tv [untitled] January 31, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm EST
terrorist murder nope but that's just my opinion. below and welcome to cross talk we're all things considered i'm peter lavelle stalled talks accusations traded in endless demands made this sums up the process being played out in geneva with virtual space on the battlefield outside proxies are left to make the hard decisions and compromises to alleviate and then to finally end this civil war which of these outside powers have the political will. to cross-talk developments in syria i'm joined by my guest in our bill in
washington he is a member of the brookings institution and a scholar in residence at the american university and in new york we cross to joe lauria he is a u.n. correspondent for the wall street journal all right gentlemen welcome to the program crosstalk rules and in fact that means you can jump in anytime you want joe is the weekend's here where does the geneva process stand i mean maybe the best thing that's happened is that it's even happening. yeah i guess it that it stands pretty much where it began irreconcilable differences between the two parties they sat in the same room they spoke through mr brahimi the u.n. negotiator they spoke to each other there are a lot of rumors that the syrian government had decided that they agreed certainly to talk about a transitional government that's been shut down so really no progress was made no progress was expected except on the humanitarian front there was an attempt to get aid into homes that's not over yet that of tampa hasn't happened yet so even that minor victory that they were hoping for the in the grocery it is the u.n. may not happen ok dan where would you agree with what we just heard from joe here i
mean the best thing that's happened with these talks is that the even are happening in the first place i think it's of the chief of both parties in the same room and being able to finally after days of waiting to talk to each other and there was some reported progress being made inside the room we don't haven't seen concrete results yet but one has to hope that these direct talks can go somewhere and become more concrete news from you know there's a stalemate on the ground but news from syria coming out from syria this morning are very disturbing just. syrian regime the assad regime targeting different neighborhoods of rebel forces continued strife humanitarian and just we heard here in washington yesterday the chief intelligence. official of
the administration talking about syria becoming a hotbed for islamic fundamentalism and for terrorism possibly striking at the u.s. you know it's very interesting i was watching very closely the u.s. secretary of state's comments about what's going on there and and i think we all agree whatever your political stripe is that there is the. this civil war is truly truly dreadful but the u.s. and its allies constantly criticize and point out atrocities committed by the assad regime but they're very tepid in criticizing opposition groups and particularly groups that most people believe are linked to al qaeda or groups like al qaeda. does this create the kind of atmosphere of compromise and diplomacy that's necessary i guess what i'm saying and putting in question the role of the united states here is that a fair broker. no no of course not there they are openly declare they want to stop to go drinking opposition group or groups no they're not being
a fair broker the united states absolutely not i think when kerry went to the opening session of this conference among trow he again stood up and call for assad to go i mean i don't see where that helped any we really know the u.s. position why gratuitously stirred the thing up the united states is certainly one sided on this there's two sides to this war and the major outside powers are your own and saudi arabia i should introduce that right now without those two sides deciding to make some kind of accommodation only in iran but across the entire region i'm going to lebanon back rain to afghanistan and yemen these two sides have their hands in the local conflict particularly in syria and until the iranians in the saudis can come to some accommodation this war is not going to and unless the two parties and finally realize a neither side is going to win and we're long way from that and i don't think that taking sides and there are sides being drawn up russia of course is also on the side of the. syrian government and the categories and other gulf powers are helping the rebels so the this is
a proxy war this is an international war being fought out in syria a very awful war and i don't see any any solution to this until those outside powers come together and by the way that first day of the conference was truly symbolic there was a big thing about whether iran was invited and i guess they were and then they were disinvited it was only a one day speech symbolic when they got in the room nothing happened nothing's really happened it dantley it let's get we just heard about iran and saudi arabia but that for aside just for a second here but this demand that assad must go that secretary kerry repeated in the first day and every day is this really helpful i mean should we alleviate the civil war first and then try to end it and then worry about what's happening next because this is not how helping the people on the ground that millions of refugees and just some of the horrific things that you can find on you tube and facebook i mean it's first things first why don't we try to get the humanitarian aid things like that instead of talking constantly about assad's future. but i think the u.s.
has come a long way in terms of its position about of if the u.s. has demanded the assad must step down or must leave must depart right now the u.s. is accommodating the situation in which he is actually a player in the geneva conference very much. there and not going anywhere and i think the u.s. administration is realizing that you know you could offer his departure you can say you can call or demand him to leave but recognizing the reality on the ground is that he's very much there and he may be staying and i'm not sure everybody here in washington would want at the end of the day to see you know i know for israel for a fact that people are those who are in these with the situation because on one hand if the outcome would be that assad stays you would have them aligned with iran the radical access to feed the leaves and you're left with the. groups
that are would be controlling syria and that's a good news either so i think that the u.s. has come a long way i think the u.s. as the leader of the western world must demand to depart on the other and i think that realizing that there are constraints on the ground that may have to make him state ok will do the job i think it's this is really kind of interesting because the man has to go but we're going to talk to you first i mean this is ludicrous here and i think this is what undermines the position for many reasons and other reasons the u.s. position in all of this because you know how can you did you know it's like going to a being a monitor at a lunch table and saying when you're finished with your lunch you have to leave i mean it really is kind of childish and for allies in the region and other powers that are not allied with the united states and western powers the united states looks a bit ludicrous in its whole procedural approach to all of this. well look russia was in mourning for more than two years and i wrote about it two years ago the fall
of assad will mean a takeover perhaps by very extremist groups and that they could fan out not only into chechnya but even into western europe and a muslim the syrian foreign minister made this point very strongly in his opening remarks at montreaux earlier at the beginning of this conference that the same people that they're fighting are or did nine eleven the same kinds of people and of course he didn't mention crimes committed by the syrian government that was done by the opposition leader but if you take both sides you've got a pretty good picture of what's happening here crimes being committed on both sides and the united states and over seeking the overthrow of assad a could open this up to an afghanistan like situation the way they did in afghanistan the way they did maybe in libya all the secular leaders that are falling as bad as some of them as they are they're all the crimes have been a bulk work against extremism and somebody you could deal with on a certain level and they also protected secular rights of women and among religious minorities but the united states has consistently gone against these groups and why because did most of the saudis want these guys out for their own regional ambitions
and they're also worried about iran which is another religious backing obviously religious extremists on the other side of this sectarian divide so this is the situation we've got now absolutely impossible for the united states to to continually say that assad has to go when as the guest in march and just pointed out they're dealing with them now invited to this conference they're eliminating the chemical weapons now you've got to deal with the reality on the ground as you point out peter you're the first thing should be to end this conflict and the fighting and the killing and then we'll sort out the rest if possible but that doesn't seem false ok i want to stay with assad you know why is the u.s. continue to say this because obama said it is it hubris i mean or is it because riyadh is saying this i mean who is leading here i mean this is been one of the very interesting thing i mean the qatar reserve a leading this but saudis leading this because the united states is talking out of both sides of its mouth at the same time that's not good for the average person. peter i have to say the let's let's organize of you know has orchestrated these
attacks on innocent civilians is responsible for the murder for the killing of tens of thousands of innocent syrians and we're not talking about mother the reason you know that yes i was a big. hit here if you can if you bring up the word you know maybe you can hook them on a note for you but you don't you bring up the word moral when you break the word moral the united states is is helping these rebel groups and some of them extremely extreme again. now well not with numbers or something i mean you can you depending on when you know who you want to listen to but there's a lot of jihad is there right now work and they weren't there before so i don't think it's very fair to say who has more moral ground here i mean it's a definition of a civil war atrocities are committed on all sides and i am not and i want to make it very clear i guess enter my viewers i am not defending mr assad at all all right
let's be clear about that all right go ahead you can finish up one more minute before we go to the break i just have to say that. assad here carries most of the blame i'm not saying that the opposition forces on the ground or or you know should should be should be or. groups on the contrary so who are very dangerous and very vicious on the other hand i think the u.s. has a responsibility to. be very forceful in the messaging too and i think that russia has a very important role to play in with its influence on the broader the brought him to the table ronnie's or to the occasion at least that's one thing the russians have done here and it's a positive thing in the chemical weapons issue as well our gentlemen we're going to go to a short break should we're going to go to a short break we're going to. short break and after that short break we'll continue
our discussion on syria stay with our. look. today got a lot of housing for only people but the government is not funding it and then a lot of the shelter today be have and could move others down the street because people begin to raid didn't sheltered to get involved right now ironically ironically i'm worth more to the city of new york pinfold. personally. and. when you paid regular people like someone like a lawyer or doctor or some other madison avenue it's boring and sometimes the
homeless people do little to inflict the alibi. is the same because in country rather than the state the response remember has an individual in this city to do bridges sitting in the work what people. pay money to do give you proof to the police anybody could make it good enough get up. picked right up on the street. first street and i would think that you're. on a recorder splitter. and instrument. to be in the know. on.
. please. welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the recent developments in syria. ok joe i'd like to go back to you in new york you were the first of the program to do bring up in around here. how tragic is it for this go so-called peace process that they were invited in disinvited and then mr kerry and his usual gaffs you know maybe they can play a role on the sidelines again like tutoring a child here but iran is key to ending this civil war like saudi arabia is well
this is what needs to happen here and what could have been the very beginning a very big across the board across the spectrum conference has been truncated and if i were in the leadership in iran i'd say well you asked this but now maybe we won't be so helpful go ahead joe well that is possible we have to see that they are going to play a major role to end this conflict as i mentioned before with the saudis i don't think those two countries can not play a big role in the state of the most directly involved in arming and backing the two groups that are fighting each other in terms of the best fighters the extremists on the sunni side by the saudis and hezbollah coming from a ban on direct from iran and paid for by iran these are the two groups that are really pulling the strings mostly and they have to come together and i don't know if they ever will now as far as the conference goes that was a one day opening conference where countries thirty countries were made speeches i mean mexico was their candidate would but the really important player is there the
saudis and the iranians only the saudis were invited to symbolically. it was a very bad that you're not you don't invite the iranians to come and make a speech too but ultimately they are going to work on the sidelines like everybody else they're not in the room together we're bringing me and the negotiators from the government and the opposition so all the governments are working on the side but symbolically at the beginning it was important and it was even the asian in some way for bunky moon as well about and this invite him to seem like he got played badly and invited them without a get written and written getting that written statement first so but ultimately that you know that's over that that that episode what's important now is that the two sides have to realize that they cannot win this war and that they asked their backers to come together and try to end it and i don't think that's anywhere near and so i could book side still think they could win and assad at least could hold off but i still think there's plenty of money coming in from the saudis better weapons captivities are playing a more lesser role than they were previously but they're also have their groups there and turkey don't forget turkey's role in this and in allowing arms to come
through and to train extremists coming in there as the head of the opposition party told me an interview when i was in washington and completely blames the turkish government for facilitating a lot of the extremists so these this is form of there is no where near and inside but you've got to bring iran in at some point and it was a it was symbolically not a good idea but i don't think ultimately really matter whether iran came and i whether this conference took place or not frankly ok it dan i mean how can we have any kind of peace process sitting around a table when not everyone is invited a lot of the rebel groups decided not to arrive and then you still have so he arabia and it was revealed that the u.s. congress is still secretly funding arms to go to these are how can you be providing a war fueling a war on and say we're for peace how can you do that at the same time it's contradictory. look having having you run the geneva is absurd i think and i think the u.s. rightly so. it's like a kid that lights up
a fire then you ask him to come and put it out can't you say the same thing about. you say the same about saudi arabia. so. you know known definitely not saudi arabia and iran are not in the same part of my opinion i think that they are trying to do something really trying to assist some rebel groups position groups within syria to make things right to reach the sort of. go ahead john pander i'm sorry ed jump in joe yeah that's absurd they're not it did not interested in doing it i just said they were interested in their interests just go ahead joe if saudi arabia is interested in their interest syrians are interested in their interests the americans are just in there everyone's interested in their interests and are now is really just doing the right thing the right thing would be to end this war right away that's not happening but don't tell me that the saudis are on the good side of this and the iranians on the bad it's silly it's a sectarian conflict now the saudis are are allied with the us and more of israel
than the iranians are clearly but you can't use that bias of your position or are allied with to go to talk about a war in which a hundred thirty thousand people are dying and where and where as you said yourself even is it would probably lose you better only be with the saudis responsible for most of the so that is iran just that surrounds guys sort of israel you're looking at iran responsible for most people who want to assad to say there's ability. ok joe no no no we don't even know that we know hundred thirty thousand i saw did not kill a hundred thirty thousand that's reported everywhere one hundred thirty thousand a dead it's never really been broken down by the u.n. about were killed more on the other side it's a does that both sides are shooting and killing assad has not killed one hundred thirty thousand he's trying to even his implode aside so i could go to hell no question about it so could these rebel leaders both sides ok most likely go to the hague or gannet wildly at what point at what point are these regional powers going to finally accept that the the level of bloodshed going on in syria is unacceptable
is there a number in your head because it just seems extraordinary to me is that western media is constantly saying about the tragedy played out in syria when there are that the neighborhood itself could sit down and probably iron this out all by themselves they don't need the americans there the americans are not a fair broker at all they speak out of both sides of the mouth but you could that would be the facilitation is a look you guys you have to sit down and stop the bloodshed in syria because the agency of syria is almost nil and this ng so-called peace process peter just. a road to us as a responsible player here the u.s. is a world power and it has to be involved in this but let's talk about the other player here the porn player which is russia i think russia has extremely crucial role to play it has been doing so until now it has to carry on doing it continue doing it
forcefully visibly all the players because russia does have hold cards well does hold that is exactly what it is still yours and that's exactly what he has been doing shows virtually here exclusively for two years to take part in the new year's job for two years and we have seen the tragedy they pushed it first and hardest much more so than all of a sudden kerry says hey. let's have the can you go to really really obviously obviously they didn't get it done because it's still going on i mean they should also the u.s. and russia should sit together and see how they can solve this ok russia is equally here and even more forcefully has a role to play. convincing us now it was done for the two years since our right let's go to joe let's go to joe in new york go ahead joe well they have such together and they've come up with this this deal to get rid of syria's chemical weapons and that was the russian initiative and united states wisely went along with that. and they got all they got killed obama sure got killed
by the by the saudis and by netanyahu for not bombing which nobody knows the consequences would have been had us intervened you could say anything that would have ended the war mediately or would have spread the thing into a completely regional conflict which may happen anyway given as i said before the sectarian war and the civil war from the mediterranean to the euphrates river that seems to be developing engulfing lebanon syria and iraq that could stretch even this far south you know when yemen is a playground for saudis and the iranians as well so i mean rusher and did a great job there and getting and the u.s. you have to commend him by ministration to go along with that chemical weapons deal and this is the way forward with the diplomacy and yes russia and u.s. and to play a major role and as you point out peter who is leading whom the u.s. has to put pressure on the saudis and russia has some influence on iran i don't think is much and try to get those two parties together here behind the scenes of
have to be in a conference forget about invitations they've got to talk and divide the thing and come up to some solution here now the transitional government by the way is what this whole thing was about and the meanings are not agreed to communicate number one from geneva one which talked about traditional government but nobody's ever said assad has to go out of the traditional government transitional government although the of opposition will never accept him and assad will never really want to share power. with the guys he's fighting so this is a nonstarter unfortunately geneva one and eva two ultimately has to be exhausted on a battlefield and some kind of compromise not in sight right now not monitoring right now flying fighters on the ground or the powers behind them then if i go back even watching them in one of the things i find extremely ironic here is that about a half a year ago obama was a few minutes away from saying fire ok and now he wants to sit down and talk to the the regime in syria i mean that is going to be the the irony is this. endless there you're going to attack and you're going to kill in
a committed atrocity against international law and now we're saying we're going to sit down and talk to you again the legitimacy issue is glaring. things have to disagree i think that. obama think is very pro is very pragmatic and he reached a conclusion that he could get things done without the use of force and people many people here in washington do believe that if obama would not have stepped up his rhetoric or there would have done heard give instructions to go on a military strike then perhaps the syrians the our soldiers he would not have moved on the city on the chemical weapons front so i think that his position and his posturing did help in many ways reach a deal with the russians to allow this to to reach an agreement on the chemical weapons which is going smoothly although most of the chemical weapons cache is still on syrian soil but it is going a process which is going forward i don't think it's ironic i don't think it's i think that obama is very pragmatic and he wants to do to grab us ahead of time and
i want to you wanted to i want to get i want to get the last word to joe last forty seconds here the saudis must think the americans are fools that at the end of the day i mean that the south that we are just doesn't believe the americans can can drive this thing at all all at. you know with this some really complex relationship going back to second world war of course was from the saudis and the americans and and here we see the saudis getting very angry when they didn't bomb syria very angry over the iranian nuclear deal and i agree with the guest that that a show of force always works in diplomacy that's from the beginning of time you can't really do diplomacy without for so yes the u.s. threat helped get this chemical weapons out they got to do more of that more diplomacy and the saudis have to be told that they can have a big run amok and do what they want and the region but the iranians have to be told this too so i told the press aboard on both those sides from more probably countries like russia and the u.s. there's no chance of a diplomatic solution i think that the u.s.
has to stand up and obama needs credit he has stood up all right here and i would say to his guys should know when to run out of time iran many thanks to mike allen of washington and in new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t. see you next time and remember of crosstalk. new york to london. the whole world is on the. other one down the end of the two hang up the cord that building at the end of the
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the crane's president signs a law granting amnesty to those detained during riots in the country on opposition front and seek more support from the west. as progress is mentioned for the first time in talks between the warring sides of the syrian conflict the us reminds damascus that military action is still an option plus. after twenty fourteen. we will support a unified afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future. and a future well the peace process with the government of afghanistan afghanistan faces a looming threat in the taliban's resurgence as kabul and washington wrangle over a post put out security deal to end the thirteen year war.