tv Hearing on the Evolving Threat of ISIS CSPAN February 16, 2016 8:02am-10:11am EST
and then we move into early march. super tuesday winner take all primaries which means the delegate count will be critical. as we watch you continue for the candidates, we will understand his message is resonating and loses on the passage nomination. >> the coalition fighting isis testified before the committee last week. he spoke about airstrikes against isis, humanitarian concerns in syria and countering social media. congressman ed royce's chair of the two-hour hearing. >> rhp at this hearing hearing will come to order. today we will hear from the administration's point man on its effort to combat isis.
he is back before the committee again. this is an issue the committee has raised repeatedly since isis first began its attacks and we began calling for airstrikes against isis. it has now been two years since president obama discussed isis as the jv team. today the administration claims the goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy, but it still doesn't have a strategy to get the job done. the tide has not turned in terms of the growing influence of isis. instead, these fighters on the back of the pickup truck seized the president's term has grown into a global force, a force capable of striking in europe, asia, africa and yet striking here at home in the united
states. there are now in terms of groups supporting isis, six isis linked groups on the ground in 21 separate countries and it is everywhere in cyberspace and everywhere in ebbers case it uses the deadly message to kill. ambassador mcgurk just back from the frontlines of syrian kurds limit and encouraging developments paper money in iraq was retaken in december and after some much-needed rules of engagement, isis controlled oil has been finally bombed. this is good. but these games have been too slow to comment too limited. every day they isis makes advances seemingly unchecked, it draws recruits to plot new attacks abroad including the united states.
meanwhile, the iraqi government hasn't been able to deliver as it should. the iraqi kurds long denied that her arms are desperate. sunni force is key to any success do not trust baghdad as the government has failed to include them in their view to include them in the government and include them in the armed forces in a meaningful way. and across the region, the u.s. is perceived perception is we are all to willing to pack non-sunnis. now this only empowers isis and notarial if the size of the operations force to target isis leadership is a fraction of what past efforts have entailed. our airstrikes are still only averaging 23 a day, a fraction of what serious air campaign
looks like. in the failed state of libya over militant don't face a threat from their, isis has doubled in size. the 6000 fighters are several hundred miles from europe. they have their sights on libya's oil and made it the world's largest terror group. despite years of warnings about who scores, the administration's response. in afghanistan, too, isis is the threat, but only recently has the president lifted the rules of engagement they were preventing our troops from targeting the deadly group. last week the u.s. airstrikes finally destroyed and isis voice of the caliphate radio station there in afghanistan. so, what took so long? isis propaganda operations are in overdrive. they are better every day.
yet our government's effort to counter message led by the broadcasting board of governors remains in disarray and when it comes to syria and tragedy, the u.s. response has been downright shameful. the slaughter goes on. train and equip failed. december, the u.s. joined russia to pass e.u. security council resolution that required humanitarian aid in the end of civilian bombing as part of its plan for peace talks. but rather than stand firm and put pressure on russia to abide by this resolution, secretary kerry pushed the opposition to the negotiating table even if the russian and assad machines intensified and the result is predictable failure. syria has imploded over the years rather than tackle the problem, the obama
administration has sat on its hands paralyzed by a series of what is. today, assad and russian forces have aleppo under siege. they are relentlessly bombing u.s. backed sunni opposition forces that is critical to the fight against isis. just yesterday, lieutenant general stuart, head of the defense intelligence agency warned that isis will attempt attacks on the u.s. homeland, in his words come in 2016. if we are to truly defeat isis, and we must, by half measures in the indecisiveness must stop. i now yield to the ranking member, mr. eliot engel from new york for any opening comments he may have.
>> thank you very much, mr. chairman into our witness, welcome to the foreign affairs committee special envoy mcgurk. brad, i've been impressed for many years by your record of service to our country. he done a remarkable achievement work to negotiate the beliefs of five american prisoners held by random nature of the family and all americans. today we are glad to hear from you about the fight against isis in the way the organization is adapting the challenges of growing. the united states has spearheaded a coalition of 66 partners with the goal of destroying isis. different countries by different, cutting off the isis finance and providing humanitarian support and join in airstrikes, building capacity in the ground and a shared burden prevents the united states being
drawn and we cannot do it alone. between 10,000 coalition airstrikes and the relentless local ground forces, we have seen some progress burnouts in chart two to create to run i.d., isis has lost a quarter of that territory in iraq and syria and yet the reality across the region remains correct. syrians continue to flee the assad regime. the attacks continue to kill women and children in isis latches on this deplorable actions to use for recruitment and propaganda. iraq has also had to rely on shia militants loyal shia militias loyal to iran. as a result the looks of sectarian lines as iran gains even greater influence. this could be the region with
the same if we do not address to tension, there will be no long-term signal anymore. the same thing playing out in libya and yemen. terrorists like a vacuum in the absence of testability, will applaud effective will be void. coaxing him on winning tension in these countries will go a long way towards denying isis the safe haven. today i hope we can have a good discussion on how the united states should continue responding to the threat. how can we stem the growth of isis? how do we stay one step ahead of them? sometimes i'm originally a physically only halfheartedly going after isis and halfheartedly with others on the ground. as you know for many years, three or four years i have been calling on the freeze. army and i believe when we
didn't aid them, they withered on the vine and isis moved into the void. i hope that we will be part of a robust campaign. not a tentative one, not one we drag ourselves then, that a robust campaign to destroy a isis and rid of assad. i understand we cannot do it alone or should we and we need our arab partners in middle east partners and other partners on the ground to help. but i think we have to lead and i think it's important we do that. i look forward to hearing from our witness on these witness on this witness on these questions of others and i'm glad that congress has stayed engaged on the issue in various ways. another step we can take especially robust foreign affairs budget. the president sent his budget request to congress yesterday and i hope we will meet all of the investments to meet these challenges abroad. we can soon take up use of
military force which gives the president what he needs to grapple with his threat without running the risk of another full-scale open-ended commitment in the middle east. before asking american members to risk their life in the fight against trend or should the very least do our job as well. thank you again mr. mcgurk. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. engel appeared this morning we are pleased to be joined by special envoy trained special envoy brett mcgurk recently depleted from presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter isis. prior to this assignment, special envoy mcgurk served for iraq and iran. mr. mcgurk has been a valuable administration pushing for a robot -- more robust u.s. rule.
but that action, the witness has full prepared statement will be made part of the record and the members will have five calendar days to submit statements for the record. we can ask if you could summarize your remarks, ambassador. thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member angle, members of the committee, it is a real honor to be here. at first appear before this committee november 2013 to talk about al qaeda and iraq and emerging threats we now know as isis. at that a number of times since then including after the fall of mosul. i deeply value the partnership intended that for your leadership on this pressing national security issue. i was in iraq would mosul fell in 2014 the situation could not have been more serious and dire. thousands were massacred, collapse of the iraqi security force divisions situation seemed almost hopeless.
we have to build a foundation to fight back and that required a new iraqi government, veteran intelligence, military strategy to strike transferring train local forces in the political strategy to reflect on the ground. we have to build an international coalition recognizing that global challenge like none we've seen before. at one point wanted 30,000 armed fighters to 120 countries all around the world. so we acted aggressively and no we begin to see results. however while the progress is clear which i'll discuss the challenges and threats to national security interests remain acute and as director of national intelligence clapper stated yesterday, isis remains a preeminent terrorist threat. so how do we analyze isis because only making sense of it with empirical underpinning can we effectively defeated. we analyze in three main categories. first its core in iraq and
syria, second its network around the world, finance and propaganda and third its affiliates now of which there are eight. i want to focus in the introductory statement on the poor in the core is key. it is the phony self-proclaimed caliphate that is established in one of the main magnets attracting people from all around the world. then they start with some facts. isil has lost its territory in iraq in 10% of area and has not won a single battle since may and as you can see in the map i have projected year, the green areas are areas in which summer 2014 was now retaken french isil. the figures really does not matter. what is important is this a strategic ground in iraq the sunni cities of tikrit and my body and 95% of the population is now back in their homes in the city according to u.n. estimates that nobody was the
first test of iraqi security forces acting on their own to liberate the iconic city. in theory, it is not just the data. it is what is on the map. green taken away the entire border area which is to be controlled by daish and a border is now green because of what happened in the city of cho bonnie. i traveled to go body last week in northern syria denies prior to the site of where we drive supplies come or president obama ordered an air drop of military commitment that a key point the battle is to be lost. he said without the air drop that would've been overrun. from the air drop of air drop in working with forces on the ground they were able to defeat isil. 6000 lost their life and take away the entire border. it's a testament to the courage of the partners on the ground and the many challenges ahead. is able to travel to syria because we now have a presence
on the ground and there's no substitute for this. having a presence on the ground to gain better insights and veterans as we connect with more devastating effect. our intelligence picture allows us to eliminate isil leaders of the second half of last or limit putting baghdad is, key deputies, azure metallic and the number one later in iraq and the number one financier. our special operators integrated northern syria not long ago in which they killed abu syed and collected more information than any operation in history and learned more than we could've ever imagined about the financial networks. from there, we pulled intelligence across the coalition from the state department intelligence community to relentlessly upward their apparatus and that's what we've been doing. isil without cutting calories by 50% and the effect they have by strikes on their tracks, oil platforms in non-cash storage
site. when they go around the map very briefly if i could, mr. chairman commit to bring you into the overall campaign in how we approach the core appeared number one is a 98, or stretch of border, the only stretch controlled with turkey. it is to remain its sole outlet to the world. we worked closely with turkish partners including a number of minutes at present heir to one just in the past few months and they are doing quite a lot. they are increasing patrols ensure an intelligent setting up risk analysis and conducting cross-border artillery types. this is having an impact that it's much harder to get into syria now than it was six months ago and what's in it is harder to get out. they can't get in can't get in and when they could end up never get out because they will die in iraq and syria. the impact is in the numbers of intelligence assessments. from 2014 with the estimated 31.5000 foreign fighters, now down to 25,000.
it is starting to turn. we know from their own publication they tell their fighters don't come into syria. it is much harder for them to get into syria. rocker remains their headquarters and remains whether external plotting networks are established. the collection of arabs and kurds push on and isolate them. that will be ongoing over the coming months. i will skip right to number five. they will remain a tremendous challenge. 10 million people with a politically diverse city and to get a get it right we have to work politically and militarily hand in glove. in iraq last week with abbott figures in baghdad and the kurdish leadership including prime minister barzani and
others and establish headquarters on the map here and that is where we are going to pull sunni fighters, iraqi security forces with the risers and commanders to plan the liberation of mosul. this'll be an integrated campaign across multiple lines of effort. it is not going to start on a date certain because of dirty starting. we are cutting off the road access and doing airstrikes in mozilla per day in learning more about what daish is doing. so the liberation campaign authority be done. however, it will be an extremely difficult endeavor and will not put a timeline on when also will be liberated but it will. moving south, number seven is to create. an iconic sydney city in the province was totally depopulated not only that, they killed thousands of people in the massacre known in the summer 2014. they were help able to liberate
the city. we are not focused on what comes after isil and work with the coalition and fun that we established and give prime minister give prime minister a body great credit and delegating powers to local leaders. we've been able to return the population. the u.n. reported last week at a coalition meeting attended by% of citizens are now back. we are building on lessons now. i'll post number eight on the map which is her body. the first significant test for the security forces since the collapse in 2014. this is an operation done entirely by the iraqi security forces and local tribal fighters and they continue to grow in number and capacity with 10,000 now and i can discuss in some detail, mr. chairman. the city remains quite devastated from the fighting. nearly every other home is booby-trapped or has ieds and met with the governor of anbar
province and they told us specifically what he means. without getting the teams back in their tty or homes that have been booby-trapped, it will delay the return of the population, something we're working on quite aggressively. i will move finally through this map in detail, but i want to point out number 11. number 11 is greasy dark red eared as we push and squeezed them, they try to fill spaces in the soft underbelly of syria. they took some time ago in the news, but the small dark red heading towards jordan is something we're focused on. jordan of course is one of our closest arteries in the region. we are focused on jordan security. they authorize part of our strategy to intensify the campaign that includes almost $200 million for border security to protect and deter threats. i'll be in jordan next week the broad interagency delegation including our overall commander
attorney general sean mcfarland to see and talk about threats to jordan in how we make sure they protect the border. that is a very brief and very quick summary of the most complicated situation imaginable, but i look forward to answering all of your questions. i want to begin by thanking this committee for the leadership he showed an entire committee on this issue. i value the partnership in now without to accelerate over the next year. i look forward to the partnership we have going forward. without a look forward to your questions. >> thank you him ambassador. briefly the importance for local partners in trade for held territories. sunni partners are very important. so with a laugh though, if that falls as the russians pummel it and as hezbollah and assad at 10
to collapse a laugh though, will we have any freeze. army partners last? the other concern i had in terms of the sunni population as i i understand the shiite led government in iraq is working to use the justice system to further push the sudanese and so is the central government in iraq is unwilling to make reforms needed in order to create a more clues to security forces, what will be left of iraq and what will be left at the effort to include sunnis in iraq are to vote down isis? thank you, mr. chairman. is a critical question that would work on every day. not only at the local level, but the national level. i'll start in iraq. iraq just passed a budget through its consular representatives at the very important provision.
article xl of its budget. it allocates 30% of the popular mobilization force is and that authorizes almost 30,000 sunni fighters enrolled in the state security services to fight isil. we have almost 15,000 now. they are being paid about $682,750 a month. that might not sound like much to us, but the rural label burning for an average iraqi workers $36 per month. prime minister a body has put his money where his mouth is as reflected in the budget. he tells us every day he wants to help. president obama made the decision to deploy just east of her body, right between the body and falluja, deployed immediately to work with the iraqi security force to get them on their feet and integrate sunni tribal fighters into the fight and that his and his
success. our special forces said they are working with three local tribes now mobilized and actively writing. in syria, mr. chairman, you had something on the head. what is happening with the russian airstrikes as they are primarily focused on the opposition and what is happening with opposition forces we were working with 25 isil. north of the left though you can see the extent of the event. we are working with for a working with horses to the east to fight isil and sophisticated endeavor. as the russian airstrikes campaign begun both of aleppo committed to the line to go fight the regime advance that this is causing real problems for the campaign and frankly we tell the russians clearly you are having a detrimental effect in the fight against isil and
this remains a very serious concern. >> thank you. i was going to ask the ambassador also in addition to this job as mr. engel pointed out to help with the release of iran and the families of these americans sat at this table entry of this database are overjoyed by your work and we want answers to the whereabouts. i am concerned on the same day these americans were released, the department sent i ran a check for another 1.7 billion on top of the $100 billion release at that time. is going to ask you what you knew about the payment. i found that in politics there are rarely coincidences. a state department spokesman said that i ran races payment with you as part of the talks on the americans and the iranians
each commander called this 1.7 billion ran third in his words and as you know i submitted detailed questions to the secretary which we are anxious to receive. >> for a silly for doing tonight are detailed questions. this is a complex negotiation for 14 months focused on the issue of prisoners. the issue of the hague summit was a parallel process. we are three areas with iranians over the last 30 years. the tribunal process and over 30 years almost 4700 private u.s. claims every single private u.s. claim has been adjudicated by the hague. the subaltern settled. all they have left is government to government claims and the negotiation with lawyers at the state department, they would be happy to come discuss with you in some detail. they were negotiating over a number of issues over the following it came to some
important settlement agreement on fossils, artwork and also the opportunity open to settle the important issue having to do with a $400 million claim. they were able to close it out which is very important and they be happy to talk about why this is in the interest of the u.s. tax ayers and the united states. we are facing substantial liability on this claim. we are apt as they understand for the lawyers to negotiate, a judgment and it would have been a multibillion dollars more than we settled on. we have your questions, mr. chairman. we will be looking forward to answering those. our attorneys will give you details. >> some of the detail should've probably been been shared with us are in negotiations. let me raise this last point. the newbies away for a while we passed, you now have a situation
of foreign writers traveling to libya for training. it would be possible under that law to categorize foreign nationals to travel as not being qualified for visa free entry into the united states and i was wondering if you were involved in discussions with homeland security laws on that problem. otherwise we may find some of the same challenges we found when out of cereal through turkey through europe we had fighters who could have taken advantage of the visa waiver program. >> i have not been involved in those passions. >> i would like to have libya added to the list. i'll go to mr. engel.
>> thank you very much, mr. chairman. in a recent op-ed in the "washington post," former senior state department officials nicholas burns we know well concluded that relying on diplomacy alone will not be a area and said that i quote the obama team would have to reconsider whether this project than in the past. the creation of the safe zone in northern area to protect civilians along with the no-fly zone to enforce it, unquote. a safe zone would allow for refugees to have a place to go where they would not be under constant bombardment by assad or russia. the longer he remains in power come along with the the coalition will be fighting. they only exacerbate the refugee crisis making this a stone i
believe even more necessary. however, the assistant secretary in paterson saturday meeting and said there's no option on the table that does not require massive amounts of air support that would then detract from the effort against isil, unquote. let me ask you this. under what circumstances would the administration considers supporting a no-fly zone? what are the challenges in establishing a no-fly per se stone and how is russia's involvement impacted the prospects for a safe so or no-fly zone because i don't know how innocent areas protect themselves. >> congressman, something that had all the time. a number of internal discussions about the possibility of establishing some sort of no-fly.
you should speak with my dod colleagues about the details the difficulties of establishing it. it has been fully look at. everybody would agree that the situation right now is totally unacceptable. i'm leaving tonight for munich where we will have a meeting tomorrow with everybody in the international support group for syria should quit saudi arabia, turkey, qatar, everybody around the table in the recognition the situation is completely, totally unacceptable. we were very close and cnn not long ago as secretary kerry discussed to a cease-fire. we work hard to put in place a cease-fire. so one of the conflict is going on, it makes my job all the more difficult and you meant you can't cleanse us of what is happening is just truly atrocious and terrible. so we have to get to a two d. escalate the underlying conflict.
there has to be a political process that could ultimately lead to a transition in damascus. the struggle we face from time to time is that the collapse of the machine would open up a vacuum which terrorist groups are able to fill that want to have a political process that dmitry trent nation. that is something secretary kerry in particular has been working very assiduously on but nobody could underestimate difficulties we are hopeful in munich over the coming days will make some progress on a cease-fire and most importantly the humanitarian corridor. they are cutting off weapons supplies corridors, but actually humanitarian corridors. at the very least they need to put their money where their money where the mouth is and open up the corridors to lock these besieged areas. >> you know, not long ago we were saying that assad has got to go before we have these discussions. now we are soared to say well,
they can go and he cannot be part doesn't seem like we keep backtracking and backtracking? >> everybody looking at the serious situation recognizes so long as assad is in power there will never be a stable syria. too much is happening. crimes against inanity, everything is responsible for, his ripple never extend to the country and it's completely impossible. in these conversations in bni, russians understand that. but it's complete fantasy if they can establish a very serious. we have to find a way to have a political transition. but we want to do it in a managed way to a political process that doesn't open up further vacuums. i agree with you entirely,
congressman. assad cannot remain a power if we are ever going to get out of this incredibly difficult situation. as he mentioned discusses the chairman but it's going to north of aleppo. my job on isil advancing the progress to push across the line and airstrikes and put the forces to fight critics. russia is directly enabling isil. one of the reasons we get together remix tomorrow, this'll be a very difficult three days coming up. we saw bnsf strengthening the regime and all it does is feel extreme ends of the sectarian divide. it feels has the less, feel to isil. we have to come together as great as it should as it should come a u.s. come arabia, russia and figure out a way to settle the conflict to, otherwise it will, haunt all of us.
>> i have one final question. i have been having discussions. in fact, the chairman and i have had discussions with some of our sunni arab friends. and they expressed to us frustration at the united states for not being more of a player that is deeply involved that we seem to be reluctant to be involved. they paint a picture if we come forward, if we laid. they describe a part of the united states to get involved and they say that russia moved to tear syria they wouldn't do anything against the russians.
-- not really leading and they would be willing to be with us, but we are recalcitrant. how do you answer that? in terms of the campaign, the u.s. forces on that in iraq we welcome our partners to join us in that number. we've done some real damage to isil and are looking for others to join us to tell you the truth. that is something where we have led and in fact secretary carter is meeting in brussels today with the defense ministers of the coalition. one of the things he's putting a #-number-sign of our coalition partners is isil is a threat to you. saudi arabia, one of our closest friends in the world and they are doing a much hungry of course then to do large. the constant discussion we had.
our interest on our selected partners interest on something as natural as foreign policy, but this is something we discussed constantly. the foreign minister was here yesterday, saw the secretary and a number of you and we will see him munich tomorrow to try to align our purchase. the leader of the coalition congressman is something i deal with around the world to get a focus, or threat of isil and try to align resources accordingly. when it comes to the assad or she would have to get a process on track otherwise a look at cheney to go along. that is why we are hopeful we can make some progress. iliana ros-lehtinen. ranking member engel, welcome back special envoy mcgurk. i continue to be signed at the state department believes that
russia and syria could be a positive development but the russian air power but the forces creep closer to aleppo at the pointed out with a strong base to the opposition and the regime is on the brink of encircling the city to starve the population with russia indiscriminately bombing residential areas. secretary patterson testified to a question i asked another her in a hearing and it is not possible for us while. so what is the administration take into acted massacre with an opposition? where do we go to humanitarian supplies and instead still something still something we are
going to do? he said to the chairman and the ranking member that russia is a problem, but does the administration had taken a measured pressure from bombing syria civilians and how can we justify asking syrian opposition to drop this condition that the regime russia and iran cease committing these crimes against humanity as a condition to continue the talks. i look forward to there appeared when they bring up two quick points, mr. ambassador. to you about his future plans to the iraqi archives. can they stay in the united states? in the past i thank you and the iraqi government. i don't want to return the iraqi archives and what is the exhibit runs at my alma mater for
international university. and now that i read has been legitimized to the jcp away with the billions of dollars is a tenuous reign of terror. what guarantees have you received are that iraq can have you brought it up to protect the rest then run the newly strengthened and well-funded regime in tehran. if you could give me a written response i'm not, the protection which is that the residents want now and are we going to put it in place but if you could ask the question about what we are doing to prevent the massacre, an air drop of humanitarian supplies in the role of russia. thank you commissary. >> thank you.
ms. ros-lehtinen comment we are very honored that they are on display in your district. i worked on this issue quite a bit. it's a very much care about it. they are scheduled to run through the end of the year. the big issue a detailed answer on the question and also on the mak, said he and i continue to follow quite close. we've made progress in getting folks out of iraq in albania. i would issue a written answer on that. on the question of the humanitarian situation in area to repeat what i said it is completely unacceptable. the failure to provide humanitarian assistance is not only in international law obligation not anchored by a brave new u.n. security council resolution. this is something we have to open up these corridors. so first and foremost on the agenda when we get to munich is the humanitarian corridor issue.
as each communities across syria, and millions of some besieged by isil and some of them but of immense of the opposition. all of them should have humanitarian access. the principle of internationalized bounded by the resolution that we all agree to aspire to a support group process and is first and foremost on the agenda in munich and without underestimating i'm hopefully we come out with some agreements on that. >> thank you very much. >> we go now to rhode island. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. mcgurk for being here. i want to focus on the effort to address the issue and i know you indicated in your written testimony that isil controls 80% of the energy supply and accounts for 50% of their
revenues about $509 a year since 2014. my first question is who is purchasing this oil generating $500 million of revenue and you also indicate there are 100 members a decentralized management team is so a 1600 personnel. what are we doing to get this individual is facilitating the site and in a terrorist organization? >> thank you, congressman. to elaborate, you are right. we believe the overall revenue about a billion dollars a year, less than that now. $500 from energy products. you know, it is purchased by a lot of middlemen and hard to tell exactly where it's going. russians claim turkey despite most of it. that is not true. what is happiness itself to middlemen and goes to a third party in third party and is hard to trace from isil to the end-user.
it is a significant revenue stream and we are now significantly degrading. they are not able to do what they were able to do in the past. we had a big debate about when to target the tracks because the trap drivers, most of them ordinary iraqis and syrians so what we did a very sophisticated campaign and about six that play out, but we weren't bad your days are going to be numbered. we were able to destroy about 400 trucks in one shot with very limited collateral damage or civilian deaths and it has had a tremendous impact in their ability to move oil around. we will continue to do that. but it is a fundamental priority of the overall campaign, not just a gimmick territory but denied revenue sources. because of our intelligence picture, we were able to target hundreds of millions of dollars that they pay their fighters and most loathed no longer exists.
>> i want to ask you about -- we've seen a lot of the success of isil using the internet and social media both to promote propaganda as well as recruit. i would like to hear about what we are doing and how we are helping to counter the narrative. this is obviously religious they start event, but an effective one and we can respond as effectively as united states. are there efforts underway so somebody is responding to this very aggressively in the same medium to help stem the flow of additional recruit and the final question i will ask is that the donor conference there was a commitment made by germany in the united states over $600 million. we still are seeing the same level of support from saudi arabia and uae and kuwait. this is a huge monetary crisis of unprecedented magnitude and
what can we do to encourage these other countries to play a more generous wallet and the humanitarian crisis? >> let me address the issue because it's really critical. isil we have looked at in some detail. they have three messaging campaigns. one is the glory of the caliphate, i'm drenched in for children eating ice cream cone is a total lie, but it's actually the majority of their content. second is a religious-based message primarily focused in the gulf and other muslim communities and third is what gets a lot of attention which is the core and the executions, beheadings. that is the smallest number. we are combating at every single battle. we have a 242nd hub and the uae has been a critical partner here. they are people from all around the region working 24/7 two, the messages.
they've had a pretty good effect particularly with the campaign which highlighted there are narratives in testimony told the world what it is really like to be under this organization. we are actually making some progress now in the campaign and working closely with twitter, youtube. put it to down 125,000 related sites. the messaging gets a lot easier when we make progress. if you don't messaging campaign for the washington redskins, it's easier when the team is winning than when the team is losing. in 2014 when it looked like they were on the march and putting up videos of their flag from iraq to syria to italy and realm, they really can't say that with any credibility anymore. their message is now our defending the fact explaining why they're losing so much territory. it has changed quite a bit, but we have to remain under 24/7. the uae has been key.
we want to set up a similar hat because it's a very different messaging propaganda component to east asia and also europe is a different campaign there. we have to check back 24/7. in terms of the air contribution , the saudis put in $500 million into iraq humanitarian at a critical moment and i'll never forget that being in iraq it was to critical data and the money went to good use and saved enough a lot of flies. the donations from the state i filled donors conference there were some pretty good contributions, but all have them back to the details. >> i yield back. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you. mr. chris smith of new jersey. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for calling this important hearing on mr. mcgurk, welcome to the committee. let me just after a couple questions. while the administration's focus is on isis, does the focus of
isis risk allowing others to grow in strength and what is the plan is another like-minded groups on monday after -- you point out that foreign fighters are coming from about 100 countries. i'm wondering the flow back and forth of how many here today if you have that number and when you talk about groups like cocoa rob, are terrorists making their way to isil and back again or is there no flow they are and you do talk and i'm glad she do about degrading the global affiliate. are we, for example, truly training particularly that nigerians with troops how to do counterinsurgency on an order in scale that will make them more effective because obviously boko haram is on a tear in its terms.
>> the go briefly through your questions. focus on isil, we can't take our site off. he reports directly to imad al salieri and while the estimates vary there's about 10,000 most of them kind of under the banner because that is where they are going to survive. but we have to unravel when we see a threat emanating, we targeted. they are on something we've talked about before. does that core al qaeda tens of external plot in which we completely eliminated. we are very focused and it's important to remind all of us that it is not just trained six. buy me just jump to boko haram and the affiliates.
it's not like they became a fundamentally different problem. it is a problem unique to that part of the world and we have to work with our local partners to combat it. you've asked some good questions about the standards making sure we have a credible force to effectively combat it and we are very focused on that. the affiliates that we are most concerned about in libya were both in a preexisting movement and they rose the flag and we've seen the direct flow of resources of command and control of propaganda into libya. )-right-paren libya if we see a threat emerging, we will not hesitate to act if the president orders astray, the number one later and he was eliminated. he was the amaral qaeda guy sebastian shows the connections that is very concerning.
a number of foreign fighters in the united states i think we have specific numbers. i do want to give it to you at the top of my head, but i believe it is in the low hundred. our fbi is all over this problem and they are doing a great job to protect the country against these threats and they will continue to do so. i will follow-up with you on the precise figures. >> before my time runs out, the boko haram fighters, is there an exchange between fighters? is al-shabaab a part of this as well? >> al-shabaab is not a formal affiliate. we have found somalis in iraq. these networks all have a symbiotic relationship. the good thing about iraqi cera is that as i mentioned in a statement they are unlikely to get out. we'll make sure we kill them in iraq and syria.
libya is an emerging threat because a lot of the guys. >> thank you. regarding mr. gregory meeks of new york. thank you, mr. chairman. let me start with this. i want to follow up with what mr. cicilline said. he talked about saudi arabia set duties and their contribution on the humanitarian level. and fighting again isis and isil in syria, et cetera, i am concerned a lot of the sunni shia also and let the arab states may be doing on a military level. they set out some jazz, it better. what are they doing and what contribution that they make in on the military level in regards to this site and how does that play into our equation?
>> so it is something secretary carter has discussed quite a bit publicly and in brussels today with our partners. they were with us in the early stages of the air campaign, but right now they have renewed their airstrikes in syria which we are grateful for. they have been focused on the conflict that we discussed with them quite a bit. we are constantly engaged about what the particular role to be. i do want to get ahead of the process but that is something secretary carter discussed. including from saudi arabia. we need to reason to be fully invested not just military as was mentioned earlier. it's also the humanitarian and stabilization side. in iraq now as i mentioned, these are iconic cities that have been up and cleared and now
we want to return the population to get back on their feet. the eternally displays in iraq, most of them are women and girls and they need help. on the humanitarian stabilization side, that is something for the region are very hopeful can step up in a fairly aggressive way. we have programs in place, supported the iraqi government in place, u.n. programs in place to help people, but an issue of the resources. one thing is hampered this quite a bit is the collapsing price of oil which i can go into some detail. iraq is now facing a $5 billion financing gap. they produce more oil than they have been sometimes have over 4 million barrels a day. when i was working full-time five years ago that would've been unimaginable. that is because of decisions the iraqi government has made and decisions we've made with them and that is a real testament to
their progress. the falling price of oil has greatly impacted their budget situation. it's a bit of resources we have to have to deal with stabilization and humanitarian problems. that is something congressman or we are very hopeful. >> i was surprised at a recent statement that saudi arabia made that the united states put troops on the ground they would be right behind them militarily. i wonder why something where if anybody is on the ground anybody's occupying again, the sunni territory that a investor in the area plate be the ones in the united states of america. i was wondering whether or not they have and whether they have shown and i know about yemen, but isil is still a threat to them all. so whether there was to really step out.
same thing in regard to turkey and what they may or may not be doing. i may ask you that question on what they may or may not be doing militarily also. what about turkey. >> well, turkey as of the process and in agreement with them to base their claim that the airbase which is canonically decreasing and the fine time to strike isil airstrikes. turkey is also as i mentioned where they work to seal its border, 98-kilometer strip of border. it's much harder for foreign fighters to get in and it was until then. ..
and so we will continue to work close with him. >> thank you. out of time. >> thank you. mr. dana rohrabacher of california. >> mr. ambassador thank you for your service. we mentioned at the beginning of the testimony of his eye off -- abreu left this world with our help, was that the same who was a power in afghanistan 20 years ago or is this another abu sayoff? >> this was an individual who is a legacy al-qaeda and iraq, zarqawi acolyte, very much from the iraq-syria theater cookie
was the head financier. >> is not the same guy who was the financier back in -- >> not that i'm aware of. >> how many fighters do we have come how many people are fighting assad, the number of fighters that are there and i guess aleppo in that region? >> i can't put a number on aleppo. the uppermost estimate of our moderate opposition fighter, the uppermost estimate i've heard is about 70,000 fighters. all the way from the south to the north. those are split into hundreds of different groups. so to bring coherence to that is very difficult. >> are there any of those anti-assad fighters were fighting isil at this point? >> well, yes. before the russian airstrike campaign we felt pretty good
about the word i guess it's coherence and tenacity we were getting along that moral line which on the -- which is on the i rejected. since then a lot of those guys have healed off to fight the regime which has not been helpful to the isil campaign. >> let us just note that this administration has told us before that there will be no stability unless we get rid of so-and-so or so-and-so. and, in fact, the opposite has been true. in bolivia in particular which outlined today is being a catastrophe. we were told almost the same words that you use today is never going to be any peace there until we get rid of gadhafi. and effect that's why we have to help a non-gadhafi forces. now we have testimony of course the isil is on the verge of taking over libya. let me note i didn't see assad ever a threat has been what
assad ever a threat to the united states? >> assad has given sustenance to terrorist groups a number of years. >> assad was never a threat to the united states. frankly, we republicans made a mistake when we backed our president when he said we have to get rid of saddam hussein. and, frankly, it looks like to me all of this chaos and confusion you are describing today that unfortunately is in your lap to try to correct started when we made a mistake we have to get rid of saddam hussein because he's a bad guy and he's committing atrocities against his own people. and that has destabilized the whole region and lead to many thousands more people being killed. i would think, frankly from a distance it looks like assad is in that same type of the, fighting assad is the same type of situation. let me ask how many of the isil
fighters are foreigners? meaning from other areas rather than syria and iraq. >> total number of foreign fighters have come into the theater are up of 30,000 but many of them as i mentioned in my opening and it's been decreased quite a bit. for foreign fighters fighting with isil now i would probably put a number of 15,000 or so. >> and how many of those come from places like chechnya? >> a lot of. and, in fact, one example when i send iraq recently, there was a major battle, heroic battle for almost a year and we were picking up mostly the fighters that our guys -- >> so we have all of these thousands of radicals islamist terrorism fighters who come from
russia and chechnya. so the russians maybe have something, maybe even more important for them to be involved that as to be involved because they have had the exact fighters from the country. i don't believe there are any americans over there without terrorist group. let me just say the idea that the turkish, that you don't know, that we don't know where those trucks are going and his purchasing that fuel is unacceptable. let me just say that before the russians started bombing those trucks, which then ignited his outrage from turkey, before they did, this body, this committee saw evidence day after day after day of trucks loaded with fuel, thus meaning supplies and money and wealth that would go into isil, were just not touched.
how much evidence, try to do we have? overwhelming evidence that this administration wasn't doing anything about it. once the russians started then we did. i think that this idea -- >> if i could just correct the record since you raised the point. i think once the french started, and was the french after the attack in paris attributable to isis forces, the french made the decision to hit those targets on the open highway. >> let me also note that the russians were doing that, however you never know who the russians are hitting because that's their business. they haven't been able to outline it for us. i would just say this, that the people who are threat to the united states of america, to our people, the terrorist network around the world, we should be working closely with anyone like
that is not a threat to us. and whether or not they suppress their own people, i'm sorry. we didn't like saddam hussein of love we did by getting rid of them. we didn't like gadhafi. there's a number of cases like this. the idea, our question should be how do we get rid of assad and spend a lot of attention and resources about. our vision should be how do we get rid of isil and these radical islamists who will terrorize the western world and murder us if they get a chance. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> we now go to mr. connolly of virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i certainly want to think with my friend from california and his critique of the mistake by republicans in supporting the reckless foreign policy of george w. bush. sort of want to associate myself with those remarks. >> absolutely. >> i will point out though that some of the current critique like libya, it would be fun to
replay video of my colleagues to criticize president obama for not being more involved in libya at the time. for being too reluctant, for not taking the lead in being at the forefront of the revolution against gadhafi. and now we are bemoaning the fact that stability was a victim as well as the gadhafi regime. that was then, this is no. welcome, ambassador mcgurk. let me start with russia, one of the favorite topics of my friend from california. how concerned are we that russia's airstrikes in syria or not isil focused? and that, in fact, they have targeted either deliberately or just coincidentally non-isil insurgent groups that we were hoping to use as part of the coalition against assad? >> it's a huge problem.
>> could you say that lower? >> it's a huge problem. they say the want of of the isl and al-nusra but they're hitting groups, ready to find isil. so you know, this is where we just have to be honest. they're hitting 70% of airstrikes against the opposition to many of the opposition groups are ready to buy isil. >> we now have a situation where the russian activity in syria is directly in conflict with western goals, is that correct? >> you get put in total black and white terms because there some overlapping interest. they're hitting isil around the -- >> but given the fact is that 70% -- >> very strategic locations like north of aleppo, the airstrikes have held isil spent is the current prepared to do something about that besides a diplomatic protest?
>> as i think the secretary said yesterday, i think we have to focus on a diplomatic process and that's where are going to get together tomorrow in munich but we also have to be thinking ahead in the event that doesn't work. >> yes. well, all right. i think it was frederick the great that said -- one needs to be bold, i hope diplomatic protest work, but we cannot afford to have russia counter our activities which have been difficult and hard to piece together on the field in syria come energy seems to me we will need to maybe follow frederick the great advice. tell me a little bit about the complications of working with the kurds. from my point of the other think a lot of my colleagues on this
committee the kurds are pro-american, willing to fight on the ground that had territorial gains. they have actually beaten isil on the battlefield more than once. they are critical in looking at the looming fight with respect to aleppo. but they've got problems with the government and they've had other problems with some of our allies in the region like turkey. how complicated is that relationship, an and what oughto be videos posture with respect to training, equipping and financing the peshmerga? >> i will start in iraq. there's vestiges of what used to happen under the cover of former prime minister malik in which the relationship with her typical. it's been different i want to be clear every single shipment of weapons or supplies that we want to send to the kurds has gone. nothing has been held up by the center government under prime
minister abadi. zero. >> but they're not paying the soldiers. >> well, a lot of people in iraq are not getting paid out what's happening in iraq in terms of oil allocation, the kurds are exporting their oil on their own and keeping those revenues, and they are not there for getting the revenues from the south which is an equitable exchange. as i mentioned iraq with large as focused every single month no $5 billion fund deficit is a problem with large. for the kurdish peshmerga there's about $400 million monthly gap. peshmerga salaries are about $50 million a month. so we want to focus on this in a holistic way working with the world bank, imf, international financial institutions. i think our budget request love some recommendations for how we might help the iraqis. we want to focus on its holistic look at the kurds will have what
they need to buy isil, have what they need to be successful in the mosul campaign. no question about it. i will see president barzani in munich. prime minister a body will also be immune. when i was in iraq last week every senior delegation on the government was in baghdad to meet with prime minister abadi. that relationship is good right now and want to keep it that way. the kurds in the north and in iraq have political divisions that i encouraged him as a close friend of theirs to try to find a way to resolve. because when the isil -- the syrian kurds, iraqi kurds and everyone was united in that moment of kobani when the kurdish peshmerga, kurdish peshmerga went to fight the kobani. a historical moment i was a part of. now that the isil threat has receded a little bit all these divisions have opened a. there's three kurdish parties, divisions between the syrian kurds and the kurds in northern iraq.
our message is that this fight is not over. the entire southern border of iraqi kurdistan region is controlled by isil. so long as that is the case, is not going to be a stable situation. our advice is to unite against the threat against isil despite all the differences. meanwhile, we have to help them with the financia financial difs and that's something i look forward to working with this committee to do. >> mr. chairman, i'm glad to hear that. i think that's essential and i think we need to be providing that financial support because i am going to fight. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mr. poe up texas. judge? >> isis is deliberately targeting religious minorities, specifically christians. christians have been executed by the thousands. clergy has been assassinated jihadists in mosul stamp the
holmes of christians with n for nazarene. forced to convert or die. converted away thinking or die. christian they must result in slave market. three of them were featured by the "new york times" magazine last summer. isis magazine approves the enslavement of christian girls in nigeria and posts the prices for something on the marketplace. the pope has said that this is genocide. i mention these things to get your opinion on this issue specifically of genocide. the omnibus bill that was passed, the president signed, requires that the administration determine whether or not religious minorities like christians, shia muslims, yazidis suffer genocide by the
hands of isis by march 18. can you give us some insight on whether or not the united states will take the position that what isis does against religious minorities is genocide or not? >> thank you, congressman. we are focused on answering that legislative request and our lawyers are deeply come as you said, genocide is a very specific terms of its illegal determination and we're looking at it i believe across the board. there's no question everything you said is true, in more. what isil has done to the christian community into minority communities throughout particularly iraq in syria is unbelievable. and on top of it destroyed our common heritage, our common culture, our ancient history, this is why we have to destroy this terrorist organization, period. we want to do particularly liberating some of these areas
near mosul is returned christians to the ancestral homeland and that's something we're focused on. i meet with the archbishop when i'm impacted i try to see the patriarch to try to turn the christian communities to their holmes. one thing that drives us all in fact particularly for this campaign new mosul is to help us do that. they been driven out of their holmes in the most atrocious manner possible. we have to work to get them back. in center, i have to praise our friends in the peshmerga, they liberated singe our from isil about three or four months ago very successful operation. it for isil claiming and enslaved thousands of yazidis, killing many of the young men and taking the women, thousands to enslave the women. is why went to destroy this barbaric terrorist organization and by the response to specific
requests about the genocide determination, that something i know lawyers are working on right now. >> do you see any reason why administration cannot comply with a march against? >> i think we will meet that deadline. >> there was an amendment that i put in or i put into the omnibus bill that requires a strategy to defeat isis. it was passed into law that would be a strategy by the administration what we're going to defeat isis by june 18. are i think there is no real concrete strategy to defeat isis. not contain but to defeat isis. june 18 is a deadline. do you see any reason based on your expertise why we will not be able to get that strategy by june 18? >> in terms of strategy, look, we're going to suffocate this network every single which we. we're going to suffocate, it's like an anaconda strategy,
constant pressure. its ability to control territory. that's exactly what we're doing across the board. in iraq and syria as explain who are working to take away their territory. the global networks are working to cut off and slice off the foreign fighter network speed and so we will have a strategy to defeat isis that's concrete. the train and equip that was a disaster. the president has even said that was a disaster. i don't want to be augmentative but when we have a concrete strategy so bubba down in texas knows what the united states is going to do to defeat isis? do you see any reason why we will will not have that in writing for us and the american public by june 18? >> we have a strategy now. >> part of it is not working. and we just couldn't get the same strategy? that's my question come is a going to be the same thing or is it going to be a concrete strategy this is something we
can understand that we will defeat the? go after the oil fields but you can go after the truck but we don't bomb the oil fields. things like that, tactics. >> things at work we've already adjusted. i will follow-up with you on more specific details we can have it very clear narrative. >> so we'll see that strategy by june 18. i yield back. >> karen bass from california. >> thank you again for your testimony and your time here in our hearing. i wanted to ask you a few questions, congress member smith was asking about boko haram in africa and other like to focus some of my questions there as well. one of the things that has been just a little frustrating is when we think of boko haram and isis, knowing the boko haram actually has their reign of terror has actually continued every day, and at the end of lester actually killed more people than isis did.
and so i'm concerned especially with what's happening in libya a deterioration in libya and knowing when libya first fell it essential that to a coup in mali. so i'm wondering what you are seeing now, especially with isis increasing its involvement and occupation in libya. what do you think or what are you saying the fallout being in other countries? >> as i mentioned, libya remained an acute focus because libya is for unlike in boko haram which was pre-existing all the terrorist problems it for isil, the fact the about race and isil flag doesn't fundamentally change the problem. isil in libya stiffened. what we are working very hard to do, one of my colleagues special envoy for libya jonathan winer, we are just i enrolled together for the coalition meeting on isil, working to form the government of national accord,
national unity government in libya and hoping to get that done very soon. the u.n. special envoy is a close friend of mine, worked with him for years and iraq. i know has been working day and night to get this done. we have to have it because you need a foundational part of. i mentioned the summer of 2014. and support to get the new iraqi government for the. it was going to a government formation process. had we commit to iraq in a very major way militarily i or we hae a government and a foundational partner it would've been hard to i think build the coherence we needed to push back effectively and aggressively. the sequencing in libya to start try to get this national government formed and then to work with it to come up with a strategy to begin to combat libya. but i will say is that take some time come when we see threats emergent our own national security and the president has shown it will take military action in libya. that's why we kill the overall isil leader in libya. so those sorts of things will
continue to be ongoing but the political and the military is quite intertwined so we're hoping to get the government formed person. >> while we're doing that and i understand and recognize the significance and importance of that, are using though any involvement in terms of either iso- folks moving south or moving weapons, which is what the situation was in mali? while we are working to stabilize a government and i understand that spirit what i've seen is the flow north to libya primarily. they seem to be come in libya, doing what they did in syria, established state like structures. they're trying to establish you can see training camps popping up elsewhere. they are trying to establish that state like structure. their own magazine, their own open-source magazine says come
to libya. they're trying to flow sources to libya. if they can establish themselves of their in a very rooted way and get routed, then the risk will be a close outward. we're going to try to make sure they can do that. >> back to boko haram and i missed in boko haram was pre-existing insignificance of them raising the flag, it was more symbolic or are they kidding resources come in at the financial resources from isil? i was a just symbolic? >> we have seen some media coordination. some of the boko haram media proxy been more sophisticated would show some connections with isil. but not the type of direct weapon slung finance just because boko haram was already a self-contained entity. but we are to work with the nigerians to get out the boko haram period whether calls itself ice or boko haram, doesn't matter. >> for the attack that took place in mali recently right after france, what do you know
of that in terms of its relationship to isil? i believe it was al-qaeda. >> this is where things, we don't want to paint with too sharp coverage because al-qaeda often has the same goals. that was not an isil attack. it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter if isil is attacking a hotel or al-qaeda is attacking a hotel. >> thank you. >> mr. cook of california. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. ambassador, for being here. i don't envy your job is very, very difficult. i don't have your sense of optimism about syria with the russians supporting. i think it's going to be very, very tough to dislodge them. picking up on the question of the turks and the kurds, point
blank, is there any hope for a separate homeland for kurdistan? i don't think geography favors it but we are disappointed the kurds so many times, after all the fighting and everything else come and particularly with the pressure with the kurds, i just don't think will betray them again. can you comment on that? >> the kurds, i have dealt with my friends at the kurds, the kurdistan region of iraq for almost a decade now. you're right, there's a historical memory of what happened to the kurds after world war i which is something i think we have to all recognize and be quite sympathetic to. the kurds in northern syria we develop a relationship with over the last 18 months or so into account as a campaigner i was able to go into northern syria and meet a number of them. they have the same, very similar historical narrative.
however, at this moment in time creating new independent states is not something i think that would be particularly stabilize. when it comes to northern iraq and the kurds as i mentioned, i think before something that can be discussed, first you to get isil off the southern border. it's all jihadists and other southern order. second economic situation has to stabilize the third the political situation has to stabilize. right now i think the kurds of northern iraq recognize that this. nobody is going to do the impossible and create a unified iraq that is a growing democracy. but a federal iraq which is defined in a constitution which empowers local leaders, in part the sunnis in the provinces, and powers the kurds, and powers the shia, it's something we very much support. >> the oh question i had was
i just got back from the middle east. a couple things in solar. our sorties will help our fighters from the gulf state. eight hours flying down there. i don't know how they do it. i really don't. the problem is in the past is the turks have been, well, we will control all of the air operations. i just hope that doesn't go back to the way it was a year or two years ago where they have almost complete control over air drops and what was going in. i know that's a military/foreign affairs question but very, very nervous about erdogan and the politics and how that affects that particular base. i'm not sure sometimes why we even have it there other than it's a very, very close. >> so that is a question for my military colleagues but i've
been there. i've met our pilots. the agreement when it comes to anti-isil campaign is that those planes fly within the arab coalition of account isil campaign. which is coordinated out of qatar. so we do every day there's an air tasking order which goes out. so those planes are integrated with that. it's part of the overall cohesive campaign. >> i just got back from qatar and i'm very, very nervous about the politics of turkey. the last question i had was about saudi, the gulf states and everything else. sometimes i think we are led to believe their number one focus is isis. no. the impression i have is it's all about the war in yemen. their forces and everything else, we are committed to that, but states that i talk to it's all about what's going on with yemen, and particularly the influence of the saudis in
leading a coalition. could you comment on that? >> you're right. yemen is a primary focus on a lot of those capitals. you can have a different conversation from reality to cairo to abu dhabi depending on where you are. this is not -- >> obviously the resources that are going in yemen. >> yemen has been a major focus of the subject of a good reason. it's right on the border. one reason we're working hard to to escalate the conflict is so we can focus the mind and attention on isil which we do consider the most fundamental threat. >> i yield back. >> mr. higgins of new york. >> thank you, madam chair. isis has proven to be particularly effective at fund-raising. estimates in 2014 was the raising about $3 million a day. originally through oil revenue and the sale of oil through the black market, and then through territorial gains were they
would provide services that tax and provide protection basically operate any crops aside whereby they would gain a lot of revenue. how much is known about isis funding from sunni arab country, particularly saudi arabia who i think views the existential threat to them, iranian territorial gains in iraq clear with the direct involvement of soleimani, and in syria under an alawite government which is a very in depth she. i suppose my question is, saudi arabian influence in helping to finance isis terrorist activities. >> we certainly don't see any indication of that and the saudis have been very close partners on the counterterrorism site for some time. what makes isis different is
that the bill ritter blood on outside financing and funding. when there wasn't evidence of that we weren't to shut that down. our colleagues from my colleagues in the treasury department have done a great job on that. but what makes isil different because as you said it controls vast swaths of territory as millions under its control, it acts t through taxes and extortn to have a revenue base. so to cut at its finance streams, very early on the cup years ago we said the most beloved outside funding coming. but, in fact, it's locally generated. that is why, and it's true, the french were led in this after parents of course we help them but cutting off the ability to move oil, cutting off the ability to move energy supplies, cutting off their ability to store cached which is something that is done in mosul. so to cut off the finances you have to focus on that court in iraq and in syria where it is
controlling resources and territory. >> how many u.s.-led airstrikes in iraq and syria in the last year? >> i mean total airstrikes is about 10,000 now. i can teach you the breakdown. total airstrikes as of yesterday 9901 to be specific. there's about 6000 sex trafficking in iraq, 2300 syria previous has conducted more than 7000 of those and the rest of the coalition about 2300. >> and in the past year isis has lost 40% of its territory gains in iraq and 10% of its territorial gains in syria? >> yes. >> isis, the one thing that's constant reading mike white this book, isis inside the army of care, the book lacked flags, the one thing that seems constant about isis is change. isis has evolved in its reach
and organizational ability. the isis presents the lady i think is particularly disturbing. it's a pivotal stronghold in north africa. africa is, there's a lot of instability to exploit. in africa. you've got 55 countries in that continent, many of which are very, very unstable from south sudan to, too, just there's a lot of countries to exploit. my concern is that while we may be influencing a loss of territorial control and both iraq and syria, what about the isis threat and expanding into other countries in the continent of africa? >> again it's a great question. as we analyze it and as we discussed this with intelligence
services and the governments in all of these different capitals all about the world, the common theme we hear, i become i've heard this from malaysia to brussels to the gulf is about this false notion of this caliphate is what is drawing so many young people to this dangerous movement. that is why we focus on the core and shrinking the overall territory. its narrative in those books you mentioned, expect an conquest win to show you're not expand it, you are shrinking. if you could join this phony caliphate you're not going to live a glorious life with ice cream cone which is in the propaganda. you're actually going to die a pretty miserable death. so many people want to go dot invisible to and we are happy to oblige them. but we have to shrink the caliphate. the phony notion of a caliphate over to also brought up the global network. that does not mean as we did the isil that the will not be a global jihad is terrorism
problem under different banners. that's something that will be with us for some time. >> thank you. >> my florida colleague. >> mr. mcgurk, you just said there will still be a global jihad bob and agree. i notic noticed intermittent tey that there was not be referencee explicitly to either iran or hezbollah, particularly with respect to the destabilizing role that they both play in iraq and in syria. they have murdered sunni civilians and assad drives people sunni arabs who a choice between a bulletin shiite force our government back by iran and isis which is at least sunni, many of them unfortunately are driven to isis. so the exclusion of iran's contribution, delivered or is it something you omitted? >> certainly not. let me take it on directly. when mosul fell into some of
2014, the grand ayatollah said edwin rise up and protect the country. it was a really critical moment. had he not done that i think it would've been very hard to check what i is listed because they're just on a rampage and because and massive panic in the country. you had 80,000 volunteers rise up and join the ranks to defend iraq. most of them in those early days are shia from the south. most of them are nationalistic and together but there's a segment of them, maybe 10 to 15,000 who are actually tangible to militias for better control by iran. this is a huge concern for us, a huge concern for the government of iraq and it's a huge concern for prime minister abadi. when he was in washington he said publicly that if iran is operating on iraqi so outside the commit of the iraqi government that would be a hostile act against iraq. he's been very clear about this. when we see abuses and violations of human rights, the
government of iraq has got to. recently there was some reports of shia militia violence in a province which has been a hotbed of extremism on both sides of the sectarian divide. prime and sub i went to the site twice and just last week they have arrested nine individuals from some of these militias as part of that investigation. this is a serious problem, something we're focused on all the time but we don't want to thank all of these volunteers, many of whom are shia within the same brush because that wouldn't be true. >> what about something the anbar province, the ministers has done a summit events and places like ramadi but my understanding is that is part of by shia forces including some of the iranian backed forces. what are you doing to empower the sunni tribal forces in the sunni tribal elders? it seems to me driving isis out of places like ramadi is something that's desirable.
>> very much agree with you. when it came to ramadi it was the governor of iraq's decision to ensure that that operation was conducted by the iraqis duty forces, rocky counterterrorism forces, and local sunni tribal fighters. >> so they were integrated with the security forces? >> they were integrated into campaign about popular mobilization forces were not a part of that ramadi campaign. that was very important because we wanted to show you iraqi security forces can do this. what so important to come locals another territory, and other neighborhood who know the alleys at the back streets, that you locals invest in a fight. we have about 10,000 of these tribal fighters invested in the
fight, getting paid. i gave you the figures earlier. it's a constant effort. a we have full support for new government in iraq and prime minister abadi. wilts full support from the governor of anbar province and are working closely with us. we have two platforms. we work everyday with iraqi security forces and these tribal fighters to get them in the fight. they are making real gains. they are moving on offense, doing operations. it's moving the right way. >> final question will be with respect to the kurds and i think a lot of my colleagues, i share the view that i think they are pro-american forces that we should be supporting. but turkey does not accept of the action of a lot of the kurds. there's problems there so you have one of our nato partners essentially opposes some of our battlefield allies. and so can you address of the
conflict of their between turkey and some of the kurdish fighters? >> let me first say, turkey faces a real threat from the pkk. we have to recognize that, that this conflict between turkey and the pkk which put up again over the summer began, run the timeline when the pkk killed a number of turkish police officers. i've been very clear about that. turkey has the right to respond in its own self-defense. at the same time this conflict have escalated to the point where we want to work very hard to deescalate it. vice president biden discuss this with president or the one last week. the more this is going on the more it drives people to the ranks of really extreme militarism which is extremely dangerous. we want to protect turkey against the pkk and that's something we'll help continue to be. we want to strengthen the kurds in northern syria. the kurds in northern syria have joined a conglomeration, built a coalition force with arabs and
christians. i've met a number of them under the banner of assyrian democratic forces. they just put out a political platform an exclusive want to be a part of syria, they want a positive relations with her neighbors which means turkey. they don't want to interfere with those neighbors. this will remain a work in progress but something we're going to work on everyday. most important we will continue to work with turkey to protect itself against the pkk militarism which is dangerous and which is killing turkish soldiers and police officers everyday. >> now we move to mr. sherman of california. >> first i know that visa waiver program was mentioned earlier about the idea that those to visit libya, i want to point out that visa waiver program is not the right that we extend to all europeans, or in reducing it, does it show we would hate europeans but we don't provide visa waivers from people from
brazil and would love resilience, et cetera. i believe we don't have a visa waiver countries with any of the, visa waiver relationship with in any other latin american countries are our allies. i would also point out that those want to focus on the visited syria and iraq to work with isis, they don't have a stamp on their passport from syria. they don't have a step under passport from a record to have a stamp on a passport from turkey compatibility of whether we should provide these a waiver to those of visited turkey. at the same time with a look at our european friends and make sure they don't just give a new passport to somebody who doesn't like the stamps on the old passport without telling us that it did have a stamp from libya or from iraq or from turkey. esso do think we're going to look at this visa waiver idea. as long as any european can just get a new passport that does not come at in a visa waiver without
letting us know that they visited turkey, syria or iraq or libya, we will have a problem. but i want to focus on questions. we had a strategic bombing program designed to destroy the economic capacity of occupied europe. i believe we killed 90,000 french civilians, and then we were welcomed by the french people as liberators. we were serious in that were. we won that war. de gaulle never paid french civil servants in occupied france. de gaulle did not arrange to provide food and fuel to those living in a nazi exploited occupied france. the iraqi government has told us that they finally stopped paying the civil servants in isis occupied areas. is that true?
are civil servants who live in isis or isil occupied territory able to leave, get their money and then drive back to mosul, or have they finally stopped paying people who are taxed by isil? or don't you know? >> i've worked on this quite a bit. the iraqi government made a decision, passed through the cabinet last summer that all speakers i have very limited to are they still paying or not? >> no, they are not. >> if they leave they can't get that many? >> established they did people living under isil control are held in escrow. when those areas are liberated -- >> wait a second. if someone drives from also, goes down, can they pick up the money being held in escrow? >> if you're living in mosul they should not be able to do that. >> you should check on that because until they can get their money and then go back. we also have a bomb income in
world war ii we bomb electric generation facilities. in iraq the iraqi government revives free electricity to isis. are we willing to bomb the transmission lines through which that free electricity flows to mosul? >> the problem in most will is a lot of electricity comes from the mosul dam and we have to keep the mosul dam running. >> we would keep it running but why use it to supply electricity to isis? >> it's a sophisticated agent issue because we don't want electricity going into mosul. >> it's not sophisticated. it's a sophisticated political question. you don't have to send electricity to mosul. don't tell me that if the mosul dam breaks if you don't send electricity to the enemy. >> by keeping it running -- >> that does mean you can send electricity to isis. >> we don't want electricity --
>> so bomb those, outline, the transmission lines right outside, inside or outside of fisa controlled territory. >> something we've looked at and we'll look at it again spirit you have looked at it but she will not tell us why you are not doing it. why does the iraqi government provide electricity to mosul for free? is a consistent with the approach we took in world war ii when we were serious? >> probably different but nobody is more and isil and the guys i know in the iraqi government. there is a debate between local leaders and the government about we do want to try the population in defense of isil in some of these areas. the each of electricity to malls is something that i can give you a very specific and detailed answer on speed and i look forward. finally we had a zero civilian casualties approach to our strategic bombing. so we were not getting the
tanker trucks. again if we had a deal civilian casual approach -- >> mr. sherman from your overtime so finish your question spent in world war ii we hit trains and trucks and factories. are we hitting isis economic targets, even knowing that that will cause civilian casualties, for example, oil tanker trucks speak was i addressed the issue of trucks or earlier. guess we are hitting the trucks. were trying to do it in a way that limits the possibility of telling the truck drivers that we have figured out a way to do that but -- >> are we willing to the trucks while their being driven? >> we figured out a way to hit the trucks and the trucks are not being driven. >> in other words, your only willing to the trucks went apart speak as we do want to needlessly and i defer to my military colleagues, we don't want -- >> i yield back.
>> thank you. >> mr. sherman, i feel your anxiety and jumping. i feel the same way. is the administration planning on dropping humanitarian aid to aleppo? >> i think -- >> pretty much a yes or a no spirit i think we're looking at all options on the humanitarian side. >> that'that's not really answeg the duchess and you're looking at our reminded me of the president's budget which is national security and global leadership in president's budget and assist that is why the united states is leading the global coalition that destroyed the islamic state of iraq and the levant and the budget provides for over $11 billion for dod. that's like wanting to learn to play the piano and you by the pm and to put in the money for lessons but you don't practice. i hear a lot like we're looking at it and were looking at the safe zones in syria by jordan
and by turkey. we are looking at that. we have been studying that. at some point it has to be acted upon. i want to follow up with mr. sherman's comments. the reasoning to continually not obama these transports -- bomb -- when the no-fly zone that was initiated by this administration along with hillary clinton to quit and no-fly zone that led to a failed state, followed gadhafi and now libya is in isis recruiting and training center and that one of the biggest camps 12 miles from libya's largest oil production facility, why are we not just bombing than ike mr. sherman said? in world war ii we had a strategy, yes, that's one of the fallout of war but it brought that war to an end. we have been studying things that were looking at options for four or five years no. close to 300,000 people have
died. the assad barrel bombs, we've been looking at putting pressure on that and we're still studying it but yet nothing happens over the largest migration of refugees around the world because of the failed policies of this administration. what are we doing? when are we going to stop looking and start acting stronger, and leading? >> i was just in a bonnie. we killed 6000 isil fighters with airstrikes. still pulling the bodies out of the rubble. we have destroyed 400 tanker trucks. so the idea that we're just watching this isn't just -- >> win with a 400 tanker trucks destroyed? in the last six months? >> probably the last four or five months. >> we have known about this for over three years. we your constituents saying the isis have oil production facilities? why are they about to produce anything what they should've industry. had we had a clear-cut strategy.
this is a real pointed question. what is this administration's reasoning to continually press refugees from syria and other areas in the middle east to relax the entry requirements into the u.s. especially france, germany and belgium have document over in the isis members entered the eu, they had come through syria with fake passports and those are the people that did the shootings in paris. why is this administration hell-bent on relaxing these restrictions? what's the reasoning for that? >> i think with the most stringent entry standards and the refugee program in the world and that something is going to continue. >> yeah but fbi director comey and jeh johnson of dhs says there's no way to bet these people. why not put a pause on this until we know for sure that they
are not fake passports big you are saying that they get france and germany of those other countries are kind of thing wait a minute, we are not doing this anymore. why are not heeding the warning that we know we'l will have bee? >> i get i think i defer to my colleagues to work with this issue everyday ethic and get you a more detailed answer but we have one of the most stringent refugee processes in the entire world and that's why i'm not aware of any terrorist that entered through the refugee program. >> again, going back to the isis transport, we talked about the administration's failure to go after this girl, four to six months ago but it does. we are at a war with terrorism, right? isis is a terrorist organization that we are in conflict with. i don't know what poll you have but i sure wish you guys would crank down on this administration and say that because what i see as a reckless endangerment and a dereliction
of duty at our national security by this administration. i hope you would help them straighten that out the i yield back. >> thank you so much. now might other florida colleague, mr. deutch of florida spent a few madam chairman. as long as we are talking about some of these issues, i'm not going to ask you, mr. mcgurk, to comment on this but it's really hard for me to cover and how we have this anti-appearing all kinds of accusations made about the administration's policies. the request that administration take certain actions on to have you explained them that have you explained and it would take them and the criticism is why did we take consumer? when the concern that we have about fighting terrorism at least in one small respect can be addressed, individuals who can't fly to this country because our on a terror
watchlist, can go to any gun store and purchase a gun. if they're going to talk about reckless endangerment that's something that this congress ought to be doing that the speaker ought to allow us to have debate on. it's impossible for me to understand how out of this entire hearing that single step that's logical has yet to be done. now, i want to circle back to a comment, an exchange of the earlier on iran that focus is really on iraq, but i want to talk about iran's activities in syria. the question i have is really straightforward. after the iran nuclear deal and have limitations in which is now past, has no that had any impacn the way that we interact the iranians with respect to the activities on the ground in syria, both supporting hezbollah propping up the assad but at the
same time fighting isil? >> thanks for your question. iran says nuclear deal, they are a part of the vienna process come at the table with saudi arabia, qatar, turkey, as well as. so that a significant. but certainly i think their tactics, strategies i and syria everything have made the conflict worse. i think we've been very clear on that. iran has focused on they have an election upcoming later this month which will decide some things about the direction the country is headed. it certainly we have not seen a significant change in what they're doing in syria. >> the only other thing i would observe, on the show me things will be decided within the number of reformers who are allowed to run is near 10. i appreciate that and i just wanted to ask a follow-up. the fact is that iran and its
proxies are responsible for so much of assad's popping up tonight and his ability to master his own people. in the early stages of the debate there was talk about individuals who would like to go after assad because of the brutality against their family members and their community members. and if they didn't have that opportunity sometimes they would turn to whoever would give them the chance to fight the matter how awful that group might be. what over doing now to ensure that the battle they wage is one that is against isil, and it also acknowledges that the assad, brutal assad regime ultimately is responsible for so much of the problems that exist? >> this is a real problem because as long as the conflict
between the regime and the opposition is running at full bore, which it is right now, enabled by the russian air campaign, the pool of fighters, particularly in those parts of country defied isil, reduce. i discussed in some detail north of aleppo groups we were working with peel off to fight the regime. again which is why the rush and their campaign in this respect has made the fight against isil more difficult. >> and finally i know that the chairman joins me in telling you that while, for i want to commend you personally for your efforts in helping to secure the release of american citizens who had been held in iran, as you know my constituent bob levinson was not among think i was with the family this morning over the senate side at a market at a that we're going to be taking up. they deserve to have that same
here at home, even with the language in the terrorist watch list i think it's just important that we get a vote on that and the idea that people on that list that can legally procure explosives and weapons and do that legally is something we have to address as part of our own homeland security. the question i have along those lines. earlier this year i went along with a group of my colleagues were looking at tracking the issues are are having foreign terrorist fighters and those issues. can you give an update on the security council resolution with regards to 2178, and also more specifically my concern is with
some of the progress we've made you mentioned in turkey we will see how that turns out. hopeful but somewhat skeptical about the ability to secure that the name record issue with the countries and even the kind of security that is done in the exterior border can you tell me any progress that you are aware of that is made with our european allies so they can tighten that up that has a direct effect with our security here at home? >> great questions by congressman. i addressed this in the statement read we have seen a lot of movement in this regard. the first step is to focus international attention on the problem and then to get something concrete out of it which came out of the general
assembly in 2014. since then as my testimony mentioned about 45 countries updated their log to track down the fighters. what we are trying to do now as we learned that the learn about the networks and through the coalitions it's sharing information upon the lines of effort and on the side we have a so that shares information across borders so we have belgium from egypt, france, malaysia, the netherlands, philippines, turkey here in the united states and now what we are doing is sharing information to collapse these networks and it's a very difficult endeavor but it's constantly sharing information. we found many of the countries we work with have a difficult time sharing information on themselves. the problem we had -- we have
broken down a lot of the stovepipes here in the u.s. post-9/11 and we are finding out they are also working to do the same thing. passenger name recognition is critical. now they've passed the name recognition so they know everybody is on the airplane did we know everybody coming in. so, some and in your diligent about and we now have a permanent structure set up on the therapeutic code foreign terrorists side connecting dots. as i've mentioned a number of investigations came out of the coalition activity and its something we are going to continue. continue. >> one other question before my time expires. there've been written reports that the terrorist fighters did
these salaries cut by as much as 50%. what do you know about those reports, and what kind of an impact would that have on the recruitment when this begins to break down because we are trying to really damage their ability to finance these activities. >> very good question and one reason we decided to go after these storage sites they are right in downtown those -- mosul. is there a risk some might lose their life the answer is yes. however the judgment was it's important to strike the sites because this is how they are recruiting the fighters and the nominated sites. but we are very careful about civilian casualties for a reason. we are not going to be like the russians were others who are
just using dummy bombs on civilian areas to kill people they consider extremist. it's been the most precise and we are proud of that. it's also one of the most effective. but we have done to the finances by the careful fusion of intelligence, sharing information across the coalition and the government to identify the targets and action that targets is something that takes time to piece together. sometimes it takes longer than we we wanted we have pieced it together and they've been effective and as you've said that they have led they have led to critical information we have now that has cut the pay to foreign fighters by nearly 50% split i wish we could say the same thing about the russians and the way they are conducting their exercises as we can about our own. i yield back. >> thank you so much. we appreciate the time you took
with us this morning. i know you are headed to the airport to continue your work but isis is an incredible threat that continues to grow and the committee looks forward to continuing to work with you on this important issue. with that, but hearing is adjourned. safe journey. >> [inaudible conversations]
quintessential primary that has a long history and we begin to test the candidates and their message. moving to south carolina and then the party caucuses in nevada for the democrats and republicans more than likely we will see a number of candidates drop out of the race and then we moved to march. the primaries mean the delegate count will be critical and we will get a better sense of whose message is designating and who's on the path to the nomination. >> every cycle will remind us how important it is. >> it's a way to track the government as it happened. >> there's a lot of fans on the
hill. >> there's so much c-span does to make sure people know what's going on inside of it. >> the foreign affairs minister spoke last week at the munich security conference in germany. he talked about combating isis, the rights of women in the muslim world and history of slavery in the united states. >> thank you for this kind invitation. the topic is the middle east and i would like to offer more opportunities. ibb that the region is a dynamic region both historically between