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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 1, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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brutal life that does not appeal to people over the long term. so we will ultimately prevail because we are guided by a better vision, a commitment to the security and dignity of every human being. but it will require diligence, focus, and sustained effort by all of us. and i am grateful that all of you who are already participating are committed to this work. with that, i want to give the floor to our secretary journal. [applause] >> thank you, president obama for your strong leadership and very inspiring envision
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statement. i would like to thank you for the successful white house meeting on countering violent extremism in february in washington, d.c. since then, this process has sparked a series of conversations around the world to address the violence and its roots. the groups pose a direct threat to international security, mostly target women and girls and undermine universal values of peace, justice and human dignity. that threat is growing. our most recent data shows a 17% increase in foreign terrorist fighters from over a hundred
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countries to regions within the countries. addressing this challenge goes to the heart of the mission of the united nations and requires a unified response. we know violent extremism flourishes when human rights are violated and too many people, especially the young people, with their hopes and dreams, lack prospect and meaning in their lives. we know the crucial incredents for success. good governance, open rule of law, quality education, and decent jobs. four respectful human rights. these measures are crucial. yet we know no longer have such efforts by playing into the hands of those we are seeking to defeat or by further alienating
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marginalized groups. the resolution 2178 provides to tools for addressing the discourage of violent extremism including the flow of thousands of foreign terrorist fighters. with development goal, acorn, the voice of people and critical include a quote of peace, justice and strong institutions. we must go beyond the counter violent extremism. on the bases of an emerging national consensus, i intent to present a plan of action to prevent violent extremism to the
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general assembly. i hope each member state will coordinate to share your experience and your vision of how we can work together to combat and fight these extremism and we most welcome your suggestions. this plan, which is firmly based on the u.n. global counter terrorism strategy will provide specific recommendations to member states on individual and collective actions to systematically address the troubles of violent extremism at every level. it will put forward recommendations on how the u.n. can support member states to prevent violence extremism covering the world.
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let me briefly highlight five things to achieve for success. first, governments can't do it alone. we need to engage all of society. women leaders, leaders in the arts, music, and sports. second, we need to make a special effort to reach young people where they share ideas and community. social media is essential. we need to offer a counter weight to the silent songs that promise adventure and that promises meaning and creates more misery. third, we must work harder to get accountability institutions. i continue to urge leaders to listen very careful three the grievances and aspirations of their people and address them. fourth and fundamentally we must
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be guided by the moral compass of our common values. respect for international and human rights is not negotiable. without it we are lost. and finally let us not be ruled by fear or by those who try to exploit it. we have a major challenge ahead of us. one that we cannot address overnight but we can forge inclusion, insuring lives of dignity and pursuing to inspire the united nation's charter and declaration of human rights. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> next i would like to give the floor to mr. haider al-abadi, the prime minister of iraq. >> dear presidents and people, peace may be upon you and it has been over one year since i have controlled iraq and what it has cost us is tragedies and atrocities for civilians and belongin belongings. during this day the has been a universal alliance and there are a lot of friends with us and we
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are thankful to whoever stood with us against this unified enemy which is not only a threat to us but for the whole world. today it has been one year since i have over this government that was the product of a free elections. this development that we have established last year, we need to get the profits during this year, and during this coming month, and we can do it by unifying our forces to null our stance and our approach we need to first remember where we have been during last year before forming this government and what we inherited from a country that is living a crisis in which crisis was occupying more than 30% of the region and our forces
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were in a very dangerous position. there was all of this around the world with threats and isis was occupying iraq. there was an internal afro fron and a lot of secretarian wars and the government was weak. at that point we had the crisis that was financial and bu burrocracy and we had a lot of unemployed people. we have worked hard to reunify our country against the -- rebuilding our forces, and regaining our connection with the world and the building in
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the tribal communities as well and the leaders closing on cities under the stress of isis. the tribes' sons are fighting by the government military forces and we are escaping the roots of corruption and the associations after we have recused a lot of officials in different governments and we also give -- we provided more than 80,000 personal who are fighting. we also have canceled what is more than 50,000 of what is called the allusive soldiers who
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were just receiving salaries without really doing any work. this was where we got our budget rid of the burden. we also are getting rid of honor post and reducing the iraq dependence on oil income. during this we are trying to benefit from the deduction of the oil of -- we are trying to unify all of the governments and the community around it. and our government is seeking,
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forming, local fighters and they are fighting together against terrorism and because isis is threatening the whole area we are working on reinforcing our connection our relationship including saudi arabia, iran, and all of the regions of the area generally are also making reforms in the areas and the diplomatic front. and we are acquirinacquiring, w winning during the last year, we have freed many people in a lot other regions and freeing
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tecrete we involved the tribal forces of iraq and the community forces also. tens of thousands of iraqi people are now back in tecrete. about 80% who had fled the area came back after a lot of assistance who provided the aid to iraq, directly or indirectly. the retrobution were low compared to the fears of them where isis was committing different kinds of crimes
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against other tribes. there has been retrobution a and -- retribution and revengedex -- revenge -- but it is limited. we need the aid of the international community still. despite what is going on off of the -- we have three million iraqi who have been out of their places and with a budget of iraq compared to what it has been we cannot finance all of the battles we are seeking to win. we need your help. and the help of the international community in financing and the einment of our soldiers. we need your support in order to
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also -- equipment -- take care of the people who lost their loved ones and their children. we need your help to dry where the radicals and terrorist are stemming from and their ideaology who are coming from all around the world. coming from north america and arabic countries. we need to work with our neighboring countries to stop the foreign terrorist fighters who are killing civilians in iraq and saudi arabia and go back to their countries where they came from after doing a lot of terrorist actions. we want you to stop the liatr terrorist from financing the money through international financial networks that are being used now. we are demanding you suspend it
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under the light of the resolution of this council. we want you to help us stop them from enslaving women and men and stealing the acrtifacts because the people holding them are being filled with hatred and we need to adopt the treatment of the reasons of those problems; economics and political. we have started doing that. uprooting this basic reason that causes people to be directed toward radicalization and violence and terrorism. we have provided different kinds of responses and our people are still sacrificing their live for
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this purpose. we need not to lose focus and not lose time in enforcing our forces against isis and not f forget time is a big element. together we have stuff and you have stuff, the marsh of the terrorist and together we will gain victory that is not only the victory of the iraqis but it is a victory for all representing countries and every country that is represented in fighting terrorism. thank you for all that we have done and all that we are going to do. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, prime minister for your statement and the work you are doing under a very challenging circumstances to
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address this issue in your country. i want to next give the floor to the president of nitrogen, mr. buhari. >> mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, i think president obama for organizing this important meeting. the timing is appropriate and the subject matter warrants close visitation. the threats posed by isil in the middle east and violent extremism elsewhere is an essential danger to many states. it is a threat to international peace and security and should be treated as such.
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we should deem them as terrorist and extremist. they have no regard to the sense of life and property. they operate outside of the law and must be seen for what they are and treated appropriately. given the ranks of recruiting for isis our expectation twhauz process coupled with the legal framework instituted by the united nations would stem the tie. but this has not yet happened. mr. -- the violence and terrorism by isil and other groups enticed and emboi embold
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groups in isis. boka harem is pledging allegiance to isis since march of 2015. we believe that they are an indication of the weakened operational capacity of the group, but the recruit suggests it strategic move to entertain fighters. whatever the reason for the declaration of allegiance is boka harem terrorist wants to be drawn into the center stage of global terrorism. this moment led not only to a strategy but also to changes in
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recruitment, and propaganda. mass executions and public beheadings became notorious after the declaration of religion. we also note that sub-saharan africa has received radicalization and in citement. boka harem -- boko haram does
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not reflect muslim behavior. muslim religious is based on peace. isil is making an effort to expand into some communities into sahara region and isil's operations have led to the terrorism and violence extremism that leads to two sides of the same coin. the effort of the united nation and the international community to contend with isil. we needed to do more. we need to take military action, combine with effective border security, intelligence coalition, and share it and take action. these alone may not suffice. but they can turn the tide and drive the forces of recruitment, movement, and it is set to operation of foreign terrorist fighters and their associated
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radical extremist. in order to put in place components of an approach to counter isil and eventually defeat we must address the source. we must find a way to prevent people from coming to terror in the first place and turning to violent extremism. they are lured in from lack of family and their expectations here are pushed. while addressing how to deal with this, we should let the military be tangable but it be crucial. good governance which calls for
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accountability, and transparency and rule of law, should kick stat the minutes of terrorism and the violent extremism. the international community will be required to work together to deter and disrupt elicit finances from nations who have a weak structure to other parts of the world where such friend are identified that it should be sensitive to recover. mr. chairman, you have self observed and i quote that groups like al-qaeda explode with anger and injustice and corruption leaves them no chance of improving their lives. a number of states need to
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address grievances with forces that will insure world peace, transformation, jobs, and equal opportunity, and expanded access to social responsibilities. we in africa, dedicate ourselves to the mandate of the african union mechanisms and other good governance that we adopted in our region to encourage conforming and corporate governance. mr. chairman, the secretary of the united nation noted in 2015 we are facing quote the greatest test of the human family facing in the 20th century. end quote. all hand must be on deck in the quest for our lasting ending of
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boko haram, isil, and the likes. i thank you. [applause] >> thank you for that statement. i give the floor to her excellence the prime minister of the kingdom of norway. >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you for this opportunity to speak about violent extremism. it is one of the greatest security challenges of our time. it brings death to people, destructure and insecurity to societies and regions and it is on the rise worldwide. our goal is clear. this must be defeated and we must work together to combat
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extremism and combat the roots. each and every one of us can make a difference mobilizing civil societies, women, faith leaders, local communities, and governments. we need an effort to prevent and counter violent extremism. last year, our national action plan was launched against radicalizations and civil society organizations and nine different government departments. the work against radicalization has to transede. poverty and lack of opportunities are often said to be the root causes of violent extremism. this is a grave oversimplificati oversimplification. you must recognize that the risk of people being drawn to violence groups increases in
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areas where there are few other opportunities. this is particular for young people. let me be very clear. there can be no excuses for violence extremist actions. the action are unacceptable and the perpetrator must be held accountable also. in july of 2011, norway experienced a terrorist attack on a government building and a youth camp was attacked later that day. many young women and men lost their lives. what we saw in the aftermath was engagement of commitment from our youth across all political dividing lines. we know there are groups out there who are willing to cynically exploit vulnerable people particularly young people. young people must be involved in governance and development of our society if we want them
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prevent them from being recruit today violence extremists. this was expressed at the youth against violence extremism group. this was highlighted once again in the global youth summit in new york yesterday. and an independent network was launched and we hope this grows into a global network and hope you will find it as a useful partner to develop your own plans to stop violent extremism. 2178 was adopted which calls for women to be part of the help of counter violent extremism. the power of women is understood and terrorist want them on their side but they attack women's
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rights and silence women. these voices must be heard. therefore i welcome and support the new alliance of women's organization against the violent extremists. i would like to underline when women raise their voices like this they are not just heard by the extremist, they are often also attacked by more traditional forces in our societies. they will lead the backing if they should do the work against the extremism. and new forms of violence emerge and new knowledge is needed. we share our information and need more research to shed new life to the local drivers of extremist. this is the local level where violence and extremism can be most easily understood.
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so the communities have a key role. the strong city network will enable cities across the world to pull resources and best practices. we must also strengthen international corporation. norway has launched the new development aid program to prevent and counter violent extremism and welcome to secretary general's initiative to draw up a plan. norway is contributing to all five lines of efforts set out for the global counter mission. the european mission is deployed fully in iraq, we are hoping to stem the flow of resources and terrorist working to counter isis propaganda and stabilize
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areas in iraq. we are providing humanitarian assistances -- assistance as well. let me quote: what happens in a small corner of the world affects all of us so let's start working together. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much for that excellent statement. we are now moving to a critical part of our agenda and that is to hear from a broader group of coalition members in discussing how we can make further progress against isil. it is a large and growing global coalition. it is as united around the common mission.
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heavy -- we will hear about military support on the ground, to denying terrorist access to global systems, and working to counter isil's message of hate. as we indicated before this is a long-term campaign and requires the kind of cooperation and effort from all of us that will be challenging but i am confidant we are up to the task. i want to begin by giving the floor to his majesty, king abdullah, king of jordan. your majesty. thank you, president obama for your continued leadership
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and commitment on this issue which is possibly the greatest collective threat of our time. last year i spoke here of the need for the coalition of the determined and this has indeed transpired. this resulted in degrading assets and capabilities over the past year. we succeeded in interupting access to resources. as a result, the momentum has been weakened. however, our coalition still faces significant challenges and as mr. president you said yesterday, if we cannot work together more effectively we will all suffer the consequences. we know the road ahead is long but we can navigate it by continue to work collectively and constantly adapting our strategy and updating coordination among coalition members. while this coalition is focused
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on fighting dash in iraq and syria, a more hollistic approach plans to radicate the threat. we must tackle the flow of foreign fighters and dash's supply chain across borders more effectively. empowering local communities and condu conducting the war in a way that alleviates their suffering is vital. this is our struggle. muslim nations have to lead this fight to protect and show the true nature of our religion. again, and as you pointed out mr. president, while the battles may be fought on the ground and by the population that is most effective, this war can only be won on the plane of ideas.
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the battleground in cyber space needs to be addressed. dash is targeting and luring potential medias worldwide through social media and it is still able to fund new recruit travel to syria and iraq. dash, boka haram, and various terrorist groups we are looking at are offshoots of the same threat in libya, yemen, mauli, other areas in africa and asia. none of us are safe until we have a pathway to address this interconnected reality. this is not a single country's problem. it is not a local or regional problem. it is our collective program. jordan has begun a collaborative effort to reach out to countries
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in africa to help coordinate stakeholders and build a partnership to address our threats. we are certain there is no alternative to a comprehensive approach and close coordination among all stakeholders that camrese the threat of their terrorist threats across the region. we hope this aligns security efforts under a unified strategy. finally, we cannot tackle this threat in a vacuum. the world that allows the pakistan and iran commitment is not sanctioned. winning hearts and minds remains a big challenge as this will
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also require in the longer and medium term dealing with governance, poverty, youth, job creation and education. it is only by stabilizing the entire regime, giving people hope instead of fear and destruction, that will truly address these and other challenges including the outpouring of refuges many who are fleeing from terror and seeking a decent life far from their homes. thank you, mr. president. [applause] >> thank you, your majesty. i now give the floor to david cameron. >> mr. president, i agree with a lot that has been said. you are right. this is a long-term campaign, you are right. you are right, isis has lost territory. we will play our part militarily and have carried out 300 strikes
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in iraq and trained over a 1,000 iraqi troops and we will play a role helping with the ied part of what is happening in iraq and play our part politically supporting the prime minister with the work he is doing. britain has spent $1.6 billion on supporting syrians in the refuge camps in lebanon and jordan and we will continue to do that. we will support the transition in syria that you spoke about that we need to see badly. we will play our role also in the propaganda war we need to win because frankly we need to call out isil were the mass executions, for the rapes, for the killing of innocent sunni arabs while selling oil at the same time. we need to win this propaganda war more effectively.
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we will establish the coalition communication cell in the united kingdom which gives $15 million to start with and i think it needs to be an important part to win, as people said, the battle of hearts and minds of muslims around the world. i want to make one point in my remarks. it is this. i think what we are saying about countering violent extremism. i don't think it is enough. i think we need to focus on the extremism that lies behind the violent extremism as well. i say this because the boy who straps a bomb to his chest and blows up an iraqi town, the guy that stand in the desert with a knife having just beheaded a british hostage or whoever, they don't get there from a standing start. they have an extremist view and mindset before they make that
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decision to be an extremist terrorist. maybe it starts with being told christians and muslims can't live together. maybe it moves on to being told the muslims everywhere are under attack. sometimes it is being told the terrible attack that took place in the city on 9/11 was somehow a jewish conspiracy. and then it goes on to being told that violence is sometimes justified. that a suicide bomb, if it happens in israel, maybe that is not so bad, and you get an extremist mindset that moves on to the belief that taking part in violent jihad or joining isil or any of the other franchises, al-shabaab or others, is justified. my point is we have to stop this process at the start not at the end. of course we have to win militarily. we have to have the political solution. we need the propaganda.
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but we need to challenge the extremist world view at the very start. what does that mean? in western countries we have to root out the extremist preachers poisoning the minds of young muslims in our country and build integrated societies so young people feel they truly belong and make sure we don't allow the incubation of an extremist world view before it justifies violence. get out it out of the schools and universities and prison. i believe in freedom of speech but freedom of hate is not the same thing. the king of jordan talked about the special responsibility among muslim countries and muslim leaders. barack obama, you said every country has extremist but we have to be frank this is the
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biggest threat today and it is coming from the middle east. these people claim to act in the name of the islamic religion. they don't. i can say they don't over and over again. you can say they don't. but there is nothing more powerful than what, for instance, the king of jordan has just said. when muslim leaders and muslim countries reclaim their religion and explain why what these people are saying is not islam. it is a perversion of islam. we have to do that and take away the building blocks of extremist that takes people to an extremist terrorist view. that is as important as the military, political and diplomatic steps we will take in part of this vital campaign. [applause]
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>> thank you, david. i want to give his floor to the prime minister of the kingdom of the netherland, mark rutte. >> i stood in front of thousands in amsterdam the day after the charlie hebdo attacks. people around the world were deeply affected by these events. it was an evening i will never forget. there we stood, united from all corners of the earth, young and old and people of every religious background and your message to terrorist was loud
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and clear. we are different, yet we are one. we are the majority and we will not let you defeat us. hands off our freedom were my words that night and i can still feel the emotion of that moment. violent extremism are not other people's problem. countries like iraq and syria being destabilized spreads insecurity and fuels tensions in our own communities and that is why the netherlands will remain actively involved in the fight of combating international terrorism. we cannot take our own freedom for granted. we stand shoulder to shoulder with other countries in the region and beyond in the coalition. ...
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if we can do young impression of people the prospect of a good future they will be less drawn to extremist groups. the idea is that intervening early and immediate social
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environment is the best way to stop young people from being tempted to go off to fight a war, any kind of positive than moderate influence can help. our approach is possible where necessary. our international efforts include working with partners in the global terrorism forum. the forum is the primary platform where we can share information to prevent terrorism. a few days ago the netherlands became cochair of the forum affirming our long-term commitment to to collaborate with the u.n. and other organizations. over the past year that has been a big focus on how to prevent potential foreign terrorist fighters from traveling abroad and have to deal with those who combat. violent extremism and terrorist groups like die -- al qaeda boko
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haram are constantly evolving. this is not a static threat and will not simply disappear. the international community cannot afford to sit back. we must be vigilant and persistent. we must continue to make it clear that we are not fighting for religion. we are fighting terrorists whose barbarism knows no bounds. that is why it is good where meeting here today. in the netherlands makes commitments to the task ahead. freedom is our explanation, result is our weapon and together we will succeed in pushing back the terrorist threat. thank you. [applause] >> next i would like to ask prime minister for his statement.
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>> excellencies, distinguished colleagues i had my words and thanks to president obama for the meeting of public opinion. my country has been dealing with terrorism since the early 70s and knows only too well that terrorism is -- and the course of this has been targeted by three terrorist organizations with different extremist ideologies mainly daish. in late july that killed 32 citizens and personnel on the border. this was immediately followed by pkk almost in a simultaneous manner with daish and more innocent civilians. pkk con, and it attacks played
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an impact on terrorist threats in the region. terrorist ideology excluding religion is no different from terrorism makes waiting race and ethnicity. there is no difference between those and other terrorist organizations. our friends and partners all of us must be vigilant. one terrorist fighting the other our partners and friends to support in its fight against all types of terrorism. no child is born to be a terrorist. the process of radicalization and crossing the not so very thin line up supporting fighters are complex matter. as governments or responsibility to protect against violence include the protection of others due to globalization and the impact of social media on the transformation to criminal --
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terrorist ideology are vital and repercussions are global but nevertheless radicalization itself involves very personal and local elements. thus for every country society and community need to develop contact specific measures. just drawn network that city -- it requires long-term and indiscriminate qualities involving all of government and all of society, patients inside court nations consistency and determination are the key words and an integral part of countering extremism should be be -- we must pay utmost attention to ensure violent extremism is not related to any sectarian group.
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terrorists fighters have been conjured bidding to the debate on countering violent extremism. unprecedented threats emanating from war and terrorists fighters in the past few years has only confirmed what we feel. some of these young men and women who have joined daish from the heart of europe are from countries with prominently uneducated yet they end up in the ranks of this vicious terrorist group together with petty criminals are sociopaths. our work in the anti-daish group global counterterrorism forum should be focusing on four factors -- pull factors as well as push factors.
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mr. president my government has introduced against foreign terrorists as 2011 we have now recorded down 20,000 names from over 100 countries. moreover thanks to the air force risk analysis groups more than 1000 suspicious -- were united in turkey at airports. as such we have prevented a considerable number of foreign terrorists fighters from reaching conflict zones. only in 2015 we have deported more than 1000 foreign nationalists with suspicious presence in conflict zones in syria and iraq. dear colleagues i want to speak aloud. to tackle this problem when he toured together. without sharing of intelligence and adoption measures to address young people in countries we will fail in this quest. our efforts to dismantle networks propaganda and finance a terrorist group should
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continue. on the other hand let us not deceive ourselves. why the foreign fighters have made themselves more visible as part of the problem. there is no terrorist group including daish or other status solely formed by foreign fighters. we cannot ignore the impact of mismanage crisis masses placements and intolerance discrimination racism xenophobia and islamaphobia aspect year's that prepare the ground for violent extremism. serious a case in point. value at two address the root cause of the murder regime created by daish has turned into a factor for foreign terrorists. mr. president and your colleagues as the intelligence community the best narrative we have in our disposal against violent extremism abuses their ability to deliver peace stability welfare and justice. we need to ensure that our needs
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meet our commitments and our actions do not fall far from our -- thank you. [applause] >> thank you ahmed. next i would like to ask his excellency prime minister renzi for his statement. >> thank you mr. president. thank you for your leadership in this meeting. this is the largest coalition against terrorism the world has ever seen, bringing together regions around the world so i think it's a great responsibility. italy has assured its resolute support against daish particularly colleagues initiative of training iraqi police forces i think is important because it's the signal of friendship for
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citizens, for women and children in the emily's of the iraqi people. italy with the united states of america and saudi arabia is finance group and it's very important underlying initiatives and this set there comes a new financial year. the initiative for restrictive measures for terran -- foreign terrorist fighters this is very important and we are asking coalition partners to focus on external donations in order to prevent terrorist nonprofit organization in europe. the number of large networks of recruiting foreign terrorists fighters in recent months.
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this is important for me. just for brief remarks. i'm really surprised because a lot of attacks are against it indonesia against a school and pass for a cell culture is our identity. italy is leading efforts with unesco to -- this part, this field of discussion. second, religious and we thank middle east today i use this expression today is not today was incredible and the need culture for every religion. we must defend particularly in those moments the land in which a lot of religion was born in
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the past. third, not only syria and not only iraq but also africa asks for priorities in the libyan situation but also the situation in africa particularly with volusia combined with externalities and for my personal consideration your consideration and i agree obviously totally with you social network is a place of freedom. it's an incredible opportunity. i very much appreciated the words of barack obama yesterday. obviously everyone is worried further risks also of social media and social network as a way of recruiting new terrorists
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particularly in our continent in europe. self trained jihadis decided to make some intervention with this approach. but it's very interesting your initiative as united states and the united nations because the risk for a politician is my point of view is to reduce and the season of social networking, the season that of dominance of the newspaper and the social media to reduce our vision of the news the last press agency, the risk to approach this question without comprehensive and global approach. i think your initiative of today is particularly important
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because an approach not only for the last event, the last news, the last question and the old news but we have a strategy and a vision and i think this is crucial because the largest coalition around the world must win. i wish to offer to president obama supporter of counterterrorism and we are absolutely sure to defeat daish. [applause] >> thank you. i think you have heard from a cross-section of the coalition and the unity of vision but also the various capacities and elements that are going to be involved in us being successful
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in this process. at this stage i have asked my vice president, vice president biden accompanied by my attorney general loretta lynch and our secretary of homeland security jeh johnson to chair the remainder of the isil discussion as well as they foreign finder and countering extremist session. i've asked them did the year today because along with those seated next to me they are the leaders to disrupt counter violin extremism. there worked with many of you on the whole range of these issues. they read parts of our country but they were closer together demonstrating how well we as leaders must work across bureaucratic and international boundaries to break the entire lifecycle of terrorism from radicalization, and i thought david cameron's point was excellent that we are focused on violent extremism but violent
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extremism is emerging out of an extremist worldview that has to be counteracted all the way through conflict zones and bringing about the sort of good governance and political settlements that are required so that we don't have incubators for expressions of violent extremism to the work that has to be done militarily to counter activities that are going on right now in places like iraq. so want to very much thank all the leaders and participants here today including thoealth
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insurance markets. later, a speak by the new u.k. labor party leader jeremy corbin. next, the senate foreign relations committee looks at u.s. policy on the syrian refugee crisis. witnesses include the presidents of organizations involved in humanitarian aid, including the
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u.s. institute of peace and the international rescue committee headed by former british foreign secretary david miliband. this is an hour and 50 minutes. i want to thank our witnesses for being here. nancy, as i understand it, is tied up in traffic and will be coming in a few moments, so
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we're going to go ahead and get started. we have a vote later. i want to thank the members for being here. today's hearing is the second in a series of hearings examining the role of the united states in the middle east. this hearing will focus on the immense humanitarian crisis emanating from the region. the images of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children fleeing for safety should challenge every moral fiber within us. these are people just like us that want only to be able to raise their families in dignity and cherish the same values and things that we all care about, and yet we watch them on television in these desperate circumstances. we all know that the scale of this tragedy, but it is worth, again, outlining the numbers. in syria, a country with population of 22 million in
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2011, more than 4.1 million have fled the country and more than 7.6 million are displaced inside the country, so half of syria's population is not home, not living in their hometowns, but in some other place. some estimates put the number of deaths in syria over 300,000. the assad regime responsible for over 100,000 civilian deaths. let me say that one more time. the assad regime responsible for more than 100,000 civilian deaths. 3.2 million displaced. solutions must address while people are fleeing. i like forward to hearing the views of our witnesses today, but i believe after four years of war there is a perception
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that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. as assad continues to barrel bomb his own people, the russians and iranians continue to ensure that he has the means to do it. more than one year after establishing a global coalition to counter isis, we learned that the main beneficiary iraq has allowed iran, russia, and syria to establish their own coalition within a cell in baghdad. it appears that our administration is seriously debating some type of an accommodation with the russians in order to fight isis. it's difficult to understand how working alongside the backers of assad could in any way stem the flow of refugees that are fleeing the barrel bombs. it is important to remember that the war in syria began with assad and he's still doing the same things today on a daily basis that he was doing at the
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time. i do want to digress and say that i know david miliband took a very opposing view to most of the labor party when he at one time served in the parliament and felt that interaction inside syria should be taking place by great britain. many of us felt the same way. and as crass as i may sound, i think all of us, all of us, today as we watch what is on television and see these refugees in the circumstances they're in, all of us are reaping what we've sowed. we didn't get involved at a time when we could have made a difference. i hope our witnesses can help us understand the scale and effect the humanitarian crisis the united states and others should be taking to mitigate it, but i would like to again stress we cannot simply rely on humanitarianism alone in this
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crisis and that is incumbent upon us to work towards realistic policies that would bring back the hope of a normal life to those in need. thank you again for appearing before our committee, and i look forward to your testimony. with that, i'd like to turn to our distinguished ranking member. >> well, mr. chairman, first let me thank you for convening this hearing. you and i talked awhile back as to what we can do. this committee works in a bipartisan way in order to advance our foreign policy objectives, and i congratulate the chairman for his leadership in that regard. we talked what we can do in regards to the refugee crisis globally in recognizing that syria is an immediate concern. it's a humanitarian crisis as well as a problem of conflict that needs a solution. it's complicated, of course, by isis presence in syria, so i
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want to thank you for the manner in which we were able to convene this hearing to see how the united states senate, the congress, can advance the goals of the united states in dealing with this international crisis and how we can take a look at our traditional tools and perhaps refine them. look at new ways we can energize the united states' involvement and the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis, and i would agree with you. we also need to deal with the political underpinnings of why people have to flee their homes. for the first time since world war ii, almost 60 million people have been forced from their homes and displaced in their own countries and are forced to flee abroad. we're seeing more conflicts that do not end and result in expone exponential increases in need.
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the situation is increasingly desperate for both the refugees and host countries like jordan, lebanon, turkey, and northern iraq because syrians are finding increasingly difficult to find safety. they are forced to move further afield. that's why so many are risking their lives to cross the mediterrane mediterranean. there are 7.6 million internally displaced syrians suffering and into need of humanitarian assistance. more families are forced to send their children to work or marry off their young daughters. it is hard to comprehend the millions of refugees on lebanon, jordan, and turkey. the number of refugees in lebanon would be equivalent to the united states receiving 88 million new refugees. that's a shocking number for that country. turkey has already spent $6 billion in direct assistance to refugees in its care. that's a huge part of the
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turkish economy. at the same time, we in the west until very recently have been relukt tar reluctant to admit even the most vulnerable syrian refugees. although the white house announced it would admit 10,000 syrians. we know that the syrian humanitarian disaster, which has destabilized an entire region, is not the accidental by-product of conflict. instead one result of the strategy pursued by the assad regime. the united nations commission on inquiry of syria has documented that the assad regime is using barrel bombs, bombardment of homes, hospitals, and medical facilities to terrorize the civilian population. as millions of families are displaced multiple times and with the casual numbers now
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approaching 300,000 syrians that have been killed, the number of people fleeing the country will only rise. mr. chairman, i agree with you. the ultimate solution here is for assad to leave. we know that we need to have -- and i believe he should leave for the hague and be held accountable for his war crimes. so we need to work on a political solution. i know the president is in new york today meeting with world leaders to talk about a political path forward, but in the meantime we do have the humanitarian crisis and there is no end in sight to people trying to flee, as you said. what everyone would want, a safe environment for their families. syria's neighbor next door iraq, the people requiring assistance has grown to 8.2 million people. half of the displaced are children. to the south, yemen is on the
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brink of humanitarian catastrophe. that country was vulnerable even before this convict. there's an alarming level of suffering and violence. anne an estimated 20 million people are afflicted by war and humanitarian assistance. the global refugee trends are indeed alarming. the international assistance being provided is not keeping up with the scale of the problem. the united nations has only been able to raise 38% of the $47 billion it needs to care for the syrians. we need to ask ourselves hard questions about how we can increase the effectiveness of assistance. with many refugees displaced on average 17 years. let me underscore that point. our refugee program is aimed at looking at refugees as being a temporary and how do we get them
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back safely to their homes. that's what a refugee was always thought to be, but if you're in some other place for 17 years the chances of you going back to your native country is remote. some of the communities don't exist where the people have left, and many others have been transformed to a point it would not be safe any time in the future for syrians to return to their home environment. we need to rethink our refugee laws to recognize that a large number -- there's about 20 million refugees worldwide. a large number are not returning to their native countries. the united states needs to look at a refugee policy that is sensitive to the new norm, which is a number much larger than the caps we have to deal with the realities that people need to find new homes for their families. i believe strongly we need to
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use the humanitarian dollars more skillfully so we can provide solutions. in closing, we must recognize as that has conflicts proliferate, no corner of the world will remain unafflicted. as we seek to win the hearts and minds in this region, our effort to provide real tangible humanitarian assistance to people will be more effective than sending more military assistance or more weapons into a conflict where there's no pathway for success. our humanitarian engagement is a moral and political necessary 't 't -- necessity. >> thank you very much. thanks for a lifetime of effort ensuring people have appropriate human rights. >> can i had one thing, if i like, mr. chairman?
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our chairman who is always even tempered and in a good mood is particularly proud today. he became a grandfather for the first time. i know our committee offers their congratulations. [ applause ] >> thank you. no doubt an incredible experience. the only wish people were talking about today have similar experiences. so thank you again for your comments. our first witness is the honorable david miliband, president and ceo of the national rescue committee. he served as foreign secretary. thank you for being here. our second witness today is michelle gabaudan. thank you for being here, sir. president of refugees international.
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michelle spent more than 25 years at u.n. hcr. our third witness that we'll hear from today is ms. nancy lindborg, president of the united states institute of peace, someone who we also have seen many times and thank her. nancy has served as president of mercy corps. thank you for that service. i know you've been here many times. if you could each spend five minutes giving your positions, we'll obviously, without objection, your written testimony will become a part of the record. if you can go down the line and give your testimony, we appreciate it. we look forward to your questions and certainly your comments. thank you. [ inaudible ]. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think you probably heard, but i want to say thank you and i'm honored to be here. i want to congratulate you on
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not just holding a hearing on the humanitarian situation in the middle east, but recognizing the lengths between the humanitarian situation and the geopolitical situation. my organization has a unique perspective on the crisis because we're working in the conflict zones of syria, iraq, and yemen. we're in the neighboring states that you referred to both. we're in greece where half of the refugees arriving in europe are landing on europe soil and we're active in the united states. the conflicts in the middle east present the most challenging, dangerous, and complex humanitarian challenge in the world today. and i think they present a p preimminent moral case for
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renewed engagement. i want to confine my remarks to four areas that more or less follow my written testimony and focus less on our analysis of the situation but what might be done. first, inside syria there is a war without law and there is misery without aid for the millions of people you referred to, senator. it's driving people to risk life and limb to get to europe, and almost worse than the numbers you recited is that there's no structured political process at the moment to offer hope of an end to the war. the number one priority that we would present to the committee is to turn or help turn the words of u.n. resolutions, which are good words into actions. we advocate as a practical measure the appointment of
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humanitarian envoys, distinguished political or diplomatic figures that are able to work on the ground on the local access that is so essential to helping the humanitarian aid reach where it's needed. the neighboring states are coping with unprecedented numbers of refugees. it's worth noting a world food program voucher is worth $13 a month for a middle-class family that's fled its home in syria. for us, the priority must be for these neighboring states a multiyear strategic package that recognizes that these people are not going home soon. in written testimony, we compared the packages needed to the martial plan, a multiyear plan which is not just an aid package, but aligns private sector effort with public sector effort and addresses the economic conditions people face, not just the social conditions. third, i'm just back from the
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island in greece where half of the refugees are arriving. i won't dwell on the responsibilities of european leaders and european citizens suffice to say they need to show both competence and compassion, both of which have been sorely lacking over the last few years. the three priorities in europe are first of all to establish safe and legal roots to become a refugee in europe. without those safe and legal routes, you empower the smugglers. secondly, to improve reception conditions notably in greece and on the roots into northern and western europe. thirdly, to implement a robust program in europe. finally, it is worth pointing out that european aid for the neighbori ining states does exc american humanitarian aid.
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that european lead, so to speak, which is $200 million, will stretch to $1.2 billion. finally, there is an important symbolic role for the united states in resettling refugees. so far just over 1800 syrians have been admitted and with the greatest respect, the respect of someone who is a visitor to your country, even though i work here now, this 1800 figure is not fitting for the global leadership role the united states has played over a very long period in refugee resettlement. the administration's commitment to take 10,000 citizens is a limited number to the effort. we want to raise the ceiling for the number of syrians allowed in. i hope we get to explain why the figure of 100,000 has been
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reached to be admitted over the next year and how that speaks to the global need. secondly, to fund that drive properly, including in the department of homeland security where we strongly support effective security screening and can speak to that. thirdly is this scope for expanding access through family reunification schemes for syrian american communities who are in this country across the country and have grandparents, cousins, relatives in syria who want to come and join them. this is a dna-based family reunification scheme that could offer a practical and short-term way of circumventing delays that have plagued the problem. i very much look forward to a real dialogue. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, ranking member
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ca cardin, and distinguished members of the community, thank you very much for holding this hearing. the chaos and distress reflect -- over the past year, despite the tremendous amounts of funding that have been provided. i want to thank the u.s. for being a leader in humanitarian funding to the syrian crisis and certainly congress for having made the right appropriations. we have undertaken 12 missions in the last three years. we have looked at how displacement has evolved, how the situation of refugees has changed over time, and importantly how the funding has been drying up. the drivers of displacement are
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multiple from the actions of the shia militias at the beginning to the development of a tremendous military operations by the assad regime to the rise of extremist groups, but also to the tremendous deteriorating social economic situation in syria, which makes life unsustainable for people who would cross outside to find some ways to sustain themselves. however, when you talk to refugees in southern turkey, in jordan, on what is the primary reason why they move, they all have the same answers. it is the barrel bombings over markets, over schools, over medical facilities. ngo has reported the month of august saw the largest number of medical personnel killed by these shellings and barrel bombs. the response to the crisis in neighboring countries has been i must say remarkable. we've seen very few crises in the world where borders have
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remained open to long, where governments have accepted the refugees spread out amongst the population. most refugees are living in an urban setting mixing with the local population. services have been accessible to refugees. quite remarkably, in all the interviews we had with refugees, there is a rather low reporting of abuses by authorities. this is not something we experience in my places where refugees seem to be targeted much more than we have seen. we all have to recognize turkey, lebanon, has done tremendous work in welcoming refugees. however, that urban nature creates some particular challenges because the impact of refugees on host communities is much stronger than when you have
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refugee camps, which are easier to manage. we're seeing now there's some erosion of the tolerance of local population when they see the schools overburdened, access to medical facilities dependent on very long queues, the rise in price of apartments or wherever they live going up and the price of basic food commodities going up, so there is an impact on the local population that after four years starts to generate reaction of rejection or tension with the refugee community. the humanitarian needs remain because many refugees are poor. what we have seen over time is refugees being pushed from poverty to misery. more begging is happening from istanbul. there are children working because their parents are not allowed to work. they do send their children to
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work. it's easier for children to work illegally than adults. we have seen the lower of early age for marriage for women. we have seen an increase in what we call sex for food in basically the trading of the young ladies to just be able to feed their family. all these are trappings of the popularization of the refugee population. there were not many indications that people wanted to move until the end of 2013. when we talked to people in the first years, they say we go back to syria as soon as we can. it's only at the end of 2013 that the mood started changing. in 2014, they moved through egypt and libya trying to get these smugglers' boats to italy. the numbers remain sort of tolerable, perhaps, compared to
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what saw in 2015. sm the poverty they have suffered as their own resources were depleted over time certainly a main factor. for many people, the lack of education for children is also a motive for trying to move forward to europe. but also as i mentioned, the fact that they're welcome is drying up. governments now realize that they have a huge amount of people that are getting poorer and poorer and being like a lead bull on their own developments. and local populations are starting to react. we had riots in different countries against the refugees. that outflow will not stop because either the europeans get their act together, which we hope they will, or it stays as it is now. we have seen the difficulties they have faced to date have not really staunched the flow.
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unless we go back to the root causes, which is how we address the situation of refugees, i think the region's stability will keep on. we have to look at increasing support to humanitarian funds. it is true that funds have been available over the years in larger quantities, but they have not kept up with the needs. what we have seen is the proportion of u.n.-funds programs has been cut down. food rations have been cut in half in the last few months. we look forward to u.s. leadership in this field. but we need to activate a much stronger response to the development needs of neighboring countries. most of the challenges they face are -- cannot be dealt by humanitarian agencies. they need development money. they need bilateral aid where
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the key drivers of development are the development banks. i think it's time to look at ways for the governing bodies of these banks to put this sort of situation as part of their regular mandate. it's not just a question of humanitarian response. it's a question of guaranteeing the stability of neighboring countries to syria. i think why we're seeing these host countries becoming extremely nervous. however, even with the highest number we can dream of, it's going to touch a small percentage of the refugees. and it cannot leave us neglecting the needs of development in our humanitarian aid. finally, mr. chairman, we hear there are some attempts to reinvigorate the peace process. we have always believed there was no real military solution to
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the conflict. i think it is very important that the people who come to the development negotiating table must make a much stronger commitment to protection of civilians and we must stop seeing the barrel bombing of civilians. if this does not happen, we will not see at any time any possibility of return. >> thank you very much. ms. lindborg. >> thank you. good morning. thank you, chairman corker, ranking member cardin, and members of the committee. i testify before you today as president of the united states institute of peace, which was founded by congress 30 years ago specifically to look at how to prevent, how to mitigate and recover from violent conflict. and we do so by working in conflict zones around the world with practicali solutions,
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research, and training. there's a deep connection between what we're seeing right now in the humanitarian crisis and conflict that has spun out of control and become very, very violent throughout the region. i agree wholeheartedly with both of my colleagues. both of you, i think, have aptly described what is a starkly terrible crisis, numbing statistics, and heartbreaking stories through the region, so let me use my time to look at four recommendations i would make as we look forward. and most importantly even as we seek solutions for the crisis in europe and the resettlement that michelle and david have talked about, i urge that we use this moment to expand our commitment to providing assistance in the region and look at solutions ultimately in the region, because even if europe and the u.s. take the most generous
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number of refugees possible, that will only scratch the surface of this crisis. so first of all, we absolutely must sustain and increase our collective commitments to meeting the most immediate needs. as we've heard, the number of commitments have decreased against the needs. thank you to all of you for having supported a very generous u.s. commitment. about $4.5 billion to date since the syrian crisis, but this is against a global backdrop of 60 million people currently forcibly displaced from their homes. there is a global burden that is stretching the humanitarian system, straining it to its limits, and we need to ensure that not only does the u.s. continue its commitment but that we get a larger collection of countries to help shoulder that burden. it consistently falls on a small
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number of countries. we need to expand the number of people -- the number of countries that are providing assistance. secondly, we also need to ensure that that assistance is as effective and as efficient as possible. we have seen, as senator cardin noted, we continue to treat the problem as if the refugees will go home when there's a 17-year average rate of displacement. i've recently returned from iraq where i met with a number of
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civil society organizations and kurdish officials in iraqi where one in five among them are now displaced. they have some 3 million displaced iraqis who fled isis over the last year, and despite a huge mobilization to provide assistance to these folks, they're infrastructure simply can't cope. their water systems, electrical systems, schools, clinics, so you have people who are sitting in camps in containers in squatting apartments, studies interrupted, no way to make a living, and they don't see a future for themselves. a number of displaced iraqis, they want to go to europe because they do not see a future for themselves. as one civil society activist told me, we have seven camps. that's seven time bombs.
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this is something we need to look seriously at, and it is far worse as you move into lebanon and jordan and turkey in terms of the burden, the stretch on their infrastructure. so our assistance needs to focus more on education, on employment, on the kind of trauma counseling that can help people recover and on helping the communities bear the burden more effectively as we ask them to continue hosting. thirdly, we can start now to help people return. in certain places in iraq there are opportunities to return, but we need to ensure we're helping communities deal with what could become cycles of convict because of the mistrust that now exists between communities in the wake of isis. and so by working with communities to have the kind of facilitated dialogue that builds bridges, reduces tensions, and builds social cohesion, we bring
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people a better opportunity to return home without repeated cycles of conflict. then finally in addition to pushing hard on the kind of diplomatic solutions that get at the roots of the conflict in syria, i would also urge us to look more broadly at how to increase our efforts to provide the kind of development assistance that focuses on those places that are most fragile whether they're weak, ineffective, or illegitimate in the eyes of their citizens that are the source of the flow of refugees, not just syria and iraq, but afghanistan, yemen, somal somalia, places where you have a web of hopeless born of conflict, oppression, and poverty. at usip, we say conviflict is
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inevitable. how do you manage it? i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you all very much for not only what you do, but for being here today. senator cardin has a conflict, so i'm going to let him ask questions first. >> the conflicts are all over. >> as long as you manage them. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the courtesy. let me thank all of our witnesses not only for being here and what you do to help in regards to this humanitarian international challenge. u.s. leadership is so desperately needed in multiple strategies. yes, in the geopolitical landscape to deal resolving these conflicts so people can live safely in their homes. that's obviously where the united states must put a great deal of attention. as has already been pointed out, a lot of these refugees are going to be in border countries for a long time, and the cost is
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tremendous not only the dollar cost, but as it effects the stability in that country. and there are an international responsibilities. we are significantly below what the united nations indicates it needs on the dollars. lastly, the resettlements. i just want to talk a moment about that because for 20 million refugees, we know 4 million are from syria. most of these refugees are not returning home anytime soon. some are not going to be able to return home, and our refugee policy numbers caps were based upon the philosophy that refugees would be returning to their host countries. that's not the real world today, so for the united states to have a cap at 75,000 or 85,000 or 100,000 recognizing there are 20 million refugees worldwide, many
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of those are not going to be able to return safely to their homes, many of whom want to resettle in a place where they can have a future for their family that lived 17 years as a refugee on average. i guess my first question, should we be reevaluating not just the united states, but also europe, i understand, is changing their numbers on resettlements, but should we be looking at the 20 million differently and determine how many of these individuals need permanent placements, particularly those who are recent and don't have roots in the border country but want to reestablish roots for their families? should we be looking at these numbers more realistically today? >> let me say three things in
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response to what i think is an american peop excellent question. the central question is is this a trend or is it a blip. those numbers were a world record last year. more than any time since world war ii. my thesis to you is this is a trend and not a blip. your question is right. i think three things are important. refugee resettlement is important for the substantive help it offers to the 100,000 people that you mentioned, but it's also a symbolic value of standing with the countries that are bearing the greatest burden. no one can pretend that refugee resettlement is going to quote/unquote solve the problem. it's a symbolic as well as a substantive show of solidarity. the vast majority of refugees live in poor countries neighboring those in conflict.
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at the syria case is a prototype. local integration is going to be the solution either because we acknowledge it or embrace it or it happens de facto. i think what michelle gabaudan was saying is we have to embrace this point that there are going to be the majority of refugees in neighboring states. do they become economic contributes or are they an economic drain? the world bank isn't allowed to work in lebanon and jordan because they're considered middle income countries. it has to be a central part of the world bank's modus operandi that fragile states where the extreme poor now live -- it's got to be a central part of the philosophy of the world bank that its got to be a point of reflection for the ngo and
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humanitarian movement. economic interventions need to sit alongside the traditional social interventions we've done. the third and final point is that already in the course of the 45 minutes we've been together it's evident that the words humanitarian and the words development don't do justice to the policy problems that are faced here. i would submit to you that the budget headings don't do justice. and the institutions we've got, some of them working on humanitarian kricrises and some development, that separation doesn't do justice. 28 billion was spent on development interventions. now the truth is they have to work together, and that is a major challenge to the international system, which i think it will be tremendously positive if the committee was able to engage with them.
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>> let me change gears for one moment. the united nations estimates there are over 400,000 people inside of syria that are besieged, that cannot be reached as far as humanitarian help. they're saying there's another 4.8 that are hard to reach. do we have a strategy for dealing with that vulnerable population that we cannot effectively establish through conventional means, help who are displaced within syria? >> well, the u.s. government was the leader in providing assistance that was going across borders, across the turkish and jordanian boards to reach those who could not be reached through the u.n.-damascus-based efforts. many courageous ngos were a part of that. that has been curtailed by the incursion of isis into some of
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those areas. although the work continues and there continues to be an extraordinarily courageous efforts to reach those folks, the barrel bombs are equally a problem, as my colleagues have noted. and despite the provision of a u.n. security resolution that david mentioned, there is not a serious effort to provide civilian protection. so as we look at resolving this conflict, civilian protection has got to be chief among the goals that we collectively put in front of the international community. in the absence of that, people are just being pummelled by both sides. by assad's people and by isil, and that further curtails ability to reach them with assistance and if you did, they are threatened with death. >> the short answer to your question is no, there isn't a good strategy for reaching these besieged areas. those people are in a worse
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position today than when the u.n. security council resolutions were passed. those on the ground trying to organize the delivery of aid is one idea to try to break this terrible deadlock that was at one moment once a month. the u.n. secretary general reports that medical aid is being taken off lorries and dumped and there is no accountability for that kind of abuse of basic morality, never mind in international humanitarian law. i think your focus on this and your demand, or the implicit demand, this has to be at the absolute center of any approach to the humanitarian approach in syria is absolutely right. >> there's no question that these vulnerables that we cannot reach or are hard to reach are going to add to the numbers of casualties and the number of people trying to exit syria for a better life. it is going to add to the number of refugees. it's going to add to all the
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numbers we're talking about. it's just a matter of how quickly they can find a safe place or exit for their families or they become casualties of the war. >> thank you. thank you very much. dr. gabaudan, i think people in our nation get confused. we allow about 70,000 refugees into our country right now each year, and i know the administration has talked about raising that to 85 and then to 100 over the next couple of years. there have been statements of adding 100,000 syrians into our country immediately not by the administration, but by others who are advocating for that. i know we have the chairman of the homeland security committee here, but is there a way to actually screen and deal with that or is that a number that's not realistic relative to our ability to screen those coming? >> senator, in terms of the
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capacity, the u.s. has shown in the past it can admit large numbers. we saw that with cubans and kurds. there is capacity in this country. there is a question of resources, of course. i think that the u.s. system has the most serious vetting system in the world. if you look at what other countries that resettle refugees, they don't come half the way the u.s. does in vetting the people in which it meets. the u.s. resettlement program has a tremendous quality, which is it chooses people on the basis of the vulnerability. when you look at people who suffer torture and the sort of criteria the u.s. uses, i think you already have a filter that is then deepened by the work of homeland security. so i think there is certainly the technique and the capacity.
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for syrians, i do understand it will take sometime to reach the numbers because i was told that the intel that the government has on the syrians is not as good as the one it had on the iraqis, et cetera. so there are genuine difficulties that will have to be overcome, but our experience over the past 40 years in dealing with resettlement is that this country has the expee willingness to do it when the conditions require it. >> let me just some discussions right now about us working with russia as it relates to syria. and i just want to understand from your perspective, dealing with refugees, are they fleeing assad's barrel bombs or are they fleeing isis? i know they're fleeing both. generally speaking can you get at for this discussion the greater roots or roots, if you
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will, of why they're fleeing the countries briefly? then i want to follow with questions. go ahead. >> last week in greece over the course of two or three days, i must have spoken with 200 or 300 refugees, the majority of them syria. the answer to your question, it depends where in syria they're coming from. they're from aleppo, greater damascus out in the east of the country. it's a different situation in different parts of the country. but the point that you made, they're facing a movement -- on one hand they have the barrel bombs of assad. on the other hand they have the terror of isis. it's almost as they flee from the barrel bombs they end up being driven into the hands of isis and that's what's forcing them out the particular circumstances in different parts of the country are obviously a matter of detail. but there is a wider significant point. 95% of the barrel bombing attacks that -- and other
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attacks that the assad air force are undertake ing are not again isis targets. >> if i could, so people understand, these are just against civilian populations, right? >> and other rebel group. and some of them are against other rebel fortifications. but it's certainly the case that a very small proportion of the bombing raids are targeted on isis. >> does anybody differ or want to add to that? >> i would just add, having been in iraq last week, that it very much differs depending on the circumstances. for example, i met with a couple of sisters who had recently escaped, having been sold to three different men. they're now living in a container with another family. clearly dealing with enormous trauma. and they don't really have a sense of what their future is. and they have no ability to
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imagine going home, which is true for a number of minority populations that have been pushed out of their homes. in the absence of security guarantees they're saying we want to be resettled. we can't go back unless there's security. so, that's one set of specific issues. but i also met with a young sunni woman who had been studying for her university exams when isis swept through mosul. she fled with her family, living in a very crowded apartment. she hasn't been able to resume her studies. it's been over a year. she is just wondering what is her life likely to be. and she also wants to go to europe. so there are lots of reasons that people are desperate to envision a better life. >> let me just ask this question. so, if an effort -- it's hard for me to contemplate this even. if an effort were put in place to strengthen assad, which is what russia and iran are
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pursuing right now, what effect would that have if we were somehow a part of that or winked and a nod and said that was okay, what would that do from your perspective, based on what you're seeing on the ground relative to the refugee crisis. i think i can answer for you. if you would, answer for the recor record. >> i congratulate you on the precision of your question and leading a humanitarian organization, i'm going to have to be extremely precise in my answer. i mean, i think that from our point of view, the violations of international law and basic rights are coming from all sides but the majority are coming from the assad government. secondly, it's evident to anyone who reads the newspapers or follows the debate that significant actions by the assad
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government have bolstered isis and have enabled the growth of isis. thirdly, any diplomatic or political approach needs to address both sides of the coin if it is to have a chance of success. >> i would just add that, as we mentioned earlier, there is a tool. u.n. security council resolution 2139, unanimously passed, that has not been upheld by key actors in the region who are now making different moves. and so there is an urgent opportunity to ask, push for key actors to take that seriously. that addresses the targeting of civilians, the barrel bombing, the withholding of humanitarian assistance. >> i know i'm running out of time myself. i would say i don't remember
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many u.n. security council resolutions that have been adhered to. when they're not adhered to, we just change them to something that can be adhered to. so i'm sorry, i'm a skeptic. but dr. gavinon? >> i fully subscribe to what david was saying, regarding the source of the main drivers of exxodus. of course, there are changes. clearly driven by the isis offensive. if you speak to refugees on the border, the majority will refer to the barrel bombing. this is the story we get on and on and on. syrian doctors who work for ngos who have a 501-c3. i'm not talking about wild groups, et cetera. and my fear is that any attempt at peace that does not immediately have an impact over how, in this case, barrel bombing are being used again


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