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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  January 24, 2014 12:30pm-1:01pm EST

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van go painted them in 1888 as a house gift for fellow artist. together they are worth nearly $200 million. thanks for watching al jazeera america. i'm stephanie sy. "the stream" is next. and you can check us out throughout the day at aljazeera.com.
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created wit for the u.s. in syr. one, if the u.s. intention is to support the syrian uprising how can it be translated away from a victory for al qaeda? >> the position has changed since 2011 in syria because of the rising of opposition groups. when ayman al zawahiri has to plead for the situation, that is
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not the sign of a unified organization. i discount these guys being unlike core al qaeda. bin laden would not have had to plead. a good two-thirds of the liberated territory is now controlled by extremists and the united states is simply not interested in supporting them or furthering their goals or allowing them to take ore damascus. so although the congress has pressed president obama to arm the rebels, we haven't seen anything serious on that scale. and i think that likely, the u.s. will do what it did in the case of the algerian civil war which is just keep hands off until it subsides. >> okay but brian do these pleas that juan is talking about do they fall on deaf ears or do you suspect they might get some action and unify some of these road militias. is.
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>> i don't see unity coming to the conflict in syria. in fact i see syria disintegrating into a mosaic of territory, pieces of territory controlled by local militias. in part by government, in part by more extremist elements. aand the united states, and any other external actor, are really conflict. that is, without a major military intervention. and i certainly don't see that in the cards. so syria, for the foreseeable future, is condemned to continue conflict. >> brian, you mention external actors and our facebook community is really talking about these external actors. foreign policy is the biggest threat to america's national security. assaf says al qaeda is actually
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usin use been used as a proxy. and a video listen. >> al qaeda remains a huge concern for america. but let's be honest they can't pull off another 9/11 even though they seem to be a lot of places and the internet. and this includes syria, syria is a large concern for policy makers, most fellows fighting in syria today don't want to blow up times square tomorrow. this is our obligation as americans and we have to meet it. >> how is al qaeda in syria being used by these regional players, like the shia iran block versus gulf states? >> they are receiving support from a number of gulf states like qatar and
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kuwait. i was doing field research in qatar earlier and while qatari aid is reaching the area, it is doing as a secondary is consequence. to reach the why syrian opposition like the syrian islamic front or a secondary effect. >> brian is the territory that al qaeda occupies in syria completely under al qaeda's control? >> no, i think in control has to be put in quotes here. the fact is that the syrian army was obliged to withdraw from portions of the country, simply because a large portion of the syrian forces are comprised of sunni conscripts. and therefore, their reliability could not be guaranteed.
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it was more important to protect the capitol and to protect the ethnic and sectarian enclaves that are loyal to the regime. that accounts for a number of the so-called rebel advances. it is not certain that they exercise control. although, where they do have some control, it appears that they haven't learned many lessons from the past because they're imposing a harsh form of sherea in some of these areas and that provokes local resistance. >> i'll say quickly one thing i think is going on is the assad regime is doing a lot lest to fight extremist factions than other factions. i think this is been a very deliberate machiavellian strategy. the pror extremist factions come to
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represent the factions, try to support any faction within this conflict. >> shift gears a little bit. shahad, i want to bring you into the conversation. talk about the level of sophistication of al qaeda in terms of social media. >> you keep in mind, this isn't your big brother's al qaeda, not where social media has been at the forefront. what al qaeda is doing is morphing into something more anonymous. i think the statement from al zawahiri is, i think you're seeing on the ground in terms of you know what's coming out over social media, we've seen this before, we see them putting harsh measures in and local populations upset. you're going to see things fall apart that way. while the nature has changed
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it's more broad, but it's more shallow i think. >> social media, eric says, al qaeda has been very effective, first engage with them vee social media. and ravia, says i would argue that not instrumental from, and a video comment. give a listen. >> for me, the shift from closed source, password protected forms, to more open source, open access, in promote -- in the promotes of jihadi material. photos and statements and like. but i see them always preaching to the choir, rather than winning more followers for al qaeda ideology. >> but ge jihaddists, they use
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itter, youtube, how have they evolved, for recruitment and messaging? >> well, first of all i don't think it's as centralized as people think it is. what it is is a product of fact that you have young people who are already steeped in social media who are going there and using the only tools they know how and getting it out. that's one of the reasons the message is so authentic, youth talking to youth in the only language they know. don't mistake that for being some kind of orchestrated effort to use social media to are propagate this. it is the type of factor of people going there from europe and other places, who are already speaking this media. >> shihad, i look at social media here in the u.s. and people will like or retweet or respond but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're engaged. some of these people want to loosely associate themselves to it but there's no consequence of it.
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who d how do you determine who s real and who is not? >> it's tough. we see in addition come and go in social media. some people like things they see but it doesn't necessarily illustrate a depth of what's in it. because the u.s. isn't directly involved, or western countries aren't directly involved on the ground, it is much more of a sectarian sheen on it than others. i think people are going to project onto it their pr preexisting opinions. you see sectarian dissatisfaction, a biproduct that's stoked by social media. >> knowledge dissect what you call jihadi liberalism. >> some are going to syria determined to fight but some of
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them might be referred to as jihadi tourists. they cross the line, they remain at a safe distance from any fightings, they take pictures of themselves from their cell phones and send these back home to establish their credentials. it is possible that some of them over the long run will be radicalized. it does have some resonance with their friends back home. but it is -- doesn't represent a significant threat right now to the security of any of these other countries. >> all right, well we've talked about al qaeda's growing sophistication on social media but what about u.s. online efforts in response? more after the break. first, here's a couple of stories we're following.
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>> every sunday night aljazeera america presents
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>> we're back and we're talking about the evolution of al qaeda particularly on social media. shahad, you were active on the outreach to the muslim world. do you think we're winning for the hearts and minds of young people there? >> i think it's a mixed record. government is very much better
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at counterterrorism, any time the government reaches into the social media stream and tries to influence the outcome, you're going to see a mixed audience. take the accuse from the private sector. take a look at the way certain companies cultivate audiences them. this is the best role for government. whether we have been successful we have just started that process of empowering and encouraging like-minded people to speak up against extremist narratives and to take that into their own hands. if communities at risk done do it we can't do it for them. >> social media is chiming in, we can't decide on a definition of whether this is the new al qaeda or something different. jarrod says, problem is ideology has allowed for the franchise to become a movement.
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jaife javier says, based on a one man army, resurfaced in syria and iraq, never lost the territory it had in yemen. elvis says, al qaeda will always be a threat, we can't let our guard down. looking into the future has the united states if you will won its cold war with al qaeda, doorgd your definition of-- according to your definition of it? >> won hands down. in the allocate '90s al qaeda had control of afghanistan, a major country. the 55th brigade, the best fighters, they have nothing now. and the united states whupped them. they are hiding out. i would like to point out that
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in morocco, tunisia, ybor city, there ha egypt,you've had secular overtos with egypt or modest, like alnafta which has won in elections and played politics in the western european way. so i would say much of the muslim world, al qaeda ideology is on the ropes. >> brian i'm wondering as the u.s. pulls out of afghanistan, does that become a new sanctuary for al qaeda? >> it certainly has that potential. but let me go back to the issue of the media. there may be pecular skepticism but al qaeda suspect selling any cars either, despite a
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communications campaign aimed at radicalizing home grown terrorists, inspiring terrorist attacks in this country, they may have created a virtual army, but thus far it remains virtual. we have no evidence offully deep reservoirs of support -- of any deep reservoirs of support for al qaeda. the campaign has gained absolutely no traction among american muslims. the numbers of individuals who have been arrested for providing material support or more seriously plotting terrorist attacks in this country on behalf of this ideology is just a tiny -- a tiny turnout. >> i'm going ohave to pause you there brian because we are unfortunately out of time. thanks to all of our guests, david, brian and shahid.
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until next time waj and i will see you online. >> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ welcome to the news hour, live from doha, coming up on the program, still talking, the syrian government and opposition agree to face-to-face discussions in geneva on saturday. >> we never expected to be easy, and i'm sure it is not going to be, but i think the two parties understand what is is at stake. the first of four blasts in egypt. at

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