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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 359  Al Jazeera  December 26, 2018 3:32am-4:01am +03

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will stay shut down until he gets five billion dollars for his wall on the mexico border trumps the man for the wall has been rejected by democratic party rivals and some members of his own republican party in retaliation trumps refusing to sign a wider spending bill temporarily stripping funding from swaths of the government's . i can't tell you where the government's going to be open i can tell you it's not going to be open until we have a. sense whatever they'd like to call it i'll call it whatever they want. but it's all the same thing it's a barrier for people pouring into our company into our country eisel has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on libya as foreign ministry in the capital tripoli at least six people including three suicide bombers were killed the attackers began their assault with a car bomb then opened fire on the ministry to manage to get inside the building and blow themselves up twenty one people have been injured those are the latest
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headlines on al-jazeera inside story and coming up next. rebuilding syria seven years of war has devastated much of the country donald trump says saudi arabia is ready to pay for reconstruction but who will get the money and how will it be spent this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program. serious seven year war has transformed ancient
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cities into ghost towns entire neighborhoods wiped from the map schools and hospitals reduced to rubble along with just about everything else as the war seems to be coming to an end reconstruction is required on a grand scale the u.n. estimates it will cost at least two hundred and fifty billion dollars donald trump's a saudi arabia has agreed to help he tweeted saudi arabia has now agreed to spin the necessary money needed to help rebuild syria instead of the united states see isn't it nice when immensely wealthy countries help rebuild their neighbors rather than a great country the us that is five thousand miles away thanks to saudi a now here's more from rob reynolds. president trump's tweet prompted more questions than answers he didn't specify how much money saudi arabia would offer to rebuild syria when it would be given how it would be spent or most importantly who would receive
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the money well that's the big question is where exactly will this money go and i think that that obviously depends a lot on where saudi arabia wants it to go we can probably assume it's not going to go to the russians it's not going to go to the turks for where they're spending a lot on humanitarian aid for refugees it's going to go somewhere else and it may not go to the assad regime either and in october the saudi government delivered one hundred million dollars to the u.s. for syrian reconstruction but troops tweek seem to imply more money would now be forthcoming trump has frequently complained about u.s. expenditures abroad and berated allies like the nato countries in south korea for not spending enough on defense alternately he boasts about striking deals to save the u.s. money five hundred thirty three million dollars monday's friendly tweet thanking the saudis is symptomatic of trump's enthusiastic attitude toward the kingdom he
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shrugged off the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies that saudi crown prince mohammed bin some money most likely ordered the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi. trump said saudi arms purchases and its strategic partnership with the us outweighed international condemnation of the killing they see saudi arabia as a strategic partner in the region and trumpet certainly gone out maybe kind of on the fence to defend that strategic partners their ship and now he's saying look we are still committed to you now you've got to step up and do it needs to be done one thing is certain after seven years of a devastating civil war that is still under way an estimated half a million people killed and about five million syrians forced to flee their country syrians badly need vast amounts of aid whether they will get it and from whom
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remain unanswered questions robert oulds al jazeera washington. all right let's bring in our panel joining us here in doha ibrahim pretty hot associate professor of conflict resolution at the doha institute from washington d.c. richard white's director of the center for political military analysis and a senior fellow at the hudson institute and from moscow nicholai circle of assistant professor at the moscow state institute of foreign relations welcome to the program ibrahim let me start with you based on this tweet from u.s. president donald trump do you believe any kind of agreement about reconstruction in syria has actually been reached between trump and the saudis well this in fact their minds me with his statements that he was talking goal was about building a war with mexico and mexico will pay for it saw this is seems to be a pattern where he's volunteering others you know to finance them projects and this
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seems to be the case as well here because first of all we have not had any statements any comments from saudi arabia saudi arabia is not in a position. to finance our reconstruction reconstruction process in syria first of all because reconstruction of syria for saudi arabia means one major thing which is that a move all of the iranian influence from syria which is not going to happen because iran has invested so far seven years military finance and the troops on the ground it's not going to influence for money and for that reason that's the only thing that saudi arabia would be an incentive for so that it to finance and to pay for the reconstruction process there is no political settlement there is no political agreement that has been breached between the parties which would allow saudi arabia
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to pay for this and the other major problem actually when we talk about funding any construction process in syria we're talking about the most conservative numbers two hundred to three hundred billion dollars saudi arabia does not have the money to pay not even fractions of this one and dual which is more important to be taken into consideration in terms of saudi arabia's preordered it is yemen refund the financing the because structure process in yemen is saudi arabia's number one priority yemen is saudi arabia's war it's not the kids in syria and for saudi arabia to pay for yemen it becomes more of a creative syria which is not the case here and as he's talking about a nickel a let me go to you i saw you nodding along as ibrahim was talking about the economic situation in saudi arabia and whether or not saudi arabia would actually
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have the money to pay for reconstruction in syria what are your views on that. well i agree that the price of the reconstruction will be huge at least two hundred billion dollars and that will require participation of many countries. well the saudi participation will be definitely welcome but will well the europeans will have to participate well the iranians will have to participate the russians everybody who is engaged in this conflict will have to invest in the future of syria otherwise the country will remain in ruins so my expectation is that this eldest will provide some money but not even. well unlike it's unlikely that they will give more than ten billion dollars and they have other destinations not only yemen but also the egypt which needs support there is jordan which needs support well so so many issues and so many things to pay for so i recall the
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experience of iraq when the come the countries of the region and the western governments they discussed. the reconstruction of iraq even then they couldn't collect more than twenty billion dollars so i don't expect that there will be. the saudi money will make a real difference even if they even if they are prepared to pay this money and besides right now there are sanctions against syria and no one can really come in and invest money in syria and there is a question of who will distribute the money while the saudi is as far as i can judge are ready to work with the cause with the current government at least for the transitional period but i seriously doubt that they will give money to assad they will wait until the reason you government if there is any new government in syria and other countries especially the europeans will act likewise the only potential
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in the. the only potential donors for syria at the current stage are the iranians because they don't fear the sanctions the have are already under the sanctions and they will get the major share while others will well known to have to follow richard the reaction to these latest tweets from donald trump in washington d.c. must be one of absolute bafflement right. it hasn't received a lot of attention i mean the the u.s. has been focused more on the wall issue closure of the government and so on i think that america can really add to their i thought was very good analysis of society resources saudi motivations but i think what what is clear is that president trump does not want to pay for the reconstruction of syria and so whether it's saudi arabia the europeans or some other group but he doesn't want the u.s. to do that and that's in line with his general foreign policy that the u.s.
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should concentrate on challenges at home such as immigration and other issues and other countries closer to the region the conflict just in the lead role at least in the reconstruction of not the combat there ibrahim saudi arabia has for so long said that. must no longer be the president of syria if they were to go along with this does that mean that they have now accepted a reality in which bashar assad remains the president of syria it's extremely important to understand the real position of so there would be on syria saudi arabia does not have a problem with the assad regime saudi arabia has a problem with the iranian influence in syria so if the assad regime is to accept. syria a country of free of iranian influence saudi arabia would come with the most generous amount in order to finance the reconstruction process in syria but that's not but that's very unlikely because the us of the g.m.
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does not have the authority to remove they allowed them influence from syria and it's unlikely that he wants to do so at this moment because it's still his country is not stable that he wants to keep his close allies iran and russia close to him so that. even again the problem is that even if. axe. for an iranian influence to be removed from syria then saudi arabia how much of that it was going to the tribune i remember when the reconstruction process in yemen after that said after the g.m. was removed and stepped down the international community was able to fund that is about six billion dollars saudi contribution of the time was one billion dollars so yemen is a national priority
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a national security brevity for saudi arabia and we're talking about one to two billion how much is going to pay on how much this is going to contribute towards two hundred to three hundred billion dollars in syria that's almost nothing and for that reason i think who is able to neutralize the iranian influence in syria is russia is not the united states is not. saudi arabia either and with that with the russia is a prepared to neutralize the iranian influence in syria i don't think so not at this stage because i think russia still needs iran to balance with with the united states and with israel especially because the relationship with israel where send after the downing of the russian fighter jet. in in syria and russia blamed all been the and directly. israel for this saw russia can use the iranian
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card in syria and for that reason i think we're talking about iran staying for the moment which means no money from saudi nicholai let me ask you to expand upon what abraham was saying there he was talking about iran's role in syria and whether or not russia would be ok with iran continuing to have their footprint in syria what do you say to that well russia has taken a pragmatic stance we understand that without the iranian support and without the pro iranian. groups it would be it would be possible to defeat the opposition because the ratio of troops is ten to one day iranians are providing all the ground troops while russia is providing air support for the government so russia and iran at least at the current stage are allies and working together so russia cannot cannot or we know this war for the government the government of syria cannot win this war without the iranian support and besides russia is not though is not
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the one to decide who will stay in syria and who will leave this is only this is the prerogative of the syrian government if the syrian government is strong enough i think president assad will be interested in limiting the iranian influence because the majority of the syrians are not happy about the the scale of the iranian influence right now about the iranian bases in syria so but for that or you need a strong central government only the strong central government could do this not not even russia because russia is now. try to balance between iran which is a valuable ally and between israel which is also an important partner for russia not only in the middle east but on the global scale so russia will not. begin a confrontation with iran but russia can support the central government and the circular goal of central government and remove the iranians if they choose to
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because i remember quite well the experience of the previous president hafez a lawsuit here who was also a cup or a tin with the iranians but he was always very cautious and he or here always maintained his maintained his autonomy he was never dependent on aunt to her and so i think his son bashar assad will follow this example as soon as he has the opportunity richard there has been mounting concern to be expressed from u.s. lawmakers as to president trump's moves when it comes to syria his decision to pull u.s. troops from syria. will congress in the u.s. be able to do anything to counter this or should we expect this to play out the way trump has said it will play out there's not much congress can do and as far as i understand it he's the orders are even made to withdraw those forces i mean one of
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the arguments against the withdrawal was that the troops provided the u.s. with some leverage over the issues we're discussing so if there are two thousand troops in syria then russia iran and the syrian government need to have come to some accommodation with the united states to get them removed and the thinking was we would the u.s. would bargain that for we docked in the iranian presence and so on without that the only leverage the u.s. really has are the pos prospects of reconstruction aid which we've now excluded and then you know ability to veto resolutions in the u.n. and so on so that was one of the concerns. people had about what rob but i think it's going to occur i mean there's not much the president has the authority as commander in chief to order the troops to leave and congress can can sometimes block measures but it's more it would more be cutting off fines for deployments already occurred not ordering troops back into the field they just don't have that authority it bring in from your point of view from your vantage point here in the
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region what is the reaction in the halls of power in the arab world to all of this well you know that the political situation in the arab world as in top of the sorry . your silverware out of there is the arab league is not in a position to make any decision or anything and let's not forget that actually be a major crisis political crisis that. saudi arabia has with the. assassination of jamal khashoggi that probably the trouble is capitalizing on this because the saudi regime of the moment is in the most vulnerable position probably since two thousand and one since september eleventh so sound at a bit of this at this moment is not able to engage in this. struggle in the region because again it's its image of consideration as to how to
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end this political crisis which by the way a charm but mr shin has used very well with that in terms of. trying to build relations and build deals and make autumn sales and supporting does the saudi regime so the saudi him is vulnerable but i don't think that this is going to reach to a point where. it is willing to finance a huge task like that he financing of the reconstruction in syria so for the. even if they want they don't have the money to do with a nickel at this stage with russia playing such an outsized role in syria any reconstruction effort that goes ahead would have to be coordinated closely with the russian government would it not well not necessarily first of all any reconstruction effort must be carbonated where the government is now in damascus
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because they're the ones who control the situation on the ground russia the russian military made certain assessments about the vital infrastructure that has to be revealed at the first stage and russian troops are doing lots of work for example demining the territories liberated from the isis how it was in the it was happening in desert for example so the demining work is in progress some communitarian it is provided but the rest will must because break it with the government russia doesn't have enough. personnel military personnel to be present everywhere so russia is more a is. playing it more visible an important role in the south for example on the border with damascus or one the border with israel on the blue in the southern areas so there probably is some carbonation will be necessary but still the first. place. but then shall donors have to go to ease damascus and to coordinate with the
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government so this is the shit russia will definitely a welcome any kind of support because. here in moscow there is there are very intensive discussions about the future of syria about how to bring back stability and oh it is clear that without have been the infrastructure without to build into houses without creating jobs for the syrian it wouldn't be possible to reach a sustainable peace in the country and this is the most urgent matter but at the current stage will we don't see. see a solution we don't see any potential donors and even russian companies can't cannot operate in syria freely because of the severe international sanctions which are still in place the sanctions against the regime so even russian companies can't go to syria to rebuild the oil wells the oil fields we can't help the syrian city
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in rebuilding their gym for structure electricity so this is a huge problem only several ogust small steps are being taken small sometimes russian. engineers can help rebuild to restore electricity supplies sometimes we can help in rebuilding a hospital or a school but this is the only thing you know we can do at the current stage and clearly russia wants to engage other international donors for the reconstruction of syria because russia cannot do it on its own richard a one point this past year it was reported that president trump. had an idea that perhaps saudi arabia and other arab countries could send their troops into syria to help secure it obviously there's a lot more questions than answers right now when it comes to his tweets but do you think that he might still be of this same mindset or is he simply seeking saudi arabia to put money into the reconstruction effort in syria right i haven't seen
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anything about you know this idea of having a pan arab force that would go into syria to balance turkey and particularly iran in the last few months i think that idea is not being actively pursued i think his mindset now is get the you out us out of this math as quickly as possible simple out the troops don't get involved in reconstruction and force other countries to take up the slack so i think that you know that's that the u.s. price here is never seen a major priority for the ministration in the way for example ran in korea was and i suspect that it will fall even further in the next year. ibrahim we only have two minutes left but i want to the last word here saudi arabia of course has not yet reacted to these tweets by president trump do you expect that they will. well we have seen a pattern actually that they lit these statements. you know not making it up make
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any comments i think it's about time because once you make these statements there should be something coming out so that it which hasn't happened so far and again let's remember that saudi is in a very vulnerable situation now because its major priority is how to end the political crisis of jamal khashoggi the killing of him. they're not in a position to go all plainly and count the. statements make contradictory as they advance them because they need him they need he's the only one who's supporting the saudi regime the moment with regard to the. you know the issue where the. where the the pressure is in the congress is a huge so far it's not that and just for now is to clash openly or on a twitter account to send the different twitters you don't think it helps them at all to come out and say someone know it helps them to come out and say something
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but i don't think it's likely that they're go into and if we have some think it's going to be probably like shy statements about indicting things because they found themselves in this situation of being vulnerable in relation with who is the only one who is supporting that him of the moment all right well we're going to leave it there we run out of time selling q thanks to all our guests ibrahim for had richard which waits and nicholai circle and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is at a.j. inside story from him coming from doing the whole team here by phone or. i.
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my main fish every leaking new cycle going to see any simple breaking stories and then of course there's donald trump told through the eyes of the louts jan an ace that's right out of a hamas script that calls for the annihilation of israel that is not what that phrase means at all listening post as we turn the cameras on the media and focus on how they recruit on the stories that matter the most in bad news a free palestine are they listening on al-jazeera. the democratic republic of congo is finally heading to the polls off the road to yet the lady who will be announced the winner of this already controversial
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different. this is. your world headlines have responded with live fire on a day of government demonstrations president called traitors as they try to march on the presidential palace in the capital. there demanding after twenty nine years in power. is there.

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