tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN April 3, 2018 12:32pm-2:31pm EDT
national and global security. we pursue this mission by working with partners around the world, with very practical ways on how to prevent and how to resolve violent conflict. today come with organized a trio of events that would focus on iraq and area two countries that are of critical national security interest for the united states. there are also two countries that have been wracked by violence, both have been verbally occupied by isis and both are subject to the continuing competing interest of regional and international powers. there are two countries with two very distinct challenges, but they are linked by a long and porous border. they both have the continuing threat of isis and they are both located in a very tough neighborhood. usip works in both iraq and syria. we work in compliment to u.s.
military, diplomatic and aid workers as well as with our iraqi government and civil society partners in the kurdistan regional government and civil society partners in both iraq and syria. we have been on the ground in iraq since 2003. i was there last month and i was encouraged to see some very useful heartening signs of hope and progress as we await the elections in may. i'm sure you'll hear more about that. for many years, particularly following the raid device is, usip has worked with and iraqi counterparts to spread and prevent the spread in subsequent reemergence of conflict. most notably, we have worked to consolidate the recent successes of military action to liberate areas for isis.
we have supported our iraqi partners to broker and implement local peace accord. in places like felicia, to create common man of the have enabled the iraqis to come together to bridge deep divide, which were less deeper in the wake of the isis occupation and agree to solve problems peaceably comment to work out the new grievances that resulted from isis and in many cases addressed decades or even longer old grievances. most importantly, it has allowed many families to return home. i'm especially appreciative of the partnership we've had with the iraqi government thanks to our honored guests who are here with us today. we have supported the national reconciliation commission and the prime minister's office in its efforts and we have provided the kurdistan regional government with conflict
mitigation tools, particularly fostering women's participation in post-conflict peacebuilding. so we are now at a pivotal moment. isis is largely driven now particularly from the urban areas and no longer holding territory and most of iraq and the just area. and there is an urgency to sustain those gains. there is an urgency to help stabilize the region in necessity of preventing the return of isis and very importantly, enable the return of many millions of iraqis and syrians to go home, to begin what will be a generation long process of rebuilding their lives. this has to happen against continuing significant internal challenges as well as the competing interests of many regional and international players continue to play out. the stakes are very high.
it will require closely aligned and coordinated efforts across the u.s. government with international partners and very importantly with our iraqi syria partners. we will start today's program by first clicking on iraq. then we'll follow with the panel looking at the regional implications for both countries followed by a networking lunch. after lunch, we will finish at the very powerful conversation between combatant commander general botelho, special presidential envoy brett mcguirk and usaid administrator green. this will be moderated by the u.s. institute of peace board chair, stephen hadley previously the national security advisor under president bush. i hope you'll be able to stay with us for all three panels i'm very important topic that a very
important time. to start this morning, we are quite fortunate to be joined by leaders from the region who will assess the current situation and discuss what is likely to happen next. i am honored to welcome iraq's ambassador to the u.s., and ambassador yasseen, representative arg and our own sarhang hamasaeed, director of our middle east programs. we are quite delighted to have with us to moderate this conversation, ambassador alberto fernandez, president of the middle east broadcasting network ambassador fernandez oversees and manages to television networks, radio saw was and all of the digital and social media platform. so, in his role is to provide critical news and information in
arabic to the middle east into africa. previously, he was a career member of the u.s. foreign service with the rank of minister counselor. he was foreign service officer from 1983 until 2015 and served in many critical roles and ambassadorial posts. ambassador fernandez, over to you. >> it's a real pleasure to be here. and the conference today. we open up with this panel and you could say this is a pivotal moment. this year is the 50th anniversary of the rise of power of the party in iraq and the unfortunate july 17 revolution, and in 1968 government and 15
years of course marking last month. 15 years since the liberation of iraq and followed by regime. for years roughly since the rise of the islamic state. certainly iraq has had its fair share of serious moments in history. we are blessed and really fortunate to have a panel here. one of the challenges in washington as we have people talking about parts of the world wish they know and are very shallow in a superficial way. that is not the problem today and certainly not a problem with this panel which has a deep understanding of iraq in the region. ambassador yasseen and dr. sarhang hamasaeed fully as it is, as a place of tremendous
challenge, tremendous problems. and yet, tremendous potential that we in the west often ignore. so much is going on the ground beneath the surface that is easy to dismiss from a thousand miles away. there's a lot of good happening in iraq that is often lost when we think of things like the corruption of the violence or political tension. we forget the granularity of what is happening on the ground and miss tremendous potential. they understand they suffered tremendously, the great human cost, the human dignity cost here and yet how iraq has triumphed the iraqi armed forces from iraq? read margaret to the iraqi security forces come in the, police and others and defeated the islamic state. it's something we forget the great cost of the iraqi people board and the triumph that
resulted from this. all of these elements demonstrate the importance of this panel of this conference and the engagement of the united states with iraq. for me it's important to highlight iraq is a place that isn't won or lost. it's a place that is in play and that we have to engage with because it's important in and of itself for the u.s. and u.s. policy. we will begin the round with five minutes from each person and then we will take it from there. we'll ask a few questions and open it up for you all as well. ambassador yasseen. >> thank you, ambassador. 20 thank you for inviting me and hosting this important event. they have a tradition of doing these things. you're right. it's an important juncture for iraq. we have, as you said, defeated
isis. if i could encapsulate this in a sound bite, you would find nowhere for the flag of isis float. if you look at the pirate flag -- we've defeated that, that the objective is not to defeat isis. as to prevent the rise of anything similar. i have often heard american friends tell me that we are concerned because we find ourselves right now in a situation which was similar to what happened in 2010. we have defeated al qaeda and undergone elections and then things went south. there is a big difference. i would like to stress this difference. the surge that ended up qaeda was carried out essentially by u.s. troops and i'm thankful for the sacrifice in their effort to fight against isis or what was
carried out. the patchwork, and they paid a heavy burden. so this is a victory where we really have a lot escaped and even blood in the game and we wanted to stay. in a strange way, isis actually brought us together. i remember this famous quote by george cadman. he said that it had the deceits of its own decay. for isis, if they find themselves to anbar province and they know it's consolidated, maybe you'd be talking to them. but their ideology pushed them to do things that were unthinkable, on except the bull, beheading americans, doing what they did to the subset of men,
the azidi women. no one can accept that. with all united. we defeated them. but isis if anything is a learning organization and they have morphed. in the sense we have deprived them from territorial control. they have averted to what they were previously with terrorist act cavities. recently for example they set up a checkpoint and killed a number of iraqi policemen. this means that we will have to continue fighting. i have to say that the fighting but isis was by iraqis, but it would not have been possible
without the support of the coalition by the united state and will continue to need their support and expertise to fight isis in the upcoming phases where you will have to move from terrain tactics, warfare to intelligent, counterterrorism, things like that. ultimately of course in order to defeat them, you have to do two different things. you have to confront their ideology and that has ramifications for us as much as it does for you. we have to address the message, but i think the u.s. and other major international institutions should do something about the way the messages are being promulgated through social media gmail, facebook for example, for a long time with a global recruitment tool for isis. they are doing some work now, but i think more needs to be
done. that is one thing. the other thing we need to do is make sure the population does not welcome them or prevent them if they did in 2014. that means we will have to focus on a number of issues, government, economics, reconciliation and also tina tillery station. there i think the united states can offer a lot of examples are for example, the famous g.i. bill to transform the united nations in the united states army to the greatest economic reconstruction in the second world war as something we can draw inspiration from. i have to in this venue really salute the critical work in trying to bring in end strength in and consolidate reconciliation and very difficult areas in iraq.
and then of course i mentioned the economics, as many know we have a conference to place in kuwait last month. people they are pledged about $30 million to help us rebuild. it was in a pledging conference. it was a reconstruction conference where for the first time the world bank actually howled a special session for the private sector because as you said, iraq has potential. so we are hoping this will pan out very quickly. what makes me feel very positive that this will indeed happen is one of the most important developments on the political front in the region has been a rapprochement between the united states, between iraq and called countries that have been far too absent from iraq over the last
10 years. that was initiated by the saudi foreign minister too bad that philly fed delegations coming, including sports delegations. we've had a very important event in iraq, which took place in basra when we beat the saudi's four to one. no joke. soccer is a religion in iraq and we have barcelona and madrid and sometimes begets violence. joking aside, there are a lot more confidence. we see this in politics and i have to talk about politics because we are coming to elections in may of this year on the 12th. one point i would like to make is throughout the travails with todd over the last 14, 15 years since the regime change, we have
had elections as constitutionally mandated all the time. we did not miss a single law. we are going to all these elections. they are going to be held under difficult conditions, but i can assure you that there is great goodwill and strong-willed and iraq to make these work. we are taking on the technical measures necessary to make sure these are fair and foolproof elections. the iraqi government has officially asked for the united nations and other international organizations to come in and provide international observers that will help prove that these are elections that are fair and strengthen their legitimacy. one point i will mention is that this election debate between the various clinical parties is gradually shifting from identity politics to issues politics,
which is really welcome sign. if you look at the names of some of the coalition that are coming in in these elections, they indicate the prime minister running on a coalition as one called the coalition of conquest. i'm sure there are other such positive names and i hope that this will pan out and have an impact. >> thank you very much. i'd also like to thank usip for hosting this conference, which his excellency had its very timely. it's an honor to be a part of this panel. i think the ambassador has really set out the terrain in iraq, so i will focus my
comments more on the kurdistan region, the part of the wider picture in iraq. by the time we got to 2013, 2014, a relationship with baghdad was deteriorating. courtesy of the economy was doing well. there is a flourishing society media is the one. but their relations with baghdad were tense. and then of course as the scheme everything was suspended. we all rightly have to focus on isis, which was a threat to all of us. we are all very proud isis is being defeated. but there is problems that existed were not dealt with. and so today we are at this pivotal moment where we have those old issues. we have new issues because isis i think touched on so many fault
lines that are to existed in iraq and syria but we are focusing on iraq. that is the negative. on the positive side, we are heading for these elections and they are critical. they have decided to participate in the election and we hope that after the election we will be able to see part of the discussion on forming a new government and we believe any new government in iraq should include the kurds, sunnis and she has been really be a cross sectarian cross ethnicity government. it rings alarm bells for many of us in iraq when we hear some parties are some leaders talk about it is time for majoritarian rule. it's time for whoever wins majority to rule iraq.
i think in a country like iraq where you have kurds, arabs, muslims, christians, syrians, you have so many other minorities. you have disputes over oil, revenue sharing, budget, the status of some of the military militias expected were sometimes it appears the pesch murder are not. you have so many other issues to have majoritarian world i think would be a backward step. we are all hoping that the next government will be a reflection of iraqi society and will be able to implement some of the aspirations of the iraqi society. there is a danger of too high expectations. the ambassador said before we were coming in but we also have to manage those expectations. so today, kurdistan and i would
say it's a microcosm of the wider iraq. we have economic issues political problems, a fragmented society and may believe that his true for every sector for every component of iraq when he talked to the christians, they are divided. when you talk to the azidi, they are divided. when you talk to the kurds, they are divided. when you talk to the shia, the sunnis, there is a fragmentation. this election and the formation of the next government is the opportunity to bring soul back to the new circle points in a new beginning. i believe these elections are the opportunity for a new chapter. going forward, what are we looking for in kurdistan? you all know we have the referendum a euphoric and traumatic event, not only for kurdistan, but for all of iraq.
now we need to focus on our future relationship. we believe that the constitution is the best guide for a relationship with baghdad, but for all iraqis. the constitutions have shortcomings in every group will find shortcomings that apply to itself. broadly, the constitution is the way forward. there protects the rights of different groups, different ethnicities, religions. it sets out a federal structure for iraq, which hasn't truly been implemented and if implemented it will strengthen iraq. we are looking towards a stronger implementation of the constitution. we still need to have some kind of a revenue-sharing agreement not just being in that ad, for all iraqis. what about the sunnis? what about the people of basra?
we need a revenue-sharing mechanism that enables everyone to share in the wealth. we need to have, for example, in the disputed territories a joint security mechanism, which previously worked very successfully. we need to have a mechanism for dealing with the trauma that has been imposed on the people of iraq. all of the soldiers who were killed, whether they were kurdish arab, just the soldier families, every families have had to deal with the trauma of loss. and of course the people who face genocide, the trauma that they face, and these are issues we need to deal with. when we talk about the issue of justice and accountability for isis, this is another area where we all need to cooperate. the kurdistan region will need
to cooperate with baghdad if we are truly going to bring all these people to justice. kurdistan and iraq still have a humanitarian crisis. kurdistan alone today as 1.5 million syrian refugees in this internally displaced iraqis. still a huge population. that is still a lot of people to take care of. we still need to remember that for isis is being defeated militarily, they are still the security cooperation then we still have a humanitarian crisis and all of those people need to be helped. that means the reconstruction program that frankly hasn't begun on the scale that it should. i believe we need sent in a marshall plan imposed after the second world war. that is the scale of the reconstruction, not just the
physical reconstruction of places like mosul, said job in all the towns and cities distort, but also a rebuilding of our society. so i believe this election is critical. we need to build bridges between all of the components of iraq. we need confidence building measures and we need an era of coming back together after splintering twos usually fragmented society. i do believe the united states has a critical role to play in this. many americans are sick and tired of the whole story of iraq and afghanistan and soon they'll be tired of syria. i understand that, but we need you to stay the course in iraq and to help our society to recover from the most recent trauma we face. thank you very much. >> thank you.
good morning. it's a pleasure for me and in honor to be part of such a distinguished panel with mr. mr. sarhang hamasaeed and ambassador yasseen. in the iraq, it is definitely a truly pivotal moment and there's a pivotal moment to look in iraq itself, but also in the region in the world stage. i understand the panel will get to some of those. staying within the boundaries of iraq, and after having visited iraq four times in the past year , it is definitely evidence that there is an enhanced defense of national sentiment. mostly outside the kurdistan region and for understandable reasons, i iraqi nationalism on the back of the military defeat
of isis. now that energy is going into the political space with an election coming up. the process of the election is mostly set. going to have a process, but a couple things will be critical in the process to the election, which is the turnout. the widescale turnout is important for this election. and second, the platforms on which this election will be run. so far, the common theme is the one for civilian states. we want cross sectarian blocs to run for the election. but that is important to deliver after the election. we need a government that is formed quickly. a government that is inclusive not only in numbers of people, but also a government they can
actually manage the next stage of iraq and the complex next stage of iraq and as the ambassador usually says, iraq is the place are a lot of contradictions are true at the same time. the next government will find iraq has a more complex, in some ways dangerous place. it is not a better place to build on the point about the fatigue and the international community in the united states. i think iraq 2018 is an iraq that is more preferred to be a partner. that did not exist in 2003 because of the paralysis on the iraqi society and the previous eerie process of an adjustment. iraq is at a better place. we do have partners in the
government and also in the community. the second piece, what is more complex, security will remain a challenge. security at the iraqi security forces build for defending the iraqi people. but in the process there has been the fragmentation of the insecurity when. the next iraqi government will have to deal with this problem. on the issue of stabilization, reconciliation and also reconstruction, and building up his resilient because in terms of government institutions, society and individuals and is going to be difficult and will require out. we see these people have returned home.
positive progress. we still have a difficult number to overcome. to .3 million people have to go home and they have not. our visits to iraq and to see communities that have returned home. there are crosscutting themes whether you are in the situations affected by isis for your actually in bach rom somewhere else where lack of job opportunities and economic issues continue to challenge you. the issue of return, i mentioned the security part. once i lament that the iraqi government will have to overcome is the legacy issa since leaving behind and those are individuals and families who have been accused of either be members of isis or affiliation. one of the senior iraqi officials told us that there are 90,000 arrest warrants for people accused of isis.
he acknowledged that all those people are actually isis members. you could be accused of that for a variety of reasons, political, economic and social reasons. 36,000 people are already arrested. that's a big number of people of the iraqi system won't have to deal with. that is a problem we had in 2012, 2013 when the sunni communities of iraq is targeting and causing a good number of communities and the iraqi justice system to not have the capability to process quickly and look into these issues. that is a challenge that will threaten. this is the local reconciliation coming in. as an institute, we have been as nancy mentioned the speakers referred to, and usip has been in the space and the theory
difficult part of iraq in the province, southwest of cure cook until left the period when we are finding these processes, the iraqi community is engaged. the iraqi tribal leaders that illicit minorities, women and youth are engaged in trying to find solutions that were formal traditions to adapt to new reality. so there is a sense of fatigue with violent than with iraq key issues here in the international community. it also exists in turning back into energy to find solutions. i know i'm not naïve. i'm not trying to paint a rosy picture. i have a bleak picture is anybody else, but i'm trying to give a sense of the energy that we can partner with and help
channel in the election give us an opportunity to jumpstart the political process and address some of the fundamental constitutional issues that is plaguing the country in terms of the framework of the country but also energy at the local levels, the frontline where violence breaks out, where extremism is trying to recruit. this is something we can work with. moving forward, i think for the international community, we need to really engage. that's what the iraqis tell us. that's what they deserve and not that this deserves also. we have made a lot of progress against a salesman putting iraq back on a political track. at this point very soon after the election, i think we risk losing our investment in this is where it is a dangerous moment for iraq overall. people will loose faith in the electoral process bringing them
change and we may revert back to places of violence and we do not want to do that. the region has competing agendas in iraq. building iraqi institutions will help the government stand on its feet and we have to we have to preserve stability throughout iraq, not only a isis. we need that in the kurdistan region. we need that in the south and issues they need help with and without i will stop here. >> thank you very much. i will take now the moderators prerogative and ask the first question. ambassador fareed yasseen, you mentioned the military defeat of the islamic state arrived at such a tremendous cost and you mentioned the challenge of ideology. in iraq today, what is really that challenges the ideology, the challenge for jihadism, if
this is an issue of kind of connection between isis and sunni arab populations in the grievance of the sunni arab population definitively broken so that we move beyond that. what is the challenge we face with the ideological dimension, which also exists not just didn't sunni arab, the kurdish and other populations as well. >> well, if i may come in the extremist ideologies in iraq have always been marginal. they didn't exist. they came in through the 1990s through saddam's campaign to open the door to them. but they always were marginal. philosophy, these extremist ideologies were the engine that brought tens of thousands of
foreign fighters into iraq through the networks we can talk about if you want. in iraq, i think what we should focus on is to prevent the massive people from accepting these insurgents because of their dissatisfaction with the services, the government, the justice, the corruption. so we have to address, like i said, economics, government, security and there was one more. but this is what we need to do in iraq. on the ideology aspect of it, i think it is a global problem that in fact i'll need to address. >> i think we do have to be careful that we don't allow isis
or al qaeda or any other form of islamic extremism for terrorism to gain ground in iraq. it cost iraqi society and kurdish society a great deal. my own father and brother were killed by islamic terrorists. it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that they don't gain a foothold again. but that does mean that our neighbors have to play a role after the liberation of iraq. area became the conduit for every terrorist to make their way into iraq. we need our neighbors to play a role as well. this is not something we incurred a stand or iraq as a whole can fight against alone. it also of course does mean that we need the united states and the coalition to stay with us. that is why earlier i made that appeal that the american people may be tired of being in iraq
now for 15 years. but you play an important role. you play an important role diplomatically, politically and militarily. and it is in your own interest to help all of us not to allow these ideologies to get a foothold. >> i think in iraq, there is an ideology, but i think it is a much smaller scale than many people think. but it is the kind of danger that can find base and amplify them grow to a bigger problem than the governance issues with the vehicle through which the ideology found space became amplified. i think now that is contained and is now fully eliminated. it is there. but despite the success of the electoral, government and government issues need to remain a priority in engage the channel of communication to problem
solve together and managed the next chapter. that will be the best in my view, mechanism to prevent violence, whether coming from internal issues are coming from terrorist organizations. >> thank you you know we can open it up to the public. please identify yourself and your institution if you wish. this lady right here. >> thanks to all of you for doing this. trudy rubin from the "philadelphia inquirer." you mentioned the neighbors have to play a part. i want to ask how you all envision the neighbors not causing future chaos inside iraq. can the u.s. play a role without being dead were attempted to be pushed out by iran with a new
role for russia. can the saudi's and the iranians both play a role inside of iraq without playing games on soil. i'd also like to ask, how will that be seen in iraq and will that be seen as a sign that the u.s. has no staying power for the future in iraq. [inaudible] >> you can go first. >> okay, well, you know, we don't want iraq or kurdistan to be the theater for proxy warfare among our neighbors or anybody else. iraq already has enough problems recovering from decades of marxism and all of the issues we've had since 2003 and of
course i says. so we have enough problems. we really don't need anymore gifts from our neighbors. in the rapprochement between baghdad and riyadh is important. the relationship with kuwait has been improving. in the kurdistan region we have good relationships with the neighbors. the biggest investors in the curtis and region. we have a good relationship with iran and turkey. it may not look like that from the outside, but our leadership have always maintained a good relationship. i do think the u.s. has a role to play and so does the coalition, not just the u.s. alone. a sudden with draw from syria would send a frightening message unless there is a next the nation that comes with it that makes everybody think yes, okay that is why.
right now, we just hear alarming things about the explanation. we don't know how it's going to turn out. i would say that we do need our neighbors come and the neighborhood to realize it is in their interests to have a stable and prosperous iraq that is a good neighbor to them and plays a positive role in the middle east and in that i include kurdistan as part of iraq, but also we have our road semi-independent relations with those countries. but at the end of the day, the international community, the u.n., they all have a role to play as well. >> thank you, trudy. it is in the interest of everybody to prevent prices from reemerging. and i think that is one of the drivers that brought the saudi's
back to iraq. they were threatened by isis. isis used to be -- isis stands for the islamic state in iraq and syria. remember they changed their name, meaning that they targeted not only iraq and syria, but the whole muslim world including saudi arabia. everybody has a stake in preventing them. with regard to syria, we still suffer from syria appeared still to this day we have insurgents are jihadist crossing the border into iraq in wreaking havoc. so as an operational first step, what we need to do is secure the border. this is something the united states is with. for the foreseeable future, we need to realize and recognize in washington as it is in bad dad and bringing in favorable
result. with regard to relationships between the other countries, it is in our interest to see the tensions are fused in the region. as you know, we have played a role in order to bring people together. in fact, one of the things the united states has been very successful at, one of the achievements of the state department was to help bring saudi's back to iraq. as you know, the foreign minister went to bag dad, which was an icebreaker at the request of the state department. so that is where we are. there is no question that we need to have continued engagement with the united states. people do not realize the cost in terms of our troop.
the tip of this fear of the iraqi armed forces, and they suffered the casualty rate of about 30%. they need to be rebuilt his strength and >> very quickly, i think the u.s. leading role is critical. i cannot recall a single conversation from a syrian or iraqi must not hold for the communities the u.s. has an important role to play. the same way we talk about lessons learned in the past about continuing support, we need to be careful about the past and the trillions of dollars are asking for. they are asking for support to
bring to be inclusive and for building capacity. that is important. when the u.s. is not engaged, those processes will not happen and it gives hesitation to the u.s. allies weather in europe or in the region that they will not do that kind of roles they are playing now. the u.s. engagement, leading engagement is what the region is asking for and the iraqis are asking for. >> of course what we were really looking forward is a broader engagement to the united states. you know, we are facing a reconstruction is that we would very much like to see the united take private sector very much engaged. >> another question. yes, right here.
[inaudible] >> thank you for talking about what we need is good governance after daish. you know it's militia everywhere , they have the government, parliament and the judiciary. and now they are coming with the next election. how did the foreign investor make an initiative to invest in iraq? >> thank you.
thank you for that. these issues were discussed at the conference and kuwait and they engaged itself to streamline the processes and to make them, including setting up a mechanism that will follow the investments to ensure there is minimal corruption and inefficiencies. the independent can only be secured and unfortunately we start from a very low base point. iraqi institutions have been completely wiped out identified as sanctions, then by the occupation. we are in the gradual process of rebuilding them and making them as secure as possible. it takes time, but i can assure you there is really good faith effort to do that.
>> let's try to get another question over here. >> .i'll amend with new america. we can ask 100 questions today, but let's start with how do you keep your people on board as you go through all of this recovery and transformation? when you talk to all the ethnic groups in iraq, the shia are deeply upset about the lack of services. the sunni of course have been decimated and we've been watching the demonstrations in the north. how do we keep these people on board with what will inevitably be slow and disappointing levels of recovery, even if the progress does move forward. >> i think that's a really critical question. i'm beginning to focus on
kurdistan in disputed territories. people are very tired. kurdistan and 2014 had several shocks. first, prime minister mlicki caught up the share of the federal budget and then isis came and we were engaged in a very expensive war, both financially and human life. we were flooded with refugees and displaced people and that the oil prices crashed. it is now four years that the people of kurdistan have endured economic stress. the humanitarian crisis, with dell have 1.5 million displaced people in refugees. that is impacting not only done because they can't go home. the tents they are and are now four to six years old if they are friends area, other parts of iraq. the food distribution is under stress. the health care system and
kurdistan is under stress. we now have many more children in our schools and we have expected. after four years, everybody's out of reserves. there is no more saving for people to tap into and not those for everybody. it is not surprising that there are protests and i think we have to recognize that the majority of these protests are legitimate and the grievances are legitimate. i think you raise a very important question and the kurdish leadership at least focusing on them but i would say this applies to every leader in iraq. we need to convey messages to the public that they believe in. there is an erosion of trust across the board between the public and the leadership and it is very hard to rebuild that trust. but we can't keep making the same old promises. we have to make promises that really embrace the issues we face today and provide a
solution that's realistic. we don't want to raise expectations that lead to disappointment. >> anything you want to act about? >> at him and this is one of the questions that keeps me up at night. you do all this work if you have no isis, and no terrorism coming that could be the frustration of people that take down governments local or otherwise. what we have found extremely useful is engagement of the community can have a variety of benefits, preventative value in managing people's frustration and trust doesn't come. trust can not come back. they have to see and build. the iraqi minorities engage in
the participatory budgeting process where they have engage their communities, identified their priorities and mrs. are you isis, with the national government for passing legislation to enable those changes. they identified how much money as they are, what are their priorities and they manage their own expectations in terms of what would work. so they are now trying to enable the minority community. i've seen his success. has limitation, but we need to scale this up for you provide processes for local issues that could be local and unique to certain places, but you need a wide range of those and you need the same thing at the national level. when these processes lead to agreements, those agreements need to be respected and implemented and for them to be
implemented, you need capacity. this is something that is lacking in the iraqi petition that needs to be worked on. >> we have time to make your -- ask your question. >> you're absolutely right. managing expectations is a difficult thing to do because expectations are so high. but the government has to do then is prioritized and try to achieve successes that will add to it legitimacy. what i can do is listen and they are. people in government are paying attention to what people are saying in iraq. they should address correction. that is a big issue people are talking about. another issue is mismanagement. in fact, one has to say mismanagement probably cost iraq much more than corruption. i think looking forward, holding
that the elections in fair and transparent way in itself will be a success that will add to the credibility of the government. >> yes, right here. [inaudible] >> thanks so much. i have a quick question for ambassador yasseen. can you please explain to us the makeup of the coalition ahead of the election because it seems that there are some very unusual alliances and from studying the makeup of the coalition, and it seems to an outsider that the object it is to decrease or minimize iran's influence. could you give us some idea, for example, prime minister maliki was aligned with harshaw be and then he withdrew from this alliance.
they cannot discern the the outside, it's very unusual. can you just give us some insight into how these coalitions are formed and perhaps with the object as is? thank you. >> trend people see in the formation of these coalitions as they are multiethnic and multi-sectarian. in other words, they constitute a cross-section of the iraqi population. more important than not, their discourse is multiethnic, multi-sectarian and in fact did it. you can see this as a consolidation of a trend we've seen for a number of years or for example, mr. maliki's coalition that won in 2010 was called the state of law. iraqis yearn for a state of law. four years later, the coalition of the supreme council was named the coalition of the citizen, respect the citizens.
we are going in this direction and i think one of the marquee examples of this current electoral season in iraq that we have is the alliance between the communists who would've imagined not. so this is one of the reasons why people are actually help pull that we are on track to move from identity politics to issues politics. >> thank you very much. thank you, all. that concludes this session. [applause] >> in the discussion on iraq is very a continuous now from the u.s. in judah piece in washington d.c. on how to stabilize in iraq and syria after races. >> -- analysis research and tools for doing that. we have a deep focus on
turbulence in the middle east here and in iraq we have operated continuously since 2003 and have a deep appreciation for consolidating military gains with the program that helps create a more sustained peace. .. for iraq, for the region, for the world and what are the roles of key actors. this afternoons panel focuses on the front during a stabilizing iraq in syria after isis we are honored to have with us some of the most knowledgeable and
appropriate experts to help us have that conversation. general joseph votel is here with us who served as the command of the united states central command for the last two years. we also have ambassador mark green, the administrator of usaid, and brett mcgurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat isis at the u.s. department of state. i'm also very honored that we have with us our usip board chair, stephen hadley, who preaches served as a national security adviser under president bush. -- previously served. it's a knowledgeable panel. i'm delighted to turn it over you, steve. >> thank you, nancy. welcome. thank you all for coming. what we going to do is we're going to go into each of our three speakers about five minutes to opening presentation. we'll just go down the aisle,
and then i'll engage in some questions with them for about 20 minutes, and then for the last 20 minutes we will take on the audience. you hopefully pick up little cards as you came in. please write your question on the cards, passed into the aisle. they will be collected and then set up to me and will try to get through with as many of them as we can. let's begin in terms of opening presentations, joseph votel. >> first off it's great to be here. appreciate the invitation. it's great to be with ambassador green and brett mcgurk who has been a partner really throughout the whole process here, and really, really appreciate the opportunity to come and talk to you today. certainly us nancy said, today is a pivotal day in many, many different respects. with respect to our ongoing operations here in iraq and syria. i look forward to talking with you a little bit about that today. what i'd like to do is mainly
kind of level the bubbles a little bit on where we are militarily in both these locations. so as we step in and talk about some of the other challenges that are apparent in the apartment here, you can understand the basis from which we are currently operating from a security standpoint. i think the first thing to highlight to is the situation is going to different in iraq than it is in syria. try to highlight a little of that for you. let me just start off by sharing with you from our perspective, as we've watched this campaign unraveled, really unfold the last couple of years, in my current position as centcom commander but before that as a special operations commander bui was really indirect support of general austin and his efforts
and very much involved in this, i i would tell you at this point if we were to go back a year or so ago we are probably six to eight months ahead of where we had anticipated on being at this particular point. the military success that we've had throughout the campaign has been quite extraordinary, and it has moved very quickly as we been through some very lengthy fights, mosul was a nine-month fight led by the iraqis agouti forces, supported the coalition. raqqa about the same, very difficult fights but as we have come to these major urban battles, the follow-up special in iraq has been very, very rapid and has moved much faster than even we had anticipated it would. i think that's been a characteristic of what we are seeing. it is something that as a military professional we are always very cognizant of, as our
security situation, getting out in front of the rest of the lines of operation, lines of effort that have used a pace with us pick it's very interesting to me as we get ready to go into mosul 18 months ago as we are doing this, we tried to make sure that our military planning was very closely aligned to our development and stabilization planning and the humanitarian aspects that had to go along with that as well as with the political planning that had to take place. as i remarked to a number of people, in many regards the military aspect of this has been the easier part of this. it is of course the aftermath that is the stabilization, the bring back of governance and everything else to these situations that really i think is a much more challenging in the long run. so let me just talk briefly about what we are in both of these situations. in iraq with the assistance of
the coalition and with a lot of hard work by the iraqis with essentially transition and army that in 2014 was running away from isis into one that, by last fall, , was conducting what i would describe as major large unit operations, division and core level size and be very, very successful of it as look at what happened in mosul, this was large units, maneuver around the battlefield all the conjunction with one another and very effectively, for effectively doing that. as they came out of that operation, iraqis agouti forces very quickly moved to consolidate their success with a variety of other operations, some with coalition support, many of them without coalition support to really complete what i would describe as the liberation of their terrain from isis.
and as you saw last december that was essentially the announcement that prime minister made was announcing a liberation of it. since that time they've continued to conduct a variety of additional operations. again, some with our assistance that many without our assistance, to consolidate their games and get after the underlying presence of isis that does remain in this area. i think it's important both of these areas, while in iraq where we liberated, they are no longer governing, the longer exerting taxes, no longer performing governmental functions like they have in the past but there still is a presence and so the iraqi security forces are very much focused on that. they have also begun, the iraqis agouti forces have also begun the transition from large-scale operations, major combat
operations to what they need to do now, which is much more white air security operations. which begin require them to develop upper right of military skills that will allow them to address kind of the insurgent or guerrilla type tactics that we would expect to see from isis at this particular stage. we are working very closely with them. they are coming out of a long fight, although that stretched, a little bit tired in terms of that so we are working with them to help them recover and get back into normal cycles. i do expect we will continue to see a reliant on the cts as one of their principal fighting elements. they have really been strong since the beginning. we will continue to see that as iraqi security forces kind of step up to the plate and begin to take on more of those tasks in the future.
we will see a heavy focus on the development of iraqis border forces. this will be very, very important. they do not want to have a repeat of what happened before obviously isis is an organization that operates without regard to borders or boundaries or any recognized norm of that sort. and so being able to protect their own borders i think is a key aspect of this. along the way we'll see the coalition forces with the united states continue to provide the support that the government of iraq has asked of them. this is an something we've been talking about with them for some time, so we can remain in a position where we can continue to help them professionalize, continue to help them develop into the security force that the iraqi people need and want to protect them in the future. in iraq i think we're in a pretty good place right now, security wise. there still is the presence of isis.
there's no doubt about that, but i think with the coalition support i think the iraqis security forces are in a pretty good position to begin to address that. the situation syria is a little bit different. as you're well aware and there are many more actors on the ground that influencing this, the russians, the regime, iran, turkey, the united states coalition forces are all involved pixel it's a much more complex situation. as i often discarded people is as the threat of isis has diminished, and it's not gone yet, i'll come back to that in a minute, but you also begun to see the other underlying challenges that are apparent in syria really kind of comes to the forefront. i think this is what we are seeing play out here right now. we have been largely successful militarily in the areas which we been operating against isis.
well over 90% of the caliphate that they control, particularly in the north and eastern portions of the country has been liberated. there still are some areas where they are present, and that we will have to continue to operate on. but the situation continues to come more and more complex. obviously everyone is aware of what is happening along the border, in the borders area. this has had an impact year het it has slowed down operations against isis as a principal partner on the ground has reacted to the situations, and begun to address that in their own way. so what this means for us is that we've got come will have to continue to look at the ways we keep pressure on isis and we continue to develop mechanisms on the ground that help us
de-escalate the situations that continue to arrive so they can be addressed through discussion and diplomacy as opposed to fighting. and so i think this is kind of the situation that we find ourselves at here in syria. again, a lot of very good military progress made over the last couple years. but again the hard part i think is in front of us, and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our games, , gettg people back in the homes am addressing the long-term issues of reconstruction and other things that will have to be done and this of course, there is a military role in this. certainly in the stabilization phase here we had a tendency to talk about this in terms of consolidating our gains and they casually continue to provide the environment that allows these things happen, and i very much see us in that position right now. thank you.
>> administrator green. >> thank you. good afternoon, everyone. it's good to be with you. usip is certainly an appropriate setting for today's discussion. i know in a former life stephen hadley must have asked himself many of the questions we're grappling with today over and over again. and, of course, nancy lindborg as former head of usaid, she knows how important these issues are to us. it's great to be with all of you. it's also an appropriate time to have this discussion. in coming weeks the administration will finalize and rollout the first ever multiagency framework. those issues that were discussing on stabilization, call the stabilization assistance review and it's built upon the lessons that we running in syria, iraq, , but also quite frankly a number of other places, the work we've been doing over the last decade or so. this helps usaid because it
establishes a clear division of labor and responsibilities in the joint effort to usaid, state and dod in stabilization. it also helps us because it delineates mission parameters as quantifiable objectives, as opposed to really open-ended good intentions. stabilization programs are more than just manifestations of american generosity. they are instead key components of our national security planning. they are part of the apparatus that is brought to bear in some of the most chaotic places in the world. to emphasize the czar will be much more about what we are talking about it's that much more than iraq in syria. it is instead array to think clarify and reinforce our working relationship in a number of places in the world, places like the sahel and elsewhere were stabilization may be an important tool that we want to
bring to bear. having said that, i think our experience in syria in northern iraq is certainly taught us a lot and that it has certainly influence our thinking. when i traveled to raqqa a few months back, my objective on behalf of usaid was to make sure that our role, our work there was well defined, that it was in line with our capacities, that which were able to do, but also that fit within our larger purpose and mission as an agency. as you might imagine i was terribly impressed by the work in progress made by general votel and his courageous men and women in uniform but but i goto say i was also particularly impressed with how well the blended civilian military team was working together without significant scenes, without duplication. i think it's important here as we get going to distinguish in
the kind of work that we do at usaid in areas like iraq and syria. so first off we do humanitarian work. the assistance that we provide in a place like syria is, quite frankly, similar to that which we provide in many parts of the world. it's based solely upon need and the availability of resources. so we are doing this kind of work already in place like somalia, northern nigeria, yemen, drc and elsewhere. what we're talking about today, what we are focusing on a something that's quite different, stabilization. first, in syria, we don't provide stabilization assistance in areas that held by the assad government. and that's very important to emphasize. we work closely with the od as well as a larger usg mission, and our work is really aimed at helping civilians to return to and recover in those areas that
are been liberated from isis. in raqqa, stabilization takes a very limited form. it helps to restore those essential services that are the principal barrier to the return to raqqa of syrians who formally resided there. those services are many things like electricity, clean water, availability of medicine, some semblance of education. our footprint there usaid is very modest by design, is very limited, and we work through some of the site in an effort to strengthen the community itself pick so it's not simply about delivering services. it's also about reinforcing community structures so that they have the foundation in the long run to do these things for themselves. the importance of this work was really born out by my time in raqqa with general votel. i remember we went to an idp camp on the outskirts of town
and we interviewed a number of syrians, and we asked them, you know, whether they wanted to go home, first off. every single one without exception said yes, they wanted to go back home to raqqa. and secondly, we ask them what help them back. and it was always those sort of things. it was electricity. i remember one young mother that we spoke to who said that the reason that she wasn't back in on is that husband was diabetic and they couldn't get meds. and so when we're able to help restore those meds, she's going to go home. and that's of course what we want to see. raqqa has been physically devastated. it's truly rubble and damaged building as far as the eyes can see. but even with all of that, some 95,000 syrians have returned home to raqqa. i think that's a testament to the militaries progress. i think it's a testament to a
coordinated, effective, multiagency effort. i think as much as anything it's a testament to the spirit of the syrian people. they want to go home. and so in raqqa what i saw with our modest footprint is not an open ended commitment, but rather a focused mission with a clear definition of success. and that works for us at usaid. as you would from general votel, the same thing is true for usaid, i work in iraq is different. it's quite different. most importantly in iraq we have the advantage of a national governing partner. there is a government that we can work with to do our work and so that allows us to be much more ambitious. in addition to helping to rehabilitate some basic services in a number of communities, we are reinforcing responsive governance and trying to strengthen civil society. in particular we are helping
iraqis prefer for the all-important elections that are coming up in may. of course those of the first election since the expulsion of isis. i personally and have very high hopes for those elections to i think they are a great opportunity for the government hopes to strengthen its inclusiveness and its overall legitimacy in the minds of the people. and i think that a successful election producing a credible outcome is about as strong and lasting a rebuke isis and extremism as i can possibly think of. many of these iraqis as you know were brutally victimized i isis, as a part of our work is targeting those who were disproportionately brutalized and affected. so religious and ethnic minorities, for example, in and around nineveh were working with them in particular to try to create the conditions that will allow them to go home and to rebuild their lives.
and so that's work that we are also doing there. in both iraq and syria, our role in stabilization is very carefully defined, and the specific activities natural as they should vary with the setting. there's no one-size-fits-all approach, at least not one that would accomplish the goals that we all want to see and that the president wants to see. most importantly, our success, use the id success, depends upon the success of the state department in mobilizing international resources and the role, but also of course dod, helping us to have access and security. without their success we can't possibly do what it is that we seek to do. all of this i think has created important lessons for us in the stabilization assistance review report, and i think that will be a lasting positive product from all of the work and all the challenges that we see.
so with that i will turn it over to brett to hear more from the state. >> thank thank you, mark, and gl votel. i just want, for so what you think usip, nancy. i'm honored to be here as always. i want to give a a shout out to your team who did a heroic work, heroic work on the ground from the bottom up in very dangerous places like tikrit in a post isis face to bring different committees together effectively made a big difference on the ground and we are fortunate that work is going to continue. i'm also very honored to be with you, steve. he's been a mentor of mine and so many of us in washington. and, of course, the project serving on your security council. i learned so much that we try to apply here today. let me try to go briefly through pollen on general hotels remarks and administered cream of where we were and then when we are. where we are, i think you sometimes remind ourselves of where we were in 2014.
this was 2014. the summer of 2014, shortly after mosul fell and isis was approaching baghdad at the desperate, how desperate the situation was it truly impossible to exaggerate. we were dusting off plans to possibly if i quit our embassy. that's how serious it was. how do you go from the situation to beginning begin to fight backwards we said we will do some things to try to have a sustainable outcome as we take on this really daunting challenge. first, when we say by, with, and through we really mean it. this is not going to be u.s. forces going in and doing the fighting. this will be ownership and shall be at the were talked about the iraqis, and which will be, we had another conversation with iraqis in the summer about what it would take for them to take back the country. they were really ready to do that. at the time in 2014 we didn't have an iraqi government. there was just an election. we had hoped form a new government. they did form a new government
led by prime minister abadi. i think the new government has been quite effective. but what that map doesn't show is what was happening in those areas, 7.7 million living under isis, acts of genocide were going on, incidents like the camp speicher massacre of primus of body who was just at tikrit, 1500 iraqis shot and good at putting you to. it is really impossible to overstate the desperate miss of that situation -- put on you to peer we had to get the iraqis government ready to fight back and take ownership of the country, stabilize their macroeconomic situation and form a coalition that was going to support them. our coalition for in september 2014, quite symbolic, led by the saudis, about 12 countries to begin with and we now have 75 members of our international coalition. we formed a coalition and begin to work with the iraqis government. we have about 30 members of our coalition military engaged in this in
the fight trained over 100,000 iraqis. i will go through everything that general votel just sit but would begin to launch the campaign to take territory back. if you go to the second map of where we were, okay, so this is what we were at the beginning of last year. we went to presidential administration i hope the storage when you look at the transition from one administration to another we did a pretty smooth, effective transition. we all had about 50% of the job done at the beginning of last year and president trump charged all of us to accelerate the overall campaign and we had a strategic review led by secretary tillerson and secretary mattis in which a number of ideas that were in the hopper to what we can do to accelerate the campaign. and so we worked very hard to do that. we also focused again what we are doing on the stabilization side. when administrator green mentioned what stabilization, i want to be very clear because it is a ruthlessly prioritized approach. we are focused on limited
resources but getting people back into their homes so that means clearing rubble, clearing ieds, getting electricity or water on the ruthless prioritization in very typical conversations we have an effect in a serious but what we can do and what we can't do. the emphasis is also particularly coming from the president on burden sharing. and with our coalition and the coalition we help lead, we make clear this is not a u.s. only mission, and when it comes to stabilization, about 75% of the contributions come from the coalition. but more important and iraq, 80% of the american assistance resources come from the iraqi government. about 50% of the stabilization resources come from iraqi women, about a billion dollars. this is been a coalition led and a truly by with and through approach. let me just go to where we are now. these are the games went over the course of the last 14
months. about 50% of all the gains made against isis came in the last 14 months. and a number of changes put in place early to delegate authority to allow us to move faster militarily but we also very important in the beginning of last year the two very important things. number one, we deployed a civilian team into sherry to help with stabilization. if not on the graph you to have eyes on, you do know it's happening. we had to get people in the grant. secretary tillerson working with administrator green and a joint team usaid and state, in other people on the ground now, to work directly hand in glove with our military on this ruthlessly unitized approach of stabilization, the money, removing rubble, water, electricity, the basics. it's going to be a very effective approach thus far with focus and getting people back into their homes. the statistics i think speak for themselves. stabilization and iraq where it's a lot easier working with the government. we have united nations. it is easy to draw international
resources for something like that. we have an unprecedented number of people returning to their homes in a post-conflict in private. so 3.2 million iraqis have returned to the homes in areas that used to be controlled by isis. this is totally off the charts historically. takes about ten years or so to return that among people in a post-conflict environment, if ever and we managed to do it in a rack in a very amount of time. that is testament to the success of the approach. in syria it is incredibly more difficult that iraq. can't overstate that point in the fear we are not working with a government. we will not work with the government in damascus for obvious reasons. we have worked to get coalition contributions and we do have now about in terms of stabilization assistance, we have only spent total of about $100 million, and have that is on counter ieds. and the coalition has also contributed about the same something that is going up as we speak.
counter ieds, let me just talk about what that actually means. in the rock of my first trip to rocket our team showed us that we found a cell phone from an isis fighter which had the number of ieds planted in rocket. when you launch it on the screen almost every signal structure in rocket has an explosive device wired infrastructure. about 200 civilians returning to raqqa have been killed by ieds. so why are we investing in clearing ieds? because ieds are critical to making sure people don't get killed when you return home. why are we investing in the basics like rubble removal? make sure people can return home, , you can get humanity and eight in the city. electricity and water odyssey speaks for itself. ..
is critical and we are training syrians on this dangerous work andthey are getting the job done . but so almost 100,000 now returned to raqqa. there's a couplenumbers on the map which i want to highlight to help with the discussion we are about to have. the one and two are on the iraqi border where isis still remains and we are committed to finishing the campaign against isis. that is an notorious even for these types of extremist groups in iraq . we are ahead of where we thought we would be at this time but we are not finished.
we have to work work through some difficult issues as we speak and we are often asked how are you going to finish that last part because right now it's slow down? i go back to the map from 2014 where we had much more daunting challenges so we will get this job done clearing out those last areas of crisis. number two on the map is raqqa, raqqa has been a focus of our stabilization efforts and people are beginning to return even in this most difficultenvironment . the final point on the map is mosul. mosul is probably the most important challenging humanitarian stabilization operation we've seen since world war ii. in terms of the scale of the conflict, in terms of the number of idp's. we always planned for the worst case scenario and then mosul, the worst case scenario was 1 million idp's. i remember meetings where that never going to happen, if you have a situation where 150,000, that's almost unmanageable. but we plan for 1 million idp's and rob jenkins helped
put a lot of this together, working with the un and the iraqi government, local authorities and with a coalition that contributed a couple billion dollars to this, we did and up having 1 million idp, out of mosul during the battle and they received shelter and aid but we did not have a humanitarian catastrophe. in east mosul, the city has come back to life. in west mosul where the scale of this construction is much greater, it's obviously going to take much time but 1 million idp and we're getting people back as soon as they can and iraqi is heading into an important period with elections coming up in six weeks and we've been working with the government with that but i wanted to go through where we been to where we are now. the scale of this challenge is unprecedented. theapproach is not just a bumper sticker. local people are taking ownership in their fight .
the ambassador mentioned in his panel today, iraqis took back their country, fought and died to take back their country. the mood is different than what we used to have four or five years ago. it iraqi ownership and they've done an incredible job so now we want to move through to consolidate some of these games which will be difficult but it's probably the most important piece of the puzzle, thank you. >> thank you, terrific presentation . that's what's happening on the ground in one of the nice things is diplomacy and development, where all of your talking about the cooperation. i'm going to ask a couple questions. brett, first two questions for you and one for general motel. there's been a lot of publicity about reports that president trump has frozen
you hundred billion dollars worth of stabilization funds for syria, that he made a comment that it would be coming out of syria very soon. are we on the threshold of a policy shifthere ? >> thanks steve. i'm not going to make any news on the panel but i do, i think it's worth clarifying a couple of things. the presidents been very clear that everything we're doing has to be reviewed and looked at and especially with every us taxpayer dollar that's been spent. so we have a regular review process and particularly on this $200 million we're looking at where can it be spent most effectively. i will say as we undertake this review it is not hampering our work in the field though our diplomats and development experts are,
they have plenty of work to do and also enough resources to continue with that work, particularly the counter ied, everything we mentioned so it is not impacting our operations in the field as we undertake this review. it's also required us to go to our coalition partners and remindthem that the coalition has a big role to play. i didn't mention one thing in the opening and is one of the most important things . i emphasized the regional ownership of this and in the beginning of the administration looking for opportunities. one opening we've been chipping away at and steve and i were part of this with president bush, the opening between saudi arabia and iraq . we finally i think very strongly leadership from prime minister abadi led this and we were happy to be a part of it, a historic opening and that led to really regional investment in the future of iraq. which, we had a meeting in
kuwait, $30 billion of reconstruction of iraq coming from the region and global partners that's not coming from the united states and that's something critically important and something to keep in mind as you review the status. we are in the area to fight isis, that is our mission and the missionisn't over and we are going to complete that mission . >> let me ask a question on the chart, you showed remaining isis areas and there have been press reports that many of our kurdish syrian kurds allies have been examining the fight in the eastern part of the country to try to help out the patriots there. that jeopardize the fight against isis and is there still a path to actually eliminating isis in those remaining areas? >> i think there's always a path and we continue to look at how we work through this issue, i think it's important
to recognize that just over a little bit of half of this 60,000+ horses are arabs. and they remain very engaged with it and we have heardthat remain very engaged with us . so obviously, we have to deal with the situation that we have on the ground here right now but i think we've been able to adjust to the circumstances we find ourselves in now and continue our goal, continue to keep pressure on isis and in these areas that were pointed out by direct. and at the same time continue to work through the other tensions that are very present here in northern syria. >> thank you. >> administrator green, i want to ship to iraq for a minute. when nancylindbergh about their , one gentleman said you know, one three wars in iraq.
one against al qaeda and one the threshold of winning another one against isis but we haven't had an enduring peace. and it was to emphasize as you did and as general motel has the importance of stabilization. part of that of course is near and dear to the heart of the us id is the reconciliation mission. bringing groups that are divided by grievances, by history, threats of brutality , bringing them together both at the national level and the local level. can you talk about what the united states and its allies are doing and what affiliation front in terms of iraq. >> sure. in iraq, one thing we're doing is working to help restore some of the cultural diversity that has been a hallmark of your wrath. so in northern iraq, we are working to help christian
minorities to be able to return home, to feel secure enough to be able to return home and to reestablish their communities. that's one thing we are doing in particular and in fact i know that us ied was our broad agency code creation conference a coupleweeks ago . when we were working with a wide range of civil society groups, iraqi, american but also from other parts of the world. to try to look at this element of reconciliation. on top of that, what we're also doing is strengthening civil society and working with little society groups so in addition to having responsive governance, and capable of governments, permits that are able to deliver services in an equitable way so that groups are disenfranchised, it's also important to strengthen the capability and the role of civil society so that the
needs and desires of citizens can be organized and marshaled in their dealings with the government. so to have effective democratic governance, you have to have a capable government that can deliver . you also need the cultural affect and community constructs that allow those societies and needs to be organized and push forward in the government so that the hard work we're doing there. >>thank you. >> i want to go to questions we received from the audience . general hotel, this one might be for you. in iraq, how do we deal with iranian backed militias building the iraqi military and security forces that of course are charged with protecting shia, sunni minority populations? we've heard about one of the reasons of displaced persons don't know and particularly
kurdish areas because of the shia militias. what's the prescription for dealing with them as part of the process of building a security force? >> there's two key things that have tohappen and one is paramilitary forces have to be brought under the complete control of the government of iraq . the prime minister , i think is working in this direction. he recently made some decisions about control, about maintaining control, about leadership within paramilitary forces and it's in the process of implementing government of iraq control. but that has to take place. the implementation of paramilitary force law that parliament passed the 18 months or so ago needs to be completed and i think now as they come through most of the
major fighting and liberated their terrain from isis, i think we now begin to see the prime minister and his leadership getting to do that. the second ask is that in areaswhere there are paramilitary forces, they need to be replaced by the iraqi army and iraqi border security forces as well . this is a key part of the work we're doing with the government of iraq and with their military leadership right now, to get the recognized military and security forces of the government into the proper places where they need to be, performing the functions they need to perform. iraq doeshave a border security force, they should be on their border, not military forces .so i think those two things, adding paramilitary forces , under the control of the government
is a key facet and then replacing where those forces have been as a result of necessity for the campaigns they've waged with iraqi army, iraqi border security forces i think is another example. >> i've got a number of questions brett, really for you i thinkand others may comment as well about the role of iran. one question about the strength that hezbollah has shown in syria , concerns that iran is building a corridor which you heard in tehran into iraq, syria and into beirut and into lebanon. to what extent is part of our policy to check iranian influence, to interrupt that land bridge? is that part of our policy and if so what are we doing to achieve that policy? >> i think it dovetails on
what general patel said, it's the strength of iraqi securityforces to control their sovereign space, that's what it boils down to and if you look at the trajectory , i think the trajectory is on the side of the iraqi security forces. and also bringing the elements of the forces under control of the state. 2014, the iraqi security forces had collapsed entire divisions. in that vacuum in the summer, no question radiance came in and helped organize what is now known as the apocryphal but one check on a lot of this and this is underappreciated to the extent of iraqi nationalism and pride in their country and the shia religious leadership. nasser crocker used to say iraq influences ultimately self-limiting because of the key differences and sometimes the conversations that happen in washington's analysts,
contract boards irradiance or shia iraq majority so there's like these natural affinities, there are natural economic ties that are going to continue but there's a check on this. and so what we want to try to do is enhance the sovereignty and president trump and his speech at the united nations, the general assembly about state sovereignty. facing the capacity of the iraqis to control their sovereign state and when they come out of a trauma like they have in this war against isis, obviously going to take time and so the election will be important, the formation of new government will be important. obviously if that government wants our coalition to continue and we are prepared to do that, then the secretary general was just an iraq meeting with iraqi officials.
training the iraqi forces to control their sovereign space means controlling their borders, taking on outlaw groups that are not responsive to the state. it also means a final thing and i'm sorry, i saw you in the front row here and i want to obviously interviewed to our colleagues making sure that governor beal is working together. the password to have fought and died in huge numbers. multilateral emotional would not have worked without their cooperation. i think we have that relationship now back on a decent track but that has to continue. the iranians are very effective at exploiting themes and iraqi society though this is a long-term effort but it really boils down to iraqi sovereignty using the capacity of their institutions but particularly their security forces which i think now has a prehistoric relationship with our coalition and obviously we hope that can continue. >> that's one of the reasons that you referenced the importance of elections. so having credible elections which is why the us
government and others are helping to strengthen the capacity of the election commission, working with domestic observers groups so that the results are credible and projected out, also those back on the influence of iran with others because you will have a popularly collected credible government and that still is an important space. >> thank you, very helpful. a word about hezbollah and syria, too soon to talk about that? there's a lot of concern about how to use online irradiance influence in syria irradiance are not calling the shots? >> in syria. >> syria, as general patel said is a far more complicatedspace . our president is incredibly effective and strong but also obviously focused on the counter isis mission. >> we have worked very closely with obviously our key allies, in particular israel on southwest syria. we negotiated toward the middle of last year a
cease-fire zone in southwest syria and is the only cease-fire in syria negotiated meter by meter along the line of contact and obviously in jordan and i'm thinking bella was a key driver, to make sure that area is stable. a key element of that agreement is a portion north of what we call the contact line where irradianceforces , that's not something the russians have signed up for. and we are in regular discussions with the russians on this area they have obligations. we also have obligations in the southwest zone and it's something we will continue but we are committed to doing all we can to make sure the thresholds do not the borders of our allies. and following our allies surrounding syria. to your question, israel and jordan. that is something we are committed to and where working at in the diplomatic sphere in which i cover.
>> thank you very much. >> this is a question for administrator green from the ambassador. we can help you if that's alright. >> syria and iraq have important yes for us that are capable and sometimes wealthy. they have the attachments to their home countries, especiallyminorities in those countries . does the usaid have anyway or mechanism into these iraqi american or syrian american resources to help in the stabilization of the process? >> i don't know that i can say we've done it as we should. or as much as we should but certainly we've seen a number of places in the world in modern times where leaders have tapped into the diaspora. and we have a diaspora here that's vital, that's capable,
skilled and resourced and i think they need to be part of a long-term solution so it's something we need to do certainly more than we have. >> . >> general, one question. >> we seen the united states now engaged in this part of the region,particularly in iraq for a long talk . >> what if the us military learned in the counter isis fight. that will inform our posture in an approach to counterterrorism problems more generally? >> what are the lessons learned that you are incorporating in with doing this that you learned from our 15 year involvement there? >> that's a great question and the answer that i would apply here is kind of mentioned by president evan that the importance of a thorough approach that we are applying not justmilitarily but as you heard, in many different ways .
just this truly does represent different approaches to how we have waged war and in iraq and how we have done it across the region in the past. and what this does is it puts the onus on our partners on the ground. to develop local solutions to largely local problems. and it puts the onus on them to own the results of this and i think this is for me and for us, the military, i think it's the key lesson. as we are often reminded, our own advisers from the battle of mosul, our job is to help our partners fight not just for them but when you are able to ingrain that thought process into our advisors and our leaders on the ground, i think we saw amuch different approach to how we were doing this . and i actually think the iraq these , and even as it carried over into syria, with the syrian democratic forces,
we did not try to do this and we tried to enable them,we tried to advise them and give them the benefit of our experience . with this. i think that's largely paid off. as we look across the region, we look to find the approach that we're putting in place and afghanistan. i think this is reflective of that. we certainly are drawing on all our capabilities, to bring you know, superior airpower into this. our linkage with development in diplomacy, and that's a key aspect of this of course but i think as i look across, i think there's the way that we operate in this fear. and ithink it is , a lot of this allows us to do our interests, to represent, to accomplish our objectives also it allows our partners on the ground, as well.
i think this is a much improved approach. so i think it's a big lesson for me. >> we are running short of time.i have a question for mister patel and then one for you, administrator deanna and then we will call next. another question about the role of turkey. a difficult question for general patel, we'reconcerned about turkish attacks into iraq , a question about the promise that was made in the kurdish forces thatwould withdraw east of the euphrates, that has not been kept . where are we with this struggle, with turkish interests versus our interests in syria? >> i think we are in a very robust dialogue with turkey
about this. one of the important things that we've learned here in syria and with a lot of actors on the ground is you do have to have a mechanism to talk to people. you have to have a mechanism to de-escalate situations and try to resolve them through discussion or coordination and the confliction so we don't have nato allies on nato allies. we don't have activities we don't want. so where we are is we are very much engaged with them. as i think everyone is aware, we've been talking with them and continue to talk with them about this and my objective is to continue to make sure we have that good open line of communication, where they feel the need to have operations for their own security and we have the ability to talk with them about that and make sure that we are the conflicting and make sure that we are not
putting our forceposition where they have to make binary choices . >> do you want to add anything to that? >> i go back a little bit on mine. we had a plan a to go from west to east with the opposition forces we are working across the more a line, if you follow the situation in that timeframe but we invested a tremendous amount in those forces and airpower from general patel's forces and our coalition and they just weren't able to make much progress. at the same time pulsing through their time we had brussels attackers at the brussels airport, the major paris attack, so we had to make difficult decisions and we work through that with the church at the time, with the stf which ran a very successful operation in
bondage and which broke the back of isis in that pocket then allowed moderate opposition forces, many of which were back my turkey both from west to east and then the euphrates shield to close off that isis and since then, i want to knock on wood before i say this but we haven't had the type of attack we were seeing. they would train a little combat terrorism unit, go gather at longridge and then infiltrate out and conduct their attacks in european cities. we haven't had that since the euphrates shield operation to close that pocket. where we are now is the black process resolved attention across that, that demarcation line. >> it is incredibly complex. i just the complexity of this is not the us turkey conversation. it is on the ground in syria. it is why we need to go and work with these guys on the ground because the different groups, within bondage, you have, these are mostly people , arabs who live here, but
they put people working with the turks also from bondage. but they have a very different orientation. from our many of the opposition groups outside of monday's are much more for lack of a better word more islamist orientation. some women are covered, so and is much more of an interest active, secular environment. that's a very deep ideological divide and that makes the problem harder than just to say we've got to get the kurds over the river and everything will be fine. we have to work through this diplomatically with our nato allies and asian been here last week . we also have to reassure our partners on the ground. and believe me, the regime and other actors are not just sitting on the sidelines, they're talking to everybody to so this is complex and we are fortunate we have a good dialogue with the turks and were also on the ground regularly talking to the folks in longridge and general patel goes in there quite a bit. so we're working through this, it's very complex and again, we want to keep eyes
on the prize on isis because isis is not finished and so that's something that is first and foremost in our conversation. now with this issue and many others. >>. >> last question for you administrator. a questionabout minorities , particularly working with christians, disease and other minorities in the planes. >> can you talk a little bit about what you're doing to reassure them. and make sure they safely return. >> requesting. and an important part of our work. first we are working closely with undp at making sure that resources continue to be focused there and in other places as well but making sure resources reach that area. >> secondly, we've used innovative financing tools,
that's the technical term but it's basically a conference in which we bring in a number of interested parties, ngos, even other governments and really explore different ways of taking care of the primary barriers to those communities returning home and privately, the biggest one is security. and security that they believe in and have faith in and so we are exploring how that might be accomplished using a range of partners. resources we have available and again, some of that us ip has been involved in in terms of the ideas and in a few weeks time i'll be returning to the region andwe hope to have some proposals we can begin work on. the key is taking innovative ideas from a variety of sources, bringing in new partners to refresh the relationships and identify local pilots . >> we come to the end of our time and i think it's been a terrific panelea