tv Cross Talk RT December 5, 2018 11:00pm-11:31pm EST
a fourth consecutive week. political. name and shame. joining. me. now is time. hello and welcome to cross talk we're 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 insurers. suffering this
time to and this senseless complex. crosstalk in 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 and
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 mike 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 data the pork 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 or 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 its own doing being feeling surrounded i mean it's
his policies that do 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's. 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 saudi alliance is worth the genocide of an entire nation go ahead and norman well you know saudi arabia has been the lynchpin of u.s. policy in the middle east out in israel for ever since the iranian revolution is 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 the saudis paid for it all but the pertinence says 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 later 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 us were to allow the alliance with saudi arabia to to
deteriorate in many ways it would be giving up its for own 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 indispensable but get it and let joshua joshua let me if they were here it is saudi arabia a good alliance partner for the united states be seen with kushal with the rise of sellafield jihadism 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 if 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 colleague. fairly benign rule today and b s has gathered power into was he.
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 torturing america and saudi arabia by saying don't put all your eggs in the saudi basket we are here look to turkey and to 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 maybe in this case it 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 u.s. 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 leverage to be able to convince its ally that is so dependent on the united states for so many things to change its behavior all right gentlemen i'm going to jump in here we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on yemen state with thirty.
protestors in france are saying their purchasing power has diminished because all this money printing that's going on and you mention they can't tell in fact that money printing in rich people on average in paris. and paris and those people who are working and doing blue collar jobs their personal power is eroded and they. party and pamela anderson figured out that this is a structurally violent system that they need to address with a quid pro quo violence or violence. welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered amount you were
discussing yemen. ok let's go back to norman 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 to time it will it will come into focus here it might be part of the obsession. and the absolute obsession with iran is this why the us will not confront saudi arabia because of the interest 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 if the us 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 a friendly place for iran which of course which of course completely alienate anyone frighten the saudis and 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 or conned 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 yeah and the united states isn't 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 weakness and 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 what they were influenced 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 little war how would they argue let me let me ask you that 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 piece 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 states 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 minimal and best maybe it's increased them 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 saud right now because you read all of this paid for propaganda up until this
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 abdul aziz in saudi 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 even 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 forces are are potentially going to break saudi arabia apart if this nit 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 an aside 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's 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 one high bisan reformable short answer yes i do believe that were obvious and i wish we had more i wish we had more than a minute because i would really like a 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. m.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
most of them sympathetic they want to become. one of the last but many of them look for refuge in the so-called sentries sides of the draft used to share information about undocumented migrants with federal authorities. than. was needed more no. less and. what are the options to stay in the country with donald trump in the. schools if you have to be that the. many couples. would chant the push to put it. up you know to just a few of the. long
welcome to all the parts of the book sells millions of copies and dozens of languages that must have picked up on something that's both current and eternal cultural specific and universal that's a huge challenge to all ones but how does one do it with every book for here is a noun well to discuss that i'm now i'm joined by best selling a region all sorry. it's great to talk to thank you very much for being available and you now. i've never heard anyone question why would russia produce for the state of scale why would an american produce mark twain but i know i know a lot of book lovers who are puzzled by why norway is such a safe side together country with a prolific and very dark crime novelist as yourself do you have an answer to that.
no not really. sure. if your nationality. is that important thing we more than do or the extent i think we share a cold true references cultural even cultural background because culture has become such an important part of our cultural background so. i remember when i was travelling when i was wrong nineteen i would spend all my money going to. and south america. and i would meet people that it was actually be hard to communicate with. because we didn't shared cultural references i find nowadays it's meeting young people anywhere in the world we have read the same books listen to the same music scene the same movies yes but they have books i think are also.