tv [untitled] April 1, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
see. came. along when welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle arming to win the conflict in libya has reached a stalemate should western powers expand their intervention and arm the and take it off the rebels would this be tantamount to choosing sides in a growing civil war and as time passes does an end game in libya become even more
elusive. can. you discuss the ongoing still make in libya i'm joined by junior elk a marquee he's in london he's a libyan writer and political activists he's also a british coordinator for the rebel interim national council of libya in washington we have ivan eland he's a senior fellow and director of the center on peace in liberty at the independent institute and in tucson we have a lot hudson she is an associate professor of near east studies at the university of arizona and another member of our crosstalk came on the hunger alright this is crosstown that means you can jump in anytime you want. if i could go to tucson should view the united states and its western allies one way or another legally or illegally or a split the difference between the law and what we want to do morally give arms to
anti kadafi rebels and i'm not going to use the word democratic liberals yet until someone can convince me they are democrats go ahead. what i believe or not is not really the issue we've already taken the first steps down this road and if you look at the last twenty four hour news cycle you'll see that there are special forces on the ground in libya right now and in an afghanistan style scenario that is the first step towards ever greater and. involvement in the conflict on the ground there are two different interpretations of what's going on on the ground on the one hand these special forces these u.s. special forces are probably doing much more precise and specific targeting on behalf of the air attack the tactical phase of the air attack but if you look at the washington post this morning the argument is in fact that
intelligence on the ground is actually trying to figure out who the rebels are in order to better position the united states politically so again. whether one is pro or anti intervention the first steps down the slippery slope have already been taken jim in london if i can go to you you support having the western powers arm and they could offer your forces it will not make a difference in the stalemate at least you are we can see it on the ground right now a stalemate will that make a difference will it make your side when. well first of all we have to remember that the security council there is a consecutive council resolution banning export of weapons to libya however on the other hand we can see now it is not is not only in even situation gaddafi has very have having our military armory he has tanks he has multiple rocket launchers he has artillery he's shelling cities and towns and residential areas whereas the
fighters of the revolution or the freedom fighters are very very lightly armed so did they would there comes a point we would ask the question well you know just because there is an empowered go or because we should not on one side can we just sustain this mass killings can we just turned a blind eye and say well you know it's tough you know africa and shell and you know launch all these rockets and kill all these civilians but we cannot get out of the other side of this i don't i think there is a very strong moral issue in the underground also we libyans have frozen assets outside libya in tens of billions we have also oil which we are we can no export to an agreement with with qatar so why not be allowed to buy my weapons to defend ourselves against a mad best boat who has who is insisting on gay and going on killing his killing the libyan people are nuts i mean they're trying to you in washington we've already
chosen sides the west already chosen a sign it's going to be it's incumbent upon the west now because it has chosen this site to start making sure its guys on the ground women mean this is the slippery slope that we were all worried about and it seems to be playing out right in front of our eyes. yes and it's happened time and again we haven't been too successful in the past of. arming rebel movements remembering goa remember nicaragua remember the worst case was when it seemed like a great idea to arm the mujahedeen against the soviet union during the cold war and look what we got through because the only threat to the u.s. homeland since the war of eight hundred twelve so i think we really have to be careful about unintended consequences and certainly i wrist i wish the rebels well but i think your other past he made a good point if they have the money to buy the weapons i don't mind them buying them but i don't want the us getting in too involved in on the ground training and
that sort of thing because i just don't and of course there's a doubt about whether the rebels are competent enough to use these weapons they don't have very good leadership they don't have very good tactics and they don't even really know how to use simple weaponry so i'm not sure you know how they get the training but they can purchase training. overseas from countries that are willing to sell them the weapons but i don't really want to see the united states involved because i don't think the u.s. vital interest is involved here and i think we need to be careful and i as far as humanitarian goes in kosovo we started bombing for humanitarian reasons there was limited ethnic cleansing and of course after we're after we started bombing the regime had nothing to lose so it just went whole hog and i think the same thing could happen here and we may face a stalemate all cut off he has to do is keep tanks in the major cities how are these rebels going to get him out of there that's coffee's fail safe last resort.
option there because it's going to be very difficult to get armor out of cities and that sort of thing. if he digs in and. uses the cities as human shields against nato airstrikes so we could have a stalemate we could have. position that we don't know much about they could turn there may be a president in that opposition there seems to be some indication of that we've got to be very careful here there are many unintended consequences that could happen from this really so you know as we heard that i mean where would you like to emphasize because there's a it was a lot of points mentioned there i mean would you like to amplify. that i'd actually like to go back i would like to go back to a point that gemma raised. that i haven't picked up in the context of using rebel financial resources to actually finance and to coagulate
rebel command and control i've been arguing this for about two weeks now that in fact one of the key steps that would be far more seems to me beneficial and empowering to the rebel cause is the step that just happened i guess in the last couple of days namely using the resources of the eastern libyan. company to contract separate oil deals and to finance the rebel cause now interestingly it's only cutter who has taken the rebels up on this and who has begun to take on this rather risky business of doing or oil deals in a conflict environment and yet i think this is probably the most promising outcome rather than all the back and forth all the sort of half starts and fits and divided legal cause you can i jump in as you questions and let me ask you
a question because it sounds like you know you could end up getting a partition state that's really what it looks like because if we just don't know the rebels do not want that yeah i mean there are gas that's the dilemma isn't there that so dilemma danger here yeah it's a huge dilemma actually and yet it's. seems to me that because people whether it is the transitional interim government for whom the motto is of course a unified libya of which tripoli is the capital and there's a very strong reaction against consolidating down into an eastern syrian a based stronghold because it seems to yield the west to khadafi i understand that sensitivity entirely but it seems to me that what we've seen in the last twelve days of the no fly zone is not a superior solution ok one day we see this back and forth now on the road
basically of this coastal highway back and forth between ras lanuf and all these different towns one day the rebels are advancing the next day khadafi is advancing and it doesn't seem as if the nato airstrikes are allowing that kind of quick decisive rebel advance i think that everyone would like to see interestingly of course it's cut that is beginning to facilitate the rebel financing which would allow the rebels to pay for and finance their own weaponry and i begin to do this when you're over. cetera et cetera in london if i go to you are you getting prepared for the long haul a long civil war and we're talking about weeks or months are we talking about eventually a partition state because as has been pointed out on this program is that the the rebels whatever groups there are they're not very well armed they're not very well trained or not very well disciplined and they don't have a whole lot of communication i mean you don't get an army in a snap of
a finger even though it takes a while to get yourself together to fight a civil war which essentially is what's happened what do you think. yes first of all partition is not on the table we will never contemplate that we will never agree to it whatever it takes because libya will always be united with temporal as its capital secondly there is no civil war in libya there is the whole of the libyan people against a mad sport who is spinning out of control and waging a mass war against a population that does not want him thirdly the some people think that the whole of the east is free but the whole of the west is under his control that is not correct and misrata is that that largest city in libya nearly half a million population is only a hundred and eighty kilometers east of tripoli that's just over a hundred miles is not understood that his control although he's been in country good and shelling it constantly constantly the whole of the western mountain region
from about two hundred kilometers south of tripoli all the way to the algerian border is not under gadhafi controlled all the pleasure control is is just tripoli and couple of towns south of it and now tripoli is going through a very very tough period i'll tell you just before our turn to the studio other quote from tripoli tripoli is there another fuel it's running out of food the bread the bread queues are very long people are getting very very driven out the journey here we go to one break we'll continue with this after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the events in libya and stay with r.t. . if you still. feel the need.
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call. to close. bringing you the latest in science and technology from around russia. we've done the future of coverage. for. the first first fifty . and you can say. welcome back to talk time purely about the tree mind you we're talking about what many people call the civil war in libya. egypt slim. but first let's see what russians think about how to
resolve the libyan crisis. and when he says the goal of the western led effort in libya is in question when i wonder if the people of libya are really being helped in their. public opinion agency led by this and all stresses what the international community can do to stop the bloodshed and to protect lives fifty one percent of those polled say they should be no intervention thirteen percent say economic sanctions against the regime is the solution to the problem twelve percent believe that is asses should be frozen ten percent think a closed space can help and seven percent support a ground operation in the future of the libyan people is far from being clear. ok and if we sat down to do this program nato still is very very was actually very against are arming any groups in libya the united states britain france other
members of nato are not so separate members are not so clear on it in we have heard from the u.s. that they're getting they're entertaining the idea i mean if i hear you i mean i'm the biggest cynic crying no i mean by arming the rebels and with nato air support it's just a matter of time before you can polarize down the gadhafi regime though it may be as you pointed out earlier in the program it could take a very long time and could be very very nasty but it's a pride issue now i suppose for mr obama isn't it arming the rebels the west particularly the united states is a major stakeholder in the future of the country's politics and economy and its oil . well that's the that's the old adage if you break it you caught it and i think. we're breaking libya right now and i'd like to point out that even a partition country even if it's not perfectly east and west is better than what you had before with gadhafi running everything so i think if you could even hold it
to that people should be happy of course to reality is that obama despite him saying that the goal is not remove gadhafi on the ground that's what's happening in a course everyone anyone will tell you behind the scenes that is the goal they're hoping by some miracle that his army will overthrow him or something like that but i think that's remote as long as he makes battlefield gains like he did yesterday and he can have big name defectors and that sort of thing but i think he's going to win for a while because it takes time to train an army against him and i'm not denigrating what the rebels have done they've been surprisingly and they have a great spirit but the problem is he's got people with military training he's got mercenaries he's got heavy armor and artillery especially and of course you know we can only do so much in that unless you are armed but the problem that we have in united states is that it is a slippery slope and we need to send trainers if you're going to send him u.s.
equip me need to send u.s. trainers u.s. maintenance all this has to be taught in this is not done in short period of time so they better hurry up or it's going to or they're going to wipe out the rebels maybe i don't know it western airpower can probably keep them out of benghazi it already did but again you're going to have this stalemate for a long time until you can get the rebel army trained up but i think if the rebels want to buy. weapons and buy the training from some other countries that's fine by i would really not like to see the u.s. take the lead on that jim if i go back to you in london. this is a very good point here is all about logistics. really in the end. if you see it you see a regime like khadafi s. and we've heard about we've heard talk of the international criminal court we've heard issues about human rights violations war crimes what what reason does khadafi
and his clique have to really negotiate now or do you just fight to death i mean you they do they have no initiative now to negotiate or even just surrender. i think you're missing the other factors in the dynamics what's happening is that. that his group is using this this revolution started with peaceful demonstrations gadhafi chose to wage a war against his people and prevent them from demonstrate peacefully we are in the state where we are today but look what's happening now yesterday and today top public and that's the aides are jumping ship with a course of foreign secretary today only three x. foreign secretary you and boy does the way you know the head of the parliament actively. acts prime minister the head of the intelligence and others they're all jumping ship what's good have you got. one can i can i ask you a quick question about these defections are going it's very interesting as we move forward do you think those members are people that have defected very high profile
for foreign minister and what not i for a former head of intelligence would you be willing to work with him if he joined your side is he is he somebody that you want to work with and would he be an ally to the west if he were to join your coalition your your opposition group. well if there are people who have no blood on their hands they have not perpetrated any crimes against libyans if they are just pulling our politicians who are not involved in any wrongdoings i would say as a as a person personally this is my personal opinion yes we would welcome them because obviously what they are doing is weakening of duffy but if it's somebody like mr course always gotta and the tories record of blood on his hands of course we will not welcome them so but no my point is you who's left with him and his sons and close aides and cousins from his own tribe how long can he sustain this soon the military prowess those who are controlling the the security brigades and doing the
fighting for him the top generals and officers will realize that they are fighting a hopeless battle that they will die so soon they were started defecting as well soon his is machinery and his and his neck and his hierarchy is going to start to create and disseminate and just wither away he cannot sustain it people is suffering now people are fighting today we have stories of people killing each other over fuel and bread and food there's no cash in the bank so he'll run out of cash i mean when we figured out where the change the great irish national question is going to jump in. well i was going to say you know i hope that i hope what your other guest just said is true because i like to get rid of gadhafi myself and their arm is all these things were said about saddam hussein that they were going to be the factors after the first gulf war and that's the u.s. plan seems to be getting good and partially into these things and then hope for a coup well it didn't is today it happens in some countries it doesn't happen in
other countries but it didn't happen with saddam after the first gulf war so i think we have to be a little skeptical that that's a u.s. good u.s. strategy to go in and then hope for it is the idea acidy of hope i guess to quote the president's own saying to run a strategy like this oh well we're going to get in do some bombing and that sort of thing and hope for the best and i just don't see going to war in that way is responsible and i can't believe the u.s. foreign policy establishment is supporting that type of a half baked option in london it can but this is something that is head to head but this isn't good but this is not the u.s. against gadhafi in fact the u.s. has taken a back backseat role this is a forty three countries internationally the u.s. against it and i'm not even going through it is the u.s. again because we're providing most of them i can you can see my point please can i finish my point please can i finish my point please a lot of countries do five out of countries two of them are engaged in the military
action at their key norway a panel. netherland sort of denmark for three countries france britain you know if this is not the usa against gadhafi and we have not invited to you as you come in we have asked the security council the legal entity was that a sponsor for protecting people around the world to intervene and protect libyan civilians while being killed don't match nobody's talking i haven't heard from above from you or sort of from your guest the gentleman did anything about this but but it must going against the old population what's happening in libya is another one day not tough. it is you would guess that the temperament were quite happy to allow that to happen even if they had since taken part i mean please keep keep your ideology of the american administration out of our well i mean we are doing the things i used to say to the breakers and i've been right up to the very beginning of the program i don't think it's i would be pro or anti american issues that being
pro practical and seeing what has happened in the now. oh no i mean it's always very easy as with all due respect sir it's always very easy these days they have the americans bombed them for us ok the americans will support us here they'll give us the us will take what i need my jets apologize for if this is so generously please have some sense among a lot of people hide behind intentional i'm sorry doesn't look good americans know the money but the french who saved one guy's he's the second because you know that americans we're not asking that much because they come on that increase to get it right. ok but at the end of the day if you know where the us is you have a little at the end of the day it's putting the bill and things until you do it oh yes it is obviously a good thing i know this i've enjoyed watching go ahead is that i haven't got it is that paying for the coup was a good look at business as he was still providing those to the strikes and they're also providing intelligence tanking aircraft aircraft or you know logistics and that sort of thing that no other air force has when you have or you
have a coalition air strike and you have that you want as well and it has it's a turn for whatever thing is on the podium i give the briefing it's us driven and it's us and this seems the u.s. is letting the french it is not take the lead is not on this new server you have to have a number of french and british aircraft as you know and the strikes they have are not there again the assets you know addresses that those will invade and they turn into afghanistan and it may turn into iraq and i think that's the major concern as such as what is he what is the europeans and the americans got the chance to look at going down the slippery slope of intervention for a group of people with a. all due respect sir we really don't know who you are yet we hear the tales of theirs and i'll maybe i'll then i'll find it is there are various does there are still there are other people there are a few other agendas where we are who we are very much described as it is if you want to live the way our society we'd like to know the four we had before i think that's fair isn't it and its conception it is not
a tribal society that is wrong that's a misconception ask me and i'll tell you who we are and we are not a private society ok well can you tell us what you are going to say she's well we got twenty seconds glad. that the the interim council is a national broadly based council there resenting all cities and towns in libya they have lawyers judges and human rights activists i call them it's women liberals generals it is we are not the type of society to produce two million benghazi's one million muslims as a whole range of things you're going to have to jump in here many thanks and i guess again london tucson and in washington and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time and remember crosstalk will. keep still.