What can be done with Syria?
Col Cedric Leighton and Ambassador John Price discuss Holding back militarily and diplomatically in Syria
- Duration 11:11
- Date Jun 11, 2012
Col Cedric Leighton and Ambassador John Price discuss Holding back militarily and diplomatically in Syria
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-- let's bring in our esteemed panel -- allowed to break down the situation and Sarah Syria what can.
Or cannot be done joining us from our Washington DC -- Cedric Leighton US air force retired president of Cedric Leighton associates good to see it -- Good to see you too Jonathan and -- -- in the studio here former US ambassador John price good to see you ambassador thanks for being here.
-- let me come to you first mr.
-- -- Patent is -- anything we can do in the short term this week.
To change the situation on the ground or are we stuck with what is going to be a months and possibly you know as long process here.
I don't think there's anything it could be done in the short term.
I think you're dealing in a fight that's been going on for a long time or in the middle of it and I think to -- change.
It's going to be very difficult.
And I think that the end plan.
He's not going to be an outcome of democracy as we see it and I think that's a cliche.
Nothing in -- short term he saw that in North Africa.
And and you got.
-- the point where in the middle of it in the sense of what happens in Syria really -- matters.
To us he.
What we did saying determinedly on the edge of it -- practically speaking on -- is that the right thing to be doing.
Well I don't think so Jonathan and my problem we've through the current policies that we're not taking advantage of certain situations that are out there for example.
You have the really.
Evidence Iranian connection to the Syrian regime.
You have a way of going after -- the Syrian connection with Hezbollah.
And do you have a way of doing all of those things some of this of course has to happen -- But the other part of it is is that we need to be very active diplomatically and it seems both militarily and diplomatically.
We're holding back and do when it comes to the military option.
Is obviously I'm sure planning for some of the contingencies.
But a even a few months ago the joint chiefs chairman has been very explicit in saying.
That -- really is not very much planning going on in terms of our ability to go after the Syrian regime or at least to facilitate.
-- regime change in to get a cease fire in place there and that's really the side of the sad part about this is that there's no.
Moved to a cease fire in the civilian casualties keep mounting -- Then the whole cease fire I think it's frustrating.
And lot of viewers to watch this and they see the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Making eight you know obviously a good faith effort and then talking about the cease -- it.
Made a hold a cease fire -- -- we need to do more to implement a cease fire.
This cease fire and never took.
Place a day is that -- why is it wind wind do.
Pete why did these figures on the international stage insist on putting a rosy a view on this -- there really is people are dying every day is the.
Total sales you're dying every day and that's ahead but if you go in and make your regime change can you take out -- You're gonna have a worse situation gonna this year and the Sunnis who been fighting.
There -- hundreds and hundreds of years at each other and you gonna if you if you losing 101000 or 20000 people and it's very sad you lose ten to twenty times that amount.
General Mattis who it is the cent com commander recently testified that we've put in arms and military.
Most of that is gonna end up and and in the hands.
He on this very group is in there -- cut and the other ones coming from Yemen and other ones coming from Iraq.
It's the same problem that's happening in North Africa were all the arms at NATO brought in and we brought it ended up now in in south of the -- hall and its destabilizing countries act.
Molly's gonna stabilize nighters -- stabilize and many others.
That's the thing we're getting into his you're -- within Islamist mixed group inside.
The prevalence is it.
Colonel would you agree that this is one of the problems in get any intervening in getting further involved is that we just have.
-- would come next and it could be yeah I'm a worse situation from our point of view the president Assad.
Well it's always a possibility Jonathan and do you know when you look at that the ambassador is right it is an exceptionally complex.
Mix of cultures mix of ethnicities and obviously ideological currents also at play here.
-- the the real issue boils down to.
There what is in our national interest and what works best to not only for our nation but also other allies such as Israel such as Turkey and even Iraq we have to take a look at how.
All of that works and what the mixes in in these particular area so when you look at the different possibilities.
None of them are very attractive but -- information.
Gap that we're dealing with here.
Is a very very serious one -- points to a need to really have a much more flexible and Agile intelligence capability than we currently seem to have this -- -- Syria.
At the ambassador we were told to love about the problems all of what may or may not happen what could come.
As a post.
But -- would you like us to see us do what can we do want what are the solutions if they're -- Well if we could turn the clock back ten to twenty years we should've started.
-- education we should've started bringing in some of the secular.
Young people into this country and get -- educated in learning how to deal -- democracy.
Democracy is not gonna work and a tribal society.
It's it's it I mean we think it will but that's not gonna happen in a regime change you're gonna end up we sure -- You can end up with the islamists in control -- seeing it now the good new new group is being formed.
In Turkey the the rebel groups there.
Is is infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood -- and and then you've got to Kurds and you've got all the other groups that want to have control.
And it's not about democracy it's about control and eventually you'll end up which urea.
Not only in North Africa you'll end up winning here and that's not democracy but that's what you're going to get an.
-- -- Talking all of it deal what comes next we -- no one of these probably one of the sort of the -- -- democracies we say plant now in Egypt.
We we have this is the run awful.
The presidential election that which has -- and ended up.
Giving the Egyptian people.
Essentially choice -- -- between going back to Mubarak style regime with his former prime minister.
More toward electing a candidate who is an Islamist with the Muslim Brotherhood.
It doesn't play out the way we always wanted to doesn't.
No it doesn't and that's always -- weakness whenever you have a democratic process or an attempted a democratic process in.
Countries that aren't quite used to democratic institutions as we understand them.
The center is the one of the political center is the one that almost never holds.
And you saw that with the Egyptian more liberal parties.
Having a real difficult time capturing the vote.
And to the alternative basically being hit back to the future with -- Mubarak -- prime minister.
Or you go to the future.
On an unknown side with the Muslim Brotherhood.
If the Muslim Brotherhood can be made to be more like -- Turkish.
Version like -- their -- on.
The prime minister of Turkey you've got to might be more acceptable to the west but it obviously remains to be seen and that that is a very very tough if if you can get to that point did the Muslim Brotherhood obviously has various tendencies within it and that becomes a difficult to -- to manage I think politically as well as to fanatically.
Didn't ambassador did do you think the more secular.
Movement within Egypt made a mistaking having so many candidates and essentially splitting the vote because in -- first round.
Across the Baltimore moderate secular candidates got more votes than these two are now in a -- off.
I think there is a little bit -- -- there -- they thought they could get more of -- support than they did it in a parliamentary elections more than half.
Are in the Muslim Brotherhood and the other half.
Are in south this hands so you've got they're very narrow profile there in -- in religious thinking and if the Muslim Brotherhood gets in.
That this -- this group inside of the Muslim Brotherhood have said we're going back if urea.
And of course if you hit and that's is that if -- if he gets it.
But of course he gets in you're gonna have more uprisings because -- having it right now with people don't want to military so you caught between.
The -- a group -- the ship the crew when you're gonna have real chaos right in -- would you agree without the weird we're looking more chaos and Egypt.
Unfortunately I think that's true it's it's a very very tenuous situation and I think -- chaos is unfortunately the watchword of the day forward before Egypt and for the rest of the Middle East.
And I had yet talking of which we just getting some breaking news coming across the wires now ambassador of the the British ambassador to Libya.
-- his convoy was attacked in Ben Ghazi way hearing to close protection -- injured in that attack.
One more sign that this is this Arab Spring is -- a long way to play out the full.
The stability and he learned this well.
In in living you've got a worse situation.
I mean there you take out Qaddafi -- and and if there's slaughtering in in in insert all of these drives people and every part of his -- gonna have the same thing with.
As God's people you know they're -- fearing that so Libya is really -- terrible situation with all arms and have flown out flown.
Out of there -- flowed out of there in two subs are in Africa and added cuddle -- it's up eight cents.
-- very very painful possibly getting more dangerous it reminds me a little bit of the way we viewed the world in general.
Off to the Cold War it was -- in a sense the -- -- easy we have the one enemy that was easy to control and that was that was the way we sort of looked on everything.
Now you're seeing this sort of this whole splintering and we don't know who would dealing with -- again right across the Middle East.
That's absolutely true and better again points to -- Jonathan for a very robust.
Intelligence picture of all of the areas that we could potentially be involved in.
And today the Cold War as you said was pretty easy in comparison we spent a lot of time.
-- has -- been counting how many dollars the Soviets had how many fighters how many weapons.
How many nuclear weapons they might have had.
In this particular case it's not so much what they have but how they are going to use it and what their intentions -- in terms of they're politics.
Their development -- culturally and said Nash realistically.
All of those pieces -- -- large large role in -- very very difficult.
For somebody who is used to be cut and paste method of intelligence gathering to actually get in in -- we do the job and that's what this challenge really calls for.
All right colonel Cedric -- USF force retired president Cedric -- associates.
Joining us from DC thank you very much indeed is always -- My pleasure Jonathan thanks so much and former US ambassador Joseph home price thank you for being here in the studio great to have you here in person -- must thank you.