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tv   [untitled]    February 8, 2012 9:30pm-10:00pm EST

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hello again and welcome to spotlight the interview show on the archie i'll bring all that and today my guest is. the political crisis in syria is getting really dramatic national media reports thousands dead in the front and the temperatures rising as the international community can find a compromise on how to deal with damascus after russia and china veto the un resolution on syria russia's foreign minister went to damascus to talk to the syrian leader shortly after having a shot. to negotiate now many say the russian mediation may be the last chance to settle the conflict diplomatic so is it really possible to bring back peace and stability to syria and
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a large scale military conflict. middle east report contributing to that by. the un security council is debating two rival resolutions on syria the one between by russia and china was proposed by the arab league the western powers. it tickles for the syrian president to step down and proposes something canonic sanctions including an arms embargo the russian version of visions ending the violence through negotiations only and all over the west old. school succeeded as. both bash and the opposition agreed to get around the table. mr rabbani welcome to the show thank you very much for coming for being with us and my first question is about the mediaeval moscow has become a many enter in the talks between the syrian opposition and. namely the syrian
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national council and president do you think this can be considered a good and the step towards a peaceful solution of the conflict we're only programs like this a military solution well i certainly hope it will succeed because as you indicated yourself this may well be one of the very final opportunities to prevent an even bigger catastrophe and in syria i think there are basically two questions one is the question of transition and the other one is what happens after that transition the basic problem in syria is that you have a. regime that is on prepared to negotiate about substantive issues. but which retain sufficient popular support and firepower to hang on for a very long time conceivably or at least to make. any transition very bloody and
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try to straw ficken you have an opposition that has basically put its eggs in the foreign basket and sought to get foreign powers to effect regime change on its behalf i think the russian and chinese veto on the united nations averted a scenario in which regime change in syria would be produced by external forces and . after coming back from damascus the russian foreign minister a lot of announced that bash our last south has has agreed on a referendum on a new constitution well doesn't mean anything doesn't mean that that syria is is now headed in that. i mean for new times for more democratic no no i think you know a referendum on a constitution or missed. a promised one at that at this stage i think is much too little much too late i think what is needed is genuine. and serious dialogue about
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a negotiated transition i think the opposition has to accept. to negotiate with the government but at the same time i think the syrian regime has to be compelled to negotiate about substantive issues and i very much hope that one outcome of the russian mission to damascus was to persuade the shuttle. that it is now time for real negotiations about about real issues well this is another thing that allegedly said to the russian mediators that he is ready for dialogue but what is syrian opposition one of those people with whom he should he should start a dialogue i mean i mean if we talk about if you talk about the s.n.c. their leadership is abroad then there are a couple of opposition groups inside the country so so some multi multi faced sort of the opposite number so so so is there anybody there to talk to because it is for
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me i would next put in their will but it looks to diverse and then to to do numerous i mean it is it is a divided and diverse and even fragmented opposition but nevertheless i think if. there are clear signals that damascus is prepared to negotiate not just negotiate for the sake of negotiations but negotiate in the context of a of a genuine and fundamental transformation of the syrian political system i think first of all you already have some forces in the syrian opposition that from the very beginning have rejected the prospect of foreign intervention and have stated that they would be prepared to negotiate with the regime if the regime demonstrated that it is serious and at the same time i think once you were to get this context you will find that the syrian opposition will. have to unify around the city and in
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order to get here if you think it's impossible of first somebody as foreign for the arabs as their version of the chinese to many eight in such a situation where when where when such diverse opposition is facing if you feel i think it is i mean the problem with the syrian situation is that there are very few potentially credible mediators luft if you have the western powers have basically abandoned the prospect of a negotiated transition because they have chosen i think quite clearly for regime change by armed force if necessary the armed force of the syrians who they i'm sorry for interrupting but they have abandoned because the west considers the dialogue as being impossible you think that this is still possible not only do i think it is still possible i think it is i mean it may it may well feel the problem is that if we don't try it's going to become. a much more catastrophic situation
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than it already years and let's recognize the current situation is a ready genuinely catastrophic the problem again is that you have. an opposition that appears broadly based enough and resilient enough to continue the surprising for a very long time to come while you also have a regime that has sufficient popular support and firepower to remain in power for a very long time in other words unless there is a negotiated solution this conflict could go on for a very long time and i think the method of the transition will also play an important role in determining what comes after the transition in other words. will the eventual overthrow the regime produce an even more violent domestic and potentially regional conflict or will of lead to constitutional. changes of
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a more peaceful character while the purse here in moscow commented on the russian the martian need a new security council as as a diplomatic victory as as as a as a wise move but the u.s. secretary of state called the veto on the resolution in syria a travesty why do you think i think she said well i have to say it's exceptionally ironic to hear no less. the american top diplomat announcing a veto at the security council as you know the u.s. has developed some something of a specialisation in blocking security council resolutions that seek to to promote human rights in the middle east specifically palestinian human rights so i mean i take this with very enormous grain of salt and i think that basically american position is that you know vetoes in the security council are only intended to support israel and not for any other purpose ok well one of the republican
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presidential hopefuls in america senator to newt gingrich hughes's the amateur and said read through in this public speeches he says the u.s. could secretly ship weapons to the syrian opposition or build a coalition to get rid of a last set what do you take of that i think it's quite likely that that in fact is a policy that is a ready being formulated and perhaps so this isn't a republican policy you know it's already being beamed and not only by their states there's also been reports that qatar with the support or at least the blessing of saudi arabia is already seeking to arm. arm syrian opposition in turkey i think with the defeat of the security council and also the you know sort of loss of appetite in the united states on the. more generally for another
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large scale or mode we've talked about the the the fraction of the multi faced opposition in syria to whom are they going to ship ship the weapon did everyone well you know as gingrich put it it would consist of two parts one is covertly arming the opposition and another one of trying to get this armed opposition more unified so i mean they can already find people to arm now if they can succeed in unifying these forces and making them a more coherent fighting force i think it's quite likely they will go for it particularly because there doesn't seem to be much appetite in the west for the kind of large scale military intervention we've seen for example in iraq or more recently in libya well what will you spend lots of time in in europe do you have a feeling that the west is getting ready to really run the libyans and we know i know my my the indications i've seen as is that there's very little appetite for
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this you know if you compare a syria to libya. gadhafi was isolated he had anime's everywhere and very few friends and certainly no alliances and in the past few years he was more or less becoming once again an ally of the west the syrian situation is quite different the syrian regime has a mutual defense pact for example with iran and and with. russia for example seems invested at least for the time being and the survival of the syrian regime so there are all kinds of regional and international complications in syria that simply did not exist in libya plus that libya turned out to be a lot more difficult than it was anticipated at the outset says moving a rabbi in the middle east toward contributing at both sides will be that should lead to a break so stay with them go. welcome
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back to spotlight i'm al goodman just a reminder that today we're talking to movie and i by any middle east group we're contributing editor we're talking with the situation in syria and around syria well if i said finally quits. which is a possibility of course who do you think will pick up the pound the s.n.c. is most likely to become the the the the ruling party the country which is well first i don't think he will voluntarily quit and second of all it depends very much on how he eventually relinquished his power and you know some people have spoken of the prospect for example of a military coup perhaps coming from within and let's say the alawite security elite who will feel that if they can move him aside it will be much easier to. negotiate
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a transition that preserves their core interests there is a possibility of at some point you know a sudden popular uprising in key cities such as damascus and aleppo which we haven't really seen yet there is a possibility of prolonged conflict and civil war and ultimately what i think would be most beneficial to syria although looking increasingly unlikely is a negotiated transition away from this you know dictatorial one party rule and i think you know we have to admit this this this is not only in a dictatorial regime but has behaved with exceptional ruthlessness pitiless in fact against it against its own people and least in my view has lost any claim to legitimacy that it may previously of one hundred people in the west the politicians or the political class do you think they really prefer the rise of islam isn't
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that caused by the arab spring well neither this is not just to a person regimes like us it's pretty well that the answer has generally been no if you look at the at the choices that they've made they prefer a stable autocratic you know security oriented regime such as we've seen in. the not least in egypt and so on i think when wrong well what went wrong is rice is what went wrong from the west point of view was that the people in the arab world basically said enough is enough and they rose up and overthrew their leaders and i think these things happened without any planning by the west against the will of the west you know politics sometimes work that way that many people stake their destiny into their own hands against the wishes and interests of foreign powers that have been propping up vile dictators the special mission of the arab league control is in syria. how would you evaluate their work. well it's
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interesting the report hasn't been published it has been leaked and it seems to be much more balanced than the reports about the report we've been seeing in the process i would say that i think the arab league has increasingly become an instrument of several key arab states particularly the g.c.c. states and cannot unfortunately be seen to be a neutral party in the syrian crisis so so so. when the arab league monitors in syria voice there were only ten as you put it they report saudi arabia and qatar withdrew their representatives it isn't for the reason you just mentioned law i think if you look at arab states like saudi arabia and qatar i think from their point of view the arab league initiative on the sending of monitors and so on was never really about resolving the crisis i think it was about laying the groundwork
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for international intervention or at least the internationalization of the syrian crisis that came to an end with the russian and chinese veto in the united nations security council is for this reason that as we were talking earlier i think it's increasingly likely that they will now start to look at ways of for example sending arms to the syrian army. impression in general is like a period like twenty three days this is the nerve to evaluate the situation twenty three days since the army i mean well again i think unfortunately the arab league mission was never or at least for some key players it was never about the objectives that were stated what about this so called the un moroccan really serious let me say it leaves way gives way to normandy mission do you agree well i mean i think when you have a u.n. security council resolution that basically. calls on the head of state to
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relinquish power and it's clear that number one the head of state is not only not going to relinquish power but retains sufficient. armed force and support to stay in power for a very long time and at the same time that the opposition doesn't at least have the wherewithal to eject him from power it's certainly the groundwork for heightened conflict and in that context it could eventually lead to covert or perhaps even more overt forms of armed intervention i have to say i think it's a very good thing first and foremost for syria that the scenario has been prevented well you know for the second time in this program you say you sound like an optimist to say that the military is being prevented at least for now but we can remember that some thirteen years ago there was the chinese russian veto yugoslavia but the western countries disregarded it and so bombed us well because they work on
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this certainly you know well again it could happen again it could eventually happen again i think in the short term the more likely scenario will be covert support to the. two armed opposition elements i also have to say that i very much hope that one of the well let me take a step back and say that the problem here is that there are very few potentially credible mediators left certainly not the arab gulf states certainly increasingly less turkey given its growing hostility with syria russia is one power i think that can bring sufficient weight to bear on damascus to persuade if not the syrian president then at least the syrian politically about the urgent need for a genuine political transformation that could prevent some of these catastrophic scenarios that you've been suggesting believe me being here you know in moscow you probably have heard the opinions of russian or. next politicians that into
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syria would totally miss balance the whole region that this is some actually think that that an intervention in syria would be the first step to further attack iran is that true and what makes people think well first of all i would say that foreign intervention in syria or indeed anywhere on less there are truly exceptional circumstances bordering on the unique is something that should be rejected and the pose is a matter of principle i think it this is a specific situation in syria there are all kinds of additional reasons to reject and oppose any attempt at foreign military intervention in syria regarding your question about iran. i think those who have iran in their in their sights certainly would see. regime change or you know the destruction of the syrian state or whatever as as
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a good prelude to an attack on iran but i'm but i think it may be exaggerating a bit to suggest that iran is motivating current western policy towards toward syria i think it's taking place more on its own terms with the potential fallout so so so you don't see a direct connection well i think i mean i think there is a connection in the sense that you know the same region i mean well iran has has has very few allies in the arab world and syria one of them in syria for all intents and purposes the only one would be partial exception of iraq and lebanon and clearly removing syria from this equation would be seen as a important and substantial benefit by by many western powers but to suggest that that is what's motivating western policy on syria i think would be probably going to be too far and. the head of the pentagon said recently that he is. acting israel
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to attack iran sometime between april and june and how should the statement be taken as won't again the week or as a threat again it's very difficult. to to read the coffee grinds of the tea leaves if you will my sense of it and again this is speculation on my part is is that the u.s. at this point has no intention of attacking iran and it is genuinely concerned about an israeli attack on iran precisely because. the americans seem to have come to the conclusion that the purpose of an israeli attack on iran will not be to attempt to destroy the iranian nuclear program but rather to provoke an iranian american conflict armed conflict in other words if israel attacks iran it will be impossible for america not to become involved in this the seems to be a growing concern in washington particularly during an election year and perhaps
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one element of such statements is to try to forestall such a scenario where why is america concentrating in its naval power after the year a new coast to to try out to the peacekeeper what war event a conflict well i'm not suggesting that the americans. don't have their own conflict with iran but i think. in terms of your specific question about an armed attack taking place in the spring there i don't think the american who very well you know you may be right because because the iranians don't seem to be more worried about about this this naval activity of this year are they i mean. they're reacting rather calmly to that well i think what you've seen in iran recently is is that they're getting increasingly concerned about the expansion of sanctions you recently had american sanctions on the iranian central bank you have the europeans adopting a resolution to stop the imports of iranian oil and so on and so you are now in
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a situation where in fact you do have all these heightened tensions and a growing possibility of perhaps and inadvertent move by one side or the other leading to the armed conflict the recent the recent attack on the russian embassy in damascus how do you think it is connected with with the whole situation you with the world russia is trying to play well again i think there are clearly. why there are forces in syria see the russian veto in the u. . one and perhaps russian policy more general us generally is somehow a betrayal of the syrian people but i think there are also others who view the russian role as having prevented the type of internationalization of the syrian crisis and foreign military intervention that they would dearly like to see thank you thank you very much for being with us and just a reminder that my guest today was more about back in the middle east report contributing and that's it for now from paula spotlight will be back with more
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first on comment on one thing going on in and outside russia until then stay on our team and take a. look .
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couldn't take three. three. three. three stooges. freeboard video for your media project a free media. russia
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warns against outside military intervention in syria saying the only way to end the bloodshed is for both government and opposition to enter talks moscow's diplomatic push comes as the gulf countries sever ties with damascus and unconfirmed reports say security forces continue to shell the city of homes. outrage in the u.k. as a notorious terror suspect is to be freed after the european court of human rights wants his extradition qatada he's wanted in jordan where he has been convicted. of a plot to kill tourists qatada who has been. in europe is said to be released after almost nine years in detention. please egypt remains firm on prosecuting foreign funded non-governmental organizations it accuses of feeling instability in the
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country despite threats from washington it could more than a billion dollars in military aid to egypt a total of forty three n.g.o.s including nineteen americans face trial for illegally funding activists. next up tom hartman brings us the wider perspective on what's happening in america and world politics in the big picture that's coming right away don't go away. well. science technology innovation all the list of elements from around russia we've. covered. sachs inferred tom hartman in washington d.c. .

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