tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 5, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EST
in pockets. and we work with them constantly on that issue with refugees to get into the country. most of these are hosting these refugees with a significant strain on their public services which is why support from the international community is so all-important. >> subject to syria 14 years ago amid reverse trip to syria to meet with the
unknown president assad he has been pretty well defined over 14 years as the al white dictatorship that he has is pretty well defined over many decades. so let me ask a question. more than four years ago the administration called for regime changes not only did very little to make that, about but directly through the agreements with a chemical weapons departure and at this point isn't it time to ask the question what do we really want to achieve in syria? with a free syrian army has cost us some incredible numbers i will not even say on television because it is
a complete failure. we have no free syrian army more are fighting independent than us than with us by a factor of thousand / one. is a time we figure out what is possible for those alight questions to return to their country? >> we do not believe it is possible either a political settlement or a military defeat now these issues are linked. and is a magnet for terrorist all over the world. i would differ every syrian
army is day bust there are efforts under way that has been corralled our goals and european allies. there is no alternative to talk about his departure. >> i am not trying to predetermine the departure of assad. i happen to agree a future syria should be a syria with representation in he is probably not be a deal, he is a failed leader, but the reason i ask it this way if i were to ask you if we have an effective i italian free syrian military would have to say no.
if we had the effective platoon you would say it is but it is not quite effective i left the marines 240th birthday believe me if they evaluated them they would come up short as effective for any of them. isn't it true the effective forces against assad today are in fact, non isis' fighters to disagree bader not aligned with us? those who are bombed by the russians as we speak? >> that is true in the north but not in the south. the al qaeda affiliate and other groups have absorbed what we previously would have called the moderate opposition that is not true
in the south. as they hold their own and territory. >> with the effect on lebanon, today it has been widely reported that the sectors protected are a combination of the armed forces wherever possible and his blood in the she area is are protecting their own. is that a workable solution bin can united states to ensure the lebanese armed forces continue to get what they need welcome bullying has a love for the future? >> under the circumstances
to do a good job to protect lebanon. we have a robust trading program by our american forces in working with the saudis to get them additional funds it is an extremely high priority to have that encounter and contrary to many expectations it seems to be working. >> thank you for this opportunity on syria and for the ambassador 2.0 the success lebanon hosting one-third of its population is refugees while keeping crisis out. >>. >> the senator from texas. >> thank you for being here today for your testimony and your service to our country. the first question is on
migration that has changed or increased what is the status? >> as i said in the opening we believe it has led to an acceleration of migrants into europe in particular we have seen those upticks since the russian bombing. >> have we found migrants stay zero or want to come back? >> with regard to syrians will we are getting is those who have hope the country can come back to gather but many have lost hope and that is a question europe is struggling with. >> what role have they
played with respect to the refugees? >> our real partners have been generous with the kuwaitis in particular have been free donors' conference is giving hundreds of millions the united arab emirates as well but on the resettlement the gulf countries to not take in refugees basically take guest workers and a number of them have employees under syrian but they have been generous with their money. >> with the use of chemical weapons in 2013 russia agreed to extract chemical weapons from syria now it is bound by the chemical weapons convention what have we seen specifically with
chlorine gas? >> it would be a violation of the chemical weapons convention which syria is a signatory we have reverted to the organization of provision for chemical weapons they will do an analysis once we receive the report we will decide what steps to take. >> to be determined is that assad regime or other actors >> the strong judgment is assad machine because it was dropped from helicopters that is not in the possession of the opposition >> i yield back. >> said so -- the senator from alabama. >> is use of military force and syria could or bad or productive or counterproductive?
>> we have been pretty clear be do not think russia military intervention leads to a settlement but instead it gives confidence that assad could stay in power. >> describing how bad the conduct is that fair? >> as secretary patterson confirmed that were dead or have a problem with it. >> what about using a diversion strategy where we forced the russian military to being paged to weaken the abilities to prosecute military aggression in syria and more specifically how would that impact your ability to expand the operations in the middle east? we're rearm the ukrainians
to try to protect the territory to assist the proxy to invade. >> i thank you know we had a cease-fire that has largely been holding since september 1st. i am confident you would not be suggesting the ukrainians draw the russians deeper into conflict adults think that would be good for ukraine to the stability of europe. >> is that cease-fire just the way they can consolidate territorial gains? with hopes to recapture the land? >> under the agreement the
first up is cease-fire the second is political progress then in return of the territory. so now what we're starting to see for the first time is a pullback of russian and separatist weapons even though the cease-fire is not complete. so if you want to claim that implemented most important to leave a lot -- lean on russia to pull back the weapons to allow the return to the border and. >> as any of the territory been taken to government of the ukraine?
if you can answer that give us an idea what percentage has been returned and how much is kept in the hands of the russians that crimea itself as a large land mass. >> about 7% of ukraine with the occupation of eastern ukraine and as i said with a ceasefire with the beginning to pull back of heavy weapons those that have access to that territory increasingly monitors have had access to encourage and accelerate that process. >> is the answer is zero? >> as of today's zero. >> how has it delivered against ukraine's ability
against syria? >> drew bipartisan generosity we have supplied over to a hundred $66 million of support that is training for the national guard and providing lots of really. >> what about weaponry? what has been given to the ukrainian government to recapture the territory? >> those including short-range or longer range have not provided that assistance but we have provided with that, that protection. >> with your indulgence another minute?
>> their reason the congressman from new york the house passed a resolution in march of this year about 88% bipartisan vote that is overwhelming and a little unusual. that resolution is an overwhelming bipartisan practice that the house strongly urges the president to fully and immediately exercise provided by congress to provide ukraine with lethal weapons system to enhance the ability to defend their sovereign territory from the unprovoked and continuing aggression of the russian federation for i hope to carry that back this administration that message with the double benefit since he helped ukraine fight against russians and i would submit it weakens russia is serious.
>> and syria would help to leave -- alleviate that problem. >> ted thousand isis spiders having killed this year but it seems like despite that they have been replaced by new recruits. if we destroy them how do we cut off the new recruits? >> that is a big challenge. i will tell you the steps undertaken various under general allan's position unfortunately he is getting ready to leave that with the uae to message and get to the young men to persuade them that isil is not a viable future we have work to the turkish government to
close the border most of the border is now closed in the worked with them to deport individuals to try to cross over. we have worked with the gulf allies of those who may undertake extremist activity but it is a big challenge because to tap into the sunii grievances and a big way as we press on this obviously a that is key to restrain the growth of ijssel. >> have we had success? >> really they are a handful of americans and quite frankly though law enforcement agencies and
communities they work with is key to have good relations in these communities to these young men who are susceptible but the sophistication of these messages is very alarming better as time goes on we are getting better to understand the counter message. >> we don't talk much about syria about what is our strategy to deal with that? >> to have an outcry that affiliate's -- the al qaeda family it to be successful on the battlefield i am sure
to have some non extremist fighters because some have been affected and essentially have nowhere else to go so the strategy is they will not be part of any political settlement that has been developed over time. >> i yield back. >> ambassador, the understanding with russia as a secretary pulled together to russia has been violating turkish airspace was there an understanding they will cease and desist against our nato allies? >> the date of the russian incursion as you know, the nato alliance issued a strong statement.
>> did you get an assurance they would cease and desist? >> the turks have now gone and a reassurance. >> but not us in the meeting that we call together? >> they say it is it and unacceptable to be in the nato air space. >> did we get insurance from the russians? >> they made clear to us they do not intend to do it again but obviously we have to watch what they do rather than what they say. >> do we have any engagement with their military activities? this is about russia's escalation into syria. >> in terms of direct negotiations the department of defense conducted a very limited exercise with the russians we have an agreement on safelight that we have tested but we're not collaborating with them
where we can be. >> no, no, no my question is not collaboration rules of engagement that there isn't a collision. >> that was the goal of this agreement but we have now concluded we will stay away from each other with an emergency communication and the emergency hot line. >> thanks for yielding. >> i will assad not yield to you have more time that all of us combined. just kidding. >> ambassador patterson.
to save you have been involved in those conversations you recall that? >> is the president aware? >> the and our senior leadership meets on these issues. >> how long have these conversations been going on? >> quite a while. easily two years. >> you said that russia was spending 2.5 million dollars per day on military excursion. how long can they sustain that? >> i said between two and 4 million per day and it could be more than that. in a country like russia where there is only one
prime decision maker if russia does sizes to make this a private - - priority it could be for some time. >> see you have not calculated what is the outlay of expense? >> it was about $8 million per day. >> so two or four times the amount russia used with those air strikes? >> that would include iraq but we're not the russians in rehab different standards >> you said earlier the gulf countries are were not taking in refugees but they were very generous with their money? was that you embassador? >> i am fascinated by my colleagues idea to orlando's in the ukraine to defend or
with the russia x -- expense as one of you have said to be very generous with their money does that help in that regard? as that question then raised? >> what about the question why won't they take refugees ? >> they have very different types of society's. >> but they do want them to continue as they know it. the isil runs their society will be gone. >> yes and they have paid
close degree of military cooperation with our partners cyberand military and intelligence with the very close relationship. >> they could pull up the tent city to take refugees even with the european nations? don't you agree? >> i am not sure that is true with the level of social services and infrastructure is better in europe but we do want them to play a more active role and we do want them to provide funding for these activities. >> gerry connolly asked the question and did your
opinion what will happen if the russian aircraft dropped say bob -- a bomb over there? what happens? >> we have these procedures in place that were designed to avoid any conflict. >> with our pilots be authorized to shoot them down? >> without getting into classified information where we anticipate the russians have been far from the territory because their operating against isil and our concern it is is support
of assad. >> keep our fingers crossed. i yield back. >> i will play off some of the comments that we talk about our goal is to destroy isil it is clear we don't have the forces but i think miss kelly pointed out the coalition of 10,000 isis' spiders and the challenges it is replaced to have success but that is to stop the replacement talking about what we can do with the border with those with african countries or the western states. i do think we're losing of
propaganda war bin and isil has shown they can use the internet very efficiently and social media efficiently and maybe this is a question for you, are we doing enough to slow down their ability to recruit? >> we are getting better. for instance that has to be an arab and in an arab country they have begun to put out products to discourage young men from joining isil. working with a broad range of coalition a working groupon messaging and we have a large operation at the state department that works on designing the most appropriate message.
so we are making progress. let me take to misha. that has the most she heidi's per capita than any country in the world but we have worked on intelligence issues encountered messaging and trading religious leaders. i don't want to overstate this but we have our -- making progress. >> the chairman has led us on hearings but we have to redouble our efforts we don't have to fight them on the battlefield. >> i agree that russia's involvement is very
counterproductive and exacerbating a challenging situation indus certainly escalating the refugee crisis and it does threaten to wreak havoc with our allies like turkey as they struggle with the refugee crisis. there has been some discussion to create a safe zone within syria but those that believe the conflict zone? >> it would take a massive commitment of their power -- air power with the fights fight against isil. nine is considered viable
because of the enormous resources it would require for the population in it. >> is that an option being discussed? >> not an easy option. >> that is constantly under review but that is the current status. >> i yield back. >> we now go to the chairman emeritus. i continue to be extremely frustrated by the administration's inability to articulate a strategy in the middle east as a whole despite the office audit does not appear the president really wants assad to assume - - removed from
power but have on the region are the allies are the national security if they don't wish to do anything about it do we need additional evidence to prove the current chaos is not working? the president seems to read out the clock until it is somebody else's problem i don't think history will look kindly on these choices. i would like to get some yes you and knowing answers do you believe that isil and assad are separate issues? >> no. there interlinked. >> you believe the atrocities are a recruiting tool for isil? >> absolutely. >> is it possible to defeat
isil of the massacres continue with help? >> they are linked. >> is a possible to negotiate a solution with the opposition? >> possibly. >> are we pressuring iran and russia to stop the assad massacre? >> on a daily basis. >> should we infer the president agrees war with russia and iran school to keep assad in power than he would have us believe? >> they said many times his departure is critical. >> with the national
security objectives in syria if it is complete opposite? >> is the goal is to have sufficient common ground with a political settlement he is not naive about this this is what the follow-up process is about. >> does that entail keeping assad in power? >> no. absolutely not but it may entail some negotiation for his departure. >> and we work with hugh to achieve that supplement to go somewhere else? >> with the vienna process
obviously our gulf allies as they are intimately involved and we're constantly in touch with members of the moderate opposition from those leaders in exile. >> to the sea and as is imperative to deal with that situation? >> with the gulf allies and they are determined you will not remain in power. >> to follow-up and then with the different communities we represent with those civilians from the assad regime.
and how is that parity manifested? >> we provided over to the half-million dollars so we're trying to support the syrian population under great stress. so as we prevent assad from attacking his own people. >> said those that we have seen heavy are protecting and yet those airstrikes seem to be targeting those that are supposed to be the good guys. >> cadre mentioned a 90% of
the strikes were the anti-receive forces and then we can talk more about bad. >> there has been a lot of discussion in the open press about like-minded factors and with another band of bad guys. with those that we would normally see as our enemy. >> as the al qaeda affiliate's it is possible some members of the opposition had in our else to go. >> and we will read with
that thinking. >>. >> they give to our witness list for being here but i have to tell year-old i am concerned the absence of a coherent strategy to defeat isil by russia and the escalation to define what success is continues to plague us in syria the best way to press the administration to vigorous the debate the use of military force that the president is required to articulate a strategy with the al likelihood of success i realize it is complicated there are not easy answers
but if your written testimony indicate the strategy of the conflict with the policy and military action to achieve a political transition of course, that is not a strategy but a goal. so we need a detailed plan of action to achieve those and it is a strategy. that is what we are missing and what is critical. the said the coalition has made progress in the military campaign against isil but as of october of this year half of all the territories as opposed to july 2014 when they controlled one-third so is that correct that isil has more territory now than they
did? and how is that progress? >> certainly there has been progress with the efforts of everybody and considerable progress at the top of my head those very important ones with the battlefield that was a leader of isil was the intelligence bonanza so there was progress but everyone else has said it will be a multi-year campaign with considerable resources to prosecute. >> to support the moderate opposition who is the
moderate opposition as they authorize another $100 million expenditure? there are reports there are as many as 1,000 armed militia groups and it comes about working alongside some of those groups. who are we talking about as we speak about moderate opposition? do day include elements. >> i will take a civilian moderate opposition that is the groups in syria at livid turkey and lebanon and other places at that is decided by dash designed to keep them viable for a future syria.
the kurdish forces in that region. can you tell me what the end goal of this is? how can we be sure this limited deployment doesn't have a wider deeper military engagement? finally, you mentioned financial support and a number of refugee organizations and there is not sufficient support from golf countries. are there other countries that are not doing as much as they should be? we are hearing very different stories from refugee organizations that they are dealing with the crisis on the ground. >> let me provide you with a list of support i have from the golf. i think some of the traditional refugee agencies, there is not enough money. there is simply not enough money for this enormous humanitarian catastrophe. let me stress that. i think the golf nations have
been generous and often their money is put through local red cross and local agencies. perhaps there is some concern about that, that they are not going through international ngos. >> what about the 50. >> we talked a lot about this dreaded g of the ground support and working with partners. these 50 special forces are to work with the syrian arab coalition which has had success in controlling the border and to improve their capacity. i think anything else will be provided to you in a classified letter. >> thank you. we go now to dana from california. >> thank you very much. let me just say, i am very
frustrated by talk about russia and i spend my entire lifetime to defeat the soviet union. i was very pleased to be part of the reagan administration where we brought down a regime who wanted to impose an atheist dictatorship throughout the world to promote their ideology. russia is expected to be treated as friends after the fall of communism and what has risen instead is a hostility that i find so overwhelming that it is damaging, not only is it damaging russia and their ability to establish themselves in a new world role, role, because it is after all a major power in the world, they have interests even if they are not communist. they are major power with interest, just as we are. but the double standard that we
have been judging russia is just overwhelming. we sit here and say russia wants to keep asad in power, how horrible that is because asad is a dictatorship as if saudi arabia is in a dictatorship and wouldn't murder millions of people or thousands of people to stay in power. what about other golf states run by kingdoms who would murder their people and great number. they are no different than ashad. a fact they might be better than ashad because some of them are religiously motivated to the point, sort of like communism was a religious conviction, well well their form of islam sometimes put them at odds with sunnis or shiites killing each other. the double standard that we have been judging russia with and basing our policy on that double standard has caused us great harm.
putin, five years ago try to work out a compromise with us. we turned him down that would have created some sort of resemble us of stability in syria. now that's gone to hell we can't look at him as a partner in cooperation to make it better. i believe that is what prevented us from creating a policy that will create a more stable middle east. gaddafi, we made an agreement with him about qaddafi. what did we do? we broke that agreement and that resulted in order to have the alternative, the non- qaddafi, non- islamic alternative in power. did that make it any better
question i know. half of libya is controlled by people who want to murder us because they are radical muslims. had we been working with the russians all along in good faith, i believe the situation in the middle east would have been different. i think it would've been better, more stable and let me just note that i can remember the charges, the monstrous charges against us in iraq. how horrible it was that our troops were murdering people by the thousands. most of those reports were false and wrong. they were lysed by people who wanted to achieve a political and by claiming that we were massacring people intentionally in iraq. i don't know, is it possible that some of these reports that we are getting that asad is a murderous dictator, but some of the magnitude of his oppression and murder of his own people might be exaggerated to achieve certain political and? i would think so.
i have a little time to answer, let me give you a question so you can -- bill please feel free to disagree. i believe it i know you have your beliefs too. their honest disagreements. let me just ask then about, if then ashad is removed and we get this third alternative, why want to be just the same as what happened with qaddafi where the radicals who hate us see a weaker adversary and it will come in and replace whatever that regime is very quickly with a regime that will control all of syria and they will be radicals that will be our worst nightmare. why wouldn't that happen in syria the way it happened in libya? >> i need to say something. with respect, i can't let it go by in comparison of a shot with
qaddafi. these countries are not in our image but there is no way they opened zero press or kill their citizens to the extent -- >> are you saying they wouldn't do that. they wouldn't suppress their people if there workers decided to rise up. >> yes i'm saying that. >> that's very naïve. >> i know very well they would not do that. that is not how it works there. let me try to answer your question about syria. there is broad consensus in the international community that the institutions in syria would remain intact. the intelligence, the military, the police, the civil service, the structures like health structures and the goal is to remove ashad and his closest advisers and have this political
process that would lead to a new government. it is not to destroy the institutional structure. in libya i would argue there weren't any institutions. >> okay, you've outlined it well. why do we have to go in and make that decision in syria? why is it that the united states needs to step into this far-off land, rather than going to other places to perfect, why do we have to go in and do that when we know you've got these radical islam us who are just waiting on the sideline for some type of instability that they can take advantage of? >> because our national security is at stake in the region and the security of our allies like israel and other countries like lebanon and jordan. and turkey. they are ultimately affected by what happens in syria.
>> right and instead of dealing with putin instead of demonize him, perhaps we could have more stability there and our friends would be better off than the current policy of whatever we do, don't work with russia and get rid of ashad. is also happening us with general cc who has a pivotal role in the middle engine middle east. >> your time has expired or going to grace from new york. >> thank you and thank you to our witnesses for being here and all that you do for our country. my question is about growing concern of advanced russian armies entering syria at unprecedented levels and the possibility for advanced arms to pass to syrian forces and even to groups like hezbollah. what is the u.s. prepared to do to counter this? what have we done and what could we do more of to ensure these
russian arms don't end up in the hands of has blood? >> we have the same concerns that you do about advanced weaponry flowing into syria from russia, iran and we have made these concerns regularly with the russians including at the presidential level. we are continuing to monitor what exactly happens with them. the russians, as you know, know, have made a decision to put in ground artillery and that is exacerbating the calm flicked further in. >> my second question is, russian has conducted airstrikes some strikes which are only about 30 or 40 miles from the israeli border. moran has also sent troops and military advisers to shore up.
they are bringing them to israel's doorstep. jihadist groups also continue to gain territory in northern and southern syria. in your opinion, how likely is it that fighting in syria could spill over into israel and what are the major concerns from the israelis and what can the u.s. do to help? >> congresswoman, nothing is more important to us than a national strategic plan. all of these things you have been discussing with the russians strikes, the iranian president, president, we are in constant president with the israeli government and we are working very collaboratively with this issue. i would say the israelis can pretty much take care of this problem and they have shown that in a number of ways that we can perhaps discuss later.
we have lots of collaboration on this issue. on a broader issue, we have given millions of dollars, billions of dollars including arms over the last three years. these are concerns that we share with israel and we meet with them and address them in all kinds of ways. >> thank you. i yelled back. i yield back. >> my question is on syria. i've been briefed on the target packages in syria. i think as you indicated, when
you don't have a strategy and you fail to have a strategy, you end up with a power vacuum and now we have russia filling that power vacuum. not unlike the terrorists do. now it is a really complicated situation from my perspective. when i look at the target packages of russians strikes, as you mentioned, only 90% are anti- ashad and only 10% are even remotely targeted toward basis. it raises a question of why is russia there. what is their intent? i've talked to our partners in the middle east. some say russia has told them to defeat asus and others tell me that the only reason they are there is to support the asad regime. very briefly, what do you believe is russia's intent? >> i think their main intent was to shore up ashad.
he was losing ground significantly when they decided to come in. they also want to protect their interest and reassert themselves but their primary interest was to shore up this area. >> here's the problem is now present. when i talked to the special forces guys, there are best but they're not going to win the day. if there was a strategy fighting the sunni extremists, when i talk to nations like jordan, they are willing to put a ground force in there to defeat asus but they would never do so if it empowered ashad. now that the russians are in their backing a sod, doesn't look like he is going anywhere anytime soon.
where do we get our ground force now? >> investor can speak more about this. we've been working very closely on an enhanced effort with the turks to close the border. as i mentioned, the syrian arab coalition which will be supported by our special forces and, frankie mr. mccall, we've had lots of discussion with our allies and jordan about the possibility of introducing ground troops. i think they have probably told you that too. that's the status of that at this point. we work very closely with the jordanians about the issues in southern syria. >> jordan has been one of our best friends in the region but it's going to be difficult to get a ground force now that ashad is not part. >> it's going to be difficult to get ashad out now that the russians are in their.
>> let me stress that that is our goal to get ashad out and we don't think the russians have such an easy walk through syria with the opposition of the war. there may be a political method we can exploit to move him out. >> i think if you could reach a political reconciliation, that's a possibility. right now it's about working with the russians so we don't kill each other over there. do you foresee any remote possibility of a joint strategy to defeat asus? in partnership with the russians? >> the only way we would end up in a joint strategy as if they agreed to the general premise that we have to have a cease-fire. we have to have a transitional government and we have to have a decision on getting rid of ashad.
that's what the secretary has been working on. in the meantime we are working on isis and they're working on a different part of syria. i don't see working together militarily and lessens all efforts on the transition and that would allow us in turn to focus. >> and i would be very careful in trusting them. i will tell you based on the boston bombing experience, we have a a common enemy and that's the jihadist. we know there are thousands of them joining isis. i predict that russia will have a homeland security problem out of their own. as that becomes more of a problem for them, their desire to move to protecting the regime will shift. >> that's not what the russian military is currently focused
on. >> we reach this agreement which i disagreed with, but nevertheless, iran has taking several provocative steps including support for terrorist activities and missile development. the cards forced is a terrace arm of iran. i sent a letter to the president of united states requesting that the ir gigabyte placed on the terrorist list because they are the terrorist group of iran. do we keep the sanctions in place on the terrorist activities that iran wants to take the hundred billion dollars and ship them towards these activities what is your response to whether or not designating that is a good decision? >> i'm certain there are
sanctions. >> they're not designated as a foreign terrorist association which would make a difference. >> i can't answer that question. i'll have to get back to you. i would not think they would meet the legal criteria, but i don't really know. >> i defer to an on the questions involving iran. >> i look forward to the president's response that i have not received yet one at this time. the chair now recognizes mr. sherman. >> it's always good to have you here. we hear folks say where is your strategy that implies that the united states is in control of events that we own them.
that the outcome is determined what goes on here in washington. that's a very dangerous viewpoint. we can be a force group for good but to control the outcome, i would ask anyone to put forward a strategy that would lead us to peace, stability and democracy in syria with modest american casualties and modest american cost. >> george w. bush had a a strategy to achieve that for iraq. it failed in the future, those who say where's your strategy are really saying why can't you control the world at no cost and that is a silly question we are told that the evils of ashad
deliver recruits to isis. that's correct. we should also point out that the actions of many still in the baghdad regime do just as much to help isis recruit. just because the averment in baghdad was installed by us doesn't mean it's part of a solution. it's part of a problem and we ought to be looking very carefully at our aid to baghdad when the wall street journal can put on the front page how hundreds or how so many hundred dollar bills, amounting to tens of billions of dollars are shipped from washington and disappearing in iraq except they are turning up in isis investor pattison i have one little bit of advice for you and that is you should hire a couple folks who are experts in islamic
philosophy. you cannot understand and you cannot argue or persuade if you do not understand the mindset of both our friends and our enemies, both of them. if you need congress to say not everybody has to pass the foreign service exam, one or two experts, that exam does not ask the difference. you need some experts in this both to talk to our friends and understand our enemies. as to chemical weapons, we achieved a victory in regard to getting all chemical weapons out of syria. now coloring still exists. it's unfortunate that chlorine has been used illegally as a weapon but those chemicals that are illegal, per se, appear to be removed from syria. you did have a great result on
that issue. the solution to the refugee crisis is peace in syria, syria, not to cancel syria and move its population to europe we had a policy that many of us pushed here in congress to arm the reasonable elements in syria. that policy has basically failed. it has failed for a couple of reasons. first you did eight years after we started pushing for it. second it is still subject to the incredible and ridiculous condition that those we arm have to convince us that they do not intend to fight ashad. any reasonable patriotic syria intends to fight aside. no wonder we only find 50 people and we only have five on the battlefield. how do you find somebody who is reasonable doesn't hate ashad. i will point out that while isis has the bad taste to put its
murders right there on television, it is the shiite alliance that pose the greater threat to the united states. it killed far more innocent people and has called killed far more americans. now turning to russia russia is not in a terribly strong position. they cannot waste resources on peripheral matters. the you crane is a vital national interest. if it fails to protect russian-speaking persons, putin is gone. if the u.k. and is successful, it becomes a marital demanding them to change and follow that model. given the very close history between the ukraine and russia. syrian contrast is not at the
center of russian's universe. there are substantial cost to what they are doing. syria and ashad are very close to the center of iran's national security. they dream of a shiite control from eastern iran and ashad has been their longest ally. one would raise the question, not why is a rant doing what they're doing, but why is russia. then we look at the timing. russia deployed forces at substantial long-term risk and forced to russia. it became certain to those who were observing, especially here in congress, that iran would get its hands on the hundred and 30 billion. first they sign the agreement. then you had to look around here and make sure congress wasn't going to blow up the agreement. that was pretty apparent a few
weeks after it was signed. then it was pretty much like a day or two after a lot of us concluded that congress was not going to prevent this agreement from going into effect that iran was going to get its hands on the money and russia started out. if iran is giving the money to ashad so he can give money to russia or if he is sending it directly to russia, would we know about it? so i will ask both of you since one focuses on a ran in the middle east and one on europe, if there was a transfer of a billion dollars would we know about it and would it be public? >> congressman i don't think at this stage we have seen any
evidence of payments to russia. on the contrary we see them hemorrhaging money on their latest adventure in syria. if there was a transfer, and obviously arendt doesn't have its hands on the money yet, but if there was a transfer this winter, winter, are you confident that you would know about it? >> let me answer that is not confident but i think the chances are very good. >> and ambassador newland? if it was in any dollar-denominated form, we would likely know. if they wanted to do a bushel of iranian currency, maybe not. >> euros i think we would know. you would know of a transfer of $1 billion? then let let me ask obviously north korea was paid half a billion for alkyl bar and
the tremendous aid that they provided. did we know about that or did the israel he is bring to us the fact that he was a nuclear site. that happened many years after north korea received payment. >> i don't know the answer to that. i know we have extremely close cooperation with the israelis and they have sources we don't half. >> have. >> israel spied of the location. nobody spotted the money so the confidence that that bad guys can't move money without us knowing or that russia is financing this without being paid by iran, is untested. i yield back. >> thank you. the use of dod, of these 50
special operators below the other folks that aren't characterized as boots on the ground, it's an extension of diplomacy to use of exacting the policy that we would like to see happen in the middle east, or anywhere. it's just an extension. i think you could kind of see it as that. with that in mind, is there any, because this keeps on being stated that this is not a combat mission. is is there anywhere in the mix that the state department is in the chain of command for these special operators or people who wear a military uniform or are paid by the department department of offense acting in syria, is there any state department involvement in the decision-making process about what they do, where they go and how they conduct their business? >> absolutely, first of all the state department participates in
all these discussions and they work closely with the turkish government to work on the effort to close the border. these special forces advisors are critical to that effort. yes we've been deeply involved in that. >> you're involved in the chain of command? certainly not. they are not the chain of command but the overall policy process on these teams that have discussed these efforts to great length with the turks. >> the military command then makes the decisions and issues the orders is what you've come up with. >> the president of the united states comes up with an instruction of what to do. of course these special forces advisors are under the command.
>> so what is their mission? these, up to 50? what is their mission? >> congressman, with respect, i think we will defer that in a classified session to dod. >> you've had the discussions, right. you just said you had the discussion but you can't tell me the mission right now and that's classified yet everything i read is to advise and assist. >> what we can't sit here and tell you is where these folks are to be deployed, who they will work with, how many are going to beyond the ground. >> okay i didn't ask you any of that. >> so to advise and assist to what end? what's the goal? >> the goal is to enhance our efforts to defeat isil. we'd be happy to give you a briefing on that.
>> close the borders so isis can't get recruits and isis can't export products and to put pressure on them which is basically isis headquarters. >> this goes to a larger strategy. if you're telling me it's to achieve the goal of closing the border and somehow at some point defeat isil's, i don't want to put words in your mouth, but that's what i hear. how does the border defeat isis question we've got 50 guys that are going. doesn't that just strengthen ashad? so you've got isis and local sunni insurgents that are fighting him. we take isis, let's just say in a perfect world everything in a strategy that we have, if you want to call it that, with these 50 guys defeat isis. doesn't that strengthen ashad ashad? you can't solve the problem of isil separate from the problem of ashad. >> i understand that, but tell
me what happens if you get what you ask for and they're assisting and advising and defeat isis. is this is ashad strengthened or weakened? >> you've got rush of their right behind him attacking the very people that we've trained and supported. >> you have to do both. >> you're not doing both, were doing one. >> were fighting isil and trying to get -- >> so you don't want to answer that, but i would say it does empower and increase the power of ashad. it does that. so with all due respect to the gentleman who is just setting here who said there was no strategy and that a strategy assumes that we can control everything from the united states, that's absurd. we had a strategy in world war ii and we couldn't control stalin or the emperor emperor of
japan. but we had a strategy. sometimes we had to deviate and adapt, but we had a strategy. now i'm going to take some liberties because everybody else seems to have done that. the president has said his white house press secretary said this is not a combat mission. is there a combat zone? there dropping bombs and shooting in other? is it a combat zone or isn't it? >> it's an extremely complex battlefield and what your president just said is what you just quoted back to me which was in advise and assist. >> right so the not supposed to travel and advise with opposition groups but it says the situation can change as needed. i'm can ask you what changes would dictate, what situation would dictate them changing not patrolling or traveling with
your going to tell me that's a classified setting. >> no i'm not going to tell you that. and to tell you i don't know and that's up to the president of united states. he always reserves the right to change the role of american forces. >> let me ask you this. if this isn't combat zone in these forces are not on a combat mission, how is it that in may, delta force commandos entered syria aboard helicopters and killed an islamic state leader in and about a dozen military fighters in one of our soldiers was killed a week and a half ago. if that's not a combat, what is that? >> that was a mission to save hostages. >> i know that, but you understand when these young men and women raise their hand and
say they're going to defend the constitution and pledge their lives and it's with the proviso that the commander-in-chief and administration and powers that be don't let them sacrifice their lives for nothing. these people are going into combat. were saying it's not combat, but of course it is combat. >> of course it's combat. they go into combat because the president of the united states orders it. >> that's right, they don't come back with the purple heart because they weren't in combat. to understand the ramifications of pledging your life and pledging their lives. it is important. just a couple other things. because i reject the whole situation and the gentleman next to me who said there was no strategy. that those of us who said there was no strategy didn't have a strategy. that's absurd.
there isn't a strategy. this is all tactic. that george w. bush didn't have a strategy. you may not have agreed with it and i didn't always agree with that at times but it was a strategy. i would also object that the warner rack has stabilized the area. it wasn't perfect but it wasn't what it is now. >> i want to think the chair and both of you for being here today. would you say our mission has been a success the last four years in syria? >> is the inability to make a decision a few years back
complicated where we are today? >> i don't want to speculate on that. i don't know when i wasn't around on those decisions. i don't want to speculate. we are where we are. >> so let's look forward. the policy going forward is that we can have 50 special forces and continue with the airstrike. one day russia attacked 94 targets. we attacked one. were to start and have been calling out russia for violating international law with respect to the rules of engagement. were going to ask ashad to stop dropping feral bombs on his people. we will have a meeting with iran in this strategy, as best i can discern is going to work because this is too complex for russia. they will lose interest and run
out of money and it's just too difficult. is that a fair statement of arch strategy going forward? if it isn't, please enlighten me with how you believe the strategy is different than what i just described. >> i think i strategy. >> no i don't think that's a fair characterization. >> i've heard a number of times today russia isn't going to be in it for the long haul. they don't have the money and they have other problems. this is not a strategic interest that they want to put resources behind. it seems to me that the gamble were taking is that russia is going to lose interest. >> our strategy is to mobilize the rest of the international community including golf allies and turkey to work for a solution. to work hard to defeat isil. i think the contributions on the defeat of isil and the, and the strengthening of our position, i
think that will all accelerate the defeat of isil and that's a key element. i believe that has been underplayed in this hearing. >> were talking to the russians. i have two questions. are they listening? are they really listening to what our objectives and goals are and what evidence do you have that the facts were talking to the russians is moving them around and what are different goals are in syria. >> congressman, as we have said throughout the morning, conversations we have been having with them have not affected their military choices. they have not changed their pattern of bombing. they have also not taken us up on our insistence that a minimum
price for ashad should be to get him to stop barrel bombing. on the military side i would say they're not listening. they are also not listening to the golf arabs or the europeans or the vast majority of innocent, peaceful sunnis who are greatly concerned. that said, we do have them in this political process that sec. carey is leading. they are in the minority in terms of their perception of how long ashad should stay. the question is whether continuing to participate in that will bring the force of the majority to come because them to reevaluate their view. >> you said a few moments ago it would be difficult, and if i'm
putting words into your mouth incorrectly, please correct me, but i think you said it will be difficult to get to a transitional government if russia never gets on the same page with respect to our goals in syria. if they never listen to us with respect their military operations, what do we do then? >> i don't think i quite characterized at the way you did. the syrian people should be in charge of their own people. the other piece of this which was underplayed this morning which i would defer to assistant secretary patterson is where the syrian representatives, whether they are regime folk other than ashad or whether they are part of the opposition given the fact that the country is being torn apart with what's happening now. >> just looking down the road, if russia doesn't want to move toward a transitional government, what do we do then? >> again i don't think we can
project a straight line from here to there. we are increasing their support, we are trying to mobilize the rest of the international community and we will see. this thing is costing them and it's also costing them at home. >> all yelled back, but i think this is a mess. when we had good options, we didn't make a decision several years ago. i think what someone said earlier today is exactly correct which is we are just trying to run out the clock and so the next administration will inherit a situation in syria that has russia just as engaged as it is today and our options will be even more limited. thank you, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes this gentleman. >> i think you both for being here. i'm amazed at the level of what
appears to me, i've only been in congress for the three years, but it appears to be high level of incompetence, lack of planning and strategy. it's almost laughable except there's been 250,000 syrians slaughtered. billions of dollars that has cost us and the risk to our military and i look at this stuff and i just want to go through a timeline since my time in congress. obama, august 2013, this administration was going to attack syria and do no-fly zones. we sat at the white house. there was no strategy. they didn't have an estimate of the cost.éc@b mr. mcdonough, the chief of staff said it would be over $1 billion per month. i asked him how long it would take he said estimated ten years. that's at $1 billion a month and we just shut down. there was no authorization to go over there. or to attack a sovereign nation. president obama went on to say there is a redline if they use
chemical weapons. they used it and there was no follow-through. they failed to act. the president and john kerry both said sod must go. then they denied it and said they didn't say that, the world said that. john kerry said there was no diplomatic solution to the chemical weapons problem in syria yet two weeks later, after he said that, russia jumped in and showed leadership and within two weeks there is an agreement to get rid of the chemical weapons. i find it interesting that we didn't think that could happen yet russia brokered it and we wound up paying for it. president said no boots on the ground multiple times, no boots on the ground, no boots on the ground and then we went with a $500 million to train and equip an arm five or 6000 rebel fighters, whatever that is, and we find out a year later that the complete failure. they've trained possibly 40 40
or 50 but only five made it to the field at a cost of $50 million. that's $10 million per fighter per fighter. it's got to be laughable other than its reality and it's just bad form. i guess my question is why hasn't the president worked to create the safe zones when especially, the chairman of this committee, asked for that four years ago. why has that not happen? >> because it's hugely difficult complex -- >> i'm in a stop you because you said that earlier today. it's difficult and, catered. >> resource intensive. >> i'm going to stop you there. i wanted you to bring this up. it's complicated, extensive, very costly. how costly is it to have $4 million displaced refugees
that have disrupted the whole world as far as refugees just leaving their 7.5 million displaced in syria. that's pretty costly to is that? isn't that disruptive? >> that is costly and were trying to contribute to alleviate that problem, but let me talk in more detail about some of these exclusion zones. the department of defense has not proposed an option that does not have a very significant contribution investment of u.s. airpower. the airpower would be diverted against the fight against isil. the fight against isil which is a terrorist group is a threat to us and our allies and our neighbors. that is the first priority. it is also difficult to patrol and protect these save zones on the ground.
the primary reason is the investment of airfare. >> if were going to attack this, we need to attack it. i have not seen even a hint of it over the last three years until russia steps in. russia puts in 3000 troops and we respond with more ground troops after the president said no troops on the ground. my question, question, to both of you, is why should i or anyone in congress support anything this administration attempts with such a poor strategy of winning this. the president doesn't come out and acknowledge who were fighting, isil. radical islamic's. they won't acknowledge it but were going to go at this and try
to defeat isil. i think it's a joke. my question is why should i support anything they do with the lack of strategy that i see west mike you're talking about. we have the nuclear deal that does anything but protect us. why should i support anything they are doing? >> i guess the short answer, congressman is that isil is a threat to us and to our european allies and the neighbors in the region. i think that's the short answer. you've asked the much broader question but i think that's the short answer to your question.
>> if were going to do it, let's do it right and let's make it count. we've got troops on the ground and let's not play around. >> without without objection i'm pleased to announce -- >> thank you mr. chairman. i'm sorry i didn't have the benefit of hearing the earlier conversation. we met in pakistan and that was a few days before there was a kidnapping attempt upon you. from there, i recall you went on to become ambassador in pakistan and egypt. i just want to thank you for
your dedicated service. i don't think we've had any interaction but i appreciate your willingness to testify. one of the grave concerns in the middle east as this. let me divert for a minute by telling you a story. i happen to be in an audience with pope francis and he was presented a small christian crucifix. it was warned by a young syrian man who was captured by the jihadist and he was told to convert. he refused. he chose christianity and he was beheaded. his mother was able to recover his body and found the cross and fled and made her way to austria one of the more dramatic parts
of the crises that comes and goes in regards to our attention is the deliberate, systematic attack on christians and other faiths traditions and other religious minorities. by the way i have the largest population in lincoln nebraska. is this genocide? >> i don't know the answer to that. i think that's a legal term. i think there will be some announcements on that very shortly. >> i would appreciate both of your willingness to engage robustly on this topic. the reason is that we have introduced resolution that does call this genocide. while there are certain
international implications from that, nonetheless, elevating the plight of christianity and other minorities from their home, raises the international consciousness and provides a gateway for further strategy around security measures as well as once all of this hopefully and reintegration of those populations back into their rightful homeland. this is a very important gateway to use this resolution. this is a larger platform as to how to stabilize these areas and demand that the rich diversity of religious diversity be allowed to return and flourish as a part of any political or security deal moving forward. we have been able to form a new
relationship with the kurds who have been very respectful of religious plurality and have undertaken waves of refugee populations as well as the jordanians. this is very important as we move forward and think through a strategy that brings about some stability. there is another problem that i would like to point out. we've only admitted 53 christians as refugees, that's disproportionate to the population. can you give any perspective on that, please? >> my colleague was here with mr. rodriguez to talk about refugee admission of policy in the numbers, i think, we admitted about over 2000
syrians. we are planning planning to admit some more, of course. they have to meet very strict vetting requirements and research into their particular circumstance and background. i don't have an answer of why the christians are underrepresented it. >> i think one reason is they are not typically in refugee camps so they will be spread out through the population or they will be in some church basement or other circumstance rather than courted into some definable entity like a a refugee camp in i think that's part of the problem. this part of the population is under grave stress as are other. >> we entirely agree that these communities are under enormous stress and we've been in close contact with them through their religious leaders and country
and leaders are here in the u.s. we are very mindful of the point that you make that they have the most desirable outcome which is to be reintegrated into these countries and not dispersed. we try to work with these communities and try to sustain them but i will take your point back about the refugee admissions and get you an answer. >> thank you for accommodating me today and for speaking with me. >> the chair also recognizes -- >> thank you very much. i know you have been here for a while and i was over at the white house for a a series of appointments, but i did want to try to publicly complement both of you.
i've had the pleasure with dealing with you and meeting and your hard-working and smart and tenacious and all the nice things i can say about both of you. i want to thank both of you for your service to our country. it means a great deal we have people of your caliber and intellect and work ethics working for the united states of america. i just want to thank you. i've treasured the times through the years that i've had the opportunity to speak with both of you in person and on the telephone and everything else. thank you. i i will read the scripts very carefully, but neither one of you have ever said no to me when i needed to meet with you or ask you something so just a a great bipartisan thank you to both of you. >> the chair would also like to thank the ambassador for being here. were sent here on a tough
mission and please don't take any other remarks from the day as personal. we have a charge of of oversight to get the answer on behalf of our constituents and as you can tell many of us on both sides of the aisle are very frustrated. i do have one question before you pack it all up. i think a lot of people watch what's happening and they don't know the answer to this. amb. patterson, you said, i think you were asked earlier about the refugee flow into europe and why the arab countries were doing more. i think the sense was why are they taking many of these refugees and i think your answer was that they are very different societies and they don't accept, and so on and so forth, but with all due respect it seems like europe is very different society than much of arabia.
i do not think that hasthere has been such a draw for refugees to resettle in the gulf. if they are not welcome in the gulf after leaving a war , i would imagine you will go where you feel more welcome. if you are not welcome at all you will choose the best of your options. so that is just a thought and a lot of americans asked that question. as much as it did to encourage partners and allies in the region to do more than what they are doing. i thank you. this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: mr. president, i request that proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i thank my colleague from iowa who has led the effort this morning as we speak about the waters of the united states rule and the effort that she has led that would lead to a resolution of disapproval of this very wrongheaded rule. i also want to acknowledge the good work of my colleague from wyoming, senator barrasso, who yesterday we had an opportunity to again discuss the impact, the devastating impact of the wotus rule as we lovingly refer to it
as. but an effort, a combined effort to address the concerns that so many of us have across the country about the waters of the u.s. rule that has stemmed from the e.p.a. and the army corps. this wotus rule, i think you've heard so many of us speak to, is not only an overreach. it is a significant overreach that will allow for an expansion and, i believe, a dramatic expansion of the federal government's ability to regulate our lands and regulate our waters for the people in the state of alaska, they look to this particular rule that is out there. and have said in no uncertain terms that this rule could have as damaging an impact on our state and our state's ability to
engage in any level of development. this rule would have greater impact than most anything that we have seen before it. so i'm here today to urge my colleagues in the senate to support the resolution of disapproval that we have now pending, that we'll have an opportunity to vote on in just a little over an hour. i have had dozens of meetings, meetings with constituents, meetings with people really across the country who have raised this as an issue. we have sent letters out there. we have questioned the e.p.a. administrator about the impacts of the rule. i had an opportunity to have a field hearing in alaska earlier this year with senator sullivan joining me, focusing on those -- those areas of what we would consider to be federal
overreach, those areas that hold our state back from any level of economic activity and development and time after time after time the concern was it's this waters of the u.s. and again this expansive interpretation of the clean water act. as literally divined by the e.p.a. the concern about how its negative impact to our state will be felt. in addition to many of the legislative efforts that are out there, as chairman of the interior appropriations subcommittee, i included a provision within the interior appropriations implementation of the waters of the u.s. rule. i am a cosponsor of the bill that we -- that we tried to advance yesterday and that was unfortunately blocked, and i am
also a cosponsor of the disapproval resolution that's being offered by our colleague from iowa. my position on this is really pretty simple. the wotus rule cannot be allowed to stand. the agencies have got to go back to the drawing board. and i certainly am not alone in this view. it's a rile controversial rule. it stands out amongst many of the rules that we have seen finalized by this administration, but of the controversial ones that are out there, i would argue that if this is not in the top tier, if it's not the top, it's certainly number two, and it is -- it is a rule that is controversial enough so that it draws bipartisan opposition to this rule as well. we've got a large majority, a bipartisan majority of the house that opposes it, and thin when
we look to how this has been addressed by the states, some 31 states, including the state of alaska, have sued to block it. a wide range of local governments and business groups have done the same. and then just last month, the sixth circuit of appeals issued a nationwide injunction to prevent implementation of the rule. now, i -- i welcome what the courts have done so far but i don't think that congress should sit back on this and hope that we get the right legal outcome. we should not just be sitting back because that right legal outcome may come, may come months, it may come years from now or it might not be that right outcome. our opinions here in the congress are based not solely on what the courts say.
we have to look to the reach, to the impact of this rule and then determine whether or not it is appropriate. and again, my answer to this is pretty simple. it's no, it's just not appropriate. the agencies are claiming that the wotus rule is somehow or other just a clarification, and they have gone one step further and they have kind of renamed it. they're calling it the clean water rule because who out there is going to oppose clean water? nobody opposes clean water. we all strive for cleaner water, cleaner air. this is something that we should all be working to. but just changing the name on this does not make it so. in fact, this rule really is just muddying the waters, excuse the pun there, but what we're doing here, what e.p.a. is doing, we're creating confusion, we're certainly creating uncertainty, and it opens the door to greater regulatory costs and delays for projects all over
the country. now, there have been many colleagues that come to the floor and talked about kind of the mechanics of the wotus rule, and unfortunately they are pretty complicated. when you start talking about categorically jurisdictional waters, when you try to explain this significant nexus analysis, the only people in the room that are really captivated by what you're talking about are the lawyers that might be in a position to gain some benefit because they're working these cases. but most, most farmers in iowa, most miners in alaska are not thinking about what a categorically jurisdictional water is and whether or not there's a significant nexus from my little plaster mining operation to a body of water. this is -- this is not where
people are thinking. i want to use just a little bit of my time this morning to speak to how in the state of alaska people will be harmed by application of this rule, and to understand the reach of this rule in the state. the map, state of alaska, so big we can't even fit it all on one chart because really we need to go all the way out to the aleutian chain and we don't have all of southeastern in it, but we have the bulk here. alaska, plain and short, is covered in water. it's just wet. according to -- to our state government, alaska has more than 40% of the nation's surface water resources. now, think about that. think about the entire united