tv Cross Talk RT December 5, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm EST
hello and welcome to cross talk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle yemen and the politics of denial and to see the trump administration's continued support of the saudi led war is morally indefensible and strategically counterproductive blaming iran for the humanitarian crisis in yemen only insurer's more suffering this time to and this senseless complex. talking yemen i'm joined by my guest giorgio he is the c.e.o. of gulf state analytics a washington d.c.
based geo political risk consultancy and in norman we cross to joshua landis he is the director of the center of middle east studies at the university of oklahoma all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i always appreciated joshua let me go to you first and norman can you explain something to me and this is something the president of the united states donald trump said on november twentieth of this year quote the country of iran as an example is responsible for a bloody proxy war against saudi arabia in yemen then he further says on the other hand saudi arabia would gladly withdraw from yemen if the iranians would agree to leave this would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance additionally saudi arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against radical islamic terrorism and we could spend hours to selecting those few sentences here. it seems to me that the reality is completely opposite of how president trump and my palm pale john bolton are characterizing what's going on in
yemen right now your reaction joshua. well it is and the u.n. resolution they passed on yemen is really it requires the who these in the north to completely surrender and it is quite clear they're not going to do it and any effort to force them to surrender is going to require taking a day to the port and from which all of the grain goes and humanitarian assistance it would cause widespread famine from one end of yemen to the other right now that peace talks are going on to try to us to try to get some kind of agreement but that would mean saudi arabia really stepping back from its maximalist goals and. that's going to be hard to do because as we've seen m.b.'s is not a compromiser yeah he has rationally pushing his favor and he's really broken
in many ways the gulf alliances and we've see that with qatar totally alienated with with yemen in shambles and now. that the north with iraq syria lebanon increasingly coming under a really the sponsorship forming alliance with iran so saudi arabia feels. surrounded but yeah but that but if i did it but that prevents itself but isn't that of it's own doing be feeling surrounded i mean it's his policies that are have backfired against it i mean as you're saying it's breaking down all the alliances let me go to georgia and washington. it seems to me that the more the trumpet ministration backs this maximalist policy that saudi arabia is pursuing the less likely there can be
a peaceful resolution of this conflict that could be easily resolved if there was the political will in riyadh and if there was some prodding from washington go ahead george you well what we see from this administration is one that fully endorse is the saudi government sonera tive about the crisis in yemen from the perspective of the regime in riyadh the prospects of the who are these establishing a defacto state or a pro state in northern yemen would amount to more or less the same idea as lebanese hizbollah law establishing a foothold on saudi arabia's border now i think this narrative has many flaws but it's clear that the trump administration buys into it completely you know when we read mike pump a o's recent op ed in the wall street journal you know to be fair this read more like something that
a saudi lobbyist would write rather than an american secretary of states so while i think there is. total reason for everyone to conclude that a military solution is not in the cards in yemen and only a diplomatic resolution can bring stability and peace to the country i think the administration still believes that the saudis and the. others in this coalition can achieve objectives on the ground through continued fighting and unfortunately the people of yemen are going to be paying the biggest price for a continuation of this thinking on the part of the administration here in washington you know joshua my pump a zero at the at the g. in the recent g. twenty if for me it was almost surreal he acknowledged yes there is a massive humanitarian crisis being played out in yemen but he won't really do anything about it and i think that that's what i think any even the mainstream
media founded. i think shocking he understands what's happening there but he won't lift a finger to reverse what's going on there so explain to me joshua why this alliance the american study alliance is worth the genocide of an entire nation go ahead and norman. well you know saudi arabia has been the linchpin of u.s. policy in the middle east that in israel for ever since the iranian revolution and seventy nine when the united states really was pushed out of the entire gulf region because saddam hussein was in iraq and doubled down on saturday via built nine nuclear hardened bases around saturday with the saudis paid for it all but the pertinence is the military complex in saudi arabia is better than anything in nato and the united states can project power from that region and keep its control over the persian gulf and that means it has its hand firmly on the oil tap and if the
united states learned one thing in world war two it was that oil makes the world go round and in many ways the allies defeated it lower yes because hundreds of the control of oil and the russians know this better than anybody because they fought stalin grodd which was about hitler getting to russian oil and by the caspian sea they stopped hitler they won the war and today the united states is geared up for world war three or is prepared for it and that means controlling oil and if the u.s. were to allow the alliance with saudi arabia to to deteriorate in many ways it would be giving up its throne as the the great superpower and americans like to be a superpower every four years we go through elections and every single candidate has to go out and campaign about how america is the greatest nation the world in to spend a point but get and let joshua joshua limits they with you here but is saudi arabia
a good alliance partner for the united states be seen with kushal with the rise of sellafield to how does a with with militias in syria and iraq being funded by saudis and this has turned into a real frankenstein in a way in a sense you know. the saudis of the seventy's and so forth was a fairly benign power and political power within the kingdom was distributed amongst the brothers and there was a cully joke. fairly benign rule today and b.s. has gathered power into his his hands he's alienated his brothers he's using increasing amount of force to intimidate them to shake them down and we're seeing a set arabia that we that we don't really recognize it's becoming more and more fragile the world is condemning it after the show we saw this this really nasty face come out and it is you know turkey has been playing on this and turkey in
a sense is is is torturing america and saudi arabia by saying don't put all your eggs in the saudi basket we are here look to turkey and say you know we can help bring down saudi arabia and you'll be naked in the middle east you have to diversify and that's what america will not do and you what you asked me is you know in a sense by alienating iran completely by undermining its relationship with turkey over the last you know five six years yeah the united states has left itself really with only one tent peg in the middle east maybe two with israel but one in the air at least ok well let me go to georgia i mean is that router very wise move i mean considering what the saudi foreign policy has been over the years ok the invasion of bahrain for funding jihad is rebels in syria. ailing qatar heightening tensions with iran i mean they've really everything they
do seems to be counterproductive to projecting security for the kingdom i mean i i met a complete loss and maybe that's why the cia is pushing a different narrative about the show gay affair because well maybe senator lindsey graham and others are are looking for one of the brothers to take his place again a meddling in foreign politics making this case that would be a bad idea i don't know go ahead in washington. well i think you're absolutely right to point out that some of the biggest foreign policy decisions that m.b.'s has made from the war in yemen the blockade in qatar and so on. there has been blowback that riyadh has had to deal with many unintended consequences some of them very destabilizing for the region when we're talking about the us saudi alliance from trump's perspective let's keep in mind that his administration has really three key goals in the middle east number one is to confront
iran in to counter iranian ascendancy in the region second to secure lucrative contracts for american entities public and private sector in third to protect the state of israel as much as possible trump sees saudi arabia playing an incredibly important role in terms of all three of these objectives from this white house's perspective it is the conduct of iran that poses the biggest threats to u.s. interests in the interests of u.s. allies in the region and i think the administration believes that it's not realistic to it envision washington successfully countering iran without unifying sunni arab states together and clearly they see saudi arabia as being so central to this agenda well it's interesting because then it looks like the united states is the junior partner in this alliance because it doesn't have enough
when lawmakers manufactured incentives to public wealth. when the roman club's a summer project themselves. the frame of. the woman was told. to ignore middle of the room to get. really really really really low. seemed wrong well we just don't know all. the world is yet to shape our lives just a consequence of the engagement because betrayal. when
so many find themselves worlds apart. choose to look for common ground. the way to the united states is dangerous for most of the illegal immigrants. who are just. simple they want to. live on the last but many of them look for refuge in the so-called sentry sides the drug used to share information about undocumented migrants with federal authorities. say and. what are their options to stay in the country with donald trump in the white house before the.
political. world cup you have put it up to the top of the. welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing yemen. ok let's go back to normandy joshua we heard from georgia before we went to the break the importance that saudi arabia plays in confronting iran but if you if we go back to two thousand and three with the illegal invasion of iraq all the way to the present it seems to me that u.s. policy in the pillars that were just mentioned at every step of the way they have degraded their own position in the middle east one catastrophic mission after
another actually right now there's a mission being played out in syria what that mission in mission is is not particularly clear maybe it's time it will it will come into focus here it might be part of the obsession the absolute up. session with iran is this why the u.s. will not confront saudi arabia because of the interests of israel and of course the way the saudis see their position of the iranians but like i said in the first part of the program everything that saudi arabia does it least recently is actually damaging to its security interests and projecting its foreign policy so maybe doing nothing might be better than doing something at least logic would dictate after what over what fifteen years of just catastrophe go ahead joshua well you're right to point to that castree a lot of this damage has been self-inflicted and it really starts with the.
this conception of false conception that the united states could reshape the middle east the stay in afghanistan after the initial invasion and then invading iraq thinking that we could get rid of oppressive. autocrats and and build democracy in the middle east and now of course there were there were lots of good arguments for why we could do that because europe eastern europe had just turned to democracy in the nineties and in latin america and the whole idea of the fourth wave in the middle east was right for this but that rightness turned out to be completely false it was not low hanging fruit and iraq did it didn't work and america got sucked in spending trillions of dollars and of course hurting our economy badly and turning iraq into a really you know friendly place for iran which of course which of course completely alienate anyone frighten the saudis has turned
a situation now this president ministrations thinks it can turn that around and and can back the years of iran push them out of the middle east out of syria out of yemen and move them back out of iraq out of iraq and that is not going to happen there is a new security architecture in the middle east and russia is very much at the forefront of it and has helped iran and has as it linked up with iran and america created this alliance in a way because iran had always been neither east nor west but by sticking it to iran over and over again their con iran has had to reach out to russia and the two of them have really found the weaknesses in american foreign policy send you can't change the syrian regime you're going to create tons of militias that are extremist and that are going to hurt us and this has been the foundation for the iranian russian alliance and of course they were correct in their analysis because that's
what happened in the syrian arena it didn't turn into democracy it turned into radical militias and so you know to say it's backed away from syria it frightens got spooked by its own allies in syria and this will open the door to russia and russia has been consolidating its. so has iran in the north and now and the united states is going to push them out unfortunately fourth united states it's only going to weaken itself and it's going to weaken its allies both russia i mean by excuse me it's going to give us allies both saudi arabia and israel in the process by by trying to gear up for this mission impossible you know georgia it's very interesting is that you know again you know the ascendancy of iran well let's say that is true ok but why is it ascendant because of the iraq war ok that's where their influence spread ok then in syria when this that when this international proxy war heated up there the illegitimate government of syria invited the
assistance in many different forms of iran so iran moves a little bit more further west ok that's all a reaction to western policies destabilization in the region that's why i said my original question to joshua is that maybe it's better to do almost nothing because the more they seem to push their policies the more it backfires against them go ahead georgia. yeah and to bring this back to the country of yemen i think your point is very valid you know the who thiis began their uprising back in two thousand and four at that point the who these had virtually no links with the islamic republic of iran true but as the situation has remained very dark in yemen there's been a lot of suffering and iran i think today certainly does have a hand in yemen i think many people exaggerate the iranian role in yemen but i don't want to be dismissive of the fact that iran does have
a hand in this flotilla war how would they argue let me let me ask you what i mean if it is a blockaded country right now so what kind of material support could iran when the country is blockaded its. ports are closed this is this is a big country is contained so i mean even if iran wanted to materially support the who would these which i don't see much evidence of no one's presented it how could they do it with a country being blockaded. well the blockade might not necessarily be airtight and of course there are different sources that claim different facts but my understanding is that iran has put weapons into the hands of these since the civil war began even though i think it's important to state that many analysts do exaggerate the extent to which iran is involved in the country but nonetheless even from a political or ideological perspective i think iran can gain even more influence in
yemen if the suffering continues sure this is going to breed more anti-americanism in iran has been very skillful since one thousand nine hundred nine of exploiting anti-americanism whether we've seen that in turkey in gaza even in parts of africa and elsewhere throughout the greater islamic world i think it would definitely be in the longer term interests of saudi arabia and the u.a.e. to try to reach a deal with the who these a savage peace in yemen as difficult as that is to imagine i think that obviously has to be the goal and through some reconstruction efforts in yemen i think the goal should also be for saudi arabia and the u.a.e. to try to bring the who these back to the arabian fold i think this continued aggression against the who these is only going to offer iran more opportunities to assert influence in the arabian peninsula ok joshua before all this started particularly over the last few years the iranian influence was middle and best
maybe it's increased but if you're if your enemy's enemy so i can understand that plus there is a slight religious connection. how stable is the house of saad right now because you read all of this paid for propaganda up until this case shogi affair i mean with the m.b.'s taking power grabbing power is it a more stable place or destabilized place go ahead. well i think your question it is very important about stability and it is the saudi arabia today is going through a tremendous tranche a transition from the generation of the children of abdulaziz and sowed the founder of the kingdom and his children have ruled ever since he died and and now they're passing to the next generation so that means all those brothers and those other families are getting cut out and in a no in a sense saudi arabia was created on the battlefield conquering other tribes but it
was also created on the marriage bed and abdul-aziz of it said made love as well as war and he he in it he built a nation by taking a wife of every major tribe that he conquered and those children from that you know in a sense he built a super tribe out of arabia that had been a bunch of tribes fighting each other and chaotic and he built a super tribe that gives the saudi nation swati zone and today that national integrity that's super tried is shuttering with. with all kinds of. this centrifuge all forces are are potentially going to break saudi arabia apart if this knit transition to the next generation doesn't go smoothly and that problem of internal. insecurity has played every regime in the middle east and it's
really the problem with the middle east today because it's causing the sectarian religious fanaticism if you will because all these weakened players internally are using religion to rally people to themselves and we've seen a since the iranian revolution in seventy nine that the order which was based on secular nationalism after the first world war and you had saddam hussein and assad and you know again i think gadhafi may not assert all of the arab nationalists have have collapsed and today they're being replaced with religious nationalists and this is tearing apart countries from one end of the middle east to the next because they don't know how to live together and saudi arabia unfortunately has been defined by its wahhabi. that is a fundamental that ideologically what i wanted where i wanted to go you're going to charge here in washington is what hobby is unreformable and the way that m.b.a.'s
is trying to sell it to the to the west to paid for propaganda is what high bids him reformable short answer yes i do believe that were obvious i wish we had more i wish we had more in a minute because i would really like good long discussion on that you can finish up the program go ahead. i think m.v.s. has received a lot of condemnation a lot of criticism for many reasons i think a lot of that is very legitimate i do think there are some areas though where he does deserve credit such as women driving permitting cinemas to reopen after they were banned for several decades allowing an entertainment sector to start up i think this is important for the diversification of saudi arabia's economy we're all in the but also wish that we'll probably should mention we should also probably mention the illegal detention and kidnapping of his own family members and extortion and terror and torture is out reform ten seconds go ahead.
and b.s. is not making political reforms in saudi arabia there was never any talk about the kingdom democratising under m.b.'s but there are some social reforms taking place which are important and i would definitely not dismiss them ok that's a fair answer ok that's all the time we have gentlemen many thanks to my guests in washington and norman and thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember. the other financials along. about money laundering first to visit this three different. oh good this is a good start well we have our three banks all set up here maybe something in your something in america something overseas in the cayman islands or the room full of these banks are complicit in the kleptocracy we just have to call and say to do
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a new treatment their international mascherano that these industries out of but looting your dissembling ignore their money their time and most of them live even else and the mother of them like me into the last day into this. when a loved one is murder it's natural to seek the death penalty for the murderer i would prefer me to win the death penalty just because i think that's a fair thing the right thing research shows that for every nine executions one convict respond. the idea that we were executing innocent people is terrifying the is just no really that hasn't been that we're even many of the families want the
death penalty to be abolished. the death penalty here is because that's what murder victims' families what that's going to give them peace that's going to give them justice and we come in saying. this isn't the way. can you. see the survival of a key cold war on the streets he says trump security advisor that says america's top diplomat issues a sixty day ultimatum to moscow. also this hour french protesters voiced their anger over what they call the crumbs offered by their governments involved to keep riding on the streets.