tv Future of Iraq CSPAN February 22, 2018 12:05pm-1:35pm EST
>> host: john in louisiana on the reportpu in line to go ahea, john. >> caller: yes, sir, i spent 20 years in the united states air force and that was as a pilot in the strategic air command which i'm sure you're aware of so i was on the pointed end of the spear that was going to wait nuclear war with the soviet baunion. >> you can see the rest of this washington journal statement on our website c-span .org andio jt type earnest monies into the search bar. right now we take you to the hudson institute in washington with iraq's ambassador to the us on the future of this country. this is my coverage on c-span2. >> welcome to this panel on reconstructing iraq with challenges ahead. i'm a senior fellow here and the moderator for the event. i'm excited to share this panel want to buy so much expertise
and authority on the subject with the iraqi ambassador, senior researcher. i'm sure we'll have a great discussion with lots of important insight. on top of hudson's live streaming that we always do we have the honor of having c-span2 this event so another reading to the viewers out there. reconstructing iraq and the good news from iraq is the military defeat of the terrible terrorist organization, isis, by the iraqi military with international cooperation. the task ahead is daunting. iraq needs to rebuild and heal the communities. challenges remain from funding, stabilization efforts in the even larger resources needed for reconstruction the coming years. responding was one of the goals of the regions iraqi reconstruction conference in kuwait which secured around 30 billion from private actors.
significantly the gulf countries except in quite to the conference which is interesting testimony with its own troubled history with the iraqi nation back in 1990. congratulations to the kuwaitis for doing this. at the conference in saudi arabia we become a new large donor to iraqi construction and shows regional constricted engines are in play. there are still challenges ahead which is the title of today's event. let me mention some of the weekend returned to the right. first continued stabilization is what's needed for iraqi displaced persons to return to their homes. 3 million iraqis have returned but more weight in camps or temporary accommodations. bring back to life, removing onyx for the bombs in mind, getting electricity and water back still among the sentinels in many areas. equally important is weak reconciliation for the national level meaning to political economic stations and local level would be to return and
must rebuild their communities. important to underscore how reconstruction iraq should simultaneously in political accommodations particularly for the sunni community. we also want to discuss the us approach to iraq including the trump era to burden sharing and we saw that played in the fact that the us did not contribute reconstruction funding at the conference which was seen as nationbuilding. president trump lodged of a production bill in the us and treated it about the 7 trillion us already has been in the middle east. instead the us encouraged other partners to step up including saudi arabia and the private sector. us maintains that military presence in iraq and isis does not resurface. the question of iranian influence in iraq including some of the problem of mobilization is continued policy makers regarding iraqi policy.
in iraq he political debate the continued presence of us military is increasing the heated topic leading up to iraqi parliamentary elections in may. elections which are not guaranteed primary minister and another governing coalition. our panel will touch upon this as well. we want to read more these challenges, my colleague and i, we did research assistant kate, did a paper on it which i think what is available at the interest in paper copy and is also on our plates. we also mentioned that together with another hudson colleague, peter, we had written an op-ed and how this trump burden sharing plays out in iraq. again there should be a paper copy available and the listeners out there again a look at the webpage, hudson's webpage. let me introduce our speakers with first and foremost, the
privilege and honor of the iraqi ambassador on the panel. on top of securing iraq's important relationship with washington and there being iraq top the black here is seen as a personal interesting background. he recently trained as a physicist in the us as well and it and later he left science and became involved in human rights also in iraq and later became joined the iraqi national service and held up as you just position and for joining us in washington it seems that the investor speaks french which we had the pleasure of doing from time to time so a great pleasure to have you here on the panel. next is the senior official and he does research on the campaign in iraq and syria and the
stabilization would follow the military campaign. i personally recommend linda's report from last year. it's pertinent with the title making victory count after defeating isis based on solid field research. she just came back from a recent trip to iraq and will share some of her observations from that trip with us. then i have my hudson collie, michael. he's a former intelligence officer with over 28 years of experience in security. he served in iraq. michael has the opportunity to be invited to participate in the kuwaiti reconstruction conference so he can provide his observation that experience and more broadly on iraq's trajectory. [inaudible] each panelist will now provide their initial thoughts and then i will moderate a couple of questions appear on the panel based on these challenges that we have set out and after that we will
open it up for questions from more of you. investor, it is a great pleasure. i want to join and were looking forward to hearing earmarks. >> thank you for inviting me. i'm happy to be on this interesting panel. many years ago i used to be a lowly consultant for iran so it's honored to be sitting up here. it's not easy to talk about iraq because it's such a complex issue. many interventions covered the devolution estate are interconnected and interconnected also in history. what i want to do is basically go over some of the high altitudes of where we stand and then i will lea leave the issueu wanted to get into into the question and answers. from the outset, there's nothing
on the table. ask whatever you want. first of all, in iraq 2018 is not the iraq of 2004 or 2003 or even 2014. what happened between 2014 and now is really remarkable. it's was i miraculous. in 2014 we were at the risk of losing country. baghdad was almost taken over. were it not for the heroic attitude of our iraqi counterterrorism service and the feel that called for the iraqi population to rise up and save the country we i wouldn't be here to talk about where we stand and how we stand ready with the help of the international community to rebuild the country.
so, what happened is remarkable and the iraqi army that has now defeated isis is not the iraqi of 2014. it's covered in structure of the iraq is different from what we had in 2014. the political discourse that we have is different from what we had it prior to 2014. one of the interesting things that will talk about our coming elections in one of the interesting things that are worth mentioning in these elections is the eagerness of the people to have cross ethnic coalitions. in effect this is a trend that has been consolidating over a period of time. if you recall in 2010 the electoral list that garnered the
greatest number of votes, almost greatest number of votes, was called the state of law. the other one was the nationalist and one of the lists that had a very identity -based name in 2010 changed its name to the list of the citizen more than doubled its score. this means that people want this evolution and want governess and wanted things to be implemented by the governors. so why are we in a different situation? first of all, there is a sense of iraqi empowerment that does not exist previously. i often heard people tell me that they have a sense of
anxiety because we are where we have been before military intervention to quelling an uprising in 2004 and again in 2009 conditions didn't follow up and we are in the same situation right now but the main difference is that in 2004 in 2009 the rockies were not once doing the bulk of the fighting. in 2000 from 2014 up until now the fighting has been done and we have the casualties to prove it. it was done almost entirely on the ground by the iraqis and supported by the coalition of the united states but nonetheless, the fighting was done by the iraqis. same thing if you look at the conference, the reconstruction
conference held in kuwait just last week, this is not the first reconstruction conference that we have on a rack. the first took place in madrid in october 2003 and generated a large number of billions of dollars in support and the difference between a conference and wanted to place just last week was in 2003 it was entirely run by the cba with the help of the imaginations but the iraqis who were present and i was not in the conference but i was in a marginal nonspeaking role and in this conference the bulk of the work, the bulk of the expectations were based on assessment entities and the mystic ministry of finance and came up with the numbers obviously they have international organizations like the world bank and ernst & young
to come up with what is needed to rebuild the country so there is a sense and in fact, to go back to the conference that raised a large number of billions of dollars, a billion almost, i have heard people criticize or not containing a lot of money direct aid and were not looking for that. mostly a consistent flow but what we're looking for really is something that can empower us to rebuild the country. you mentioned that we had defeated isis. it is not enough and the objective that we are trying to achieve is to make sure that the conditions that can lead to a
reemergence of isis or anything related to it no longer prevail. this will imply that we have to make sure that iraqis wherever they are have a sense of ownership after the political process and the economic process and so that they have a share in their country. it's not an easy thing to do given the backdrop of what we have but one of the first things that were trying to bring about to make this happen our elections. and the intent on holding them on time that sorry may not april that was three or four months now and we are doing things at the very last moment but what we will hold on to the [inaudible] and that's one thing but the
other thing is of course reconstruction. i would like to go back to an incident i lived through that shows the importance of the iraqi government touches to this. when isis attacked iraq we were left three or four months actually standing on her own until the international community came to our help in late august, early september of 2014. in 2014 the president sai decido hold a conference in support of iraq and went to baghdad. they met with the prime minister to invite him to attend that conference by the president and he was told very clearly that isis is not the problem, the main problem was he will defeat
isis but he said the problem is rebuilding after isis. he gave examples of what isis had done and even mentioned the fact that they had destroyed the ballfields in the city they have occupied. he told the president of france that if you could use that conference to call for the creation of the fund to help rebuild a liberated parts of iraq. the fact sometimes take longer than what you found is this is what the conference and wait brought about and the final thing i want to mention about this is this conference is the first in all the conferences that were held to my knowledge that in which the private sector played such a key role and this
is something i take great pride in because it turns out that people view iraq as a country that is worth investing in. the cornerstone of what is presented at the conference in kuwait were something like 15 or 20 projects, major projects, throughout the country that were considered to be bankable. first, a conference like weight is not an outcome but the beginning of the process will have to implement and we are intent on implementing it in the first we have to do that is to spell out the problems that you expect to face in its implementation. i think as there is a consensus among the participants that the iraqi government did that. putting the finger on the heavy
bureaucracy we have and sometimes i have to struggle with that. don't let me get started. and then the pair that scorched often related to terrorism which is corruption recently there was rankings that were issued by one of those listening organizations where iraq was 12 ranks from the worst country in terms of perceptions corruption and the reality is i think we're better than that but honestly it is our intention and were taking steps to move in the right direction so that people can come and invest and find it easy to rebuild iraq and discover what we are looking for and solutions. the final thing i want to say
and that's the point i have used in when talking to representatives of other countries the money they're investing in iraq in terms of ornate. it actually could arguably be considered as defense spending because turning iraq into or helping iraq return to becoming a stable prosperous united country will only bring stability to the area and prevent the emergence of nonstate actors and target in this country or europe or billions of your. i think we will get there but we need to with the help of the international community.
fortunately, it did deliver. thank you. >> thank you, ambassador, for those insightful and also great personal remarks. and hopeful, as well. i think that is a great start for us here at the beginning. i now turn it over to linda robinson who will tell us about her philosophy to iraq and also answer more of the question of moving from federalization that you are a great expert on and to reconstruction and some of the conditions for as you put in report making a victory count after isis. >> thank you, jonas. i want to thank the hudson institute. it's extremely important that events like this are being held in washington because i think that the tendency is to check the block and say iraq is done because the military operations are done and turn the focus
away. there are so many competing challenges right now in the world and are clamoring for us attention and i have been going to iraq and i was there at the outset of operation iraqi freedom and i spent a total of three years on the ground in the country since that very first days. i have made my 23rd visit in january as jonas said. i like to give you a quick pupil appoints about my perception of the current situation where they are in the past and what are the key things for the international community in the us to focus on. since michael was at the kuwait conference i will leave obviously those observations to him. >> you can hold me on those. that's fine. >> thank you. so, we would like to say start with the news. extraordinary performance by the
united nations development program and its leader who just departed for another hotspot, yemen, leaves and has been one of the most effective international bureaucrats in diplomats that i have ever met and this is a small arm of the un. the usa and a lot of coalition partners put the money into that organization to implement projects and i think they should receive some credit for what has been achieved. of course, with iraq is being the actual implementers but i think it's very important to note and we'll talk more about the stabilization model that has been employed there as there are important lessons for us are. just as military operations contain incredibly important lessons for future conflicts because of the ambassador quite rightly said this was the war fought by iraqis and with us and
coalition support and the general and as the bumper sticker for this type of campaign and i was out there in the field through much of this and i think that it's a viable model in very important for iraqi competence moving forward in the very considerable iraqi nationalism that we need to remember is the hope for the future for many of the difficult things that still have to be worked through and i have seen both pride by iraqis in what they have accomplished and i've also seen acknowledgment of the us help. i think perceptions of the us in iraq have also been turned around by some earlier periods in our long engagement there. with regard to the province which we wrote report making
victory count and thank you for acknowledging it. we did case studies of stabilization in the and bar cities to but we focused on mobile. mostly because of the second largest city in iraq and the seeming majority but also because it's a true political symbol as mogul goes. it's a political bellwether to iraqis about whether they intend to help that part of the country and the sunni minority of the country get on its feet and find its place in this shiite majority country. i think it is price with lessons. my key visual that i want to bring you from our trip there is how heavily contaminated mosul is with ied, explosive improvised devices and this is a technical prerequisite for moving forward with a great deal
of other activities. the unmasked un service personnel estimate that 90% of the public buildings in mosul have at least one bomb in them. many of them are laced with bombs in your ball seen the pictures of west mosul destroyed, 60 neighborhoods of mosul have been destroyed and there is a combination that isis didn't work by planting bombs in everything from buildings to baby cribs but there is also unexploited by the coalition that represent a very severe hazard not only because it is on exploding but because those bombs actually cracked the water pipes of the mosul city system so they have very severe info structure damage as a result of the coalition effort to help support the military campaign. i also one action taken that i
bears calling out is the us-led coalition also bombed the super grid of mosul in the province on the upside of the campaign and that force is critical to bring back online to fully supply we supply electricity. we talked to the engineers and they had a very completed project of restoring all the power stations from the local level out to that super grid. it's not an easy task and for those of us in the early years we remember with federal petronius in the power plants in baghdad that these are massive undertakings and i do think it is critical for the us to continue to have leadership and put some of its enormous wealth that need to happen to enable iraq to move forward. i do have some critique about the entire handoff of this to
the international community. we have helped destroy some of these things and i think we have a moral operation to help rebuild them. two other points. there are 2.6 million idp's and they are not all going to return home and some may find other homes but what they can't do is stay in the camps were stained places where their livelihood is precarious in these are mostly sunnis. this has profound political ramifications whether these people are taking care of. it is first and foremost and we have things to the un and their implementing partners from various tracking data we know where they are and we keep the focus on that. the other point regards security. the number and quality of old horses is absolutely critical to the success of the stabilization
effort and i am happy to report one good news from west mosul federal police which are primarily shiite and are not welcome have now been moved out and not iraqi army is moving in. this is very important for iraq to understand that local police are the best way to secure in police the sunni areas and that means emphasizing that local people do not engage in local punishment and paid them all with the brush of being isis supporters and you need to hire them back on and direct the army has a much better rate in the counterterrorism service the mosul put up a billboard thinking the counterterrorism service coming to rescue them. of course, there is also the delicate issue of the popular
mobilization process and those are now enshrined in law as before service security service of iraq and it's very important and controversial questions to be dealt with regarding the degree of iranian influence, control and direction there. we will talk more about that, i'm sure, in the q&a that is something that must be dealt with to truly stabilize iraq and help it be both secure but also politically at peace. i'm sure we'll talk more about elections but i think it is important that iraq is moving forward with elections rather than postponing them. i think it's a juncture which the use of iraq are going to come out and there's a lot of politicians on the cross secretary and alliance in the number one issue of corruption and the government i think has rightly stated that number one priority but tackling corruption will both gain the trust in the
iraqi citizen and spring in the much foreign drastic that is needed. i hope that whoever is elected and comes out of that very complex political dynamic there because it will be shia led and it's a shiite country and whether it's prime minister a body if they do not take seriously the need to tackle corruption in an absolute front and center they will lose the confidence of their people in the international community. >> take you for those comments. also bringing stabilization to the removal of mines and electricity and those are allow people to go back to their homes and i now turn it over to you and you had the pleasure as he mentioned to be at the committee reconstruction conference and along you have a long track record on iraq issues so your thoughts.
>> thank you, ambassador for being here. thank you for letting me on the panel. i have yet to go to kuwait. the last time i was there was 1990 during the gulf war so i got to take a second picture next to the what are they called? the two spirit towers. with that? there you go. liberation terrorists. it was good to be back but more probably it was good to be able to see this international coalition come together not only in the private sector and not only having 64 nations there but also like you said, investor, scene iraq is not talking about the country and talking about not only economic opportunities in iraq but about the humanitarian situation. one of the things the first day of the conference was great and the press was asked able to ask questions. not only prime minister abadi but the kuwaiti prime minister, as well and the deputy prime
minister and the foreign minister. the iraqi press and some of the toughest questions and some people have said don't want to stay to the present because the last tough questions but the iraqi press was tough but they were great. but the questions went on answered and it was based on reconstruction in the area such as mosul and the anbar province and the idp is and why would we delay elections until they come back and as you mentioned, with 6 million are still in the scamps and the majority of them are from the invar province. the questions were great so let's look at the visuals. prime minister abadi had a great stage and he looks to use the terminator things, looked presidential. he looked in charge country and he had the legitimacy of 64 countries backing him up by being there and also the private
sector companies but there was also an air of what are we getting ourselves and do do these things not only from private sector investors and defense contractors that are very familiar with a term in arabic means kickback and i set an example in 2008 when we were working with the ministry of energy to try to get a general electric contract in baghdad which would provide 247 electricity in baghdad but because she did not offer [inaudible] kickback it went to simmons and they were only able to produce a third of that capacity. again i said in 2008 that is because it was after the surge and after al qaeda was decimated and after we had built the sunni resistance and around the awakening and after we allowed political accommodation and reconciliation and we started boxing on a we are doing now, economic investment, capability, important things when we have that you do in post- conflict
societies. again, as we all know security is tied to economy and this is an economy that is tied to a security and the iraqi economy and this is something that its neighbors know and something the united states knows based on their time there in their investment in their blood and sacrifice in the iraqi stock price, course. i was an advisor with the iraqi army and we saw them fall all the time and we were in armored vehicles and they were in pickup trucks yet they were going in the same direction toward the enemy. there's a lot of cost in these things and we don't want to see security backside. i think there is a hint of that at the conference. the good thing about the position of baghdad is that a lot of the reconstruction, as you mentioned, is outsourced to the un and its ngos and other
groups. i have the document basically you cited everything in iraq where the un is focused in the 54 neighborhoods in mosul in 16 are heavily damaged and we were moderately damaged to the sporting and lightly damaged in this is not the focus of this conference was when it comes to the private sector investing in iraq. this is where the un was stunned and this is what [inaudible] is focused on and this is where the iraqi press hit baghdad hard. where's the talk to prime minister about these things. you can find those things but it wasn't upfront. i do chance to listen to [inaudible] talk about economic investment in iraq and talk about economic investment in iraq and he talked about forming areas for economic investment and he called it the breadbasket
of the iraqi economy and reconstructions until it medications in transportation and again this caution that was in the air the conference was how much influence does iran have in iraq and again, that's the reason for this conference is to make the argument that just because i iran importers iraq doesn't mean it should have more influence than kuwait or saudi arabia or turkey or other groups. iraq should not have to lean towards its eastern border. this conference was about that and he looked at the focus of the investment saudi arabia and kuwait kuwait's focus was on [inaudible] because of what is the area and that is a contingent area in the past and this is the place that has a share of economic investment and
also a place that used leverage with not only iran but directly comes to economic investment. the saudis, i was asked early, or have been asked last couple of weeks about saudi economic investment in iraq and what does it mean and is it a us lover to curb iranian influence in iraq or will it be what happened in lebanon or syria where the saudis are a mess and those are the issues. we hosted a member, a party, had a great conversation two hours conversation again also warned not to meet with this reporter or these observer in iraq but a great conversation and they said something that resonated with me and ties directly to this conference in kuwait. he said that the only way to counter iran is if iran is a strong economic power. iraq is a strong economic power and he is exactly right. the best way for iraq to be a
strong economic power is to ensure that much like the i rtc does in iran are not able to do in iraq. four main areas where it has its tentacles in iranian economy is oil sector, transportation, vacation and construction. the four areas that prime minister abadi and blood asked investors to go into for the oil sector, telecommunication sector and construction sector and transportation sector. so, the united states, as we talk about blood and sacrifice, and talk about the optimistic letters for the optimistic way forward by using our levers is to actually help iraq by warning iraq that investments that go into iraqi companies that have
any ties to the company will be subject to u.s. treasury sanctions and that's a strong tool. it is also an insurance policy for investors that when they go in there will be protected knowing that the companies are doing business with and they have actually have no ties to the i rgc and i leave it there. there's not a lot of evidence but they are simply if iran is doing it and it's been in serious economy in lebanon in yemen and it's been doing it in iraq since 2003 intimates of power, legitimate economic ties but there is also questionable ones, as well. again, insurance policy. the one thing that by minister of body said that was a security for investors and something that alleviates concern is that he is going to look at getting rid of this kickback this ten or 20% kickback that secures a contract
and he is setting up a commission and he wants to see it gained momentum after the elections and that brings me to the elections and i'll try to wrap up here. the upcoming elections, 2.6 million sunnis displaced because of the campaign against isis and what isis did asked for a delay. the iraqi press asked many questions about why is in the election being delayed and of course you want to be able to say we want to keep it on time and want to do it the right way the elections being important. mr. ambassador you mentioned cross ethnic coalitions we are seeing those and they need to win. the issue now is the [inaudible] party is that the right party? the one led by [inaudible]? currently, that party has the
militias that you warned about [inaudible] participating in the party we want to work to moderate and work with other coalition parties in order to marginalize this party and mic made right? the problem is now that this party has not won yet but it already has its minister in charge of the ministry of interior. it already has the commander and deputy commander of the [inaudible] and designated us terrorist commands hezbollah is the deputy commander of [inaudible]. volunteers did all the right things but the problem is they
fell under the command and control structure and we can tell him to talk about that later. if humans these ministers stay in place and if they loose to the other parties have the power to push them out and get somebody that can send a single not only to investors and not only to americans and nato because nato has raised concerns before we go and we want to make sure that the party does not win and that he is not prime minister. those are important things but in the forming of these coalitions before the election in order to make economic investment opportunity more stable in the security situation more stable these coalitions aren't talking about repressing these ministers were getting rid of [inaudible] as a deputy commander. again, one of our biggest problems is tenuous things fall in the hands of hezbollah through the us program and us
government denied that the last two years and now there is evidence of it we're trying to get it back. these are captured isis tanks but often can't tanks hired out for militias. i just want to hear some of the political parties in iraq talk about how they are going to stop the influence and saturation of i rgc proxies when they have such prominent positions in iraq he government today and that is causing concern, not only for the nato training program in iraq and not only are they warnings and indicators of security backsliding in iraq, they just, they just cemented that argument that iran has more
influence in iraq than it should. and just a quick in a note, 27 i rgc militia members [inaudible] this is terrible but it was cheered by some sectors of the iraqi population and some of the sunni kurdish population in that isis killed i rgc militias and it could force militias deserve it. that right there, especially with this operation taking place in an area where there's oil and the structure and there are still isis pockets is disconcerting not only to investors and not only to nato allies but also to those of us like you point out in your
article the one that ensures us victory is permanent and not just a reset of conditions that led to isis to begin with with an increased dynamic and that now the us is no longer trusted as much by the kurds and by the sunnis but also thought iran has more influence than it ever has and happy to be wrong about all of that. i just want to become people insane i was. >> thank you, mike. i actually wanted to open it up on us administrations about burden sharing which linda mentioned in her comments and i mentioned in the outset that sunni being the largest stabilization owner but not donating to reconstruction and whether they should be a part of stepping down in us engagement and how do you see that combined with --
>> demonstration what they say publicly could hurt over doing privately in iraq and when i say privately in meetings where we are assuring guarantees and making promises to the iraq security forces we are working with that we are to me with and also as we try to reestablish these levers that we have had in the past with baghdad. my concern about the current ministration strategy is that in the state department iraq has fallen almost completely out of the iranian influence talk in the state farm has said iran's influence in syria and lebanon and yemen has left iraq out and that's concerning to generals and to generals in the department of defense. the other part of that is the president's strategy to defeat isis and call it a victory and get out. outsource reconstruction to iraq and maintain a minimal presence and again these are political
parties that are calling for exit of american forces and now there is a us policy where hospital militias cannot be within 20 kilometers of american bases or where americans are training iraqis. the problem is the militias there must concern about that they bragged they can wear any form within the iraqi military and that is concerning to our 4000 trainers there and special operators in advisors that the forces they are training could easily be appreciated infiltrated by an anti- us militia directed killer or assassin. that is disconcerting. i want to believe that this administration doesn't want to
go back to iraq again but by saying don't give me my own war you get one. president trump doesn't want his own war in iraq well you get one. obama did not want one and he got one. i don't want ten -year-old americans to be in iraq when they are 20 fighting isis 7.0 and be told you can come in because it's a situation like syria where the us is uninvited even though this is an accidental threat to the united states and to the us and the terrorist organizations that keep popping up in these ungoverned spaces in the middle east and north africa in southeast asia. the administration and again i listen to the generals like you mentioned earlier and listen to the generals and challenge the generals to come up with solutions and again no one wants the stain interact but we have stayed in iraq this whole time so maybe we should stay in some capacity and some normalized training where there is a us base there that can do exactly these things were something like
this pops up and provide capabilities in intelligence and guesstimate that should not have been born to begin with. >> thank you, mike. let me now ask a question for panel and you can comment on the intervention but one symbol but hopefully a mournful question is what in his sdc is greatest challenge for iraq moving forward among all the things that we've outlined in the panel and with this ambassador? >> the biggest challenge that iraq is facing is the fact that it has to address issues with tools that need building. for example when one of article these in the last ten years of wars that we had is that we were at the same time engaged in a war that we were building our
army at the same time and in order for us to address many of the issues you raised, corruption, better service to citizens equity we need to strengthen our institutions so i think the greatest guarantor of the iraq independence is not only that we will be a strong economy, we have oil and resources and we can do that but i think the strongest guarantor of our being an independent nation that can stand and look at the other country in the eye is a can strengthen our institutions and this is something that we are on track. having been engaged in night iraqi institution for the last 14 years i can tell you that i
see incremental changes that make it better. a very simple example, early on when we were stopping the foreign ministry we had promotion exams and everyone used to pass, okay? now, people. there are standards being applied. one of the reasons why the i cts is such a successful institution iraq is that because it applies criteria and pitfalls that make it a strong institution. this is the track we are on to find corruption as part of it. recently we were i was in baghdad for an investors conference and we were the focus of this conference is sheer was reconstruction and last year's was liberation, if you will.
just as our armies is a much better institution than it was a few years ago right now we're focusing on the institutions that we need to build up to fight the battles we need to fight with corruption. now the institution that is the most in the limelight is our integrity commission which is actually making progress. >> thank you. linda, over to you. >> thank you. i would add to the wise competence of the ambassador i wrote a 2000 a book about the search. called tell me how this ends and chapter 15 has a list of things that were widely agreed to be the critical issues to bring up stability to iraq and that list is more or less billed to be done so i think it's very important for things like the full implementation of the
federal better life system, there's a decentralization law on the books implementation has begun to dissolve the eight ministries down to the provinces of government and it absolutely needs to be done to give that sense of local ownership to the population, the law need to revise the status and the hydrocarbon law et cetera in those who follow iraq know the list very well. i think it will be incumbent upon the council of representatives because it is a parliamentary system to grasp this metal and understand that these questions have legal and institutional answers and commit to building and legislating those answers. iraq is a wealthy country and there is no reason why it can't copy this but it must find the
political will to do so. i firmly believe that iraqis have no wish to be the 51st state of iran. they are sufficiently confident now they can move forward and set the appropriate limits on iranian influence and the first thing would be for the us to publicly demand or legislate xy or z conditions because that would ensure the inflammation of iraqi nationalism and elect the very man, michael, you would like to see not elected. let us work in a sophisticated work and use a strategic remark to put in very fairly demand transparency conditions as the world bank does for any further eight. hopefully we will lock in a long-term security systems agreement and they wanted and it's our core competence and we have an advantage here over iran and let's press that.
that is a mouthful but that is what i say we have to do going for you, linda. i wondered [inaudible] how do we do that in practice and what does it mean when we have to reconcile after a disaster. >> i left that out and i apologize. i mentioned the decentralized loss but there's also this idea of bottom-up reconciliation or social cohesion which is the term of being used by a lot of people and these grassroots efforts are undertaken to resolve some of the conflicts in the communities at that level. also, you have to deal with the fact that many children have been indoctrinated and there's a severe ptsd problem and people have been traumatized by under the brutal isis regime. the bottom-up area is critical
to attend. ... the holding of elections in a fair and free way and i should just say this is this is a cril benchmark to make sure all these people get registered and are able to vote. i think it's fine for elections but it is incumbent upon the iraqi government to make sure everyone can, in fact, vote. >> just a couple of points to make, to bear on elections that i should have spoken about that. people tend to forget that under the circumstances what iraq has
achieved is quite remarkable. in the last 14 years, it might seem trite under normal circumstances, but school exams took place on time throughout the country, including recently with displaced populations. it's not a a small thing except under isis of course. one of the reasons actually the iraqi government was really intent on liberating mosul is because the first year mosul was occupied, the curricula used in the schools remain the iraqi curricula. the second-year isis develop its own curriculum. you can imagine what it's like. it would not have been wise to let them continue to brainwash our youth with it. and the same kind of spirit actually will allow us to hold
elections on time. i think just as we were able to hold exams on time which require registration of students and the follow-up and injuring and integrity of a process, elections are the same thing. i think we will follow through. one thing that will help us achieve these elections in a way that will be respected and recognized as you have national observers. local observers as well. one of the things i'm actually trying to argue for is to increase the number of support we have to bring an international observers, local observers to make sure that these elections are as transparent and true and fair. and in the end the person who will be iraq's next prime minister will be decided by the
iraqi electorate. >> that's a great -- >> whoever that might be. and i had to chile, these are real elections. i wouldn't bet on it. i have my preferences -- preferences of course as in iraq and was in my compatriots are probably also have their own preferences, but these are real elections. >> thanks ambassador. mike, what was the greatest challenge on like i everybody t of secure this time around, there is a resurgence of isis or terrorist organization 3.0 and he said which is but u.s. party for a long time. >> so isis, we cannot eat it in the paper isis has been military defeated. if we would take down more into the nuance we would say isis has lost territory, the ability to black flag purpose to operate in the al-qaeda model based on with her able to do.
they still are a threat that they still took it iraqi security forces. they are still in the conduct suicide bombings in baghdad. we've had to vomit in the last ten days and did we have 27 killed by isis fighters. again isis is seen iraq and syria as one continuous piece of land, piece of territory. where the united states poly stopped at the border. waiver policy in iraq that stopped of the board of syria and we're two policies in syria that stop east and west of the euphrates but we'll get it that later. or not at all actually. so the challenge is, how do we keep isis them coming back. again, this feels like 2011 all over again, and the one area i would defend president obama on a lot of people say that because president obama left iraq, this happen. this is already happening before we left in 2011. the iraqis iraqi secret forces
had already been politicized by prime minister malecki. i served in the second iraq and the division there wasn't a single iraqi army division commit election 2011 that we had worked with. they had been politicized. they were from areas, majority shia areas of iraq. as a federal place gets replaced in mosul on the west side and the iraqi army comes in, it's important to note that if the 15th and 16th iraqi army that were recruited. this question of retraining iraqi security force was one of the reasons we didn't stand up a brand-new second iraqi army division, third out iraqi army of fourth division when the after they were politicized by the mala key government. that cold could easily been made. would have to retrain these, we didn't have to train an army to put them in. we simply had to do a call for
action and say hey, the 30,000 sunnis and kurds and shia that were kicked out of the iraqi military by maliki because you didn't serve a political party or a political agenda show up at the basin was replayed the ranks of the second, third and fourth the it would better to go in with the third division that knows it very. medical and mosul with a second army division of the nose here. the what a better to go in with the third of iraqi division that again is comprised of local military members that know the neighborhoods, know the streets and know the tribal shakespeare iraqi security forces i would have to say what are the most important things here is there are no more peshmerga used in their backyard with the exception of one brigade from the puk side of the house that is just south of erbil actually. it is a predominant sheer force. that does mean they are
sectarian. i understand the country 60% shia but at a certain point it's not. as you move into northern iraq as you start reflect who lives there, who lives in precooked province, who lives in the northern and our bar, of course. and sunnis need, into that '70s as nate the great cry for political commendation and reconciliation. again a term that they said that exist in arabic but existed in the iraqi follow the attorney for national reconciliation, something we engaged with on a daily basis to ensure reconciliation was a part of the political space the surge had offered. seems we're there now, mohamed was at the conference and talk about reconciliation and he's the right guy to talk about it. it is again when you say the right things and they are heard just like with u.s. politics can what happens afterwards? there a policy go to a defect to
change things. i am concerned about security backslide. i was in mosul after the operation. i had more trouble getting through the checkpoint in the key argie ares and did mosul. once i got in the mosul my car was a stop at all and it was a minimal military presence on the east side and a lot of military age males on the east side. basically you couldn't tell isis had been there. there were people everywhere. i'm concerned it's right for secret he backslide and is one of the biggest issues. and i think there should be recalled by a lot of the political parties as part of the platform for its upcoming elections just say that pay, we need to rebuild these are vacuum divisions against irresponsible for anbar and precooked province and bring back in a force to get as much if there soon occurred. all should not is the iraqis that missing kurdish, , iraq isa never extra divorces. with the exception of
individuals in different places. i think iraqis need to see that, least when i go to iraq i try not to talk to americans. i try not to talk to politicians. politicians. i tried to talk to iraqis. i talked to iraqis from ramada, fallujah, mosul. talk to politicians from baghdad, either from someone else. i've been asking to go into baghdad and talk to the other side to get my mind changed. i'd like to be invited to talk to them so i can be an advocate for this one iraq inherited that's going around and this secure environment that iraq is now in. >> needs observers. >> it needs observers. >> actually we have research center at the midst of foreign affairs. >> i would love to show up.
>> that's great. there are lots of your question. i would love to ask of this benefit you can see the use but i also know i guess you people people out in the audience are really itching also to get the questions in. so i would not open it up for questions and show your hands and with a microphone that will come around. start with this gentleman here. and please introduce yourself and try to state a relatively short question, not a -- >> former diplomat. i'm wondering if any of what might be the iranian external aid entities are contributing in any way to reconstruction in iraq? for example, maybe the bone yards are reconstructing shia mosques. maybe even civil engineering projects. is there anything going on on what we might call the foreign aid account from iran? >> tanks. let's grab a couple of
questions. let's start here in the corner. >> turkey was one of the biggest contributors in kuwait. what does it mean to you, can we say any pages opening between the two countries? >> let's grab a third one down here. the front here. >> i do private business in iraq. mike, let's fast-forward about nine months, , new government hs been formed, is led by -- what should the u.s. policy be at that point? >> so i have turkey which i think would be ambassador, , the role, large role in reconstruction, and the question of iran and organizations, maybe
linda, and ambassador. then mike, the third question. >> on turkey, you know, it's really interesting comparison between turkey and iran. leon the turks were very reluctant to get involved politically in iraq but they were pushed into iraq by the private sector, which did extremely well. we have billions of dollars in commercial exchanges with turkey and, in fact, this pledge will only serve to enhance that. i mentioned the ambassadors conference i attended. we were launched at the prime ministers guesthouse, which was built, in fact, my turkish company. on iranian involvement and the reconstruction effort to iraq, i know of many iranian companies have actually bid on several major projects, what i was familiar with was the power
plant which they competed in which the computer with a french company. eventually the french company did win, but they also have bid on a number of schools. and i'm sure that they are very much involved in the rebuilding and redevelopment of -- [inaudible] i mean, i ran is actually a source of revenue to iraq if only because of the religious tourism that iraqis received many millions of iranian dollars. [inaudible] >> that's that it. that's commerce. on aid, don't think the iranians have pledged anything at the conference in kuwait. >> linda, over to you.
>> yes. i think that is the formal answer to your exact question regarding iranian aid pledges but, of course, as is you probably will know they had been involved in many areas in this model of kind of the hezbollah model offering social service itself with. they work work through a lot of, obviously money has been visible out in the battlefield but i think that it's very interesting to watch how they have effectively use their ties into the popular mobilization forces to conduct a variety of what you might call influence operations, and very agile also in reaching out in the sunni areas to recruit sunni populations. so i i guess if you widen the aperture that there is a whole
spectrum of iranian engagement in iraq that runs the gamut of the diplomatic, military, economic and informational space. >> if i may add, we have god knows how many over 1000 kilometers of common borders, historic ties, you know -- >> and by saying that i'm not labeling that all as -- i don't want to be, i think that it's very important to understand that iran has a a natural levef influence and engagement, that whether we like it or not is going to occur. and i what you site ryan crocker who is one of my great teachers on the matter of iraq. it's just a fact of life and there is a religious tourism. there's also the legacy of the bitter war. there's the air of persian divide. we need to be a little more sophisticated about our understanding of the iran-iraq
relationship. and historically the u.s. role in the region as either inflamed or made use of that kind attention in a counterweight issue. my only real advocacy is that the u.s. not turn its back come walk away from iraq and see the playing field entirely to iran. that would not serve u.s. national security interests, and were frankly and very much in danger of that as we turn our attention to other challenges around the world. >> mike, there was a question to you and then of course chiming on the other issues. >> your last comment, that's exactly what the party was asking for is for the use to get out, not to turn its back but to exit and then that's an issue. let's go back to your question, general. nine months from now a body wins. i would just say -- i thought
you said abadi. did you say -- well, okay, let me just talk about iran has been able to do under abadi. they have been able to do whatever they wanted to under abadi over the last four months, or four years. so if the other guy wins, we were allowed roundtables like this where we'll say he's not as bad as abu, and we worked with them before. agenda was an advisor. i sat next to the general when he was talking to him and said hey, he's the command and the joe said no, he's not. the general now says yes, he is. so if he wins it's actually bad for iran in that native is warning about re-victory. nato is nato is not concerned about having a train and equip program that is under the premiership of iran's premier products in iraq.
so if iran was smart you would want abadi to win because again iran has been able to everything it is one or two over the last four years and will continue to do so with the blessing of of e united states comes to department to department of defense as we continue to obfuscate would you and i talked about over the last year is whether or not irgc quds force have hijacked the u.s. train and equip program where dod said no, department of state said no, now they're saying yes in fact, they had and want to get those tanks back. it's not only the tanks, it's the selection of who is trained on the tanks. it's the selection of who's trying to fly american f-16s to it's important during 2005-2006 when solomonic was conducted an assassination campaign in iraq is that he targeted iraqis pilots regarded of their sect.
shia, sunni and christian pilots were assassinated by irgc for key. the best way to do that is to be able to influence what happens. again, if he wins, bad for iran because hopefully we'll see what it is. but there will also be a concerted effort by people will say that he's not that bad because he's not -- i argued tt he is the bad because he's acceptable to us and also answers directly to iran. and, of course, i expect that to be balanced, i'm sorry, , count. >> do you want a quick follow-up? ambassador? [inaudible] >> wait for the mic otherwise would also have -- >> can you give me the mic for about five minutes? >> let me restate the name. there is a prime minister who
leans more towards iran man towards the coalition/united states. what should the u.s. policy be? >> okay. the u.s. policy should be at the time and we've made this a policy recommendation to move the use train and equip program to erbil, to move the u.s. jsoc footprint to erbil to establish a sunni kurdish and sunni arab security force that keeps isis from coming back to sunni areas and also stops the northern land bridge that iran is trying to establish in iraq. that would be the military security policy recommendation and that would give you leverage over baghdad over time. again if you want to leave use leverage of u.s. treasury, sector sanctions, you could do that. iran should rest assured were not going to do any of that. we're not going to do any of that. we will promote the next prime minister regardless of whether abadi as a pro u.s. bulwark
against iran. yet when you look at gatchel makeup of iraq security forces you will not find appear when you look at the existence of the -- [inaudible] the ones that control the budge budget, you will have a friend in the united states defense department and u.s. that will say it's not happening. >> thanks, mike. ambassador and that i would just let others that want for the last set of questions and then i note your fingers to abbasid first. >> i had to say as i had to say. the next prime minister of iraq will be chosen by the iraqi electorate and people have to deal with it. no matter what. >> as this country. you can't predict that too much. [laughing] >> that's a good point. >> may i just also add what i
believe the ambassador should also say is that any placement of u.s. forces in the territory of iraq will be determined by baghdad and not erbil. >> that goes without saying. and washington. >> question over here. >> thank you very much. thank you for the panel and very wise comments as linda described in. i would like to ask to question what is if the ambassador could, on the baghdad -erbil current dialogue shall we say. there's been some talk about the opening of the airports pictures all so been some talk that baghdad might move under -- [inaudible] some wonder if you might give us an insight into that. then i'd like to ask about the elections because obvious on investments and everything is going to be contingent, everything is going to wait until the results of the election. and i wonder, perhaps ambassador
could give us can walk us through if you will on how the 2.6 million idp he's are being registered and perhaps more important how are they going to be of the vote, how's it going to work? if your idp and the kurdistan region how he going to be able to vote for your representatives? >> thanks, that's two questions. over here. >> i'm only going to take three. sorry to the rest of you. please, short question. >> you alluded to earlier -- my name is fred, also a goldstar dad, and you alluded when we left iraq did not cause the iraqi people to then take responsibility for their own heavy lift? and in the end turn out to be
the thing that most united them? would it be the same if we were still there that whole time doing heavy lifting? >> down here in the back. all the way in the back. that's our last question. >> yes, stephen from the catholic church in iraq. this question is to mr. ambassador. could you speak just briefly in the time we have about the importance of cultural pluralism, , especially as it affects religious minorities to the social reconstruction as opposed to just the physical infrastructure. it's a topic spoken before but for the record if you could speak regarding the iraqi government's view on that. thank you very much. >> i will let you start. any sort of vital remarks that you would want to make, then we will wrap up around the panel. >> on the minorities, the official view of the iraqi
government is iraq is not a back without its minorities. and so to me personally i think the status of the position of the minorities going forward is going to have signatures of how well we succeeded. actually this afternoon i meeting with senator brownback who is going to follow up on this issue. there's nothing i could say that to stress the importance of this issue to iraq. the good thing that i can tell he is that, you know, we have a strong diaspora in which these minorities very present. they are engaged in the reconstruction of iraq. recently during what are the reconstruction conferences in washington, the man in charge of reconstruction of the liberated areas in iraq received two
people represented businessman from detroit, were really interested in rebuilding their ancestral villages and churches. this is important to us. i think if you go through the roster of electoral lists you will find the iraqi minorities very, very present. local electoral laws i think will guarantee them at least five seats. so i can't say it better than saying that iraq is not iraq without its minorities. >> on the registration of idps and voting? >> the good thing is the ig's are not really all scattered. they are in localized places in camps, so registration can take place.
i know for a fact that iraqi electoral system is trying to develop, it's asked, you know, decentralized i.t. system for registration, which should be able to incorporate people in different areas, not in their homes. in kurdistan or in other places. >> right. >> there was one point i wanted to address which is the relationships between baghdad and erbil. i'm not, the details of discussions involve, what i can tell you that i recently was present when prime minister body -- abadi, meetings were extremely cordial. there's an ongoing process, and i am hopeful that all of the issues that need to be resolved will be resolved.
>> all give the ambassador the balance of my time. the question about 2011 when we left, what happened? >> syria happened. >> they looked over the left shore and sit if we can do that here we can do that in iraq and moved in. we've just got to keep that from happening again, collectively. all i would say is we look to the surface get a lens iraq we shouldn't be be shocked when we see indicators of security backslide and iranian influence. >> your last remarks. >> i would just add to this, theme, i think there's also always been a majority of iraqi membership of the isis animal. so it isn't just a syria beast, and attending to the grievances of the people that have been
left out i think is the burden for the iraqi government. and i think there's come with regard to the discussion, it's very important i think to note that was quite a backlash on social media and so forth at that very brief alliance that was announced and one of the analysts -- >> between abadi and -- >> that's right. one of the iraq analyst said to me people are very grateful for the role the pmf played but they don't necessarily want that to be there government. so i do again, i think holding free and fair elections is going to produce a result that might surprise some of the skeptics, but nonetheless iraq merits continued attention of my main message. >> actually, ambassador had one on -- >> on the relationship between iraq and the united states. listening to us one might conclude that our relationship ideally would be nothing but
military security. nothing could be farther from the truth. that's an anecdote of the day the travel ban was announced in early last year. the iraqis for ministry had convened all members of the committee's that would sit, that would be involved in the strategic framework agreements with the united states. what we would like to see is an evolution of our relationship from something that is essentially military to something that is way more than that. i graduate from high school that was set up by american jesuits. my uncle is a graduate of the university of michigan. you know, we would like to see more of this kind of involvement in iraq. one of the biggest successes
that i can count in iraq is the american university. and i can tell you that there are discussions now in baghdad to set up and american university in baghdad. this is the kind of relationship that we are eager to see. we are also eager to see your fortune 500 companies to, and put shop and help us rebuild our country because of these we will be assured to be implementing best practice. >> 60% of the population is under 65 65 switch right for tt kind of relationship. >> that's a great way to end our panel discussion today on reconstruction in iraq. it happens every day now in iraq. as you can see here, we had a great debate on it. i enjoyed being up here with our panelists that have a lot of knowledge and expertise on this, and you all had a lot of questions. i know there were more than once as something that we have to bring it to close at of what you
>> at 3:30 p.m. eastern the commission on security and cooperation in europe looks at doping by russian olympic athletes and potential ways to combat fraud in sports. that's also live here on c-span2. >> for nearly 20 years in depth on booktv is featured the nation's best-known nonfiction writers for life conversations about their books. this year as a special project we are featuring best-selling fiction writers for our monthly program in depth fiction addiction. join us on sunday march 4 at noon eastern the novel gods and generals was made into a major motion picture.
during the program we be taking your phone calls, tweets and facebook messages. our special series in depth fiction edition with author march 4 live from noon to 3 p.m. eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> and the british house of commons yesterday rime minister theresa may answered questions about sexual harassment policy, legalizing marijuana, police funding, the humanitarian situation in syria and other issues. >> order. questions to the prime minister. ruth cadbury. >> number one, mr. speaker. >> the prime minister. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this morning i had meeti ngs with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this house, i shall have further such meetings later today. >> ruth cadbury. >> on monday, children