Skip to main content

Noam Chomsky On The War Against ISIL





In this episode of UpFront, Mehdi Hasan speaks to the renowned American academic Noam Chomsky about his public spat with the Turkish president, the war against ISIL and Russia's annexation of Crimea.

We also look at the ramifications of the Saudi Arabia-Iran feud, and debate the state of Egypt five years after the Arab Spring.

Headliner: Noam Chomsky on ISIL, Turkey and Ukraine

Noam Chomsky has been described as "arguably the most important intellectual alive". And as one of the world's most celebrated academics, he has published more than 100 books and is a leading critic on United States foreign policy.

In the first of a special two-part interview, Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, Ukraine and Turkey.

Chomsky and other "so-called intellectuals" were recently criticised by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for supporting Kurdish separatists. The author and activist, who has accused the Turkish government of waging a "terrorist war" against the Kurds, tells UpFront that President Erdogan is "undoubtedly carrying out vicious repressive actions attacking the Kurdish population", adding that he would call him a "murderer".

Chomsky also talks about imperialism, and comments on the row between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Part two of the interview to be aired Friday, January 29 at 1930 GMT includes who Chomsky would vote for in the US presidential election, why he doesn't support a full boycott of Israel, and the impact of the rise of Islamophobia.

Reality Check: Beyond the Saudi Arabia-Iran feud

The spat between Saudi Arabia and Iran heated up earlier this month after the execution of Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr and the burning of the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Some have called the feud a war within the Muslim world, pointing to what many see as an inevitable clash between the two countries. A look at history however, proves otherwise.

In this week's Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan challenges the notion that the current row between Saudi Arabia and Iran stems from a 1,400-year-old theological split and says the feud should not taint relations between Muslims, the majority of whom live outside the Middle East.

Arena: Is Egypt better off under Sisi?

Monday marks the fifth anniversary of the uprising that ended the 30-year rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In 2013, the country's first ever elected civilian president, Mohamed Morsi, was deposed in a military coup following massive protests against his rule.

Since then, there have been large crackdowns on dissidents by the government and, according to Amnesty International, there has been a "dramatic deterioration in human rights".

So, is the country better or worse off than it was before the Arab Spring? In this week's Arena, Egyptian-American activist Mohamed Soltan, who was arrested and tortured for two years as a political prisoner in Egypt, debates with Raymond Stock, an expert on the Middle East.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why States Still Use Barrel Bombs

Smoke ascends after a Syrian military helicopter allegedly dropped a barrel bomb over the city of Daraya on Jan. 31.(FADI DIRANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary
Barrel bombs are not especially effective weapons. They are often poorly constructed; they fail to detonate more often than other devices constructed for a similar purpose; and their lack of precision means they can have a disproportionate effect on civilian populations.

However, combatants continue to use barrel bombs in conflicts, including in recent and ongoing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and they are ideally suited to the requirements of resource-poor states.

Analysis


Barrel bombs are improvised devices that contain explosive filling and shrapnel packed into a container, often in a cylindrical shape such as a barrel. The devices continue to be dropped on towns all over Syria. Indeed, there have been several documented cases of their use in Iraq over the past months, and residents of the city of Mosul, which was recently …

Russia Looks East for New Oil Markets

Click to Enlarge


In the final years of the Soviet Union, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began orienting his foreign policy toward Asia in response to a rising Japan. Putin has also piloted a much-touted pivot to Asia, coinciding with renewed U.S. interest in the area. A good expression of intent was Russia's hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012 in Vladivostok, near Russia's borders with China and North Korea. Although its efforts in Asia have been limited by more direct interests in Russia's periphery and in Europe, Moscow recently has been able to look more to the east.

Part of this renewed interest involves finding new export markets for Russian hydrocarbons. Russia's economy relies on energy exports, particularly crude oil and natural gas exported via pipeline to the West. However, Western Europe is diversifying its energy sources as new supplies come online out of a desire to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

This has forced…

In Yemen, a Rebel Advance Could Topple the Regime

Shia loyal to the al-Houthi movement ride past Yemeni soldiers near Yaz, Yemen, in May. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The success of a rebel campaign in northern Yemen is threatening to destabilize the already weak and overwhelmed government in Sanaa. After capturing the city of Amran, a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, in early July, the rebels from the al-Houthi tribe are in their strongest position yet. The Yemeni government is developing plans to divide the country into six federal regions, and the rebels believe this is their chance to claim territory for the future bargaining.

The central government is nearly powerless to fend off the rebels; its forces are already stretched thin. Neighboring Saudi Arabia has intervened in Yemen before and still supports Sunni tribes in the north, but the risk of inciting a Shiite backlash or creating space for jihadists to move in could deter another intervention.

Analysis


Followers of Zaidi Islam, a branch of Shiism, rul…