tv Cross Talk RT November 15, 2013 2:29pm-3:01pm EST
young kids choke on food than are killed by firearms if being armed made us safer in america we should be the safest nation on earth. were clearly not the safest. least. hello and welcome to cross talk all things considered on people about ninety five years ago this week the first world war in europe came to an end the continent exhausted itself millions dead economies broken and empires destroyed but before this horrific conflict was over western powers had already decided the fate of arab lands still under autumn in control a new colonial project was started and we live with this present history to this
day. to cross-talk legacies in the middle east i'm joined by my guest joshua landis and norman he is the director of the center of middle east studies at the university of oklahoma in new york we have andy martin he's an independent foreign policy and intelligence analyst and in london we cross to charlie wolf he is a writer broadcaster and political commentator right gentlemen cross-talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage joshua and i go to you first in norman oklahoma it was ninety five years ago the maps were drawn what's the legacy the most important legacy in your mind ninety five years later. well i think that we are seeing the birth of nations in the middle east and dictators like saddam hussein aside are little bits of the ottoman empire and they've kept this multi ethnic multi religious parts of the ottoman empire together by. oppression largely now in this
age of popular movements we are seeing them challenged and we're getting the break up i think and rearrangement of ethnic power and in iraq we've had the shiites come to the top the sunnis cast down in lebanon something similar is going on with the christians losing power muslims coming up and in syria the alawite it's a small minority twelve percent are challenged this is much like the austria-hungary an empire and eastern europe after the first world war the map of there was completely rearranged yugoslavia seven countries czechoslovakia split into polish borders changed in the two years after the second world war nine hundred forty five to forty seven about twelve million germans were ethnically cleansed from countries from poland right down to to ukraine and so forth so we see massive rearrangement of peoples in order to organize them in national and josh i
didn't know anything and then played it religiously and i think something similar is going on ok so you've been cross talk is all right started dandy go ahead andy do you want to jump in there. i completely disagree with you my your piece fell out go ahead go ok we've got to got you see you're not giving adequate you're not giving adequate attention to the impact of the united nations and i think the best example of the counterargument is what happened in kuwait in one thousand nine hundred when saddam hussein did try to rearrange the border with saudi arabia and eliminate kuwait and president bush was able to assemble a worldwide coalition because forcible border changes don't work anymore and we're not going to have ethnic cleansing of millions of people and at the end of the day when all the people is over i seriously doubt that any national borders will change and will let me play for a can to make sure it looks like it looks like
a lot of these countries are already challenging what's going on. yes andy if i could stay with you a lot of these countries are challenged in the in terms of sovereignty and we can talk about every single one we don't have a lot of time but libya comes to mind iraq comes to town comes to mind charlie gets go to you and my third guest on the program here charlie in london the legacy here is that we see these lines these borders were drawn by westerners and we're seeing today with those lines are not appropriate to what's happening on the ground and we can talk about civil society and social movements and democracy go ahead charlie in london. well i think i need to concur with the last person speak for give me a guy who lost track there but who is going to do it we don't have with handy i don't see the united states is maybe the only one physically capable but i don't see them in the position of wanting to do it especially under the current administration and i think in the future there is a republican administration probably wouldn't be interested either and my older wiser morris a geisha brother has
a saying that i think it's carried me through life which is it is what it is. what is it right to set up these boundaries to love and literature example the terminally ill it's a prudent rightly or wrongly it happened and it's there ok just josh if i go to you i'm glad we have it all going to. be law this sounds very oriental this to me i mean these borders are artificial if they don't reply i think they're going around and around go ahead joshua. it's not so much the borders there are borders of course kurdistan and the kurdish regions i think are are developing to an independent nation but this is the power of nationalism we've seen anatolia turkey today was twenty percent christian one nine hundred fourteen eighteen percent by nine hundred twenty two after the turkish revolution less than one percent christian iraq most half of the christians have been ethnically cleansed the sapience other minority groups and the people have been rearranged kurds shiites
palestine palestinian. largely moved out of palestine as jews became a majority went from being a minority to a majority and the palestinians are still losing every day there is that rearrangement and the borders of course are changing too and i don't think there is going to be a two state solution there will probably be a one state solution of some kind and lebanon who will be seen that christians and i still disagree jews are leaving the middle east ok ok ok andy jumpin in new york is going to arranging go ahead and brave enough to lay hands and you go ahead first of all kurt. kurdistan kurdistan is a place where there is sort of a potential nation when you take parts of syria and turkey and iraq but there is absolutely no prospect of the united nations or the world community recognizing a nation there and if the kurds who are doing rather well as a part of this old empire construct were to declare their independence from iraq they would find zero recognition from the united states from the united kingdom
from france from the european union so we're dealing with a very different world than of course the israelis also disprove your point the israelis would love to annex the west bank and create what they call eretz israel but they are prevented from doing so by the knowledge that that would probably use the israeli regime so changing borders by force. and i don't think it is and i say that and i think that you know to think a really interesting here and gentlemen incident where it's what we have to act we're looking at it in two different ways we're looking at international law and the united nations which is all nice and fine but charlie facts on the ground or very different ok the kurds are not going to listen to that if they haven't chance for their nation state they're going to go for it iraq is being broken up into three different countries libya is falling apart as well it doesn't matter if the international community recognizes that separation there happening on the ground as we speak go ahead charlie oh yes and i think also facts on the ground also are
there from. historic reasons for instance in israel that actually was supposed to be far larger than it is trans-jordan was part of a mandate israel again that's not how it turned out i don't think thing ever it's rail argument holds as much water as people say i think the israelis are only interested essential and their security you know and i'm sure there are some that would love to expand on to what was months supposed to be theirs but again it is literally is and israel is what israel is i think they're more worried of. what's happening on their borders. and what we can say and i think it's very interesting is when we talk about you know let's take a nation of states under the united nations within a country like israel doesn't have to follow international law that's hypocrisy that's an exception i don't want to make this whole program on is what i want to talk about i'm not all that you could see of the ottoman empire go ahead joshua libya libya is in you know we don't know how libya whether it will be remain unified or whether syria and. the and tripoli will divide syria then the move
towards peace talks on syria between the assad government and rebel held regions could lead to a partition of syria one of the reasons that the rebels do not want to go to geneva two today is because that would be the likely outcome is them recognizing that assad is in half the country and that that doesn't necessarily mean that syria divides into forever but it does lead to a a you know if it does lead to some sort of partition and there are religious lines along which that gets partitioned in a sense the alawite sect maintaining power in the in the south and rebels islamists the north and the the isis al-qaeda wants to unify iraq and the sunni parts of iraq would suddenly parts with syria and so there are a lot of forces on the ground and you know america may not step in and prevent this sort of thing if it moves forward so we don't know how this is going to turn out in the end. ok andy jump in because all that or can i just center go ahead charlie
this is do you think highly and. i think charlie i think that libya is an unknown but as far a serious concern one has to also look at russia's involvement in all of this that it behooves russia for syria to stay how it is that's essentially their only real interest right now in the middle east i think the russians would like to see assad staying in power and i think that like charlie charlie we have when i think they have gone over this i'm going to charlie we've gone over this ground before russia's primary interest to see syria stay together as a sovereign state because if syria falls and al qaida takes over it's a twenty hour drive to southern russia that's. a sudden about to. turn on him there's a wider we've been through this before and you want to jump in before we go to the break well yes i think you misunderstood what charlie said because he said the same thing that the russians have an interest in
a unified syria and you see once you start breaking it up you don't know what you'll end up with you know that joe biden wanted to divide iraq into three parts and that was ridiculed then and now i'm going to the opponent you stole my right invasion but never the never the less spent a lot yes but i spent a lot of time in iraq in two thousand and three living there and i saw the facts on the ground but you're going to gaining the issue of politics and power however odious the maleki regime may be it does control the borders it does have the edge of buttes of a nation state and i think the kurds are rather shrewd in and that they are profiting from the weakness of the iraqi government but at the same time they don't want to take on the opprobrium of the organized world by unilaterally declaring independence the last place to declare independence unilaterally i think was rhodesia and that got them nowhere they ended up losing everything so what we have here is
a. as you go by and take it from the binding force gentlemen i have to jump in here we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the making of the modern middle east state. exactly what happened that day i don't know but a woman i killed. appears later is when i got arrested for. her crime i did not do. we have numerous cases where police officers lie about polygraph results. innocent people take interest the police officers don't beat people
anymore i mean it just doesn't happen really. in the course of interrogation why because there's been this is lightman know because the psychological techniques are more effective in obtaining confessions than physical abuse and they were off taking they could get what they wanted they can say what they wanted and there was no evidence of what they did or what they said. right from the scene. first string. and i think picture. on a reporter's twitter. and instagram. to be in the know. on. the
media lead us so we need to maybe. cause a scene motion security for your party there's a poll. questions that no one is asking with the guests that you deserve answers from it's all on politics only on our t.v. . welcome to cross talk where all things considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the origins of the modern middle east. ok josh i'd like to go back to you and norman oklahoma the west western powers do
these borders in the middle east as we know it today they came up with a plan before the end of the war and was put into place after the war how much can the western powers and particularly the united states in this case control political change on the ground i mean we created this world when it comes to borders and move people on this side of the line on that side of the line and we can have disagreements on this program but it seems to me untenable people are going to want to live among themselves and we have dictators that are taking cues from other countries particularly in western countries as we saw in north africa and all through the arab middle east it's not working anymore so can they continue to do it or is there a new strategy why i think you're right and this has big policy implications there are two different issues one is changing borders and i agree with the other two gas that it's hard to change borders in this day and age not impossible but it's more importantly it's the identity of the nation states the colonial powers drew circles
around geographic you know regions and they trap people together who did not want to live together or found it difficult to live together we've seen this in lebanon iraq palestine and of syria and multi-ethnic multi-religious and they've been in civil war rearranging the power and that has led to ethnic cleansing and changing imbalance of power who's on top who's on bottom and that is a very dynamic process. we've seen it in eastern europe cost of millions of people we're seeing it today and it means the policy implications are the united states and or any major power cannot adjudicate these deep issues of national identity in iraq we put the shiites on top cities on the bottom and it's still a civil war today the sunnis have been marginalized and they're fighting tooth and nail joining. in syria alawite so been on top for fifty years and now the sunnis want to get on top and america is is trying to adjudicate but it will not be able
to solve the deep set you know sectarian questions same in lebanon where you have a balance of power agree i don't think america i don't think his problem trying to adjudicate anything in syria ok go ahead and go ahead where they are and they try to do what they yelled in afghanistan and iraq and learnt their lesson isms go ahead andy in new york go ahead. what they what what barack obama has been criticized by the right wing for and i think unfairly is he's not doing anything in syria and his view has been the situation is not clear enough for us to have a national interest in this what is essentially a civil war but coming back to libya on the one side of libya you have algeria and on the other side you have egypt neither of those countries is going to attempt to absorb libya so the nation state of libya will continue in its form there will be fighting internally among the various tribes and factions but none of those
factions are sufficiently strong to create a nation state in place of the existing one yes but the you know with the know how much. power to create they have enough power to create a failed state don't they andy and that's what we're facing a failed state in iraq a failed state and afghanistan a failed they're all failed to see right there are. ok i stood up. getting out here charlie i want to jump in go ahead. syria is a failed state but can we also point out that you can't put all the blame on america you know let's not forget it's the people on the ground that are creating these failed states some of and i would disagree with him was how he was talking about his for a serious concern the problem with obama was he didn't engage early enough and obviously the longer it takes to engage the harder it is in the heart of the choices and eventually you do have to engage and that's the problem if mr obama had a gauge himself about three years ago before al qaeda got into it when there was a political vacuum i think we'd have had
a far better outcome than we have today but yes you're right nation building is not anyone's crossly right and i think as far as japan and germany and germany about the license i think you're going to have encouraged ok joshua jump in because you know what i can go if i go to just go right now because you know we can't have joshua hang on you know it's you know what the u.s. should do what the west should do but they've already done enough don't you think ok i think this is the problem this is this oriental this point of view that we must go and rearrange things again for the sake of the people on the ground when we didn't do it right in the first place joshua. those those who argue that we if we'd gone in quickly we could've stopped radicalization i think are completely wrong and they're misreading the real roots of the problem in iraq we went in and got rid of saddam hussein in three short weeks and then things radicalized the sunnis who were being thrown from the top of society down to the bottom became radicalized joined al qaeda and we faced a major radicalized insurgency because we went in and tried to rearrange if we had
gone into syria and tried to put in the moderates we would have gotten a big backlash and things would have radicalized we've been in the same iraq position we have done this over and over again thinking that we can go into these are national level problems and what kind of islam do we want who's going to be on top at the this at the same time going to the next go ahead hold it down right now it's going to get andy in new york jump in go ahead andy. i want to i want to make two points first of all don't blame the united states for the modern middle east we had nothing to do with it the middle east was carved up by the french and the british empire the united states had no role you know but in light of your terminating the the borders of how the ottoman empire yeah well they sort of they're saying the u.s. has some duty or the it orientalism now let's look at iraq again first of all kurdistan is not going to declare its independence secondly after the iraqis kick
the united states out the shiites the molecule regime they found that on their own they really couldn't operate their country and now a couple of weeks ago maliki was in washington asking for help i think the united states should always take a very restrained attitude towards intervening in these countries but we should be there to help and the fact of the matter was even the shiites realized they couldn't do it on their own and they asked for us to bring bring some influence back into the process that's a that's a positive and it's a healthy development because it shows in trying to have a real up a demonic a so they have the same fight go to charlie and the u.s. needs to the u.s. needs to reinvade iraq to fix things ok charlie go ahead. no i wouldn't i wouldn't say we need to really invade iraq that you know distinctions on it's on its face but i think we do need to take a lead role in the world as we have done promoting democracy and trying to promote freedom it's not an easy job especially when you do have these sectarian divides
and religious divides. think was a giant joshua just said you know this is carved up by the british and the french and it's the arab world it's not an easy place but that said that you know you don't ignore these places you know i think that you look back at for instance coate well many a times us a stopped in trying to prevent the the slaughter of arab muslims by other arab muslims and i think that's a very sensitive can tell me if saddam was an american ally joshua we keep mentioning history here and this is the point of the program when you know you go i just want to talk about history from the second world war to the present we know that during the peace negotiations after the first world war but there were arab leaders that went to the united states appealed to woodrow wilson to help create an arab united states but of course the british and french were got ahead of them ok joshua this is a huge question but pull out your crystal ball and in and look into it peer into it
do you think they could have had something like an arab united states in the middle east as a legacy of the ottoman empire. you know obviously arab nationalism from one end of the middle east to the other was the desire on the part of nasr and the bath party many arabs proposed this like that the greater german desire the greater slavic desire all these romantic nineteenth century and twentieth century nationalist movements it didn't happen in part because the arabs were way too weak you look at the turks ataturk put together a big army that kicked out the foreigners. feisal the arabs could only put together a few hundred men in damascus to face the french who came over from lebanon and just devastated them within minutes so the arabs were not the national cohesion was not there and we're seeing that again in syria we're seeing that in iraq we're seeing that the fragmentation of these these movements these rebel movements are
leading to the breakup rather than the unification of the arab world. ok and when you want to get palestine go ahead charlie johnson and charlie jenkins that is with a sort of. i have never met a two state solution it's a three state solution you can't get hamas and fatah to work together and that's the nub of the problem until you know these two groups are ready to settle their differences you know who who is abbas representing at the table he doesn't have the people of gaza with him so it and that's just a microcosm ok and you want to jump in there i mean because i mean let me let me tell you i said go ahead i'm going to let me having having said they'll be no no change let me say how a change could take place on expectedly. a prime minister netanyahu has been very bellicose about it starting a war with iran and it looks like he's increasingly isolated in that point of view if israel were to launch an attack on iran that could be
a game changer but my view of it i write a column called contrary and commentary which is to say look at the other point of view and all of whose breast beating in my opinion is a sign of weakness he's raising the decibels as he realizes how weak israel's position is and the start of a war would probably boomerang on the israelis so if even the israelis who have nuclear weapons and the best military in the region can't exercise any real power over their neighbors it's facetious to think the russians or the americans or the chinese what's happening in the world as a whole is that culture is becoming is becoming the dominant influence the western culture freedom media you have for example. zero when i saw them working in iraq in two thousand and three i said this is not going to be your your grandfather's middle east because people have access to information and that's
what's going to be the game changer and i want to jump in here and i want to go to joshua last word twenty seconds joshua what's the future here more fragmentation why we're just going to get worse or better go ahead i what. i think that things will get a lot worse before they get better and i don't think this is about freedom i think there is a great desire for freedom but the spread sheet for most arab countries is very it looks very dark big youth bulge not enough economic growth there is going to be a lot of fighting and i think that there will be ethnic cleansing in parts rearranging of populations if the borders can change then the people inside those borders right gentlemen i have to jump in here at sas in a discussion we have run out of time many thanks to my guests and norm in new york and in london and thanks to our viewers for watching us here at r.t.c. in excel and remember crosstalk rules.
sort of on june sixteenth one thousand forty one we had a graduation party at school and the war broke out. the shops were always full of goods we. were in september leningrad was blocked. one day mom went and saw that all the shelves were empty. in november they bombed the warehouses with this it was the main storage
place for all the food in the city people eating the earth because it had small traces of sugar in it i tried to eat it as well but i couldn't. the third night that was incredibly heavy bombing. it was a direct trade on that very shelter and everyone was buried under me and. all of them were dead. dramas that can't be ignored to the. stories others who refused to notice. the faces changing the world lights never. full picture of today's long gone to from around the globe.
dropped. to fifty. we all know that in the modern world there is a great deal of monitoring of international communications directed to stopping and intercepting terrorist activities and i think that is legitimate and people people support that. the technology has run the political control exercised over it if the technology permits you to do something then on the whole people will do it. to do it and it's quite we have perhaps going to start to be almost as necessary for dealing with international terrorism and international crime areas where it is a question of. people's privacy is a problem be have admitted it to be dealt with the video.
it's midnight here in moscow this morning taking on syria's toxic arsenal albania's says no and now the search is on for a country to receive the weapons for their elimination after damascus met its obligation to destroy all its production facilities. washington tries to whitewash a multimillion dollar british inquiry into the roots of the iraqi invasion in case it reveals a few painful truths between bush and blair but also this hour. they can't seem to succeed so they're resort to murdering each other clashes with a militia group in the libyan capital leave more than twenty dead as protesters in tripoli try to force out the our brigade seeking control over gadhafi is all legs. and america's booming private.