tv Worlds Apart With Oksana Boyko RT July 17, 2014 8:29am-9:01am EDT
in my experience of reporting from various conflict zones i notice that there is almost a cultural bias when it comes to treating violence i mean violence and conflict in europe are sometimes seen as more of a threat more shocking than let's say violence in the middle east that it is as if people sort of came to expect that arabs or persians are more prone to killing each other them you know let's say europeans and i think the conflict in the ukraine or what was happening in the olden island a couple of decades ago shows that it is probably not the case that every country is essentially prone to conflict if the conditions are right what are your thoughts on that i think you're absolutely right the idea that some peoples are more naturally barbaric than others is a complete after all in world war two more people were killed in europe than in any other conflict in world history so europeans are just as capable of being barbarous towards one another as other parts of the world what's fundamentally at stake in
most conflicts is whether or not people enjoy security under the existing state order whether they're treated with equality dignity and respect and whether the institutions allow for power sharing when there are significant sized and culturally distinct groups now i know that in your professional capacity you try to bring some of that to iraq and when you compare iraq to any other country people tend to cringe but i think you yourself thought a very interesting course comparing iraq to sit down so let's take that comparison a bit further to ukraine because it seems to me that you know a couple of years ago many western aspirants western political scientists were all in favor for the realization as you know as a solution for iraq but at the same time many of those experts are now increasingly skeptical if federal is a sion is good for ukraine why was it in theory good for baghdad but not so good for key. well you're quite right to point to
a tension in the way western political scientists look at federalism most tend to advocate integrated federations that is to say federations in which there will be significant decentralization but there is no express recognition of cultural. difference most americans indeed. multinational or multi-ethnic federations it seems to me that one should should be consistent that in places like ukraine which are characterized by serious difference and indeed difference as well as places like iraq the only prospect of holding those places together successfully in a democratic fashion. or indeed in the case of iraq. arrangements now one interesting point i heard the make about iraq was that despite professing its support for federal legislation americans also way air favor
of centralization of power in baghdad because they saw that as a way of sort of making sure that back that can stand up to you and i wonder if the lack of support to federalize ational for ukraine is motivated by the same calculation. needs to be able to quote unquote stand up to moscow and therefore while i guess remain under western umbrella i think the. american thinking after all it's a very strange paradox why does america support historically a strong the only rational answer is that they want to strong to balance against iran but logically the moment america the democratization of iraq it was inevitable that there was going to be a majority and pro shiite government. which would inevitably be pro raney and so logically by this stage one would have imagined that the american state department would be reconsidering its options abandoning its. it went to
a highly centralized. it's true as you suggest that both europeans and americans have tended to favor a strong government and. to see ukraine independent and obviously to balance against moscow so the orientation of the state department frequently favors centralized governments irrespective indeed of whether this federalization going on i think for most of these deeply divided places it's very important that they be able to come to their own domestic settlement. or at least with minimum external interference while i think that they're obviously important then you have the united states as well as russia as well as other players remain very deeply involved not only in ukraine but also let's say in iraq a place that is true for the united states and i wonder if that in a with south koreans and major dilemma a major conflict between. you know short term geopolitical and long term conflict resolution is essential a case of one of working against another it can be there are times when external
actors can play a positive role in helping the local actors reach settlements that was obviously the case in intermittently it's been true in places like lebanon but as you strongly indicate at the moment it's not the case in iraq and it's obviously not the case in ukraine so one of the things that has to happen is that the external powers have to accommodate one another they have to think very sensibly about whether their support for a particular local agency is going to make conflict conflict endure one more commonality between ukraine and russia that i would like to bring up is disputed territories kirkuk and crimea may see a world apart but you know the fate of both is ultimately tied to referendum and the crimean referendum obviously already took place it was described as illegitimate in the west because of the presence of russian military contingent on the ground and if we look at kirkuk the kurdish form. says have just taken control
of care coke and some other areas around. the leader of iraqi kurds mr berg zani sad that he once a referendum to take place within the next few months i wonder if their reaction to the kurdish referendum would be any different than reaction to the crimean referendum would they it would have been dismissed just as promptly i think it's a fair question but i think there are profound differences between the two cases yes it's true that in both cases crimea and kurds were handed over to other authorities by the central powers so khrushchev over the crimea to ukraine during the soviet period and manipulated and restructured the governorates of. this rule but there is a fundamental difference between the two cases in the case of kirkuk under iraq's constitution there was promised a referendum by two thousand and seven and the federal executive authority was
supposed to organize matters so that there could be a referendum based on a fair census and on the basis of a fair electoral register the federal government manifestly failed to fulfill its obligations so the kurds argue in holding a referendum on the status of kirkuk and the disputed territories they are merely implementing article one forty of the iraqi constitution there is no comparable way in which there was no embedded referendum for the status of crimea inside ukraine's constitution that is the difference between the two cases but the constitution of both ukraine and iraq has been have been breached several times so you cannot argue for a total. you know i tear into the constitution on one side of fishes and you know ignoring it on the other said here was the presence of here irish military forces on the ground in kirkuk could also implied allegations of people being cursed into . which was again some of the allegations by the in the case of crimea i agree with
you that in both cases you can point to violations of the constitution. and. the number of constitutional violations that one can add up in the case of maliki exceeds the number of. patients that he's actually been fulfilling so you're right . but there is this fundamental difference in carrying out a referendum. can argue reasonably that. placing the executive authority which. i think is a significant difference between the cases whether everybody will see it that way of course is another matter many people as you have said that the referendum will take place with the presence of the. i think the kurds will take to ensure the international observers are invited they'll make sure that the government of turkey
is there to observe the rights of the minority of protected representatives from the orthodox churches to see that the rights of the minority christians are protected so i think kurdistan will take great care to ensure that the referendum is seeing to respect the rights of the minorities absolutely larry isn't it also the case that regardless of who is invited to observe the referendum the currents are simply too important to be alley and they did so that the essentially makes any kurdistan related decision more political in nature that. the kurdish insistence on a referendum is longstanding a national commitment to. the current situation in iraq is one in which the constitutional order has fundamentally been broken i would say fundamentally broken by maliki more than by. agent the question
is whether or not the kurds decide to assist in a constitutional reconstruction of iraq option one whether they move towards making iraq a common federation rather than a federation or last three whether they go for independence let me says on that point to ask you another question because to kurds obviously have been very good at catching their risks and avoiding direct confrontation but i think that strategy has changed over the past few weeks because the brazilian government now started openly defying a molecule government both. came to seizing oil fields all also on the issue of the referendum and i wonder what do you think is behind this change of strategy are kurds smelling the blood and if so what would be potential ramifications for the region as a hall of current adjuring into the fray in a more sort of direct and aggressive fashion well the first point to observe is that the major violation of the constitution that occurred just before these events
transpired was one that. refused to allow kurdistan to export its oil oil that's entitle to produce and indeed i would say export underexposed and they followed that up by a deliberate decision not to give kurdistan its share of iraq's oil revenues that basically meant that the popular population of kurdistan was suffering through not having funding for its salaries so that decision by maliki an extreme step taken by maliki has i think been very important in triggering the kurdish decision that there's no going back to the arrangements as they were before the fall of mosul dr larry let me stop you right there we have to take a very short break but when we come back if you've broken to someone's house violently can you still leave with integrity that's coming out on worlds apart.
a stage eight look easy. but the speech was. plenty. bright promising. first street. and i think butcher. on our reporters twitter. and instagram. to be among the little odd. i say put all the bankers into the circular firing squad put all the bankers the jamie diamond the lloyd blankfein the bob diamond put them into a circular firing squad then give them all ball and let's get rid of all the laws we got it. the system of this cancer of the marriott tragedies of the world.
your friend posts a photo from a vacation you can't afford. a different. the boss repeats the same old joke of course you like. your ex-girlfriend still tends to rejection poetry keep count ignore it. we post only what really matters. to your facebook news feed. welcome back to worlds apart when we are discussing the latest developments in iraq with political scientist brandon o'leary dr larry i just to wrap up with a kurdish issue the kurds have been a very pragmatic and building functional relationship with all the regional and
geopolitical players i mean they have good ties well if this workable ties with the obama government with the assad government with their all funny government do you think they can come to some sort of accommodation with isis no and i don't think there's any intention to come to any accommodation with isis as a fundamental ideological difference there's a fundamental lack of possibility for accommodation because isis stands for reestablishing a universal islamic caliphate which would include dominating areas where kurdish muslims prevail so there's absolutely no room for compromise with isis the big transformation that's happened in the region over the last decade is the successful detente building into a flourishing diplomatic relationship between the kurdistan region and turkey no one would have predicted a decade ago the turkey would be kurdistan's likely and most robust in the region but that's the situation we now confront whether or not kurdistan goes for
confederation or whether it goes for independence it can be certain the turkey will be its principal. but it wasn't also the case between syria and turkey i remember visiting a leper just three or four years ago and you know turkish businesses were everywhere and mr are the honest invited president assad for vacations or vice versa but look at what happened since then so i think that even at this time in this region friendships are very easily build and they're very easily destroyed that's possible i think there's a fundamental and important difference both turkey and the kurdistan region have fundamentally democratized over the last two decades they have political leadership that are accountable to and responsible to their respective populations it's also clear that turkey has reappraised its foreign policy in the region it decided for good reasons that the government of president assad was not in turkey's interests
by contrast it has decided. as a long term institutional partner it's not just a relationship based on president barzani or prime minister barzani it's a long term relationship with. the k r g satisfies turkey's ambitions to be an energy hub for europe it satisfies turkey's ambitions to have a buffer zone between itself and highly the most and job. in iraq it satisfies turkey's ambitions to have a buffer between itself and iran so there are all sorts of multiple reinforcing reasons why the government of turkey should have a good term relationship with that's what the secret of the kurdish success that they always tried to build again functional relationship with any actor in the region i remember visiting kurdish have waters kurdish areas in syria two years ago and you know the fighting was already raging in the north of syria by the currents were minding their own business they didn't enter the five neither to support assad
nor to support the rebels and again leads me to the question i asked you previously because currents it's. seems that they came close to closest to that dream of having de facto a d. id you were independents but if they don't reach any sort of accommodation of it the ice is bad dream could be demolished i don't think they will want to do that for various reasons they will want the support of turkey the united states indeed the russian federation and indeed iran government and the kurds will want to ally with them against isis rather than to become partners with isis and i would expect over the long run kurds artist and obviously has an interest in stabilizing its border with the areas that are now controlled by isis but it also has an interest in making sure that isis does not stabilize itself and become a functioning so the kurds will want to see different sony sony arabs in power in
the rest of. it in anbar. and indeed in western syria but what makes you think dr levy that some of the actors that you just mentioned the united states even turkey wouldn't want to change or some sort of agreement with isis because we all remember that the united states used to view the taliban in afghanistan as as an enemy and that you know once they failed to eradicate that movement then now more than willing to you know open talks with them and even integrate them in afghanistan's political life what makes you think that this same sort of you turn is impossible with isis you're right to be skeptical you're right to say that america has had very strange allies over the years often its enemies have become its allies nevertheless i think in the period ahead it is unimaginable that either kurdistan or the united states would come to an accommodation with isis what they what they can do is to use the threat that isis is to the region as
a whole to rework and destabilize a whole series of relationships so plainly there are a whole lot of sunni arabs. do not want to be governed by maliki who do not want to be dominated by a renewed. they want to be able to govern themselves not under isis control but by themselves so that offers an opportunity to reconstruct iraq. or indeed the establishment of a sunni state but the overwhelming majority of sunni arabs only. because they think maliki is even worse once more like he goes from the scene once it's clear that there isn't going to be an international push to rehabilitate. his government i think will be easier to see that isis will become isolated and replaced. well i think a similar argument was made in the case of syria and assad but i don't want to go there instead let me ask you about your book and two thousand and nine you
published a book with a killer title i think how to get out of iraq within tagore if you know integrity is not the first thing that comes to mind when they think about the right these days so i guess president obama didn't have a chance to review a book when he was planning that fateful. i was told by somebody. i should simply have written the book. because the americans weren't interested. they were just interested in getting out the argument of the book was that if iraq was to stabilize it was fundamentally. strong so what happened was exactly what the book warned against namely that the united states fundamentally intrenchments. relationships with sunni arabs. and we see the ruins of that project it would have been nice to have been nice if the argument. understood at the
time regrettably now the argument is widely accepted but most of the people doing that kind of acknowledgement don't admit that they. part of the project to try and . back in two thousand and eleven and. you know a very interesting point in your book that all those five years ago when you publish the you actually warned of potential sunni disenchantment and this is of course the main charge that is being nowadays levied nuri al maliki but i think your observation is very astute that it was the united states at least partially that cultivated that strongman in him in order to contain the violence by any means so they can leave iraq with integrity using your own title. what they did was that they bribed the sunni arab tribes and they assume that maliki would continue to make payments to them in the aftermath of their departure they also believed that maliki could conceivably run an impartial and nonsectarian government
this was or was absurd especially given the knowledge that the united states actually had about maliki's background information he was the least cosmopolitan the least traveled the least open to accommodation with sony's of any kind of any of the major shiite leaders so the chickens have come home to roost america's iraq policy does lie in ruins and that's a policy shared by both the bush administration and by the obama administration it's not something that the obama administration can say is fundamentally the bush administration's fault and the bush administration fundamentally say the obama change he didn't follow the same policy of pursuing a reset. under the leadership of maliki now there is also one interesting observation which i heard to you made in the past and that is that despite all the you know democracy slogans that we heard from the white house over the years concerning iraq you seem to believe that deep down the u.s.
administration has a sort of a cultural bias towards. someone believing that arabs or iraqis are simply not capable. well of democracy well i think that style bias does exist it competes with another strange romanticist bias which is relatively low key in the american administration is stronger in the british administration and there are some who believe the only muslim style governments. are the only possibility for muslims personally i think this is nonsense i think that. people with a muslim background just like people with an orthodox background or people with a christian background or a jewish background all are fundamentally incapable of democracy what has happened tragically in the middle east is that it's been a site for multiple competitions by great powers and empires no real ability to
consolidate the nation states except under military dictatorships i think if these parts of the world were left alone a little bit more by the rest of us it's possible that we might see more successful democratic experiments places that people don't care about for example. seem to be successfully democratizing i don't think it's an accident that the parts of the muslim world that are not interfered with by the great powers seem to have a better prospect of democratic success and i would say that the kurdistan region is an example of that itself. the kurds are not governed by the americans the americans went into iraq in two thousand and three they govern themselves just just as they. also were the beneficiaries of american investment american security i mean and they do enjoy very good political ties with the. white house successive white house i think that's right but i can't emphasize
how much that was achieved against american preferences the americans kept asking the kurds to keep iraq together to build. in a centralized way they didn't want the kurds to have their own independent oil rights they didn't even want the kurds to keep their own independent security if the kurds had listened to american advice on oil on security currently they would have been conquered by isis well i wonder if any i wish ukrainians were listening to this program maybe they could learn a thing or two speaking about american preferences for a number of here is the many. washington policy makers have been advocating the idea of a unified iraq you also endorse that i book but we're now hearing increasingly more and more people arguing in favor of partition of iraq as a way of salvaging whatever is laugh after the very quick isis offensive do you think iraq within its internationally recognized borders still stands
a chance i don't think there's any chance unfortunately of renewing the constitution of two thousand. has broken so many promises that the kurds are not going to go back to the constitution two thousand and five the amendments that would be required to make that constitution work would be so huge that you might as well make new relationships so what i expect in the period ahead is that kurds will focus on one of two choices either to make iraq into a confidence in which kurdistan and iraq would be equal partners in a constitutional treaty or they'll go for independence the unknown question is what will sunni arabs do will they decide to try and go back to the constitution of two thousand and five except this time to build a big region. we don't know the answer to that question on the on the answer to that question of the future of iraq should i take it from your answer that.
political maps of the world will have to be redrawn probably not only in iraq and the middle is but the perhaps they could also be original in the. in europe because as we discussed in the first part of this program some of the same challenges at present there is well i think there will be a determined effort to confine changes to within iraq's current borders so we could see the emergence of three new sovereign states in a confidence or three separate independent states but i don't think we'll see a transformation of the exterior border of iraq the the pressure on. the local powers and the pressure from international powers to keep those borders solid will remain well dr larry and we have to leave it there i really appreciate your being on the show thank you for listening to me and to our viewers please keep the conversation going on our twitter you tube and facebook pages and i hope to see you again same place same time here on a wild card. this
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