Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Q+A: Panel Response to Robert Fisk Interview

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

HOSTED BY PAUL HOLMES

In response to ROBERT FISK interview

PAUL HOLMES
On the panel today, Dr Claire Robinson, Bernard Hickey and Keith Locke. So, Syria - it is a festering boil in the Middle East. It is a dismal-looking place when you see the pictures and so forth. Why don’t we care more, Keith?

KEITH LOCKE - Former Green Party MP
Well, I think it is, as Robert Fisk pointed out, quite a confusing situation. It doesn’t fit the model of Egypt, for example, where you had the people as a whole, really, against the Mubarak regime.

PAUL In the famous square.

KEITH And here, as he pointed out, you’ve got both the regime and the opposition both with a substantial measure of public support, and you’ve got on Assad’s side the Alawites and, to an extent, the Christians and some of the other minorities - Kurdish, etc - worried about the predominance of Sunni extremists and the opposition, and so there isn’t really a military solution. And one of the tragedies, really, is the big, peaceful demonstrations that occurred in the early phases of the uprising - that seems to have been overtaken by a military fight in which the people are pushed to one side.

PAUL Well, that’s right. A military civil war. That is right. But both Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta have said the difficulty we’ve got is there’s no particular one group, like Libya, who has put their hands up and said, ‘We are the credible opposition.’

BERNARD HICKEY - interest.co.nz
And also Syria has much tougher support from Russia and also in the United Nations from China, but more importantly from Iran.

PAUL And there’s a great bogey, there’s an elephant in the room called Iran. They sent two warships to that Syrian port a couple of weeks back.

BERNARD And everyone’s sort of forgetting around the edges of this is a huge effort to try and stop Iran from building a bomb and the risk that Israel will attack Iran at some stage, which I think is complicating some of the-

PAUL While the West gets involved in Syria. That’s right. Claire.

CLAIRE ROBINSON - Political Analyst
Well, the other thing is that Assad, he’s not like a Gaddafi. He’s not as mad or crazy as some of those leaders that have been overthrown. He is surrounded by an establishment, a very wealthy establishment of people in Syria who are working together to make sure that this works. They’re not going to turn on him in a hurry like they’ve turned on the other leaders. It’s very difficult.

PAUL That’s right. The Assad family and indeed the political establishment in Syria control the military, control the money, control everything, don’t they?

BERNARD And there is a history of using the military in force against their own population.

PAUL 10,000 people dead in what was the name of the place?

KEITH Hama.

PAUL Hama. And Uncle Rifaat Assad, old Hafez Assad’s brother, now lives in Mayfair.

CLAIRE Yes, that’s right.

KEITH I think a key complicating problem here that Robert Fisk talked to was that the international agendas are playing out. The Shiite alliance of Iran, the Assad regime, Hezbollah sort of against the Sunni alliance, particularly in the Gulf states, and the Gulf states are really pushing for a military solution. Arming the opposition.

PAUL He said Qatar’s running it.

KEITH Yeah, and just a couple of days ago some key leaders of the Syrian National Council left because they saw there was a dominance of the Muslim brotherhood. And then the internal opposition that is based in Damascus, the underground internal opposition, is at odds with the external opposition, and the external opposition seems to be pushing the military struggle, which doesn’t seem to be the way to go. Which is why I think we should support what Kofi Annan is doing in trying to get a negotiated solution, work as much as possible with Russia.

PAUL Well, heaven knows Bashar has got to stop killing his people. Robert Fisk has told him to. (ALL CHUCKLE) We’ll leave that one there. Thank you very much.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Re-Entry: Why Has Pike Footage Been Hidden For So Long?

New footage of workers servicing a robot in the Pike River drift appears to show that going into the drift doesn’t pose the danger the Government and Solid Energy claimed, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

“The Government must immediately release all Pike footage and images, and explain why it has kept the public and the families in the dark for so long.” More>>

 

Recovery: Economic Impact Of Kaikōura Quake Revealed

The report details the impact on small businesses and tourism caused by disruptions to transport infrastructure and the economic impacts... The impact on New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the first 18 months following the earthquake has been estimated at $450-$500 million. More>>

ALSO:

Human Rights Commission: Urgent Need For Action On Seclusion And Restraint

Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford says that while the report makes for sobering reading, the focus should now be on how the recommendations can be used to reduce the occurrence of seclusion and restraint in New Zealand and, in circumstances where it is necessary, to improve practices. More>>

ALSO:

CORRECTIONS (March 2017):

SCHOOL SECLUSION ROOMS (2016):

$11bn Capital Spend, New Debt Target: Steven Joyce On Budget Priorities

First, delivering better public services for a growing country – providing all New Zealanders with the opportunity to lead successful independent lives... And finally, we remain committed to reducing the tax burden and in particular the impact of marginal tax rates on lower and middle income earners, when we have the room to do so. More>>

ALSO:

JustSpeak Report: Bail Changes To Blame For New Billion Dollar Prison

In 2013 criminal justice spending was falling and the Government was mulling over what to spend the money on. 3 years later there are 10,000 people in prison and a new billion dollar prison is announced. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news