tv Inside Story LINKTV April 5, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
>> time for a quick check on the headlines. a man has ramped a car into a police barricade before jumping out with a knife. one person was killed and the attacker was shot dead. more on the suspect. >> preliminary indications just from scrubbing social media seem to indicate a 25-year-old man with potentially serious mental illness, very distraught, apparently lost his job recently, looking for some
guidance, and talking about some of the things we often hear when it comes to mental illness that the government was trying to manipulate his brain, that they were causing him ailments. so beginning to flesh out a picture of a disturbed young man who thought he needed to target the government. >> the longest-serving officer in the minneapolis police department has testified that the force used on george floyd was totally unnecessary. richard zimmerman said that floyd was no longer a serious threat once he was handcuffed. russian rights groups have issued a rare report condemning their country's involvement in certain wars. the report says most syrians views russia as a destructive foreign force. the u.s. has lifted sanctions and visa restrictions against employees of the criminal court -- the top officials among those
targeted as the court to investigate troops of war crimes in afghanistan. the european union spearheads efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal. participants inclu china, france, italy, and britain will meet and invite -- in vienna. the u.s. will not take place directly, but the u.s. delegation will be present. 54 people have died in taiwan's worst rail disaster. nearly 500 people were on board and many survivors had to climb out of the wreckage. those were the headlines and the news continues after "inside story." stay tuned. ♪
>> u.s. president joe biden is reportedly removing military assets from the gulf. washington still considers iran a threat in the region -- is this a shift in military strategy, and what does it mean for security in this area. this is "inside story." ♪ >> hello, welcome to the program. u.s. president joe biden has ordered the pentagon to remove some military assets and forces from the gulf, and that is according to a report by the "the wall street journal." at least three patriot
antimissile batteries have reportedly been withdrawn including one from a base in saudi arabia. biden has pledged to recalibrate u.s.-saudi ties since taking office in january, including freezing the sale of some weapons used by the kingdom and the war in yemen. his administration says it does not want to destroy the relationship. it says it will still continue to help the kingdom defend itself against increasing attacks from yemen and the rack. saudi officials have not commented on this, and why the american say the decision was taken to meet military needs elsewhere. we will bring in our panel shortly to discuss this further, but first, let's take a closer look at the u.s. military presence in the gulf. as of late last year, there were about 15,000 american troops across the region and that is down from 90,000 at the height of donald trump's administration.
in october 2019, the u.s. floyd nearly 3000 troops to saudi arabia, but now with the possible removal of the batteries and aircraft carriers, up to several thousand military personnel could also leave soon. ♪ hashem: let's bring in our guests in washington, d.c., douglas ollivant, a retired army officer and senior fellow with the future of war project at new america. in london, andreas krieg, a assistant professor in the defense studies department at king's college london. he is also co-author of "surrogate warfare: the transfer made in of war and the 21st century." also in washington, hussein ibish, senior resident scholar at the arab gulf states institute in washington.
douglas, is the u.s. rethinking military or is it just a simple act of reorganizing military? douglas: three different things going on here, the number of patriots and to a lesser extent, aircraft carriers that have been put in the golf is simply unsustainable. even if we wanted to retain that kind of presence, it is simply not sustainable to surge that level of assets for that long. second, this is a message to the region that the united states is rethinking its military posture and you need -- the region is no longer the priority. and internal to the u.s. government, this is a message from the white house to the pentagon, to central command, to those who do middle east policy that the united states government is giving apes back signal inside the government to those who do middle east policy
that again, this is no longer the priority. hashem: for many, this could be an indication that biden is delivering on an election campaign promise he made which is about the need to rethink the way that the united states should deal with saudi arabia. andreas: yes, it is very much a tight rope walk with the bind administration is doing here. on the one hand, they promised her that they would rethink and recalibrate the relationship with the crown prince, and putting some distance between the administration and the crown prince and making a clear break from what happened between trump and mbs, especially with the khashoggi report coming out. but rightly as douglas said, saudi arabia remains a strategic partner of the united states, so you have to strike a balance and that is what's the brightness trying to do. the message that was sent last week already that the u.s. administration would only
support defensive support for the saudi military to ensure that they cannot use any of the material support offensively in yemen is a part of that, but obviously, now withdrawing the defensive weapons and weapons used for deterrence against iran since the wrong message at the wrong time. hashem: is yemen one of the main reasons why the united states are rethinking their presence, because biden himself has been critical during the campaign of the war in yemen? hussein: yes, but this is not a manifestation of that. [laughter] everything my colleagues have said is exactly right and the word iran finally came up at the very end of my colleagues' last comment, but to me -- and i agree with everything douglas said about internal and external messages, but i think the biggest aspect that is being
reflected here is the desire to reduce tensions with iran. yes there is an overall intention to draw down from the middle east to redirect to the great power conflict with china, yes there was an unsustainable surgeon 2019 and the last six months of 2019 into 2020, but why was there a surge that is being drawn down now? it is precisely because of rising tensions with iran that was the result of the clash between maximum pressure and maximum resistance from iran. the administration is pushing very hard to move away from that posture of confrontation with iran. i think other u.s. policy toward saudi arabia have reflected more the desire of biden and other dominic -- other democrats to draw a new relationship. this ultimately has to do with posture towards iran.
hashem: douglas, hussein spoke about the iranian side in this move. trump came in and he said, obama messed up a big deal in the gulf region and that emboldened the iranians. i have to show them an aggressive push. biden comes in and says i need to show some sort of overture towards the iranians. the saudi's would come and say this is the wrong message to send at this time because it will ultimately embolden iran. douglas: certainly, that is the saudi message. i agree with what both of my colleagues have said. this is about you iran and partially that is the internal messaging i was talking about. central command and the pentagon offices that manage the middle east have been seen as the iran hawks. this is a message from the lighthouse -- white house t the
central location of the iranian hawks inside the united states government that this is no longer the intention of the white house to keep up with level of tension, although as we all know, they are struggling to find a politically acceptable way to downplay that tension. hashem: could it also be a realization amongst the top strategists in the u.s. administration that it is about time to downsize the presence of the u.s. military in the middle east, because realities on the ground have completely changed, so why should we be bogged down in this part of the world forever? andreas: i think they are on this path, there is some path dependency that goes back to the obama administration where the u.s. has said that we are delegating the burden of conflict of the middle east to our partners in the middle east, and that also means that saudi arabia has to take care of its own security, its own defense.
military aid will be provided to do that and the saudi military, it will be the defensive units of the saudi armed forces which have been trained and supported by the american military. it is about burden sharing meaning that the u.s. wi no longer carry the burden of the fence for the golf and that is the message that has been sent all throughout the obama administration it also through the trump administration despite some rhetoric. if you look at the ground, the united states no longer look at the middle east as strategically most important region of operations and that means local partners have to adopt more burden. hashem: this is the problem with the strategic review forced placements around the world. this is something that americans did in the past, but they had to backtrack and send even more troops into the region,
particularly in 2019. hussein: yeah. that can easily happen again. the united states is a bit overstretched globally. there has been an intention, i would argue going back to the second george w. bush's term to draw back from the middle east and every president wants to redirect from the middle east in general and the golf in particular and pivot towards great power competition with china, which is right in theory. the problem is the gulf region is the beating heart of the global economy and the south and east asian economies that are the hearts of great power competition, so if you pivot to asia, you pull the golf with you in tow. you can always back away entirely and leave a vacuum or open the door for further chinese encroachment, but that carries its own costs. the other thing is that there is
a downside for the united states to burden sharing. it is great except the bats yemen is exhibit a and what burden sharing can look like. saying, what you guys, take care of it. now the united states does not like the way that looks. for very good reasons. the point is there is a mixed message. you do it, no, don't do it your way, but our way, but you do it. it ultimately does not fit together very well and i think a balance still has yet to be struck. hashem: one of the key components of real luke -- military positioning for decades was basically the presence of military bases. that is where you would send troops, equipment, weapons, bracing for what could next. could that also become obsolete in one way or another in the near future because when you say you are planning on withdrawing, one of the questions they have to bear in mind, what should i do with bases.
douglas: you bring up a good point. we have all been talking about the obsolescence of our strategic assumptions. all of these conventional forces are really good at detouring conventional threats, but there really are not any in the middle east anymore. it is hard to think of two armies that might clash with each other. the threats that come from iran are nonconventional, there are proxy forces, their missiles. potentially, their nuclear forces. none of which respond to an aircraft carrier well. it is time to have some serious rethinking about both managing our presence in the golf and our competition in the golf. we just saw in the last week that china is moving forcefully into the golf, but they are not doing it with military presence. you cannot counter a china -iran trade agreement with an aircraft carrier. we are going to have to have a
creative thoughts of how the united states manages its presence. hashem: the problem here is when you withdraw are when you recalibrate to give the people the impression that you are moving to another more chaotic weld, but you look at this part of the weld to, it is still the same set of challenges and problems. isis is still, syria is still having it problems, yemen is still another issue -- talking about what we need to into order before we move forward. andreas: the middle east is in the greatest state of instability than it has been, but beyond that, the u.s. is already gone into a new phase of engagement in the region and that is what i call surrogate warfare and my book. this is how the iranians do it, ella gate to surrogates, and the united states response saying
that we delegate to your partners, and an aircraft carrier it does not have any kind of surrogates confrontation. at the same time, the americans are saying they want to push back against china and the great power game. the issue is the chinese actually struck some very strategic deals with partners in the region, first and foremost, the deal with the iranians that is a 25 year strategic relationship based on up to $400 billion of investment into iran, they struck a deal with saudi arabia where it is about investments into 2030, and they struck a deal with the uae which is about creating a vaccine within the uae that increases the foothold of china. the foothold that china is increasingly building in the region is not based on the military domain, it is the whole of government approach. that is where the americans are lacking -- the americans do not
understand the way that the chinese do. hashem: this is for -- this is something that definitely will have to have implications on the way the americans have to reorganize themselves and build up their presence in different parts of the world. hussein: no question. everything that my two colleagues have said is exactly right, but there is one exception to the asymmetrical threat pattern that douglas has described which is maritime security in the golf. there is a big dispute among american strategic thinkers about whether their -- the fifth fleet and the permanent stationing of large naval forces based in bahrain is necessary to maintain maritime security in the gulf waters itself, the incredibly crucial, economically crucial waters in the gulf, and
to keep the strait of hormuz open. whether you think to keep that open are not, someone's going to have to create a security structure that ensures the free flow of commerce through the strait of hormuz and an orderly system in the maritime waters of the gulf. if you want to shift away from the traditional model, you will have to figure out a sustainable long-term to ensure security, otherwise the u.s. naval presence is going to be necessary to continue. hashem: could it be an indication that perhaps the arctic, pacific, and the asia could be the next battlefields where the americans will have to fight for that the primacy? douglas: i don't think that
battlefield is quite the right word but certainly the united states is going to be competing all kinds of places with the chinese, and again, my colleagues have some this correctly. the united states is not configured for this. every chinese aid and development worker sees he himself as a vanguard for larger chinese business. i don't think anybody and u.s. aid to things that way but i need to start thinking that way if they are serious about the whole of government approach. i'm going to differ slightly from ibish on the presence of the united states fleet. texas is competing with markets in asia, competing with saudi arabia for markets in asia to export, and in some ways, the fifth fleet is underwriting the geopolitical risk of a buying saudi arabian oil. i am not sure if we start thinking strategically if that
is going to make sense, particularly for texans. hussein: that is the argument are as referring to. i was just saying, that is precisely the argument i was referring to that many people are making. hashem: biden made this quite clear that he will definitely need to rebuild ties with nato and we are talking about nato, we are talking about russia at the same time because that is where the western thinking has been focused which is the need to contain the russian buildup. could this be an indication that an the near future, we will be seeing americans dealing with two key players, rush on one hand, china on the other? andreas: i do not see any of the engagement happening when it comes to russia, quite on the contrary. i think it is one of confrontation. when you speak in europe, europeans talk about russia, not so much about china. there is a huge divergence between the perception of china in europe then is in the united
states, and with russia, there is a different perception in the united states than in europe. in europe, more confrontation towards russia, and in the united states, more confrontational towards china. and there are european partners and nato partners that are opening up towards china becoming part of the one world initiative. selling out strategic assets through china, and there is little that the united states can do about it. the competition is about an alternative. i am not saying that china is a substituting the u.s., but it is supplementing and that could be a long-term threat. hashem: this is one of the problems with shifting the burden of defending territories overseas. either you start training those troops or selling the more advanced weapons to be able to defend their own territory. the caveat is some of those weapons could end up being used the wrong way and this is the
dilemma. hussein: the yemen war already shows us them being used in the wrong way, but from the point of view of many americans, in the wrong way, not necessarily for the wrong purpose, but in a way that is counterproductive and ineffective, and at times morally indefensible. at the same time, if you are really going to shift the burden sharing the, you will have to accept more of that than you want and striking the balance is difficult. i do think it is important to say that the biden administration is working on -- got this ad hoc group of defense experts to look into more sales training and technology transfer to help the saudi's defend themselves. the line between offensive and defensive in the military is very, very blurry. hashem: we keep talking about armies as if they were entities disconnected from this part of the world. when you look at our modern life
challenges, pandemics and the climate change are the biggest challenges we are facing. don't you see that this could be the moment to rethink the very notion of armies in their substance, in their form, and identity and in their mission? douglas: certainly. in some ways, we already see that. as i alluded to earlier, it is really hard to picture and -- a conventional war in the middle east today. it is hard to imagine iraq invading kuwait again. it is hard to imagine syria or egypt launching a ground attack to invade israel. those are not things that are very thinkable for a host of reasons -- peace accords, the instability inside the country, but nonetheless, it is more or less unthinkable. the security challenges are very different. the one thing i do want to
respond to, as we build up the saudi and other gulf states, military capabilities, we have to realize that iran sees its unconventional capabilities -- its missiles, it support a proxy forces -- as its counter to those capabilities. as we move into a place where we start to imagine negotiating with the iranians about their missile program, about their support for proxies, what are the gulf states going to be willing to come to the table and negotiate with to give up? one thing we know about states as they do not unilaterally disarm. hashem: if we are to move forward into the future, it is said that artificial intelligence will not be needing hundreds of millions of troops in the near future. it will depend on a larger extent on what kind of smart weapons you will have. andreas: absolutely. if you look at the gray zone
operations are taking place, any sort of competition in the middle east is in the gray zone. the synergies that china is building is not just in the domain of trade and economy, but also in information technology sharing and synergies particularly between uae and china. the integration is around information technology. china already is providing the uae with capability that the united states is not sharing. these kinds of synergies will be more important moving forward in a time when the u.s. is focused on conventional military. hashem: we will have to leave it there. douglas ollivant, andreas krieg< hussein ibish, thank you. you can see the program any time by visiting our website aljazeera.com, or go to our facebook page, and join the conversation on twitter @ajins idestory.
bye for now. ♪ ♪ >> vaccines are promising a way out of the pandemic. but implementing is testing the global community. >> around the world, a clear gap has emerged between rich nations and poor ones when it comes to vaccinating populations. >> from the geopolitics to the pure economics, the misinformation, the latest developments -- >> for a start, the vaccine comes in the form of a nasal spray. >> special coverage of the
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