tv Mideast Strategy CSPAN December 15, 2017 12:59am-3:05am EST
watch "washington journal", live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on friday morning. >> former investors to the middle east testified about u.s. strategy in the region. they discussed efforts to combat isis, iran's nuclear program, u.s. relations with turkey and the israeli-palestinian conflict. senator john mccain did not attend because he is in the hospital.
>> the hearing will come to order. the committee meets today to receive testimony on the is policy and strategy in the middle east. first of all and foremost i want to submit for the record the >> i want to submit here today. we are enjoying the and ambassador ryan crocker, you have been a diplomat in residence, woodrow wilson school of public affairs chris university. he has been all over the map and -- ambassador eric edelman, counselors center for strategic and budgetary assessment. by macaque this is your ninth appearance before this committee. does that sound right to you? yes. and ambassador james jeffrey, distinguished fellow,
university of washington institute for near east policy. i remember being with you in turkey and other places. of course, ambassador stuart jones, vice president -- your presence was both in jordan and iraq. it is great to have all behavior much of the nations attention over the last two decades has gone to the middle east in terms of military operations. and appropriately so. we face very real and dangerous threats originating from the middle east. we have seen that the problems there are extremely complex. for example, we formed and led an international coalition to defeat isis. with local partners on the ground in iraq and syria, we have largely done that. it is just last saturday, the prime minister announced that defeat of isis in iraq. it is long past time for us to turn our attention to the broader strategy and the
national objectives in the region as our competitors are already doing in iran and russia. and courage under the leadership of donald trump. americans are beginning to reclaim worldwide leadership that has waned over the past years. in october the administration released and outlined detailing strategy to counter iranian influence. the president also declined to certify the sanctions relief as part of the iran nuclear deal. simply a lot of people do not realize that the president has to on a periodic basis, release to keep that alive and so we started the process now that i think it is the right decision. the president also is
encouraged by recent activity taking place. by the way, some of this, with netanyahu that decision was made and i've never seen a happier guy. at the same time, of course, he was very encouraged by the recent decision to move the us embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. and with current law and bipartisan support. this is something we decide to do 20 years ago and finally we are doing it.that is good news. with great witnesses and look forward to testimony. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i like to commend senator mccain for this hearing and trend 11 for leading today. i would also like to thank the witnesses, i had the privilege of working with you. extraordinary contributions to national security of the united states in so many different capacities. when chairman james inhofe said
that ambassador eric edelman had been here nine times. i think it is a very positive way thank you, very much. we are indeed fortunate to have you today and i'm very confident he will provide valuable insight for a very challenging area. working with progress sorry our partners on the ground we've made great progress with isis. in the last three as a coalition has liberated more than 4.5 million people and 52,000 square kilometers of territory from isis control. this is a significant achievement for the coalition and the iraqi and syrian partners. it is also quick to recognize that isis, al qaeda and other violent extremists are not yet defeated and remain intent on attacking the united states while taking advantage of opportunities afforded by destabilization in the middle east. despite operational success we have not achieved similar success in addressing the political and social challenges
in the middle east that gave rise to isis in the first place. our efforts to deal with isis, al qaeda and others, with a left indicate much not rest with the department of defense alone for sustainable solutions require significant efforts by others. unfortunately our busy to achieve such a whole government approach is hampered by massive proposed cuts to the state department budget and the fact that the current diplomatic leaving government service at an alarming rate. each of you has deep experience to utilize in the nonmilitary tools about power. and i hope you'll let us know how tools can be leverage. -- despite the success of the iranian nuclear deal and putting a halt to the greatest threat to us and our allies. they continued to campaign on
the line and deep stabilizing activities across the region. most notably in syria, iraq and yemen. coupled with an increasingly assertive foreign policy by saudi arabia it is hard to imagine the geopolitical landscape in the middle east being more complicated than it is today. if we are to successfully navigate the challenges, we need to be clear in communicating our values and objectives. by the retreating of anti-muslim rhetoric to last week's announcement of a us embassy in israel they made it more difficult for the national security and diplomatic professionals to do their jobs. the rest is significant and we cannot afford any unforced errors but again i would like to thank you witnesses not just for being here today but for their significant contributions to our country through decades of work in the foreign service. i look forward to your testimony. thank you very much. >> thank you senator. we will start with you, ambassador crocker. we all know that we try to keep comments down to about five minutes and give our well
attended meeting time to ask questions. ambassador crocker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member reed, members of the committee. it is a privilege to be here today. the timing i think is jennifer and my view we are at a strategic inflection point with the military defeat of islamic state. to try and answer the now what question. as he both said, in the military debate, it is necessary but i would suggest not sufficient. i think it is helpful to remember what happened when i was in iraq. in 2007, 2009. we just pounded islamic states predecessor, al qaeda in iraq. you could never quite eliminate them. you can find little crevices in
mosul and the euphrates river valley. why did they find them? important to remember then as now? that al qaeda and iraq and islamic state are not in and of themselves the problem. they are the symptom of the problem. the problem has been and discussed throughout the region, a failure to establish good governance. failure to establish rule of law and institutions were all citizens in iraq were now syria feel safe. that is not happened and to take again, the 30,000 foot view, if one looks at the modern middle east, which is roughly 100 years old, it grew out of world war i and -- in 1919. if there is one point of failure, it is governance.
we have seen isms, and isms go. imperialism and colonialism under and french. monarch is him in central countries like egypt and iraq. arab nationalism. dilated military authoritarianism again, in iraq. arab socialism in iraq and syria. communism in south yemen. now we deal with islamism. the good news is that it too, is failing. the bad news is that the underlying issues of governance, which led to the failure of every other-ism, are still untreated. and if we are unable to help of friends in the area get to a better place on these issues,
you are going to see a successor to islamic state. i do not know who. i do know that it will not be business for us. there is a second inflection point that i hope we would have a chance to address today. united states designed and led the post-world war ii international order. that leadership changed for the attitude to leadership changed over the last eight years. president obama spoke of not being able to do everything, certainly true. too often i think it became an excuse for not doing much of anything. sadly, i think that we are seeing some continuity between the administrations. from president obama to president trump on this issue. are we going to lead? if not, who will?
if not, what might the consequences be? i would urge, before he backed out of that international order of post-world war ii that we established and led we need to think about the consequences. i would say finally, it is hard to do any of this if you do not have the people to do it. there are budget cuts that suggested by demonstrated that can do severe damage. these things count. i would applaud the congress that has reacted to these proposed cuts. i think it is very important that they not go forward or you will see a weekend foreign service. far into the future with some very significant consequences. lastly, truth in advertising here, i said on the board of mercy corps international. we are heavily engaged on a
number of issues. one that i would like to highlight would be syrian refugees. mercy corps does not do resettlement. we focus on keeping refugees as close to their home country as we can. we are extremely happy in jordan and in lebanon in particular. why? that could be the long-term ultimate danger of the syrian problem. we so what happened with palestinian refugees. where a spirit of hopelessness in refugee camps bread an entire generation of terrorism. we are working out there to try and get resources and programs that will give young syrian refugees a sense that they do have a future. at that funding is cut, humanitarian aid by 40 percent, esf, by almost 45 percent. we may be fueling the next
wave, years down the line, of terror. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, ambassador. >> thank you chairman inhofe. it is a privilege to be here. while i do not normally want to speak for my colleagues on the panel, i think i do speak for all of us saying that i think all of us are thinking about senator mccain today and wishing him very well in his recovery. i agree with my colleague, ryan crocker that we are at an important reflection point. i think it is important that the committee is scheduled this hearing, and i cannot tell you how proud i am to sit here in this company because i have enormous respect for my colleagues on this panel. what i thought i would do is just talk about three things really. why i think the region remains strategically important.to the united states.
the two large strategic challenges i think in the state that they face and maybe what we can do about those. first, i think there is a disposition in washington as people talk about the middle east today. after a decade and and a half of difficult and seemingly inconclusive counterinsurgency operations in the region and growing us energy, if not independence at least self-sufficiency to want to look at the region is something we ought to disengage from. and try and limit our liability in the region. but i would argue that picking up a theme that ambassador crocker touched on, as tempting as disengagement might be, i think it's important to bear in mind that it would reverse a strong bipartisan consensus over the past 60 years that the
maintenance of a stable regional balance of power in the middle east and the prevention of any external or regional power from dominating this area of the world is vital to the nation security. i think it is the case because first of all, the energy resources of the region remain important to our allies in europe and asia. but also, because global energy prices can affect our own economy. and so even with their own self-sufficiency, we are large segments of middle eastern oil to go off-line because of the crisis in the region. economic impact on the united states would be considerable. but moreover, i think the problem is that as ken pollock says, what happens in the middle east does not stay in the middle east. this region is a cauldron of
poor governance and disaffection and as a result a petri dish for extremism that manifests itself against our allies and ultimately the homeland of the united states. since 2009 i think united states has largely pursued a policy that i think has had the unfortunate consequence of raising concerns about the us role as a security guarantor in the region. i think that has been exacerbated by some of the consequences of the plan of action which is freed up resources for tehran to use for its own purposes. both to procure weaponry for itself but also to support its proxies in the region pursuing
an agenda of malign activity. i agree with my colleague that there has been more continuity then at least i would like in the policies of the trump administration. which are in very different hedrick would have broadly continued the previous administrations policies. perhaps reflecting the views that president trump expressed during the campaign that the whole region as he put it was one big quagmire. but i do think it is something that requires some renewed attention and a new strategy. i mentioned the twin challenges. those i think were touched on by my colleague and will not come as any surprise that the two challenges are iran's quests for regional -- and very much intertwined with that, the threat of persistent threat of sunni islamic extremism.even
after the demise of the islamic states physical caliphate. and these two threats i would stress, drive the regions many crisis and they also drive one another. iranian expansionism and activity and support for shiite militias and proxies and iraq and syria also fuel the sunni extremism and vice versa. i think the most urgent thing that the united states needs to do is develop a strategy and a plan and a policy that reflected the new reality on the ground in syria. iran is currently at its most vulnerable and potentially overextended and where the potential for renewed sunni extremism is perhaps highest. isys has lost itself declared caliphate as senator reid noted. but the presence of russian forces, raining forces, iranian
sponsored shiite militias, hezbollah, etc., have allowed tehran and moscow to emerge as the arbiters of postwar syria and have allowed iran to consolidate at least the perception that they have a land bridge that links tehran directly to lebanon and right on the israeli and jordanian borders. although there are a few really appealing options at this point in syria, i think we can and should exploit iranian overextension there. i welcome secretary james mattis his recent statement that the us troops will remain in syria to prevent the reemergence of isis. i think that is a necessary first step. i think will only be possible if we can help our syrian allies, the searing democratic forces. hold strategic territory that
has been liberated from isys control. i think that will help provide leverage for the united states in determining the postwar fate and also pose obstacles and impose some cost on iran. i think in general, we need to develop more leverage where with iran so we can impose cost more effectively. and i would make a few suggestions about what we might do in that regard. first, think we ought to have public discussion about dusting off and updating our contingency plans for neutralizing iran's nuclear facilities, should iran withdraw from the jcpoa. in response energy sanctions that this party chooses to impose or because of us enforcement of the more vigorous us enforcement of the agreement itself. just as it appears to be doing with north korea, i think the
pentagon ought to be putting in place the capabilities to potentially shoot down future iranian ballistic missile tests. iran is developing a very large, variegated ballistic missile capability. no country that has done that on the scale that iran has done it, has ever not ultimately become a nuclear weapons state. i think it is equally important to the united states to cooperate very closely with our regional allies. i will defer further discussions that that i think i believe all of my colleagues agree with that and will want to talk about it. i think we have to recognize that russia has been so far, an obstacle, not a partner in building security in the region. i think we would do well not to allow ourselves to be deleted into thinking we can somehow come is listed russia and iran from each other. for a lot of reasons that we can go into. i do not think it is likely to happen.
i think we also need to increase the internal pressures on the iranian regime. this remains a very deeply unpopular regime. i fear that the jcpoa has actually mostly benefited the hardliners in iran. because they are the ones who control the economic sectors and stand most to benefit from the sanctions relief. but it is also made them more dependent on a narrowing band of loyalists to maintain stability as everyday arminians feel very little benefits from this sanctions relief. i think we can exploit all of this. i think a more aggressive political information campaign can amplify international investors weariness of the iranian market. by highlighting the complexities of sanctions compliance as well as the least corrupt business dealings and systematic human rights abuses. finally, i think that we need
to enforce the jcpoa to address iran's serial under compliance which is what i would call it with the agreement. i think this has begun to eat away the credibility with iran and raises risks of continuing nibbling at the edges of the agreement which when it expires, will put iran at the cost of having a nuclear capability as president obama admitted at the time of the jcpoa negotiation. through these steps, 11 of these are difficult to take but i think we need to start taking them now because otherwise, i'm afraid we will see further erosion in the us position in the region. with that, let me stop and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for a very good statement ambassador. we have a quorum right now. so we will go and make sure to take care of business that must be taken care of. i asked the committee to consider a list of 137 pending military nominations.
all of these nominations for the committee the requirement at the time. is there a mission to favor the report listed with 137 pending military nominations? is a second? all in favor? motion carries. ambassador james jeffrey. we do business pretty fast when we have to. >> that was impressive. thank you for having us here. it is a particular honor to have a panel of fellow foreign service officers appearing before the senate services committee. thank you for honoring the service of all of our corps around the world. and i would also like to say it is a probably one as a witness before this committee on this
subject when you're the third person to go. given that, there is a great deal of agreement on the broad problem and to some degree, the broad elements of a strategy. as you already heard, we are dealing with a dual threat. right now, i think for several reasons, iran is the bigger of the two threats. and i think this administration in its october 13 statement has agreed with that. the reason is partially because for the moment, the biggest threat emanating from the sunni islamic extremism, isys has been conventionally defeated. but secondly, there is a real relationship between iran's activities and sunni islamic extremism. when i left iraq in june 2012, what became isys, al qaeda in iraq under al-baghdadi was a little more than a terrorist band in west mosul. two years later, it was controlling one third of syria and iraq. 9 million people with an army
of 35,000. not entirely, because governance is always like we said a huge issue. the bad governance was encouraged and exacerbated by iran's decisions and the decisions of people who were being advised and supported by a ran and iraq and of course, assad in syria. -- currently they are not being ruled by sunni arab leaders. they being built by people who, in a case of syria take orders from iran and in the case of iraq, may or may not will under iran's influence. and if those people are not protected by the international system that we have talked about here, they're going to turn again, to terrorist forces and will have this same problem all over again.
give a general consensus on this, then the question is, including why it is important that ambassador eric edelman talked about, what to do about it? but before we get to what to do about it, or at least my views, let's take a look at why haven't we figured this out? while i have a lot of problems with the obama administrations actions on iran, i certainly do not think that he wanted to turn the region over to iran. yet, iran has been advancing and while this administration has a very rhetorical situation against iran that done very little on the ground in the first 10 months to stop further iranian successes and repent a series of them in the last several months largely in reaction to the allies. why is it so hard? several reasons. first of all look at how iran operates. it does not challenge
conventionally like saddam hussein did. but rather, it infiltrates other countries playing off of bad governance, failed states, ungoverned areas, terrorist groups. either they support or use an excuse to go in. there are people who know the region very well. they have a long-term strategy. it is all organized and supports each other. lebanon, yemen, syria, iraq, -- this requires a comprehensive response throughout the region with both us and our allies because we not going to do this with hundreds of thousands of troops. and that does the problems with our allies. as we've seen in the last few months with the turks, pick the subject, the independence announcement. the sound is again picked the issue, yemen. qatar. they're all trying to contain
iran and deal with the terrorist threat in the region but they're all doing it in an uncoordinated way that is more likely than not advancing iran's objectives. rather than contain them. we need to get a hold of this. who will not do so until we have a comprehensive plan to deal with iran and we have convinced them that we are in the lead and we know what we are doing. we are not there yet. secondly, anything we do is going to contain iran to push back and it will bring with it great risks. to us and to people in the region. look at the 1980s and early 90s when we faced four threats from surveys in -- the tender decisions we had to take and the chaos that we deliberately created for the good and of contending these people was
quite significant. we have to be prepared. there is nothing easy about this. if this was easy the us government in the last 15 years would have done better. it is very hot. clearly cannot ignore the area, we cannot go in with hundreds of thousands of troops. so we have to do light footprint operations with our allies. that will produce new benghazi and new nigerians. i hate to say. we have all been out there in the field. we know sooner or later people make mistakes. we have to be able to move on and not melt down when these things happen. because this is the right way to approach it. finally, on iran itself, again, i agree with ambassador eric edelman. syrian also iraq and our presence in these areas is very, very important. that is the central front and stopping iran. i will be very difficult because it requires keeping our troops on into dealing with
what will be unquestionably deliberate iranian threats to our people. how will we respond? in the past we have not responded in a way that deters iran from going after us. in part because the object the iranian homeland free from retaliatory threats or action. on the jcpoa, as one who supported the sense of the presidents position, publicly before he took it on decertified income i would have to say, tested in doubt. -- if you want to contain iran, do not walk away from that. it is the best thing from the iran standpoint that we can do to break up the coalition against it. i'll stop there, mr. chairman and turn over to my colleagues and friends. quits very good, thank you. ambassador jones. use the microphone, please.
>> thank you, chairman inhofe. ranking members, is an honor to be here. and a distinct honor to be here with such distinguished colleagues. i'm also thinking chairman mccain today and wishing him a speedy recovery. chairman, as you said, last week the prime minister announced the defeat of vices in iraq. i the privilege to work closely with the prime minister during my time in iraq. he has been a tireless in his service to his nation and a reliable partner to the united states. he deserves our accommodation for the difficulty and struggle in reaching this watershed moment. the fight against isis has been the organizing principle for the middle east policy for the past three years. we know that today would come in isis would be defeated at least as a military opponent and we would need to reassess policy priorities to build on this success. today, iraq enjoys unprecedented low levels of
violence. and the prime minister is seen by sunni and shiite alike as a unified force. continued oil production and improvements in the oil export infrastructure stabilization of oil prices and support from the world bank, have enabled the iraqis to contemplate a prosperous economic future. iraq will of course however, continue to pay significant challenges. and as my colleagues have said, i think one of the main challenges will be the interference of iran, its neighbor with a 1400 kilometer border. while isis, the terrorist ground force is defeated when extremists will go underground and continue to terrorize their citizens. the iraqi security forces will need our continued assistance to combat this crap. and the government of iran has invited a limited number of us forces to remain to provide training and other support to assist them in their efforts to
combat extremism. upping iraq's counterterrorism service would constitute is a mission us forces are uniquely positioned to accomplish. as i said, with the isis truck destroyed, the interference is not a primary security challenge facing the region. iran's activity threat in -- jordan is a crucial part where had the privilege to serve. iranian interference has posed a challenge iraqi stability for some time and is now at the highest levels. the prime minister has committed to integrating the popular mobilization forces, some with close ties the iranian force into the national security forces. with the requirement that they lead their political baggage behind them. this will be a huge test and he will need our support for this. the us administration is developing a strategy to push back and containing iran throughout the entire region. this perspective is to be a
government approach. in iraq in particular we need to go beyond the security support and remind the iraqi public as the full benefit of the strategic framework agreement with the us which two of my panelists played an instrumental role in that. i can see the iraqi youth learn for us technology. us investment, us training and education. general electric power up program, was initiated during my time in iraq. it has provided thousands of megawatts of needed electricity but also introduced cutting edge technology, hundreds of high-paying jobs and afforded training that will transform those young workers lives. likewise, at this moment, us energy firms are developing proposals to assist iraq in capturing -- that prime minister has prioritize this for 2018. not only addressing environmental calamity but also restore billions of dollars to the iraqi economy in a short
period of time. for these measures to succeed however, we must ensure that us export promotion agencies are fully operational and targeted at the problems set in the middle east much like they were in the bush administration. to his credit, the prime minister has also launched a war on corruption. the public responses announcement has been positive. in a world corruption will be a blessing for us iraqi strategic framework agreement because the intrinsic value of the us partnership becomes clearer on a fair and transparent playing fields. in our pushback against iran we should also continue to foster iraq ties to the other neighbors. saudi arabia, 74 mr. visit to baghdad in february encouraged by the seconds tillerson, was a game changer. since then we've seen numerous high-level visits back and forth and rode in areas (for the first time since 1990. the next step should be to
encourage further progress on expanding and securing the highway between baghdad and -- finally their referendum on independence has a disastrous consequences for the kurds and corporation emerge between baghdad -- is often so that they provide the third leg to the iraqi stool. following the referendum, the prime minister did what was needed. but now he is in a position to work towards reconciliation. this needs to be repaired ahead as we were talking ranking member, ahead of the 2018 elections in may. so the kurds will make this fully in politics. thank you for allowing me to join this distinguished group and to be before you five-minut.
is that all right with you?we tried to get many people is a well attended meeting. we agree with you on some of the cuts necessary but it is committed, we sit and we look at a situation where only one third of the army ground for grades are ãwe see only fourth of the army brigades were very sensitive over and over again that the marines use the f-18 and f-18 czar right now, 62 percent of them, we have to do things. when there is a drawback on political or armed services, this happens. it is real and so, somewhere we have to give to my lesser response but that is one of the things that concerns all of us. let me just put this in context. we are all alarms to see how
iranian influence has grown in iraq since our premature withdrawal in 2011. despite losing more than 4500 american lives and spending more than $1 trillion in iraq since 2003, i felt the troop withdrawal open the door to iran to accomplish its strategic objectives in iraq. iran has been remarkably successful in pursuing those objectives. it is not likely did not see this coming. i and a lot of members of this committee warned for years that the hasty withdrawal from iraq would lead to an increased iranian influence there and i add one of my all ports done here. in august 2010, when i made the statement obama expedited withdrawal from iraq would endanger israel and the entire middle east and would empower
iran. so what i would like to do is, you have all touched on this but i would like a response from all four of you. many people are unaware of the extent of the influence of iran and now iraq. interview and you layout a strategic objective and discuss how iran has advanced them as the us withdrawal. let's start with you, ambassador crocker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. nature -- is a vacuum in the middle east has is more puerile left in 2009, violence was in iraq was at an absolute minimum. the iranians were on their back feet. prime minister had moved against one of their clients in iraq. it engaged them militarily all
the way and without significant help from us he beat them back. however, you cannot end the war by withdrawing your troops from the battlefield. you simply have the adversaries to have more commitment and more patients and that is exactly what we've seen i think in iraq. with the presence now of a number of militia backed by iran, well armed, looking for a new mission after islamic state. they take their orders from tehran, not baghdad. a fundamental understanding we should all have is our brand history and his geopolitical assessments. the shaw of iran projected force beyond his borders with conventional forces. it was the iran that seized the islands.it was that ron that
sent basically a mechanized infantry regrade to help the sultan put down a rebellion. islamic republic is doing the same thing with different means. using malicious, rather than regular forces. under the command of -- and we now see a resurgent iran in the region. the only way i can see us gaining back some of the ground is not by confronting iran directly in iraq, sadly, they have more instruments there than we do. but it would be by a sustained engagement with the iraqi government, with the prime minister to do everything we can to build up a stronger central authority. it will be a long-term commitment. it does not take forces, it does take consistent focus,
white house led clinical engagement. i hope we see that. thank you. >> ambassador edelman, any comments on this? >> i would speak with some trepidation sitting here in a panel of three former ambassadors to iraq about iranian strategic goals. let me, if you permeate to kind of open a little more broadly and speak more broadly about it. one of the things i think we neglect is to recognize that iran remains a revolutionary regime committed to the spread of its particular ideology and emerging as a leader in the muslim world despite the fact that it represents a minority parents minority sect inside of middle world is long. that, i think, explains a lot of his behavior. for years, since the revolution in 1979, a lot of us have been
waiting for the derma dorian reaction i would allow iran to pursue a cf political ideology in one country to make an analogy from the history of the russian revolution. and it has not happened. it remains committed at least the leadership and the regime remains committed, if not the public, to this particular ideology. and that drives them to use these proxy forces that they started using in the early 80s. almost immediately after the revolution in lebanon, and now in the iraq and syria and elsewhere to extend their influence to allow them to become the dominant force in the region. >> my son has expired. we do a second round i would like to have you ambassador jeffrey and john's to be thinking about this.
senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just a quick follow-up. you are on the ground in 2008 i believe when the president bush signed an agreement to withdraw all forces in 2011. was advised to do that? or was that just? why do we do that? we need to take all of our troops out. correct? >> thank you, senator. yes. i was the senior negotiator for that agreement as well as accompanying syria security agreement. we pushed hard for open-ended language. the prime minister told me an important point. he said look, we're going to need you for years, if not decades. that has to work in any rocky
context. and i iraqi, including those close to the prime minister need to hear at that particular point that there would be a finite limit on how along the us to stay. let them decide and let's get working on negotiating longer-term agreement. that did not happen. and i would suggest that it did not happen because again, the president had run on in part a position of to end the wars of the previous administration. again, as i said, and as we have seen, you do not end wars by just withdrawing forces. there is a clear understanding of the time that our presence would be enduring. >> there's always been a question if he was entirely sincere about his wishes for his ability to deliver given the iranian influence. that was a factor i think.
>> senator, can i add something? i was unfortunately the guy that lost the american -- as you all know in 2011. first of all, it is very difficult to keep american ground troops in any middle eastern country. the only place we have a significant number is kuwait. think kuwait. when there is not an emergency situation, also needed a status of forces agreement. they were willing and 2011 to sign a piece of paper, he or the foreign minister signed in 2014 when we came back and because it was an emergency situation and we did not worry too much about that. but in a peacetime situation is very hard to put troops on the ground in a place like that without the guarantees.
but the remnants of that experience in 2000 and from what we are doing now in syria and iraq and elsewhere, i was as follows. we had, stu johns was my deputy as we prepared this. -- stuart jones was my deputy. we agreed we were going to sheet with his acknowledgment on all of the keeping troops out. with black soft, white socks, drones. we cannot get into that in detail it was a big package including a $14 billion fms program. we had bases all over the country that were disguised, bases that the us military was running. what happened was, the administration, not just the president knew about this plan, but the entire bureaucracy loses interest in that kind of deployment. because you don't have a four-star general to talk to the secretary of defense and
directly to the president. does not have the focus of the american people once they are gone. he kept coming back and asking for this little military asset or that little military asset. we were his security blanket. we left. so he had to turn to the armenians. the second big mistake was in 2014, when we responded to the fall of mosul by taking a decision to send at least some troops back in and support the effort. but we didn't know airstrikes for three months. until finally in the north we have the problem with the kurds and the folks in the mountain. we did that i think for good reason. we were trying to squeeze him out. but the fact that the iranians did come to the help of the iraqis and we did not, played a huge role in the position they are in today. so again, they take advantage, as you have heard from my colleagues of mistakes that we or our local allies make. >> my time has run out. this is a topic of not just iraq, but of other areas.
i hope if there is a second run we can focus on syria and you can explain to me the policy there. thank you. >> thank you. senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this week vladimir putin claimed victory in syria. hey not the supposing withdrawal of russian troops from the country. he presided over the signing of a $21 billion plan to build a nuclear power plant in egypt. and he condemned us efforts in the region as destabilizing. i think it is pretty clear that the russians are working to increase their role in the middle east and undermined us interests. looking outside of syria, where do you think their next target in this effort will be?
>> i'm not a expert on russian affairs but it will not be from pontificating. my colleagues will straighten that out for the record. the russians under vladimir putin played a bad hand. the russians intervened in syria. not because they saw an opportunity, because they saw a very real threat. there were going to lose, basically the only asset in the region. they teamed up with the iranians and we see where they got. incidentally at the same time, he declared victory and said who is bringing the troops home. he also announced it would be a permanent russian president both at the navy base and at an airbase in syria. so they are not going away. they will continue to use syria as a point of leverage for their strategies in the region. i do not know if they have a next move planned in the
region. i think it is entirely possible that for the time being, they will stay where they are because it is a good place. >> do think they're just looking for opportunities then? that there is no comprehensive plan? >> i believe that again, like iran, you need to know the history and how the world looks from that other capital. in the case of russia, it is not a return of the soviet union, clearly. but it looks a little bit return of the russian empire. i think that is the motivating spirit for president vladimir putin. i would expect to see the next move not in the middle east, probably in europe. >> thank you. >> senator fisher, if i might. i think i'm the only one up here -- i think you touched on
the right thing. i think vladimir putin is actually a tactical virtuoso. but i do not think he is a real strategic plan here. what i think you see in syria is russia's taking advantage of a long time client relationship. they look for opportunities. i think the fact that they are looking at egypt, and other place that had a long-term relationship, suggests they may be looking for opportunities there. and certainly they are looking for opportunities in turkey where the investor jeffrey and i both served. which is not a place that they have traditionally had strong relations. but where they see the worsening us turkish relationship as opening an opportunity for them. >> any other comments? i would ask all four of you what do you believe the united states response should be? >> thank you, senator. i would just say that you know
comment syria, we do have to cooperate with the russians. i think that the d confliction zones that have been established in southwestern syria are having an effect. i think we have created a positive model for future cooperation. i also think that this holds the russians to a certain standard of behavior and also highlights their responsibility to deliver performance of their mannion and hezbollah partners in syria. also need to hold them to their commitment to the process in syria. by taking this leadership role in syria, i think they russians have obligated themselves and we need to hold onto those obligations in a very public fashion. i think the rest of the region, i think we need to continue to show the value of the partnership your russia does
not bring anything that libya really needs.... my time has expired, thank you mr. chairman. >> senator king. senate thank you mr. chairman. mr. edelman a question for the record. he made a couple of assertions that are inconsistent with the information i have had as a member of the intelligence committee and i would like you to supply the evidence. one is that jcpoa is quote freeing up resources for other activities. my understanding is they are in a very minor way and if you have evidence on that i would appreciate having it inav this r the record. he don't need to respond after the second as you cited serial violations by a rainy and an
acting consistent with the information ii have so i would like was like whatever data or evidence you have of that. finally on this point i would ask if you believe that a nuclear-armed i ran and virtually the identical situation of north koreant today would be a positive for stability and strategic balance in the middle s east. that is a yes or no question. >> now, i don't think it would be possible. >> thank you. i'm astonished that none of the four be mentioned of you mentioned in your discussion since the hearing on the middleh east the president's recent decision about recognizing jerusalem as the capital of israel and moving our embassy. i don't see how you can ignore
one of the most significant decisions in terms of middle east and i wondered, i guess i will start with you mr. jones, ambassador jones. given the fact apparently we got nothing for that in terms of concessions by the israelis on settlements or anything else do you think that was a positive move in terms of stability in the middle east? >> no, senator i don't. what i'm concerned about now we have seen initial reactions to this. frankly direction has been weaker than many experts expected but it will also start have second and third order consequences and this is going to have negative effects on governance inside of jordan and lebanon and other places which have large palestinian populations. i am concerned about king abdulah of jordan who is been
very clear about his opposition to those who i had the honor to serve closely and the jordanians are concerned. >> this morning turkey has announced the establishment of an embassy in the west bank recognizing the palestinian state. i guess mr. jeffrey is the two-state solution and important part of the peace process in the middle east? >> the two-state solution is a very important part of certainly the situation between israel and the palestinians and everybody, almost everybody who is look at this has not been able to come up with anas alternative given israel's commitment to a demo rabbit clinical system given the demographics. in terms of the president's decision again as i mentioned that the jcpoa any action taken that makes iran happy in the region is a mistake and this made iran happy, thus it's a mistake. the biggest mistake this
administration makes in the middle east it will be okay because i don't think the ramifications of that are all that strong. right now the region's focus primarily on iran and that rips most rubes most arab states and secondarily on the terrorist threat which egypt is effective with jordan. senate isn't difficult to achieve a two-state solution? >> the two-state solution at the moment is from the public standpoint of the palestinians and the current israeli government so i don't think we start something that otherwise would haveit given us a major oe in the region. i've been through this with my colleagues with the annapolis process in the bush obviously with the obama's first term and carries out the second term and we can go back toer clinton. again andam again the region in our influence in it has
committed. >> i agree with your statement we haven't gotten there but nobody has come up with turned to for solving this problem as a democratic jewish state. >> exactly and thus it's on my list to do things but it's not at the top of it. >> other thoughts on the issue of moving the capital? >> senator think its too early to tell what the significance is. the immediate reaction that we focused on is it's going to create an explosion of violence in the region. itit didn't. the climate is not really right for that right now. that doesn't mean it will have a long-term effect. think it will. we don't know what that will be. there are now voices in the arab world saying right, you've got it no more no more two-state solution so let's push for a two-state solution in which all
of the citizens of that state have equal rights under law including the right to serve in the military. again i don't know where this is going but it's going to play out over a longer term and if you are not in any consequence. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you gentlemen and thank you for the incredibly distinguishedha panel. y place mt don't appear on the top tourist destinations. would it be a positive development for the middle east and iran to develop nuclear weapons in eight to 13 years in the conditions of the jcp when it's on stronger because the sanctions were lifted when its conventional military is stronger because the arms
embargo is in 2020 and that can also be a yes or no question. on the point about jerusalem and the capital of israel, was it an irresponsible decision of the senate to vote in july that it is the capital of israel? i think it is just a recognition of fact. a frequent critic of the administration and the president was acting in conformance with the walconference withthe wall o implement. i will start with the ambassador because you are the only member to have served although they had been impacted by the service and
get reactions after the respon response. what are the best steps the united states can take at this point is not looking retroactively for any action anyone took in 2011 to this point for the iranian influence inside of syria, and i would like your advice in terms of best practical steps. >> for the large-scale development for are the best practical steps we can take that would have a durable support of the american people to minimize the influence inside of syria? >> thank you, senator for the service. there are several things. they don't know what we are going to do next, so they are in
touch with everybody. they are talking to the regime, talking to hezbollah because they know we have not set policy and they've got to live there so we are in the period now that it's dangerous to take the positions as though we are not there because we may not be. so, that is one. second, we need to be present diplomatically and politically. they started this process as a counterpoint to geneva. we were not even in the room and now i guess we are there as an observer. we are the united states of america. if we are part of a process we don't stand on the sidelines and watch. so, i would hope that we would get a grip on the political process that's in play and use
those as a forum to start serious thinking on the way ahead which is good to be complicated and messy but also to assert that the united states is there for a reason. these are our security interests and we are going to be very much a part of the process we are not going to leave it to our adversaries. >> any other response on that one? >> very quickly, senator. we have a lot of assets even though it doesn't look that way. the and the turks between us with about one third of the country and have a lot of local allies even though we are not coordinated with that is a but a question of diplomacy. they operate militarily throughout and that is another factor. we have a diplomatic entrée with the un resolution that means it's all of our business and we can leverage the possibility of
reconstruction as the means to try to force a wedge between the russians as the ambassador was talking about and because ultimately their interests are different but we have to keep not just a diplomacy that military presence and that means working in the iraqi government so we can get them out in that region. my time is expired but thank you for your appearance is here. appearances here. i know somebody already failed at retirement, so if you want to come back i bet there are a bunch of senators on the committee and elsewhere in the building that would be happy to vote to confirm you to a position to the united states government. >> thank you, mr. turning them into the witnesses for being here today. as we have been talking about over the last few months, local forces trained and supported by the us-led coalition had we
taken the former strongholds and i want to pull up on the senators question that i want to broaden the inquiry just a little bit. they are moving to take advantage on the ground in order to reach their own regional objective. what can the united states do to push back against russia and the assertiveness and try to set the conditions for a political settlement that is in our interest and the interest of the scenery and the people -- theory
>> and approach to contain and push back on the iranian interference per got the region and this is going on in iraq and bahrain and lebanon. the maligned interference that it's carrying around i think is going to be very difficult than the limited tools to affect the conduct without beginning its other activities. so, as i mentioned earlier there is nothing very attractive about the involvement. they saved the regime and 2050 and haven't known what to do with it. it was to preserve their own status, but they are interested in cooperating with the united
states for a variety of reasons, so reaching agreements on the southwestern syria does represent a positive model for cooperation and also for holding the russians accountable. how do you hold them accountable? it's by highlighting when they meet their commitments such as if they are able to facilitate or forced to withdraw in some of those areas in southwestern than that should be called out. finally, i think we need to continue to press forward for the process as the ambassador said, we need to be engaged diplomatically and using all of our international schools. >> i appreciate the focus on russia and the support that has prolonged this crisis. and of course they continue to
destabilize. it seems to me the administration needs a clear strategy for ending the violence for holding a solid accountable and making sure the actors on the ground don't take advantage of what happens in this post by this world. there's one other thing i would like to ask about before i am out of time this morning and that is about the ongoing military operation against yemen and the resulting humanitarian crisis. if it continues to deteriorate its more than 10,000 tha 10,000n killed in the fighting and millions more are at risk for disease. an expression of deep concern that many of us have had about this humanitarian crisis.
it's to ensure they receive other basic human necessities. i would like to ask ambassador crocker to answer this one. the solution is to work more closely and i think the conditioning will be counterproductive and risks extending the conflict in a crucial moment now with the new schism between the people's congress and the party of the recently killed a former president. i think this is a time to push for a political resolution, but to do that they have to see it
as a credible military threat and they should not see any uncertainty for us and our support for the saudi coalition. this crisis is breeding more extremism in the region and continues to put us more at risk and there's no doubt they should stop making the conflict worse. but let's not forget that saudi arabia is the one receiving weapons from us and support from us and we need to hold our partners to a high standard. we have a crisis on our hands that is getting out of control. i am out of time so i will stop there, mr. chairman. we have to raise the bar on this one. thank you. thank you gentlemen as well for
your admitted to service to the united states of america. if anybody else would like to hope and i would appreciate that. he served as the ambassador to turkey but i think that you would agree since your time in service in that country. this complicates our security cooperation as it pertains to nato and our collaborative efforts within the syrian democratic forces to defeat ic ices. if you could, ambassador, are you optimistic about the relations? >> i'i am not, and i invite my colleague who served multiple
tours in turkey including as the ambassador to add and subtract that i'm not optimistic. i think the relationship is likely to get a little bit worse before it gets better. that is the calculations of what he needs to do to consolidate the presidential regime he's tried to impose on turkey which he now has to face the electorate one more time for the presidency when his term comes up and i think that is driving almost everything and a lot of those calculations drive him to do things that make the relationship worse. i also think that to some degree, while i think it's a
huge mistake to procure and cozy up to the russians as they have, to be fair, some of that is a reflection of the vacuum we have created which my colleagues have been talking about. we bear a little bit of the blame for the deterioration and i've been going back a number of years to the outbreak of the civil war back in 2011, but i don't think we can tolerate some of the behavior that our turkish allies are showing, and in particular, the use of the american citizens into the service national and ease in essence of hostages.
they are accused of being plotters and outlandish charges. i would appreciate your opinion as well what are your thoughts on this matter. what can we do to work with and change the current trajectory of turkey and why don't we start with you, ambassador. >> i knew this question would come up, senator and none of us want to be an apologist.
that means we have to rely on five countries, israel, saudi arabia, turkey, pakistan and egypt. we already talked today about the problem with many of these countries. we wouldn't take these allies if we were coming up with a different middle east. they are crucial and we can't get to this region without them. this is from yesterday's military times. the squadron has dealt punishing blows to ices fighters in support of u.s. backed fighters known as the scenery and demographic to do -- see democratic forces. that is as ash carter told the committee two years ago that is
dedicated to overthrowing turkey. we are supporting the growth because turkey complains, screens, does all these things against us and every day those planes fly. it's unpleasant, transactional, ugly, but in turkey we have very strategic goals. russia and iran and to some degree c. syria. >> i appreciate that. my time is up. >> at the state department and as well as being here today, ambassador crocker, you talked about the fact that we are not even at the table for the discussions in syria right now and i would argue part of the problem is we have a state
department is not functioning in the way that we would like it to because we have an administration that doesn't recognize the portions of diplomacy and the role of the state department in foreign policy. i'm not sure how it recognizes the importance of the foreign policy, but i wonder i'm going to ask you, ambassador jones because you were most recently the state department's top diplomat for the middle east and i wondered if you could talk about what he could be doing to better enhance and efforts with our allies and partners in the middle east through traditional diplomatic channels. >> i think this administration has taken a significant step to improve relations with key partners in the middle east. i do think that it was a watershed moment when president
trump was able to come being the world to make a strong declaration both of respect for islam and also rejection of extremism and i think that these kind of measures are significant and should be continued. as i said in my remarks, we have to make sure that we actuate these gestures that are being done at senior levels and working levels and we need to use all of our soft power tools in ways in other parts of the middle east and egypt certainly to make clear the value proposition of the u.s. relationship and that means business, technology, investment. >> that makes sense. i'm sorry to interrupt, and i appreciate what you're saying about the message this sends to other middle eastern countries about how we view our
relationship with saudi arabia and sunni countries. i don't know, ambassador, i think it may have been used that talked about the disconnect between our policy objectives and what we are seeing from some of our allies in the middle east and i wondered if he would connect with the ambassador jones is saying he would be doing to influence the late debe behavior so it doesn't try to manipulate lebanon for example, so that it doesn't help create a famine in yemen in a way that is not in anyone's interest how can we encourage them to be on the same page in terms of strategic objectives? >> senator, it's nice to see you again. i think it's important to go back to what i was saying in
response to the question about turkey. a lot of the things we see turkey doing that we don't like are a function of their reaction to having to fend for themselves rather than rely on the security guarantees they get through nato and other traditional strong bilateral relationship with the united states. and if my opening statement i talked about some of the challenges that have been created in the region by the appearance of the united states receiving from the region and giving up its role in the region. and i think when you create that kind of vacuum, what happens is people try to do that on their own. in the case of the saudis they are doing it on their own without a lot of experience of having done this so it's in a way that makes things worse by rather than better. the ambassador talked about this
a little bit in his response to senator warren to make the allies understand we are there for the long term and we have their back and we are going to be with them but we think they want to adjust what they are doing a little bit. you get more receptiveness to that selling it in multiple posts in the region if you've got a strong alliance basis to base it on. >> doesn't that speak to a robust diplomatic effort in the region? >> of course. >> while i appreciate the singular event in saudi arabia, the fact is we don't have an ongoing strategic response that connects what we are doing militarily and diplomatically that i can see and i think as all of you have laid out is one of our challenges their.
we don't have a long-term consistent strategy for what we are doing in the region. >> very quickly, iranian missiles and rockets in southern lebanon and yemen are strategic ask essential threats to our key allies, saudi arabia and lebanon. 10,000 were dead civilians in the middle east in a region that has seen an alien in my account or a stable coalition government in beirut are not going to deter the saudis and the israelis from acting against this threat. how they act against it is where we should be more active. >> i certainly agree with that. that's one of the reason i've been a sponsor with other members of the committee is so we can put more pressure on them but as you point out, it's got to be consistent. thank you mr. chairman.
>> i want to echo other comments today about the group we have here. i've learned so much sitting here the last hour after spending a couple years on the relations i hope you take this show on the road as often as you get asked. ambassador, i want to move this a little bit. this seems to me we have a couple of pivot points geographically. the gcc is having a crisis right now and to our allies really are at a destabilizing influence and we need to be showing force against iran russia influence over their. we have about 10,000 troops including central command plus the full brigades worth of armor so it is a pivotal point for the region. can you speak to us briefly about your perception of what this is about between saudi arabia and qatar and what we
should be doing to influence the allies to cut it out and let's see if there is an alignment that we can find? >> i had to do an inventory whether my colleagues had sought to be conserved in qatar or saudi arabia and those are the two places ryan crocker hasn't served, but he did well on russia. [laughter] it gets back to what all of us but mosthefuss but most eloquene ambassador has said our allies left alone to deal with the iranian threat and secondarily the threat of islamist extremism because there is a muslim therer elements between qatar and saudi arabia as well to flail around and do things that are uncoordinated, they don't check with us enough in advance and we wind up with a mess. this administration despite initial comments by president trump has taken a good position.
i told this at the security conference this last weekend in the gulf. they basically are all in all supporting 55-45 because we have great interest but they made a mistake. it is objectionable in many ways just like i said and we discussed at length turkey and saudi arabia and other places but we can't be going scratching each other because these secondary sins when the real sending in the region is done by islamist reservists in iran so we have to get a better hold of >>
>> and the feud eventually blows over in 2014 it did blow over but this looks uglier. >> might i just add that this is more in the nature of the of problem in the search of a solution but the problem with both turkey and patter they house very important facilities as a result both have concluded that there is a limit how much we will push them on certain things we don't like because of the desire to keep those facilities which are very important facilities, i think we need to look at border
diversified region so we don't become hostage and pushed back more effectively when qatar does things that we don't like. to be in that saudi and a variety position with the muslim brotherhood they did a lot in the syrian civil war to make things worse than they had to be so we have to figure out a solution ourselves a little fighters cells haulback from pushing back on some of the things that we think are wrong. >> and interesting point we talk about it after 17 years of war i am shocked of our footprint of who lives at risk but if you see i just have back earlier this year to see how we resupply is a precarious footprint so now
russia is moving down in the horn of africa this is a key topic to support not that only the diplomatic effort but the military support. great point. >> thanks to each of our distinguished witnesses with a fascinating discussion i appreciate your service and willing to impart your knowledge with us today. i am proud to represent a large muslim american community that focuses on these issues quite a bit and in addition to that a thriving population of religious minorities and isis has been devastating to these ethnic communities and it shows a unique brutality toward them with their historical homeland i support legislation against
those against religious minorities with crimes against humanity and genocide in 2016 secretary of state kerry declared isis was responsible for genocide from these groups but as ambassador jones reported they could be expected to go underground and terrorize the iraqis in the months and years ahead so despite that military success we have seen members will still face violence and persecution by like to hear from each of you based on your experience how do you view this situation and your recommendations what we should be doing?. >> this is with respect to
religious minorities. one of the lessons i learned a long time ago was be aware of the unintended consequences there is no action more major than a military intervention in this country to set in motion the of 30 or 40 of the order of consequences that we cease to this day in iraq and afghanistan. with minorities, they were doing okay under saddam hussein because they pose no threat to him. he was not equal opportunity dictator but by and large the middle east could live in iraq for gore frankly questioned how much longer we will see a significant christian presence in and about. i had a crush -- a
conversation with one of the patriarchs who met with me in europe the late representative said the support us and make a clear declaration arm us so we can look look after local security and bnl live but the patriarch said please do none of those things. all you can do is paint a big bull's-eye on our backs to give the religious extremist a ground to say it is america and getting worse and just don't do anything. that was a very sad moment for me because we are looking literally the existential threat to these
communities in iraq and also syria for those who did not get out i don't have an answer except to say be careful. >> we appreciate that. >> first of all, we are witnessing an enormous tragedy which is the likely loss of various christian and other community minorities which is a shame for the region. but in the turkish context we had a significant minority issue as well with the population and one issue in turkey where with the protestant missionary is being held by the government on preposterous charges so this is very broad throughout the region then you are dealing with the nato allies but in terms of nineveh is there something
we should be doing?. >> we could be proud of our record on stabilization throughout iraq and continuing to invest which is an immediate fast action low-cost process of restoring electricity and water and education with people return to their homes is the best thing we can do. to associate myself with all of the remarks and also add when we meet with these christian leaders in iraq a say please to make it so easy for people to leave because we're losing our communities than the weaker we become. so we have to think through those first thought -- third and fourth order consequences but help them return to their homes so they protect the rights of these individuals.
>> first of all, things we are service to our country what you do goes up and notice but it is so critical to our long-term success and international diplomacy which is much more desirable than international intervention with military force. going back to the j.c. pla with of logic of where we are today with the reality we have affronted with resources committed by the united states that now the obligation to execute their portion of the contract is in place and they answer the obligations they have to respond to. i question if there is built-in to bid tcp o a the
penalties involved for their failure to do so? i would like to challenge the thought process that this is a one-sided obligation going forward but yet since there is nothing more we have to do with this in terms of any other obligation we are committed to come if they behave then the jcpoa delays the time period of nuclear capabilities but on the of their hand if they do not then jcpoa has not worked other than the fact we have other allies to support this effort as part of the international community who may or may not feel an obligation to condemn iran,
could you correct my assumptions or reaffirm what i am suggesting?. >> i was involved in the bush administration which took basic decision not to use unilateral means which is a euphemism for war to deal with the real problem but go to the p5 + 1 that was to negotiate international. and when you go down that route with the non-proliferation treaty when security council you will get a marginal product because that is the nature of international affairs it also does the job for 10 years to keep them one year away from having a nuclear capability. the specific question was do we have tools of they don't it here? absolutely.
article three allows any member including iran if they are not living up to their actions to stop the commitments made under the agreement to include our sanctions article 36 that is a process you have to go through to convince the others that the end of the day to unilaterally within the agreement stop doing things you were supposed to do and iran can retaliate. second with the snap back provisions of article 37. wheat state we have the veto if it leads to a un resolution to say continue this agreement if you veto then it died which is tantamount to killing and so
there are powerful tools within the 10 year period but then even president obama admitted it is a different ball game we have to figure that out. >> i largely agree with you and let me make just three points. so first i think the jcpoa was inadequate to deal with of past military dimensions of iran's military activity so to close the file on that without getting to the bottom of the issues raised in the 2011 report that would outline all the different problems with more than 10 countries intelligence services had provided evidence with regard to military activity and without that as a base line becomes very difficult
to verify the agreement. second the provisions of the jcpoa itself were far from the anytime any place originally promised which for instance was a very important part to verify south africa abandonment of its nuclear program and the third element is under compliance to nibble around the edges activities iran is engaged in with the side deals after the fact so twice iran exceeded the amount then we allow them to switch it out for uranium with the other deadlines with other enriched uranium
and certain amounts with the side deals and there hasn't been a major violation and the iaea has said that but to the pattern of the billing of the edges is dangerous because over time it conditions the iranians to believe they can engage in bigger violations to get away. >> my time is expired by appreciate all of your service and your responses today. >> mr. chairman you are probably aware that on monday turkey will meet with russia to finalize a deal to purchase the russian s400 surface-to-air missile
system also expressing an interest that i am concerned that this trend for this what may be part of a trend of our allies in the region turning toward russia to invest in this kind of system of paul ottman negative among other distinctions it is incapable of integration for go where the united states naval defenses. mike question is to all of you with your expertise is invaluable while you were in service, what should we be doing to address this issue if they are purchased and installed? of the of military and diplomacy.
>> it is an important question senator. without doubt there are some real issues of the effect of turkey's defense capabilities. then have them for a the last 70 odd years but to take a deep breath turkey was a founding neighbor -- neighbor of nato precisely because of the soviet union we have a history going back to the ottoman empire with confrontations between two great -- empires. there are some limitations but obviously turkey is
doing a lot of things we don't like but they are a nato partner in a region wary don't have a choice between democracy and a autocracy the forces of order verses' disorder. turkey has always been the force of border but again we need to engage to get some secretaries and ambassadors confirmed and start going through the relationship as has happened to get back to the point where turkey is a nato ally and i would just say that one of the reasons we are where we are is a consistent refusal of the european union to seriously entertain turkey's membership good enough to fight and die for nato but not enough to join the of a
gentleman's club. they were embarrassed and they seized on that. everybody needs to take a deep breath. we need to get on with it. >> senator i agree largely because first a little bit of historical context to be fair to our turkish allies that on a couple of occasions over the past decade and a half with the issue of defending turkey from ballistic missile threats came up, it was tough to get nato assets down to turkey because of reluctance on the part of some of our allies of the debates inside nato and that hasn't been day question mark in the turkish mines if nato really will be there to defend them to be fair to
them but it is very clear having said that as 400 is not compatible with nato systems and that was true of the chinese system they were thinking of buying about before the as/400 was available. we do need to engage with them and remind them of what that means for rotters defense to put them at some risk and that does require the assistance secretary for european affairs. very capable as a matter of fact what we need to get them engaged in this now rather than wait too late. one of my concerns of a the lack of staffing in the administration is that if we go back to something we
discussed earlier that is the of this calculation of the referendum in kurdistan the united states government was late to get out there to express its opposition. back in the good old days when giants roamed the earth , we would have been engaged at a much earlier point in time to manage the problem. >> the entire nato missile defense system put in following the bush administration based that the prime minister and one agreed to in 2009. >> my time has expired i have a lot more questions but whether or not giants ever walked the earth we
would settle for a few ambassadorships so many of your caliber would be better but there is no ambassador to turkey right now or in saudi arabia eject jordan somalia qatar. to play a very critical role that has to be filled and the connection between our military strength and diplomatic stringing is unfortunately has been ignored by this administration. >> i would recommend to my colleagues i apologize to be in late but the foreign relations committee had a closed briefing on the new counterterrorism guidelines proposal for changing the
obama of the doctrine with the use of drones and some have received that briefing that it does bear on this topic would encourage everybody to try to get that briefing. i have ben following a little bit talking about the kurdish referendum in your opening statement by would like to have all of you address this issue working down the road with the kurds. they have been wonderful partners. the independence aspirations creates real challenges down the road for unified iraq. they have been wonderful partners is syria but that has been an agitation point among others with our relationship with turkey as an ally. plenty think the long-term policy of the united states should be with both iraq and syria?.
>> in the first instance i a think the referendum has negative effects for the kurds and we should focus our efforts to reconcile with baghdad. many of us here have friends to be an outstanding leader in kurdistan but now they need to find ways to return to that level of cooperation day had leading up to the mobile -- mosso campaign although in northeastern syria that was necessary to carry out that cooperation but now we do need to take seriously the turks concerns of the rise of the ypg and our military presence does
not create a political monopoly that is hot style to u.s. values and ideology. my concern about the referendum with the racket wasn't well-prepared or coordinated with us or the iranians or the turks or baghdad. i think that is the lesson they want to move forward with the agenda other needs to be more deliberation and understanding between all the parties to go forward. >> to the region of turkey as they allow us to support the pkk offshoot reluctantly with a lot of bitching but they do it. but they can support
autonomous kurdish entities and it varies because they're different kurds in syria and iraq as long as we are there the turks know you're there in the interests are taken care of these are not violations of the unity of those countries involved. in syria i am less concerned by in iraq that is 5 million barrels of oil produced on a good day they don't have many good days that they can do that if they needed to to sue nikki go as seven or eight that is the saudi arabia category that is an important trump card so to speak in the middle east read ellen to break it up the timing and the idea was wrong and it has set the kurds back terribly in terms of their ability to survive because much of the oil they are exporting is in central
government hands. with that is half of what they're exporting before. so there is major political security and economic aspects that they have gone from one of the best good news stories to another basket case. >> can be added to witness's answer?. >> i don't have much to add. we are wrestling with a problem in a way the last remnant of the ottoman empire because the kurds are the largest nationality in the world without a state spread among four different states. all of us who have wrestled with this have by and large
believed that if you can get decently organized societies to take into account minority rights they would be better off as citizens with a pluralistic syria and in some sense turkey could have been the best case for that and president erdogan as prime minister was one of the most promising and constructive things he has done with his time in office. now that has unfortunately fallen by the wayside. at the end of the day it is still the right answer. but right now things are in flux that we may have to revisit the question about the status of the kurds depending on how well these other states hold together over time.
>> great question we have a long history with the kurds in that region and it isn't very pretty. i think above all what we need to do is even with the best intentions is get them into a position where they cross redlines inside the states or the state boundaries because we've probably will not be around to back them up when the going gets rough. the same sadly with the christian communities. broadly speaking we're seeing as a great power that comes and goes there is a lot to support that in the broader region so the first thing we need to do is turn the of a referendum in to
the beginning of the discussion of know what for them. sadly there are more nationalisms then there are nations and the one saying that turkey and iran and iraq and syria all agreed on before 2011 was no kurdish state. until that shifts that is the height the danger to encourage these aspirations on the part of the kurds. >> thinks for bringing that up we do have concerns with the referendum and also the you may not be aware of also those that had a close relationship to spend time with us uphold the would not