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

More Evidence - Scoop Press Conference Recordings:
PM's Post-Cab Presser 8/8/11
"at that point [Tucker] told me he'd release it ..."

Hager Revelations: Inquiry Into NZSIS Release Of Goff Docs

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Cheryl Gwyn, announced she would be instituting an inquiry concerning allegations that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) might have released official information to Mr Cameron Slater, regarding briefings provided to the then Leader of the Opposition, for political purposes...

“I am satisfied there is a sufficient public interest justifying the commencement of an own-motion inquiry into the substance of the issues raised with my Office,” said Ms Gwyn. More>>

Goff: Director’s Letter Contradicts Key’s Claims

At yesterday’s media standup, when asked on the topic John Key said ‘I wasn’t told’...
“In a letter dated November 2011 former SIS director Warren Tucker states three times that ‘in accordance with the usual practice of keeping the minister informed’ the Prime Minister had been told. More>>


 

Parliament Today:

Schools, PPTA Sign Up: Primary Teachers And Principals Vote Down Govt Plan

Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Usual Round Of Mud Slinging And Name-Calling

This week gave an interesting example of how hard it is to untangle the reality from the slanging matches. The issue that emerged early this week could hardly be more important. Does the government intend to cut spending in health, education and on the environment if re-elected, or not? More>>

Earlier:

Electionresults.co.nz: National and NZ First Rise in Roy Morgan Poll

National has bounced back in the latest Roy Morgan Poll but the big winner has been New Zealand First who rise to their highest level of support since September 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Fish Pun Warning: By Hoki! It’s Labour’s Fisheries Policy

A Labour Government will protect the iconic Kiwi tradition of fishing by improving access to the coast, protecting the rights of recreational fishers and reviewing snapper restrictions, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. More>>

ALSO:

It's Official: Governor General Gives Direction To Conduct Election

The Governor General has signed the writ directing the Electoral Commission to conduct the General Election on 20 September 2014. This is the formal authority to run the 2014 election, and enables candidate nominations to open tomorrow Thursday 21 August 2014. More>>

Gordon Campbell: No More Mr Nice Guy

When future historians seek to identify the exact moment when the prime ministerial career of John Key hit the downward slope, they may well point to Key’s interview yesterday with Guyon Espiner on RNZ’s Morning Report. More>>

ALSO:

Dirty (Politics) Weekend: Collins’ Admission Reason For Key To Act

"Despite claiming that the evidence about her in Nicky Hager's book was ‘false’ Judith Collins has now been forced to admit that she did send information about a Ministerial Services staff member to Cameron Slater for him to use in a baseless smear campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Potential Disasters: Underground Coal Fire On Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news