tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 11, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
but, also, we have to take into consideration that those people that are released. those terrorists, they themselves have the potential in a lot of times it's been fulfilled to go back with and engage in terrorism. the dilemma we are facing is, again, how do you weigh lives against lives. if you know there is a person or persons, a citizen or a soldier that have been kidnapped. they have a face, they have a name. they have parents, they have family, they have friends. we are a very small country and everybody knows everybody. at the same time, you are asked today release arch terrorists that once released will probably go back to terrorism and then they might kill an indefinite number of people that you still don't know their identities and their face and their families. but when it happens, and it just
recent happened in recent months with six israelis killed as a result of terrorist activities that some of the people who were released during our last prisoner deal, have been involved in different levels. this raises a huge dilemma for the israeli society. and a huge dlilemma for the government. so these are questions that are very, very difficult to answer. and there are no good answers. you can think of pro and cons for each way that you might choose to answer it, and this is on ongoing effort that we are still, i think, very much in the midst of it. one of the famous israeli experts on this issue suggested, for example, that there have been changes in the way the
terrorist organization conducted their kidnapping activities as a result of the way that the government of israel chose to react to them. so there is a significant difference between those kidnapping attacks that went on in the 70s and the ones that we experience since the 80s to this day. the main difference is that in the 70s you would have this incidence where there would be a takeover by terrorists of a facility. it could have been a school, a bath, a house. a known facility and they would take hostages. and then they would start making their demands and the bargaining yes or no would start.
that allowed for a situation where instead of actually starting negotiation to release the hostages, the government of israel chose when it was possible to try a military option, a military takeover, taking on the terrorists and releasing the hostages without taking the ransom. so not yielding to terrorism. that, in fact was the policy that was put forward by prime minister rabin. when there was a possibility to try and militarily take down the terrorist and release the hostages, you do not negotiate. you do not start the negotiate. however, the second part of it was that when this possibility does not exist, you in fact, do start negotiations and you try to see which of their demands
you can answer. and the reason is that you cannot leave people in this situation just abandon them completely. and so we never really had a policy of no negotiation because that would have been, i think, for the israeli society, almost unbearable. one of the reasons that we have to take into consideration, we had different cases of hostage taking from school children, families, what have you. but there has been a growing tendency, i'm afraid, of kidnapping soldiers. and while we share with most of the countries in the world this notion that there is a duty, there is a commitment by states to their citizens, and states do need to do their best to protect the live and the well-being of their citizens.
there is an additional commitment when it comes to the state of israel because we have conscription and a general drafting. boy and girls, when they turn 18, go to the army, especially from the jewish population in israel. both boys and girls. they go to the army, they enlist. the country sends them to defend itself. and when they are taken hostage or kidnapped in this context, the country has an additional duty to get them back. this is part of what was mentioned here with respect to the u.s. you don't leave a wounded soldier behind. you don't leave soldiers behind. and it is, i think, a very strong notion in israel. some would argue it's more than a contract that the state of israel has with its soldiers than it is a contract that the state of israel has with the parents. if a mother and father are
expected to send kids at the age of 18, they expect from the state of israel to do its best to make sure that if there is a possibility for them to come back home, this is what the state should do. so what happened in the 80s was that since the different terrorist organizations saw that the government prefers to do everything possible in order not to conduct negotiation, but is actively trying to release -- by the way, with a terrible price. we had cases of both hostages and the soldiers that participated in their release attempt were killed. i'm sure you're all aware of the famous case where we had an air france airplane that was abducted to uganda and only the israeli hostages stayed. at the airport there. and there was a very heroic release attempt. actually, most of the hostages got back safe and sound. there was a lady who was
hospitalized then and she died. but, actually, we took losses and the famous one was, in fact, the birth of our prime minister. in the 80s we saw a change of the strategy and tactics of the terrorist organizations. they understood that as long as they operate in a known place, there would be some attempt to forcefully release the hostages. so what they tried to do from then onwards was actually kidnap an israeli citizen, be it a soldier or a citizen and take him somewhere unknown, preferably outside the state of israel where it would be different for the idf and security organizations to find him. there, actually, you leave the state no other chance but to start an negotiation.
if, indeed, there is a moral religious what have you commitment to bring our citizens and soldiers back home. and there started what a lot of people see nowadays as a slippery slope where you had some very famous deals and you could see a trajectory where the price just goes higher and higher. the ratio between the number of the hostages or kidnapped people that were released and the number of prisoners were released by security became bigger and bigger. in fact, in the last 30 years or so we released more than 7,000 people and got 16 people back. so the ratio is something like 450 to one. but, in fact, some of those deals, for example, the last
deal we actually had 1,027 people released in order to get him back. now, having said that, with a lot of criticism in israel on the deal, on the ratio, on this slippery slope, one has to say that there is -- for each deal with all the criticism there was a lot of popular support. i think in that case it was something like 80%. each deal was applauded by the society. no one can resist the picture of a young soldier going back to his father and mother. it's just -- it's the human thing. it's the human reaction. so you have the very rational and logical analysis or where does it put the state of israel. then you have the emotional, personal, everybody thinks of their sons and daughters when they go to the army. you cannot compare between the
two. it is -- it's a heartbreaking issue. we had families of victims of terrorism that tried to protest. again, for the decision maker, this is a very, very difficult dilemma to make. i should add to that. this is something also unique to the state of israel. that one of the things you should consider when releasing prisoners to get a kidnapped person back, is not just that you are encouraging or creating motivation, you know, incentive for the next kidnap or hostage taking, not just that you're releasing terrorists that by the way, when in jail our experience shows they only get more radicalized, more experience, they get operational training from other comrades and they become much more dangerous. by the way, when they are released, they become a role model for young people in their
communities. their release actually helps recruit new members to that terrorist organization. there's a whole myth that is created around them. and it has the -- the impact is much more than just releasing one individual or a thousand. an interesting question is what does it do to the deterrence of the state of israel against its different enemies? and the problem is that hostage taking as terrorist actions enlarge are part of an asymmetric war who does not bow to any accepted rule of law. this is the way of getting more and -- we as a country who defends itself against different threats need to deter our enemies from continuance in this
path. there is a lot of questions in israel, when a country accepts that. when you release 1,000 people for one person, does that, in fact, hurt and curtail our deterrence? there are lots of non-state terrorist organizations in the region. it they' they're all watching, they're all drawing their conclusion. if their conclusion isn't, look this is a society that is so sensitive to the life of one individual, so we should try to do our own actions or our own hostage taking and get more and make israel do this or do that. and, in fact, the leader of hezbollah likes to talk about the fragile society of israel and compare us too all kinds of
non-flattering description. but i can also argue -- i think this is something that a lot of people share in israel, that this is actually a sign of strength of the society. the society is willing to take such big risks. and knowingly, knowingly release arch terrorists and the bloodiest murderers you can think of that killed children and babies knowingly and intentionally from prisons to get one person back. this is a sign of strength. this is a sign of solidarity. this is a sign of commitment. and this makes a society actually stronger. when the society is stronger, the country is also stronger. with all the vulnerabilities that this creates. i don't have -- i cannot answer one or the other. this is an ongoing debate. i would say, though, that there have been some attempts lately in the last three years or so to
try and set new rules. rules that would in a way limit the discretion of the government and of the prime minister, actually, when deciding on -- in such sensitive and complicated cases. and we're all hoping not to face this situation again. i should add, by the way, that this type of kidnapping, this episode that we've been experiencing since the 80s, they usually take a few years because it is so complicated to conduct this kind of negotiation. that this is not an episode of days or hours like was the case when, you know, the hostage taking took place inside israel itself. but people can be in captivity for years. one man was in captivity for five years of his life. while this is going on, the
family is going through unspeakable misery. and the society that those people who know them and those people who get closer to them in the process, they're all going through very emotional and very painful situation. and this is something that is very much -- very much present in the daily life in israel while it is taking place. and every few years, we have such an episode. so hoping not to reach a new one. there was an attempt to set new rules. the attempt actually started before the last release. the ministry of the defense chaired by the former chief justice of our supreme court of justice, and this committee was charged with coming up with new rules. not just about the price but about all the relevant
questions. who should be responsible for conducting the negotiation and what would be the limitation and so on and so forth. the idea, the decision from the very start was that this will not have affect on the deal because this was an ongoing case. they didn't want to risk it. and so they did not publish, but they concluded -- their conclusions a short period after he returned to israel. and the conclusions were submit today t ed to the minister of defense because they are binding and confidental. we do not want our enemies to understand what they're dealing with. if they had the manual it would make them easier for them to come up with the most efficient ways for them to apply in the next incident. but a lot of people presume that
the idea is to limit the price. and to arrive at the much more reasonable ratio. you would still have room for maneuvering for the government to conduct the negotiation. you will never reach a situation where, you know, a person is taking hostage. the country says i'm sorry i cannot negotiate. this would be unacceptable in israel. but the government could not be extorted in the way it has been in reason years by the terrorist organizations that confront us. because they know there's no limit on the numbers. i should say here, we were asked and we paid a price, also, for some idea on the medical condition of a kidnapped soldier. if he's alive or dead. we were asked to pay for corpse, for dead soldiers, for remains of corpses. there's no limit to the cynical
views of this kind of extortion. people did feel this is a slippery slope. i won't relate to ongoing cases, naturally, but i would say this was a serious attempt to lay down rules. other attempts that were more public was in some legislation that was introduced. it also limits the authorities before that it was the president's authority to pardon prisoners that were sentenced for life. that would be most of the terrorists that murdered people. but, also, some other heinous terrorists. it's not just about terrorists, it's about murderers of this kind at large. and this created a situation where -- again, hopefully we'll not get to another situation of this sort. but it would be a different attempt, maybe, and a different experience, also, for the government and mainly the
minister of defense who is now -- who is getting more powers and authorities of this issue in the new set of rules to conduct this in a way that might be more reasonable in the eyes of the society and the government. but, again, i have to say no easy answers. nobody knows how that would actually work. this is an ongoing dilemma because it is a dilemma that cannot be solved. when human lives are put one against the other. nobody can say the answer is a or b. hopefully, i won't have to discuss it next time and say what was our experience and what are the lessons that we've learned. but i'll leave you with this hope and i'm open to take any questions later. [ applause ]
>> okay. now we're coming to our last but not least speaker. dr. ullman as i mentioned before is a senior advisor to the political counsel. and also to the business executives for the national security. and i think i should really mention that most recently also the distinguished fellow and good friend and a very distinguished journalist. thank you. >> his real fame was a young naval officer. he was so damn smart they got rid of him, too. >> it's all yours. >> thank you. don and yonah, it's good to be here. it's always good to be with the
29th commandant of the marine corp. i've learned a lot of things from him. most importantly he taught me on a battlefield brains rather than bullets win wars but don't ever discount the power of a bullet. i'm going to be fairly brief. i have to apologize because i have another meeting i have to go to. so i may have to leave early. i want to provide ideas that i hope are thought provoking. let me begin with this, i think one of the greatest dangers posed to us is not so much physical threat to american citizens, other citizens, but the threat to the constitution. what al qaeda has done through terrorism has highlighted the tensions between protecting civil liberties and protecting the nation. we do not have a good response. what you see at guantanamo bay is a question whether these captured individuals should be
treated as criminals or enemy combatants. we have not resolved that. you see the dilemmas in the national security agency. how far can they go in trying to protect the nation and not violate civil liberties. this is ongoing. it's going to get a lot worse. it's something we tend to ignore at our peril. second, the best armies navies, air forces and marine corp -- i say that. are incable of fighting an ideology army that has no army, air force or marine corp. we see that with the islamic state. the third point is that while we talk about resolving these things with a comprehensive approach, how many of you have not heard the term comprehensive approach or all aspects of government? not just the department of
defense. but because the department of defense is the best resourced, best organized most functional agency in the u.s. government of size, by default, it takes on all these issues. it can't do that. it cannot solve the terrorism problem. unless you get to the roots of the terrorism problem which are a combination of idealogy and physical need. whether deprivation or psychological satisfaction you're not going to be able to deal with t. we have not been very capable because our government system is not organized for this very, very massive comp rehencrehensive de series of dangers. we're oriented on the cold war and bilateral. with a huge enemy such as the soviet union. we have to change our mindset. i have been arguing to a brains-based strategy for a very long time.
as beethoven said, i shall hear in heheaven. let me tell you about something you may not have considered. first, cyber crime. anybody not aware of cyber crime, anybody not read the headlines the other day about ukrainian cyber thieves who stole $100 million by getting data? i got news for you. that's going to get even better and better. because what happens when i get into the records of companies and let's say i want to bet the stock market. i want to bet a price of share goes up and down and i can manipulate that data. i'm a 12-year-old terrorist living somewhere in ramadi and i have access to the internet. what is going to prevent me or my colleagues from making huge amounts of money by cyber crime and by leveraging these things? it's going to get a lot worse. the annex to that is cyber
blackmail. supposing i am a member of the islamic state and i decide i'm going to threaten pep co. because i can shut down the power grid in washington, d.c. what happens if i'm with pet co and i get a threat i know is valid? what do i do? by the way, they just happened to shut down part of my power grid. now, this goes even a step further. because i believe the islamic state is going to be conducting cyber blackmail against individuals. let me give you ragreat case. this is not the islamic state but a bunch of cyber thieves. a very rich woman, hugely rich, personal assistant got an e-mail from this woman saying would you spend $250,000 because i bought abc. by coincidence the assistant said i'm going to take care of the deal. the woman said what deal. what happened was the cyber thugs were able to get into
these e-mail accounts and were able to forge this woman's way of speaking, had all sorts of access. al now, what happens when the islamic state that's desperate for dollars decides it's going to commit this kind of blackmail? it's going to call up family abc and d and say unless you do the following we'll kill your relatives. these are things for which we have to repair. the final point i'll make by hostages, what happened when the first american serviceperson is captured by the islamic state. worse, supposing it is a woman. and supposing they have three or four or five or ten american service captatives. now, are they going to say we're going to crucify them one at a time and show that on youtube and what's the response going to be, or are they going to say we have captured ten of your servicemen and we'll sell them
back to you for $100 million and everything 24 hours we'll going to execute them. what does the president of the united states do? this may be the fixture of hollywood and movies. it's something we have to think about. the problem of thinking about it is that we have such a divided government and animosity between both parties. even if a president were to assemble congress and say if these what ifs transpire we have to be able to have a non-partisan way of responding. can you imagine what happens if the next president is faced with this when there is an american serviceperson hostage and the president says we have to do abc&d. whether republican or democrat i can guarantee you the other side is going to say you are the worst president on the other side. defeating whatever policies that president may have. there are solutions. but those solutions require a mature responsible government. and quite frankly, and don was
quite kind to mention my book, a handful of bullets. how the murder of arch duke furd nand. we see it here hin washington. we see tin afghanistan and syria. we see it around the world. how do you deal with that? the second is economic dislocation. similarly has global consequences. religious,i ideological extremim is what we're talking about and environmental calamity. the biggest danger right now when we're deal ing with the issue of hostages and terror is how do we make a broken government work under these circumstances. i will leave you with the answers to find out how we should do that. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> do you have a minute or you
have to leave now? >> i have to leave in five minutes. >> let me take the opportunity to ask you a question. you spoke about the scenarios all the way from cyber blackmail. let me ask you this, shouldn't we actually rethink the conceptional and the definitional aspects of hostage taking? because if the scenarios we raise the ante. for example -- that's why i mentioned, for example, even the lone wolf. but we know that isis and their strategic thinking and the al qaeda as well. and, by the way, it's really the anniversary of the declaration of the war of al qaeda against the united states going all the way back. and it seems to me that when we
think about the future, we cannot discuss only individuals or groups of people, but entire nations. that is to say the escalation to the weapons of mass destruction. the biological, the chemical, the radioological. even a dirty bomb to whole entire nations. and then to have the demands how are we going to deal with that? >> we can exaggerate many threats. i've taken the weapons of the mass destruction argument as a disaster that isn't going to happen for any number of reasons. that's one of the things i believe is a function of movies and literature, fiction than reality. that's one of the things i'm not really worried about. what i'm most worried about is we look the strategic approach.
we do not have a strategy. take, for example, the islamic state. and this is critical. or to al qaeda. we have a coalition of 62 countries that are joined up against the islamic state. but what we have not done is put in any kind of an oversight mechanism. we have not told these countries what they are responsible to do and how they're going to do t. so you have nine lines of effort in this particular approach. two of which are military. which the department of defense is doing quite well as are some of our allies. for example, the counternarrative. we're talking about an idealogy to take on the other idealogy. we have not done anything about that. we are being destroyed in terms of the propaganda war. not only by the islamic state, but look at vladmir putin and ukraine. they are killing us in terms of the propaganda battle. this is one area where you have to do a lot more because we have got to defeat the ideological basis for this. one way to do it, where are all the emamand mullahs and ayatollahs in this. you have
people like the grand ayatollah who is on our side in iraq. why are these people not speaking out more issuing fat waws? why is the king of saudi arabia or crown prince not doing more. i would argue the most effective way of taking these issues -- you're never going to deal with a lone wolf. if this guy who shot up the movie theater the other day was indeed a jihadi, can you imagine what the reaction would have been? we have to start beginning to defeat their idealogy. that has got to be step one. step two is a plan to roll back the islamic state. and it's not going to be just trying to rearm the iraqis. quite frankly, that government is so corrupt, i think, sadly we're wasting money. we have to get the arab states engaged. we have to do a lot more. it starts with the ideological battle. unless or until we can join that. all these problems that you raise about hostage taking, about the islamic state, al qaeda, other groups, lone wolves having more ability to manipulate our system and
exploit our vulnerabilities that is real. is it existential? not yet in my mind. it could be. we don't know whether the islamic state is lenin going back to russia to start the soviet union or the hula hoop that will dissipate in ten years. my concern it's more like lenin. unless we get our strategy together we may be, sadly, shocked in the future. >> okay. >> i have to agree everything he said, if not, he'll kill me. i'd like to take it a step further to talk about ideology is important and vital. but ideology is a reflection of political realities. you have to talk about politics. let me take three interesting terrorist insurgencies situations in history. americans in the philippines. that was over when a political situation was resolved. the fight against the british in the 30 was and 40s in
palestinian that ended when the political situation changed. and then you've got vietnam where we were dealing against terrorists. you could talk all you want about the ideology, the point was you had to resolve a political situation of power and who is in control and what is the legitimacy of that power and the competence of that power. the problem in iraq is syria is there is no political legitimcye or competence. even ideology isn't going to get you far. >> i've got to go. >> i know you've got to go. we'll get you some other time. okay. we're going to open up a discussion. if you have a question or brief comment, please identify yourself for the record. yeah. one second. get the mic there. >> thanks, very much.
i work on counterterrorism for many years. i'd like to correct the record -- >> speak louder. >> i'd like to try to correct the record on a couple things if i might. first of all, on the statements, the points you left that dr. ullman mentioned what do we do if our people are killed or taken history. this happened during the iranian history situation where william buckley and the station chief and general higgins were killed. we did take some actions. unfortunately, they violated the policy that mark talked about and ollie north made the deal of trying to trade missiles to iran for the hostages. and was told every time one hostage was released another one would be taken what our colleague called a hostage bank. there was that dilemma that we faced, perhaps, in a lower key area than right now.
because, you know, there wasn't quite the video of beheadings, et cetera. that was a dilemma we did face. unfortunately, i think we made the wrong choices there by making deals which encouraged al qaeda to think americans were patsies and could be rolled. which gets back to part of the dilemma that you very eloquently laid out, counterterrorism -- hostage situations is a classic case of the short term gain versus the long term. you can solve the short term problem but create long term problems down the road. where is the dividing line. it's not always easy. i would raise a question to you all, one of the elements that we faced when we were in the state department and else where is the issue of publicity. sometimes families are encouraged to be quiet and sometimes they go very public as they did during the time of lebanon. one of the issues that comes up then is whether it increases the value of the hostages in terms
of the hostage takers and thus raises the currency. i'm not sure there's any hard and fast answers on that. i think it's something that has to be dealt with. there's a question for you. realizing the israeli sensitivities, and also tradition against death penalty, which i think was only used in the case of eichmann. is there any process in israel -- against terrorists thought were involved with blood on their hands -- i'm not sure if there's a moral difference between taking out a terrorist with a drone missile before he acts or executing him after he goes to trial. i just want to get that issue worked up again. thank you. >> you want to -- >> technically we do have death
penalty in israel, as you said it was implemented only one time. we're talking about maybe the most famous nazi criminal of all. so this is something that -- and the trial was really a historic episode where a lot of holocaust survivors had the opportunity to actually participate and talk. we do have a death penalty in extreme cases of espionage or something of the sort. but it's -- nobody even dreams of implementing such things. i think that -- well, there may be voices here and there, i'm not familiar with any serious discussion in israel on such a suggestion. i think one reason would be that there is a lot of reservation in
israel of death penalty for various reasons. but also, i think, for practical reasons, i'm not sure -- yes, it would probably prevent a situation of hostage taking for the purpose of releasing prisoners. it would create a new generation of martyrs and followers in their footsteps. it might create a new series of problems. i think we will have -- really have a problem with that. this is just something that is not part of the judicial and moral culture in israel. i think it would be very, very difficult to reach this situation. bear in mind, that even here in states where you do implement the death penalty, it takes years. it takes years for modern judicial system to get to the final appeal. and using that on terrorists, you kind of lose the momentum, right? by the time they grow old, then you will -- i'm not sure this
would really be seen as the most efficient tool we can use, again, in this situation where there are no easy answers. >> thank you. wait for the mic, please. >> yes i'm from the center for international relations. my focus is in the area -- the initial question and why i actually came here was mostly to examine the degree to which the ransom is playing a role in changing -- is a game changer if you like in fighting terrorism. there was a study that estimated about $90 million given to the al qaeda from 2000 to 2010. and there's a lot of debate whether this money actually made a big difference in blooming, you know, the popularity of al
qaeda in that region. on the other hand, after the french intervention became obvious, the people who were hired by al qaeda, by payment, were the easiest to convert. because all they did is to surrender and change, you know -- just like mercenaries do. so a question is, is money a big factor? is faith a big factor? it goes down to the doctor, because, i have huge respect for the service that the fbi has done to the world in preparing people for incident. and like you mentioned, people who barricade themselves who are about to suicide. people who are trapped in a situation that they need to escape. but isn't it about time to examine -- when it comes to collateral damage, for example, a lot of scholars in saudi arabia had some very interesting discussions in may. it told me that the biggest problem in yemen in supporting the united states is the
collateral damage from drones. and these are very moderate supporters of our mission in yemen. and, of course, you know, they face the same problem in yemen today. isn't it time to start deconflicting if you like? all the strategies and tactics, based on the actual situation on the ground. and becoming flexible in dealing with the complexity of each separate case in responding? i mean, we have the experience from lebanon with the hostages, some of whom were released successful. some of them didn't. i remember the secretary of the united nations had established a whole network of negotiators to deal with hostages in lebanon back in the 80s if you remember. we have successful cases on that. we have successful cases over the release of hostages that pirates are taking. either they keep them for
themselves of ransom or sell them to terrorists in guinea or outside somalia. we have a lot of successful cases in a lot of different settings. so there's a lot of work to be done in how to adjust to each setting and how to respond successful. so while for its case i think may even be counterproductive. i bauwanted to bring to the pan how far should we be confident in our ability to tedeal with complexity and how we respond in each separate case based on what we know from before? >> anybody -- i know if it was a specific question, but your comments are, obviously, is very interesting. whether we'll discuss the drone policy and strategy, but one of the areas that we did not go into, although ifat mentioned
the rescue mission in israel. it seems since that time, every country prepared their own capability. and so forward. and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't work. it depends on the situation. any other question? yes, please. >> regarding drones, one of the problems is when you don't have troops on the ground to examine the targets and to corroborate whatever intelligence information they have and to direct the attacks, inevitably they'll have this kind of problem. now, as far as money is a factor. i think it depends on the situation. like, for example, columbia, i mean, it's a business. in the middle east, a lot of the groups money is not even raised. it's done strictly for shock
value. as far as what yonah said about cyber terrorism. that's a serious problem. i agree with that. when i was at dia recently. there was a physicist that was a consultant for the defense department that talked about an emp. it takes one small nuclear device at a certain altitude which will just fry all the electronics in the country. all the grids, so you don't even need to be cyber terrorism it will fry everything which will put us basically back to the stone age. that's a serious problem. as far as what dr. ullman said about ideology, i couldn't argue with an islamic extremist idealogy because i'm a kufir. so i can give them the best logic in the world it's not
going to do any good. you need to have a respected islamic cleric that can talk to them from their own point of view. the same perspective. when i was in jordan and i spoke with the service there, they said when they have people that are -- that they capture, terrorists, you know, before they commitment the terrorists acts, they have them counseled by a cleric who is respected. and he says to them, had why are you doing this. they say well it says in the koran kill the enemy wherever you find them. everything has its time and place in the koran. that was at a time when you know, the muslims were persecuted by the pagans. and so it doesn't really mean now what it meant then. there's like three or four different passages from the koran he can tell them. little by little they can work on them. sometimes even flip them and send them back as agents for
their intelligence service. so i think you need to have somebody from a respected muslim cleric who is well-versed in the koran that can sit down and work on propaganda. counterpropaganda for the -- >> that's a very important point. when we talk about defeating the islamic state. again, you can defeat or destroy some capabilities, but you cannot eliminate the idealogy and the good news is that some countries like morocco, they try to encourage dialogue, theological dialogue and train even women to discuss this issue with religionists from other
countries. it's a very long process. i think the point that you made is a very practical, important one. now, we're looking at the clock and the clock is ticking. and i'm going to ask our general to make the final remarks for today's seminar. >> so everybody can get out of here on time. >> right. >> i want to add my thanks to what i think was a great panel today. and certainly many, many very fine comments. i think, again, we have to remember that, you know, we're a great country. and with great people in the united states. but there are other great communities around the world. some large, some small, but all of them have many pluses as well as minuses. all of them have distinct culture and languages. all of them have moors.
as i've said at everything one of these seminars. unless we do a far better -- have a far better performance in understanding what other people are doing, what they're thinking about and looking at these challenges that we face through their eyes as well as ours, we're not going to be as successful as we have to be. and i think this is crucial. our strategy to go forward must be adapted. it must be flexible. it must take advantage of what we and our friends and allies do best. it must be on the high moral ground. and all that type of thing. and i get a kick about all this discussion on policy. we've heard a lot of very good discussion on policy today. everything from how many different times we've tried to define the challenge, define terrorism. define what's legal. define what isn't. and it goes on and on and on and on.
and yet policy, i believe, is only a guide. you really do what you have to do when you have to do it for the reason you have to do it. i was known for i was known for violating policy many different times and got put on report more times than you need to know about. but we thought we were right. and i'm still around. when i grew up in the military, for example, we had a strategy of acceptable and unacceptable acts in the like. they weren't good at all. you didn't want to see them tap in. you wanted to try to stapp them. you could live with them. some were considered unacceptable, like nuclear attacks, et cetera, et cetera. that's when you would go all out to keep it from having. first of all, terrorism every time is a tactic.
you can't have a war against tactics and all that kind of stuff. you can take action so it becomes no reason for them to do it anymore. in other words, they're not getting what they want out of it, so they're going to stop. it's been around, as we all know, since the bible, the koran, and it's going to be around in the next century as well. it was loaded -- we were loaded with terrorist type tactics in vietnam, for example. in 1965 alone, 1,000 village chiefs who were supporting south vietnam were assassinated. that was terrorism of the first degree. i told the story many times in 1965 in october, if you were with me you would have a little vietnamese girl coming up crying. her father was a district chief and killed the night before. her
arms had been severed at the elbows. we have seen this kind of thing firsthand. yet you never heard much about this in the press or the walter cronkites of the world and all that. they were out to lunch. so these comments about the rules of engagement, we've got to forget all of that. you don't need any rules of engagement. the average american, fighting women and women and all the people and all the elements of national power, they understand what's right and what isn't. you don't have to worry about that kind of thing. we found -- in 1965 alone, we fired 1 million artillery shells at south vietnam at the enemy. we killed 20 people by mistake. 20 friendlies. they were killed because a south vietnamese observer tried to fire in the blind instead of actually knowing where the enemy was. yet you didn't hear those kind of things.
so combat is combat. it's tough. it's nasty. we ought to have a strategy that doesn't say too much about what we're going to do. because what we're going to do is different in every situation. the culture, climate, country, et cetera. and we're not -- we can't handle all these things in one policy, one lump, one kind of way of doing things. that's one of our great strengths. there are certain things that are unacceptable. when unacceptable things happen, we're going to blow it in the next arena, regardless of rules of engagement, collateral damage or anything else like that. it's totally unacceptable. that's the way it is. when you're going to do something that's unacceptable, you're going to pay the price. that's the way we want to do it. we ought to be quiet about it. we ought to do what we think, when we think we ought to do it, et cetera.
propagan propaganda, we're losing the propaganda war. we think propaganda is a dirty word. it goes back to world war ii, nazi propaganda, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. it's a way of life. and the enemy and all of these people who don't like us, they're fueling this. and they are using the internet and social media, et cetera. they're cleaning our clock in this arena. so we've got to get smart about that kind of thing. the great analyzer of all of these kind of challenges. come on. >> you sit down. i'll get up. but i'm not going to say much. >> i'm not going to sit down, so you better say it. >> it's very tough coming after al gray. i'm not going to say anything. i thought the minister had really kind of shown us what the terrible dilemmas were. emotion on one hand versus strategy in the other. the book, which is quite
interesting quotes ike as saying you have to make problems bigger. and i would say in a way to deal with this you probably have to go beyond the episodes of hostage taking. you really have to think, as general gray said, the countries, the places, the historical moment where these things take place. my own feeling is that yona has made me tremendously aware of terrorism. i don't think i could have spelled. it may be more than a tactic. i think what we're ultimately talking about is kind of the political configuration of this world. and can we really tackle -- actually, i know this is heresy. i know what will happen with the eayatollahs and all the others. it will change the configuration
of the middle east over time. it is that way between turkey, iran, arabs and israel, that we have a chance. we're bogged down to the day to day kind of events, i agree. we can have the seminars. and i agree with the general that each case will be handled with good judgment. but that isn't going to solve the world's problems. i think yona makes me very aware of terrorism, but he also makes me think we have a really -- this is how -- very hard at the underlying situations which create these conditions of terrorism. if i were israeli i would not nearly be as calm as an american. do i get the last word to thank you and everyone else? >> no. >> what i'm going to do is thank everyone else except for al gray. i want to thank you all, yona, et cetera. now you get the last word. >> i want to add my thanks to his thanks. let's get out of here.
okay? keep the faith now really. and remember that if there is an emp attack and we lose our grid, to me that's an unacceptable act. and whoever does that is going to lose far more than electronic grid, if i have anything to say about it. thanks for being with us. [ applause ]. ♪ >> before the honorable supreme court of the united states to draw near and give their attention. >> number 759. petitioner versus -- >> number 18. roe versus wade. >> marbury versus madison. >> enlisted as slave people here
on land where slavery wasn't legally recognized. >> putting a decision into effect would take presidential orders. in the presence of federal troops and marshalls and the courage of children. >> we wanted to pick cases that changed the direction and import of the court in society and that also changed society. >> so they told them they would have to have a search. and they demanded to see the paper and read it to see what it was, which they refused to do. so she grabbed it out of his hands to look at it. and thereafter the police officer handcuffed her. >> i can't imagine a better way to bring the constitution to life than by telling the human stories behind great supreme court cases.
>> fred fur mont boldly opposed interment. after being convicted to failure to report for a relocation, he took his case all the way to supreme court. >> quite off many of our most famous decisions are the ones that the court took that were quite unpopular. >> if you had to pick one freedom that was the most essential to the functioning of a democracy, it has to be freedom of speech. >> let's go through a few case a that visually what it means to live in a society of 310 million different people who stick together who believe in a rule of law. landmark cases, an exploration of 12 historic supreme court decisions and the human stories behind them.
a new series on c-span produced in cooperation are the national constitution center debuting monday, october 5th at 9:00 p.m. 6. coming up tonight on c-span3, british foreign affairs secretary phillip hammond. and the impact on the epa's new power plant emission rules. after that, a house hearing on the medicaid program. earlier this week, british foreign affairs secretary philip hammond answered questions at a parliament were ear hearing, combatting isis, syrian refugee crisis, and iran's nuclear program. this is 2 hours and 10 minutes. >> welcome to this session here
foreign affairs committee. my thanks to foreign secretary for coming to join us this afternoon. we'll get straight into questions. inevitably isis, isil, whatever it is to be called heads the agenda. i thought we would start off there and with syria. in july, you indicated that our policy in attacking isil in iraq but not syria was in coherency. and the defense secretary has been extremely robust on this point the last couple of days. but isn't that british military in coherency trivial irrelevant
when in the international policy. >> well, i think there are two issues here. the question of the international approach to the crisis in syria of which isil dash is a part but by no means the whole. and there's the question of isil in syria as part of the challenge of dealing with isil is the most extremism in iraq and as we now see it far beyond iraq. and the point, if i recall, in july that i was making was that there is a military in coherence to carrying out a campaign of air strikes against an enemy on the ground in iraq whose supply lines originate in the
neighboring country. so there may be political arguments and indeed there are. these were in parliament on the 29th of august, 2013. but from a military point of view, it is in coherency. it is a single theater of conflict. and the supply runs run from rakka in syria to iraq where they sustain the isil forces that are attacking iraqi forces. >> what about the juxtaposition of the military in coherence operating in iraq and syria.
isn't that very marginal when set against the widest of the international communities whole position towards syria and isil? the international community's response to isil is coherent. it would not be appropriate to put coalition ground forces into iraq. the coalition's activity is limited to the use of air power, to the provision of materials, sustainment, training, mentoring to the iraqi forces. that means that the objectives will take longer to achieve than they might have done if western forces had been injected into iraq.
but the judgment is that the ensuing result will be more sustainable if it is delivered by iraqi forces acting on the ground in iraq. i think that is equally coheren. i understand entirely their frustration, people who are reluctant to contemplate what general allen from the beginning was indicating, that it could be taking years not months to resolve the isil problem in iraq. and frustrated because of the immense barbarity. but i think it is coherent. it is a different challenge and it is made complex by the fact that the two most important external players in iraq, the three most important external players, russia, iran, and
turkey, all have very different agendas. and in the case of turkey an agenda which is clearly evolving even as we discuss this this afternoon. >> but i think you describe the international view towards isil is limited. >> it is limited in the fact that we have made a decision for better or worse that we are not putting ground forces into iraq. >> can isil be defeated without resolution of the syrian civil war? >> i think my view on that is, yes is, it could. if we were able to attack isil across its theater of operation from northern syria through eastern syria into iraq. it is is possible to defeat isil in that theater as a separate
issue from the broader syrian civil war. >> the air strikes of the uk perhaps in the future to join in air strikes in syria, we will only defeat isil in iraq when there is ground force to inflict serious damage on them. and it is possible to envision a where that destruction of sighs ill will go on into syria. i'm not saying it's the ideal situation or the most likely situation. but i don't think it is a necessary condition of destroying isil in syria, the
civil war in syria. >> yesterday we took evidence from some country's most distinguished academics and journalists who have followed this crisis. their confusion was isil won't be defeated until turkey, iran, saudi arabia hair in its power. it enables those states to focus other national priorities. in canada and the western powers. isn't our policy is and our action having the unsuspended consequence of relieving those of the need to cooperate in order to prioritize and enable isil's defeat?
>> i already made reference to the fact that the complexity is the three external powers most directly involved and most influential have complex agenda. they in some cases are internally conflicting agendas. that is what makes the problem in syria so difficult to tackle. so i agree with you having turkey, iran, and russia pursuing separate agenda and in the case of turkey a shifting agenda makes it very difficult to move towards a point where we have a clear response to the clear agreed approach to moving forward in resolving the crisis in general.
>> the fact that that is likely to continue is in the evidence we received yesterday. and part of of that is because iran and russia are unwilling to force removal of the sad. so isn't british and american policy actually contribute to go that stalemate? and the -- >> how is it contributing? >> because if our position, as suppressed by the prime minister this afternoon, so to equate assad and isil. and the removal of assad is the united kingdom's position. the rather uncomfortable truth is whilst iran and russia are not prepared to kphreu the force removed, is that we bear a share of responsibility for that stalemate. and therefore the continuing
blood shed, the growing crisis and the in ability for the international coalition to actually put together a strategy to defeat isil in both syria and iraq. >> well, i think the responsibility for the bloodshed lies squarely with those who are perpetrating it. and we need to be clear about that. it's the areas they control and the assad regime and the areas they are bombing from the a air indiscriminately. but you have put your finger on of course what is precisely the problem. our analysis of the problem is that assad is a recruiting sergeant for isil. and any suggestion that western powers were prepared to work with assad in the defeat of isil would redouble that recruiting sergeant effect.
and at the same time, two of the most influential powers in this equati equation, iran and russia, are not prepared to contemplate the removal of assad from power at this stage. our diplomacy is focused on persuading russia and iran that their priorities can be protected. that the future stability of syria could be best assured which did remove assad and the group around him who are manifestly responsible for the bloodshed and the atrocities that have been committed. >> the problem with that analysis is not shared by the expect commentators who gave us evidence yesterday. i want to approach you when the
point was put to him by assad's behavior and whether it was possible to cooperate. he said this. don't confuse pragmatism without condoning the assad regime much the whole point is to put the syrian population first. i agree that the man has more blood on his hands than should ever make any of us shake his hand. because he is backed by russia and iran, the demands he must go are realistic. the question is, do you wish to stand on purity and damn the syrian people? >> i don't entirely agree with that analysis. because we also are being pragmatic. as i have just said, that any sense that the west was prepared to work with assad against isil
would redouble the recruiting sergeant effect. we also have legal restraints around supporting or working with a regime which is committing crimes on this scale or any scale. and we are very acutely conscious of our legal obligations. even if it was convenient to us, and i don't think it is. but even if it was convenient to us, we to the floor the option of just working with assad. we would be -- >> but that's not what i would be inviting the british government to do. what i think the issue is that the start point, the western position of the american french and is that assad must go. and by starting in that place it
means the geneva three process is blocked. the critical players are the regional powers, turkey, saudi arab arabia russia, iran, will not enable a process to happen. and therefore that's the voice of the government with assad. in a sense along with our western allies to stop the process -- stopping the process started by propping our objection to assad and go to language. that it is not possible to envision the assad in the future, which is strikes me as rather more sensible language than would enable a geneva 3
process to start, which is the situation we have put ourselves in. >> i don't think there's a difference between myself and margarini on this issue. by the way, i think the turks are also in the position that assad must go. the question is about timing. we are prepared to be pragmatic about the process of transition. and in our discussion with russians and now with the iranians, i have made that clear. we are not saying on day one assad and all of his cronies have to go on day one. if there was a process which was agreed, including with the russians and the iranians, which took a period of months and there was a transition out during that period of months, we could certainly discuss that. what i was not prepared to discuss is what i understand to be the russian and iranian
position that we need to move to elections in syria and it will be for the syrian people to decide whether assad should remain as their president. that is not an acceptable position. the international community cannot, in my view, facilitate and oversee a set of elections in which somebody guilty of crimes on the scale that assad has committed is able to run for office. that has to be clear. you cannot be part of syria's future. and i think that was the point she was making. >> as a guarantor of the regime, they are the blue holding it together. >> that is from the russian playbook. assad is the glue holding it together. that is the iranian national
security adviser's line to me word for word. sergei's line. >> does the fact that it's russian automatically that is it is wrong? >> no. but our analysis is one side of the story. of course assad plays a role in the regime structure. >> the committee of course will take evidence from experts. and it should of course do so. now you are asking me for my opinion and british government's position. and i'm giving you our political judgment that we cannot work with assad in anything other than a short-term of position. we indicated to the russians and iranians, if there is a sensible plan for transition that has
assad remaining in some way involved in the process for a period of time, we will look at that and discuss it. we are not saying he must go on day one categorically. of course we will be pragmatic in a discussion with them. what we will not concede is he should be allowed to be a contender for a future major role in the new syria. >> just turn to the practicality of the policy there. is it correct that the number of free syrian army and loosely defined western aligned competence in the civil war a that ourselves and the united states and others are actually frighteningly small. we were given a number yesterday. 54 people were put into employment, some of which are now dead. >> i don't think that number is
correct. it is a small number. but my recollection is that it is in the thousands. >> since you gave out in july, you were left with a strategy in syria. do you now accept this doesn't actually appear to execute an adequate policy for the scale of the challenges in syria? >> i think it's a long-term policy. it's taken us longer to get on off the ground than we would have liked to do. it is now under way. it requires the cooperation of turkey to be successful, i think. and as i said earlier, turkish policy on syria is evolving. we've seen over the last few months turkey being much more
engaged in the syrian problem but in a way that is very particularly pursuing its own agendas. >> return to the international coalition. can you tell us what's actually happening to make the coalition more effective? 62 nations? how many nations? >> the counter isil coalition? >> yes. >> well, the process is the same as it was. there are a number of working groups dealing with different aspects. for example, countering the isil-propaganda machine which is beginning to work. that's co-led by the uk, the u.s. and the uae. there's another group working on isil finances, cutting off
financial flows. and cutting off flows of foreign fighters. these are three strands of work. there's the military operation, which you're aware of, coordinated by general allen. and all of that is continuing. this is not going to happen overnight. we have always been clear about that. >> looking at the competing parties inside syria, with the success of al miss ra, anyone successful in the success of isil? >> let me answer the question a different way. we would not regard success by al misra as a satisfactory or successful outcome. if i was put on the spot to rank the horror of living under isil
control al misra control, i would have to think quite hard about that. both would be unacceptable to us. we have made that clear to any of your partners in the coalition who have ever been inclined to think otherwise. >> so what's your view? this is given by saudi arabia and turkey. >> it includes other parties as well. we recognize the situation on the ground is not as we would like it to be. sometimes compromises have to be made on the ground, tactical compromises. and the history of warfare is that you have to make tactical compromises. but we would not require a strategic alliance with al musra as being an acceptable way forward at all.
>> the complexity of the situation with everyone. isn't this an area where british diplomatic capability, our capacity to coordinate impaired with our limited power can't make a difference in isolation. that our soft power diplomacy is where the main effort in bringing others together using a coherency strategy ought to be where our main effort ought to be focused. >> i don't agree with the first part of your analysis there. in iraq, we have conducted more air strikes than any other coalition partner apart from the united states. our surveillance and intelligence-gathering assets since syria are making a very major contribution. again, i would hazard second only to that of the united states.
in terms of working on financial flows, we have an expertise in financial flows, which again i would venture as second to none. we have an important role to play there. and we play through our intelligence and security agencies. very important role in cutting off the flow of foreign fighters. and actually, we also play a significant role in the counterpropaganda role. we like to think we have some experience and capability to deploy. >> on monday, the prime minister's justification for the british strikes was very narrowly withdrawn. it wouldn't change the situation under international law.
what are the constraints in syria if we don't have an existing government to operate there and if there's no immediate threat to the united kingdom in the terms presented to the prime minister on monday? >> the coalition forces that are operating in syria are doing so on the basis of the collective defense of iraq and the challenge that the iraqi government is facing from isil and its base in syria. >> so there will be no justification for operations against the government of syria on that instance, which i presume is why they are not happening. >> not on that legal basis. different countries, of course, have a different approach to their analysis of legal basis for action. famously, the united states has its own legal approach to
justifying action. >> i'm sure you're thinking about when you come to parliament to seek authority to operate in syria. it's been very heavily trailed. i'm waiting for the day you might be able to tell us when you are expected to ask for that authority. but why should parliament offer a wide involvement in wh the overall strategy is yet to be worked out. >> i don't think the overall strategy is yet to be worked out. again, we go back to the last question at the beginning. we would see authority to attack isil targets more widely in syria as being a part of the campaign against isil, which at the moment is confined to iraq. we would see it as being driven by military which says you look at the enemy holistically.
you look at his supply lines, support base. lieu at his command and control notes. and those are the things you want to attack. and at the moment, we're able to attack some of them, those in iraq, but not all of them. because we don't have authority to attack those in syria. and i think the logic of extending our mandate to cover isil targets in syria would be very clearly a logic in support of the mandate we have in i'm ran for the collective defense of the country. >> can i ask you for an assessment of how successful the current policy of attacking isil in iraq is? particularly when mosul seems to be under isil control. we were given the impression the liberation also was fairly
imminent. but it doesn't look like that. >> on the question of mosul, general allen, who i have a lot of time for, has always been very cautious about the timing of the retaking of mosul. people in the iraqi government has been shall we say more bullish. of course it's also true that the iraqis had their attention deflected by challenges in anbar province. but general allen always said it would be next year that mosul could sensibly be targeted for retaking. i'm going to ask simon to just say something about general allen's view. i know he met with him very recently. to answer your first general question, how successful do i assess the intervention in iraq
as being? it stopped isil's advance dead. if we go back 15 months, 16 months, we were looking at an apparently unstoppable surge across iraq, down the river valleys, towards baghdad with baghdad appearing to be under imminent threat of falling to isil. coalition air power stopped that advance dead. it forced isil to change its tactics from acting like a conventional army to a guerrilla force operating in small cells, moving by night, making them far less effective and less able to control the territory they have taken in a conventional manner. and it is allowed a breathing space for the iraqi forces to be regrouped, retrained and rebuilt. that process hasn't gone as
quickly as others would have liked. in the meantime, they are holding isil in check. we have always been very up front that the coalition aircraft will not roll isil back. it will merely hold them in check. it's got to be iraqi boots on the ground that do the hard slough of rolling them back and clearing and holding iraqi territory. simon? >> thank you. i just wanted to update. in terms of the emergency situation, there are areas of success. if you look at tikrit, where isil murdered about 1,000 people and where huge numbers of people were driven out of the city, you can see it now returning to something approaching nor malt. commercial life is resuming. attempts to clean up the streets and so forth. a substantial military operation to retake ramadi. they are making progress, albeit
slowly. we know isil are expert at ieds, bobby traps, house-to-house fighting. in the north, of course, there is still fighting by eg, which is the extent of the conflict line. there is clearly a plan. but we have to make sure iraqi security forces are in a condition where they will be able to have success there. and the training of those forces is now leading on the battle field. without wishing to overstate the amount of success, it is certainly not an entirely negative picture in terms of retaking territory from isil.
>> can you give us some idea how much of mosul is free of isil and how much it remains in the hands of isil. >> my understanding is the city itself is still under isil control. some of the areas particularly to the north will be under peshmerga control. nobody is complaining otherwise that it is still under isil control. >> a substantial tphanumber of iraqi army? >> it operates as a spret for . separate force. peshmerga will act in the area adjacent to mosul. it is not likely to take part in an attack on mosul itself.
that will have to be carried out by iraqi forces. >> yesterday there was some discussion about the future for syria. there was some discussion where the point was made there should be a cease-fire agreed by all sides before no-fly zones are put in place? >> that would be great. a cease-fire would be fantastic. we would go with that. >> who is with you on that? what diplomatic efforts -- >> stefan, the u.n. special envoy has been working on the idea of a cease-fire. but these things are easy to sit in a room to talk b. they're a bit more difficult to implement on the ground when there are so many shifting alliances. they are referred to one such alliance earlier on. can frankly involve strange
bedfellows coming together. towns or cities being defended or assaulted. it is a very fluid and complex situation. and i'm afraid the prospect of achieving a cease-fire i regard as being probably further away than the prospect of getting russia, iran, turkey, and the western powers to agree on a way forward. >> how do you think turkey's attack now on the kurdish groups in syria and also the iraqi kurds to qaa banny, the turkish attitude helpful? >> i think they have been in iraq, not in syria. but clearly this is an
additional and very significant contemplation to the situation. the military people have always thought that the involvement of turkey would be key to resolving the situation in northern syria. and the fact that turkey has an agenda which is different frankly from the agenda of any of the other players because it is focused on their own intentions with the feds as much as it is with tension with isil and tension with the syrian regime, is a complicating factor. and it's just one more complicating factor. each one of the players, significant players here, has a different set of agendas. and we're only going to move forward when we can find common threads that all the players can sign up to. and we can act accordingly.
>> i'll just ask about a statement in the house, there would be independent monitoring of drone strikes. who is going to be doing that? >> who made that statement? >> it came from your side of the house. >> we have a very robust process, as the prime minister made clear on monday. and then there is a whole set of rules of engagement once it moves to the military phase. a whole set of rules of engagement have to be complied with. there is a rigorous process for monitoring that and assessing
outcomes. that's how it works in the ministry of defense. >> but indeed? >> i'm sorry. i'm not sure who said it, first of all. i'm not sure what was meant by independe independent. >> i'll try to find out who said it. i was there when it was said. >> yes, sir. where regards to -- i was very pleased to hear you say that you would not deal with president assad contradicting some of the evidence that we had yesterday from some experts. very disappointing to see the austrian foreign minister on a trip to terrain saying the direct opposite. and he is saying that we do need to engage with assad. my question is is two-fold. how united is the european union on this issue of whether or not we should deal with assad?
i would be totally against any brutal involvement with this tyrant. >> if the russians and the iranians unlikely at the moment. but if the russians and iranians were to turn up tomorrow and say we are proud to countenance with international monitoring and in the meantime, there will be an interim regime and the existing players will continue to play a role in that regime, i wouldn't say we would accept it. we wouldn't rule it out up front. >> we wouldn't say we can't contemplate such an arrange.
ment to ensure that the actions against the syrian population couldn't be continued. assad and his cronies couldn't use that power to continue that campaign against the syrian people. but there are two options here. there is a military solution. somebody or one force or another takes control of damascus. we believe a political solution would be the better of them. that would mean making comp mizes and perhaps do things we wouldn't ideally be comfortable with but get us to a better place. what i was trying to convey in answer to the chairman's questions is that we have not set our position as being so eye dee logically pure about the
need for assad to go that we wouldn't be prepared to discussion with them under international supervision couldn't take place. >> thank you. >> secretary, you said that there are two ways of political solution and a transition. or military solution. and the overwhelming evidence today was each of the sides involved in the conflict basically wants victory and can concede. there have been results from iran, saudis, or wherever. so that is feeding the idea that there will be a victory by one or another of the groups. now to the original question about success. you said success in result syrian boots -- or iraqi boots
on the ground. is the conflict, even though it is two countries, is success in syria not going to be measured by the same. dozens of free syrian army troops being trained. but thousands. can i ask how many thousands need to be trained up and by when for victory, for the side that we are bucking against a sadz. >> the premise of your question. we don't believe that a military solution is the way forward in syria. there has to be a political solution. there has to be an agreement to an inclusionive political entity
to take syria forward into the future. and it may well be the case that some elements are believed military victory is still possible. frankly, on the regime side, i rather doubt it. the regime itself is said publicly its level of ambition is holding the areas that it currently holds. it no longer even aspires to control and governor the whole of the country. for the incumbent government, that doesn't sound like belief and victory. there may be groups among the extremists oppositionists. they believe they can achieve victory. but we don't think there will be a clean and clear-cut military solution. the involvement of the russians,
iranians and now to some extent the turks. it suggests to me it would be unlikely that any one side will be allowed to gain a clear military victory. so the solution has to be political. the solution is how to deliver that. i agree with you we're not going to get that by talking nicely to the players in syria. this will have to be a decision made by the sponsors of the key players in syria. in particular, iran and russia deciding to call the shots, make it clear that it has to be changed. they can do that. they can make a phone call. russia and iran could have a discussion, make a phone call to damascus tomorrow and change the
future of this. >> how much influence do you think it is going to make of the americans are already viewing at the moment? >> secondly, given the complex and fluid nature on the ground, how are our forces going to differentiate between the variety of groups on the ground at the moment? >> i am concerned by the repeated confusion between the challenge of dealing with isil in syria and the why the problem of the syrian civil war. if we seek parliament's approval to engage in targeting isil forces in syria, it will be as an adjunct. it will not be in orders to play
a role in the syrian civil war. these are two different issues. of course isil is involved in both. but i don'tenvisage we would be wanting british forces, british air strikes to be getting involved in complex three-way fights in northwestern syria where regime forces and other syrian forces are involved. what we are looking at in particular is isil's command and control notes around iraqa where the organization is run from, the supply lines running from the north. we are unable to attack the lines at the moment. we are unable to attack the command and control. the military logic drives us to believe there could be utility
in having greater freedom. >> the americans are able -- >> the americans are -- >> what if the americans don't? >> i think we had this discussion at the last meeting. we are currently flying operations in syria. and where we are identifying targets, for example, through our intelligence gathering missions we are having to task u.s. assets to take action. that's in efficient and sometimes leads to targets not being attacked, available target not being attacked. it just doesn't make sense to have it is self-evident that if you have a military force comprised of different components, some are able to act in one place but not another, that undermines the utility of the overall force.
>> we look forward to the request to parliament. you didn't say when you were looking to do that. >> i think the prime minister has made clear we are continuing to look at this question. we do think there are arguments for it. but we are clear that we require parliamentary authority. we will only bring such a proposition when we are confident that the circumstances and the evidence that we can bring forward in support of our request is likely to fine favor in parliament. >> final question. the happy subject of the budget. >> so just to follow up on the question mr. hendrick asked there. you mentioned air strikes because you have had boots on the ground. you have had forces you couldn't
rely on to make that effective. and the last time you were here to make the syrian strikes effective to have boots on the ground as well. i'm not clear where you see the boots on the ground coming from. i know this is a tricky issue. i'm wondering if you would commit to giving us an update, providing an update to parliament and where you see the boots on the ground coming from. >> again, we are confusing two issues. by the way, i didn't say air strikes in iraq have been successful because of boots on the ground. i said air strikes in iraq are only able to hold the line. it would require boots on the ground to roll back isil on the ground. and we have always recognized that fact. >> would you say that logic as well to syria? >> in the east of syria, in the isil strongholds in iraqa, the
ability to attack from the air would, in our judgment, enhance the utilities of the military mission. and in the to defeat isil and that means we have to get to the controlling -- to the controlling brain, as it were. >> so will you bring something forward to parliament before finally in terms of the -- >> no, i can't commit to bring something forward to tell you where -- you know, how this campaign will play out in the long run. at the moment, we are attacking an enemy in iraq. and if we form the judgment that that air based military operation would be more effective if we were able to target in syria as well, we will ask payment for authority to do that. that is all i'll say at this
stage. >> and we'll move on to the budget. i don't know why you need your tin hat on. this committee will be rather sympathetic to you, at least i hope we'll be ssympathetic. i think you might need your tin hat for -- >> and can i take us back to the previous report at the end of the last parliament where we said what was proposed between 2010 and 2015 had been severe and gone beyond just trimming fat and capacity now appears to be damaged. as i understand it, you are about to have a further round of cuts so there has been speculation and you may wish to confirm or deny it, that up to about 20% of your budget might get chopped. if that's the case, we are no longer talking about any fact at
all. we are actually talking about priorities and very difficult choices. so could you update us, please, on the latest proposed figures of the cuts which you are likely to be experiencing over coming years? >> well, first of all, you'll forgive me, you'll indulge me, if i remind you of the background, that we inherited a budget deficit which itself was undermining our national credibility and influence in the world. so the idea that somehow we do nothing and maintain our influence is for the birds. we have to deal with this situation to remain credibility. we've regained credibility by putting in place a man that will eliminate the deficit before the end of this parliament but we have to act to do that and that requires further tough decisions, including departmental spending cuts. we have been asked, i don't
think it is any secret, that we all nonprotected departments have been asked by the treasury to model cuts at 25% and 40% of our total budgets. and we, of course, are going through that exercise now. but that doesn't mean cuts of those amounts or any amount between them will be imposed. but it indicates that that is the range of options that the treasury wishes to consider. >> in the previous discussion, you talked about the importance of our diplomatic network and our diplomatic services and in the previous statement you've said it is the crown jewel of foreign office capability. our budget in this country, diplomatically, is already less than that spent by the french.
we only spend one-tenth of the united states state department, a country which is certainly not ten times the population of the u.k., more like six times, maybe seven. can you give us some idea in detail how you can make further redestructions on the scale of 25% or perhaps 40%, the figures you've used, without significantly reducing the size of the diplomatic network. >> yes. first of all, let me make the point that we should be targeting efficience kwi first. i won't pretend we can take out those kind of percentages by being more efficient. we've already done a huge amount of efficiency gain. when you compare our budget with the budget of the french foreign ministry, we operate a network
of roughly the same size as the french foreign ministry, we do it with fewer people and with a budget that is 25% lower and i think we should be proud of the fact, not be beating ourselves up that we have a smaller budget, which is proud of the fact that we're operating a similarly sized network, more efficiently with fewer assets and i would be prepared to argue for the effectiveness of our diplomacy anywhere, where we go head to head with the french. but let me deal with your specific question. there are further efficiencies that can be made. and i'm busy identifying them and my new permanent secretary will be focused in this area. there are more efficiencies you can ask. ask any organization. you go through this process and go through five years later and tule has changed and -- technology has changed the way you work has changed the world
around you have changed and there are further efficiencies that you can make. but we also have to look at lower priority activity that we would be prepared to sacrifice without inflicting serious damage on the output of the organization. and this comes to a question of priorities. and to answer your specific question, i use the phrase crown jewel and i'll use it again today, the network, in my view -- there are two crown jewels. the network and there is the policy brain. the ability to maintain the network at its current level and sustain that in the future, and the ability to have a sufficient density of policy-making capacity here in london that we can lead the foreign policy making process across government and beyond is the key to the
foreign office's debt. everything else is subordinate in my view to those priorities. and one of the things that we'll be doing is looking at how, in any given out come scenario of the spending view, we would manage the impact of that in a way that protected the network and protected the central policy keeping capabilities. >> in the recent years there is a reduction of the number of u.k. staff overseas and increasingly reliance on locally engaged staff. >> yeah. >> do you think that that could go much further. >> no. >> no? >> i don't believe there is much further scoping. in many of the small posts, we have two u.k. based foreign staff. you may have many more foreign office u.k. staff.
but we are pretty closed to the reduced network on the staff. >> and you would agree then perhaps locally increasing the reliance on loathally engaged staff can't go much further particularly because you might harm the institutional knowledge and capacity to feed into the rehorses which you need -- resources which you need at the center. >> yes. i think the innovation of expanding the role of locally engaged staff was the right thing to do. i think it has been broadly successful. and engaged staff do make a huge contribution. but i should share with the committee and it is slightly counter intuitive and surprised me, when i heard the term locally engaged staff, i imagined we were talking about people from the local population of whatever country we were present in. what i discovered as i visit our posts abroad, a very significant
proportion of locally engaged are actually british nationals who happen to be living in that country, perhaps because their family lives there or their spouse is working there or sometimes people have have gone there to be employed but not on london terms. >> we've met them all over the world and we know they work really hard for our country and less security. >> and many of them are british. >> now, on the question, if you try to make savings elsewhere, does that mean we're actually talking about reducing the number of posts to continue a process for example, we've reduced significantly the number of posts in europe over the recent years. is there a look at reducing the number of posts. if you have a limited number at certain places you clearly can't cut the numbers but you then
have to make hard choices about not being represented in some countries. >> i would hope not. as i said, i would regard the network as being the crown jewel. we may wish to look at some of the subordinate posts in some countries. >> you mean consulates. >> and general and so on. and we've cut down on the number of consulates in europe because we found the 24-hour call center model works effectively. so we have to be flexible and o innovate ive about this. but the last place we want to go is reducing principal overseas posts. >> are you going to gather the evidence you need to make decisions of this kind? is there a special process that you are going through, a special unit? are you asking some particular individuals or groups to look at this, given that the internationari