tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera February 12, 2016 9:00pm-9:31pm EST
trepahty on sunday at 10:00 eastern. i'm john siegenthaler. "ali velshi on target" is next. >> i'm ali velshi. stoorgt tonight, th"on target" r of two evils, assad or i.s.i.l? the united states, rid russia ad others involved in syria's war have agreed to implement a, quote, cessation of hostilities,
end quote. that after diplomats met in munich to restart peace talks. sending a hopeful note, staffan de mistura said, quote, sustained delivery of assistance is expected to begin this week to besieged areas where civilians are in desperate need of assistance, end quote. in the meantime the fighting continues and some of the most desperate areas out there are rebel controlled pockets, that are under government seeng. siege. with russian help and air support, tightened a noose around rebel controlled parts of aleppo. the army is close to cutting off the last rebel supply line into syria's largest city. confusingly, the army is also guesting help from syria's kurdish militias which just seized the military base from the russians, which according to
secretary of state john kerry will not be part of this cessation of hostilities. confusing or not the momentum in syria's war has now swung decisively in bashar al-assad's favor. and the syrian president has vladimir putin to thank for it. in september the russian leader deployed his fighter jets into syria's war and now months of russian air strikes coordinated with syrian government ground offenses are starting to pay off. rebel supply lines to turkey and jordan are being cut and if the government momentum continues world powers will be left with two stark choices in syria: bashar al-assad or i.s.i.l. that's why john kerry and others have now changed their tune about the need for assad to go. making it easier for the syrian president and his russian ally to entertain this cessation of hostilities on their terms. for more on this let's go to jamie mcintire. >> reporter: russian war
planes continue to pound targets in syria just hours after the munich agreement was announced. in the northern province of homs more than a dozen people were reportedly killed as russia continue to provide air cover for forces loyal to syrian president bashar al-assad. under the agreement hashed out between russian form minister sphrofsergey lavrov and secretaf state john kerry. >> to that end we have also established a task force under the auspices of the u.n. and co-chaired by russia and the united states. over the coming week, this group will work to develop the modalities for a long term comprehensive and durable cessation of violence and hostilities. >> reporter: both sides have already gra agreed that i.s.i.l. and the el nusra front are
legitimate targets, the pentagon says any eventual assess fire. >> there is no fire for us to assess. wcease. we continue to operate against i.s.i.l, those will continue because those are not groups did that are party to the ceasefire. >> the u.s. says focused on rebel groups that are opposed to be assad regime. aleppo where i.s.i.l. isn't operating. so a lot rides on who is labeled a terrorist. >> translator: well, if liberation of the city that has been taken by legal armed groups can be qualified as aggression well then, probably. >> reporter: russia says it
welcomes cooperation by the united states, while the pentagon continues to accuse russia of bombing and then lying about it. jamie mcintire, al jazeera, the pentagon. >> correspondent jamie mcintire joins us now from the pentagon. jamie, the u.s. is portraying this as a big victory for diplomacy, is it? >> the u.s. is focusing on the humanitarian aid aspect of this. the fact that even before they conclude any sort of cessation of hostilities agreement the lines of humanitarian aid is supposed to open up both from the air and also from the ground. and there are areas of syria that are very -- in very, very desperate straits where people are -- they don't have food, they don't have medicine. and that the aid is supposed to go to these places right away. and they say look, if we can get
this cessation of hostilities agreement, which is less than a ceasefire, that could lead to a ceasefire, maybe we could actually get the talks going, it is a step in the right direction and anything that provides relief to the syrian people it is a good thing. that's the way they are spinning it. also, they are saying this is not going to affect the u.s. he anti-i.s.i.l. campaign. >> the al qaeda affiliate, el nusra, until i.s.i.l. became its own thing. once again jamie, the russians arhave outmaneuvered the united states. this looks like another win for putin. >> bolster the regime of bashar al-assad who is now more firmly in power than he has been in
years. they're able to take this additional week while they negotiate the terms of this cessation of hostilities to solidify the battlefield gains and that essentially freeze the battlefield so the opposition forces can't mount an ra tack to retakan attack on anything. which cities have been starved into submission, when you add up those factors, battlefield gains, bashar al-assad more firmly in power, and russia in the driver's seat here you can see why moscow sees this as a big win. >> what about the likelihood of the cessation of hostilities holding? >> well you know the standard line of the pentagon is miss trust but verify. they're hopeful they say. they hope it works out because they'd like to see an end to some of the fighting, an end to some of the killing and they've
been relentlessly criticizing russia, using cluster bombs, take aleppo for example, there is no significant i.s.i.l. rens in aleppi.s.i.l.presence in alet where the fight against i.s.i.l. should be taking place. >> jamie mcintire, from the pentagon. coming up the truth about vladimir putin and russia always role in the syrian war and what it could all mean for america.
♪ ♪ >> diplomats from the united states, russia and others involved in syria's war just announced moves to implement a so-called cessation of hostilities in syria within a week. critics are quick to point out that it's just going to further russia's aims in syria. not emma ashford. emma is a visiting fellow at the time cato institute. you have argued in the past that russia's actions are essentially in your words reckless and will end badly for russia. but an argument can be made that russia's forces that are
assisting syria's army, have helped assad gain the upper hand in the civil war. >> they certainly help the assad force he pish bacs force backfo. stuck there for many, many years if they continue their action. >> how does one balance the quagmire issue with the fact that this intervention from russia's perspective has made them the dominant power in the region? >> it looks good domestically for vladimir putin, everything he's doing in syria. and it's certainly true that the agreement of the last day or so it looks really good, it looks like russia's get whrag they want. but that's not a reason for the u.s. not to support it. it could yield benefits for us as well. >> and by the way, putin gets to play the idea that they
maintained their sea port in the mearched anmediterranean, and. >> and that helps his view at home. >> larger stake and greater bargaining power in negotiation in order to 19 russia to reengage with the international diplomatic community after they've sort of isolated themselves because of things like ukraine. do you still feel that this is part of that strategy, that putin is carrying out? >> i do. and i think it's actually been more effective than perhaps we might have seen in advance. he has been able to very effectively get everyone to if not forget ukraine, then put ukraine on the back burner. >> right. >> while we focus on syria and what russia is doing in syria,
that can only be level for him. >> i guess i'm having trouble figuring out what's the bad part for him? >> in the long run, much as the u.s. got bogged down in iraq trying to rebuild that country after the 2003 war, russia is going to be stuck helping assad regime to rebuild if they're lucky enough to keep them in power. help the military suffer casualties, suffer losses and it's costly in the long run. but in the short term it's a diplomatic win for them. >> you've said recently that the u.s. administration has been slowly coming around to the view that assad regime is not the most important things in syria, something that can be sorted out later in the peace process. do you think working with russians to implement this cessation of hostilities implies that the obama administration has come around to this view that keeping assad in power is okay for the time being?
>> i think so. it may not be being stated explicitly, but i think there's an implicit suggestion that if this works, we'll move forward to larger scale peace negotiations and try to negotiate a transition. it signals a willingness to work particularly with russia, iran, saudi arabia, they were the original powers, to find a solution, political solution sthieinside syria. >> everybody thinks the syrian government will be involved, the americans will be involved, the russians are involved, what about the opposition who said they are not interested in negotiating with the assad regime? >> that has changed. the opposition was opposed to peace talks when they were making strides on the gains but now, the assad regime making major gains on the ground, now
the opposition has incentive to come to the negotiating table because they might d lose more ground if they didn't. >> helping the refugees is that the right thing to do at the moment? >> i believe so i think i also said in that article that we should pursue diplomatic options and i see the deal implemented yesterday as the first step in that process of trying to find a diplomatic solution. sure there's a lot of problems with this agreement as it's set out now but if it works in the long run then we might see a more successful political negotiation leading to some sort of transition, that's good for us. >> what role if any do we have to think about for nusra front and for i.s.i.l. who have not been involved in the peace negotiations? they're not even -- they can still be targeted under the cessation of hostilities. in other words, there are parties to the syrian conflict that are very important that
everybody's agreed we don't need to negotiate with? >> yes, and that's an interesting distinction that we've drawn that the agreement yesterday very much draws a hard line not only between i.s.i.l. and other groups but also jabad el nusra and other parties. starting to come into agreements on the parties we absolutely won't negotiate with. but really the agreement yesterday is only dealing with the syrian civil war. what happens to the assad regime, what happens to that country? the conflict against i.s.i.l. is a different animal one that we'll have to deal with other means. >> it's great that america and saudi and iran might be on the same side of the table, can there be -- we agree there needs to be a political solution to syria's civil war. do we still go down the road of saying no political solution with i.s.i.l? not that i.s.i.l. is running to the table asking for one. they don't he seem to be interesteseem to be interestedi.
>> i think i.s.i.l. has proven a number of times they are not going to negotiate, not willing to negotiate. this is a group more like al qaeda and other terrorist groups and far less like state. so i think we really have to separate the issue of i.s.i.s. from the issue, the broader issue of what happens inside syria. >> emma good to talk to you. researcher at the cato institute. hundreds of families displaced from the only home they've ever known.
>> as this war in syria drags on fewer and fewer syrians are actually living there, shrunk from 22 million before the war to 16.6 million today. that means at least one quarter of the population has left, and using life savings to pay human traffickers for a way out. a way to stop these smugglers, turkey says they don't want to stop that because it will just
add to the crisis inside turkey. there is no agreed upon way to handle it. while resentment is growing inside turkey, sweden has remained one of the countries willing to accept refugees. david ariosto reports. >> reporter: the life mubarak zaod left behind. after four brutal years in syria he decided he had finally had enough. so like 4 million of his countrymen this 28-year-old nurse became a refugee and emptied his savings to pay for the long trip north to europe. piling into a rickety boat he crossed the sea from turkey then started to walk. >> there was a chart in the box, i said what happened in my cup, why there is this war? >> reporter: after a month of
traveling sleeping in the woods and facing the near constant threat of arrest mubarak finally made it here to sweden. >> it's colder here now? >> yes it's cold but i like cold. >> sweden has emerged as a promised land of sorts or at least a place for those like mubarak can relax and feel normal again. >> when i smile to you and you smile to me, i feel great. i feel i am a human. i feel only i want that. all i want to be is safe. >> reporter: sweden is in the midst of a housing crisis and yet it gives permanent residence to refugees, just like any other swedish resident and of all the eu countries sweden has taken in the largest number of refugees relative to its population. for a country of less than 10
million people, sweden still accepts about 33,000 asylum seekers each year. families like these who are from syria travel up to turkey and then migrate all the way through europe to get processed through one of these centers, they get sweetish, they get help they need, but the question is, what happens now? for many learning swedish and finding work is a daunting task. sweden's open door policy last at times failed to integrate newcomers. putting strains on the social welfare system. >> a lot of people don't want to bring more refugees into the country because they see the problems. >> dan ryberg is a local politician for the swedish democrats, a right wing party that wan wants to roll the welce mat. the sweden democrats are the
most popular party, and many feel local backlash from those arriving from iraq and syria. yet others here say it's not that they no longer want to help. but rather they want others to start sharing more of the burden. ftc. >> each country in europe should take people. not only sweden and germany . >> but for now this sparsely populated scandinavian country is a beacon hosting nearly 70,000 refugees from syria. it is something that swedes have some experience, 84,000 rfertion from th84,000 refugeesfrom the . >> it's hard to say, people who have nothing and fear for their lives. >> for those like mubarak that kind of mentality has given them
a chance to start over. what do you want to do now that you're in sweden scwhr sweden? >> first thing i want to learn the language, to connect with the people, then i can connect here my job in hospital. and like this, maybe to begin a new life. >> in 2015 some 300,000 syrian refugees passed through turkey on their way to europe. but most syrians who enter turkey end up staying there. there are some 20 registered refugee camps for syrians to stay in in the country. yet the overwhelming majority of them chose to live outside the camps and move to turkish cities. istanbul is now home to 300,000 syrian refugees many of them in a slum called uncapani, i
traveled there last spring and met ali, here is what he told me. >> translator: we left against our will. of course we came here to turkey to raise these children away from the fighting and away from the war. we came here, and the children started to work, and help us survival here. if not much but at least here in turkey we are getting by now. it's better than the fighting.mean there arfighting.d mortars flying, it came so bad we had to flee, sometimes by road sometimes by car until we reached the border. thank god we are living and getting by here now. there is no fighting and there's no killing here. >> does the turkish government give you refugee status? >> we smuggled ourselves into turkey without papers. they gave us papers showing we
are transiting the country nothing more. we are not registered. those who are registered have to go to the refugee camp and we don't want that. i have one request for his excellency president erdogan, he should help us syrians who don't want to live in the camps. for example we are renting this place. he should pay us a little more if we have children who can work so we help each other out. do you think we like living in such humiliation? there are people here going out and begging in public and by doing so they bring humiliation on us all. my elderly wife is sick, she needs 500 lira for testing, i don't have that. make sure they can get free care. these are normal things. but we are syrian refugees and there's nothing for us. >> that's our show for today. i'm ali velshi, thank you for
course of any presidential contest. but this election year, the most expensive weapon system ever in the pentagon's arsenal could become an even bigger target in the political fight. because the home base of many of the very controversial f-35 fighter jets is vermont which you may recall coincidentally also the home of one of the key candidates, the democratic senator bernie sanders. almost since its inception the supertetsuperstealth dwri fightt been off the radar. sheila macvicar has the story. >> never has the military put a fighter at a commercial airport. they go to remote bases, they do that purposely because any aircraft cra