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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 30, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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>> >> with the brutal
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dictatorship libya has continued to face enormous challenges says their work to establish the government of national accord to build institutions that our inclusive of representative of all libyans. the dialogue has required determination in compromise every stage in the process of political reconciliation in libya will be a long journey. the reason october 8 announcement of proposed leadership resulting from the negotiations was a welcome step in the process. me urge all parties to endorse the agreement as quickly as possible. the rise of isis groups even smugglers to dramatically reduce oil production demonstrates the mini is -- immediate need for unified government to effectively partner with united states and international community to begin the hard work
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restoring peace and security in libya. over the course of my career i have led interagency teams in challenging environments and i understand the difficulties and opportunities ahead. my experience of the ambassador to nepal before and after the earthquake did assistance in baghdad and also of pakistan confirms the belief strong interagency coordination and a cohesive country team is the condition of successful missions overseas. mr. chairman i make it a point to come to the hell would i am back in washington and regular interaction is critical to our continued success. franken changes of accurate information to build trust are essential for congress to make policy choices and if confirmed a look forward to continuing this relationship. i am deeply conscious of the
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most important duty i have to insure the safety and security of all americans in libya but in particular those undermine leadership although we're no longer located in tripoli but to have a deep desire to engage libyans will be an essential task that if confirmed, i will be responsible and accountable. libya has the potential to play a vital role with security corporation over the long term to establish a safe and secure environment must be the first step libyans take to move the country forward in continuing to support the establishment of a stable and prosperous libya is consistent with the values of strategic interest of the united states. if confirmed but i will work with libyan partners to assist in the establishment of that environment. inclosing a one to note anyone who represents united
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states abroad has a unique responsibility. more often than not we're the only nation that has the will, the values and resources to solve problems and help others to be a positive force for change. being nominated to serve as the ambassador to represent our nation is an incredible honor and with the consent of the senate and the forward to assuming this responsibility again while serving as the next u.s. ambassador to libya. thank you for this opportunity to appear before your the four were to be answering your questions and >> and nominated ambassador to of man -- oman. >> my wife is here today, our sons and my daughter and i am very
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grateful for their support and attendance at this hearing. chairman, ranking member murphy and members of the committee i am honored to appear before you today as president obama is nominee to ambassador to oman i am deeply grateful for the trust placed in me and if confirmed i look forward to working closely with you and other members of congress to agree as the interest of the united states in oman. mr. chairman, i have spent much of my 34 year foreign service career working in the middle east. if confirmed as u.s. ambassador to oman the highest priority will be protecting the dedicated men andaman as well as all americans living and visiting in oman per barrel work with producers to major american businesses realize the full benefits of the free-trade agreement and i
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will engage with a wide range of oman citizens so they can make strides to maintain independent civil society i will employ the full range of diplomatic tools to deepen our cooperation on counterterrorism and counter piracy schuster -- issues. demonstrating its relationship to the states to help facilitate the nuclear inertia gauge -- negotiations with the rank, securing the release of american detainee's in yemen and hikers held by iran and assisting the evacuation of american garment personnel from i iran. working with the estates navy for freedom of navigation in the region through which approximately 30 percent of exports flow.
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united states and oman maintain excellence security corporation to ensure the strait of hormuz remains open to international trade. since the implementation of the united states, the free trade agreement of 2009, u.s. private industry has broad access to the rapidly developing omani market. if confirmed over to ensure american private industry enjoys free access to the omani market eager to purchase american goods and services. 12 increased level of representation that teasel citizens holding government if comport confirm rebel support the people in the government to establish a more inclusive and transparent government to strengthen civil society.
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finally, like once more to express my appreciation for the opportunity to appear before the committee today. if confirmed a look forward to welcoming members of congress and congressional staff to oman for i have served in a number of war and conflict zones in my career and i do not take lightly the responsibility the embassador holds to protect men and women serving our country overseas if confirmed the highest priority will always be the safety and security of every american in oman is listed reassessment of our national interest and i pledged to carry out these duties to the best of my ability. i welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have. >> the key very much. >> you have been nominated as an ambassador in the
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floor is yours reintroduction. >> gingrich interest of time i will summarize my statement but i ask for the full statement to be submitted for the record and my five children of my oldest and youngest were unable to combat the other three are here with their spouses. my daughters and my son also my granddaughter is here today. is a great honor and privilege to appear before you today as united states ambassador to the republic of tajikistan and i am humbled by the confidence president obama is secretary kerry placed in me if confirmed dallas forward to working with this committee and all member recovers to
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advance in tajikistan. >> without my 23 year career would not have been possible my husband retired after serving in the navy after 30 years to become the most enthusiastic and teammate during arturs in france copenhagen new delhi kathmandu "casablanca". he tragically died after a brief illness last year but he notes that go into a tajikistan was a possibility of excited at the prospect. our children and grandchildren are a testament to our partnership from our career i focused on ensuring security and safety of american citizens to advance the interests and values of the united states of the american people. have confirmed by robbing the same dedication to our embassy.
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tajikistan is a dynamic region per-capita the most porous border afforested hundred mile long border with afghanistan and problems like terrorism and violent extremism in the region are deeply concerning. if confirmed, will work to strengthen our partnership with tajikistan to address these challenges. given the difficult neighborhood must maintain its security and stability goals that united states support only with a strong commitment for respecting of the rule of law am protection of the people's rights and freedoms. these are critical components of security
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instability for any country and if confirmed there will encourage the government to promote and protect the civil society for international organizations to register and function freely. being an american ambassador is not only a great honor but a great responsibility. if confirmed i will endeavor to be a good steward of the american people's trust and they carry a leader for my colleagues for as a faithful representative of our values and interests and will also insure that the mission continues to provide u.s. citizens residing in or visiting texting in the highest quality in times of need communication and trust build the best relationships not only two hours engaged in a foreign government but also to engage with
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congress. if confirmed i will always be available to this committee, its members and staff to discuss and work with you in pursuit of our national interest in tajikistan. either forge your questions. >> i will go through to ask questions of beecher view i have individual questions and i think there is matters you have in your mind that is of interest to us the you can only to us but i want to start with mr. morton. you are undoubtedly aware of the fact a number of us here in the senate that wrote a letter rose -- raising concerns of the conflict of interest of the director are you familiar with that letter? >> i believe i am. >> first of all, do you think the concerns, we were
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concerned not only of a conflict of interest but the apparent conflict of interest as we go around the world try to persuade people the only way society can prosper to get rid of corruption and any type of influence or the appearance of it so we were concerned not only of what appeared to be a conflict of interest. what your thoughts? >> when we looked into the matter river very accountable with the arrangement opic has supported and i believe he had recur -- recused himself of all relevant matters during that time of serving on the board so we took a
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close look and felt we had followed both process related matters will also to stay on the proper side of the perception issue would be happy to follow-up in more detail with a further conversation if that response was not to your satisfaction. >> a little more detail would not hurt but i fully appreciate the person in question recused himself from the actual vote but again the appearance is very difficult to shake under these circumstances because if you are a co-director you have influence and access that others do not you don't need to do now you can take it for the record i would appreciate some fallout because there really doesn't resolve the issue of the
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appearance versus the actual conflict. >> i would say with a portfolio of 600 projects across 105 countries around the world, we're constantly looking at investments that have complex structures and boards of directors and governing structures so we are very careful to do due diligence to avoid that very issue so we take the issues quite seriously and there will be happy to follow up and were detail. >> you have a responsibility when you're dealing with the material that you deal with. we are seeing some open source reporting that mustard gas is being used in syria.
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can you enlighten us on that? and know that we're not in a classified sitting but could you say anything in the open source fashion? >> we certainly have had concerns for years that they have been seeking such weapons hidden allegations and reports that they have used these types of weapons it is something the united states is looking at very seriously because there is the intelligence dimension to all of this but what i can bring the attention is the organization crore for prohibition of chemical weapons one has focused on the allegations that such chemicals were used in august and we expect the end of this week for the fact finding mission to issue a public report it will not
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address the issue of retribution it does not a sign responsibility but it will seek to confirm or refute the allegations that these chemicals will be using it the jewel find their report to be helpful open source document if you have seen the previous report done by the fact finding mission and the april may 2014 incident incident, hundreds of pages a lot of very detailed information. i know some of your staff colleagues have found it to be helpful as the open source document hopefully by the end of the weekly to provide with the much more open type of access that would not involve classified information. >> i think everyone is aware because of the reporting of the use of chemical weapons in syria, after syria what
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is the next country would be most concerned about? would you agree syria is at the top of the list? to my right or wrong? >> absolutely this is a country we believe is not fulfilling obligations to declare and destroy all chemical weapons now denouncing evidence they're using them against its own citizens. >> what country after that? is anybody close to that or does it dropped down? >> we do have concerns about some countries that is reported in their classified compliance report but the use of chemical weapons is something that has not taken place since world war to the immediate threat of use is that on state actors to wonder if the new era of
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chemical terrorism has come along and it will be interesting to see if these allegations that isil have been using chemical weapons turns out to be true really worry much more about terrorists if they acquire the weapon will use it immediately bursa's countries that acquire the capability but it will sit on of the shelf to never become the immediate threat to the world community so i worry most about the nine state actors i hope we can put that genie back in the bottle embarrassing a new era of chemical terrorism. >> given the lack of moral turpitude of people who do this in syria, i would say i am not very optimistic of some type of moral obligation that would drive
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their decision making. you said no state actors had used since world war ii are you excepting syria or near damascus? >> i will correct myself for getting the obvious example of the iran-iraq war the allegation that iraqi leader iran exchange large amounts of chemical weapons between 80 and 88 forgive my historical lapse. >> do you feel we're organization has a decent handle all when the quantity of chemical weapons that are left in syria after this opposes removal?
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>> they do not, mr. chairman but they believe the answers the syrian government has provided that what has happened to those of the allegedly destroy a few years ago but they just cannot document and there are grave suspicions that they have not come clean of all their capabilities read too believable of their program was declared but there are serious suspicions that a residual people -- chemical weapon capability has been maintained and frankly the organization established a very dedicated group of experts to focus on this issue in just a few weeks ago they reported they have serious concerns about the veracity assyria's declaration with respect to chemical agents, and munitions, facilities involved with research and development and production
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so the international organization has clearly identified is serious problem unfortunately they don't know where they are put it is important to put on the international spotlight the last thing any of us want is for syria to hold itself out is a member of good standing but they're not. >> can you comment on the transfer from the government to isis or whatever you call it. >> in unclassified context that could be addressed but let us not think there was any deliberate transfer from the assad regime to isil they are in a recent acquisition took place that was not intended and a classified context i could provide more information.
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>> we know libya is attempting to form a government can you enlighten us on the status of that? >> yes with our international and regional partners in the area we have had some progress to establish a government of national accord very hopeful that when the special representative of the u.n. announced the possible new officers of the government to move forward quickly. it hasn't but we're hopeful that will the direction will take your not there yet all the region in international partners have the dialogue going on to do not reach but the goal is to work toward establishing the government
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without the inclusive government we don't see that substantial progress can be made. >> what is the prognosis? >> has the potential but it will be a very difficult road and even my own sense it is easier. >> regarding oman you did not mention or referred to a succession. could you talk about that and your concerns in that regard? >> yes. succession obviously is a very important question the sultan has been in power since 1970. he has established most of the institutions that currently exist in oman and
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is widely viewed as that bother of the modern omani state and due to his health there is certainly the potential he could leave the scene in the near future. there is a mechanism in place something called the ruling family council that would meet if the position became vacant suddenly and they are to select a successor because the sultan has no children of his own. should they fail to reach consensus on the individual, there is a sealed letter from the sultan to the council that would be open to in the event they do not reach agreement among themselves.
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i am confident they will if knowledge this but it is not tested and could pose a challenge. >> thank you very much. >> one of the things for those of us that serve on the foreign relations committee is the fighters from tajikistan's to isis. what can you tell us about that? what is the prognosis? >> it is a worrying phenomenon. the number that we have been given is 600 as of now. and if confirmed i would be
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focusing on the important issue to deepen our robust relationship to address issues such as this one. >> does tajikistan have any system in place to do anything about this? >> maya and the standing is some of the recruitment is happening in russia. many our guest workers so that the problem is most likely happening in russia but as far as what they are doing themselves i will be looking into that and hopefully becoming smarter on that one is confirmed. >> thank you very much as
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the father of a seven year-old panda three-year-old libel remark how remarkably well-behaved that youngsters that are here with us. [laughter] more credit to the united states than their parents given their disposition. so i will go down the row in the same order as you can catch your breath i am intrigued by the messages that we send to provide a new access to capital and new pathways to the partnerships all around the world and we sit here today with the inability to simply reauthorize the ex-im bank so tell us what this new
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asian development bank means for the united states and what the competition may and how did bewilders me we don't understand the military is not the only way you project power as the nation and abroad especially these days with the economic reach matters if not more than military -- military reach so what should be diverting from the chinese? >> the creation is only the of latest of a series of developments that have occurred in the read over the last decade when opic was carved out to the vast majority of the flows is in the form of official development aid or grants seven / one.
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now is the exact opposite more investment flows out there and official development assistance. the interaction the u.s. economy has with developing countries is driven by foreign direct investment in by the business ambassadors that invest overseas so before the creation of that you have a jury in the netherlands significantly enhancing the ability of their finance institutions to promote foreign investments overseas. i think it is the latest and inconsequential and one that we need to understand to look at the amount of
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liquidity that china will be injecting into the overseas markets is significant and will continue to ruth grow and if there is a response and what it might be. when opic and falls along side the overseas markets with the human-rights standards with the chinese banks so when repaid by example. >> with these markets that come with a political agenda with that expectation they will get their money back with return does that jeopardized the high standards we have set? >> over 40 percent of our
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portfolio was in africa there is a dead country or a capital you can go to on the african continent where the government isn't crying of u.s. investment with leadership and values other is always the darfur race to the bottom but those that have come in contact understand the different standards that come with that in there is a strong desire in the embassy after embassy to be actively investing into these markets >> tell us about chlorine and the role to address these new reports with the address of the chemical of syria. >> the first major use ever of world where one was
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chlorine ledger released many cylinders that went across no-man's land into the trenches killing thousands the very quickly thereafter the allies in the alice powers developed much better chemicals and then cater agents after ruled for tussaud quarry and we associate that with your pool is a cleansing agent in in use around the world to sanitize the water to turn into drinking water but with the chlorine canisters have the detonation cord around them for those that we
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believe that is strong evidence of the fact-finding report that all of the witnesses that survived the attack, helicopters were overhead when this happened over only the syrian government has helicopters the opposition does not it is a strong incriminating indicator but when the bombs start to drop people go to the basement with the chlorine being heavier than air it goes into the basement it hasn't killed hundreds of thousands like the other agent but the repeated use has a number of casualties that is accumulating over time if it has become a terror weapon. >> so tell us what will that
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you play the list of chemicals but what is to routine inspections but those to respect corey facilities around the world but in a country they use is a toxic weapon to kill people has violated the convention and that covers all toxic chemicals of necessity to narrow itself down to the most likely suspects a chlorine becoming bat chemical was not included on the list but in the case of syria they have found it useful.
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>> beck compensate around here that there are not military solutions that our military action in libya with the failure to understand you cannot have a military solution without a political component to underline that military action given it was our action that led to the fall of gadaffi that created this vacuum that still exists today it is probably not fair to ask somebody not on the ground yet but what lessons have we learned
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those that are not partnered with a political plan that is realistic on the ground should be just not give in to do the of business if you need to do more planning ahead of time with that failed military intervention >> i will characterize that is unfair i have been asking myself that they the devils three and o dash find the answer out over the months to come looking what we're looking to do right now one of the things that has happened as opposed to four years ago is a lack of governess or rule of law or security this sum total is the situation that is
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untenable and it is so important to continue efforts until we can have a form of inclusive government to get things back to a newt normal to have a bite to come back in a few months after i am on the ground to give a much more realistic answers. >> that is fair. >>. >> talk about of potential role played in the political process trying to be of broker put themselves in a position to be a broker we have heard some of optimistic to heston monday about a political process that will kick off at the end of this week but what will make oman play?
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>> i believe there was a meeting a meeting a couple of days ago that was the first contact that i am aware of so it does appear they're stepping up their engagement so far they have not been a major player in regional efforts to file a a negotiated solution but it does appear that they're becoming more engaged as various elements of diplomacy come into play so it is something we need to engage with them intensively but the role elsewhere is to
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promote diplomatic solutions to a regional crisis when able to do so. >> do they have a position if this lot has to go or stay? >>. >> as far as i am aware they have not taken a public position on that yet but we should give them more in detail to read out about this meeting and hopefully we will know more about that i will be happy to arrange for a briefing once we have that information. >> it is a touching tribute to your husband in we are sorry for your loss. it was interested your response with the location of this recruitment that speaks to russia of a
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country that has massive undeveloped capacity of natural resources for high-growth power that links you to do the other end of the table so what is the opportunity for u.s. development to create this country for those that travel across the border for paycheck for their family? >> certainly the links tajikistan has to their neighbors it is a multi vector for a policy to give us an opportunity to work with them in a number of different areas and there
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are a lot of needs so we focus on a broad range of areas including improving the investment climate health and women and girls and i will take inventory of what we're doing if confirmed to see whether or are more opportunities. >> i have only been on the committee three years and have not had a chance yet to air travel to the post a round of world especially for the young for officers that is the category of all of your post. as you have served to the variety of leadership capacities what have you learned about the ways for
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everyone who gets assigned will think twice to have a environment that it is a pretty tough territory? >>. >> one of the things i have learned is the tougher the post the higher the morale speaking to the dedications of my colleagues from foreign service they need their jury and a demand to read and i find for every moment i spend a maturing that pay off is so large it is something we have to do even as the ambassador i
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spent one hour every two weeks with all specialist talking about the of leadership issue trying to do teach the of the lesson. here is the mistake that i made you will make different mistakes we will have the benefit of mine. they are like sponges and soak it up. we are blessed with one of the best careers and jobs in the world most people once they realize the trustee work and have to do it is the motivation in itself to give very real responsibility to get them out there. >> senator these are tough questions in areas of the world where the post those unaccompanied people cannot
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plan very well they go into a post expecting one sets and changes and families are evacuated i think the state department is invest the enormous efforts to help people cope with these situations but it is very tough and varies considerably from 41 dash replaced a place i feel that oman we have good morale by all indications that i have received but to maintain that has to be a high priority i agree with my colleague we are attracting excellent people to foreign service in all agencies and i also work very closely with colleagues of the military and across the
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board people feel a sense of commitment to american values to wrap up dash represent the united states to promote american interest but they want to hear from us in a leadership position how we see things their way to certain amount of transparency of the challenges that we face so it is incumbent on us to share the information on a regular basis to address their questions as accurately as we can and. listed it can be shared and that is a great deal of benefit to. >> both were colleagues have mentioned of what has been high on my agenda. i would like to add it a
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difficult post people to people contact could be tremendously rewarding to feel they can get out to give a presentation on some aspect of american life or culture in these presentations can be tremendously rewarding for the person giving them the also wonderful new contacts as to represent the united states ends of the health to continue if confirmed. >> i will wrap up but if you are uncomfortable to go down this road please say so we can pursue in a different setting. it is fairly well accepted
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that the assad dash use chemical weapons even after they made the commitments but they have a partner in russia. what role does russia play in the organization? when you stage and on this side of it, if the u.s. was involved with a partner doing this sort of thing we will washer he is very quickly or stop it there not lifting a finger period they have to save information the international community has. what can you tell us? >> it is an education for we and diplomacy because even though we might disagree we
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could find common cause i do with the secretary in the foreign minister got together with the syrians civil war equation to remove chemical weapons russia has been a good partner to help to redress this dimension of the problem. when the fact finding missions cave out, russia was a little resistance at first but in august the u.n. security resolution was adopted with russian support resolution 2235 to establish a mechanism to an attribute responsibility for the
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attacks confirmed by that teeeighteen russia supported that step and that is just up and running now and those allegations as anything you will be investigated by this group and reported to the security council. i went into the process with skepticism and how they could be a good partner prayer at the time that i spent traveling to my current job to work with russian colleagues they have been cooperative on this issue to push this forward now we're in a position to try to hold people accountable and governments accountable for the use of chemical weapons in syria. it is a remarkable achievement if you see there is a complete disconnect between the united states
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and russia. >> i will not be as generous as you are. that was the right to they to do but the assad regime could not survive without them supporting them if they are as serious or acting in good faith as they suggest it wouldn't take but a phone call to say that cannot happen again or we are out of fear i will not be that generous and i have other questions but probably in a different setting. so with that we take you for your service to the people
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of the united states. these are incredibly important to success around the world but the of record will remain open for questions until the close of business on friday so you may get some more questions the you have been generous with your time and candid with your users and we appreciate that. with that theory is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> it is a very touchy business to be the son or daughter of the dictator. it is a collection of very interesting stories but there are points about community and loyalty in to nature and nurture and politics and even democracy. >> daschle review senior editor on his book children of monsters looking at the lives of children of 20 dictators. >> i could talk to some knowledgeable people but not the members that is usually the case there are only so many around to talk to or to say what they know to divulge the feelings or experiences i was digging around for any tidbit that i
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could because the sons and daughters some are famous and important summer footnotes you have to dig to find out about them. >> bashing carter and general conferred testified about u.s. military strategy in the middle east including operations in syria and iraq. to balance the efforts against the political situation with russia and isil and the assad backed regime they appear before the senate armed services committee. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] . .
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eyewitnesses will try to adhere to that. the tragic loss last week of master sergeant joshua walker, a veteran of 14 combat deployments reminds us of the high-stakes of our mission in the middle east and how grateful we are to those american serving there. we need a strategy worthy of
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those who carry it out and unfortunately we don't have that. what's worse, it appears the administration is not even defining the problem correctly. a policy of iis il 1st failsl 1st fails to understand that i sil for all of the threat it poses is actually just a symptom of a deeper problem, the the struggle for power and sectarian identity now raging across the middle east, the epicenter of which is iraq and syria. that is why it exists. this problem will only get worse the longer this conflict rages on. there is no military solution to this problem which is a truism, but that too is misleading. misleading.misleading. the real problem, no diplomat a solution without leverage.
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and as a clear military dimension to this problem. he can take all the trips he wants to geneva, but unless the military balance of power changes on the ground, diplomacy, as has been amply proven will achieve nothing. changing those conditions is what the administration has consistently failed to do. instead, it is assumed our nation can withdraw from the middle east and avoid the conflict at its heart. moreover, on this occasion when the administration is felt compelled to respond after the use of chemical weapons, for example, with the rise of iis il and now amid the worst refugee crisis in europe since world war ii, the administration has merelyreally address the symptoms of the underlying problem rather than the problem itself, and all too often made that problem worse. there is no clear example of this than the syrian train and equip program. from the start, the administration said the
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fighters in this program can only fight heisel, not a sod who has slaughtered and displaced exponentially more syrians. in addition, the administration made no commitment until recently to provide these forces with any meaningful military support. failed to come anywhere close to the department's original expectations. the pres. has has expressed surprise about this failure. it was not a surprise. it was completely predictable command many of us year did predicted. only someone who does not understand the real problem, problem, the underlying conflict in syria and iraq or does not care to get think that we could effectively recruit and train large numbers of sunni syrians to fight only
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against isii sil with no promise of coalition assistance if they came under fire from a sod's forces. rather than fixing the problem the present suspended it. this is tantamount to destroying the program. the president now says incredibly, the failure of this program, his program, the pres.'s program, proves he was right for not wanting to do it in the 1st place. harry truman must be spinning in his grave. if there is an opposite of commander-in-chief, this is it. we don't have enough us forces to train and advise iraqi units at the right levels.
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they are still not providing sufficient support to sunni tribes which of the center of gravity in this fight against i sil.i sil. we are looking the other way as militias go on the offensive. advising them in combat are calling in airstrikes. we learned these lessons a few years ago and apparently we must relive these failures now. for nearly seven years the the administration has tried to extract america from middle east. instead, we have created a massive power vacuum that has been filled by al qaeda and its affiliates on the one hand and he ran and its proxies on the other. now into this vacuum has dubbed vladimir putin. putin's intervention in syria really began in ukraine. greater cost on russia by
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providing expensive arms ukrainian forces and the lab to annexed crimea, dictate the terms of a frozen conflict in the eastern ukraine and then pivot to syria. first, it1st, it urged russia not to build up his forces in syria. he ignored these warnings. they failed. putin responded by dropped to the-- bombing moderate syrian forces, many of them are allied with the united states, and what has been the result? the number of us airstrikes has dropped. the train and equip program was halted. the administration scrambled to pen that deacon flexion agreement with the russians that spells out more of what we will not do.
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moving out of the way and watching as russian aircraft together with iranian hezbollah and the sons are on forceson forces attack and kill brave syrians, many of whom our nation has supported and encouraged. this is not only harmful to our interest but tomorrow. what we must do to hasten the end of the conflict in syria and iraq in particular stopping the asides use of air power, the major killer of syrians and the drivers of refugees out of the region, we must establish areas were civilians can be safe and do what is necessary to protect these areas in the air and on the ground, recognizing that putin is not interested in a negotiated solution that favors us interest. we should instead impose real costs on russia, not russia, not just in syria: everywhere we have leveraged to do so.
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rather than acquiescing to them, some we will object, as they have for years that we cannot bear the cost of these actions but consider the cost of our current inaction and half measures. mass atrocities will continue. our allies and partners in the middle east we will be put a greater risk of existential danger. europe will continue to be destabilized and consumed by the internal challenge of managing the refugee challenge. the challenge will grow more potent and spread across more of the middle east, africa, and asia posing a greater threat to our national security. iran will be emboldened in its pursuit of its maligned regional ambitions. putin will establish russia as aa dominant military power in the middle east for the 1st time in four decades, and all the while america's credibility and influence will continue to
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erode. make no mistake, this is the course we are now on. no one believes there are easy answers to the underlying problems in the middle east. this much should be clear, weclear, we cannot go on pretending that we can somehow avoid these problems or that the current approach of trying to treat the symptoms of the disease rather than its cause will work if only we give it more time. it will not. policies of gradual escalation never do. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me join the chairman and welcoming the chief of staff. today's hearing comes in the midst of a series of events offering the security situation in the middle east.
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the deployment of russian air and ground forces in syria, suspected, suspected i sil attack that killed over 100 people and injured hundreds more. during a peace rally and the deployment recently the new commander operation inherent resolve, the recent meetings with the foreign minister of russia, turkey, and saudi arabia. in addition arabia. in addition to hearing comes weeks before the summit in turkey where these issues and the international response will be at the forefront. a little more than 45 days. i understand that he has used this time to evaluate the situation on the ground and may be recommending changes. this comes at a critical time as there is a reevaluation of strategy. the coalition faces a series of intermingled conflicts, including the counter i sil
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fight, syrian civil war, regional proxy war, sectarian sunni shia conflict, counterterrorism fight, and the intervention of russian, a potential great power struggle. considering these challenges, it is important that we continually assess the role of our nation's military and helping to bring about the conditions for an acceptable and sustainable settlement. in a rack a recent visit by the chairman in general have focused attention on the coalition's efforts to train and equip the iraqi security forces. however, taken as a whole, they have not shown the we will to make necessary advances in the operations take the mahdi, for example. the political leaders have not stated progress and addressed long-standing grievances. the recent operation by kurdish --dash murder forces the company by us special
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operations forces despite the tragic loss of one of our finest soldiers demonstrated that such targeted efforts can have significant success and protecting innocents and degrading i sil. these can result in critical intelligence to support the coalition's broader campaign while these are not without risk the time may have come to evaluate such counter operations which can be increased and whether our troops simply need a more active role in enabling the isf, including by comparing the forces a lower echelons. according to reports, the coalition's provisions of close air support have shown success in northern syria. the recent decision by the administration has come together in the form of syrian arab coalition to fight alongside syrian kurdish forces cells -- shows promise. if successful, this would successful, this would be a positive development for the objectives of the broader campaign. however, i am concerned.
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this may not enable us to accomplish our goals. the program clearly failed to live up to heightened expectations, but my understanding is the task force had recently recalibrated the program based upon lessons learned and that later graduates are having a direct impact. the coalition cannot succeed in syria without a reliable sunni force on the ground to hold territorial gain. building this force will require time and patients and criticallyuncritically require the building of trust or training engagements and persistent contact between the coalition and the partners on the ground. i hope the secretary will provide a clear understanding of the conditions required to reengage vetted individuals or small groups. they have the potential to set off another wave.
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more specifically, the military operations have complicated the coalition air campaign and have the potential to draw the attention of moderate syrian opposition forces away from counter i sil operations that have negatively impacted the distribution to the syrian people. i hope you will be provided with the operational flexibility. i will be interested on how to ensure that he receives the operational flexibility and support needed to be successful going forward. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the counter i sil campaign. to share with you some of
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the plans and initiatives that the chairman and i are formulating. this is the 1st time for me appearing before this committee alongside the chairman who was just in the region last week, as was noted. i am grateful for answering the president's call to step down from one every marinos is a higher position, commandant of the marine corps, to become chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and to this committee for confirming jail. thank you and i am glad to have you with me. before ii turn to the subject of today's hearing, i want to reiterate as i have said consistently and continue to believe that washington needs to come together behind a multi- your budget deal that supports our defense strategy. troops and their
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families and all elements of america's national security and strength. i understand significant progress is made on this overnight and am looking forward to reviewing the details, but i welcome this major positive development and the plot the members of this committee for what you are doing to help us get there. the middle east presents a kaleidoscope of challenges. but there, as everywhere, our actions and strong military posture are guided by what is in americans interest. that is our north star. and amid this region's complexity and uncertainty, those interests are to deter aggression, bolster the security of our friends and allies, especially israel, to ensure freedom of navigation in the gulf, to check iran's malign influence, even as we monitor the implementation of the joint comprehensive plan of action. and to degrade and ultimately defeat i sil. this last one poses a threat to our people and friendly
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countries not only in the middle east and around the world. today i we will 1st outline the changes in the execution of our strategy that we have considered and are now pursuing militarily. together battlefield momentum and to fight against isi l. then i we will address what russia is doing in syria and why we won't let it interfere with our campaign. when i last spoke to this committee about our counter i sawisolate campaign and its nine lines of essential military and nonmilitary efforts, i made three things clear. first, that we will deliver i sil a lasting defeat. second, that's truly lasting success would require enabling capable, motivated, local forces on the ground, recognizing that this will take time and new diplomatic energy. third, that our strategies execution can and must and
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will be strengthened. all of that is still true. we are unchanged. today i would like to elaborate on the 3rd point and explain how we are adapting our campaign to do more reinforcing what we no works. the changes we are pursuing can be described by what i call the three rs, rocker camara mahdi, and raids. before i explain what they mean, let me note that i took actions to streamline command-and-control to counter i sil military campaign by assigning the entire effort to a single generala single general officer, lieutenant general sean mcfarland. and the urgency of the early phase, the campaign last year, several layers were added to the general officer
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already present. the 1st is the stronghold and administered of administrative capitol. we have been clear for some time that we need to keep up pressure, and to that end we will support moderate syrian forces that have made territorial gains. the syrian arab coalition which we plan to strengthen through our new equipping approach memorial day moment but will work overtime with other syrian anti- iso- forces to push toward rocca. toto the south we plan to further strengthen our partner jordan. and from the skies above we expect to intensify our air campaign, including with additional us and coalition aircraft to target iso-with a higheriso- with a higher and have the greatest strikes to include more strikes against high-value targets as our intelligence
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improves. also the oil enterprise which is a critical pillar. as i said last friday we have begun to ramp up these deliberate strikes. i, like president obama and members of this committee comeau was disappointed with the program's results. we accordingly examine the program and have since changed it. i use the word change, not end, change the program. well, the old approach was to train and equip completely new forces outside of syria before sending them into the fight, the new approaches to work with vetted leaders of groups that are already fighting. providing equipment and some training and support their operations with her power. this approach builds on successes that local syrian
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arab and syrian furnish courses -- kurdish forces have made to retake and hold ground with the help of airstrikes and equipment resupply. if done in concert, as we intend, all of these actions on the ground and from the air should help shrink territory into a smaller and smaller area and create new opportunities for targeting, ultimately denying any safe haven and it supposedly land. the 2nd is room mahdi, the capitol of the anbar province which serves as a critical example of the government's commitment to work with local communities with our help to retake and hold ground. and in turn, to build momentum we eventually go northward. under the prime minister's leadership, the iraqis have begun to use american-made f-16s to support operations
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and have empowered capable battlefield commanders to step forward. as we see more progress toward assembling capable and motivated iraqi forces under baghdad's control and including sunni elements, we are willing to continue to provide a more enabling capabilities and fire support to help them succeed however, the iraqi government and security forces will have to take certain steps militarily to make sure our progress sticks. we need to see more in the direction of multi-sectarian governance and defense leadership.leadership. for example, we have given the iraqi government to battalions worth of equipment for mobilizing sunni tribal forces. as we continue to provide the support, the iraqi government must ensure it is distributed effectively. local forces are not sufficiently equipped, regularly paid command empowered as coequal members of the iraqi security
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forces. the defeats will only be temporary. the 3rd and final are his raids, singlingis raids, singling we won't hold back from supporting capable partners and opportunistic attacks or conducting such missions director. whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground. last week's rescue operation was led by an iraqi kurdish force with us advisers and support. one of those accompanying advisers, master sergeant joshua wheeler, heroically acted to ensure the overall success of the mission and lost his life in the process. death of any service member is a tragedy. as i told his family and teammates this weekend we offer our condolences to his loved ones for their loss. while our mission is to train, advise, and assist in situations such as that situation, we want to
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support our partners and will. at the same time, the raid strikes and most recently, they should all serve notice that once relocate them no target is beyond our reach. as we have looked at how to gather momentum and adapt to the changing battlefield, some have discussed putting in a buffer zone, humanitarian zone, or no-fly zone in syria. we have analyzed various options and the political and military requirements of each. these options are complex and raise challenges, which i am prepared to discuss and answer your questions. let me now turn to russia's involvement syria. to be clear, we are not cooperating with russia, andrea not letting russia impact this pace or scope. while we negotiated a document on safety of flight
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with a russian minister of defense, we do do not align ourselves more broadly with their military actions because instead of singularly attacking i sil they are primarily attacking the syrian opposition which further fuels the tragic civil war. their actions suggest a doubling down on there long-standing relationship with the sod sending advisers, artillery, and aviation to enable and support the aside regime and iranian forces and attacking moderates who oppose the regime and are essential to serious political transition. it appears the vast majority of the strikes use tom bombs which obviously increase the possibility of civilian casualties. so as russia acts in a coalition of two with iran, the united states will continue to strengthen our 65 nation global coalition.
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even as we have reached an understanding with the russians on safety protocols , we will keep prosecuting our counter i sil campaign unabated. we will keep supporting the moderate syrian opposition on with other commitments to friends and allies in the region. and consistent consistentregion. and consistent with our strong and balanced approach toward russian aggression elsewhere in the world, including nato ukraine, we will keep the door open for russia to contribute to efforts toward a political solution which in the final answer and analysis is the only answer to the syrian conflict. i have discussed the military strategy and accompanying campaign. before i conclude i remind the committee that the feeding i sil and protecting america requires coordinated efforts. to include supporting effective governance and
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iraq, enhancing intelligence collection, disrupting financing my countering messaging, stopping the flow of foreign fighters for providing humanitarian support, and protecting our homeland where other departments and agencies of our government have lead. thank you. >> chairman, ranking member, the sting was members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss our challenges and specifically the military dimension of our campaign. i have been in my current position for just short of four weeks and has been much of that time reviewing our campaign. i also followed up on the commitment i made my confirmation hearing to visit the region early in my tenure. last weekend i got a personal perspective by visiting israel, jordan, and the rack. i was externally impressive the focus and commitment and thanks to your support i can report that they are well trained and equipped. before taking questions i would like to share a few thoughts. the primary source of strength is its claim to be
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a caliphate. to be successful, the coalition's military campaign must reduce territorial control, destroy war fighting capability and undermine his brand and work of invisibility. there are two critical elements of the military campaign. the 1st is to conduct strikes against targets intended to kill key leadership in fighters, interdict lines of communication, and a nice source of revenue. the 2nd critical element is to develop and support effective partners on the ground to season secure i sil held terrain. many weeks before i became the chairman the leadership across the department recognize we need to increase pressure from multiple directions to generate momentum in the coalition's military campaign. as with any
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campaign, we are continuing to examine ways to enhance the effectiveness of our operations. we all recognize this is a trans-regional threat requiring a broader strategy. the immediate the immediate priority is to bear down on core i sil. the framework for the campaign is the same for iraq in syria,and syria, but conditions on the ground present unique challenges and opportunities. the in-state is to defeat i sil. clearly presented the most difficult challenge. no one is satisfied with our progress to date. moving forward we must continue to work with our turkish partners to secure the northern border of syria and do all that we can to enable vetted syrian opposition forces willing to fight i sil and the more aggressive and strikes that will deny i sil the access they have to oil revenue. the sec. has already addressed the adjustments to the syrian train and equip program command i support the refined approach. there will be challenges but we will be supporting groups who've already demonstrated the we will to fight, and our support will be continued.
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meeting specificmeeting specific standards. we will look for opportunities to support vetted opposition groups in both the north and along the border with jordan. .. >>
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>> we have developed a variety of options to be successful in syria and iraq in addition to those aligned by the secretary ready to continue to approve our intelligence capabilities to cut the flow of ford fighters i will have a better understanding after my visit in the days ahead will also continue to look harder to increase effectiveness of the campaign they expect me to bring to them all options that may contribute to begin the fight against i suspect read a commitment i will do that. i believe we have identified
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and started to implement to move the campaign for word we are not satisfied or complacent about where we are and we will not be satisfied until isil is defeated figure for the opportunity and i look forward to your questions. >> after it was clear the arm train and equip program had failed this spokesman said they felt vindicated that the program had failed because he never supported it to start with and it is a program we invested a least 43 million above $500 million program i am not sure how many young people were killed to implement this sale program but did you feel vindicated when this program failed? >> mr. chairman i thought the effort, i will repeat
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something the chairman just centcom i think the general was given this program. >> i just ask a question if you feel vindicated or not. >> i was disappointed i wish it turned out differently. however we are learning our lessons from that so the new approach differs. i am disappointed. >> but that president belts vindicated. and olivetti were seeing some of the changes. so does that mean the show people that we train and equip we are protecting them
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to be bear a bomb or by russian aircraft? >> we have conveyed this save obligation in the last time i was before you. >> right now pressure and aircraft are bothering the syrian forces while we have day complected do you believe we should be protecting these young people? >> we have an obligation. >> they have not come under attack. >> the rational will not attack from the ypg. >> i am asking about the moderate see reinforces. i am asking the questions those of the moderate syrian force is being bombed by russia.
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>> with the title tune forces they have not come under attack. >> none of the moderate forces have come under attack by russia? >> not with our program, no. >> fascinating. >> let me be clear they do attack moderate syrian forces led that russian approach. >> will be trade these young people to send them into syria to fight to be beryl bob? >> that we will all have from attacks? >> we've made that clear. >> we have not done that i promise you will have to
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correct the record. general petraeus and former secretary gates and now secretary clinton have all stated we should stop the teeth -- t-72 this complicated as it is free to do would northern and southern watch very successfully. are you recommending we should stop the barrel bombing to stop the barrel bombing with the aircraft exclusion very sound and order to ruth protect the innocent civilians driven
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into ruth of refugees status ? >> with those humanitarian zones i could give you the consideration. >> stop the barrel bombing summit that is the intent of a no-fly zone. >> i can tell you some of the consideration. >> do you support that? >> we have not made the recommendation the president has not taken them off the table i can explain those rate -- reasons. >> ted has not been examined and has been recommended for years. you have to examine and? >> we look at it closely.
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>> it is an issue on the table to we are four years that i know of. not from my general dempsey's said of the cost $1 billion a day or something. but it is not a new issue. >> it is substantial. >> this seems to have you should have a position. >> we have not recommended that we analyzed it. >> so you do not agree with general petraeus or secretary gates. >> we do not have the concept of operations for a no-fly zone. >> after all these years piano concept of operations and? to read that we can recommend. >> i just want to ruth clarify you have spoken exclusively of the department of defense, but
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there are other forces on the ground but it has been placed in areas that are not subject to aerial attack. >>. >> add to insert that to identify the leaders that has some trading and support. there is another aspect of this approach with the
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enablers people all of technical skills to go into redeployed unit to provide those skills. >> that is still part of the approach is a %>> that is stille approach is a rather than trying to form me identify units better already fighting isil providing equipment and providing them with abilities to help those letter from the your. >> to grow in units or in teams of syrian nationals
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with all whole range of issues of air support and the vocal support. >> we are very transactional so begins some equipment to see how they perform the is already exist moving in the areas north is an example of that. >>. >> qa have combed the -- conversations that the prime minister there were disconcerted reports invitations of the russians collaboration would ensure latest estimate of that?
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>> to address that specific question i splayed have a difficult it is to instruct that is not the case. because we complete-- suspended the program the individuals we previously trained their providing support to talk about the syrian air in - - arab coalition with the guidance to have to bring those four words in to talk
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to the team on the ground to make it clear we ought -- have developed concept of operations with the jordanian border. >> both testimony's highlighted the inability and some of that so considering having the american advisor died at the company level but higher up to perform that would allow the pavement of troops to govern baghdad to demand on behalf of the sunni forces.
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>> 58 there are four reasons why we may put forces in that role in the first is what you are suggesting to have coherence in another challenge is another vintage to do that. and mr. to regional impact to reinforce success would be the basic framework that i would make a recommendation for additional forces to be:located. >> to read the of the record clear the american supported forces fire are attacked by russian aircraft is that true or false? >> times rea there are
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moderate syrian opposition forces supported by the coalition and those that are part of a serious picture and the political transition >> there are attacked not isil that is why the russian approach is backwards or wrongheaded. >> batted is why we don't train them to watch them go fight and watch them being destroyed or killed. >> for all or part as i said before we have a moral obligation. >> you were making a distinction without a difference to be coalition supported those that are going to be slaughtered. >> is maya understanding the senator is presiding so i will refer to him than we
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can return to regular order. >> that is the equivalent of staff to do for the junior officer. secretary cotter you talk about the nine wives of efforts not all of those our military. >> corrects the neck now that the general has departed of the oddball way with those nondefense lines? >> one of the things that i have proposed that secretary kerry has accepted that we meet periodically with the other agency heads with the other lines of effort the successor will be present and to headed is necessary to move in concert repeated a better effort to do that
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secretary kerry has agreed to do that with me. so with that for infighter flow into the conflict region around the world we are addressing messaging with the efforts to recruit people on line so there are a lot of different dimensions but i believe there are opportunities to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts of it sought to seize those with a secretary kerry and the general and in the other participants are doing things for diplomatic people
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with the homeland's security and law enforcement but the whole could be greater than the sum of the parts. >> is that a way to say all the non-defense lines of effort? >> general allan was superb said he did with great skill and to his credit in the end to assemble alda and mechanics so that is something with those parties that are involved to be part of that effort but i think it'd is necessary. >> to move into syria a few
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weeks ago before the major russian move the united states government rich -- requested they closed that airspace to russian aircraft. how is that credit -- request with iraq? >> i simply don't know. >> with the department of defense or white house? >>. >> bulgaria accepted it. some '02 go through iraqi airspace slow to exclude to
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have limited capability but they have limited air to air capability. >> to assist iraq and to fly over iraq? >> it is a sovereign decision but we're not an interested. is a rack going to do cooperate i call it the wrongheaded approach in syria. it's been in no uncertain terms with the statement he will not work with the russians but to be partners
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with iraq in that regard and then to be assistant in the point is we feel emphatically to receive those pledges but they have not been ambiguous about that. and perhaps you would like to say something about that? >> then try to explain that continued support is problematic that we had not extended the invitation to do that. >> it is problematic ended
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may exclude russian aircraft and to exclude them from the airspace. >> so what is the end game? and then to talk to the citizens and two of the no-fly zone but there are people there there peace-loving and well-educated. and then with pressure involvement to protect assad and that influence in my opinion and look at the united states we're more concerned about fighting
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isil and those that want to defeat aside so what is the end game? of less retaken on russia or have some type of diplomatic relations, i see russia as being in a situation to be a major broker in that region because everyone seems to be and to be propped up by russia we're not protecting the people to put it back into syria is a confusing
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situation. and the paramount objective is the defeat of isil. >> the number one priority right now. >> they're trying to attack america there must be defeated. >> i'm sorry you do agree russia primary is to protect a side? >>. >> to have to complete objectives. >> in then they will protect
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a side. >> so the end came in syria has to be a transition in which assad is no longer running the country. that it is peaceful as possible because we would like to have more influence on the leadership. >> i don't think they can be sure of that. the future of syria is in the hands of the syrian people with the syrian moderate opposition leaders that are attacked by deicide forces with russia help. >> can you assist the migration of the people from syria?
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>> yes. there is a spectrum there all the way through the group's. >> we have talked before but it is so hard to go home to explain our involvement. >> chairman said something important with his opening comments and what we owe this to generate that confidence of the military campaign to give us leverage politically so that messages of politically right now there are two separate approaches to come together in the future so we deal
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with isil on the ground so there are broader political negotiations of the transitional government. it is clear what we should be doing on the military side to generate the coalition together. >> are they intend to on fighting assad door isil. >> those of the support specifically in the north are fighting isil war so they an assad. so with those smaller groups that they're beginning to
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negotiate to express the same. >> our committee rules have always been to submit a statement 24 hours in advance and it is helpful to us if we get that so i would ask with future hearings to do that. and secretary carter mentioned by name josh wheeler is a hero than 70 lives of hostages of the coalition task force so i appreciate that very much to talk about that. since you were your report secretary carter that isil
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has more than a year of u.s. air strikes with a significant setback. with the operation to support iraq. to support that received with the attacks on u.s. forces so to elaborate more on that of what we got that this morning in not letting rashes and pack impact
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against syria. some time we had dr. kissinger as a witness put them last week we had by professors in the hearings that we had. in three coated doctor kissinger when he said syria is the latest symptom of a disintegration to supervise the middle east. is this consistent secretary carter? >> the middle east summit to come back to american interest in that


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