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Streamed live on Sep 2, 2013
Interview with pro-intervention activist and Syrian-American Council board member, Ranya Sabbagh. (Click "show more" for partial transcript/guide)
00:57 Introduction for Ms. Sabbagh; explanation of her history and the origin of her political and humanitarian concerns, "if there is one message I want your viewers to understand, if you are watching a woman being raped and you are the strong guy, are you going to say, "not my problem, let her family help her, or are you going to do something?" The U.S., as the leader of the free world, is in this position.
2:25 Madison: "You just returned from Turkey, what is the international community doing to aid the humanitarian crisis?"
5:54 Madison: "Most Americans are anti-intervention. We take solace that we're aiding as humanitarians. Not to compare to Iraq, but when discussing military strikes against Assad we are going to war with Syria. Do you think diplomatic intervention would be effective and why?"
9:58 Madison: Tell me more about the claims that Assad released Al Qaeda operates imprisoned in Syria to foster terrorism for his own agenda, to claim he's fighting terrorists and not local rebels seeking basic human rights.
13:28 Madison: Most Americans are concerned the Free Syrian Army's agenda has been compromised by al Nusra and Al Qaeda infiltrators with their own agenda. If we arm them, how do we prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists?
17:07 The west wants Assad gone, so what if terrorists get access to the arsenal of the Syrian regime? General Dempsey's letter: there are no leaders capable of stepping up and supporting America's interests or the interests of Syrians wanting peace and democracy.
What guarantee do the American people have that our interests or the interests of Syrians will be represented should Assad be toppled? This is a main concern of anti-intervention Syrians, too.
23:41 Madison: Americans won't support intervention unless there's a change in the opposition. You believe the revolution has not been infiltrated, who is running the Free Syrian Army? How do we trust them?
24:29: Sabbagh responds.
26:21 Americans don't trust our own government to just intervened minimally. Where we meddle ends up worse than before we intervened. Iraq was moderate. The only way some can support any intervention is if the Syrians reject Al Qaeda similar to how Iraqis in Ramadi rejected foreign invaders after fighting an insurgency against America with Al Qaeda as their allies. AQ brutalized the local population and eventually the Iraqis turned against them and the Anbar Awakening was born, turning the tide of the war.
Washington had no long term plan for Iraq, so when this took place, bureaucrats used this as an example of how future revolutions can be manipulated. Do you think this could happen in Syria?
37:59 Madison: We have scarified blood, treasure and liberty, our national identity and Constitution to fight the War on Terror in the post-9/11 era. Our enemy is Al Qaeda, but if we aid the Free Syrian Army, they are their ally. Our American military is concerned our weapons will end up in the hands of our enemies which can eventually be used against our own soldiers and Marines. How do we establish quality control at the military level? Who can we trust to prevent this if our government arms them?