msnbc | December 08, 2012
>> bring in mark katz , professor of government and politics at george mason university . he is also the author of
"leaving without losing: the war on terror after iraq and afghanistan ." dr. katz, good to have you with us on this saturday afternoon. the former u.s. ambassador to syria , theodore kotoof writing in the daily beast , "the best hope to avoid syria becoming a failed or radical islamist state is for the russia and u.s. to cooperate." you write that russia may be shifting its pro- assad position. at this point, do you think that russia leadership and the united states can get together on syria ?
>> you know, i think that the russians now understand that the regime probably isn't going to survive. however, i don't think that the russians are going to get actively involved with us in any effort to militarily intervene in syria . i think that their hope is to protect their interests, that if there's going to be a new regime, that they keep their investments and naval facilities, but i don't think they're going to join with us in getting involved.
>> what do we know about the scope, the size, and the variety of the syrian chemical -- of their chemical weapons stash?
>> well, in that -- the syrians, of course, have denied they don't have any. that there's not that public information revealed about i, but i think it's pretty clear. they do have a chemical weapons stash, and whatever it is it's too much and too damaging for anyone's comfort.
>> the united states has warned president assad 's regime not to of course use those weapons at all on ats own civilian population . to this point the regime has said that it will not. how prepared is the united states to stop that regime from using chemical weapons ?
>> well, i'm not sure that we can actually stop them. i think that, you know, these things, they can be used. but i think that it's not clear that the assad regime is about to use them. they might be trying to move them to the coast. the mediterranean coast is where the alawite my noer, which is what the regime is based on, basically has its population center . and i think what they may be trying to do is to move these chemical weapons and whatever else they can to the coast, survive as a mini state and of course deprive their opposition access to these as well. so it's not clear to me yet that they're actually intending to use them even though they are starting to move them.
>> for a while, the thinking was that this ragtag group of rebels was not going to be able to take down the regime. they were unorganized, some inphiing. but more recently they appear to have sort of come into their own. what's the latest on the rebel faction in syria ?
>> well, i think that they're as divided as ever, and i would imagine the closer they get to victory that -- the closer they get to the downfall of the regime that we're going to see more divisions. in other words that even when they have a common goal of getting rid of assad they haven't been able to unite and once he's gone then i think it's going to become even more divided. so there is a real possibility of conflict among the rebels, and i think that this is where american diplomacy, diploma is si with other countries, international orngss is is going to be essential.
>> i want to turn to afghanistan here quickly as american forces plan their final withdrawal from that country. there were some harsh words for the united states from afghanistan 's president hamid karzai saying that the u.s. is partly to blame for the instability in afghanistan . this is what he said in an exclusive interview with our atiyyah bali.
>> part of it is coming from the structures that nato and america built in afghanistan , the private security firms, the contracts they promoted and the way they behaved with the afghan people and the anger that has caused in afghan people and the resulting insecurity.
>> so would you say you believe some of these would be intentional insecurity brought by nato and the united states ? thoo there is a very strong perception that some of that insecurity is intentional, yes.
>> what do you make of president karzai's comments there?
>> well, certainly he's not going to make any friends here in the united states after we've gone to such effort to help afghanistan , help him in particular. that said, i believe that the views he's expressed are, in fact, widely held within afghanistan , that he is reflecting afghan popular sentiment, that unfortunately they're long past the point where they regard the american presence as liberators but more as occupiers and unfortunately they see us going and so there's no reason to be friendly toward us anymore.
>> author and professor mark katz , thank you so much, professor katz. do appreciate your time.