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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  July 7, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT

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another plane crossed its runway. investigations are happening, how there was interference. .
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>> hello, i'm ray suarez. thislam state has proclaimed it's own country. it simply is the islamic state and it's leader is a man who goes by al baghdadi. the islamic state said once god and his messenger makes a decision, they don't have a choice but to fall in line. who is abu bakr al-baghdadi?
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that's our focus this time on inside story. >> delivering a sermon in mosul, iraq, in this video, a man who appears to be the elusive leader of the islamic state spoke for a half hour. he introduced himself as, your new caliphibrahim. >> if you see me on the right path, help me. if you see me on a wrong path, lead me.
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>> baghdadi claims to trace his lineage back to mohammed giving him, some scholars say, legitimacy as religious leader. he was captured by u.s. forces. after his release he took over as head of al-qaeda in iraq branch. the leader at the time. abu omar was killed in a raid. al baghdadi's road to leadership, last year he openly deified the leadership, and joined forces fighting in syria. there was a letter ordering bag
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hdadi to keep forces separate. if this is baghdadi in the mosque in mosul, it is proof in a nouri al-maliki has not been able to control and they would continue its advance to regain tikrit on foot. choosing a new unity government postponed in political gridlock. >> what does it mean to millions of, to be under the leadership
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of the man who appears to be caliph. it has not seen a caliph in a century. what does it mean for abu bakr al-baghdadi to claim that title. joining us our guests judith, let me start with you. from the time that the u.s. forces let him go until last friday, do we know anything about where he's been, what he's done, his m.o. how you end up in this position?
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>> we know very little about where he was expect to assume, i think it's a safe assumption that he was always in iraq, and he was rebuilding the movement which threatened to fall apart when zarkawi, his mentor and predecessor, was killed in 2006-07. there he was. i think he had to rebuild. he had a reputation being good at security, good at military planning, strategic planning, and i think that shows. a lot of these movements, what he has planned, and the rapid success once he started within a week he controlled a third of iraq. that just doesn't happen, and it doesn't happen as simply as, well, we were there. just what, a hundred, a couple hundred, and the iraqi army heard about us, and they just disappeared. it called for a lot of planning, a lot of infiltration of
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supporters, and winning the support, gaining the support of a lot of elements among the sunnies, disgruntled baathists, tribal leaders, tribal leaders who were so upset about what was happening, felt disinfranchised and angry about their displacement that they would join anything that was anti-maliki. >> is this story only possible in an iraq that is unstable? that allows this sort of seed to grow into what now threatens to become a permanent country within a country? >> well, i think not only that, but iraq has been a solid training grounds for him. i think he witnessed day by day the inability of iraqi leaders. he witnessed how the americans
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basically operated in iraq. he learned a lot. he suffered the defeat of al-qaeda when the tribal leaders rallied behind the government, and mor more or less abandoned the resistence. he has seen a lot inside iraq. i think he found his moment when syria opened up. he rebuilt and regrouped, and he obviously is extremely calculating. he has not only the division but the political leadership. every move he has made so far indicates that he is not just a terrorist running around throwing bombs. he's calculating, running corporationing bringing in the men around him whether they're al-qaeda followers or not. >> it sounds like you assess him
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as a formidable character, more dangerous? >> i looked at that sermon carefully. every single move the symbolism that he is betraying, the way he did it through his speech, and the fact that he managed to build all this in two years and then storm into mosul, and now projecting to the future, declaring that he is the caliph. he is going to attract thousands and thousands of iraqis to follow him. this is a game changer on a scale not only for iraq but for the region. >> mohammed, he didn't call himself the prime minister or chairman of a new state or leader of a new state. he purposely called himself a caliph. and for those not familiar with that term, you can help by giving the full significance of
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what that declaration is. >> what he is saying is that he is the official representative of the mohammed, that's what caliph means. the political leader who takes charge after mohammed. it starts more or less after analecttive process, but then after 40 years it became a kingdom for all intents and services. he's saying he is now the religious leader. he's officially representing islam as the state religion. and so he is wielding religious and political power of the masses. >> he didn't win any kind of election or process. a group of cardinals did not go behind locked doors and one of them comes out a winner of a ballot. how, when you declare yourself a
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caliph, the peel around you, do they recognize it? are they bound to follow that? can they say, no, i don't think you're one. >> this is where it's a little bit different. he didn't declare himself technically he did not declare himself a caliph. he has a group of would be people around him. they are respected and looked up to by the rest of his collective group. they recognize him to be the most knowledgeable, the most wise, the most experienced. this group of people around him would have been the one who is gathered together and said, this is going to be our leader now. and so they imposed this upon him as he would have it. so when he in his sermon he said i was put--i was put as a ruler for you, but i didn't choose it, that's because he didn't go after it himself in any direct way. it was more direct that he led the group this long. they recognize his leadership
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qualities. they recognize his lineage that he claims to be descended from the prophet mohammed. and they elected him as kay live and imposed it upon him. >> does that become more significant and perhaps more difficult declaration than if he had said i'm president of the new islamic state. >> those are secular titles. they don't have the significance or the legitimacy that he is seeking. caliph is a religious leader and political leader, but it takes all those qualities. the best of injures prudence. smartest, he knows the law. he has all those attributes, and he's a descendant of mohammed.
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he has those legitimacies, he is selected by the circle of supporters around him. that's all he needs, really. >> we're going to take a short break, and when we come back we'll talk about this new state within two states what it means
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>> welcome back to inside story, i'm ray suarez. on this edition of the program we are talking about the caliph of islamic state. many will flock to that black flag. why? who are they? are they people who can just drop what they're doing in life and head to an unstable region in iraq? >> believe it or not, the answer is yes. let me explain why. this declaration of the caliph, this is very much embedded in history. there is religious literature that confirms to a lot of
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believers, there are many sects among muslims, but for a lot of followers, especially for those that if caliph is declared it's a religious obligation. it doesn't matter who declares it. it doesn't matter how they get to power. but if it is declared than those people are obliged religiously. maybe 99% of muslims won't, but i'm worried about the 1%. the muslim nation is over 1 billion people on earth. if you set this fact against the background that we've only seen recently more or less the imitation of political islam, and we've seen al-qaeda has really been cornered and failed to become effective, then there are a lot of young, anger
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muslims, let's say, who are seeking a third way, and for baghdadi to be present on a remarkable victory, to be in within two months, i think this is going to attract thousands and thousands of people. i'm most worried about saudi arabia and about jordan, because those are the two softest grounds next to iraq and syria. >> between chechnya, bosnia, libya, syria, are there just also a lot more men floating around who knows how to use a gun, who know how to use a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. they may be religious or they may not be, but they're at loose ends and ready to fight. >> well, that's true. they've had a lot of opportunity beginning in afghanistan where bin-laden got his start.
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through all these wars that happened and still are going on, first of all, there is a pool of manpower, so to speak, and there women involved in some of these, but not many. they have training. they served in the military, and there is a lot of weapons available. especially in syria and iraq, what do you want? we can go to the arms market and you can pick out whatever you want among the different cumulation of weapons we have there. anisis, islamic state, whatever you want to call it, they've been able to acquire donations, weapons, and they have rocket launchers, and they have tanks, and they have all kinds of--including some helicopters,
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i'm told. >> so mohammed, let's talk a little bit more about the religious content of this call that laite was talking about. if you go into your mother's kitchen and say, you know, one country over, two countries over they made this call, and i'm going is that going to close the sale? your mother is going to say, well, it is a religious call, good luck, i'll pray for you son, or are they going to say sit down. forget it. this is not the caliph. this is not the caliphate, go to work tomorrow. >> this is an interesting point because something that was mentioned is that it doesn't matter how the caliph is declared, it becomes obligatory for everyone to succumb to it an and--apledge allegiance.
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that's not true. it is not that it's obligatory, that it doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there. right now a couple of days ago one of the most prominent muslim scholars today. he had an interview, he said if the means end up in bloodshed, hack sock and mayhem, it can during the obligation into something that is impermissible because now you're causing more destruction on your path, and you're disturbing the peace. so it does matter. what it doesn't matter for muslims who are i will litter rat, and unfortunately we have what is called a crisis of knowledge. many muslims are not aware of their own tradition. it goes back to something that judith mentioned. baghdadi is trying to claim
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legitimacy from historical kay lives. his success on the grouped is all that will be manifest to the mostly young men and women. so as far as they're concerned they see him going in, taking over cities. no one is really stopping him. that gives him enough legitimacy that he will attract them even if it's something that technically speaking from the islamic point of view is impermissible to do. no, you can't just go to your mother's kitchen and say i'm going to jihad. a lot of them don't consider this jihad any more. these guys are just going around, causing suarez.
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abu bakr al-baghdadi is an u.s.-wanted man with a bounty on his head. how was this man who was in u.s. custody in iraq going from a middle-level al-qaeda insurgent to the leader of the newest islamic state? that's our focus on this edition of the program. with us, judith yapi. from british klum y scholar of muslim theology, and with us laithe, we've been talking about this new islamic state. what about the majority in iraq, the mostly shia population that's living further east of this proclaimed state.
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are they hunkering down, getting ready for the next assault from west to east? what happens now in a country as divide within a country in iraq. >> you look at leaders to see who has that project, who has that vision, and what have they done with the resources and the opportunity that they were given. not much. and that is what makes baghdadi dangerous because certainly he has managed to sell that argument clearly and strongly to the sunnies, who have been marginalized. let us not forget it was basically the sunni tribes who cleared iraq from al-qaeda from zarkawi when they aligned themselves, and they did agree to be part of the political
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process. it is their marginalization, unfortunately, under prime minister maliki and his failed politics that led to emergence of baghdadi, and to him, he took a big chunk of territory so easily. and i'm sure he has more young sympathizers than he ever dreamt of. what we fear most, as more people gather to join his army he will make a showdown with the government in baghdad, and of course he has made it clear that his staunch enemies are shias, who he considers as a people with no pure belief. >> mohammed, isn't this a moment or is as history created a moment where more authorities within islam have to speak out loudly about preventing the very
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kind of liberation that laithe just threatened. >> they are speaking out acylated as possible. the problem is when you're speaking to the masses, they want to see results. a lot of scholars unfortunately, have lost their credibility because of association with various governments. a lot of masses of muslims look at scholars with suspicion to start off with. that leaves us very few who can speak out. those who do speak out. they're speaking out peaceful, trying to reconcile. when young men look at that type of talk and look at what baghdadi is using, and by the way he's using islamic rhetoric. he is quoting the pro fest, who says 40 years there is going to
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be a caliphate and then there will be a caliphate after me. and here comes baghdadi, it's a difficult task for scholars to sell words when baghdadi is giving them product. >> one of the things that al baghdadi said on friday was basically we're right because we're winning. that's a pretty good argument when you've taken over half of two countries in a very short amount of time. does he have the potential, in the little time we have left, to redraw the map of this region. >> there will always be borders of some kind there, but success is a telling argument. it says that god must be on his side. but there is one thing that--another thing that we've missed which is he cares about the sunni shia split, but he's not ethnic hater.
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in other words, highways gone after, and he has killed their sunni and chia, there are a lot of different mixes. he has gone after the shia-- >> but not because of their ethnicity. >> it has not to go with ethnicity that i can see. it has to do with that they are apostates, and therefore he's entitled to do that. that will make a difference because he can play on that sectarian hatred, but he wants to divide these communities. that's another way of success.
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