10/07/2017 Newsnight


The programme is with forces attempting to push Islamic State out of Raqqa. There is another Brexit row inside the government. Plus how to survive the next industrial revolution.

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Now they're being pushed out of Raqqa, their de


These fighters are coming up against IS snipers in these streets.


Other about they've got drones, they've got suicide bombers.


This is going to be a very, very hard fight.


Advancing forces are discovering the horrors of life


Women are on the front line of the war against Isis,


So far so good for those that want to see the back of Isis.


We'll ask if the Isis ideology will live on,


and what happens in the region when the common enemy


Also tonight, is this a time for rivals to pull together


There are many issues on which I would hope


that we will be able to achieve consensus across this house.


If the Prime Minister would like it I am very happy


to furnish her with a copy of our election manifesto.


And we are often told what machines can do these days.


What do we humans bring to the party?


Two renowned authors tell us how to prepare your children


Isis has been defeated in Mosul - the Iraqi prime minister Haider


al-Abadi declared victory today on a visit to the city.


The so-called Islamic State - with its dreams of a caliphate that


straddles national borders - is even more "so-called" now,


it's been left with very little in that country -


certainly no hub or centre to hold things together.


Satisfying as that win is for those who detest Isis,


defeating it once and for all is a three-step process


The second is to achieve the same in Syria, which means


As you'll see in a minute, that struggle is well underway now.


The third step is likely to be the hardest -


that is about bringing order to the region to remove


the bitterness out of which Isis thrives.


Cleaning up a region full of messy and overlapping


rivalries and tensions - Kurds and Turks, Sunni


and Shia plus a lot of foreign powers -


But let's go back to that second step, the battle for Raqqa in Syria.


Gabriel Gatehouse, along with cameraman Fred Scot


and producer Peter Emmerson, have been with those forces,


and this his film, on how the battle is being conducted.


In Raqqa, Islamic State is making its final stand.


Fighting their way into the heart of the caliphate, a fragile


coalition of powers, great and small, of Arabs


This is more than the final showdown with IS in its capital.


I can believe in why I might die, I can die for something


Raqqa might be the end of one fight but the beginning of another,


a battle for territory, both physical and ideological.


They will get there in the end and when they do, the fall of Raqqa


will probably mean the end of the caliphate but it won't mean


the end of Isis' ideology and it also won't mean the end of this war.


This story begins not in Iraq but in Kobani.


This story begins not in Raqqa but in Kobani.


What remains of this largely Kurdish city stands as a monument


to a brutal turning point in the war against Islamic State.


It was here that IS reached its high water mark, its territory extending


It was here that it met its first significant defeat.


Commander Song-huin played her part in that.


The cemetery in Kobani testifies to just how high a price Kurdish


fighters have already paid in the war against IS.


For the Kurds, this is part of a wider battle.


For a long held dream of self-determination.


But for the commander, the youngest of 11 children


in a conservative society, it's also personal.


Today, she is in command of around 1,000 fighters


Periods of intense fighting are punctuated


Together, these men and women make up the Syrian


An alliance that includes Arabs but is led by the Kurds.


Their success against IS has come thanks in no small part to backing


The Americans have quietly built up a presence on the ground, providing


With their help, the SDF have chased Islamic State out


of Kurdish areas and beyond, reaching across the Euphrates


and into mainly Arab territory to the West.


The SDF took this city last August after two and a half


Here, the Islamic State would sit in judgment over people they deemed


Punishments would be meted out in the car park opposite.


A local shopkeeper witnessed many of their gruesome executions.


Even though IS is gone from here now, he asked


us not to reveal his identity for fear of reprisal.


Down in the basement, their brutal legacy lingers like a ghost.


In this dungeon, IS tortured its prisoners.


A policeman showed us the cell where his uncle was kept.


When they let him out, after four days, they had


In a vast graveyard in the centre of Manbij, its fighters have smashed


And even though Islamic State has been chased out of town that doesn't


From Manbij we get a sense of what lies ahead.


It has been a long road to the capital of the caliphate.


The final stretch may be the hardest yet.


The commander and her unit are on the western front.


It's a tight squeeze inside a home-made armoured truck


with a couple of her fighters driving towards the centre of Raqqa.


Islamic State are supposed to be surrounded inside the old city.


And they frequently pop up where you don't expect them.


These fighters are coming up against IS snipers in all of these


Other than that, they've got drones, they've got suicide car bombs.


This is going to be a very, very hard fight into the centre of Raqqa.


Back at base, the commander and her fellow commanders


As the fight enters the narrow streets of the city


they are constantly having to adjust tactics.


But what does a Kurdish-led coalition do when it


captures the capital of Sunni Arab fundamentalism?


Well, there is a plan for Raqqa after the fall of Islamic State


Here, a multi-ethnic military and civil council has brought life


and stability back to this mainly Arab city under the auspices


The anti-IS coalition sees Manbij as a template for Raqqa, post-IS.


But it is at best a temporary arrangement.


Syria has been at war for more than six years now.


Longer than the whole of World War II.


The fight against the Islamic State is but one facet of an ongoing


conflict in which the world's big powers, the US, Russia and others,


have not only interests but troops on the ground.


From a hilltop overlooking the Manbij countryside,


a local Kurdish commander showed me the point at which all of these


OK, well, it's a pretty complicated picture but basically


From the West, all the way up to the north, up


over there is controlled by the Americans.


From that same western point all the way to the South


In the middle of that is the pocket of the Manbij Military Council


which is an Arab Kurdish coalition but is basically


But in between all of that is a Russian base just over


there, an American base just four kilometres along from that,


and surrounding all of it are FSA forces, Free Syrian Army,


that are basically sponsored by the Turks.


For now, the battle against Islamic State provides


a kind of common purpose but once IS is gone, the potential


for conflict between these big powers is very real.


The Kurds are in a difficult position.


Their fighters belonged to a branch of the PKK,


which is considered a terrorist organisation by both Turkey


For now, the Syrian Kurds have the backing of the Americans


but Turkey, a Nato ally, carries out sporadic


And that's because their fight against the Islamic State is really


They call it a revolution and it's attracting its share


One of the fighters in the commander's units is Kimi Taylor.


Originally from Blackburn, she's a former maths student who has


left behind a life of activism at home to come to Syria


There's just a million ways to die here, it's not just on the front,


It's like a huge space of war that is like even though it


seems peaceful here, anything can happen.


What are the biggest worries, the biggest threats?


On the moving front, where we're moving to take more space,


There are mines everywhere and there's snipers everywhere.


No, there is something bigger than me.


It's for people here, for women here and for women


all in the Middle East and maybe potentially the world.


Those who have given their lives to this cause


To a social revolution with its roots in Marxist-Leninist ideology.


It's a movement that tolerates little dissent.


Opposition activists have been jailed and thousands of young people


have fled to escape conscription, such is the way of revolutions.


For the commander, a true believer, the fight against IS is but one


battle in a longer war to convert her own


Meanwhile, on the Raqqa front line there is still much


Inching their way into the city, house by house.


The fighters are so close they can hear IS in the building


This is, of course, a battle for territory.


They're fighting to take the capital of the caliphate.


Everyone's just swinging into action.


They think they've got some Isis snipers in the buildings around.


They are moving here, they moving here.


They now face Islamic State at perhaps its most dangerous.


Wounded, cornered and with nothing left to lose.


The question is, can their revolution survive


the collapse of the caliphate in the face of Syria's


Gabriel Gatehouse working with Fred Scott and Peter Emmerson.


It's not difficult for victory in a war to lead to chaos,


or another war in that region if the aftermath is not


So let's accept that the physical battle against Isis is going well,


and ask what might go wrong thereafter.


Sheelagh Stewart is a conflict expert at the British Council -


she was formerly at the UN and also served as the Head of the UK


Government Stabilisation Unit, which tackles instability overseas.


Mina Al-Oraibi is a British Iraqi journalist and editor


in chief at The National, based in Abu Dhabi.


And joining us from Brussels is Hoshyar Zebari, former


Thank you all very much for coming in. We will divide this conversation


into three sections. First, Mina, I want to start with you. Is this


really the end of Isis. How difficult is it to eradicate that


movement and its ideology by simply taking away its territory. It is


difficult, Isis was not something just born in 2014 when they took the


physical territory in Iraq. Previously to that we had militants


roaming the street. Isis is a consequence of factors that continue


to be present in both Iraq and Isis. So it is an ideology but it is also


born of a security vacuum. Areas that did not have proper policing or


proper defence for citizens. You have organised crime that had


nothing to do with ideology and was much more opportunistic. And it's


very hard to see how the ground will be held because as your report said


there are so many different competing groups who all bear arms,


and you have fighting forces that will put together to fight Isis and


now Isis are gone they are still armed to the teeth. And there are


many young people, and, without prospects of jobs or anywhere to go


except fight another war. Are you worried that Isis will pop up


elsewhere, Willie ideology and in it? I think it's quite rightly, that


the military defeat and loss of territory cuts off two forms of


support for Isis, the first is their legitimacy because they claim to run


a caliphate and the second is that they have used the holding of


territory to raise money. So it is a definite step forward that the


caliphate has been defeated. However conflict breeds conflict. It is very


clear that from Isis's tactics they already retrenching and talking


about to domestic terror, sponsoring lone wolf activities. And that is


the kind of thing that is very difficult to stop and will bring


further conflict. Hoshyar Zebari, I assume that you will agree that this


is not necessarily the end of Isis. Tel us would you to do to make sure


that the fighters are not a threat and the ideology would have less


appeal. Definitely the military successes in Mosul and that


declaration of victory, the date of Mosul liberation, even without a


victory lap it is a significant achievement for the Iraqi security


forces, for the Peshmerga forces and the volunteers. And for the people


of Mosul who have been really traumatised and brutally treated by


Isis over the last few years. But defeating Isis physically or


militarily or destroying the caliphate of hatred is very


important first successes of recruitment from foreign countries,


that is a significant achievement. But we need, in the post-ISIS


period, to do reconstruction as quickly as possible. The level of


destruction in Mosul is devastating. And also to have real political


reconciliations and good governors of Mosul afterwards. Here we believe


that the government on the military sides have been successful but on


the service sides, on the political side, this didn't matter, these


military successes. But Isis will not finish after their defeat in


Mosul, or dislodging them... You all agree on that. Mina, on that last


topic of Isis, what is to keep Isis from being a powerful force in


future, is it about the Iraqi government being more inclusive and


more inclusive arrangements on a civic level? It's also about


providing security for citizens and services, and giving people a sense


that the government takes care of everyone regardless of their


background. It's important to remember that despite these armed


groups they will be able to continue unless there is proper justice and


in terms of holding those accountable who were not only part


of Isis but encouraged them to take hold of Mosul. Three years ago there


was a different commander in chief, the current one has done a stellar


job in putting the army together but there was a different one, which


allowed the full of Mosul and did not give the order of the army to


protect the city. Let's move onto the second section, the region.


Sheelagh, there are so many players there, they don't get on, they've


got this one common enemy, is there a danger of another war there? I


think that is quite likely. I think in terms of securing the region, the


first steps of trying to announce the boil of this immediate conflict,


that's about establishing law and order in those areas first, getting


humanitarian aid in, and then starting to lay a path towards


normality for people so they can see that life will become normal again.


Who is we? It's different in both countries. Haider al-Abadi must take


the lead in Iraq. I think there's a chink of light all the


reconstruction in Falluja has been pretty slow but Haider al-Abadi has


made concessionary noises and is starting to talk about the


possibility of including Sunni people. Isis wasn't the start of the


problem, the exclusion of Sunni people across the region laid the


fertile soil in which the Isis narrative was sown. Syria, or


together a different matter of complexity. -- altogether. Hoshyar,


what should the American role be. The Americans are there with 500 or


soap troops in Syria, do you see the Americans living and getting out of


the way -- 500 or so. They stay because everybody is there? I think


America are going to stay until the defeat of Isis or the liberation of


Raqqa is complete. Raqqa is the administrative capital of Isis or


Daesh. Therefore I believe that they are committed. And thanks to the


critical support and their attacks and the ground support through


advisers, really the SDF forces have managed to achieve those successes.


Without American support these victories would not have been


possible at all. Without the International coalition and


generally... In a word you would welcome the Americans staying even


beyond the point at which Raqqa has been taken? I think there really is


important, reassuring, I think it will inspire confidence in the local


fighters and the local population so their continued engagement is very


important. Mina, give us your take on the general picture of


instability or stability. Are you optimistic that there can be some


stability in Iraq and Syria, two different theatres? They are two


ready different scenarios because Iraq has an internationally


recognised government, we have a functioning Kurdish regional


government that works together when they disagree, Syria is much more


complex. It's hard to be optimistic with so much that has been lost.


It's difficult to see a ray of hope in that sense but I think there is a


moment to see, today we have seen a very significant victory in terms of


liberating Mosul from Isis but it has come at a very high cost for


people. Pictures of the destruction are shocking. My third topic and I


will get you to lead off on this one, Hoshyar, it is the Kurds.


Another thing that could go wrong, a full-scale argument between the


Turks, the Kurds, there are divisions within the Iraqi Kurds and


the Syrian Kurds. What is the prospect of the Kurds getting a


potentially independent state? Here, we must distinguish between


Syrian Kurds, Iraqi Kurds and other Kurds. Iraqi Kurds have decided to


hold a referendum on self-determination on the 25th of


September. This decision is irreversible and a majority of the


Kurdish leaders in fact have agreed to do that. But this would be for


Iraqi Kurds, because of really great frustration with the Iraqi


government... Sorry to interrupt, but is it going to be chaos? If the


Iraqi Kurds voted for independence, is it going to be chaos or not? No,


it wouldn't be chaos actually, this referendum will do its best to


prevent a further conflict and was and bloodshed, in my view. Do you


agree that the Kurdish situation can be stable or is it chaotic? It's


going to be very difficult, it could be completely chaotic. They are


obviously in with a clear agenda and they have been passionately


committed to independence. I think the key thing is, if the West has


any credit, to pull together some kind of move towards a common


purpose but it's hard to see where you can go from here. We've


discussed the Kurds, the General security in the region and the


prospects for. Thank you. -- prospects for peace.


Theresa May has a new idea for managing a minority government -


asking the opposition to give her a hand.


Her suggestion will be set out in a speech tomorrow,


but she was in the Commons today and couldn't avoid the subject.


Labour wasn't exactly positive about the idea.


The government is apparently now asking other parties


And so, if the Prime Minister would like it, I'm very happy


to furnish her with a copy of our election manifesto.


Or, better still, an early election in order that the people


Mr Speaker, there are many issues on which I would hope


that we would be able to achieve consensus across this House.


Our political editor Nick Watt is here.


Quite a busy day. You saw Jeremy Corbyn mocking Theresa May I think


in that clip. What is the importance of this launch tomorrow? We will see


the new look bipartisan Theresa May tomorrow when she attends the launch


of the report into the so-called gig economy by the fauna Tony Blair


adviser, Matthew Taylor -- former adviser. She wants to send two


messages, firstly that her government can do more than


delivering Brexit and she acknowledges that her minority


government needs the support of other parties if it is to deliver


radical change in three areas, counterterrorism, industrial


strategy and workers' rights. They say that the Taylor report which is


about short-term contracts and zero-hour contracts is the perfect


opportunity to highlight this approach. One senior government


figure did say, how can Labour disagree with a report written by


one of their former advertisers? Of course Matthew Taylor was an adviser


to Tony Blair, which perhaps explains why Jeremy Corbyn is rather


dismissive. The other thing that happened when Theresa May was on her


feet, Cape emerging of another Tory MP using some rather inappropriate


language in a meeting. -- tape emerging. She was in the Commons


when it emerged that Anne Marie Morris had used a racially offensive


word to describe the dangers of the UK leaving the EU. Anne Marie Morris


apologised for any offence that may have been caused by what she called


unintentional remarks but when Theresa May was cold about this she


felt it was so important, she conveyed a meeting immediately with


her Chief Whip Gavin Williamson and they took action on two France. The


party whip was suspended from the backbench MP and Theresa May issued


a statement saying the words were completely unacceptable and have no


place in our politics and society -- took action on two fronts. Brexit,


can't get away from it because there is another issue that has been


lurking, the issue about nuclear regulation, Euratom, what Britain


will do? There is cooperation in one area, Ed Vaizey, the former Tory


arts minister has launched a campaign with Rachel Reeves, the


former Labour Shadow Cabinet Minister, to keep the UK in Euratom,


the treaty governing the movement of nuclear material around Europe. The


Evening Standard, edited by that well-known anti-Brexit campaigner,


George Osborne, highlighted concerns today amongst radiologists that


withdrawal from the treaty could threaten the supply of radioactive


isotopes. Euratom is not technically and Mac EU treaty but it is overseen


by the European Court of Justice and the history is that government


lawyers advised ministers earlier in the year that they couldn't


guarantee a clean Article 50 triggering unless the UK signalled


that it was going to pull-out Euratom because of it being overseen


by the ECJ. Theresa May on three occasions in the Commons this


afternoon said that the UK will be leaving Euratom but government


sources say that the Prime Minister would like to replicate it exactly


in the nuclear safeguards built. One ministerial source said to me that


the UK will not be leaving Euratom, we don't have the numbers in


parliament to leave it -- in the nuclear safeguards Bill. Thank you


for joining us. How is technology


changing the world? We know the Ubers and Airbnbs come


from nowhere to world dominance. We know the gig economy has


expanded as part of that. But a new book tries to encapsulate


many of the economic and business effects of disruptive technology


in three words. The book is more than three words,


it's actually over 100,000, but its message boils down to three


- machines, platforms... The two authors think understanding


these three is the key to understanding the way


everything is being uprooted. They are both massively rated


experts on this area Thank you for joining us. The three


words, machines, platforms, crowds, give me an example, either of you,


of how they interact that causes disruption of some kind. A great


example of all three of them is a recent competition run in the United


States by the people looking at baggage coming through airports and


they created a contest among millions of data scientists to come


up with a better way to use machines to scan through the x-rays and


identify potentially dangerous materials. This was a platform that


reached out to a lot of people. The technology is the machine, the


platform and in the crowd the people who are giving about what to do.


That's right. Another example, a crowd sourced quantitative hedge


funds that will start later this year, a start-up in Boston, using


machines to make investment decisions, building a platform to


find the most talented quantitative investors out there, whether or not


they are working for an investment house and the crowd are the hundreds


of people who are potentially good at doing this kind of investing.


Tell me what humans are going to be good for, because we know that


machines will become more important, that is part of the book. What are


the specialist skills that we retain that the machines are not going to


have? Most skills, machines are good at narrow skills but we want to be


clear, the problem we are facing is not a world without work, it is a


world of rapidly changing work. There is no better time in history


to be a talented art artist or scientist and there are huge


opportunities in the caring professions, motivating. Social


care, old age care. Absolutely. Machines will never be as good at


that. Never say never, one thing we learned in writing the book was


never to say never but in the next few Mac decades, most of us prefer


interacting with other humans. Part of the concerns that people have are


not that the jobs will run out, but they will either be slave jobs, the


underclass or you will be the Afterburn, the creative, and you


will be fine and we all going to be that -- you will be the


entrepreneur. You talk about soccer and being the football coach, it is


a solid job, respected in the Kim Ye-Ji, not going to be replaced by a


robot any time soon -- respected in the community. The coach taps into


the social drives and that isn't going anywhere soon. Emotional


intelligence is a important thing. That's great, we need that more than


ever. The book is aimed at the business community and the


companies, what do you think countries should do? I'm thinking of


a middle to large size country may be thinking of changing its


direction. OK! There is quite a big debate over industrial policy and it


is a blank piece of paper looking for ideas. Often industrial policy


means doubling down on one particular thing we think is going


to be big in the future. The track record of that policy is really


dismal. What I think a country should do is set up the right


environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, let the


experiments happen, let failure happen even if it is to a company


that is important now and let that creative destruction happen. Let it


happen. That's a big part of it, also investing in education, not


just spending more, but encouraging emotional intelligence, encouraging


creativity. When we visit schools today, many of them seem designed to


crush that so we could do a lot to help it flourish. That's what we


need in the second machine age in this era going forward. In the


industrial era we needed workers who could follow instructions and listen


to authority and the education system does a good job of turning


out those workers. We don't need them any more. Thank you for joining


us. If you're one of the increasing


number who's started watching BBC Two on our high definition


channel, you've probably become fairly expert by now in dating every


piece of footage you see to the correct decade just


by looking at the image quality So you'll probably appreciate


the work of artist Marina Amaral, whose speciality is bringing


old images to life by carefully researching what the original scene


would have looked like, and then meticulously colouring


and enhancing the image If you're not watching in HD -


well the weather forecast # I've hungered


for your touch Gardeners amongst you in England and


Wales will be happy that there is some


The programme is with forces attempting to push Islamic State out of Raqqa. There is another Brexit row inside the government. Plus how to survive the next industrial revolution. With Evan Davis.

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