13/06/2014 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Laura Kuenssberg.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 13/06/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Has a decade of Western attempts to bring order


The Iraqi army we paid blood and treasure to build is falling


Did the 2003 war achieve anything of lasting value at all?


A decade on is the country on the way to a violent and bloody breakup?


We're devoting tonight's Newsnight to the crisis in Iraq.


Extremists swear to continue their journey of destruction


across Iraq, taking their fight all the way to Baghdad.


Anyone who gets in their way - soldiers or civilians - gets killed.


But President Obama tells what is left of Iraq's Government,


Today's chaos may have some of its roots in Western failures,


but no Western boots will touch Iraqi ground to help now.


Tonight we'll hear from Iraq and Washington, asking


First with his analysis our diplomatic editor, Mark Urban.


After the shock of this week's set backs, Nouri Al-Maliki's Government


has started to fight back and he has done so in Samarra, where ISIS


fighters arrived this week. It is home to important Shia shrines.


Nouri Al-Maliki was in Samarra today. His visit to the city is


significant, because it is in the Sunni heartland of Iraq and it is an


attempt to show that the armed forces are in control of strategic


cities, even to the north of Baghdad and it is a symbolic visit, because


it is home to one of Iraq's most sacred Shia shrines and in 2006 an


attack there started a sectarian war. There is a determination to


prevent that from happening again. ISIS can advance rapidly, because it


is a guerrilla army. It headed past Kirkuk, where Kurdish fighters are


in control and then tried to take Samarra, where it has met fierce


resistance. Some fighters have pushed to the south. But ISIS is


probably overstretched and government forces regrouping. In the


long-term, I think the odds favour the Iraqi state, which has plenty of


resources and advanced weaponry and has some good special operations


forces that they can deploy against the militants in the north. The


problem is that with today's announcement by Ali al-Sistani we


may be entering a new phase where it is not just the Iraqi military that


is fighting, but Shia militant and we could enter a new phase of the


war. But the military have a long way to go. One deserter who fled to


Mosul told the BBC about the collapse of military leadership.


Transour commanders did not fight in 2004 I used to see the American


officers, all ranks fighting alongside them and leading them. The


problem is not because of the soldiers. If they had support,


physical and mental, they would fight. But they saw that their


commanders didn't fight. And a religious fight back has started


too. The Shia clerical leadership issued a call to arms in Karbala.


From here we call on all citizens who can carry weapons who can defend


the country to volunteer and join the security forces to fulfil this


sacred goal. With that, the volunteers headed for the coaches,


ready to take the fight to ISIS. Today's sermon carried instantly


into action. But empowering sectarian forces may sharpen Iraq's


divisions and show up the crumbling of state institutions. It is those


that t United States by its initiative hopes to strengthen. The


US said it is looking at options to support the Nouri Al-Maliki


Government, but America's quid pro quo is that Iraq's leader behave in


a less sectarian fashion. We are not going to be able to do it for them.


And given the very difficult history that we have seen in Iraq, I think


that any objective observer would recognise that in the absence of


accommodation among the factions in Iraq, various military actions by


the United States, by any outside nation, are not going to solve those


problems over the long-term and deliver the stability we need. So is


America about to mount air strikes in support of a Government that has


been backed by Iran? Well we are not there yet. But the US will step up


deliveries of weapons, more intelligence too and try to


co-ordinate the actions of Iraqi forces better. But if the position


of Nouri Al-Maliki's Government continues to slide, it is possible


that American air attacks could go ahead. ISIS has not been stopped,


but a fight back has started. It extended to the Government blocking


some Jihadist twirt -- Twitter accounts. But what could follow is


prolonged civil strife. Paul Wood has been on the front line and he is


in Iraq for us. You were in Kirkuk today what, did you witness? Well


until yesterday, Kirkuk was shared between the Kurdish and the Iraqi


army. But the Iraqi army simply melted away and the Kurds assumed


control and that means that the front line now, the last line of


defence against ISIS is the Kurdish peshmerga and two people were killed


yesterday. What struck me yesterday was the commander there, a colonel,


showing me a car park full of armoured vehicles and tanks


abandoned by the Iraqi army. There was a huge pile of helmets. The


army, which has been funded by the Americans to the tune of $15


billion, simply did not stand andifies in places like Mosul. --


stand and fight. Nouri Al-Maliki said this is where the fight back


begins. But we spoke to a Sunni tribal sheik who, leads a militia,


this is a man who two months ago had his son, wife and two members of his


family murdered by ISIS. He is not going to cut and run. But he said,


unless the British and Americans help us with air strikes, I don't


know how long we can hold out. What is ISIS trying to achieve? Take over


the whole country or just create chaos. Not just the whole country,


they want to reshape the Middle East and dissolving the borders created


after the World Wars and create a new state. But these the shock


troops of a wider Sunni uprising targeting a Government that many


feel is sectarian and dominated by Shi'ites. The terrorist that ISIS


inspires means many Shi'ites are grouping around sectarian ground.


With us now is Liam Fox and PJ Crowley, a former US sectarian of


state and And I'm joined by the international relations direct for


Iraq's ruling party. Liam Fox, isn't it an abdication of the UK and the


United States to stand back and think about what to do when this is


up fold something First, I think the Nouri Al-Maliki Government is


suffering from the fact that it didn't agree a status of forces


agreement with the United States, which would have led to the Iraqi


officers continuing to be mentored and trained and there is a price for


that. There is a price for the armaments that have gone into Syria


to support rebels there. It is not clear what the Government of Iraq


wants. It is vital however that ISIS are stopped, because the


consequences of them achieving their objective would be catastrophic.


Although Barack Obama has said that America wants s to stand back, were


Nouri Al-Maliki to ask the United States for something like air power,


it would be difficult for the president to resist that, given the


consequences of what ISIS's success could be. The west must stop them.


If they do not, then someone else could step in, Iran? You point to


one of the potential consequences of the success of ISIS, in drawing


other powers into the struggle in a catastrophic sectarian war. What


does -- What does stopping them look like? Boots on the ground? The


Iraqis must use the military forces they have and we have seen them in


the past being able to take on insurgents and they should be able


to do so again. But there is not that much sign of that, the Iraqi


army has been melting away at this stage would you rule out putting


western boots on the ground to stop ISIS, if that is the priority? I


think there will be extreme reluctance by any western


governments to do so. But I don't think at the moment given the


potential consequences think at the moment given the


success that anything can be ruled out. Although I do agree that


success that anything can be ruled does look as though the Iraqi


Government are starting some sort of fight back, not withstanding the


pathetic efforts of their forces so far. PJ Crowley, your president


pulled out troops too quickly and is now sitting in the White House


thinking about the consequence and not prepare d to do anything? Well,


first Iraq is a sovereign country and made its own decision not to


meet the US conditions for a follow on mission. Obviously if we had


10,000 US or British forces in Iraq, there would be useful. However, this


was a decision that made in Iraq and there was no basis for the US to


stay. That said, a lot will depend on first as Liam Fox said what the


do the Iraqis do and what does ISIL do? Air I power could be an option,


but you have to have a clear battle line and actually targets to hit. If


ISIL melts back into cities, you could attack them but you woil


probably injure or kill a lot of civilians. Your party was elected,


but they did not want the west to stay and now Nouri Al-Maliki has


failed entirely to bring the country together? What we have now is a


situation where there is a militant terrorist group terroristising the


-- terrorising the population. The cry from Ali al-Sistani goes to all


the Iraqi community, Shias, Sunnis and Kurds to fight and defend


themselves against this scourge. But President Obama and many, are they


wrong too characterise like that as Nouri Al-Maliki's failure to bring


together the two factions in the country? He has ruled as a


sectarian, do you deny that? Yes, absolutely I deny that. Nouri


Al-Maliki has tried to bring all sides together. He formed the state


of law coalition which is a nonsectarian identity to bring all


sides together. But the extremists Sunnis have been putting pressure on


the moderates to try and derail that. Well, President Obama is


wrong, Nouri Al-Maliki has not been sectarian? Well I think, Nouri


Al-Maliki is behaving like a statesman this week, it is eight


years too late in my opinion. He spent a lot of time attacking his


Sunni political rivals. But most importantly, he has not taken the


necessary steps as leader of Iraq to integrate the security forces, Kurd,


Shia and Sunni, into an effective force that can be a model for the


way governments have to function if Iraq is going to get stronger. There


is no denying that, we have seen in just three days the army, fall away


and people now say there is no such thing as the Iraqi government.


Firstly, this extremist militant group, ISIS, has been working


because it's an irregular army, has been working away and there are


failures of the Iraqi army, there is no denying that. However, this


terrorist group will not get any further. This is not failures of an


army that you admit. We have seen pictures, the army has dissolved,


people have escaped, they've ran away. The civilian population is


left with no protection from these people. You talk as if it's a small


group. This is an extremist, almost looks like an extremist army


rampaging across the country. The point is this is - Maliki said this


is a conspiracy and it's a conspiracy that's been - these


people, these terrorists have been given material support, weapons,


there is a vacuum which was created in Syria which allowed them to move


across borders. There are no borders any more between Syria and Iraq.


They are opportunists using this. They have shown their true face,


which is an ugly face with executions of civilians today and


yesterday. It is certainly an ugly and appalling face as we have all


seen. Liam Fox, should it not be the case, if you care as you do, you


will not rule out military action but actually if you care as


passionately as you do about stopping these people, military


intervention from the West is really the only way to do this? I don't


think it's the only way to do it but I think it would be wrong to rule


anything completely out at this point. I think there's been a


failure of the Government. The point you made was correct, there's been a


failure of the Government in Iraq. They failed to integrate their


population sufficiently. They failed to engender ideas of Iraqi


nationalism that would trump sectarian divide. Has there been a


failure by the US and the UK, are you disappointed the British and


American governments so far have ruled out military intervention and


that's not what you suggest? Well, of course it was the Iraqis who


actually didn't want to continue the military relationship. As of now...


They're paying a price for that now. The question in the coming days will


be whether Maliki can rise up as a statesman at this late stage,


whether the military given the investment that's been made in their


equipment and training can fight back and that remains to be seen and


then I think the situation will have to be watched closely by the


international community because the price of failure and the failure to


confront and defeat ISIS could be catastrophic and could be felt well


beyond that region. OK. Thank you all very much for joining us.


The appalling violence is driven, at least in part,


by grievance between Sunni and Shia Muslims - that's been built up


over 14 centuries, and has not been contained by borders that have been


Understanding the religious patchwork is crucial


The Iraqi city of Karbala, here a dispute over the succession to the


prophet Mohammed led to a battle in the 7th century that divided the


Islamic world. Pilgrims still come here.


From the 16th century to the 20th, the Ottoman empire was three


separate Provinces. In the north with a Kurdish population, Sunni


Baghdad and Basra in the south. A historic division to which Iraq now


seems to be returning. The British invaded in 1914.en when


The Empire collapsed, Britain and France carved the region up between


them, drawing lines in the sand that fixed the international borders we


know today. Britain bound the three old Provinces together to form the


kingdom of Iraq, installing a new pro-British monarch from the Sunni


dynasty whose cousins still rule neighbouring Jordan. The King was


killed in a coup in 1958. A second coup five years later brought the


Ba'ath Party to power and eventually Saddam Hussein.


After the Gulf War of 19191 Iraqi Shias in the south rose against a


weakened Saddam Hussein with US and British encouragement. The rebellion


was brutally suppressed. Thousands were killed. The entire Shia


population cowed. Minority Sunni hoity was restored. The overthrow of


Saddam Hussein brought Shia majority rule to Iraq for the first time. It


sent shockwaves around the Sunni Arab world, prompting fears of a


so-called Shia crescent spreading through the region, bringing the


influence of an old enemy, Iran. With us now is Roula Khalaf, foreign


editor at the Financial Times. Despite the appalling violence is


there a logic to Iraq breaking up? Not necessarily a logic. I think


there might be enough ability - what I have noticed, is that not only in


this crisis, but particularly in this crisis, every ethnic and


religious group in Iraq is thinking a lot more about its own survival,


its own existence and not about the existence of the state. If you see


the reaction of the Shia, the real resistance is taking place where


there is a Shia shrine. Nobody's tried to fight for Mosul. The Kurds


did not push down from Kurdistan to try to retake Mosul. They went for


Kirkuk. The logic is developing within the various groups in Iraq


that perhaps we need to secure our own territory. Safety is leading


people to turn inwards, but the country was an artificial construct


in the first place. That's true but in the mooegs a lot of countries --


in the Middle East a lot of countries, we can say dreamt up by


foreign powers, the borders were dreamt up by foreign powers. We must


not underestimate the extent to which national identity does develop


and I find that people in the Middle East are actually attached to


borders. A lot more attached to borders than western analysts tend


to think. Isn't one of the really dangerous curiosities about this


situation is we are seeing very unusual, surprising alliances


developing, enemies becoming friends. The US and Assad being on


the same side. Absolutely. This is the complexity of the Middle East


today, of shifting alliances, shifting sands. In this crisis, for


example, the US and Iran today find themselves on the same side. But do


they really want to work together? Not necessarily. Iran's priority is


the Shia in Iraq. The US's priority is the Iraqi state and the


territorial integrity of Iraq. And a power-sharing arrangement between


Iraq's various communities. Briefly, with your insights, are you pretty


convinced there will be a split? I think that what you could see is for


a while a sort of defacto partition, and perhaps then a political deal on


a federal state. Thank you so much for coming in tonight.


Wherever the pieces fall, there is little sign that the West


has any intention of spilling its own blood on Iraqi soil again but


the stain from the political fight from more than ten years ago still


Iraq has weapons that could be activated within 45 minutes. We have


never marched before. The numbers were huge, filling the wide streets


of central London and stretching for several miles. We will stay on task


until we have achieved our objective. Saddam Hussein, your days


are numbered is the catchy refrain. Shock and awe was what the Americans


promised, that's what they're delivering. This is how regime


change was going to be defined today. It was a breathtaking image.


John McTernan is a former special adviser to Tony Blair and previously


And Clare Short is the former International Development


Secretary who resigned from Tony Blair's Cabinet back in May 2003 in


Surely you must deep down in your heart of hearts now have some


doubts? Why should I have any doubts at all? We create a democracy in


Iraq, there's a general election recently when people queued to vote,


even though they knew, at the threat of their own lives from the


terrorists, our job now is to go back in to support the Democrats, to


support the Maliki Government and the Kurds in the autonomous region


in the north. When you see terrorists executing civilians, you


have no doubts, not a single shred, not even pausing for thought that


maybe Britain was wrong? So what you are saying is we should have left a


fascist dictator in place, a dictator who was committing genocide


in his own country, gassing Arabs, and Kurds in the north and that


would be better because then ISIS wouldn't be around now? That's


immoral. I think that's completely immoral, that position. You would


even argue we go back in to protect the scraps of what we tried to


create? It's not scraps. This is a country with millions of people who


just voted in a general election. People who wanted to vote in a


general election. They're human beings there whose democracy we


helped create, we need to help sustain it. If we don't do it now,


this is a region-wide conflict now, the reason Iran is sending the


Revolutionary Guard to the border is they understand the danger for the


region. If we stand back this keeps on going. We got rid of a dictator


and established democracy, the terrorists are attacking democracy.


We have an interest there. Democracy. Clare Short, what do you


make of that? I think that's not worth listening to. The truth of the


matter is, I mean, this isn't the only cause, but because of all the


deceit about getting to war, the preparations for the post-conflict


phase were not properly made, or at least those that were made in the


UN, in the State Department were thrown away and a well-organised


stable state was never created and sectarianism was unleashed in the


Maliki Government, and ISIS is partly succeeding because the Sunni


people are so ailianated. So there were -- alienated, so were grave


errors in the route to war and the lies led to a failure to prepare for


afterwards, a properly organised procedure to try and help the people


of Iraq, get rid of Saddam Hussein could have got international support


for the reconstruction of Iraq which would have been a totally different


operation. But isn't part of the problem that people like you who


disagreed so much after the fact of the invasion made it politically


impossible for politicians like Barack Obama and the Government here


to stay the course? You were urging them to cut and run, they weren't


able to stay and create a stable and secure democracy? No, that's


complete nonsense too. I didn't have any influence about Obama's


decision, that was - he was elected on a commitment to get out of Iraq


and kept to that commitment. That was partly because it was a sort of


fruitless exercise with endless killing and dying. No, that doesn't


stack up at all. John? What? Well, what do you make of that suggestion?


You worked in the early formation of the Iraqi Government, what Clare


Short suggests is there was never any proper attempt to secure a


decent, stable functioning Government that could have been able


to cope with what it would have to withstand? No, there has always been


a complex set of coalitions there. For example, there's been a Kurdish,


socialist President of Iraq working with the Maliki Government and the


other parties. There is undoubtedly true the Prime Minister of Iraq made


a disastrous decision when he refused to sign a agreement with the


Americans, the situation would be different if there were 10,000


American troops in Iraq who would be available to mobilise. That was the


strategic error by Maliki. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't be


supporting him now. It doesn't mean that we should be abandoning... How


can we trust him now, if as you say and as many people have suggested,


that he has become a sectarian leader, he has been divisive, how


could we trust him now? He didn't get rewarded at the general


election. There is a democracy there. The public voted for


different parties. A Government has to be created that brings together


all the parties in Iraq and we see what's happened in the Kurdish


region. They've taken control of Kirkuk. The army that represents


both the main parties there, who have had in the past a big civil


war, they united after the civil war, they've had democracy for over


20 years. They can defend and retake territory from the terrorists. There


is a model there in Iraq... We are short on time. Clare Short, what


would you want to see now? John wants us to go back in, what would


you do, leave it? No, but I don't see any military intervention that


is going to solve anything. By the way, President Obama has said no


troops on the ground but they're looking at drones or bombing, but


who do you bomb? As one of your previous people said, moss system a


city of two million -- Mosul is a city of two million people, you


can't go bombing people, that doesn't rescue the situation. We are


in an incredibly complex situation. ISIS isn't doing it alone. It's got


support from the Sunni community because they're so alienated. The


thing flows over to Syria. You have to start... We must leave it there.


Thank you both. It's a complicated situation.


Now, on 7th March the 10.00pm news and Newsnight broadcast


a report alleging a possible police cover-up over an allegedly corrupt


The claims should have been put to the Met,


The Met, in fact, says it did not claim in its evidence to the Ellison


Review that there were no records of the officer's links to a separate


investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan and it does not accept


that the BBC produced evidence of a possible cover-up.


We were wrong to suggest the document we showed demonstrated


such a cover-up and we apologise for this. Up with


thing this World Cup doesn't have is the voice of football. We thought


John Motson should have a chance to be heard. Here he is with his latest


extraordinary World Cup story. Age 42 the Columbian keeper suspect just


the older player u he is a link to the tournament darkest moment. He


was a back up player in the 19 94 World Cup squad that the Columbian


nation believed was destined for greatness. But the country's drug


cartels had pumped money into the league and allowed a talented crop


of players to thrive. But they didn't just bring money. The players


were surrounded by violence, intimidation and what was an


intolerable pressure to succeed. Two straight defeats saw Columbia


eliminated and an own goal by the captain Escabar led to the defeat.


Ten days later he was shot dead in his home down. A - town. A


disastrous campaign ended with the player losing his life. The current


squad is the country's most fans Yipped since that time -- fancied


since that time. But Columbia is a country much changed from one pr


Download Subtitles