tv Inside Story Al Jazeera August 8, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
four minutes without human intervention. they hope it reduces the time it takes to build new robots. i'm dav david shuster. inside story is "next." next. >> to hear al baghdadi hear it, he's head of state. the status that merges religious and governmental leadership. who al baghdadi, how he got where he is, and the caliphate are all on "inside story."
>> hello, i'm ray suarez. the islamic state of iraq and the lavant, the guerrilla army that roared east to take over big chunks of western iraq has proclaimed it's own country. it's simply the islamic state, and it's leader is a man who goes by al baghdadi. the new country calls him 9 leader. many gather around to support the new caliphate. they say that others should fall in line. who is al baghdadi. how did he emerge from syrian civil war to control large parts
of syria and iraq. >> reporter: al baghdadi, a man with a bounty on his head may recently have made a rare appearance. in this unverified video posted online the man who appears to be the elusive leader of the islamic state spoke out for a half hour during prayers. introduced himself as ebra him. >> it is a burden t to accept this to be in charge of you. i'm not better than you. if you see me on the right path, help me. if you see me on the wrong path, encourage me and help me. >> baghdadi born some 50 miles north of baghdad. he claims to trace his lineage
back to the prophet mohammed giving him added legitimacy as a religious leader. in 2005 he was captured by u.s. forces believed to be a middle-ranked militant during a sunni insurgency. after his release he took over as head o of the al-qaeda iraq branch. the leader at the time was killed in an u.s.-led raid. al baghdadi rose in a newly state, last year he openly deified the leadership of when he joined forces with a militia fighting in syria. al jazeera obtained a letter ordering baghdadi to keep the groups separate, but baghdadi pressed forward. but most of the al nusra forces
under his command expand parts of northern iraq and syria. it's clearly an embarrassment for the government of prime minister nouri al-maliki. it's more proof that the maliki government has been unable to take back iraq's second largest city or any territory from sunni insurgents. >> what does it mean to millions of syrians and iraqis in isil-occupied territory to be under the newly claimed leadership of a man who claims to be a caliph. there has not been a caliph for nearly a century. what does it mean for al baghdadi to claim that title. joining me, my guests.
let me start with you. from the time the united states forces let him go until last friday do we know anything about where he's been, what he's done, his m.o. or how you enup in this position? >> we know very little about where he was except to assume, i think it's a safe assumption that he was always in iraq, and then he was rebuilding the movement, which threatened to fall apart when zarkawi, his meant for-predecessor was killed in 2006-07. there he was. i think he had to rebuild. he has a reputation as being good security, good at military planning, strategic planning. i think that shows because a lot
of these movements, what he's planned, and 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 100 or a couple of hundred, and the iraqi army heard about us and they just appeared. it calls for planning, infiltration of supporters, and winning the support, gaining the support of a lot of elements among the sunnies, disgruntled former baathists, military officers, tribal leaders who were so upset at what was happening, and so--felt so disinfranchised and angry about this policement that they would join anything that was anti-maliki. >> is it also only possible in an iraq that is unstable? that allows this sort of seed to
grow into what now threatens to be a permanent country within a country? >> well, i think not only that, but iraq has been a solid training ground for him. i think he witnessed day by day the inability of iraqi leaders. he witnessed how americans basically operated in iraq. he learned a lot. he saw the defeat of al-qaeda when the tribal leaders rallied behind a government, and more or less abandoned the resistence. he had seen a lot inside iraq. i think he found his moment when syria opened up. he rebuilt and regrouped and essex extremely calculating. i think he has both not only the vision, but the political leadership, every move he has made so far indicates that he is
not just a terrorist throwing bombs. he's extremely calculating at running operations, utilizing every resource he can find amongst the men around him. whether they are al-qaeda followers or not. >> it sounds like you assess him as a formidable character, thus more dangerous? >> having looked at that carefully. every single move, the symbolism that he is portraying. the way he delivered his speech, this is an extremely serious leader. the fact that he managed to build all this within two years and then storm into mosul, and now projecting into the future declaring that he is the caliph he is going to attract thousands and thousands of iraqis to follow him. this is really a game changer on a scale not only for iraq but
for the region. >> mohammed, he didn't call himself prime minister of a new state. he didn't call himself the president of a new state or the chairman of a group of leaders of a new state. he purposely called himself a caliph. i think for people who are not familiar with that term you can be very helpful to give us the full meaning, the full significance of what that declaration is. >> what he's say something that he is the official representative of the prophet mohammed after the passing of the prophet mohammed. that's what caliph means. it's a political leader who takes charge after the passing of the prophet mohammed: it started off as an election process. but then within 40 years it became a kingdom for all intents and purposes. he's saying he is the political leader. the religious leader for everybody. he's officially representing
islam as the state's religion. and so he's wielding political power for the masses. >> he didn't win election or process. they didn't go out behind locked doors where one of them came out the winner of a ballot. when you declare yourself a caliph, the people around you, do they recognize it? are they bound to follow him or can they say no, i don't think you are one. >> this is something that is a little bit different. he didn't declare himself as caliph. there is a group of senior people around him. they're respected and looked up to as heads of group. they're looked to be the most knowledgeable, wise and experienced, and this group of people around him would have been the ones who gathered
together and said this is going to be our leader now. they imposed this upon him as they would have it. in his sermon he said i was put as a ruler for you. but i didn't choose it. i'm not the best of you because he didn't go after it himself in any direct way. it was more indirect. he led the group for this long. they recognize his leadership qualities. they recognize his lineage that he's going to be the descendant from the prophet mohammed, and a lot of factors came together. they said this is the best we have right now. this is the best of us. we elect you as the caliph and they imposed it upon him. >> does that become a more significant and perhaps more difficult declaration than if he had said unprecedented of the new islamic state. >> those are secular titles. they don't have the significance or the legi legitimacy that
they're seeking. he has the best of the injures prudence, the smartest judge. knows the law. he has all those attributes and descended from if mohammed. those were the qualities of the earlier caliphs. he's selected by his circle, the circle of the supporters around him. that's all he needs really. >> we're going to take a short break right now. when we come back we'll talk about this new state within two states really means for the future of the region and whether a new caliphaate is going to attract a lot of followers as suggested. you're watching "inside story." stay with us.
>> believe it or not the answer is yes. let me explain to you why. this is very well embedded in muslim history. it just stopped with the owe thoman rule. for a lot of followers to them if he is declared it is a religious obligation. it doesn't matter who declares it. it doesn't matter how the caliph has got to power. but if it is declared then those people oblige religiously to pledge allegiance to that leader. i'm worried over the 1%.
the muslim nation is over 1 billion people on earth. if you set this fact against the background, we see that al-qaeda has cornered to be effective there are a lot of young angry muslims, let's say, who are seeking a third way. and forral bag di for forral baghdadi who had a remarkable victory within two months this is going to attract thousands and thousands of people. i'm most worried about saudi arabia and jordan because those are the two softest grounds next to iraq and syria. >> between chechnya, bosnia, libya, syria, are there other a lot more men floating around who know 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, through all of these wars that have been and are still going on, first of all yes, there is a pool of manpower, so to speak. there are women involved in some of these. there is a lot of weapons. you can pick out whatever you want in the alimealation of weapons we have there, and i.s. islamic state, the so-called islamic state has been able to
acquire, a, a lot of money from bank robberies, extortion, donations and has been able to acquire a lot of weapons including what the iraqi army abandoned when they left mosul and a lot of other areas. they have rocket launchers and they have tanks including some helicopters. i'm told. >> so mohammed, let's talk more about the religious content of this call that lathe was talking about. if you go into your mother's kitchen and say one country ov over, two countries over, they made this call and i'm going, is that going to say, well, it is a religious call, 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 interesting because something that was mentioned it doesn't matter how the caliph is declared. regardless, it becomes obligatory for everyone to succumb and pledge allegiance. that is not actually true. there is a lot of talk amongst the scholars today about a means towards the end. it is not sufficient just to say the caliphate, which is the unity of muslim technically, that it's obligatory, that it doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there. right now, one of the scholars today, in an interview he said if the means end in bloodshed as isis has been doing it can turn the obligation into impermissible because you're causing more destruction on your path, and you're disturbining the peace, so it does matter.
when it doesn't matter when the miss limbs are i wil illiterate . a lot of muslims are not aware of their own tradition. so when they see the work of al baghdadi, it is very--and that goes back to something, trying to gain legitimacy from history. it will be manifest to the young men and women who see and are party to this. they see him going in, closing house. taking over cities. nobody is really stopping him. god gives him enough legitimacy that will attract him even from an islamic point of view is not permitted to do. many don't consider this jihad any more. these guys are just going
around, causing crimes, and in the name of islam, which is unfortunate. >> we're going to take a short break right now. when we come back we'll talk about where this all leads. this is a potent army on the field. a new central leadership seems to have money, weapons, and men. is it threatening the future of iraq? this is "inside story." stay with us. >> it's a clear violation of their human rights. >> we have strongly urged the government to release those journalists. >> journalism is not a crime. >> aljazeera america presents a break through television event borderland... >> are you tellin' me it's ok to just open the border, and let em' all run in? >> the teams live through the hardships that forced mira, omar and claudette into the desert. >> running away is not the answer... >> is a chance at a better life worth leaving loved ones behind? >> did omar get a chance to tell you goodbye before he left? >> which side of the fence
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al baghdadi is a most wanted man with a $10 million u.s. bounty on his head. how did this man, who ten years ago was in the united states was in the united states custody in iraq go from a middle level al-qaeda insurgent to the leader of the new islamic state. that's our focus on this addition of the program. still with us. judith, profession of george washington university. from british klum y a scholar of islamic theology, and from tampa, senior director of middle east and north africa for the national endowment for democracy. we've been talking about this new islamic state, but what about the majority in iraq, the mostly shia population that is living further east from this newly proclaimed state. are they hunkering down, getting ready for the next assault from west to east? what happens now in a country as divided as your home in iraq?
>> reporter: well, the biggest problem is while you have an emerging confident, clear charismatic leader with a vision and a project, you look amongst iraqi leaders to see who has that project, and who has that vision, and what have they done for ten years with their resources and with the opportunity that they were given? not much. and that is what makessal baghdadi dangerous. certainly he has been able to sell that argument clearly to the sunnies, who have been marginalized. let us not forget it was basically the sunni cries who cleared iraq from al-qaeda when they aligned themselves and they did agree to be part of the political process. and it is their marginalization unfortunately under prime minister maliki, and his failed politics. that led to the emergence of bag
what has just been threatened. >> when speaking to the masses they want to see results. a lot of scholars have lost their credibility because of their association with government. a lot of masses of muslims look at scholars with suspicion to start off with. and that leaves very few to speak out. and those who speak out are speaking from peaceful, trying to reconcile. when young men look at that type of talk and look at what someone like al baghdadi, who by the way is using islamic rhetoric, and for the average muslim who can't distinguish and differentiate, it can get confusing. there was a prediction, 40 years after me there will be a caliphate and then kingdoms and then a caliph ate like i wanted after me. here comes al baghdadi giving
him that, and then the gains on the ground it's a difficult task for scholars to sell words when baghdadi is showing product. >> one of the things that al baghdadi said basically is 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? >> i think we're paying too much attention to redrawing the maps, borders. there will always be borders of some kind, but success is a really telling argument. god must be on his side. but there is one thing--another thing that we've missed, which is he cares about the sunni-shia split, but he's not an ethnic hater. in other words, he has gone after, and he has killed those sunni and shia.
there are kurds who are sunni and shia. there are a lot of inter mixes. he has gone after the shia. >> but not because of their ethnicity. >> nothing to do with their nicety. it's everything to do that they're apostates and therefore he's entitled and he can 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. >> judith, mohammed, laithe, thank you for joining us. this bring us to the end of this edition of "inside story." in washington i'm ray suarez. >> coming up at 6:00 p.m. on al jazeera america. a developing story of iraq as the united states fires a second round of airstrikes. and protects the american interest in islamic state which is tightening it's hold on iraq
and syria. we have all that and more coming up at 6:00 p.m. eastern. . >> it has become too expensive. the price tag is so scary to look at. >> cornell university's president says higher education is worths the cost though schools need to be run more efficiently. david skorton weighs in as well on skills training versus traditional education. >> the vast majority of people are making a living doing fine in the country without a very advanced degree. >> the veteran administrator has spoken out nationally on campus suicide prevention. >> one year we had what we call a cluster, a suicide contagion.