'This Week': Middle East Turmoil

ABC News' Martha Raddatz reports from Cairo on the latest developments in Egypt.
8:19 | 08/25/13

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Transcript for 'This Week': Middle East Turmoil
Thanks so much for joining us, colonel ganyard. Appreciate it. Joining me now is the former egyptian foreign minister and the former head of the arab league. Thank you for joining us. Thank you. Let me start with syria and your reaction to news out of the u.S. That the united states is considering air strikes if those chemical attacks are verified. Well, it is a political message. And I don't think that a -- a warning message, that chemical weapons should not be used. But I wonder whether this region at this juncture could afford to have another war. Or a major war. If there is, or there are indications that chemical weapons were used, then the security council should consider the matter first before anything else. But you probably know what would happen with the security council with russia. No, this is a serious situation. Let everybody express their view, the united states, russia or europe. This is a serious issue. You're talking about a war. I think if they were limited air strikes, what would be the reaction in the region? They start like that. Limited strike, and then it widens, and grows and grows and grows, and then the whole region would be involved. But I really would like you, because you were head of the arab league, to talk about if there were limited air strikes, cruise missile strikes, how do you think bashar al-assad would respond? Let me put it the other way. First of all, nobody should use chemical weapons against any other party. This is very important point. Chemical weapons are not there to be used against -- against population center, or even against resistance. Or revolution. Does it appear to be chemical weapons? Absolutely. Any use of chemical weapons should be condemned. Buwe need also a position taken by the security council. The security council should address this issue of the use of chemical weapons or the use of weapons of mass destruction that should be underlined in the security council before any action. The information, we are not sure. United nations has not really said, or any other organization, has not really determined whether the chemical weapons have been used or not. This is a very dangerous thing. But things have to be verified in order to take a decision just like that, an air strike or invasion or whatever it is. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your time. Thank you. And for more reaction, we are now joined by a group of journalists who have covered this region for years. Matt bradley from the wall street journal. Abigail from the washington post, and ashraf khalil from time magazine. Thank you for joining us. I want to start with you, matt. Touch on syria. How do you think a military strike if it comes to that, will affect the region? The thing that u.S. Policy-makers need to think about, this is a conflict in syria that's seriously internationalized. We have bombings in tripoli and northern le baa nontarget-- leb ban nontargeting sunni mosques. We have refugee situations. The regime in syria is backed by iran. The so the implications are there. And the united states interjects itself militarily, we're going to see what a lot of analysts are describing as the turning point in a regional conflict between sunni and shia. It's dangerous, and military intervention could make it bigger and worse. I want to turn to egypt and turn to you, ashraf. What effect do you think what's going on in egypt now will have? What we have seen in the last ten days in particular. The violence, the political fallout, what will that mean for the region? It effects things on multiple levels. You've got -- for starters -- egyptians have regarded egypt as the sun that the rest of the middle east revolves around. And to an extent, that's a bit exaggerated, but there's a lot of truth to it. Where egypt goes, the rest of the middle east has gone. We had 30 years of stagnation and self-loathing with mubarak, and the rest of the region was dragged backwards. Then with the arab spring, it was supposed to be this moment where egypt kind of blossomed and dragged the rest of the middle east into the modern era, into some sort of golden age of democracy. Now as it's faltering, it's disturbing. I know you were right in the thick of it with the pro-morsi camp that was cleared out by egyptian security forces. I interviewed earlier this week egypt's prime minister, and this is what he said. I believe that by and large, the police forces were -- were bound by rules. But in any situation, there are always some exceptions. Was that your experience? Well, that's certainly the line we've been hearing from government officials this whole time. But I think there's little doubt that the police and egypt's security forces did use quite a bit of force. Hundreds of people were killed on the day security forces raided the pro-morsi protest camps and in the days afterwards. You witnessed this. That's right. I personally was down there during the raids. I saw police opening fire. I heard rapid gunfire. The whole place looked like a war zone. There was smoke rising from the area. And I ended up being pinned down in an alley with a number of civilians when the fighting basically expanded beyond the protest camp itself. It was very frightening, and the police were threatening not just to the people in the camp, but directly to journalists, to myself, and also to civilian bystanders. Matt, I think what's incredible for me being here all week is to hear the support for the military. In spite of what the world witnessed. What is going on? Well, the military in egypt has always enjoyed a lot of support. We have to remember, the military, unlike any institution in egypt touches every single family. There's obligatory conscription, and it's considered the heart and soul, and really the center of egyptian life. It's the symbol of the sovereign nation. So when the military asks for the public, when the general asks for the public to go down and protest to show him support, they will do this. And you will see this really -- and what we've seen in the last couple weeks, an incredible outpouring of unquestionable support. What do you think the future of democracy is here? Well, it looks pretty bleak right now. You have to keep in mind, this was a coup, but it was also a widely popularly-supported coup. It was sort of interesting in egypt, there's a mass popular support for essentially a return to an authoritarian or military-led regime. A lot of people are really cheering on this crackdown on the muslim brotherhood. The future of democracy? Very disturbing here in egypt. I think one of the big what ifs for modern egypt is what if the crowd that came out on june 30th to demand an early end to morsi's presidency, what if they drew a line and said we don't want military involvement? If they had kept it up for a week, we might have seen major concessions and a total retreat by the brotherhood in the face of this. When the people not only allowed, but welcomed the military back, I think that really broke the country. Thanks for all of that insight. It was terrific talking to you

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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