tv Dateline London BBC News September 18, 2017 3:30am-4:01am BST
looking into alleged crimes by myanmar‘s security forces against rohingya muslims. the un has warned myanmar‘s leader, aung san suu kyi, she has one last chance to end the military offensive that has forced 400,000 rohingyas to flee. a third night of protests is under way in the american city of st louis following the acquittal earlier this week of a white former police officer who killed a black man in 2011. the demonstration began peacefully, but police say some protesters have turned violent. kulsoom nawaz, the wife of the ousted pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif, has won a by—election that was triggered when he stood down after being disqualified from public office. unofficial results show she had a comfortable win in her husband's heartland of lahore, to claim parliamentary seat. now on bbc news, it is time for dateline london. welcome to dateline london.
this week, aung san suu kyi and donald trump, two leaders comprising and confronting their leaders. in iraq and syria, how is the fight really going against the group that calls itself islamic state? my guests, the founder of the first rough draft of history pod cast. the director of the afghan journalist network. the sudanese writer. and the director of the think tank the institute for government. welcome to you all. aung san suu kyi, prisoner of conscience for years, the gently persuasive campaigner who helped bring a peaceful end to myanmar‘s decades of military dictatorship. why is she so reluctant to speak out against a military operation seen by many as bordering on ethnic cleansing?
the de facto leader of myanmar will read a state address this week. how will she deal with this particular issue? i would be surprised if she said a lot more to condemn this than she has already. she's pulled back from doing that. even though the un and human rights chief has explicitly called this ethnic cleansing. the military crackdown on the rohingya population. she does not want to use the word rohingya. she really has gone with the majority population, saying that they foreign interlopers into the country. but some of them have lived theirfor decades. exactly.
she is not doing what any government should do to my mind, which is protect the people, it governs. she is hiding behind violence on both sides. why? is she afraid of a popular backlash. is she afraid of the military? the military are driving this. either of those reasons, it seems to me, is not enough excuse for what she is doing. so we have the spectacle. this person has been a hero. winner of the 1991 nobel peace prize. she might lose that reputation in a matter of weeks. but i would be surprised if she went a lot further in this coming statement because she has since shown so little willingness to do so. it's intriguing, in the light of that, rex tillerson was saying this week, we must support aung san suu kyi. in a sense, this fear in some capitals that if not her, then who? if not her, then the window opened up into this country would close. what i worry about with rex tillerson is that he is still trying
to create a state department in exon's own image. his chief skill is not one of diplomacy, but one of being a ceo. that is were almost all of this mental energy has gone. i'm not sure i always take at face value these statements. but you are on top of this. if somebody like aung san suu kyi goes to new york, where she will have lots of contact inside with people from the un, people she knew from the decades when she was under house arrest and living in miserable conditions in myanmar herself. is there any room, do you think, for her mind, not to be changed in a speech, but into being guided towards a more responsible position on this? the might. and i believe she has pulled out of the un general assembly meeting.
but you are right, that would have been the opportunity to make the point to her. as leader of a government, even a fragile one, it's your responsibility to do this. secondly, other governments could help and put pressure on the military. the military in myanmar is like the military in many of these countries, it is the business, it runs lots of companies, there are ways to put pressure on it. they could persuade the military to give ground to the openings of democracy. there would be room for that conversation. but not now. it's an extremely sad affair. i have worked in the human rights? i have fought for democracy in my country. freedom and so on. what seems to be happening here is, this ladyjust fooled the world. it tells me more about how the world and the west sees what democracy is. painting her as a secular saint.
yes, you are easily fooled. easier person coming i am a democrat, i am fighting for human rights, without digging deeper to see this person is generally like that, you support her. that explains to me why the west makes a lot of mistakes. even in africa. even my country, supporting a dictator, when we are fighting for human rights, they are supporting a president who stayed there for 31 years, people, and so on. even winners of the so—called nobel peace prize this to be careful next time. people could have changed this lady's view. she says she will look after these people, and so on. she would be fooling people. we need to see the difference between who is a human rights
fighter, a proper credible one. i am not here to defend her on this particular thing, but she did fight for human rights. she was. that does not make it a record of deceit. it is simply she was transformed up... like she did, and shout about, i want human rights and freedom for my country. the only way you can charge it is when i come to power and i practice that democracy and freedom. but she isn't doing that. what is administrative is the difference between when somebody is in opposition when somebody is in government. i think she is in a difficult position not to defend. she's in a difficult position because it is not an unpopular cause, the rohingya case, and people believe that the country started it, there was militant attacks... there were militant attacks, but it is a history of long—standing persecution. it is this disproportionality of response. so journalist and western leaders
tend to think of these situations come in terms of international pressure. but there's also a lot of domestic pressure on her, as well. there is no point her throwing herself onto the fire and losing her support. it is about having fear of what the military will do to her. she's peddling the militaristic... this is where other governments could help. does she want to stand by the principles that she stood for? you know? also a very important fact is how she is posturing for her domestic support, as well. she used the phrase fake news, which was disappointing. but also the calling card of the populist's address. is there a sense in which perhaps we have got here because of image projection? is there a sense that we never properly understood what kind of thing she believed in?
herfather was a burmese nationalist. he helped to found the state. perhaps we misunderstood what she stood for? not tragically in the sense she was completely misunderstood. but there are situations where families are legacy political families. where they uphold a lot of the fundamentally problematic nation—building principles. there have been examples in history. in pakistan, for example, she was seen as a well—educated person, she was not seen as an extension of a family that upheld corruption principles in the country. there is a similar kind of thing happening. and we need to learn lessons about who we support in the future. exactly. but even with western leaders, kissinger, 0bama who had got
in before doing anything. maybe it should be given on a basis, if you do not deliver, we should take it back? the west should not be the one to say, and that is the problem. the west supports you, and gives some sort of democracies to your country. no. she should be working for her people. i fought for democracy, i continue to do that, and human rights after. it isn't about the west. i don't believe in the west right now. because one day they are supporting a dictator, another day they are supporting a human rights person. pick and choose, it is wrong. let's move onto another subject which has possibly dropped out of the headlines but is still an important ongoing story and sabah in a sense. it's been going on in terms of the fight back towards the that calls itself islamic state
for more than a year, and it has been losing more and more of what constitutes that statement. it is a process you have been watching for many months now. how do we know it is working, and at what price is this war being waged? we don't know yet. there have been two big defeats for isis in iraq and syria. raqqah is under siege. there have been attacks in iraq recently. shia pilgrims were killed. in syria, isis militants are laying landmines and attacking civilians as they leave. and another major town in iraq, something similar is happening. isis have lost their big flagship cities. that does not mean that two things are not happening. there is a vacuum being created now isis has gone. most of these hinterlands
are not governable. isis leaving town does not mean pockets of them do not exist, i go back to my original two points, the second thing which is going on is that there are now three parties, arab league, sort of soldiers, and they are inflicting heavy civilian casualties as well as people fleeing cities like raqqa. all eyes are acting against isis, they are causing casualties, and there were also casualties being inflicted by isis. when people say isis looks like it is on the wane, all i see is it is getting far messier and less concentrated. civilian casualties continue unabated. does not mean the fighters are giving up. i do not think there was a strategy.
the military level, i hate this word, it was invented during the iraq invasion of 2003, degrading, we are degrading isis. the old city of mosul was degraded along with it. that is what is going on in raqqa. russia is involved. america is involved. turkey, over the border, a nato ally, it was announced that they are buying russian high—tech computers and military equipment. where is the organisation at the top?
there isn't any at the top. at the bottom there are people who are, you know, the fighting continues as before, except isis is being pushed out. and it is leading the way into other places. as mentioned, they canjump on any pilgrimage site in this shia part of iraq if it wishes. but can it rule anything? can it make inroads anywhere? they are claiming this idiot bombing yesterday. the one which took place in london. thankfully nobody was killed. almost every incident is claimed. whether they have organised it, more likely they are an inspiration for it. part of their propaganda has been able to do that, to create this. and the more there is pressure on them, raqqa and other places, the more they want to claim they are behind atrocities all over the place.
we have just been hearing what happens when they do pull back. there is this vacuum. will it be the formation of the shia crescent we have been hearing about for ages? the arc of arabian shia influence going from iran to lebanon. there gets to be more space with that kind of thing. that is the folly in some of the rhetoric we are getting from america in the moment. i think history is repeating itself. we are going back to the days when you overthrow the iraqi leader, saddam hussein, and what counts as mayhem. in libya you overthrow the gaddafi regime and there was mayhem. it will be defeated in iraq and syria. it would be taken away. but where next? if i was advised by people in africa right now,
in those traditional days we would say get your spears... start guarding the borders of africa. next it will be africa. they are coming. these guys, you can defeat them one place, they will go somewhere else. as we saw happening in mali. the world has not learnt its lesson. we are fighting this terrible thing right now. what comes next? have you had anybody, united nations, america, britain, anyone, talking about what they are planning for syria afterwards? isis, as you said correctly, or al-qaeda for that matter, came about because of what happened. you overthrow saddam hussein. everybody who used to be in the office of saddam hussein must be persecuted in the civil service.
those are the people who went to join al-qaeda. those are the people who have been setting up 70%, 80% of isis right now in iraq. are we addressing any of those issues? at the moment we are saying we are fighting them. we will worry about that tomorrow, yes. they are already in somalia, north africa, and so on. i agree with you in one respect. the american funded, for example, for the county isis campaign is 20, 30 times fold what has been earmarked in iraq for the post isis rebuilding. and supporting the liberal processes. but we must go one step before the iraqi us invasion. the problem with places like iraq and syria is that the different disparate groups, in syria, as well, with all of the different tribes and ethnicities and minorities, have all been pushed under the surface by long—standing dictators. that's how we got into the situation in the first place.
we got into the situation because saddam hussein has inflicted an artificial uniformity on iraq for decades. bashar al—assad is doing the same now. there was a relevant question, what happens after the invasion is, but what i think is a more original sin is the complacency when these dictators are in place in the first place. and not understanding centuries of instability that will interview. that comes back to the point i was making earlier, because we have taken off colonialism, we cannot do that any more. we cannot impose and bring order with it. now you have to figure out what does russia or america, or the turks, in the region actually want? they cannot agree on when to have a cup of coffee. consequently you have this endless war going on. every time you think you have got this far put out,
it merely spreads over here. isis may disappear. it could be some ultra—sunni..... we are doing it now. we are creating situations now. if you see the support of the us and the west for the saudi arabian monarchy, which completely suppresses shi'ite people. there is right, right circumstances for a group like isis to develop if something goes wrong there. the us could have done more to acknowledge that the sunni minority is being clobbered. the bottom line is about democracy. if you keep having, sorry to say, middle east is exactly like africa. in africa we have dictators and so on.
in uganda we have them. it does not matter whether you destroy one group like isis today. 0r take off one leader. saddam hussein. if the foundations are to do with lack of democracy. you cannot... the russians, you know, while i condemn the west in their approaches, the russians, as well. let's have this syrian man, he has to be there, but he is not a democrat in the first place. that's why his people are trying to agitate for some rights. we try to now ask these people to organise. we will not get that answer. it is a mess. donald trump did say he is a deal—maker. after apparently a convivial meeting at the white house the us president cut a deal with his opponents, the democrats.
—— if that wasn't enough of a shock for his fellow republicans, it was on the subject of illegal immigration. an issue many in his party felt strongly about and one of the reasons they voted for him in the first place. they could be breathing space for 190,000 people who came to the country as children and now have families and jobs of their own. they were facing deportation because of a decision the us president made himself. michael, you are back from the us, is the job changing donald trump? no. i think general kelly is changing the way things happen in the white house. don't forget, general kelly is tough and managed to force out steve bannon, the dark lord, who sits on the left short of donald trump and whispers bad things in his ear, forced out of the white house. he was primarily a bridge to the republicans. a very ineffective bridge he was. i don't think there is much change going on. you don't think this is strategic,
this isn't a clever decision? no. with donald trump you cannot ascribe. i'm not being flippant here, you cannot ascribe too much logic what happens. the man is exactly as he seems. as he seemed when he started running, as he seemed when he first burst onto the new york real estate scene in the 1980s. he is a mount everest of social pathology with a feral, and this is important, i am not being flippant, he has a feral instinct for self—preservation. he isn't getting what he wants out of the republican leadership. they have given him no help at all. they haven't been able to repeal and replace 0bamacare, for example. they haven't come up with a decent tax plan. what will he do? he needs a victory.
he reaches out to chuck schumer, the leader of the democrats in the senate, and their leader in the house of representatives. they are old hands. they are seasoned political game players. he cuts this deal. but what is it? have you seen a signature? it has to get through congress. it may never come to pass. the democrats are the minority party in congress. this panel instinct you talk about, it is a powerful thing for a president to have and it would help his political life. but will it achieve what he wants? is there just a danger that it weakens the republican leadership, irritate the republicans, and then the democrats get annoyed because they cannot get what they want? they are pulling people from both parties. it has confounded his own party, if we can still call it that. as michael said, this instinct for survival, it doesn't lead to anything resembling a coherent plan. it doesn't need a plan like the one he campaigned on.
but it mayjust get him some victories. the ground he is conceding, we're not even sure if he wants to build the wall. there was no greater symbol of his campaign, nothing that was more vigorously charged than build the wall. now it is repair the fence. we don't know what's coming out of it. ruthless isn't the word, absolutely instinctive in reaching for support and for his sense of what makes a deal. we are beginning to see that that isn't the same as clinching the deal. will this deal lead to a changing of other people's attitudes towards him? i am very sceptical. i don't believe in america any more in terms of americans being able to make wise decisions about democracy. if they could put a man like trump in power, who are they? but it is the epitome of democracy
that somebody like him could win. in africa we have all of these demagogues, you know. for me, trump is like a gaddafi over america. not because he kills. but this egomaniac. he wants to be in the media all the time. he is thinking about what he can say the next day to capture the attention of the media. i cannot believe the americans have kept him in power up until today. that will change. idi amin and gaddafi were not really interested in the media. he's finding it difficult to do it on separation of powers where people can call or block your shots. i don't think he cares,
long as he gets to stay as president and do his thing. i agree with michael that there is this almost childlike need by the american press to ascribe some sort of logic and coherence to trump. every other day we hear is this the time, is he becoming presidential, do we begin to see the method behind the madness? and itjust isn't the deal. even his efforts on raqqa, they said it was the art of the deal, not the art of the meal. the democrats came to him with the deal and he said ok, there was no negotiation about it. you cannot appreciate how on a daily basis trump is being persuaded by whoever is in his ear. maybe on that morning somebody said to him... this is the point about general
kelly, fewer people are getting in his ear. i'm sure he has one of trump's three private cellphone numbers to call. the thing is, we look at trump and trump and trump, don't lose sight of the fact that the republican party is no longer a party. it is a faction. interesting point. we don't quite know yet how those factions may reshape themselves before there was another presidential election. thank you forjoining us this week. monday morning will be misty and murky to start.
quite chilly. it will improve. sunshine will clear the mist. a northerly breeze around eastern coast of england. showers inland. many of us avoiding them all together. a heavy one is possible with hail and thunder. cooler with the breeze. 0vernight, monday night on the tuesday, this system goes south across the east of the country, clearing away on the early hours of tuesday, leaving another chilly start to the day. a touch of frost in the countryside. after that chilly start with mist and fog first thing, tuesday looks decent. largely dry across the board. temperatures, a degree or so warmer, 14— 18. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers
in north america and around the globe. our top stories: the un warns of a horrible tragedy for rohingya muslims, and says myanmar has one last chance to halt the offensive against them. we have a special report from the refugee camps. the chances are the military operation inside myanmar is reaching its natural end. as far as the burmese military is concerned, these people are a historical problem that's now been fixed. the governing party in pakistan celebrates after the wife of the ousted prime minister nawaz sharif wins a by—election in his political heartland. the uk terror threat level is reduced from critical to severe as a second man is arrested after a bomb attack on a london tube train.