tv Al Jazeera World News LINKTV January 6, 2013 2:00pm-2:30pm PST
tension over the indian flag continues in northern ireland as streets prepare for more protests. and as orthodox christians celebrate christmas, we speak to the egyptian pope. the international community has been quick to condemn syrian president bashar al assad's plan for peace in war-torn countries. the first speech called "beyond hypocritical." addressing supporters, described the opposition as terrorists and slaves of foreign power. he went on to support the national dialogue to end the 21-no conflict. assad these talks could create a national charter on syria's future, which he put to a referendum. while the opposition dismissed the proposals saying they're aimed at wrecking current
diplomatic efforts. we frort amman's neighboring jordan. in an opera house in central damascus, packed with cheering supporters, the syrian president gave his first speech since june last year. he did not reveal any breakthrough to end the conflict but said every syrian had an ethical duty to fight rebels he linked with al qaeda. >> they are terrorists who follow al qaeda's philosophy. they call themselves jihaddist. they come from across the world and are leading terror operations on the ground. after they fail to achieve anything, they have been relegated to the back lines and all they do is kidnap and vandalize. >> assad unveiled what he described as a peace initiative to end the 21-month-old conflict. but the proposal, which includes the national reconciliation conference and unity government
would exclude those who he said have betrayed syria. translator: we have never had a political sution. from day one we opted for the best political solution, dialogue and negotiations. we extended our hands to anyone and everyone who have adopted internationalist to protect the betterment of syria. however, who do we dialogue with? a group of extremists who understand no language other then that of bloodshed and terrorism? >> the syrian opposition described the speech as a waste of time. opposition figure says they will take nothing less then assad stepping down. >> he spent the first part of of his speech saying there are no partners for any political solution. then offered what he called political solution that calls for number one crushing the opposition so we could have three hand in controlling the country. he did not offer to step down,
something that had to be there to start a negotiation because he has shown that he's a dictator. >> the syrian president spoke confidentially for about an hour to massive crowds of cheering loyalists. they interrupted him several times, offering -- and at the end of his speech, supporters rushed to the stage to congratulate him. the syrian president refuses to hold dialogue with so-called terrorists. a word he uses to describe armed rebels fighting syrian troops on the ground. syrian opposition and rebels refuse any arrangement that doesn't include assad leaving power. and now with neither side agreeing to hailt in violence, syria's future looks as bleak as ever. >> joining us live now from neighboring turkey is hashim. good to see you. will a speak like this encourage the international community do
you think to take a different view on how they're currently handling syria? ? >> well, there's a need now, urgent need for the international community to step in because the political deadlock is deepening in syria. the oppositions of both parties are entrenched. opposition should step aside of the prerequisite for them to move forward into any political settlement. assad made it quite clear today unequivocally he's going to stay in power. so we're talking about a situation where nobody is going to be able to bring about a genuine change in syria unless the international community and particularly the americans and russians, step in. >> and that brings me to russia and china. do you think this will make them more or less defiant in their
current stance? >> well, assad still faces a delicate task, which is basically if he shuns most of the calls by the international community to step aside, we will have only one option, which is to defend major cities and to reserve the tide of the gains made by rebels in different parts of the country, particularly in the north and the east. in this particular scenario, both parties will be trapped in a cycle of violence and killings, which could not only destabilize the whole of the country but also spread to regional countries, something which is rejected by the whole of the international communities. so no party is left with different options. there's only one option for everybody. it's becoming very clear, particularly today after the defiant turn of assad that if something is not done immediately in the weeks to
come, we just will be bracing ourselves in a catastrophic situation in syria. >> hashim, which brings me to my last question. perhaps this is an obvious one to ask but opposition listening to the speech, i'm guessing the only way forward is more violence? >> well, they were not really in the beginning pinning high hopes on whatever assad would say, particularly his vision for the future of syria. they were expecting him to agree to raise the same oppositions about him being in power and opposition has never been genuine and it's been manipulated. but when he was lashing out today at the opposition, describing them as a bunch of murders, used by the western neighboring countries to destabilize and undermine the sovereignty of syria, they said there's no way we will talk to this man in the future and the
international envoy brahimi should put an end to his initiative and world should understand that don't provide us with weapons, we will just go on our way until we manage to topple him from power. so very grim remimeder of what might look ahead in the future for the syrian people and for the opposition in particular. >> hashim, thank you very much for joining us. pakistani soldier has been killed and another wounded in a gun fight between indian and pakistani troops in the disputed region of kashmir. pakistan said indian troops rated the check in kashmir, dee dee nighed by india saying pakistan carried out an unprovoked attack using machine guns, mortars and explosives. they are claimed by india and pakistan and language separates the country. the area has been in dispute
since they became independent in 1947. this latest exchange lasted for over four hours. ? if there's increasingly the pakistani army continues to violate the cease-fire agreement, and utilize these handoffs, we need to facilitate infiltration attempts, due to the conditions. obviously the attempts of the infiltrators will not succeed. >> a u.s. drone strike killed at least 16 suspected taliban fighters in northern pakistan. it comes days after another drone attack killed a senior tribal leader in the area. pakistani intelligence opposites say three taliban hideouts were targeted. there are reports 10 taliban
fighters were among the dead. more now from islamabad. >> in the region there's an identification of the u.s. drone strike, latest drone strike happening in the south region and predominantly tribal area. according to the reports, at least three compounds were hit. intelligence reports indicate that there were a number of fighters but there are no clear indications as to who the other victims were. in report there's have been a number of attacks in the tribal areas, which have become extremely unpopular because hundreds of civilians have also been killed in the attack. the attack happened at the time when pakistan is close to an election and there's tremendous opposition against a continued cia-operated drone strike. >> police in northern ireland are on high alert after three nights of rioting in belfast.
pro-british protestants are stating a prohibition after not firing the flag. nine police officers were injured in clashes on friday. from belfast, joanna hall reports on a violent dispute in a divided city. >> a church service in east belfast and communities praying for an end to several nights of clashes between loyalists, protesters and police. >> it needs to continue in a peaceful, democratic manner. violence will destroy this community. there's no question about that. >> outside the streets have mostly been cleared of debris. only a few burned-out cars remain. for now at least, this is not the sort of sectarian violence that plagued the streets of northern ireland for decades. an agreement in 1998 brought political unity between irish nationalists and pro-bish
loyalists but peace has not been an easy record. >> i saw the return to the troubles per se but -- it's not a return to the troubles per se but serious bump in the road. much more serious since the good friday agreement was signed. there needs to be hard, meaningful engagement between the communities. >> the decision in december to restrict the flying of the union flag above city hall touched off fury among loyalists. they say it erodes their british culture but others, even within loyalists ranks, voice more pressing concerns. dr. jon kyl runs a medical surgery in east belfast. he knows the area well and has has seen effects of the violence firsthand. what upsets you most about this. >> when we talk about the riots, we need to understand the people live in areas of severe social deprivation in terms of employment, education, health, hygiene. there are real issues in difficulties and those areas where people's life opportunities are so restricts,
culture becomes really important and when we begin to attack the culture or undermine the culture or restrict the culture, they take it very personally. and this flag issue has been the latest of a series of situations where they have had to concede. and accept restrictions upon express of their culture and this caused real problems for them. >> move seem to agree these nights of violence aren't to return to the troubles of old but this being northern ireland, the potential for new sectarian conflict sauls there, on the long and imperfect road towards peace and reconciliation. al jazeera, belfast. >> still to come on the program -- video that shows afghan forces allegedly mistreating dead taliban fighters. army promises an investigation. >> and in tasmania, australia, where people are returning to their homes after the wildfires that swept through this area.
>> welcome to the look at world weather. it looks like it's active down towards south braff zill and north parts of argentinia. here we see a fair bit of rain overnight, 4 hours. maybe sending up into paraguay too. sunshine looking at brisk win and temperatures of 35. elsewhere, fair live question rein across northwestern parts braff zill. sending in towards ecuador and inland parts of peru and libya. and much of chile's looking dry and fine. 21 in santiago. further north scattered showers for venezuela and colombia. as we move into central parts of america, some could see scattering of showers during the
course of monday. elsewhere looking dry and fine. should be a good day in havana. highs of 27. across central america we've got a lot of showers coming off the caribbean and heavy downpours across honduras in towards nicaragua and also pushing up into parts of mexico, too.s0 ueckian that p.a. nins la seeing a few downpours. as we move into north america two weather systems. this one moving away from the eastern seaboard. the other one towards west still giving snow in place as cross rockies, with temperatures beginning to rise for san francisco with high expected to reach 14 degrees crellsous. -- crellsous.
>> welcome back, a reminder of the top stories in al jazeera. in his first speech in months, syria's president laid out his plan toned the conflict including a new constitution and new government. the opposition has rejected his plan. pakistani soldier has been killed and another wounded in a gunfight between indian and pakistani troops in the disputed region of kashmir. and 16 people have been killed in a u.s. drone strike targeting taliban hideouts. two suicide bombers have attacked a community center in afghanistan, killing five
people. the explosions in the town in kandahar also injured 15 others. the attackers targeted a tribal uncil meeting. a spokesman for the afghan army said an investigation will be carried out into a video apparently showing soldiers abusing the bodies of dead taliban fighters. pictures posted on a social media website appear to show the corporations of two men being dragged behind army vehicles. warning, you may find some of the pictures in this next report disturbing. >> in a village, possibly in helmand province, afghan army and police are about to send villages a clear warning. chained to the back of their armored vehicles are the corporations of two men. on the tape the police and soldiers say the men were taliban fighters from pakistan. not everyone is happy with what's going on. one person can be heard saying, don't do this. it's not good. but his pleas are ignored.
the video was shot within the last six months and recently uploaded onto the internet. the afghan army spokesman is promising full investigation. translator: when i first saw this video, i was very shocked and surprised. if it is true, it's immoral. whoever did this should be dealt with according to the law. they have to obey international laws at war. i handed this video over to the army's criminal investigation department. >> there are now almost 200,000 afghan soldiers but a high rate of decertification and low re-enlistment means a third have to be replaced every year. that leaves a lot of inexperienced young men and ott battlefield. -- on the battlefield. >> afghanistan forces does not really need only to know how to shoot but they need to know beyond how to shoot, you know. in terms of military tactics and security tactics, of course, in terms of be -- to be a patriot,
to fight for this country, and, of course, during that fight to -- to consider all human rights. >> a recent u.s. department of defense report stated that only 1 of 23 afghan battalions is ready to fight alone, without help from nato forces. of course, it's not just afghan forces that have been caught on video abusing the bodies of the dead. the u.s. military has had its own isolated cases. but it is the afghan forces who will soon take over complete responsibility for security in this country. and to help them do that, they need to win the respect of the population they serve. bernard smith, al jazeera, kabul. >> south african president said his government will send 400 troops to the central african republic to help assist with the demobilization of rebel groups. protesters gathered on the streets on saturday calling for a peaceful solution to the
crisis. talks between the government and rebels are set to begin on tuesday. rebels known as the selectia coalition taking control of 11 towns in less then a month. andrew simmons joins me live now from the capital bangy. andrew, lovely to see you. what can you tell us about the south african troops? >> well, there is a development, interesting one and one that has caused several sources we have spoken to, to suggest that this consternation, surprise and indeed anger among fomac, international force already here. a thousand troops made up of central african states. there are ten african states in the regional grouping. they weren't aware of the scale of the south african involvement. and it all dates back, we saw some of these troops on the ground here just doing their business and getting into a store and out again. we were told on saturday that the force had not been deployed.
there were just 30 to 40 troops here dating back to a remix in 2007 over disarmament and capacity building here in central african republic. however, the speculation is that the president is actually unsure of his situation. he wants to be fully confident there can be no conspiracyies within the central african states that could lead to his demise and that is why he wants this big force. there's a big announcement sunday did say that these troops were being deployed in a peacekeeping role. so it is being speculated that they could be actively engaged in protecting if there's any problems. so right now we're in a situation where bazizi is still here and apparently preparing to go to lieberville for the peace talks. >> and then, andrew, we have a situation where the rebels are apparently still advancing.
how does that fit in with these peace talks in devin? >> well, that is an interesting point because these peace talks are going ahead while the rebels are making gains. at least one town allegedly second town also. but they haven't actually advanced towards the capital. that is the point. and some are suggesting an easy start to the talk when rebels are actively engaged this military actions. but i put this whole point as a security minister here and also the leader of negotiations, the man who's organizing the transit of troops to lieberville. translator: what they do over there is their zone. it's the zone they're in. those two towns they have taken, that's their zone. translator: a red line has been tehran by the central african states. for us this red line has not been violated but we will take
steps in the event military action is taken against us. in that case, we will defend ourselves. >> so that doesn't bide well, that that sort of mood here. and there's been a technical setback, it seems. the flight that was supposed to take the rebels to lieberville on sunday didn't get here. whether that was indeed a technical problem or not is really unclear. but we are assured the flight will take off on monday and get the rebels to lieberville and they will all be around the table. >> andrew, thank you. andrew simmons joining us live there from bangly. orthodox christmas are taking part in christmas and epiphany celebrations in a number of countries in europe. in turkey, orthodox christians gathered for a church service presided over by patriarch bart thol mew and made their way to oxford where the patriarch throws a christmas mix into the
crucifix in the water. traditionally they dive for the crucifix and the one who finds it has the honor of handing it back to the patriarch. >> in greece, celebrations at the greek orthodox church near the capital athens. swimmers there also hoping to catch a large, gold cross. a tradition that's believed to bring simmers good luck. in russia midnight masses under way in moscow's cathedral of christ the savior. in egypt, christmas celebrations are being led by the country's new pope. how he's used the occasion to urge all egyptians toned their protest and work on rebuilding the country. he said the church still has concerns about the new constitution. >> thank you so much for talking to us. let me begin by asking you, what is your message to the community
on this crearks your first christmas after being ordained as pope? >> firstly happy new year and merry christmas. translator: the most important is one of happiness. the world today needs to get happy, especially here in egypt. >> what is your message to the egyptian people as a whole? translator: the same message but i would like to add that we need stability in egypt, especially after two years have passed since the revolution. we need a new beginning. we need to stop street protests and start journeymen of work. i invite all to work and build a new egyptian community. >> the church was clearly unhappy with the process of drafting the constitution. your delegation withdrew from the constituent assembly. what was your reaction when the constitution was passed recently in the referendum? >> we took part in the deliberations over the draft of the constitution but at a certain time, we pulled out
because we were uncomfortable with certain articles. the constitution was going against the concept of equality and, of course, constitution is the basis of legislation. we will follow the practical implementation of these articles and see if they will convey a spirit of extremism or not. then and there, we will react accordingly. >> do your calculations or your approach as the pope as head of the coptic church, do you feel they will be different feeling the political environment now? >> in the past decades, cops have been marginalized but after the january 25 revolution, like the rest of egyptians, started to express their opinion freely. previously when they had problems would protest inside the cathedral but they now go to outside the state building. this is one of the revolution's positive goals. from my end i will try alongside
all of the bishops and priests to focus on the spiritual role of the church, followed by social role. therefore the political role will have no room left, except if you consider defending a quality part of politics. i do not consider it so. >> is it your tendency now to try to pull the church a little bit out of politics? >> indeed. the church needs to remain out of politics. the church is a spiritual establishment. that's its primary role. it's also a social role to offer