tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 12, 2015 8:00am-10:01am EDT
sequestered went into effect. so the broad issue is that we have to effective placeholder establishing priorities and funding priorities, treating our budget like it reflects our values. the second part is when to recognize the are people here who believe there's almost no legitimate function for the federal government. ..
it's another instance where the cartoon version, why were, not yours, the cartoon version about the founding fathers wanted a skidding in the way of the real world stuff that we need to get done. i have people come see me every year from the air to say we need nih fully funded. these are not not bolsheviks are communists. these are republican business people. we have to find a way to overcome it. a strong sense that this can continue. >> really helpful to see anything good coming out of this
meeting. i'm a scientist by background. i left the lab because i was frustrated with the way researchers being done. i equate nih should be fully funded but it should be fully funded in a smart way. a lot of new innovation out there for computational models to predict how pharmaceutical drugs affect the body trying to collect data and new treatments. that's maybe a point of interest for me and for other patient. 9% of drugs in clinical trials for several reasons. some of those are the fact the lack of deficiency when they go to human clinical trial and they also showed new toxicity now
shown in animal models or other studies. i am wondering how the panel and bbc is trying to work with the issue and find new ways to research. >> collett people who know what they are talking about answer that. i would just say i miss that one of the things we need to think about is that science changes in the velocity of change is moving faster and faster, which it is, it is unclear to me washington's regulatory apparatus and other agencies that swell will be able to keep up with that sort of innovation. i am not coming with a policy recommendation on that. it's an observation when you
>> "talkers" magazine covers talk radio in an event marking the 25th anniversary, talk radio host and industry executives talk about the future of broadcast radio. this is half an hour. >> this is a great panel and this is the big picture. we very talked about the big picture. we will do it like a tv show. real fast, no answers. sure soundbites.
the man who knows added to soundbites, we'll start with you. first alan colmes hosts fox news radio, fox news channel. holland cooke, one of the smartest man i've ever met. he is a consultant. karen hunter. i once did a radio show us her cohosts us her cohost and debbie w. r. l. in new york and she taught me how to rap on the air. it was fun. chris oliverio, talk about smart. a fellow who worked up from being an intern to one of the most influential and important executives i'm all for radio. pc vp of programming at cbs radio. joe shaka who is new to a lot of you. please say hello to show and tom shattuck. they've been doing something i've been talking about for years and i had the honor of them asking for a name -- asking me for my eyes.
they put a radio station on a newspaper platform. the newspaper is the other stake at the stake owners can give you placed your radio, what better place to do new stuff for sports radio than a big metropolitan newspaper website and platform. they do it and it's remarkable. joe has to be here. greg schwall, wap c. new york, the local program director is sort of like the forgotten person in our industry. let's find a big one. the program director at wap c. there have been times in my career one i sat with the program director of wabc. you shift in your boots been in the presence of the program director of wabc. i want to find out what's going on in that job.
julie talbott is the best marketing person i ever met in this business when she was about 19 years old. and she is the president of premier networks and i think we covered everybody on the panel. what does this say that the left right political stuff that is coming back to it. it seems to be the mainstay of new talk, debate, partisan politics and yet we always talk about how it do. what is the state of it? >> i would say it is a great question because it is so much about radio has been for such a long time. i thought it was interesting what mr. micki said that there's so much more you talk about if you're in a cocktail party talking to your friend or the water fountain that radio can and should be. i'm happy to say there's so much
more radio is becoming -- the paradigm changes, and we are doing a lot better with much more information coming in. much more opportunity to talk about different things on different platforms. i don't think the left right thing is the future of talk even though i'm on the left but i do so much more than that then just talks about left versus right is missing a great opportunity to get it on her audience. >> or politics is more than left versus right. tom harkin and i had a conversation and then i followed it up with mark levin. the two of you have far more in common than not in common yet people would categorize you as one left in one right. politics ceased to be xml. you don't hear that anymore. important but not the whole potential which takes us to
julie talbott. some very major product is steeped in the controversy of toxic radio, left versus right, boycotts. what is your take? >> we have been diversifying content. politics is an important issue but so were other current events happening. i believe we have taken a much broader approach and we are certainly doing a lot of testing with other programming. >> thank you, julie. holland, i'd make the most fantastic people in the business of our friends and clients of yours. local radio owners do exist. iona station and i am not there selling spots to the car dealers. and they are such characters. they are the salt of the earth, right and i love them because i was the number of the local radio station and i just love
the smell of the turntables and the ink in the newsroom. they found that the teletype. radio stations. radio stations have a smell about them. you remember what radio station smell like, don't you? artificial new car smell. tell us, what is the fate of local radio ownership. >> there is a curiosity about a hunger for and frustration about executing more local programming for all the reasons everybody who i spoken this morning has said and what we wish you undoubtedly this afternoon. i amass a lot about can we do local programming and i want to
answer the who, what and where is that. to give you a specific answer i make a couple of people blush here. terry hurley in atlantic city as the morning mayor. if you can find somebody who knows the market, who lives in prison rakes his and his lawyer did and has the ultimate rolodex that is cold. where do you find them since consolidation and syndication clobber the farm team. it's frustrating to do a casting call. used to be a buyers market. now it's a sellers market. if you can't find or become a morning mayor mr. name of market character, the station i work with in boston has a couple shows on the air his business model ought to be in stark gift to you. how we card is here. barry armstrong is not in both of these stations are heard and about a dozen more stations around new england.
i thought the unplowed ground and syndication is bigger than local, smaller than national. are you potentially escape by foot red? new england has a foot thing about the size of california. junior shoko widener for everybody has the same accent and embraces the same interest? that is the opportunity. i work with the state networks in the rubble mistake of station staff they don't want anymore of these stations are willing to give about the state. the other thing that station owners are concerned about regardless of market sizes digitally. tremendous pressure from the home office for digital revenue. what the heck is it? i was sick about disney iowa
broadcasters meeting the week after next. if you tried calling a friends this weekend, you will get voicemail because today they just up to orange the new black season three. this is how people choose to consume. if we do programming and the microphone, out the towering column, we are leaving money on the table. this got to get better about using the following as the easy hour of radio. >> chris oliverio, how are things at cbs? >> i've been here all morning the last time i left them escape. do you send thing i don't know? [laughter] things are good. we do invest by the local programming. my friend speak about that today. it is 24 hours seven days a week life and local.
that model is not gone. it's a more expensive? yes. is it difficult to find talent to staff the first today? yes. is the payoff bigger? yes. >> is that awareness. >> another question since you are sitting at a company that multiplatform, has a huge investment in digital. personally as the stick still a good investment and something worth having? is there going to be a.m. and fm radio in 10 years? >> when you talk about the stick, what did you pay for it and what return can you get on that? if you talk to broadcasters decades ago, 40 years ago that the complicated conversation.
will it still be around? yes. if you go to detroit and speak to the automotive industry, the makers of cars have no plan to get rid of the am/fm radio experience in the car. but they add to that? we all know about the dashboard here that is not at the expense of taking of 8:00 a.m. and fm. the people who make the cars sell with the not going anywhere. i don't know why we wouldn't believe them. >> karen hunter, you are in satellite radio. my year-end terrestrial radio. she is a pulitzer prize-winning writer, absolute brilliant woman. why are you smiling at me? when you finish out with somebody and she taught you how to rap, you can be familiar. >> waited more than that, michael.
>> karen, what is your view of satellite radio? we haven't had a conversation. >> i absolutely love it. but satellite has done is provide a form for people to broaden when we talk about diversity to bring different people in the next because most of us have satellite radio in their cars whether we are renting or leasing or buying. before i was here in new york during a morning show an average people from the bahamas and canada. i don't even know how to get a signal. attack to people across the country and it is breathtaking every day to come in and know that your voice is rich enough bar. >> you are on a channel basically designated as urban, african-american. i would imagine not being african-american and not in the shares but as an observer of
wonder about this. is it difficult to find for being an african-american begins and ends and when it becomes generally sent. >> i somehow knew i was going to get the black question. >> i wonder why. >> actually 92 channels. i am an serious am an sirius xm for being you and a new channel with a dominate. i'm doing a show on monday. they repeat their urban show on inside and i'm starting to do a live show one and type with a completely different audience. i don't change anything. i published kris jenner spoke an ipod of time with reality people and we let the world has changed dramatically in everyday i wake up and say at some point this 15 minutes are up and they just don't seem to be. i've come to the conclusion that people are fascinated by people.
i can be interesting by being myself and it doesn't matter what my races and quite frankly yesterday we had a caller yesterday, where tom harkin on talking about the cpp. make sure this goes out to the urban community. the caller is like you do know this is urban view, right? they need to know this. it's interesting that i don't draw the boundaries of mainz and that is why i think we have a very diverse audience. i do hang up on a lot of people, too. could be broader if i didn't hang up on them. >> schooley, alaska the woman question. people ask me all the time, how come there aren't more women on the heavy hundred. i say don't blame the messenger. now i'm asking how come there are more women in talk radio. my answer is because there aren't more.
it is what it is. there is no answer. what is your razor? >> i've had a lot of conversations even today with women in the industry. the most important thing is people asked the question how do i become a big success. the response to that and i'm looking around for some folks and they say who has defined success. if you've got a great show and you are making money and their options for distribution, lots of them. lots of digital outlet including in i heart media, there is a different definition of success. be in charge of your own life and if there is limited time zone and on air right now, look at a different way. we can do this. >> thank you. joe, you were in the newspaper business. you are as realistic a reporter,
editor. you've got ink in your blood. dinosaur. you are no dinosaur. you're a visionary part of the future. you work in a daily newspaper that has innovation and you are in the radio business now. two years on this austin herald radio. share with this audience what you've learned. >> is amazing. to summarize, radio has been a shot of adrenaline to our news organization which is traditionally a newspaper. we have a website. we do video. it has enhanced journalism and expanded our breach and we see sort of the best of radio, the basics you know about, the immediacy of radio in breaking this happens in real time. that is so valuable to us in terms of reporting things now.
newsmakers, public figures come as a governor, mayor, athletes, celebrities might be reluctant to call it prayer reporter and have that person decide which posts they used have not used. but now they can come on herald radio would be heard in full context. the key thing is that it's not a radio station in isolation. it's integrated fully with everything else we do in our newsroom. we break news on the radio another break is simultaneously on the web and the video embedded and found on the web e-mailed out of social media and print the next day we follow up advancing a story we have broken on the radio. today on the front page we have a friend paul interview saying don't go after my wife the way he went after marco rubio's wife. the only downside is it's hard
to find photos to use the people not wearing headphones. sa news coverage, news breaking vehicle and later expand audience it's been incredible. >> are the powers that be there happy you did it? >> absolutely. great recognition nationally. we were just named as a finalist for innovator of the year. i remember when you first came into our studio. michael has been incredible help from the beginning. we are newspaper people and we need radio advice. radio is very difficult medium to large and unique experience doing that and it's a difficult thing to navigate. came into the studio and our studio, multimillion fox news studio with the bells and whistles of renovated conference
room. very basic board and michael is looking around saying soundproofing manner soundproofing here. it has technically been very basic. we do remotes, have a at city hall at and broadcast live from there. there is no investment but we see traction on advertising as well as radio specific types. >> is strongly as anybody who's not familiar with "boston herald" radio to check it out because what they are doing is a clear-cut example and potential of audio media mixed in a platform. alan colmes, you are a friend of mine. don't try to be funny.
allen is a very funny guy. whenever people say i get so angry at him, he's such a nasty. i get very upset. now we have to cut it out because this runs on the children's channel. it's our 18th degree as my friends would play now. >> if you think i'm doing a two-man show again, that part of my life is over. >> who the heck are you? >> that's deep. >> you're doing some great work in formats beyond but everyone knows he would know and i would like to have a talk about it. >> that's a great question. i wish i'd thought about it before i came here so i knew who i was. who we are speaks to what shall we do and who are we on the air. certainly people who know my work would say he's a liberal or anti-american, hates the
country. but who are we as a great question to ask yourself and think about in terms of what part of yourself you want to bring to the show you're doing. people know me from hannity columns or see me with bill o'reilly than arguing with monica crowley my sister-in-law and a six minute segment where you become a cartoon. as mike francesca was saying earlier, on television you have three, four minutes to give soundbites have. i'm radio you cannot sign conversations. the show i do is recall or interact it so it becomes more than left versus right. it is hua mei, who is my audience. we have regular callers. when they moved me to 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. i didn't have a big audience because he changed my
timeslot which is much better. i would get two callers and our endless colors became people in characters on the show ever made to people who call the show into one theory would be the same people: every day is boring. these people would talk about their lives and what their health issues were and the callers to the show is less about who i am. >> you're not answering the question but it's nice. >> i didn't didn't anticipate it going this direction, but who you are as a lot about what you bring to the table. it's not just who i yam, but to the callers are. i do a show on talkers.com about one of my other interests which is nothing to do with left right politics. it's about human consciousness,
cosmology. that is how the planet got started. we talk about self-improvement and people in the human potential movement and meditation. it's not left right, not politics at all. this is one of my passions because when i met doing radio i'm not reading political books. i'm watching deep talk chopra. i have a venue now to bring that to the radio and sometimes combine it with fox news radio. the big question you asked us who are we a more are we them apart if akamai bring to our audience. it's a very important question we should ask ourselves what our of ourselves do we want to reveal during a few few hours a day? >> or what part of ourselves we would go to a different audience. you are not obligated to be what you are. you can have their own small channels and podcasts.
craig, i haven't forgotten you were here. what is it like being the program director at wabc, having this immense heritage behind you. part of the answer, how is that different being in new york than a smaller market? >> thanks for having me here. every year i think a lot and everyone takes something away from the conference said thanks for having me. wabc versus providence which is a great station is about. i don't think challenges are that much different. the audience is bigger. guess the talent -- there's a different level of talent in the sense they have to perform on a larger stage. but the talent in providence are very talented.
the talented new yorker very talented. that doesn't change. the radio station is a radio station in many ways. you still have concerns of marketing. you still want to sign talent to the agreement. you still want the talent to be in a productive party and have been due to the show they possibly can. those fights, those battles are different in new york. or do more in new york. you still have a transmitter that goes down in des moines. you still have cells can turn and sales managers to work with and be even try to find your spot and the things that are going to matter. those conversations are the same in the hallways of providence as they are in new york. the difference for me is that
there's a different pulse in new york city. as a different expectation in new york about the best patients, tro and wabc are heritage grant. like earlier you want to be the custodian of them. i take the heritage of the station carried new york very serious way. it is what a lot of us listen to. you listening to cousin percy or whatever it might then. we listen to these radio stations growing up. ellison became west, debbie gm and the midwest. this meant a lot to me. this big stack means a lot to me. i take it extremely seriously. i take our talent seriously. i take our approach to promotion and marketing seriously. i take everything seriously because that is what it has to be for all of us.
it's an exciting time. it is something i hold very dear and something of painful to be apart of. >> you bring up something interesting. i program in the biggest markets and i've also programmed some small markets. i found the biggest mistake they can do is just because they're at a big station to market but somehow they know more or better than people running small stations are small markets have small people in small money. lots of talent in power in clicks. it is hard to program radio in a small town. amazing obstacles when you come in with big city ways and think you have all the answers. chris oliveira, wrapped up the big picture because it's interesting that that followed you over the years. here you are 2015 around the track a lot and you're not the
same young fella when you're, 20 years ago. what is your assessment of the big picture? what do we need to be concerned with going forward? >> i think what we have to be concerned about moving forward is not making excuses we've made a habit of in the past. the whole conversation about bolts here is very interesting, new and shiny. but the point about that is there have been radio stations in ppm that is the number one blog before voltaire and number 12550 years ago. we try to take on one thing and make it all about that thing and with a side of the big picture and that is not good for any industry. the thing i'm most passionate about, i think nielsen will get it right that average quarter after rating points, share has
>> at the middle east institute in washington, the former batter to syria, robert ford, talks about how would affect iran's neighbors in the region. in a panel of middle east analyst with the impact in iran and syria relations. this is an hour and a half. >> thank you, mark and thank you for coming to the event today. it seems to be over both. sorry we don't have enough chairs. certainly a lot of interest in this important matter. thank you to c-span and cnn and others who are taping are covering this event. the event is after the iran deal, obviously it still has to go to congress and some
obstacles here and there, but we are looking at the regional dynamics, regional repercussions as the deal moves forward. we have an excellent panel. i'm proud to say all people to help us understand the thinking in iran and turkey in the golf from repercussions on iraq and syria and help us get a handle on the com/unfolding repercussions and dynamics. i will introduce briefly. they will speak in the order they are seated. they will make initial remarks and then i will engage them in a bit of q&a and then we will turn to a q&a with you. to my immediate left is alex vatanka. alex is a senior fellow at the middle eastern institute. he covers iran in the ivory and foreign policy for rest.
writes regularly an american and international press with comments in the media as well. before joining mei he was with jane's defense and was having their islamic affairs department. a lot of experience that covers iran very intensively. she will share with us some of his observations and how this has unfolded in tehran, the different power blogs and opinions back terms of opinion. to his left is thomas lippman, known to most of you a scholar at the middle east institute. he has had it long and illustrious career as an award-winning author and journalist covered and written on middle eastern affairs in american foreign policy for several decades. he was also former bureau chief at the "washington post" and is well known in that capacity, has a book coming out in early 2016 called over the crossing, how in
the 1973 war change the world. he will share with us his views and how he sees saudi arabia and others react to the dia vis-à-vis the u.s. and iran. he will be followed by dr. gonul tol. gonul is the founder and director of the middle east institute, also an adjunct professor at george washington university, lectures at the national defense university. many of you are familiar with her writing and appearances in the turkish press and international press that covers turkish affairs in terms of the foreign policy and were happy to have her with us to help offenders and the turkish reaction, interest in relation to the deal. to her left as ambassador robert ford lawsuit does not need
introduction. currently a senior fellow with the middle east institute that he has had a very long illustrious career in the u.s. state department and was the last u.s. ambassador to syria but before that served as deputy and vast array of iraq, senior political adviser and was ambassador to algeria, deputy chief in bahrain and extensive experience in iraq and syria in the middle east in general. he received a presidential honor award for his leadership in damascus and recognized in 2014 as secretary of state of distinguished service award. 2012 he received the annual profile in courage award for boston jfk library for his defense of human rights in syria and he is a frequent writer, refer on the hill and adviser and issues related to syria and iraq and we are happy to have him with us to walk us through
the views and repercussions of this. alex, let me start with you and trying to understand reactions in tehran so far, what is then the spectrum of opinion, spectrum of reactions and how you think this will impact iranian politics but more importantly foreign policy towards the region. >> thank you very much for coming. paul, as we discussed this, i took note of the fact he said five minutes and no more. an set of bullet points and i hope we get to talk about the bullet points that might be of interest to view, but each of these are aimed to give you a flavor of what is happening inside the islamic public reprimand following this deal. i may perhaps start with the most important bullet point at the top of my list. reformists, moderates, intellectuals, most iranian media and public opinion is in
favor of the deal. when i hear president obama -- for it is momentary. president obama talk about hardliners i scratch my head and look hard to find those hardliners. that is in terms of the overall landscape. since the deal was signed now you can criticize the deal. there's a big difference now compared to before the deal being signed. before of assigned you couldn't talk about the nuclear broker in. now the so-called hardliner view that exist are out there in criticizing the deal. what they've done is open up the entire debate about the nuclear program. if you look at the course of the last 13 years of us having to deal with the iranian nuclear issue, this is a peak moment
where you have something that looks like a serious debate in iran but the pros and cons of having a nuclear program. people asked the question we've avoided as long as they have. what is the actual cost of the program and nobody knows. the effect is debated tells you things are changing. i don't see any credible hardliners they can do anything to stop the deal. what might happen is the deal itself as they move forward towards implementation stages will fall apart. that is not something you can expect a novel, as a result of the licensee agrees not being able to continue in the path of implementing the dia the 14th of july. the iranian supreme leader ayatollah khamenei has been paid. there has been press and analyses and talks about the vagueness and almost assumes the
vagueness means he's opposed to it. if you look at the course for this man's role as supreme leader, it is very rare to come out in favor of anything in black-and-white terms. he keeps his options open and see how this unfolds. if you listen to the people close to him, the 17 year foreign minister veteran, today ayatollah khomeini is an immediate defending the deal. if you listen to people whose a very personal friend from the city where they grew up as children and happens to be the joint chiefs of staff has been there defending the deal vigorously. i listen to people and take into account that khomeini given his position in the islamic republic is not the type of person you might expect from iranian politics. it's not ahmadinejad.
he is not a spoken like that. it's not the guys carrots there. obviously the revolutionary guards are the third key interest party and the islamic republic if you put a team on one side come as supreme leaders on one side and the arid pillar have not come out against the deal. what they do instead is give speeches where they say we have to make tactical retreat but the strategy is still in place. basically they are keeping them serves relevant and era that might soon be upon them or they may feel less relevant. if you look at the rouhani administration key focus from here onwards and i can give you names in the q&a talk about individuals or from his office to oil minister to foreign minister, there is a team the
rouhani administration, most of whom have known each other going back to the 1980s and i worked together from 1989 to 1997 and again until 2005. these are not people that the accident showed up and are joining the party. there is a cohesive thinking on their part in terms of where they like to take the country. that is their strength. so far they've been able to go to the supreme leader and say you need to sign this deal because without this deal while the happiness will start unraveling from within. i called them to team with an economic master plan. certainly they seem to have china in mind open up economically and talk about political reform later. or does regional policy fit in within the equation. we've seen a lot of movement.
the europeans, french foreign minister of first visiting 13 years. the german minister for the first time in 12 years going to iran. the italians have been there. a lot of movement used by the rouhani administration say we can talk, c., go places. one thing i'd say about the team and again if you listen to joe wants to read if i spend my moments going through the iranian press that all these names are in my head. if you rush into the speech, he was pretty open. or an economic stakeholders from the last, tie their money and investments and am therefore you're going to make this nuclear deal sustainable. what they are saying it's not about the irgc. it's how many corporations come
and go back to their capitals and speak at a bus. that's the thinking. whether it works out as a whole different matter what obstacles in the way. khomeini came with economic reform and so far has said nothing about for great headlines from tehran. $185 billion of investment in the next five years and iranian oil and gas. the investment brings you to global economic mainstream and away we have to deal with people and whole mini has not opposed these projects or ideas so far. but i think you need to watch out for if i was an american analysts and i was sitting there watching this, i want to know how hard people in the administration going to the global economy and deal with the western world has stated clearly
what he calls resistance economy which is to say we will not become dumping grounds for westerner chinese imports. we have to learned the lessons from the last 10 years. rouhani is very cautious in what he says. forgetting about everything and sustaining economy at home. we will deal with the europeans only when it makes sense and i make this point because this is key to understanding whether the supreme dealers office will come in the plan at any point in the future. rouhani like ahmadinejad has been careful to make the supreme leader is the one driving this forward. on the nuclear deal, die despite rouhani wanted to happen and i suspect the same thing on the major economic plan.
i've noticed something here which i'm not going to get into, but perhaps in the q&a we can talk about one of the key questions. what was ayatollah khomeini's intention? was it to prevent war, remove sanctions or to make friends? clearly a lot of people in the 90s is that? about the latter. you look angry. >> i'm not angry. >> is so much more. the messiah appeared and hopefully get to the other points. >> i had people in that audience of more they would like to hear about. let me ask you the u.s. following the institutional process, is there any institutional obstacles, when we know it's officially accepted on the iranian side is the two shins? >> you can play different ways. it can go up there and say
they've approved it amongst the congress rejects to be of any of the case to say we been dealing with americans for the last two years and this is how they treat an agreement. that is one argument we can put forward. we shouldn't lose sight of the fact the iranian parliament and its republic of iran is not a key decision-maker. if anything, it is used that the supreme leader's office to control the atmosphere politically. how much of a hard-line voice to rehab in the system and they can do that by making sure the candidate getting the parliament and one of the key issues to look out for february of next year. if you see a lot of the so-called train to people between now or immediately dismissed friendly to ayatollah
khomeini being dismissed, that he's gotten what he wanted that is not going to let rouhani in this deal. one way is to make sure they don't get too many supporters in the iranian politics. the nuclear negotiations are going to be verified or the national vote. some members of the parliament are asking for a vote. if the americans can play games, we can play games. >> we are not used to political theater in the u.s. tom, let's turn to you obviously across the pond, across the gold, positions in the gcc in general may be having different reactions. what is your reading of how saudi arabia and others have taken this agreement and house
doesn't impact relations with the u.s., iran, are there any nuclear arms race issues related to this. what are your thoughts on gcc reactions and actions. >> i look out at the audience and i have so many friend that tells me i've indeed been doing this too long. i want to start off in all the years i've been going to, living in, i recently learned that random fact i want to discuss. islamic law provides for a tax code that you see a which is levied on nonbelievers in an islamic community. i learned recently one of his first acts upon consolidating control over arabia back in the early years of the 20th century by abdulaziz was to levy on shia, attacks on nonbelievers. to me, if you want to understand
the collective saudi attitude about shia, that tells you what you need to know. keep that in mind is to go through the rest of the discussion. last fall i attended two of these uniquely washington events on consecutive days at other institutions. the first day the panelists were all current and former american officials from the defense department, national security council and basically all of them said the same thing. we in the united states have been unshakable no doubt about it commit an two security and protection of our friends in the gulf and who find it in all our doctrines in the centcom commanders posture statement, whatever you want to read the
quadrennial defense review, all these documents turned out of washington. this was the gospel according to us. you would've thought at some point they were talking about israel. this is general dempsey saying you can take this to the bank which became a famous quote. the next day went to a different panel which most of participants were arabs in the region and it became apparent they had heard all of this. they heard it over and over and didn't believe it. it was a fundamental cognitive dissonance between them and us over an issue that mattered in which we saw different ways. dallas when abdullah was still king of saudi arabia and it was also when the saudi's and others in the goal for indeed apprehensive about the way things were going in the probable or possible course of discussions with iran and what it is going to mean to them.
in my opinion what is happening now is the gcc members collect lee and dr. anthony i'm waiting for you to shoot me down on this. the gcc countries collectively have decided to believe it whether they really do were not, what they tell each other over card among coffee at three in the morning there's got to 3:00 in the morning i don't know and they are not going to tell me anyway. beginning with camp david gcc summit in may, you see that the gcc leaders have made a collective decision that the iran deal was going to be done. they were not going to do a full one on this. they need us more than we need them and i think that is clear especially because the realities in the oil market it. there was a joint statement in
the six gcc countries and president obama and the second week of may said we all recognize a well-crafted agreement with iran could be beneficial to the security throughout the region. that is why the statement they issued it go halle last week or recently was not a surprise. now the deal is done they simply reiterated the position they take him knowing it was going to be done. i think now it seems to me what has happened is the gcc countries have decided the issue is behind them. they will take the united states at its word to all these new security arrangements we have committed themselves to which is the first manifestation of the patriot sale of saudi arabia which came out not long after and they are going to work with
us as best they can do better with each other to try to confront some of the problems throughout the region. how do we see this? first of all, saudi's are feeling much better about the situation in yemen. i don't know whether they turned a corner but the deadly district to stalemate that followed the bombing campaign in march now seems to have been broken with the retaking of eight men the airbase to the north, the return of president were upon rouhani vice president and you can now see the possibility that the very least getting back to the negotiating table. you also see a and reinforce attitudes about syria. i don't think it was a coincidence the foreign tour suddenly showed a period you are
familiar with the link oman provides between the gulf and iraq. they have a talk to me since i got mad at me 20 years ago. all of a sudden the air was full of airplanes going here and there and you can see what i would describe as a sort of collective waking up. the iran agreement for better or worse is a done deal. therefore we have to look for other things and we got a lot of problems. let's work with the americans and with each other to address whether they can actually get their act together i don't know but they are certainly going to have military equipment and capabilities do what they think they need to do and the american
commitment i just read this morning i was reading a new piece by by tony cordis vande pulls all the stuff together. finally, let me say one of the arguments being made about in the united states during the discussion about the iran treaty mostly raised by people who in my opinion don't fundamentally understand was the treaty would set up a nuclear arms race in the goals. i don't believe for one minute that is true and i've been writing this until people are bored with their writing of it for more than a decade and my reasoning hasn't changed. it is true to gcc countries have a stated commitment to create nuclear power and their countries, the two plants under construction in abu dhabi and very ambitious plans which frankly they need nuclear power
because the saudi's are burning as much as 30% of their own oil and crude oil in the power plants. basically i would raise the argument. you heard what might colleague alex vatanka is saying about the iranian economy. saudi arabia from which matters most on this subject and throughout the goals, the first rule, the first guiding principle for the rulers of saudi arabia is self-preservation. preservation of the saudi state. they have decided, recognize that they can't do that as a confrontational state in which they feed the people, give the people circumstances and don't fulfill their aspirations for a better life. ..
from domestic politics, turkey's foreign policy, that is the key to understanding turkey's behavior. i think play as part in turkey's iran policy as well. on iran nuclear deal, turkey shares western objectives on iran's nuclear program. but it has promoted a different, it promoted engagement instead of isolation and been against sanctions n 2009 and 2010, back
in the old days when the turkish foreign ministers, turkey wanted to play a bridge role between the west and iran. so in 2010 turkey voted against iran sanctions at the united nations. turkey is happy about the iran nuclear deal for two reasons. the first reason is economic. iran is a huge market for turkey, turkish goods and potential trade with iran and it has close energy ties with iran. so this is a big opportunity for turkey and turkey has been mobilizing turkish businessmen to start investing in iran. that is fortunate for turkish business but also turkey has the objective to a nuclear iran, traditionally objected to a nuclear iran arguing that that could change the regional
balance of power in favor of iran. so that is turkey's, that has been turkey's policy. that is why all political parties from the ruling party to the opposition party, ngos, and business organizations pretty much everyone in turkey is quite happy about the nuclear deal and lift lifting of sanctions but turkey has strategic concerns about iran. it has three strategic concerns and the first one is, the rising influence iran's rising influence in syria and iraq. turkey argued that stronger iran is, it will have more power and step up support for shiite militia in iraq, which is destablizing factor in iraqi politics. so that's why turkey has been against iran's influence in iran. and similarly in syria, they are
on opposing fronts and rising influence in iran's rising influence in syria is undercutting turkey's policies in syria. the second strategic concern turkey has, closer ties between washington and iran at the expense of turkey. turkey and washington have not been on the same page in syria. they have conflicting priorities and objectives in syria. turkey has been quite upset with the obama administration policy in iraq as well. so turkey thinks that if washington and tehran, they cultivate closer ties, because of this nuclear deal, then they could, they could undercut turkey's syria policy mainly turkey has been supporting, toppling of the assad regime from the get-go, since the
uprising started in march 2011. turkey has been, while late august, august 2011, turkey has been supporting the syrian opposition, and turkey become operational hub for the syrian opposition and turkey has invested heavily in the anti-assad coalition. that is turkey's strategic number of one aim in syria and yet the united states, has seen the islamic state as a threat. that is why there has been a lot of tension and washington and ankara. ink kara is not upset that turkey is not fully on board in the anti-islamic state coalition. very simply turkey has refused to open the u.s. incirlik air base in turkey for coalition airstrikes against the islamic state and the u.s. and other other western allies complain turkey has not done enough to stop crossings of foreign
jihadis using turkish territory. so there has been a mismatch and the two countries, they have not seen eye-to-eye on syria. now turkey's fear is that washington and iran could cut a deal in syria and that's why, although welcoming the iran nuclear deal, turkey is trying to mend fences with the u.s. thinking it could also join the newly emerging front of the third concern turkey has, turkey's strategic concern is iran's support for the pkk and pyd, the pkk offshoot in syria and that is not a new concern for turkey. for decades, in the 1990s, turkey had zero relation with iran, strategic relations because turkey also feared that iran is supporting the pkk and
the kurds to destablize turkey. after the syrian conflict started, the kurdish issue has become another vulnerability for turkey because the assad regime supported kurds in the north, gave a free hand to the pkk, allowed pkk leadership to return to the country. so the pkk should become more complicated for turkey because of the syrian conflict. and more recently there has been a cease-fire since 2013 between turkey and the pkk. but more recently the two sides resumed violence. and now turkey fears that iran could play the pkk card, the kurdish card again and turkish media last week reported that iran approached the pyd and the kurds and promising them support, as much support as it has provided to the assad regime, if they join the fight on the side of the assad regime.
and this is a huge concern for turkey. i think that is one of the reasons behind turkey's recent attacks against the pkk so in response to these three strategic threats and concerns, turkey has done several things. turkey-saudi ties have been tense under the old king but after he died turkey kind of approached the saudis in an effort to counter rising iran influence in the region. and also turkey, saudi and qatar, they, turkey has been pursuing a very aggressive syria policy since 2014. saudis and turks they have been supporting groups like radical islamic groups like al muse a front in -- news a front in.
part to counter iranian influence in syria. recently turkey opened the incirlik air base for coalition airstrikes against the islamic state. the main reason was no the iran nuclear deal obviously. there was an attack by islamic state that killed 32 people, kurdish activists. so that was turning point. but i think part of the reason was turkey's, turkey really wants to mend ties with washington. so i think turkey is taking these several steps but, still, i think when it comes to iran, turkey and iran, they have had peaceful relations for almost four centuries, since 1639. turkey on one hand is concerned about the rising iran influence but on the other hand i don't
think it is willing to completely alienate iran that has been turkey's policy. ankara could normalize relations with iran. on one hand they have very close relations economically and very close energy ties. on the other hand despite their differing stances in syria and iraq they could, they could be able to manage the and have a working relationship and i think it will, it will remain so. >> thank you very much, gonul. very fascinating and detailed presentation. thank you very much. let me turn to robert ford, impact on long-running conflicts in syria and iraq. >> no? thank you all. very nice to be here. thank you for the invitation. they said, well, when you start to speak for five, six minutes
on how this is going to affect syria and iraq, i thought, five minutes. reminded me of a story of a very ponder russ brittish archeologist invited at end of 1900s, beginning of 20th century to talk about archaeology research in the far east and digging up temples and ancient cities. the british museum asked him to talk about 20 minutes. he sputtered to his friend, how could i possibly explain everything i know in a mere 20 minutes. oscar wilde said, well, speak slowly. just telling you i used up a couple minutes. i only have four to go. just on syria and iraq, washington is consumed with the issues of this nuclear deal and the politics. the problems in syria and iraq actually don't evolve really
around iran or the united states. the problems in iraq and syria involve grievances among communities that are long-standing, predate this nuclear accord and they're going to go on well beyond it. i think a bigger question would be, is there a prospect a reasonable prospect of greater american-iranian cooperation in these two conflicts? so let me look at that a little more deeply for just a couple of minutes. on the iraq side, when i think of this war against the islamic state i think of a two-front war. there is a eastern front, eastern front front and western front. so on the eastern front in iraq, first the pressures on the unity of the iraqi state are growing exponentially now. low oil prices are pushing the kurds more and more to seek independence because they're not
getting the payments they were promised from baghdad. just one more kurdish grievance among others. and there is not much progress, let's be honest, there is not much progress so far on reconciliation between iraq's sunni arabs and iraq's political shia, the ones who are basically in control in baghdad. the iranians are part of this although they are not the most important part. they have close allies among iraq's political shia and they are particularly close to several very capable and potent militias, some of which are on american terrorist designated organizations list. groups like katab, that killed hundreds of american servicemen during our military presence in
combat there. i don't think the iranians are likely to give you will those allies and those allies themselves, shia and militia till have the -- still have political influence. militia leaders are calling on members to join demonstrations taking place in baghdad and other cities in recent days protesting poor provision of services such as electricity and water. these political militia leaders, people like amri are extremely agile. they're very capable. they're very smart. they're very ruthless. they're very capable. in the absence of reconciliation between on the one hand the shia militias and sunni-arabs on the other side, it is not clear that the americans in iran will be
able to work a whole lot on the islamic state problem in syria the islamic state -- i'm sorry the islamic state problem in iraq, because that problem is basically a problem that the islamic state recruits to replace its losses. as long as that political entity is marked by lack of distrust among sunni-arabs the islamic will be able to recruit, replace the losses and the fight foys on. if the americans saddle up too closely to the iranian-backed militias they will actually help the islamic state recruit more people. i think administration is very aware of this. they have been very careful to hold the shia militia at length. the minutes actually refuse to provide air cover, close combat air support when the shia militias attacked sunni-arab, predominantly sunni area of tikrit in the spring which in my
opinion is a very smart move. how they will cooperate with the iranian allies in iraq in the future is not clear yet. only in the iranians are willing to cede authority of these militias to the baghdad government of prime minister abadi, i think would we then have a greater margin of manuever with the iranians in iraq. that's the good news. the bad news in syria is that the war is no longer really a stalemate. actually the outside -- assad regime is now clearly losing. i was talking to gonul and tom, the syrian opposition is closing on the homeland. assad's holm town. that is how close they're getting. but there is no sign, no sign that iranians are backing off their support for the assad
regime in syria. just last week the iranian foreign minister was visiting kuwait and qatar and in kuwait, he said, promised that iran would stand by his friends in the region, clearly indicating syria among them and then took a shot at the saudis and said it is up to other countries in the region and here in the gulf to change their policies that are destablizing. there is, however, some diplomatic frequent fly irmilage being expended right now with visits being traded between the iranians, the russians and the saudis and there is even a report, not confirmed, one of the most important syrian secret intelligence service officials visited saudi arabia last week, which would be remarkable visit if in fact occurred. it hasn't been confirmed.
there are reports that iranians are about to put forward a peace proposal for syria, which would include a call for a new national unity government. it would include a change to the constitution of syria to better protect the rights of syrian minority communities, and it would include a problem miss of free elections under international supervision at some point in the future in syria. and the syrian foreign minister visited tehran last week and then went to oman presumably to talk to the oman anies and through them to the saudis about this proposal. the russians sent the foreign minister to be in tehran when the syrian foreign minister -- so there is clearly coordination between the russians, the iranians and the syrians. i don't think that this is going to go very far in part because of what gonul was just saying.
the turks are so far not signed into this. although i notice -- is about to visit ankara to talk to the turkish foreign minister and i'm sure this will be on his agenda. the turks have a veto of all this because of their support of the armed opposition to the north and i have to say based on my many discussions with the armed opposition i can not imagine, they will, a, trust the iranians, and b, even if they did they would never accept as bashar al-assad stay on as part after transition government which is what i think the iranians are talking about. so in syria is there scope for the americans to work with the iranians against the islamic state? will the russians and iranians are both urging the americans to stop pushing against assad, and instead work with him. but remember what i said at the beginning when i talked about syria. the assad regime is now losing. it is army is starting to
withdraw. their supply lines to aleppo are about to be cut. a la wait homeland is about to be attacked -- alawhite. there were anti-assad demonstrations in assad in his hometown province. anti-assad demonstrations in his own home base, think about that for a minute. is there much space to work with assad? if assad can not retake the suburbs of damascus after three years, what are the prospects of assad being able to take on strongholds of the islamic state in places like raqqa, which are three, four, 500 miles from damascus? instead, it seems that there would be a bigger question of some kind of a diplomatic coordination with the iranians but that in turn will require the iranians to accept that the assad regime is actually now losing the war and there has to be a transition to move assad
out. if i think, will not be possible to bring turkey along, probably even the saudis along without the iranians making that concession. not clear where the iranians are about to get a large amount of cash as part of sanctions relief over the next 16 months they will be willing to take that concession but i leave that to alex to make that conclusion. in short long-standing grievances and events on the ground don't suggest an immediate change for american-iranian effective collaboration against the islamic state in syria or iraq. thank you, paul. >> thank you very much, robert b thank you for that. let me come back to each of the panelists with one quick question each and thin turn it over to the audience. let me go back to you, alex. you gave us a very excellent view of sort of the big picture how things are being viewed in tehran. if you dial it down a bit and tune us into the conversations,
the statements relating to their regional partners, what's the spectrum of opinion relating to iran's relations to saudi arabia and in particular the gulf states? is there any new language? are there any new proposals? i know the foreign minister made a number of those, but more on the hard-line side is there any vision that this deal might signal a new era? and with relation to turkey obvious they have a longer history of economic cooperation with differences over syria. are you seeing any new language that relates to their regional partners? anything that can be built on realistically? >> thank you, paul. let me just go back to last week. just to give you a flavor of the crick shuns that you hear come out of tehran, which frankly doesn't help iranians in terms of making friends or convincing anyone. so we had on one hand the deputy foreign minister talk about, you know, we want to, we need to
talk to saudi arabia. specifically talking about yemen but elsewhere also in his case talked about the situation in bahrain. but then we have ayatollah khamenei in friday prayer, talking in sort of strongest language you can imagine, putting saudi arabia, israel and isis in same category and saying united states backing all three. you sit there and scratch your head and say, you know, if you're really trying to make new friends and you decided you want to walk away from the past bad ways, this is not going to convince anyone. you will leave many people around the world, particularly here in washington without question should i take iran seriously which is the question which have had for two years? are these people making a difference? interest they being used by khamenei for purpose of removing sanctions? once that is done the fears of
skeptics of the deal will, will sort of live itself out? i see certainly division in terms of the thinking in tehran, paul. you have the people. i mentioned some of them, who, let me give you a specific example, the oil minister ganai. key in iranian cab bet because iranian economy depends on that oil revenue and in the future more so natural gas. he has a key task. if you want to maintain the economy, if you want to have degree of political stability you better do something with the economy. so he has that job. obviously in the close cooperation with rouhani, the president, was successful getting a new deal. fine. he has been successful reaching out to europeans. fine. now there is another issue for him, particularly as oil minister, how does iran come back to the world energy markets? this is a country with 18% of
world's natural gas but barely exports any. this is country with nine% of the world's oil. but today it exports a they are of what it did a few years ago. there is a lot of catching up to do and in the case of him and the gcc the elephant in the room is saudi arabia. so i can see thinking on part of so-called moderates, pragmatic forces from the rouhani equation in the islamic republic if they play that card, play careful with some skill they might go places. but if they're not, they're going to be basically hearing same argument that the rouhani people have been hearing last two years which is, are you being quietly supported by the saudis? how on earth can you argue for us dealing with the kingdom of saudi arabia, a country basically says all shia have to die? what are you thinking? that is the counter argument that the rouhanis of this world will hear from the irgc people. but that only happens if the fight within islamic republic
they're desperate and looking for ammunition to hit one another. i give you one scenario, paul, in iran i would add. if president rouhani doesn't play this post-sanction period in a smart way because remember, the potential big losers of this deal are the irgc and, 800 affiliated subsidiaries that are part of the irgc world and making money in iran. suddenly those 11,000 contracts they got from that period might no longer be on the table for them. so they are fearful, not just in terms of ideology. they're fearful whether they will get hit in their pockets. if rouhani can play the game master any, look we'll bring foreign firms in, but that doesn't mean you will lose out. that is the message you're hearing from and the like. we're talking about region of specifically saudi arabia, whether we like it or not, that is the giant iran has to deal with first and foremost. incidentally the only country
rouhani mentioned by name two years ago. now the nuclear deal is in the bag. can he, does he think politically he is able to pick this issue up? it is very contentious issue, saudi arabia but you know, perhaps he feels he has got what it takes to go forward. there is a lot at stake, no doubt about it. >> thank you, tom, ask you a bit about the dynamics within the gcc. a year ago qatar was isolated. there was a lot of internal politics within the gcc. we have new leadership in saudi arabia. saudi arabia qatar and turkey cooperating very much. a number of gcc states have a lot of economic interests and now potentially with a sanctions-free iran so there might be dramatics there. what degree do you see the gcc somewhat cohesive in the coming period? does that make a difference? how is it playing as a group? >> short answer is, i see them
being cohesive rhetorically. but not in terms of actual policy keep in mind only thing more tedious than wading through iranian press going back to read the charter of the gcc which i have done. >> which you have to do periodically. >> the words, defense, military, and security, do not appear in the charter of the f -- gcc it was a economic and quasi-political organization from the beginning and there have been various attempts over the years to hang sort of military do dads on this structure. you may recall, paul, you should remember this. that sometime, i guess it was late last year, there was yet another announcement that the gcc was going to form a unified military command, right? there may be people in this room who know more about that than i
do but if that military command has shown any signs of actually coming into existence i haven't seen any and the the gcc countries do not have, never had all along unanimity of views about iran. the split between the u.a.e. and saudi arabia with qatar was not about iran. that was about the muslim brotherhood mostly and egypt and i think they managed to paper that over. it was doha, it was the foreign minister of qatar that did the talking for the group in doha and i think they're sort of being forced into accepting at long last this kind of american superimposed military super structure which they have to hang together or they will all hank separately so to speak. but it's true that even in the
darkest days of the relations between the outside world and iran you could go to dubai and sit in a cafe on dubai creek and look across the iran functioning over there in broad daylight. so, and, you can go out on the gulf and you can see that somebody gets a phone call when the iranian customs officials go home for the night and all these boats gun it from the omani side of straight and smuggle goods in iran. there is a lot of economic activity historically actually. one last word on this. there is no unanimity within the gcc about each other. don't get saudis started on subject of kuwait and its parliament. that is just one example. so they're going to hold their noses to deal with each other and what they have to do for
self-preservation. that's not the same as being kindred spirits in my opinion. >> thank you very much. gonul, turkey is at a time of particular political change. president erdogan's plans for changing constitution didn't work out. kurds did so well. yet all these issues are very much at play. how do you see not just the deal but much of what you talked about, how do you see that impacting domestic politics which will determine new power structur, role of the kurds, the erdogan's old vision versus new vision and how do you see that impacting turkey? >> i think the syrian conflict, and i said this many times, the syrian conflict i think it was in 2012, when erdogan, when charlie rose interviewed erdogan. in that interview he said syria
is not policy matter for us. it was misinterpreted, thought it was new ottoman way of seeing the region. what he meant was syria is unique place. turkey's domestic politics, mainly because of the kurdish issue. so, yes, syria is not a matter of foreign policy. we have now two million syrian refugees. aside from that the kurdish communities living on different, both sides of the border, they are organic, there are family ties and what every happens, and reportedly 1/3 pkk members are of syrian origin. what happens in syria has direct impact on turkey's domestic politics and turkey's kurdish policy. so that is why when there are reports that in northern iraq there was meeting between iran and the p u.k., taliban anyi
parity and pyb leadership in syria that is alarming for turkey because turkey think iran and syria, they have used the pkk cards for a long time and that this destablizes turkey, that changes turkey, that was the main driver of turkey's middle east policy. so now the pkk card is again there to be used by iran and syria. so i think, this in a way, iran, within the syrian context is alarming for turkey and recently i believe it was a military iranian military official who was very critical of turkey's bombing of the pkk targets. so this all confirms in turkish minds that iran is going to abuse and use the pkk card. so that translates into a very aggressive domestic kurdish policy. and of course for erdogan there
is more at stake. now by using the pkk card, by pounding pkk targets in northern iraq, by arresting hundreds and thousands of pkk members domestically when he is talking about fighting against islamic state but targeting the pkk mostly, that is all part of his domestic calculations. he wants to appeal to the nationalist cards. regionally i think that is a response to what is happening mostly in syria and iraq. so domestically how will that, what kind of impact will it have on erdogan's domestic calculations? i think he is playing a risky game he is, it's a great thing that he finally opened incirlik air base and he seems to be fully on board on the coalition against the islamic state and yet he still sees the kurds as a bigger threat. so domestically he is appealing
to the nationalist votes but on the other hand this is risky because it could cost him remaining kurdish votes. so far it seems that him targeting the pkk is working to his advantage but if there is an islamic state bombing in a turkish resort in the mediterranean, that is really going to weaken the pak, and weakens prospects for forming majority government or calling for elections or sucker seeding in capturing more votes in potential early elections. >> thank you. robert, i know you have resigned from the government for many good reasons. let's say you were back for a week and had to advise kerry or the president. there has been a big diplomatic achievement with iran that is somewhat large and historic.
you were involved in geneva i and geneva ii. if secretary kerry had to put on a road map for remaining year-and-a-half for the administration and make efforts on the syrian crisis diplomatically, what advice would you give to attempt to revive geneva ii? is the processes all completely dead? are there possibilities of crop is a with russia on anything? is there any light that you might see? >> geneva ended in a hurry because the syrian regime wasn't willing to negotiate anything. the syrian opposition actually put forward in writing a year-and-a-half ago to the united nations special envoy at the time, they put forward a
proposal in writing they would negotiate a national unity government and assad's future was a negotiation. they did not have a precondition. let me say that again. they did not have as a precondition that assad step down. that was a year-and-a-half ago. at this point so much has changed on the ground and so much more blood has been shed. my own sense as they have made advances on the ground the syrian armed opposition is probably going to be a lot harder to extract concessions from. so going forward i noticed that the new united nations special on very with whom i worked in iraq and he is very capable, he doesn't think they can get to a conference anytime soon, a geneva iii if you will, paul. stefan suggested instead establishment of a working groups between syrians, among syrians on both sides to discuss things such as, security,
political transition, refugees and reconstruction. topics which all syrians are concerned about on both sides of the conflict. but which don't involve an actual political negotiation to set up some kind of a new system or new structures. that i think is a good way forward but i think at the same time it is more important than ever given that turkey, saudi arabia, qatar, are clearly helping the syrian armed opposition more than they were say a year ago. it is really important to get back on the same page with them, with the goal of eventually getting to a negotiation. that military victory probably is still some time away, even if it is not impossible to imagine now. but it would be better to negotiate a deal. but that means the secretary is
going to have to be back on airplanes or inviting counterparts to washington to talk specifically about syria. so reinforce intensified discussions with riyadh, with doha, with ankara about what is going on the ground. there is no harm in talking to the russians and they made some progress with the russians in terms of getting the russians to agree to a united nations security council resolution setting up an investigative team to determine who is dropping chemical weapons now on the battlefields in syria. the russians were refusing that for a long time. so the fact that the russians have agreed, that's a good step. more engagement with the russians but without any expectations of breakthroughs. this is the time instead to manage allies to get in sync for the day when we can see some light on the iranian
interruption side and get to a table. >> thanks a lot. let us now turn to the audience. any questions or comments? you can say who the question is directed to. as you start, introduce yourself. i will start with the lady in the back. that microphone is, there you go. i will take a few questions in the room. go ahead. >> thank you. my question is for ambassador ford. >> need to introduce yourself. >> my name is maha. i work for the state department. i'm a sirrian-american. so my question is for ambassador ford. regarding syria and iran, it has been said enran really runs the show in syria or at least runs the regime. so there have critics who said iran will use this deal to funnel lots of money and arms and more fighters into the conflict on the regime side and i wanted to know your thoughts on that. >> thank you.
somebody from this wing of the room, sir? gentleman in the second row. >> peter humphrey, intel analyst and former diplomat. i wanted to ask dr. tol. mit has learned that tom turks joined isis. that is the i wonder if turk -- a fact l for turkey declaring war on isis or was it the bombing? >> thank you. the gentleman in the front. >> david mack from the middle east institute. i have a question for both tom lippman and bob ford. do you think an iranian deal will make a -- between riyadh and bag dodd more likely or less likely -- baghdad? >> that gentleman right there. i know there are a lot of hands.
i will try to get to them. >> a question for any of them. regarding whether the gcc countries need the u.s. more than the u.s. needs them, this is mixed. the gcc countries are key to 22 arab countries for leadership. 57 islamic countries for leadership. two, with regard to islam, they are the epicenter of prayer and pilgrimage of faith and spiritual devotion for more than a quarter of humanity. that is important for us. three, we have 80 years of investment in saudi arabia and, vice versa. now we're not about to turn our back on that. fourth, with regard to shia, saudi arabia has had good relations, better than bad relations with iran, with yemen, with syria, and with lebanon than it have negative ones that we're implied hire. lastly with regard to geography, saudi arabia alone is a
continent more than a country with 13 neighbors there. on military aspect here, last year they did have 130,000 troops that had joint manuevers. that is larger than any of the exercises they have had in history. issue whether they're unified or not is i don't think laced with any profundity. the your mean union is not unified like questions on euro, a rather basic question or with regard to greece or number of issues. so i think we do need them immensely. they need us immensely. and the implication that one needs the other more than the other, i think is quite debatable. >> thank you. gentleman at the very back. >> thank you. my name is. i'm an intern at the forum. my question is on the future of
u.s. and israel relations. also the relations between the west and israel. firstly, with the ability of the p5-plus-one, their ability to reach a deal with iran also due to the growing tensions twine the u.s. and israel and particularly the obama administration? secondly what does this deal mean for the future of their relations? thank you. >> thank you. let me go back to the panel, start with robert and in reverse order. >> so in answer to the mahaz question, it's very difficult for me to imagine that in the short term the iranians will not use some small portion of financial resources they
reacquire as part of sanctions relieve over next year-and-a-half, that they will not use some portion of those resources to help lebanese hezbollah to fight in syria. the number of casualties in syria is had the hundreds. it is approaching hezbollah casualties with israel. they will also use resources to prop up the assad government in terms of economically, in terms of economic assistance but also in terms of war material. that could be both material supplies but also could be paying salaries of shia fighters they recruit from countries like pakistan and afghanistan and iraq to go and fight in syria. i would recommend to you a report that the washington institute put out about two
weeks ago about the casualties among expatriate shia in syria. hundreds have been killed in the last year-and-a-half. so and that's because of the iranians. i would expect the iranians to take what sarif said at his word with his visit to the gulf last week that they were going to stay on and double down. i think that is the least they're going to do. i think the prospect of sanctions relief for iran means there will likely be increase in fighting in syria in the short and medium term. >> thank you, robert. gonul. >> in response to the question on why turkey finally joined the anti-islamic state coalition, think bombing on july 20th, it was a turning point. there were 32 people got killed and turkey could not, not respond especially at time when
there is potential early elections. turkey-syria, government syria policy is already unpopular so turkey had to respond but i think there was an agreement cut between the u.s. and turkey before the surgg bombing. the bombing almost became a face-saving way for turkey to join the islamic campaign. you're right, turkey is quite vulnerable. there are 1300 turkish nationals fighting in syria for the islamic state. and there are salafi networks in major turkish towns. turkey, yes, woke up to the reality the islamic state poses and more direct and bigger challenge than it does to the u.s. shares a long border with syria and there are too many syrian refugees. but i think the main reason is, again the kurds. turkey and, turkey has been
quite uncomfortable with the u.s. decision to airdrop weapons to the pyd in kobani and turkey decided to open incirlik air base and in return it asked for the u.s. to to establish a safe zone within syria. the safe zone is right in the middle of, there are three different kurdish enclaves in northern syria and with the fall of tabilat, the kurds managed to link up those two. the turkey is worried that the kurds are forming a kurdish corridor which could have access to the mediterranean. that is a nightmare for turkey. so turkey decided that that if it can convince the americans to establish a safe zone between the two kurdish enclaves, it could prevent the kurds from linking up those enclaves. that is how, that is the condition. that is how the condition turkey
decided to open incirlik air base. in short answer, yes, turkey realized it is vulnerable but on the other hand, the kurdish question, i think played a large irrole in turkey's decision. >> thanks. tom? >> in response to ambassador mack's question about relations between saudi arabia and iraq, always hesitant to get into this in a room full of people who know more about this than i do but for those of you who haven't followed this, this cat has a very long tail going back to the fact when the, what was the name? when maliki was running for prime minister, the saudis openly backed his opponent, his principle opponent, that i was more secular shiite. there was no possibility that saudi arabia and iraq were going to come back together as long as alawi was prime minister of
iraq. now under abadi there have been some kinds what i would call movement. that is to say a few months ago, probably in the late spring, the saudis finally for the first time in many, many years, designated a resident ambassador to go to baghdad and represent saudi arabia. the chosen person was a military intelligence officer last seen in beirut. now thanks to phoebe marr, i had pleasure sometime last year of meeting a career iraqi diplomat who just retired. his last post was iraq's ambassador in saudi arabia. so saudi arabia was in the position where iraq had an ambassador in saudi arabia but they didn't have one in baghdad. saudi arabia had ambassador in tehran but didn't have one in baghdad. it didn't make any sense but abdullah, king abdullah was
immoveable on this subject. i think now the saudis are less immoveable but at the same time, remember that along the border between saudi arabia and iraq they're building a fence that donald trump would be proud of. [laughing] >> thanks. alex, might not have been direct questions but anything you would like to respond to in the questioning? >> no. i want to clarify the point i made about the shias and saudi arabia. the argument that the kingdom of saudi arabia is going against the shias is one hard-liners in tehran are putting forward. that is not one necessarily that mainstream islamic republic of iran subscribes to. even if they did, the likes of ayatollah rafsanjani, the godfather of the iraqi camp, making argument, we made it back in the 1990s. i mean, iran could, after, the very nasty 1980s when saudi arabia backed saddam
hussein, founded in itself to go reach out to saudi arabia by the early 1990s much if they could do it again why can't they repeat the same experiment? the argument being saudi arabia simply too much of an opponent, rival in the context of an iran what is trying to do regionally and globally to sort of be ignored. i want to emphasize, one of the very few, handful of countries rouhani mentioned in election campaign in thirty 30, there was need in his mind to make serious change in saudi arabia. perhaps if you play the game of wishful thinking he has been busy last two years because of nuclear issue, he hasn't come around to it. now that the nuclear deal is done he can turn to saudi arabia. it's a two-way street. compromises need to be made both sides, if they go down the path that would certainly be good news for the region. >> thank you. maybe not all aspects of questions were answered. you might want to corner people
when the talk is over. we have a few more minutes left. let me start with the gentleman here. quickly, because our time is limited. gentleman in the front here. >> thanks very much. my name is tyler thompson, coalition for free syria. over a year ago u.s. government officials quietly accepted coalition groups accept iran and -- [inaudible] we only see this happen is more likely. say that the u.s. is already revealed this alliance on syrian battlefield. so, you mentioned that the u.s. needs to keep at arms length from these groups in iraq but in syria we still support groups that directly fight against the iranian-backed fighters. so if the u.s. were to suddenly announce cooperation with iran, on a syria, should the syrian
opposition see this finally as the end of even rhetorical support from the united states? >> thanks, tyler. i will turn to the extreme right. alan? >> thank you. alan keys, with the middle east institute. the discussion today is premised on the fact or on the assumption that the iran deal survives congressional scrutiny. so what are the regional dynamics, the regional ramifications if the congress kills the deal? >> you had to throw that in in the last two minutes. [laughing] >> we have another hour 1/2. >> let me go to the back there, michael, last row, or row before last. >> thank you. michael hudson from georgetown university. i didn't hair a lot of focus on isis and its associated groups. i was wondering this is mainly
for ambassador ford and others might respond. is the there kind of a tacit sense that isis is on the defensive and will wither away? or on the contrary is there some reason to think that isis and the associated groups are offensive, that they have all sorts of possibilities, not just in syria and iraq but in other neighboring places? >> thank you. the lady in the third row from here. yes, ma'am. microphone is coming your way. >> i'm from iran. i've been married to an american dip loy mat for close to 50 years. we served in the middle east and africa. and my question is, that since israel or israeli lobby which both to me, seems the same, they are trying to kill this deal, i wish somebody would have been on this panel to explain to us what the hell is going on. >> great question. >> i will have to cut it at that
a lot of people really wanted to ask more. sorry but constraints of time. let me start with you, alex, throwing out the possibility that you sort of hinted at, if the congress, particularly if there is actually a veto-proof opposition, if it really falls through, what do you think a scenario would look like in iran? >> from ayatollah khamenei's point of view that is not a bad place to be because sanctions are already pretty much crumbling. post-ukraine, russia suddenly makes more overtures to the iranians and iranians are considering russia in more serious matter probably it ever has done considering suspicion between iran and russian empire. basically what that does for comauney, who -- khamenei, who had narrow focus what is the end of this deal. if you take khamenei,
transactional deal, he just wanted sanctions removed, an american walking away from this deal, basically what it does, brings down international sanctions regime against iran. khamenei couldn't care less about u.n. sanctions. on he, couldn't care less. he dealt with u.s. sanctions for three decades. what he suffering from, international sanctions tight inned only since 2012. from his perspective doesn't have to worry too much. obviously rouhani camp, with much bigger economic agenda,33 coming back to international mainstream. they would not be too happy because that will put the brakes on from their perspective. >> thank you, alex. tom, somebody commented on israel, a question in the first round, question in the second round. any thoughts on that, or something else? >> you want me too talk about israel? >> i'm wondering, there are a few questions how israel and
nuclear deal -- >> look, in the unthinkable event that the nuclear deal is not, does not survive in congress, all right, i, i haven't read one word of useful commentary from any outfit in the gulf about that possibility. because it is unthinkable, and also because their governments having accepted it, they're not about to challenge it at this point but the answer to that question might lie more with israel than it does with the members of the gcc and the gulf states. they now have to take us at our word that whatever else happens iran will not be permitted to get a nuclear weapon. all right? i don't know how we would prevent that, that would be up to us in the absence of this agreement but what would happen if the israelis were to decide
that the failure -- >> we take you live to the national press club in washington for a conversation on how to contain health care costs. the national business group on health advises large employers on health policy issues of the group surveys its members every year about what they expect their health care costs to be for the upcoming year. the national press club today, the national business group on health is releasing results of that survey. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> responsibility for the national business group on health. with me today is karen march low, our vice president of benchmarking analysis. karen and her team are ones responsible for survey and after? talking about the large employer survey results this is survey we do every year. we do this in may-june time frame in particular because that is when large companies finalize their decisions for upcoming year