« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#30 — Inside the Crucible

2016-03-06 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris briefly revisits the Apple-FBI controversy and then speaks with Michael Weiss about ISIS and the ongoing civil war in Syria. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I spoke to Michael Wise, the senior editor at the daily beast and co author of a New York Times best seller about the Islamic State entitled ISIS inside the army of terror, and we focused primarily on ISIS and these civil war in Syria and as you'll hear Michael, is just a fount of information on these topics. You might have to listen to this twice. To get all the details here, unfortunately, had a few audio issues with Skype here a few irregularities there. But I think you ll agree by the end that listening to Michael talk about ices and the syrian civil war has made you much smarter on these subjects and you'll come away with a much clearer sense of how complicated? U S, foreign policy and the war on terror now are? And now I give you Michael yes. But I'm here with Michael wise from the daily base, Michael thanks for coming on the past extravaganza, listen I know you as a writer and editor for the beast. But once you tell
me and our audience all a bit more about you and how you come to know so much about the Middle EAST, which is I'm sure, gonna. Be that the bulk of what we talk about time, which is what what? What is it? What's your background and tell us about your book on, ices send all the rest, So my background is in journalism. I started writing about the Middle EAST about ten years ago. I said some of it was on the Israel, Palestine conflict. A lot of it then became covering so called arab spring. In two thousand and eleven I was working London Think tanker Andrew Jackson, society and of all the countries that had been covered, the one that wasn't, which was just then in its infancy, about an uprising against government with Syria. So it literally one day my boss dropped into my lap and said here. You need to assess this and tell us what we need, no to it started with a survey of who the opposition on the ground was
we managed to get interviews with activists and leaders of the simple local coordination committees from every province in the country as a misconception that the syrian revolution started when it does kid, scrawled on the walls and get, but actually the earliest protests were registered in Damascus itself. In the old city, so in the very capital at the heart of all sides regime and what struck me as you know, we had seen in Egypt to a lesser degree and me Joe, though we can probably get into some of that particular how the media has covered groups like a nata, but we saw the nose of the late failure. Radical hopes, teenagers turning out in the streets of Taksim Square protesting, a pretty vicious authoritarian dictatorship, and then you know it gets hijacked by religious extremists or you know, as as it were, depicts into the west, so called moderate Islamists. So now my leave you talking about what happened during these so called Arab spring right right and in
and in Syria what I was struck by was you know the people who were leaning this uprising. I mean they really were small de Democrats and, bad various views on which kind of country they wanted to model a future post us on Syria on some said, like Turkey other set like Tunisia, some many said like the United States will, like France, but some what we now one of the things about there's me in one of the reasons I wrote this book on ISIS was to try and save turn back the clock to the very beginning, because Falada people history began when ices stormed into most school in twenty fourteen and essentially this was always a jihadist insurgency. It was always being by Al Qaeda and and are sorted elements you're. One of the things that I am most interested in my work is the relationship between terror and state actors, and this is something that is just characteristic of the region-
goes beyond the region. Now I mean I've done a lot of work on on Russia's facilitation of jihadism. Beginning in Chechnya, but also in know leading up to the serious conflict them in sending jihadists into Syria because better they blow stepped up in the leper or in Rocca than they do. In Dagestan, and and all this gets alighted in the way that the West tends to cover these things, but anyway, you know acids relationship with the very element that now seems to be trying to overthrow his regime and establishing an islamic state. I find fascinating so one of the leitmotif of our book- and I covered it with the Syrian National called Hassan Hassan- is too kind of new dredge up some of the sun, loaded history of the way. Not only the syrian government, but also the iraqi government under Saddam Hussein was be. You know, if not necessarily catalyst that at least in under rider of much of the
pleasantness were seen now. People forget- and you know it is true- the Bush administration misrepresented and lied about a lot of the intelligence in terms of Saddam's relationship with jihadi groups such as Al Qaeda, but it is also the case after the invasion of Kuwait and the First Gulf war. He inaugurated something called this. These islamic faith campaign, which was an attempt to marry the bath ideology with salaries and the reason for this was he saw the greatest threat to his regime, while to were was one was from IRAN next store with, with whom he had wasted brutal your war and the other was internally from islamist elements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. So one of the unintended consequences of the faith campaign was people abandoned the baptism and took up this alcoholism and a lot of you elements have wound up. Are they did wind up in the so called Anti american and anti rocky insurgency? from two thousand and three onwards, but now funnily enough
A lot of these former regime elements are in the upper echelons of ISIS you're you're, looking at lieutenant colonels in the iraqi Army or agents of the Mahabharata intelligence services and death. Some of the leading operatives, including those who constructed the ISIS franchise in northern Syria in two thousand and thirteen, they behaved very much like state trained, almost Stasi, like intelligence operators. So this is something I think you know that needs to get address, and this is not by any means, and I'm sure you want to talk about us not to want to undermine or dismiss the elements in the currents of islamic fundamentalism that runs throughout ISIS. It's very much a prominent factor, particularly amongst the Soca foreign fighters and the mujahideen coming around from around the world to think they're gonna usher in the apocalypse. Might my thesis is at the very high level You know you were being asked to to presume that people who, as of two thousand and two or even early two thousand three
were drinking wine wearing military fatigues with epaulettes they'd, never earned keeping their twelve mistresses in their eight and scattered throughout the state Iraq that as of today now that they ve got the long black beard and starter. They really want an usher in the times or is there perhaps a political project that underlying much of what I say is doing, and I think that that that that something that needs greater just caution, and its indeed, I mean one of the mainstays of my work is done figure out. You know where the messianic or a scatter logical
element ends and worthy people. Political literal state building begins for the blue, talk about that because that is to say a truly complicated situation and its common challenge to figure out how to talk about it and we know which thread to pull first, just a few things I want to respond to, and in may we can figure out how to circle and on on the details. But the first thing is that what you said about the Russians exporting their jihadis- I had frankly never heard before. So that's very interesting and that's kind of analogous to the south they have done on some basic level, and just to this point about secular people cynically using religion and religious ideology to manipulate recruits and otherwise to advance their political aims. There obviously instances of that throughout history and people often point to that as a sign that religion isn't really as important a variable as it
seems. But what I always say that point in the conversation is that it only works. A cynical actually secular leader, pretending, The devout only manages to whip up a mob or a political movement under the aegis of those religious ideas, because the people on the ground really believe they things. I'm is it's only a successful lever to pull because it, add to something. So it doesn't embarrass my overriding concern about the potency of religious ideology to have it pointed out that some significant subset of any ostensibly religious regime is actually
staffed by cynical macchiavelli in mustache, twirling, secularist oranges, using the ambient level of religious sects, areas m or religious faith for their political aims feel free to respond to that. But, as you do, let's go into just what you think the psychological and political reality is in ice as if they have these Ex Balthasar, who, in fact, aren't religious in fact may even be of appeal states. What has happened? Have they converted as bow Baghdad? Age does not care who these people are. I mean L. Baghdad is a sort of outlier. He has a Phd in islamic studies of anxious called Sudan same university, believe it or not, and the only way he could in role in that programme as if his family had bath party connection. So I mean this is the thing alot of people joined the bath party, not because they were true card carrying ideal logs, and you know one of the students, the stupid things. The United States did after course, invading Iraq was the DE bath vocation of the first.
Three tears of the party a lot of people. You know engineers, doctors, professionals who had joined up just so they could get ahead in life and make living world third unemployed with bag daddy. He is an absolute true believer by all accounts. He actually does think that you know that the armies of Rome will clash with the ongoing Islam in debate, which is a town in Aleppo Province here. This is the great sort of Chile asked a conspiracy that upham, who samples or car we had put forward and which our colleagues always about bleeding into Syria, so that that goal has been achieved. But some you know I absolutely agree with you. Look in life is complicated and messy, and even people who you knew purport to espouse a total list or pure ideology often have contradictory or alternative modes of a thinking.
Or or systems of believe creeping in. So again, I don't know I mean that did are these bath is. Are they couldn't good secular apostate, not necessarily they can have been radicalized or or sacrifice under the faith campaign, or even just by the sheer brutality in and chaos of living in Iraq, both pre and post Saddam. But I think it is one of the more fascinating issues of looking at ISIS and look I'm an atheist, like you, you know in our dearly departed friend, Christopher Hitchens, used to say that religion was just mother for me to talk to tile at Aaron. Isn't I think that was the kind of the driving force behind his critique of it? Is that he know he had cut in some ways gone through it himself, as as believing marxist Trotzky is in Raymond. Iran called Marxism, a Christian see there there a lot of similarities. This is why the way you find people who come from you know secular or
temporal ideologies, essentially swapping one you to know totalitarianism for another and and take up in some extreme form of religion or not so extreme form of religion. In fact, one of them- Any vegetable Christians in the United States discovered Jesus in Moscow. Hotel room went found, a stray Bible, Morven Alaska is its name route is actually jewish, a jewish marxist. You became an evangelical christian, so things like that happen all the time and its it. This is not an attempt to embarrass I mean you know I am a graded. Your work and a co thinker. So it's not an attempt to embarrass it. It is an attempt to try and fully on this, and again you know I I want to show that ISIS does not exist in this vacuum of of fundamentalism. It has state sponsors- or, I should say not sponsors, but state accomplices mean mean to this day. You know it's it's running of serious.
His natural gas industry and selling that natural gas fast back to Damascus, which claims to be worth it it. It runs most of the oil wells in Eastern Syria and selling oil not only to free syrian army groups, but also back to Damascus and to smugglers in Turkey and Iraq. Rock I mention russian and the reason I do is people think flooding Putin. Is this great counter terrorist? Try to me he hates islamic radicalism He went to war and Syria to destroy ISIS will now I mean if you look at the metrics ten percent. According to the Pentagon spokesman, Steve WAR, The ten percent of Russia's sorties have been going after ISIS. Now the rest had been going going after groups that range from, nationalist to Islamist to jihadist, including the Al Qaeda franchise, but you knew with Putin. The goal, I think is quite simple: its
it's exactly what our southern and the iranian school has been from the beginning deprive the west of any attractive, credible alternative to the dictatorship in Damascus. And make it a stark choice of the tuck fear is on the one hand, or This secular war criminal in the other, and that's not really a choice, because no one in the west as much as they may lose, but Al Assad and hold him response was well, they should for the destruction country, they don't think he's gonna be flying play into buildings in New York and Washington Dc Isis would, if it could and yet what are the real challenges? Sanders? Ices has broken apart or or cleaved away from Al Qaeda
and I keep saying that you know we are now at a more dangerous point than we were right after nine eleven, because the way that Al Qaeda is going to compete with ISIS is by is your blood and fire and terror, and that's gonna, play out on the streets of Europe. It already has is playing out in Turkey, which has suffered more ISIS attacks than any other country sets a NATO I'd. Eventually it's gonna come here I mean arguably it did with San Bernardino, though there was a case of people being inspired by rather than being trained up and and despatched as operatives lead
This is what we have underestimated them at the same time, we have, I think, sensationalize them and treated them is as this, sir, you know apocalyptic bogeyman when, in fact there is a pragmatic component to what they're doing I mean the way that they managed to take terrain is not because their great fighters did this sum. This long interview with defector from one of their security services, who told me they fight like lemmings, going off a cliff amene, its interests in a superhuman wave of cannon fodder, particularly when they go against the Kurds and Syria. What they're good ad is trade craft and also they understand sociology of the region so where they have imposed there came of fit. That's what I call the briar patch of ISIS is the Euphrates River Valley, mostly Eastern Syria, western Iraq, the villages and hamlets and townships alone that that that sort of continuum,
These are areas there occupied by arab tribes and which are essentially confederation's of families that span across borders. Remember, ices is dedicated to dismantling of sites, because the artificial states that cobbled up world or one will to some extent they have a lot to work with their because the families and the constituents of ISIS are spread fanned across the region. I mean you, ve got tribes in Iraq that are also in Saudi Arabia or in Kuwait or the USA, and so on, and the tribes have have lived for hundreds of years through very simple human political calculation. Whoever is the master you cut a deal with and that master could see, but shall I saw before him half as allow side or could be some who saying it could be the american occupying force of Iraq or could be ISIS, and it was just about how do we had we get our daily bread and how do we subsist? You know the tribes have gone.
In black market economies they need to to make money there need to be able to smuggled their goods and where's and so on and so forth, and the way that ISIS, his predecessor, Al Qaeda, was was brutally out of most of the rock was was so overweening and so brutal that the tribes they didn't like the Americans, but the saw the Americans as a credible, non sectarian interests, s reform that they could partner with to expel the tuck furies. While today there is no credible, non sectarian force because in Iraq you have either isis or, let's be honest, she a militia groups which in many cases, are as bad as ISIS and are driven by the same kind of apocalyptic zeal. It's only from a different set of Islam, backed by IRAN. Well, if you're, sunni tribesmen, you see these guys as you know, pogrom us they're going to come in and they might expel ISIS within they're gonna burn your house down. They're gonna. Take your son is a so called collaborator and thrown into a done
in and take a power drill and stick it into his head to than here you're, without spelling out again illustrating the mad work done by religion, weathers, religious belief or sectarian tribalism? When you ask why is ices so successful in gaining Sunni support and spreading the answers are at least two fold in and both are religious aid either that the Sudanese so or their view of tech, terrorism, which she should probably define in a moment so as to not leave our listeners behind, but to whether or not they support this extremist religious ideology. They are terrified of the ship,
Hu, as you say, will show up based on their own religious tribalism and miss treat them horribly and again we just have you know whether or not any particular people in power are, in fact religious maniacs who believe the prophecies that their advertising, but we have religion, carving up the people's lives on the ground. So before you jump into further thoughts here, just define heck, fearsome and then we'll start with that justify terrorism for the moment, set up fears and the ideology of excommunication. If, if I'm, if I practice tat fear, I claim that even
fellow Sunni Muslims, are apostates and that's is essentially a death sentence. If I call you, Nepal State means your ear. Your marked for death and I should kill you. Isis is attacked fury organization in the sense that if you are deemed insufficiently pious as a sunny, you'll be exterminated. Now, that's the that's the deal, this sort of marketing and and and how they present themselves. But and there are exceptions- they don't necessarily go around and make sure that all Sunnis share the exact same religious. Constructors day, although it is true, you know that they will patrol the streets. They have. Of security unit called the his but which is essentially like the saudi morality policing. You know if you're not in mosque on Friday, you'll be punished and thrown into jail, but you know tat. Fear. Ism is a controversy conceit even within the annals of salvaging autism. And in fact
Osama Bin Laden Bin Laden was always at odds with Al Zarqawi are calling the founder of ISIS when it was known, as outlined in Iraq over this issue because their coffee, was a genocidal maniac pathological any absolutely. I mean there's no. I dont think anyone would really yet try to make a controversial that that he was a true believer in all of the stuff. This is the guy you patented the the young, the dressing of western or non western hostages in the arm Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, style, jumpsuits, and then the beheading on video. As he's reading, these imprecations against them best and drawing moral equivalence between what the crusader info, Hell zionist conspiracy was doing in Iraq and now what he is doing in in retaliation, but what I find fastening, as you know, been Lawton one of the issues he had without kite with don't franchise essentially was when they were going around blowing up sunni mosques and I'm sorry. She, a mosques and hussaini, as our colleague goal was was very machiavellian,
cities are a minority in Iraq through the majority of Muslims worldwide, but in Iraq to the minority, the only way you're gonna get Sony's to reclaim the throne so to speak and in Baghdad is, if so, from around the world, pour into Iraq and turn it into this. On the shore of all out total sectarian war and Shelly exterminate the sheer so his project was genocidal kill all the sheer In doing so, you will you will prompt or foment their radicalization, as you say, I mean drive them into these, serve them in a proxy isms over we'll just fervour they'll be run or overseen by IRAN, which is the mothership. If she Islam in the You can watch the wayward Saudi Arabia's force in Islam and these I will go around and do what we saw them do for almost a decade in Iraq for death squads. You know the body core, a group called the League of the Righteous the Hezbollah brigades not to be
with lebanese Hezbollah they were going around attacking american soldiers, but also attacking sunni civilians. Rounding them up and saying What's your name, it's all. Marcy must be Sunni. Show me your idea, Cartwright, okay, so we're gonna. Take you under the cap, by the way of being an iraqi state institutions. So you know if you were sick, the guy who drove that the ambulance and who purported to take your house? but it would actually be ass. A sheer militiamen in disguise take you to some dungeon and Tortue, and probably kill you. Our call we wanted this to happen. He wanted the sheer to become a reality. Justly extremist and and radicalized, so that they would, that attack the Sunnis and the Sunnis would be driven further into the fold of Al Qaeda and then precipitate, of course, what I call the international global casting call for mujahideen, so Iraq would become in a sense that than another soviet f. More people from around the world from the Gulf from Indonesia.
From you know Turkey would pour in and join the ranks of Al Qaeda and eventually Al Qaeda with subsume everyone and everything else. Meeting other rival, Sunni organizations to remember the insurgency in Iraq. You had that were islamist you'll, said groups that were nationalist that just wanted the restoration of the bath party or wanted soon to be back on top, so is very complicated, but by you know, look we now know and we ve seen ISIS became top dog because it had the most brutal methods it became the wealthiest organization. I mean people forget that there's a lot of nonsense and in the ether whose funding ISIS wisest this funding isis by two thousand and six, because they were controlling so much of the oil and illicit arms and contraband smuggling. You new networks in Iraq. They had actually become wealthier than Al Qaeda too. White were Bin Laden and a name and also worry and asked them for alone that did
a subsidiary was meant to be, financing did the patron, and this is this is, the day they get on, and you know again the complicating factors here, Isis we have seen takes anville. And jackhammers to priceless artifacts and archaeological wonders world heritage sites is as defined by UNESCO. They also, though, what they dont smash. Up they steal and they sell on the black market. Now they justify this again, you know it could be They absolutely believe in this in this sort of codification system for artifacts or could be well look, you know what we want to see. Two large to smuggle out of the country has to be destroyed and what small enough to struggle? just smuggle. Rather we can. We can then sell and remunerate ourselves, but they they justified. It as follows: if its idolatrous art pagan IST pre islamic gods, being worshipped such as the Temple of Ball Battle, has to go
if it's babylonian nor sumerian coins. Little trinkets are that we dig out of the sand where we can sell that they have a whole department Actually, I was safe, the guy that was killed in the U S special forces rate in Eastern Syria last spring he was in charge of the antiquities smuggling for ISIS and innovate. They they think the do this, like I mean it's almost like tell Munich enterprise of defining. What can can stay, what can go and how you have to handle it and how you ve asked permission first, stealing, you know their cultural patrimony of syrian Iraq is very sophisticated. I mean you know they. Their pretensions of statehood are not really to be underestimated. We like to pretend like now, they're just it guerrilla insurgency. They they really think and again at whether its motivated by religion purely or religion, plus a sense of political restoration, Sonny
revenge is, and they believe that they are building a state apparatus and the caliph. It is illegitimate the international press there's no there's no one, there's no self deception about that, so it has been widely reported of late that ices has lost a significant amount of its territory and is showing signs of buckling under the pressure being applied to it. What do you make of those reports are? The true is at wishful thinking, it's true, but up only up to a point, so I a chess, which is a british defence farm, reckons that ices has lost fourteen percent of its territory across searing Iraq ten months. Fourteen percent of territory is not that much, but it is significant in the sense that they have been pushed out of large quadrants of northern Syria by the Kurds. They have lost some significant terrain ox, such as a remedy, which is a provincial capital of Anwar Province that they had claimed in last May. But what this does not?
account, for is where else they have taken territory. So, for instance, ICES has what's known as reliance, which is of the arabic word for province. These are essentially affiliate organizations that predate ice allegiance to upbraid, Baghdad, leader, the organization the bulk of IRAN, the nigerian terrorist outfit and West African has pledged allegiance to ISIS with a stroke of the pen, one could argue: ISIS gained twenty thousand square miles of territory in West Africa with that pledge of allegiance now does not mean that they have absolute control, or you know the kind of Terrain governance capability that they do in Syria, Iraq now, but it does mean that they have people who are fired by or ideology and willing to die on their behalf they have Similarly, in Libya, which is now considered both away station for foreign fighters who can't make the journey into Syria and Iraq and, so depending on who you are
A fallback base in the event that most soul or rocket should fall entered doing this, since I believe that the outfit that took down the metro, jet airliner, russian commercial playin, killing over two hundred people, that will I sign. I is essentially a colonial outpost, if you like of ISIS, so that that an aspect of their International project really can't be discounted by the way of their presence in Libya, puts them about five, less than five hundred miles away from the coast of Sicily. You remember, I mean Abu Bakr buckle. Baghdadi says if we're lucky and Shala will will conquer Rome, but then I can conquer Rome, and I don't think even though to know that the top ISIS guys believe that, but they consume They come close enough to Europe and we, as we know and would be, as we ve seen in Paris and elsewhere there already in Europe with their sleep yourselves and there, Sir, overt operatives, the invisible armies as I liked it, took to call them- and this is the same
and and SAM here is where the were absolutely religion places Paramount rolls and what worries me the most ISIS, you know if your back daddy or if you're in his sure council you go to bed at night and in rock, are most of all wherever you're hiding, and you know that you might wake up tomorrow, some guy you ve, never heard of who could have been living in his mother's basement in Albuquerque, might take in eighteen. Forty seven, the passport and do it in the name of your organization. You know that boat radicalization project, the ISIS inspired attack that I think is going to be their stock in trade for acts of terrorism abroad, because you know
eighty people look to an organisation that seems to be successful, doesn't matter how else. In fact, the ultra violence works in its in its favour for any kind of in a loser, lunatic element living in any part of the world really an end. You know their their state building. The reason that this has to be successful for them is because it has to inspire people to join their ranks if their looked, there seem to be on the decline or on the back foot. There knock and inspires many operators. So look. They ve taken a battering and it is a very complicated answer to a pretty simple question, but welcome to the Middle EAST. You have no Arabic, they ve taken a battering, but there still shown a remarkable degree of resilience, and I mean, as as I'm talking to you, I just finished and epilogue to the second edition of our book,
where we ve we ve, interviewed people living in dares war and again the Euphrates River Valley, which is their strategic heartland and people. There say look and I dont like ISIS, but I have no alternative in fact, because of U S airstrip in the coalition bombardment. The way I made a living has now been rendered obsolete. So I sending my youngest son to join ISIS, because at least you'll get a salary. Isis pays like four hundred dollars a month to its fighters and not only do they pay the fighter salary, but they pay subsidies for the family. Members of that tighter. So you know if I were to join ISIS, I give forty dollars a month. My wife would get two hundred and my my ten months daughter, I guess money to pay for her baby food. So again, this is their hearts and minds approach its very sophisticated and and and
it's been very successful and they ve lost money in the sense that the oil infrastructure has been pretty depleted. Although again another western misconception, they don't make most of their money from oil sales. I don't know where this myth from, but it sir, it's a dangerous when they actually make most of their money through running a petty bureaucracy of taxation and surcharges, the reason they want territory one of the reasons they wanted is with territory comes people with people comes the ability to charge if their Muslims EPCOT, if their non Muslim Jazeera Just as you know, in Islam, attacks not lay that like. If you're caught smoking, cigarettes eisele, throw you in a cage for three days, but they also charging money, judge a thousand dollars. You have to pay fine if Europe seems to be a rival number of arrival organization or any kind of dissident or resistance fighters, ISIS, if you flee a territory that they control they take your house seen it
it's jihadist eminent domain they'll. Take your house to take your property all of your assets. If you run a business I'll, take your business and in all of its inventory so that they run a mafia style state in a day into a terrorist. At one wrote right. We made some interesting points there. One is that bring up the topic of affiliate groups like Boca, Hurrah. Suddenly magnifying the influence of ISIS end as use spelled out. There's really know clear line between an affiliate group and what we tend to call lone wolf attacks, people who are just inspired by the ideology of ices and join this. Global jihadis insurgency really entirely on their own devices, which anyone with a guy nor an internet connection can now do, and I agree with you. That is a that's. My larger concern, obviously no having people who are extremely welcome.
Reigned in battle hardened emigrate to the west and try to get martyred while killing as many people as possible. That is the kind the worst case scenario, but he knows good enough to so TAT Just by being someone who gets radicalized in his mother's house and goes to a school and kills twenty kids, you can just imagine how few instances of that would be sufficient to accomplish crazy over reaction and paralysis in any western country. So, given it, as you just pointed out, the compelling narrative of ices that will attract loan, wolves and affiliate groups in perpetuity is anchored to their perceived success as a state as a caliphate. Will then, why not just go in and destroy them? the last man in a month which presumably
It is within the capacity of the United States or some coalition of western powers to do now. I'm sure part of your answer will be an acknowledgment of how horrific the collateral damage would likely be in that case Let's talk about what it would take a defeat, ISIS in the most humiliating and decisive way, and why aren't we doing that centres? There's two things I want to discuss to answer your question. First, the state building do nothing succeeds like success. That's that's the main element for sure, but there is another element that didn't address the reason that I see, as has been so persuasive in its narrative. What is its narrative? I should define that first in during Ramadan in his Dave, you sermon in July twenty fourteen, the Elles, Engi mosque and muscle up a backdrop. I gotta gets up any delivers the sermon, and he says you know we are facing a global conspiracy, led by the United States and Russia, backed by IRAN and the rapporteur, which is the bigoted term that job is used to describe.
Literally means rejectionists end- and you know that this conspiracy is is at war with Sunni Islam and we, the islamic state, or the only safeguards the only defenders and guarantors of the sunny alma. Now that you might say well, it's just par for the course fur in a crazy messianic terrorist group, everything's a conspiracy and everyone's part of it, except that the problem is SAM in the last decade, if you're, Sunni, living in the region, or just in unison, can in Cairo or your at some bizarre and on Turkey as southern Turkey. What have you witnessed? The? U S goes into Iraq topples a minority regime of Saddam Hussein, dispossess disinherit cities from what had been a very pretty privileged elite
Station in a ruling, one of the major capitals of the region for thirty plus years, then revolution kicks off in Syria Syria is a sunny majority country between sixty seventy percent of the country's is sending people are being barrel. Bond for having scud missiles dropped on their heads for having Sarah Gaston Lloyd against american chlorine bombs deployed against them, other women and sons or being gang raped in prisons, their whole families are being burnt alive. This is the thing ISIS Traffic's, immoral equivalence. They say whatever we do we can point to other enemies of ours who just as much and if not worse, there is actually truth in that. The Assad regime and its militias, many of them built by IRAN. There's a consortium of them call the National Defence Force Cole Sunni families in their house and they set the house on fire and let the family cook inside ISIS points at all. This is able how come nobody has come to the rescue.
Sonny's, all you you, you stupid in a democratic or in a secular a western you uncle Tom's. Basically, you look you look at NATO and you look at Washington and you beg them for assistance and they don't come to your age. And for a while Sunnis like well, you know it's because If Israel, you know the site as bad as he is, he's kept the Golan Heights quiet forty years, so the? U S won't intervene because of Israel. Then it became well now it's because Obama wants to make this nuclear deal with IRAN that he doesn't want to rock the boat. Now it's crept up right to the point of the ISIS conspiracy. Which is now actually there is he's busy against the Sunnis. The United States prefers the Shia it wants to be in bed with IRAN. And it wants the share led by the Revolutionary Guard corps RON and backed by the militias in Iraq and helped by lebanese Hizbollah,
and help no by Syria and militias that are being built. As we speak, these guys to me, the jam series of a new regional order and the people who are going to pay the price of the cynics but We ought number everybody else, so we should pour into the ranks of ISIS or, if you don't like ISIS job on this, for the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria and we have to defend ourselves- is becoming very. Very compelling narrative now in slightly churlish moments, I joke it's hard to tell where ISIS conspiracy theory ends. And U S. Foreign policy begins, because if you listen to what President Obama has said, You gave three very evocative interviews, David Remnant of the New Yorker Tom Friedman of the New York Times, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic. In each of the interviews he was basically asked well, don't you think the term that sheer jihadism along the lines of what has Bala has got up to, or the goods force has got up to, isn't that just as reckless and dangerous as the sunny variety
he kind of funds, the answer and he made it seem like what IRAN does as awful as it might be car bombings and so on. There I add to it there less reckless them or self interested, whereas with those Sonny's, while he's the guys, August, nine, eleven and the Taliban and they're all barbaric crazies, and we really can't a ghost or or parlay with them in any way Sonny see that as the legitimacy of apple baccarat back daddy's worldview? And I keep insisting you know the State Department, the US government, all western governments bring a lot of money into the counter narrative for essentially Anti ICES propaganda and in private moments. You talk to these diplomats in charge of the programmes and they tell you were failing and were failing because we exhibit ISIS atrocities, but they exhibit at their atrocities, and we don't understand. Why are people being driven into the arms of a group? That's gonna burn a man alive in a cage or blow up a car filled with guys within our Fiji or drown. You know a collection of of
the cage in a giant pool. And the answer is you focus on the snuff component of those videos, but you dont focus on the other fifteen or twenty minutes. So let's taken was I'll Cassandra. You know the burning of the Jordan pilot. This was this. Was the video that shocked the world in many respects, even worse than the heading of James Folly and Stephen sought law than the other american hostages who burns a man lighted alive in a cage on that's a twenty minute video. The last five minutes of it is the dude. This violent pornography, the the first fifteen minutes of it is what causes beside at a table wearing the Orange Guantanamo style jumpsuit. Essentially being interrogated, although its couch does an interview. Giving up all the operational trade craft, all the upper national details of what Jordan and the other arab countries of the region were doing against ISIS, so he was giving them
Shorty's that the jordanian AIR Force is flying the kinds of fighter jets. They were flying the names of other pilots who flew with, and you know, the attack formations and so on. Isis use that and Counterpose that, with images of dead muslim babies and women and children being pulled from the rubble as they claim victims of these arab bombard, tax to ISIS? There is no such thing as a and Islam or muslim country in the Contemporary Middle EAST. These are these are the same, hold near enemy. Sneezer apostate regimes led by defunct and corrupt and venal dictatorships monarchies Hashemite were harvest whatever, but just to clarify here. This is a distinct complaint and allegation of conspiracy from the Shias Sunni, sectarian civil war. Many of these regimes are sunni that their complaining about being attacked by and that's what
ironies of hearing the ISIS, the ISIS narrative to have taken up by sunny Sonny's have been you knew. The dominant sacked, pressed by sheer force of numbers and demography is destiny right, but Caesar now behaving and acting in sounding like an imperilled minorities like the Shia had done for decades, if not centuries, because they are everywhere being besieged embattled and they feel like there being taken over by IRAN. Isis is taking this and in explaining it like all hell. I mean they're propaganda. I don't know some of you I have to. I have to watch these videos there there's some of the most sophisticated pieces of theatre, agitprop that I've ever seen and again I come back to the state training that people who are cooking these things outlast Pat Pinelli. If you go back far enough, if, if you ve got a lot of guys from the Saddam regime were in ice, is that means
were trained by the EAST Germans and by the Soviet KGB right and taught how to do. Information, warfare and disinformation. Isis makes really will use of the stuff. You know, for instance, the daily beast where I work. We reported a story several months ago that the U S, defence and tell her you sent central command rather was cooking. The intelligence analysts pitiless sent a complaint to the Pentagon Inspector General saying we are giving rather sobering battlefield damage assessments on terms of ice. Its finances in its military capability, and these things are being rejected to suit. The White House is public relations which, as I said, is losing ISIS took this and put it into one of them. Yes, and they propose that with images and and statistics of the number of less military veterans who commit suicide, every and their say what you, this is a defunct empire is this is what happens when you don't have. You know the true path of Islam as a guiding forces in the construction of you,
for you know, you're, sort of global enterprise, so the United States will fall and there's a form of military intelligence officers. Suddenly the video american military he said it off. I don't know any better. I want to join these Gus because this is very Is it home, persuasive stuff, so they are taking what I you know what I would call the sort of geopolitical nervous breakdown, particularly footing the Sunni Muslim population of the Levant Mesopotamia, but also the outlying countries you're. Taking this end, just I mean it's like damp putty in their hands it's one of the reasons that people aren't rising up against them, snot, necessarily that they espoused the tuck fury ideology. It's not necessarily that they have an islamist ideology. To begin with its that, you know what, if I say, rules Munich, my head below the parapet, and they just do as they say, and I got a mosque and I've got go through the pantomime motions of praying five times a day and all the rest of it I'll be fine, but better, then than this
arab army or Hizbollah, where the Irish Sea, which has been a burn my house down, just because I'm sending so if you had control of the? U S armed forces or coalition forces, what would you do at this moment. So look what I'm gonna say may sound a controversial and you may disagree with and allowed people do. If anything studying subject matter has made me more realistic. My foreign policy prescriptions to fight synergy hard, you need Sonny's and give the players on the ground. Now I dont go as far as David betray us who said: hey: let's you know, let's he'll away actors from job on this route and work with them to fight ISIS Amene. Mr Al Qaeda, you don't need to get work without kinder to defeat ISIS, but you can work with other groups on the ground, including those that you and I would be very unsavory- would never want to see. You know controlling any lever of of of state or running any kind of government, and the reason is look silly,
will welcome in fellow Sunni Arabs as liberators from ISIS, health territory? They're not gonna, welcoming the Kurds because they see the Kurds as conquerors you're not going to welcome in the sugar for reasons ready given at length. I would do more to build up a a Sunni Arab, gender armoury or counterterrorism force to go after, I suspect, in order to do that and which we sort of clinic tried it with the Pentagon. Train and equip programme. You have to give them an incentive and their their chief incentive is on that of the free syrian army, which is really just a grab bag term to describe hundreds. If not thousands of separate militia groups, there isn't that was to go after Bashar Al Assad, while not saying you got a bus down, negates the presidential palace dragging out by his feet and hang him upside down Mussolini style, although many Syrians and probably myself included, would would love to see nothing better than that to happen at some point
you have to isolate his regime and give protection to the civilian population and give protection to various opposition groups and by protection I dont mean seeing cement the power tweet, messages of solidarity with the poor, terrible embattled people of Syria. You have to give them some measure of military protection. Now this has become all the more difficult in the last three months, because Russia is now all the no fly zone and Russia's no fly zone is really you know a zone of of bombing with impunity and as I mentioned are going after everybody, but ISIS, but in the eastern parts of Syria, that Sidney tribal areas, you know a programme to two weapon eyes and incentivize. Those guys stick to rise up against ISIS that would work now. I can't give you the exact logistics of how you do that. I'm not a military planner, but
talk to people who, especially the veterans from Iraq or the military intelligence side, the diplomatic side, people like Robert Ford, Derek Harvey, Joel, Rayburn, they'll, tell you like you: going to need this constituency on your side and Now we're running such a deficit, entrusting credibility with them. That is a real uphill battles to win them back over and the only way you can win them over as if you convince them actually, the? U S. Does care about the plight of the cities and the first order? Business is ITALY's containing the Assad regime rod acquiescing to its reconquered of land, not sort of ignoring its human rights abuses. New and came out. This report this week of uphold detention facilities in Syria, run by Assad, Nostrand ISIS and the one that that's run by Assad and his before branches events is intelligence service they said, is conducting a campaign of extermination. Well again, you know
If you're, if you're on the ground and syrian use you you don't have to read that you're living it, but if you're being exterminated and nobody's coming to rescue, why the hell are you going to become a counter terrorism, proxy for the United States and country? That's leaving you too fate. So, in terms of what we'd, what would I do militarily? Look you don't you ve got your your your TED cruises, who say just carpet bombed the hell out of Eastern Zaire don't worry about the humanitarian expense leaving aside committed war crimes, gross human rights abuses. Everything I just mentioned to you in a kind of I need the psychological or that sort of Zeit guys component to ices is succeeding. All of that will literally go up in flames. If you just further bomb and an disinherit and serve exterminate is the only word I can think of the city arab constituents that are being awarded over by she need them. On your side, look there's a few questions. Sprang into my mind, as I heard that last bit, so one how
would empowering local militias of whatever jihadist stripe against ices, not prepare the same disaster for us that we created without Quaeda an famously suffered blow back home arm them against the Soviets too. How would going after Assad, whatever agree not risk us having to fight a hot war with Russia or IRAN, or both and three. Why couldn't are going after ISIS be more circumscribed than that where we would? Listen, we support all the same soon he's on earth. We know you don't have much fondness for a group that thinks that the end times are gonna come in some time in the next fifteen minutes and they're happy to decapitate journalists and aid workers in the meantime to bring that on so we're going to a line with this bogus prophecy. We're gonna meet them in debate,
and we're gonna kill every last one of them just to prove that this is all bullshit. Ok was before you s request for answer any of them. When you say we I mean we're going the main topic, we're gonna, send: U S military lawyers clearing could be omitted. That's the simplest case that or a coalition of the none too willing, Philip here's a get. I defer to people who actually fought in these wars and who understand the terrain and the nature of the enemy you at special forces are saying. Let us add up, we can cut. I got my through butter through all of the so called caliphate, and just kind of you know scalp these these guys they don't think it's gonna require very many troops on the ground to meet that objective. So perhaps
you're right, I happen to think you look. Of course, I said she's going to say you know we dare you to come in here and usher in the apocalypse and you're not that suits their interest right. They don't want american troops, particularly because they know that american troops would partner with these local militias. We franchise and weapon eyes them much We did in Iraq and alone bar province, and- and and elsewhere, and that would be the end of ISIS, and you have only to look at what ISIS saying and to see just what mealy drives them knots and where their paranoia comes from one of the main planks of their property. Agenda is to forestall another awakening, you know the the tragedy of of Iraq. Is we forgot all the lessons we learned of how to turn these populations against the two, but jihadis, remembered all the lessons and other mistakes. So you know, for instance, ICES has one of its most powerful propaganda. Videos is cocaine.
The swords which shows them going around house to house and rounding up all the shakes and the tribesmen who partnered with the iraqi government to use military in executing them, making their kids Dick S, mass grave and beheading them and dumping the bodies into the great along with their children, and that image is juxtaposed with images of mass repentance rallies. If you were The awakening councils in Iraq, if you joined with the rough conspirator, the rough crusader conspiracy all will be forgiven. If you turn in your weapons, tear up your idea, badges and pledge allegiance ISIS. So there there absolutely terrified of you- know these militias kind of coming back and a real grass roots rebellion against them, and that tells me that they
I know that there are borrowed time with these guys and if there were a? U S, military presence, a presence which would of course not go around doing anti sunni pogroms, but partner with local communities. Once the the ISIS element had been expelled from the towns or cities are villages, that would be the death knell for them at least strategically speaking- So to that extent shore of that that's a possibility now, when you say, deploy military troops to Syria. Well, you know one of the questions you asked me about: will it wouldn't this sort of start a proxy war, not so proxy war with Russia, and also we yet? But you know you ve- got russian special forces in northern SIRI already we know their operating in LE talk your province, I've heard they ve been deployed elsewhere, such as homes. What happens if you, a special forces, get into a firefight with spent ass, you ve got thousands upon thousands of Revolutionary Guard core officers
headed by customs- solar money in northern syria- particular Aleppo. We know this because a lot of them are being sent back to Teheran and boxes and then buried understate obstacles as martyrs in a foreign land. You ve got a rocky. She Emily she's believer in Bonn, the righteous in the righteous Hezbollah brigades are being deployed from Iraq into Syria. To prop up our son. You know you have, there is no, there is no real, soon conflict in Syria anymore. It's just a conglomeration of sideshows, so you risk you risk running, to something nasty, no matter which way you you play it now I'll give you some evidence as to how this unfolds, because we ve actually see it before us right now unfolding when Russia invaded Ukraine on the arguments against an army ukrainian military with Javelin, anti tape, missiles was well if U S Anti tank missile up his
by ukrainian soldier and blows up a russian t. Eighty two tank won't that start world were three like: that's the: U S at war with Russia right well in area. The CIA has been running and anti take missile known as the Tao too. Thirty. Nine different free syrian Army units small, we're gauge or battalions that they have vetted and they trust to handle this material with care and not give it over to any nasty elements such as Mr Isis, recently Tao, anti tank missiles have killed at minimum to russian soldiers. One was a helicopter pilot who was on the search and rescue mission for the downed or for the who, the one surviving pilot from that downed russian aircraft at the Turk shut out of the sky a few months ago and the other it happened last week in Le Tolkien Job awkward. There was a rooftop building filled with russian military officers, at least one of them that, based on what I can pieced together from them
Media, the probably more and syrian rebel group armed with a town blew up through the rooftop killing Russians, so you have in miniature are replaced the soviet Afghan war, where the? U S where the CIA is covertly running, guns to and muslim asset and the muscle bastard is using it against the that the russian Army it hasn't. Prompted World WAR three yet and You a knowing what I do of the Putin regime and how the Kremlin behaves if serious work. Turn into another Afghanistan. If russian pilots were jets, are helicopters were blown out of the sky or respect snares, soldiers were sent home and so called cargo through three hundred in coffins. That would probably precipitate a recalculation on them.
Uprooted as to whether or not this adventure is succeeding. Russia has only managed again one point: three percent of territory back for the syrian regime and its been three months and at untold costs of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars from russian state coffers. So what we haven't exacted a price for Russia, intervening against us, Syria asked other options, I mean that the logic of the rationale really more of an excuse that I hear for why America doesn't do anything to militarily engage. You know. Essentially, iranian forces in Syria is if we do that the Iranian will turn their weapons against us in Iraq, where, despite what the White House tells you, you ve got almost five thousand you servicemen stationed in Iraq plus another seven thousand. U S! Contractors! Well, we haven't really been fighting the I urge in Syria and then still hasn't stop their proxies from kidnapping three american contractors in Baghdad. This happened within the last few weeks so
you know when we do nothing or when we say to our enemies. How can we help you? I mean what what do you want us to do not to attack a nicer provoke you get it. They treat us like dirt, they walk all over us. So yet there are a lot of ways you can. At least you know, bring a bigger beating to ISIS, and it starts, though, with this socio political campaign that has to be driven home with fire and steal, not with rhetoric and not with conferences in Switzerland that nobody wants to attend because their being barrel bond I'll, see you have to give Sunni arab military proxies, you have to give them some support. Otherwise, again you knock
Flush, ISIS out of its briar patch, the Euphrates River Valley. The Kurds can't do it and there are most trusted and reliable ally because they fight really well and they're, not jihadi their secular buzzy marxists. Basically, I mean that's, that's what they p. Why D, which is the affiliated? The Kurdish, were parties and kurdish workers party in Syria? That's their ideology, but they can. They know that they can't Marchant Iraq, a city or dares or nor they wanted, because they're gonna be slaughtered by the local community, not by ices. They'll be seen as as conquerors, not liberators. Why haven't we supported the curves more than we have well? This is this is where it also kind of entering two were Alice in Wonderland Boat, so as I say that the most trusted ground force in Syria for these it states is the why peachy militias which essentially wholesale paramilitaries of the kurdish workers parties. Syrian, a failure on the kurdish Workers Party is designated by Turkey and the United States as a terrorist organs.
Forty years, they ve waged in Oughta get off again insurgency against the state of Turkey. Now in people listening to the programme and you and I would say you and, I would say well look tie up on the President of Turkey. Is a maniac and he's also an Islamist, and we ve seen his sponsorship for Hamas. We see what he's doing to journalists country. Let me tell you, though, a k p and that the ruling party in Turkey in order one doesn't matter. If you installed a come Alice, or a secular, see, HP man in at the head of state that the Turks will always see foreign policy, a national security through the prism of kurdish separatist, there's no political element in the country of Turkey, modern Turkey that sees the p k k as a friendly political or military element in its midst. The only exception to that rule, of course, are peek a k, aligned kurdish parties in Turkey unto the? U S is not doing more
Back the other we're doing plenty, I mean we are giving them closer support. You, a special forces deployed in northern Syria partner with the p whitey, we're arming them to some extent Brett Monarch, who is the ongoing to the anti ice? coalitions recently in northern Turkey meeting with a p whitey much to the exasperation of the Turks. But so here you have the world. Largest NATO member state facilitating but you know underwriting arming backing essentially a terrorist organisation s seen by the second world's largest army of NATO as a big contradiction in the way of this of of putting forward this anti ice. The strategy, so so The reasons that Turkey doesn't really want to be part of this coalition, its turned a blind eye to ices aggregation on southern doorstep. I've reported from
from the turkish forty I've seen the way than anyone could walk across it. Although that has changed in recent months. There is some evidence. That's been reported that the turkish intelligence service and mighty has has basically, if not partnered, with ISIS than that sort of you know, ignored the rising threat or possibly even worked with them. Some point just because they saw them as an antidote to the Assad regime. So Turkey has not been a reliable ally, but the? U S is not really return. The favor by helping I mean, is the equivalent of the sand would be like you know. Barack Obama say to Israel right we're gonna work with the MOSS and we're gonna allow them to build a state on your doorstep. That's how the Turk see the peacock, hey, I'm not going Morlock, relax, unjust, explaining it to you is as their national security issue here, but with respect to the Kurds in northern Iraq again. This is very complicated. The Kurds in northern Iraq, don't like the peak UK any more than the Turks do is again kurdish politics. We think of the Kurds. Is this monolithic
today, but they're like everyone else. They have rival groups, rival ideologies and indifferent political actors who won a centrally take over the entire well, in this case the day spirits. The party in northern Iraq, the Katy P, headed by mustard Barsad. He runs the push murder the push Mirza did a piss poor job of defending sin jar from from ices onslaught, in twenty fourteen. It's one of the reasons that the disease were put to the sword and genocide was committed. The people who bailed out, send your were the peak okay, so there's an intra kurdish conflict taking place at the moment, and you know the side that we have characteristically backed is bar Zani in the Katy P. Now that's beginning to change, we're working more with the peacock so as is the whole thing, is a mess any like say: you know the war against ices has has real Lee catalyzed the law of unintended consequence, and you have be very wary. What what the long term effects are going to be when ISIS is gone
Middle EAST will not look the same as it did before. Isis got there, it will be, an independent state lit of Kurdistan in in Syria, which I guarantee is gonna, give rise to all kinds of conflict and violence and war with Turkey in Iraq. You have had the construction of a Hezbollah style, deep state, were seen by the goods force. These militias there, not just going around and acting like death squads any longer there actually becoming part of the political establishment and are going to take over meanest coal, provincial governments, they're gonna, take over a chunk of the rocky parliament. They may even get somebody to be Prime Minister what day. So you know you have to be mindful of how the cure might, if not be worse than that than did the disease. The cure could also killed a patient on the table, and this is this is one of the real problems with with the way that the strategy against ices has been prosecuted, we're not thinking long term we're thinking short term. So do you think that
You simply can't address the ISIS problem, separate from figuring out how you want to address the Assad problem, I'm having imagining that you could say. Listen. We hate us out as much as the rest of the Sunni world does, but that situation is comp, aided organic over here and destroy ISIS for the time being and then will solve the Assad problem. Is that just a non starter? Politically and tactically? Logically, if if Assad is, is John Kerry? Put it a magnet for sending terrorism leading, in place. Just means you're going to draw more sunni terrorists and serious you're not going to physically be able to address the ices problem to your satisfaction without at least engaging or containing but we're still maintained when talking about numbers. I think the last I heard we thought the ISIS had managed to draw in something like forty thousand international recruits. I do know is that still a current number, I think it's dropped
and it's definitely true that foreign fighters are having a hard time getting into the so called caliphate country, so that numbers or we're not talking about a million man army, we're talking about tens of thousands of people, so bucks but you're what what what that neglects is, which I met foreign fighters, but you nothing but the mystic fighters, so people that ISIS Lord over initiatives is the pilot project like what defines a nice member is it. Somebody applied, Let us have a backdrop I gotta technically yes, but if I am a citizen living in rock orders or or Palmyra and I'm ices is ruling me. I am part of the cane Lafitte, whether I want to be or not, and I can be considered- as cannon fodder or suicide bomber into the army. I can be in a sent off and I can mention the economic constraints of work or driving people into the arms or, if the ranks of ISIS
whose families can survive and the other way, at least. If I send my son, you know I, my family will be paid for said the domestic population whenever ISIS rules millions of people, so it has a pretty large recruitment pool already within the zone of territory that had it controls. But again, even if you were to expunge ISIS from rock and muscle that is that that is the twin hammer blow to the cable fit. They lose their command and control the whole state building this crumbles. Does that mean, though, that ices gone or ill? in as an international security threat. Well, they still have an active franchise in Egypt. They ve got. You know there can control of ITALY's parts of three major cities are towns in Libya their creeping into Afghanistan and giving the Taliban are run for its money there popping up all over
There is even an element of them in the North Caucasus, Russia, so they can wage terror attacks from those those areas that just as well as they can frankly from anywhere- and you know it's it's it's a question of how you contain the the ideological fervour. How do you, how do you make it heavy disincentive eyes Muslims to join up with this organization year? That is the most important question from my point of view and despite what may seem implicit in my recent line of questioning of you, I fully agree that the best thing to do would be to have soon is somehow contain the problem, whether that's you know indigenous militias or sunni neighbouring states, deciding that they need to send armies in to deal with ice has just given how
flam it or it is to have an army of infidels and christian crusaders going in and dealing with it and aid. That comes back to this crucial issue of how do you make jihadism ultimately, as ideologically unattractive as soviet style communism now is, and so that, as the man ethical change of hearts and minds we have to accomplish in the muslim world, but it does come back to some what you said earlier that just no matter how decorously we walk on eggshells amongst our enemies. We still never get much credit for doing so and week, will we look more and more like a paper tiger, and there are? There is some subset of the muslim world. Now it put all of the g hot us into this category that only some understanding, stark power differentials and uses of force we're never gonna behave so well as too line the jihadis with our interests- and I think it is an open question of about whether we can behave so
as to align Islamist, more generally with our interests, and so it's a question of what is the most compelling communication that way- will convince the maximum number of the world's potential recruits to Islamism and jihadism that there on a collision course with the twenty first century. They have to figure out how to live in a pluralistic, cosmopolitan world that respects human rights and democracy and all the rest and if they don't do that in short order, they're going to find their hopes and dreams just ploughed under by the strongest Miller carries on earth, whether that America, or as America in concert with thirty nations, while that look that what they ate the element of of the enfranchisement of women, the right to free inquiry in and out of a civilised education, You know minority rights, everything that we serve take for granted in the west. That is something that can only
these sorted out by the people of the region and the practitioners of the face. There's no question, I don't think the United States, apart from defending dissidents, be they you know, bloggers and Riad, or you know, homosexuals in Teheran. I don't think the United States really has that big of a role to play there. What I'm talking about is geopolitics- and you know, essentially an active war being waged the one hand by sixty two nations to some extent. Really, you know just three or four I mean you know. All of the arab countries that have been part of his coalition have stopped bombing, and this is one of the great misconceptions- we say all we ve got Saudi Arabia. You age, ordinary member king, this king King Abdullah, Jordan, was gonna, mean was like on the cover of a squire like Russell Crow. After was offices but was burnt alive. He was gonna March into Rockin ring Baghdad his neck himself, as if I think, ACT homer, maybe even earlier Jordan just stop bombing and they stop bombing because they can afford to have another pilot
Sound, and another incident like that repeated and also- and this is something we can get into, but we probably should at some point or maybe for the next bad cast internally, within these countries that are positively on the american side. Is this element this current of solitude jihadism, which, if not sympathetic, but the ices project, is perhaps sympathetic with Al Qaeda project? for instance, when Jordan was negotiating with ISIS for the release of Kinshasa, who did they use negotiate on their behalf of homosexuals are copies. Former mentor I'll buck DC they used Abacha Tata once described, is Al Qaeda lieutenant in Europe also the happiest man in London because it was under house arrest paid for by the british taxpayer living in a dilapidated mansion and north and for a while until he was extradited to Jordan, they use
to known Al Qaeda jihadis or Al Qaeda theoreticians to try and parlay with what has become an Ultra IST offshoot of Al Qaeda and they failed and ISIS humiliated them and a base than by by having the man burnt alive. Even whilst they were contain. During the pantomime negotiations, so this is something to to consider there is. There is a debate taking place within the annals of jihadis westerners? Could care less on shore, but it's important because it is this is this is resulting in this? It's it's. A combination of a cold in a hot war between I'll Qaeda are first enemy. After nine eleven hour before nine eleven- and I and their fighting each other and, as I mentioned earlier, one of the ways that they're going to find each other is by racking up an infidel butchers and doing so in the in the streets of Europe and the United States. But look in answer to the question of well. You know
we need to destroy and degrade, or whatever the going euphemism of the day is ice. It look a it comes down to learning from recent history. How did ISIS into reassemble? How did it becomes strategically on the front for it again in Iraq? It didn't just happen overnight and it wasn't just because the syrian revolution extort in two thousand and ten Maliki was the was an iranian stooge and essentially in the Shias Saddam, at least, if your Sonny didn't win re election, but the? U S. Allow allowed him to steal that election and backed him, and you can there's a great definitive history, the rock or call the end game with really unbelievable quotes from Vice President Biden and also from the U S ambassador to Iraq at the time Chris Hill violence,
and we know molecule hates the goddamn Sunnis, but you know he's the only one who can really former government. So, let's healthier rockies violate their own constitution, which we hope the right by the way and reinstall Malagasy in the driver's seat Malik. He proceeded to suppress protest movements, it all throughout to Iraq, through violence and other similar to what I said was doing in two thousand and eleven, but even more than that. All of the Awakening council, guys all of the city- Arab, Sunni tribesmen, who turned against Al Qaeda, who then expected to be incorporated into the iraqi institutions, policing themselves having a national guard or burrito being in a paid a salary. As members of the iraqi security forces, they were all hung out to dry because molecule didn't trust them. You didn't like them and he had his own project, which was a kind of
ass, tweed style, she s stamp creation in beginning in Baghdad and then extending into two to southern rock. Ices came back because the very element that we had worked with to expel them welcome them back in as an alternative to Baghdad and behind bag really Teheran? These were mistakes. The United States made right, but it seems like we're poised to make that mistake. If we follow your initial piece of advice, which is too arm nearly as radical mujahideen against ISIS and then hope that the aftermath of that victory is going to be more palatable than ISIS itself. The arcadia theorist who are negotiating on behalf of Jordan to win back their pilot, the heroin into territory, that is a distinction without a difference. Yes, it's either not as bad as ISIS say, at least in that local instance, but we're just as it. War without Quaeda, and everyone like allocate as we are with what ISIS gesture it
Some of you I mentioned earlier David, betrays because lotta of scandal when he made these comments about working with. Mr, I don't I don't recommend anything close to that, but you did it in the? U S and the west is put so scrutiny on whose assyrian opposition and we don't know who they are, and their old document. On the one hand, there either you know, sort of lapsed professionals as as, as about put it doctors, and farmers engineers. On the other hand, there all kind of well. Now I mean you know, even to this day there elements on the ground and Syria that that the West can Parker with work with their better than Hamas, not as bad as Al Qaeda, and certainly not as bad as ISIS and gives the new there already fighting ISIS and, to some extent, fighting Nostra. It's true a lot of syrian rebel groups, including ones the uses work with fight alongside job little Nostra. But again, why are people join and jumped on the street in Syria
is it because there Al Qaeda ideologues or because they see them as a credible, disciplined cadre of fighters that is actually taking the fight to outside and making gains it's more, the latter and I, but it's in there. People who were part of protest movement, twenty eleven twelve got to salute with their joint and other islamist groups didn't like them. Join. Mr then saw nursery as being overwhelmingly brutal and did evil and left and went back to. You know, if not being a protester than became a refugee in flat, and there is a fluid here or militias and into this is this is to betray us as point people weak, cleaved away from all Qaeda in orbit thousand and seven to two thousand and nine period. You know yet a lot of them were Islamists. Alot of them had been
possible for blowing up soldiers. U S soldiers, british soldiers, but you know we needed them because hey they knew where the bodies are buried. They knew the logistics that networks how to find these guys. They shared credible intelligence. We left Iraq and were in the process of leaving Afghanistan so as not to tell you that we don't have the stomach for for a multi decade, effort to to pacify the region. If that's the case, then look that I really have any solution, because you know America will suffer. As I said before, you know it's it's. The old Trotzky lied about. You may not be interesting. The dialect but the dialectic, as always it is always interested new same thing applies to the Middle EAST. The isolationist argument does really work unless we are prepared to not get involved and still suffer and still be attacked and heart. Because that's exactly what's going to happen, you know if we didn't pick a fight with ice as they would pick a fight with us.
And in so far as as there is now also beware of the long long term consequences. So I've I've, given you a kind of broad sketch of the contours, the changing ITALY's in our statement of Kurdistan, led not by America, Turkey's ally, the Katy P, but led by the p k k you know, Assad with will will create whether or not Aleppo falls in the next few weeks or months. Is looking to create ascension allow withstand for his sector, whatever oil is minority groups have aligned with it out of fear of the city. Jihadis ISIS still controlling these briar patch reach of Eastern Syria, western Iraq, she militias malicious in control of most of the green zone in Baghdad and everything South and IRAN, which is exporting not just military capability. But how plainest principles. Romania study Ology
to Yemen to Belarus. Lebanon to the occupied palestinian territories everywhere, which is also driving the city arab countries, nuns this changing Middle EAST. The? U S can either try to accommodate and be a part of of managing the fall out or can do nothing and just await what happens next. Ices is not going to be a mean member. Before there was ISIS, there was Al Qaeda and we all thought hey, there's nothing worse than this right. I'd eleven, the worst her attack on american sources, Pearl harbor vices could do more. They'll do more vices God who's to say. There's not going to be easy to point out some here too, in oak, as of now unknown entity that will arise from the chaos of the region. But my my concern. My criticism is: we are actively underwriting and facilitating, Creation of this new Middle EAST. Without any, you know any cognisance of the long term consequences
they will be anti american consequences. I mentioned to you like you know. You ve got three Americans in captivity. Reportedly insider city Baghdad and you ve got over ten thousand american stationed in Iraq as part of a non boots on the ground military effort, which is mostly advisory and nature, but still what happens if Eric and start dying again get getting, captured or kill. If we deploy troops to Syria and Iraq, what happens if they get captured or killed? You know,
this military having everybody. I interviewed him up my book by the way, all the former, their mostly colonels, supernova colonels, win a war generals, take credit for all the colonel say we'll be back in both of these countries or we'll be back in Iraq for sure to combat fraud, but we will eventually be back be in Syria, and I take that very seriously because that's it that's a sobering assessment at whatever the american electorate believes like it. If ices wages something like Paris in the United States and by wages I mean you know they send operatives, I got the slum in a boot into our country. I think the electorate stomach for a long fight is going to change. I think people will have forgotten. You know
or Afghanistan? I just want to kick the shit out of these guys. One of the most depressing things you said is your description of how hamstrung the jordanian regime is given the loss of a single pilot, how they can't afford. Lose another and they have to worry about their own salami style lunatics in their midst. So again I recall all of the sword rattling after the pilot was killed and the fact that they can't get it into their heads that they need to fight ISIS after that, Just extend that analysis to the Saudis as well as any other neighbouring regime. We want to help us in fielding a sunni force against ISIS one. Why can we apply more pressure to these regimes and in particular, the Saudis and get them to stop exporting the ideology that has caused
this problem in the first place, yet will most of these regimes again. This comes back to the old theme of of the state's relationship with non state terrorism. So absolutely the Saudis dinner. You know- cottage industry of exporting were hobby style solaces in which mean that those main currents and have absolutely infiltrated in and help shape the ISIS ideology, but in since the Ninetys? It is the case that the Saudis have been very fearful of blue back from this. You know the the undermining of the radical madras has somewhat diminished the guy who's. Now, I think, he's second in line to the throne Mohammed Benign He was nearly blood to bits by Al Qaeda in the arabian peninsula is in charge of their Syria file by the way is also one of the few saudi officials that the? U S, respects on a counter terrorism. Premise
so, the Saudis veto you know in when the syrian insurgency started most the people that they were backing groups like the syrian revolutionaries front, the hum movement, but these were groups that were more or less palatable to the United States when King L A in King Solomon came to the throne. Many of you know the sort of that the saudi geopolitical posture they were. They were very much against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I mean they were responsible for financing in supporting the cecy coup. King Solomon is taken a more conciliatory approach toward political Islam, and Islamism turned the Muslim Brotherhood is no longer persona non Grata sought in Riyadh as a result of his reign and the Saudis have now begun to Hano weapons and materiel, two groups that are part of a consortium of malicious Peculium,
further north western Syria, known as the army of conquest, which includes Al Qaeda, and you know that the window of opportunity for the Eu S, disorder, rain in the saudi support for the insurgency or at least groups direct that support to groups that we would have preferred to work with that window has now club With respect to Jordan. Yeah I mean them. Moselle cases came from a prominent tribe, his family's is very influential and when he was killed, his father and his relatives marched in the streets and they were, they were risking. As you know, the charges of treason no light matter and in the Hashemite monarchy for denouncing the government, then saying you didn't do enough to get him back in and all of this there is another aspect: Oda Jordan's policy, which is they are one of the largest research the UN's of syrian refugees and the camp. The lottery
that their running is quite squalid. You ve got to prostitution. Radicalization galore happening in the refugee camps are next to prisons, in them least academies or universities from minting jihadi fighters. It's always been the case and always will be another component. Is the Jordan has tried to keep the jihadism in Syria from pouring? into its own borders by the inauguration of a buffer zone in southern Syria and debt province in particular, and to some extent they been helping with used by Israelis and also by the U S and the main group that they have supported, is called the southern front. Which is an umbrella about fifty four different free syrian army militias. Again boast of nationalistic ensue
Geography matters a lot in terms of the ideological orientation. The north tends to be more conservative muslim and therefore it bleeds into Islamism in salafism. Southern Syria tends to be a little more cosmopolitan and more quote: unquote, secular or let us say so. The southern front was seen as a nice bulwark to keep the civil war kind of at bay. The problem is every time southern front accomplish too much against the Assad regime. The spigot of weaponry mostly ammunition. I should say was turned off and it was turned off because the CIA and the White House said we don't want them to go and SEC Assad. State institutions will now there's a new component, which is Russia's bombardment, campaigning in Syria, which is targeting the southern front, is actually created a sort of vector for ISIS
There are two groups in southern Syria once called the armored Martyrs brigade. The other is the Madonna movement which are essentially cutouts for ISIS collectively there about twenty five hundred guys but they're, making inroads into southern Syria on the back of russian air strikes against their earth. CS: the free syrian army, even the Israelis, that that the financial times quoted a an idea commander last week, saying Rushest intervention is, is giving ISIS anew perch in southern Syria, place where they really had had no presence before I'm. So this is what complicated it with these, these arab governments, the fear of of an internal rebellion of their own constituents in their own citizens, essentially aligning with terrorist again these are mean again of a or coffee, was what nationality Miss Georgiana it the first time get of his in Iraq. In fact, in two thousand and three was the jordanian
bessie in Baghdad. The second target was the United Nations, and this is one of that. One of the things that I says his preyed upon in their exploitation of the Casbah capture. You know, returning to four principles, if you like, declaring war again against the near enemy, which is Jordan and other regimes, Maybe look if you look at the ISIS Iconography their black flag with the shot up it enveloped the globe, but they also put up posters and images showing them either them in shoal of of the carbon monoxide and day they have sacked Meca Medina, so they they wanted to clear work in Saudi Arabia and, to some extent they have done this. Also were motivating Saudis to take. You know very, very back, see role in this coalition robo. Why is it so backs Will they their primary enemy, as is the primary enemies of most of the cities and in the region, which is us up and IRAN and they consider them greater foes than IRAN by the way SAM, I mean the Israelis to
The israeli posture in in with respect to serious, but is one of the most intelligible on the planet. City Israelis is Why should I said there is? No foreign policy is only national security policy, so for them job on this yeah? We can. You know we ve, they dont dare come into the go on. They don't dare provoke, grant agonize us any syrian military installations, that shells or bombs in israeli occupied territory the idea powders them, and then they upload the video to their social media channels to show us that that you know don't even think about it. Isis, though I mean if, if ISIS were to penetrate, that would be a major step, Egypt security threat for the Israelis, but merely learn. Their primary fear is the revolutionary God of ALARM and Hezbollah and the weapons transfers that are being so this day continued without the Russians play this game with its action very clever, I mean as much as Putin wants to prop up his client. The civil wars been good for me.
Agnes russian weapons exports are increasing by orders of magnitude, and one of the reasons is look the weapons, the sea rebels use or what Soviet a Russian made a k? Forty seven's, if they have tanks they're, usually the tea seventy two com stated from the regime. Every time the rebels use their weapons to blow up russian made syrian material. It means there's more weapons contracts or Russia has gets to sell more of its gear, to not just Syria but to IRAN, which is giving it, Syria and then on to Hezbollah, so the The war has created this kind of rather cynical industry of of meaning moving missiles and guns and tanks armoured vehicles all throughout the region. It is it's good for putting in that sense again. We we take this very nor a stick reproach to understanding these complex. But the rest of the world does not. You know the west. The west behaves in it in a much more straightforward manner than than a lot of these other
she's, do- and this is part of the problem and we can try to to import those our way of thinking on our allies and allies that act more like four enemies. To be honest, it doesnt work so you know- and you ask any american intelligence, official or military official about you- know keeping together a coalition when you have all of these manifold actors on the ground, and you have all of these. As I say, the kind of side show the proliferation of sideshows, where they even a goal: eclipse, eventually the main event. Now, mindful of your time, wonder if I get a few capsule answers to a few questions or in light of everything, I said how do you view the nuclear arms agreement with IRAN and how do you view the current refugee crisis in Europe, so the nuclear arms deal with IRAN as an arms control agreement. I don't have a problem with it, but it's not an arms control agreement, it's a vehicle for rapprochement and again
second can point you in any direction from administration officials up to the president, who have made noises about bringing IRAN in from the cold and and have this is a kind of curtain razor on a new era of cooperation, for instance, that the taking of the? U S naval sailors. Last month or two months ago, the swift release of them was credited to the IRAN deal much like the the hushing up of the three american contractors in Iraq being kidnapped. His has is not enough the Iranian. So you know fine resolve the nuclear programme diplomatically. I never advocated a millet resolution and everything to bomb IRAN. But again do not then acquiesce to the hegemony of the the IPCC. Throughout the region, particularly when all of your allies as fraud, complicated
and unreliable as they may be. There still your allies, it's driving them nuts and its creating its creating the sort of metastasize in conflict of Sunni Extreme, as I mentioned mention I mean it comes back to the social and political drivers behind ISIS, and it also feeds into that conspiracy which is the? U S: IRAN and Russia Contra London Bicycling. There. There their diversity there against all Sunni Arabs in the region. So you know if it were just an arms control agreement. Finally, people comparative. You know what rig ended with the Soviets yet, but like Reagan gave a hundred fifty billion dollars to the KGB? You know this is that this is what is at issue here, so you have to have a strategic policy and for fur twenty five, thirty years
was containment. Now it's not contain containment and were pursuing that about in the in policy. At the same time, we're trying to contain a new threat which is interlinked and the threat is, is Sunni extremists, which is which is, as I say, thriving on the back of is perceived to be a creeping sheer, take over the region so onto Europe. Yes, the refugee crisis is not going to stop, it is being exacerbated. You had a hundred thousand trying to cross into to Turkey last week on the back of punishing russian airstrikes. I think they did four hundred strong within a fifteen kilometers zone within the space of twenty four hours. So this is Grozny imported to the Levant and You know in terms of the crisis in how its affecting Europe, while essential thing at you know me, I'm sure you followed the case of the russian German, girl who, thirteen year old to allegedly had been raped.
North Africa, in arab migrant in Berlin, story was a complete fabrication promulgated by russian state media. Designed really to undermine Angela Merkel because of her support for sanctions against Russia because of the Ukraine conflict there, Fiji crisis is great for Putin because it it. He knows that its to lead to the rise of far right. Persia Addison, populous demagogic elements from the front national in France to ya back in Hungary. You know, and also frankly, far left elements which he has no from partnering with either be put em us in Spain or Cerise in in Greece. Whore frankly, going to say we don't want, we don't want to do that. The muslim hordes descending upon our continent Evans, traditional NATO allies mean you know. Hungary, Victor Urban, as mountain said: Hungary is a christian state. We don't want to be.
Taking in any Muslims near even Sweden, Sweden, sure and look there is. There is a legitimate me- let's, let's not be so kind of Dewey I'd and romantic here there is not a minor where maybe there is a single word about ass yeah, I mean the Germans, it depends on which, which which intelligence agency you talk to the domestic or the foreign the Germans. They are concerned, the meal- you, you have ISIS guys who are not themselves refugees but who are going to masquerade refugees coming into Europe. We saw this in the Paris attacks, as is have a lot of you know, I think at least three of the ten operatives got in via Greece on these fake syrian passports, posing as refugees, so. This is it. This is a national security threat also it plays into the ISIS narrative Beautiful when when the front national they didn't and win the election, but they won the least a large chunk of the first round of the regional elections,
France, not long after the Paris attacks, when that happened Son social media was with cheering because they said yes, We told you like it's either us or you know nobody, because the West will is is anti slop there, it against also any Islam and their that these, these parties, fascist parties in Europe who want to close the borders and and block all immigration. That's think, that's exactly the kind of enemy we want to see because that that they they make it simple. They don't you set up in new from his M or in certain moral posturing. They just say no Muslims that that will drive people into the arms of ISIS and similar minded organizations interesting times, Michael Wells and look, you know I say I kind of em out I'm out of prescriptions. Like five years ago I had a boring, it's been its
Mary humbling to what sort of you not to have a field of interest in. You do do this kind of work in a report of the world that, frankly, did know much about you know. Half a decade ago watch it burned to the ground and people I'd know and have gotten to know well and care about either killed or driven from their country, and no completely demoralized? And I just I don't have any answers. The more you know I mean you asked me like what am I solutions again? It's all like it's very theoretical, and it because I know that the? U S is not going to do what is necessary, or you know it was your two half measures and fast and not the follows, grew in the end. The lack of follow through is often worse than not having done anything at all for better or worse the stories not going away, so we will have other things to meditate on and talk about, despite what we may want to pay attention to its gonna. Just keep coming back to this, I think again and again in the way, this is interacting with more tradition
No GEO political concerns where Russia now is the hidden the front page of the New York Times in a way that it hasn't in over a decade, and so the fact that shades of the cold war are coming back to us because of the issue of jihadism and Islamism it is just a name. Not a depress are listeners even more, but let me just ass the scariest of all questions, one of the chain, It is in your mind that we are going to look back on, these years and see this as the beginning in some basic sense of world war. Three, it look. I mean I lifting I lived in London for three years. I've gotta I've I've immersed myself, in Europe and I can certainly see the lineaments of you know the rise of very extremists ideology not having anything to do with Islam or jihadism. By the way- and I see the region
some of them now and in a look. I disagree slightly in the sense that I don't think that you know cold war to point out is a direct result of what's happening. But at least I think, that's unhappy phenomenon. If anything I mean the invasion of Ukraine had nothing to do with Muslims, for instance, but just the fact that its creating it plausible scenario where we could wind up shooting at being shot at by Russians directly. Yet look it's it's possible, I mean you know. When Putin says I can nuke Poland or I can invade five NATO capitals within the space of two weeks. That's the kind of thing we will have taken very, very seriously twenty five thirty years ago and I think, were beginning to take it seriously again. You know Europe is once more becoming this kind of battleground and at the borders that they, this riposte world order in the post, cold war orders is collapse, the mean. Could I see in my lifetime and nuclear exchange, whether its tactical nuke soreness,
indeed intercontinental blasting short, I mean you know the idea that history comes to an end or that we, you know in the nineteen eighties were ushering in this kind of great rip tide of liberal democracies, MRS Fantasy I mean this is This is really kind of dangerous utopian ground. You know sure groans on You know the Middle EAST is going to have innumerable problems if and when ICES rooted ivory giving you, as I say- and this is kind of brief sketch of what I think is going to arise and on the ashes of ISIS or the came of it, and that's going to lead to all kinds of other new catastrophe, so yeah? It's it's not fun doing stuff. We honestly you I'd rather second about power, Bawler or the Grammy's. To be honest, some days of the week, but damn yeah I mean it you know interesting times. As the Chinese say, you live in them and they dont mean that as a compliment well
proving to be a white, an expert guide to the apocalypse, so that's gonna be other business cards and thank her for the. So thank you for your time and to be continued, Michael Kay good. Talking too, if you find this pancakes viable. There are many ways you can support it. You can review I tunes or wherever whoever happens to listen to it. You can share it, so comedian with your friends, you can blog about it or discuss it on your own podcast or you can support it directly and you can do this by subscribing through my website as samharris dot org and there you'll find subscriber only content which includes my ask me anything episodes. He also get access to advance tickets to my live events as well as streaming. Video of some of these events
Transcript generated on 2020-03-24.