would expect that the risk of increasing tensions between russia and iran russia in turkey is increasing and it's way bigger than during the materia. phase of the conflict as for the. the prospects that would also depend on how russia would push him pressure us it's government so death that the russia is interested in quite fast political resume lucian's because it needs to demonstrate its successes ok because if it will fail if it fails to deliver on its promises it its image as a capable partner which can keep its allies in syria in damascus in check would
would be damaged ok mr not elicit a little bit about one of the key players has been a little bit distancing itself from the syrian government which is the united states of america can the americans this time bring about a significant change to the course of this conflict. i mean definitely since the. administration came to power they invested more militarily in syria which is giving them today more leverage than they used to have before two thousand and sixteen. and but i think that the american approach towards syria or this. is more of a decentralized new ssion if we can put it in the stern as they are
trying to consolidate or to transform this area of the minute i ordered the escalation zation zone into empowering new administration counter and but this at the same time. doesn't offer a comprehensive solution. one that they into consideration they constitution and that and and the fate of mr assad and one major impediment i think to this lucian is we have we didn't we didn't talk about iran's role and giving that current international situation and that conflict which is increasing between the united states and iran between it and the iran could make . it very challenging in the years to come this is going to be my
last question you've lost significant ground you are undermined and divided how was the do you see yourself in the future just sitting with bashar assad negotiating the future of your country. well in the last you need a round the earth one we really wanted that to happen but there is run away from that because simply it has been all along determined for two to do to find a solution through military means which doesn't work however it talks about in the in the media about a political solution when in reality this doesn't suit it because talking about a political settlement means means the implementation of u.n. security council and they talk about political transition whether they are whether they want it or not thank you thank you very much indeed mr allawi the. clinic over there is the same you know the thank you for your friends and for your contribution
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