tv Dateline London BBC News March 17, 2019 2:30am-3:01am GMT
this is bbc world news. in the christchuch terrorist attack has risen to 50. 35 people remain in hospital. i'm sharanjit leyl in christchurch. 13 are in critical condition. our top stories: new zealand's prime ministerjacinda 50 people are confirmed dead ardern has met islamic leaders and members of the islamic in the attack on two mosques in new zealand. 13 people remain in critical community in wellington. she's pledged to tighten the country's gun laws, condition in hospital. and is set to make a statement shortly. a 28—year—old australian man has crowds have gathered in christchurch to pay their respects and lay flowers. been charged with murder. french president emmanuel macron has cut short a holiday new zealand's prime minister, to hold an emergency meeting jacinda ardern, has met members in paris after yellow vest of the islamic community in wellington. protesters attacked shops and set she's pledged to tighten fire to a bank in the city. the interior minister described some the country's gun laws. this is the scene in new zealand, of the protesters as "ultra violent" and "looking for trouble." in wellington, where she's expected to make a statement shortly. live from the parliament building. we'll bring that to you live. i'm reged ahmad in london. also in the programme: president macron has condemned now on bbc news, dateline london. violent protests by yellow vest protestors in paris.
hello and welcome to dateline london. i'm carrie gracie. this week... has the world been neglecting white supremacists while busy worrying about radical islamists? where will is fighters go after the end of their so—called caliphate? and a fortnight till brexit day?. and a fortnight till brexit day... zombie or phoenix? it?s another crunch week for theresa may?s brexit deal. my guests today — abdul bari atwan, a writer on arab affairs. stephanie baker, a senior writerfor bloomberg. maria margaronis of the nation and ian birrell, reporter and commentator for the mail on sunday. welcome to you all. "muslims are invaders intent on replacing the white majority." so reads a monologue of hate posted online by brenton tarrant,
the man facing murder charges in new zealand after friday's mosque killings. islamophobia — is it a mirror image of the hate message that drivesjihadi terror? maria, why don't you start us off? in some ways, you could say there are things in common between these two movements in the way people are radicalised through the internet, social media, the way they are getting to disaffected people for all reasons, especially the young but we have to be careful talking about mirrors because the way these things are talked about is very different. white supremacist attacks have been credited to lone actors in america, butjihadi terror is always seen as a worldwide conspiracy and you have to think about the difference. you can trace the white supremacist all the way back to colonialism and the aryan myth and more recently tojim crow and the american south, the book the great replacement
which was referred to by the shooter in new zealand, the title of his manifesto as part of a very sense of white anxiety and threat all over the west. i think they are very different even though some of the methods of radicalisation are the same. ian, you have come back from iraq and syria and talked to a lot of the partners of fighters who have been there in those is territories, what is your sense of how careful we need to be about using the word mirror or whether it is useful to think about similarities? there are issues about the type of person drawn to the sort of extremism particularly foreigners joining in the middle east. how do they get radicalised? what are the methods, what person becomes attracted? i think there are lessons to learn there which have mirrors on both sides, equally what is happening
in the middle east is very clearly to do with local politics as well and that is very different to these sorts of issues we are seeing. the other thing that is very clear is i do not think islamophobia is taken seriously enough as an issue. baroness warsi famously said it is the acceptable form of racism at dinner parties. who was a minister for the conservative government. i think there is an acceptability of it, tolerance of it, we see it in the media with commentators basically being racist or extremely bigoted and they are tolerated. we see it in the discussion going on, the way it's used in technology and i think regardless of the causes we need to be far tougher and more cautious and careful about stopping this sort of anti—islamic language and inflammatory stuff going on because whilst people
making those statements are not necessarily to blame, they are creating a climate which can allow nasty extremism to faster and some inadequates to take this sort of horrendous action. bari. i do agree but i would like to drag your attention to a very important development, anti—islamism, islamophobia used to be expressed verbally and now we are at a new stage, using arms, killing against muslims. this is a huge development. this could actually drag us to another counter revenge. this will play to the hands of radical muslim organisations — if they storm our mosque and kill our people so we are justified to go and storm their churches and kill the people. this is the danger. islamophobia used to be in social media only but now there are people carrying guns or five guns and storming two mosques
and killing 50 people. it is a precedent. if we don't actually counter this, it is the responsibility of the whole international community not only the muslim community, or the new zealand community or government, it is extremely dangerous. the fact that was live streamed on friday, the first attack, it is possible people have uploaded that video despite the efforts of social media companies to take it down, the fact it could be spreading through those communities who might be radicalised by watching it. definitely. it was live coverage of the killing on social media, not an isolated incident. it seems there is some sort of group, organisation behind this so actually this trend is strengthening and going to increase the social media, they ignored this. when we talked about islamophobia for example we know how many incidents take place against the jews but we never
heard a huge campaign against islamophobia, started on the top level by trump. he was the first one to say muslims are not allowed. now there are books, programmes. there is now live coverage, it is getting very serious. stephanie. two things. one is the role of the tech giants on this, this was the first mass shooting that was live streamed and facebook says it took action to try to shut down very quickly but facebook is making billions of dollars, an incredibly
profitable company, they have put thousands of people to try to monitor the stuff but they can do more and they ought to be under pressure to do much more. some of the posts were on his facebook page for two years and nothing was done. he did mention trump in an online manifesto and i think the role of trump in this is really worrying. that is a question for mainstream politicians, to what extent is some of this being mainstreamed? obviously not violent terrorism but to some extent are the ideas related? i think it is being mainstreamed in so far as trump's response was so weak and reflects his lack of leadership. he did not condemn the attack, he said there was no some global he did not condemn the attack, he said there was not some global movement of right—wing extremism. instead of condemning it, he just expressed his warmest sympathies and best wishes. he did express condolences. but not mentioning muslims.
it was not a strong forceful condemnation that you have seen from other world leaders. that is viewed almost as de facto approval of it. he needs to be condemning it in much stronger terms. he didn't use the word terrorism, he avoided that completely. to pay condolences is something but as if it was a normal accident, not a political one. this is the problem here, because he is encouraging these right wing groups directly or indirectly, this is the danger. muslim worlds are watching. saying, why, for example where there is an incident of terrorism it is islamic, but when somebody storms a mosque and kills 50 people we did not hear the word terrorism. yet, this question of double standards, this is a mirror in a way. we see some double standards in the muslim world
as well on ideology. it is also important to notice that islamophobia is used in local politics as well. we are seeing it all over europe, in france, in a way with brexit and i was recently in poland where there was a march supposedly to commemorate soldiers fighting against the communists in which one of the chants was not atheist, not islamic, polish catholic. what is that about? these movements are being sheltered by the ruling law and justice party in poland. and in hungary a leader presents himself as the leader of the judaeo—christian fightback. let's contrast with trump's behaviour with george bush after 9/11, where he was far from being the perfect president but he did at least go out and reach to muslim communities in america and made a passionate and strong powerful statement about embracing muslim people as part of america.
that is the sort of thing we just do not see. we have to move on. our next issue is related. let?s turn to another front line in this battle against hate, in this case a physical front line, because in 2014, the militantjihadi group isis declared a caliphate, or islamic state, in syria and iraq. at the height of its rule, it imposed its brutal ideology on an area perhaps almost as large as the uk. it attracted thousands of supporters from abroad. five years later, is territory
shrunk to a village close to the border between syria and iraq and many of its fighters and their families have surrendered to american—backed forces. president trump has declared what he called 100% victory. but is this the end for the group orjust the end for its significant physical base? ian, you have just been to these areas, what is your view? it is absolutely not the end of the group. in 2008, 2009, after the american surge isis was down to 800 fighteres, it's estimated. fighters, it's estimated. now they have 20 to 30,000 fighters. five years later, they were coming into iraq and taking its second city. it is a defeat for the physical territory, thogh they still control it is a defeat for the physical territory, though they still control large areas, still three million people in idlib, with perhaps 50,000 quite extreme fighters who are allied to isis. and still a lot of things going on where isis are on the ground, moving into villages at night to get money and weapons and food. particularly in front line areas. so the idea it is finished is ludicrous, but also you need to look at the conditions behind it,
the shia militias are on the rampage. i was in mosul where there were stories of them terrorising defeated sunni villages. it is inevitably going to have a backlash. i heard of one family told me a neighbour came back from work, he works for the iraqi government in baghdad and found his family had been slaughtered and they had written in blood on the walls it will be your turn next. all sorts of things going on, houses and schools destroyed, nojobs, no hospitals and it is such fertile terrain to see the same sort of backlash and we in the west tend to see always isis purely through the prism of extreme religion and ideology, but of course it bubbled up from very deep politics. and the people involved in its foundations, as bari has written in his very good book on it, were saddam's leading military people and all the conditions are there for it to come back, it may not be isis itself but the idea this is over is ridiculous and every single person told me thatm from american is ridiculous and every single person told me that, from american security through to local kurdish politicians to all the people on the ground. some peoplejust laughed when i said isis was gone. you have been watching
this for years. i agree with ian completely, it is the end of a phase at the start of a new one. when i say, ok, islamic caliphate is finished overground, but it will start the next phase which is under the ground. this phase is more dangerous because to run a state of nine million people, you need to take care of electricity, water, education, health and you need money. but when you get rid of this burden and go back to plan b, which al-qaeda adopted, which is terrorism, this is extremely dangerous. the last message from isis leadership to their supporters or followers saying that now you have to turn to terrorism. this was just about three days ago. so it is extremely dangerous here. the other things i would like to say, isis' ideology would not disappear. why? because, first, there were nine million people under their rule, those people were educated, indoctrinated and brainwashed so they would not go away easily.
the other point is the reason isis emerged, which is i believe many reasons here, the incubator in particular is there. there is marginalisation, humiliation, the lack of good governance. the reasons isis emerged, there is marginalisation, there is humiliation, the lack of good governance. sectarianism which is spreading in the region. this is actually extremely beneficial for isis to come back again. and if they come back and if they start to recruit people, i think it will be extremely dangerous and what happened actually in new zealand, the storm of the mosque, this is the best gift for isis and for the radical people who are adopting their ideology. so, to be honest, i am not optimistic here.
we have to work very hard in order to, on both sides, as media or as a government, in order to prepare ourself for this coming danger and to try to neutralise it by all means. so, i mean, you've both painted a very grim picture. stephanie, what are, in your views, the risks for societies in europe and north america and the rest of the world from the spread of an ideology, which is potentially going to come back even stronger in a terrorist movement? for me, the real question is what is the us policy towards is right now? trump said he was withdrawing troops and declared isis 100% defeated, which he had to walk back because it was clear that he had not consulted any of his advisers. there is a real question of what is the us response to this? they're keeping about 400 troops on the ground, the us presence in syria was seen
as a force that weakened is, obviously not defeated it, but what does it do now? if it does withdraw, does thatjust allow russia and iran to have greater sway over what happens in syria? and i think given what we have seen, russia does not really hold the cards there. i think iran has the upper hand and i would be curious to see what bari thinks about that, like, what happens when the us really does withdraw, does iran gain an upper hand? to be honest, iran has the upper hand in four arab countries now. they are very strong in yemen, they have the houthis there, financed and armed by them. very strong in lebanon because they have hezbollah and strong in syria because they have the physical grounds and they have the troops there, and very strong in iraq grounds and they have the troops
there, and strong in iraq and 40,000 people, because they have hashd al—shaabi, or, you know, national mobilising troops, more 40,000 people, most armed. i believe they have the upper hand but who actually gave them this opportunity? the american military intervention in iraq and syria and libya and other places. we're not going to go back to thatjust now, that point has been heard. maria, what then — we've heard about the regional dimension of this, but what about the global ideological dimension if some of these fighters... we've seen president trump saying, take your fighters back to europe, and a lot of european governments, including the uk government, not actually wanting to take them back. is there a risk of the permeation, as trump puts it? i think the real risk is that we have these two — coming back to the mirror metaphor — we have isis and white supremacist movement in a kind of terrorist guerilla war, which is being used by national governments and becoming part of a geopolitical struggle. i remember the huntington book,
the clash of civilisations, which was supposed to set out a path for american power in the world after end of the cold war, what was the grand battle that america was going to be part of? i feel like we are seeing a guerilla version of that battle taking shape and that is what is really worrying to me, i am just as worried about the white supremacists as i am about the returning isis fighters. ian, just one quick last word to you on that, a guerilla battle. the question you asked, there are 3,000 foreign fighters now held in that one area of kurdish—controlled syria, maybe 2,000 of them are local people, so 1,000 foreign fighters there. these are words i do not use often but trump is right. european countries should take them back. if you leave them there, there will probably be more conflict. america is only one of the major powers in the region, russia is there, which has a huge amount of stake, turkey is there, they might take over this area. to leave people in an area where there is likely to be renewed fighting does not make sense.
any western politician, british, french, german, whatever, who thinks they are doing that on grounds of security is totally wrong. they are devolving their security to other countries and if you believe in national security for western countries, then you need to take these fighters home, where you can look after them, you can put them injail if needed, monitor them more effectively. you do not leave them in an area where there will be free quite possibly soon. that is where we have to leave that part of our discussion, because no dateline at the moment is complete in early 2019 without a discussion of brexit. in theresa may's game of chicken with the british parliament, the stakes could not be higher now. with less than a fortnight to go till brexit date, the prime minister plans a third vote on a deal that's already been heavily defeated twice. brexit breaks the rules of british political life. last week, party loyalty, cabinet collective responsibility, governments in charge of parliamentary business all were strained to breaking point. some declared a political and constitutional crisis. stephanie, is that
what we are seeing? it really does feel like alice in wonderland territory at the moment. i think the two things that people think are unlikely to happen we are discounting to much. one is the fact that no deal won't happen, i think it is reduced in chance, but i do not think it is off the table by any means. second, i think that theresa may very well may succeed getting her deal through — maybe not on meaningful vote three, maybe there'll be a meaningful vote four, but i think it is looking increasingly likely that other hardline brexiteers will go on side in fear of a soft brexit or a delayed brexit. i think the other thing i would like to comment on is that the people saying this deadlock can be broken by early elections, it does not seem given the divisions within the labour party and tory party, that it would not solve anything, it would produce as jumbled
a parliament as we have now and i think everyone needs to step back and think about, even if she does get this deal through, there's still a ticking time clock and i think that is posing huge difficulties in terms of the most difficult negotiations ahead in terms of the tricky trade talks still ahead of us. that is going to be even more difficult for her to get done in the time period outlined. maria, what is going to happen this week? is she going to get this third deal through? let me give you some options — is she going to get the dup on—side? is she going to get more brexiteers on—side? or is she going to get some opposition mps on side? and is she going to shuffle over the line? i don't think it's possible to predict anymore what is going to happen, this week, next week or next month. i think it's unlikely she will get it through, but i will probably be eating my words this time next week.
i was very disappointing that keir starmer's amendment on an indicative vote on different options did not pass, and it only failed by four votes, which is by far the narrowest margin talking about the one for an indicative vote. are we talking about the hilary benn one? no, i'm talking about the one for an indicitive vote for parliament to take control of the process. that would seem to me to be a more sane way forward, to try to come to some arrangement that the house as a whole can agree with orjust to ditch the whole thing and say, we don't know what we're doing, let's back to the drawing board. that indicative vote option might appear at the end of next week anyway. if you don't want to predict what's going to happen in westminster, what will happen with the eu summit? are they going to give her a short extension or long extension, or, in exasperation, give the extension that she asked for? again, the eu is at odds with itself.
we are hearing lots of different things. give them a year, only three months, i think they are also playing a kind of chicken and they are rather hoping that we will get either a soft brexit or no brexit at all. but in any case, let's get it over with and i think one of the characteristic things about this whole process is that british politicians have been deaf to what the eu is actually saying. they've been saying over and over again, we've had enough of this, this is the deal. bari? to be honest, i don't know what the british would like to do. to be honest, it is a huge mess. nor do they. we've been saying it's a huge mess for weeks. do you think that stephanie is right, that if she brings it back a third vote or a fourth, that she will squeak through? the problem is the parliament voted against a deal, the government voted against brexit without a deal. parliament voted against actually any referendum, to ask the people
what to do. so now, they voted for extension of the brexit — for what? to keep the pain continuing, to extend the painful situation in this country. to extend the deterioration of uncertainty and the deterioration of economy. this is the problem. the europeans wouldn't facilitate the brexit, europeans would like to use this brexit to warn anybody who would like to go the same way. ian? last word. i don't agree at all, i think europe has solidified and been very focused and very clear on what they wanted and britain has demeaned itself and been all over the place and failing to come up with a solution. even now, 13 days before that departure date was due, we're sitting here and we do not have a clue whether we're at no deal, will may's partial deal getting through, a second referendum, an election? it is the biggest mess in british politics in my lifetime.
do you think if she, the prime minister, doesn't get her deal through on the third vote, do you think she is lashed to the mast to try something different? theresa may has shown no indication of ever having subtlety, she is very blinkered, and all her career, she is very focused and just plods on, the hope she will switch and say, hey, folks, i got it wrong, let's do something different, let's have a second referendum, is inconceivable. i think we are stuck in this mess and the odds have risen that she will get her vote through, but we still have no idea, and that is to british political shame we are in this situation. bari, we do not have time, i'm afraid. we have to leave it there. that's it for dateline this week. we're back next week at the same time. goodbye.
there was settled weather on saturday with strong wind and heavy snow over the north and torrential rain at times. this is the picture in shrewesbury. you can see the extent of the flooding there. plenty of flooding across england and wales. sunday will be quiet after a cold start, scattered showers and they will be over the high ground. some rain showers and plenty of sunshine in between. still breezy and windy across northern and eastern scotland. just 7 to 10 degrees, it will feel chilly, especially when you are exposed to the brief. sunday evening, showers fade away and things become drier and less windy. cloud increases from the west, but under skies in the east, it will be chilly first thing monday morning. frost around and a few misty patches as well. we will keep the sunshine in the east all day on monday although cloudier skies will move into the west