tv Cross Talk RT September 9, 2013 2:29am-3:01am EDT
as part of his assumed assault on syria irrespective of international opinion polls at home the us on its own is poised to carry out forced regime change in damascus well it least that's the plan. to cross-talk the war in syria i'm joined by my guests in washington gareth porter he is an investigative journalist and author of the upcoming book manufactured crisis the untold story of the iran nuclear scare and we also have. a spokesperson for the local coordinating committee in syria and the director of the foundation to restore equality in education in syria all right cross talk rules and if it means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it gareth let's assume the strike happens you know sixty days ninety days what kind of syria does the administration intend to create. they don't have any idea of a syria they intend to create. i am quite sure that that is simply not on the
agenda to create a new syria or to fundamentally alter the present balance of power within the country they're talking about degrading certain capabilities of the syrian government. if they if they are serious about doing that of course that means a much more fundamental commitment to getting involved in war that they have exhibited so far so you know there are obvious contradictions here in the official position of the obama administration on one hand trying to emphasize the limited character of what they are planning to do and on the other hand claiming that somehow this will make a difference i don't know how they can square that circle. in washington as well when you square the circle. i'm not sure i can square the circle either but i can tell you that the l c c's position as the largest network of nonviolent activists
in syria our position is that we would support airstrikes if they were to fundamentally degrade the capability of the assad regime we have two primary goals one is regime ouster and the other is to put an end to the massacres that we're experiencing daily ok refuse how many syrians have to be killed for that to happen by the united states well that's that's well the question we've been asking is how many syrians does the assad regime need to kill before the world pays attention we have more than one hundred thousand dead already and that's only what's been verified our question is how much weaponry will russia continue to supply to the assad regime how many hezbollah soldiers need to come in and kill syrians how much iranian people it's to be are you going to say when saudi arabia. are you interested in the jihad is to go there is that interest you whatsoever oh
absolutely absolutely peter we are extremely concerned about the jihadists who flock to chaos and that would be chaos perpetrated by the assad regime we are absolutely concerned about all the foreign agendas that have entered the fray what we started with was a popular uprising it was a peaceful revolution for freedom and dignity and democracy for all syrians but now the white house now it looks like the united states is going to give an air force to al qaida that's what it looks like doesn't it no no i beg to differ i believe what the united states is talking about is supporting the free syrian army which is not at all al-qaeda in fact if the united states or the international community in general is to continue to be paralyzed in the face of what is happening i think that is what gives. the international community is there's a lot more here in the sand this is not of the. proxy war so i'm just going to be
go ahead. yeah i'd like to explore the implication. seems to me to be inherent in what rififi has been saying and that is the there indeed may be a downside to the u.s. military intervention if indeed it does not accomplish what she would like it to accomplish is that in fact the case that you are anxious about whether the united states might in fact carry out an intervention that could make matters worse and if you want to ask answer that. well what we don't want is a mere slap on the wrist now we understand very well that international norms are being violated when the regime carries out chemical weapons attacks we have been documenting this in fact quite quite a bit before august twenty first but nonetheless is the world going to allow a dictator to carry out chemical weapons attacks against civilians at will and
randomly or is the international community going to put an end to that not withstanding what we are seeing in syria is a massive destruction massive human rights violations according to the border not actually answer the question daily massacres which i can't answer until i can ask your question in a different way to get the answer that you're interested in go ahead well i mean i think what what you're saying is that you're emphasizing one side of the answer which is that you don't want the united states to fail to do something that would seriously affect the balance of power but what if in fact that is simply not in the cards because the risks of that are too high for the obama administration for the united states would then perhaps make the situation worse that's the part of it that i haven't heard you answer. right well if you had let me get to gareth i would have told you very specifically we do not want something that is so limited that it
has absolutely no impact on degrading the assad regime's capability we are worried about the assad regime seeking revenge against civilian populations we are already hearing anecdotes from average civilians saying regime soldiers are coming in saying you want a foreign strike here's your foreign strike and then shooting so we're already seeing some acts of vengeance from regime soldiers so yes we are very concerned that an extremely limited strike would have the the opposite desired effect gareth do you think it will be limited because once you get started these things tend to not be limited if you know what i mean because obama has no. credibility his legacy and ten years of american failed foreign policy in the middle east go ahead . there's there is no doubt that there is a a real risk that the administration could get caught up in
a dynamic that takes it much farther into the syrian conflict then i think the president wants to go or the u.s. military and the pentagon want to go that is certainly a risk of that but i think is is inherent in the situation but i do believe that the intention at this point is definitely to avoid it and so i think that it does pose both that risk that we've just talked about and another risk which is that the united states carries out a writ a strike which simply provokes counter measures and you know perhaps including the ones that rififi just talked about that is some heavier repression heavier strikes against that are going to fall on civilians as well as of course an international dimension of escalation which we simply at this point cannot accurately predict it's impossible as it always is to predict the full consequences of the use of
force by the united states military and i think would you like to reply to that because it seems to me the last thing that syria needs is more violence more outside violence by the way. well certainly the last thing syria needs is more outside violence if it doesn't put an end to the current violence and i know that's a bit of a circular argument but what we are seeing is that the assad regime will not step down willingly the assad regime will not negotiate he. said why would it step down no longer claim innocence we have been asking peter would you like me to answer the question right now we have been asking for the regime to step down for two and a half years now and syria has been multiple international initiatives designed to lead to some sort of a negotiation or a transitional process and none of them have been successful because the regime has
not complied with any of the tenets put forth by people like kofi annan or locked up brahimi or so to. russian ok also they don't want somebody here qatar what we're seeing what we are saying and i'm here here i'm here to represent the local coordination committees and the syrian people not saudi arabia not qatar not russia not the united states going against. her i'm going to guess. what i'm just again you are against war and so i would like to hear i would like to hear your views about dust pot who launches chemical weapons and scud missiles. what is your is making its way do you think i'm going to see. where and say anything and i add what you're going to get my go ahead give your opinions has only do you jump in who so you're going to question what time and i'm going to let me go. garrett. ok i'd like to just pose
this this problem that we are looking at in syria. of historical precedents i'm old enough to remember vietnam know vietnam is a case where. or you had a regime you know that was in power supported by foreign foreign forces i.e. the united states for decades had built up a very formidable military apparatus military machine very much modernized trained by the united states and so forth and yet it was impossible to get rid of that regime except through a process of combined military force by another regime in the same country that is vietnam plus a negotiated settlement and so i simply want to point out that the reality is that it is not realistic to expect regime change to bring down this regime in the
absence of overwhelming military force from outside which of course i know rififi would like to see or a long term process that involves negotiations a political settlement and political evolution all right on that but on that point we're going to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on obama's plans for syria stay with. ok. i dave across. virginia
it's a little while in the middle of the chesapeake bay on the virginia side. county. the chesapeake bay probably one of the best there is and fred. this is. your island before the channel was. here. up there. as go. right here are some of the headstones from graves that this is a fruit. that's what we don't want to happen to taint your all and we want to get some protection and make sure that we don't go into the chesapeake bay like i did in other communities. new york london. the whole world is.
a further one than the end. of the coin the link at the end of the street another one of the more transparent society gets the money or the tears become we see. unfairly falses mobilized against people who blend into the city the city the more people trust electronic devices the more defenseless they are. as a thousand. people are scratching their heads and thinking why was any chemical weapons attack in the interests of the. given the fact that in recent months they've been making advances rather than retreating and why words. by workout such extreme presents. but it's not the russian.
back to crosstalk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle remind you we're discussing a possible american strike against syria. ok let's go to you in washington again when you look back over the last ten years of american foreign policy in the middle east why do you think it'll be different and better for syria with the military intervention what's different this time. i'm not saying it would be better or different what i am trying to explain is that the syrian people for the last two and a half years have been subjected to the worst humanitarian crisis the world has known we are subjected to daily shelling scud missile attacks barrel bomb attacks and what we are saying is that the international community has thus far been paralyzed in its inability to bring about any sort of negotiation we finally
feel that perhaps a military strike is the answer and what we have seen when president obama began discussing the possibility of a military strike we saw more than four hundred defections across syria in a single day what we would best hope here would be that we would see so many defections that the regime would collapse from within this would be the best possible outcome i want to stress that as the representative of an organization committed to nonviolence we do not support war either but what we are seeing is that this dictator will not go except by force ok. it is assassinated he leaves unlikely what we place assume i mean everything is good to be a jeffersonian democracy and everything will be fine in syria. well of course this is one of the major problems with the western u.s. in particular intervention in the war in syria that you have not just
a sort of clear cut. struggle between the assad regime and the the people who began the resistance to the assad regime in two thousand and ten but rather you have a three sided struggle i mean it's becoming clear all the time i agree with that i know rififi has pointed that out but the implications of that of course are a very significant because it means that if you do attempt to try to use military force from outside to overthrow the present regime you are going to set up a situation where there will be a civil war in which the jihadist have a very very strong hand arguably a stronger hand today than the non jihadist resistance to assad and so this is obviously a factor in the thinking of the obama administration that's one of the reasons not
the only one why they are committed to a very limited strike and by the way why the president the united states in an unprecedented statement some days ago i can't remember where there was ten days ago or so made it a a plea to to the american public that said you know there are downsides to the use of force by the united states in this situation i cannot recall in my entire memory of u.s. foreign policy and military policy a president united states telling the american people there are downsides to the use of force that is a very strong indication of just how serious the problems are with using military force in the eyes of the very people now who are intending to carry them out i think what about these jihadi see them. represent you they represent you in the new syria after the bombing ins absolutely not all you need to do is look at the footage the l.c.c. has provided of the massive protests of people going out against the jihadists
decrying the replacement of one dictator with another ordinary civilians who have lost everything by the way to regime bombing and shelling are going out in protest ok let's talk about these jihad is tier i mean in a civil war the appeared to be the strongest group in the strongest group at the end gets determine the outcome after hostilities and i mean how do you deal with them or are they going to go to the negotiating table. well i don't i don't think that any of the outside. powers by that i mean the united states and russia. are in favor of that certainly we know the united states and russia are not in favor of that i think that the saudis are somewhat less clear cut in their view on this obviously and the problem is clearly on the part of the major factors in this situation. the major outside powers they do not want that
to happen and i think that is why there is a a degree of agreement here between the united states and russia that this whatever happens must be short of assisting the jihad as in gaining a foothold or expanding their foothold and being able to be the primary arbiter of power in syria i agree with you because that's when russia's major issue during all this rafi for you know a cynic would say and i look at the a ray of forces the united states supporting military intervention and it's all about iran it's not about syria it's not about the syrian people it's not about democracy it's just a great way to get to iran and and this is you have to destroy syria to do it and this is you can make this argument you may not agree with me. i'm not going to make the argument and in fact i'm going to be going to go back to your earlier question will the islamists represent me and i can say absolutely not this
is why thousands hundreds of thousands of people are protesting in syria against the replacement of one dictatorship with another and so the foreign jihadists of course don't have a voice and a future syria and no we're not going to transition overnight into a beautiful democracy we will have a messy transition but ultimately it is the will of the more than twenty million syrian people that must be done and they have spoken they have said they want regime change and they want a transition to democracy that is bound by the rule of law in which our government leaders are accountable and responsible so this is where. i think we would all agree to a civil war going on in syria so not everybody agrees on the. can you address the iranian issue because this is what a lot of a cynic would say this is just a strategy to get to iran. no question about it the administration the obama
administration is motivated in part by the the idea of counterbalancing iranian influence in the region and i would say an even more important element in that consideration is that our allies both in the region and outside the region that is britain and france are strongly committed to this and hiran strategy and so the united states almost as a knee jerk automatic reaction you know aligns itself with allies who are taking this position against iran now there's another factor which you know i don't want to overemphasize but i think it is in the background that the the u.s. national security state has long had for decades has had their own stake in having iran as an adversary it's good for the bottom line if it means that they have a justification for continued high levels of congressional appropriations so i think that's part of the problem as well but i do think the more immediate issue is
the obama administration's sort of cleaving to an international coalition of forces who are aligned against iran and it's almost an unthinking policy of continuing to maintain bad alignment regardless of what the consequences are and i think part of the consequences are. making it absolutely certain that the sunni shia war in the middle east will continue to get worse and will spread to lebanon as well as in the places where it already has become very serious refugee can you speak to that because i think i can you have here and like this again on this your it's the it's the it's the center epicenter of this conflict that garrett just talked about has nothing to do with syria per se go ahead. i would like to say that the son may share i divide and. so now we divide is something that really is
a fabrication and i am so sorry that gareth is parroting the regime's narrative you know syrians have lived together for centuries syria is a melting pot of cultures and religions and ethnicities and this whole issue of a sectarian divide has been part of the regime's platform and the regime's narrative it's unfortunate that you're buying into it over here now is no nation to access unless it's in its own national interest so the united states is certainly no more guilty than say russia and i would like to pose the question why does russia continue to side supply weapons to because it's not do you resolve that it's not it's not illegal under international law those sandbags are of course sending weapons to rebels. generals are valid but. like the russian government ok here is a lot of time again i'm going to go ahead. like to respond to the to the point that was just made about sunni shia in syria. may well be that that is not
a serious problem within syria per se i'm not so sure that it's not a problem but let me pose the additional issue here of the outside forces who have come in and indeed have made sunni shia tension the primary issue and you know you have. people going in to in the north carrying out massacres of people who are. sunis who support the reason chris jails or even were christians christians are being christians. and so you you have. the regime and i saw a position. well if you go it brings up a good point i mean you say this is the regime narrative but saudi arabia takes it quite seriously the secretary in difference doesn't it. but there again you keep bringing back saudi arabia i'm interested i'm interested in what the regime is doing to its own people the islamists and the extremists are still in the minority
by the way and that is in part because the syrian people are rejecting them but i would like to go back to the point at what point does russia feel that it bears some moral responsibility for the deaths of more than one hundred thousand for the destruction of about eighty percent of the russians for trying to marry anyone is not to see the destruction and stay so you're not in and if i was going to strange to have this international so that's it but barack obama may destroy the country russia in the process all responds right out of time and i want to thank my guests today and i want to the russian thanks all of us for watching and see you next time and remember. we believe we will.
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control of an ancient christian sanctuary in syria i made rising concern over the fate of the country's religious minorities. american lawmakers and leaned toward the rebuffing barack obama's a serious war call as a group of former u.s. intelligence officials claimed the president's being misled in his case for intervention. and early results are put moscow's acting sort of beyond then out in the landmark mayoral election but his main opposition rival puts up a strong fight.